Tiffany Creed was a single mother living near Lake Pontchartrain, on the northern edge of New Orleans. Her husband had died in Iraq and she had found it impossible to trust any man from that point on. She had given him her whole heart only to have it ripped out of her chest by his death.
Now forty-four, she felt too old to start a new marriage. Besides. Most of the men she had dated had only been interested in her body, not her as a person. They had all been too immature to want something lasting. Even the man she was now seeing was too immature to want to take on three young children as a part of the bargain.
She put her head in her hands. How had she allowed it all to get this far? She looked up in time to see the utility truck go by. That was odd.
As far as she knew, there were no outages in her area. Nor any gas leaks. Why would a utilities truck be here? She ran into her house and called the utilities company.
She waited until the lady answered on the other end. “Yes. Did you send a truck up to the lake district?” She waited until the lady looked through the work orders. “No? then why is one of your trucks up here? Yes. Yes. I can call the police.” She hung up and grabbed her cell phone.
The lady at the utilities company had instructed her to go find out where the truck had stopped, then call the police. The company’d had a truck stolen last year. Since then, it had been spotted nearly everywhere an explosion had taken place. She locked her door and headed to the street.
Slinking from hedge row to hedge row, she sought out any sign of the truck. She stopped dead when she saw where it had been parked. Samantha and Don Portice’s house! She knew the couple.Don was a violent man, always beating on Samantha. Sam was still in the hospital from the last beating. Had someone sent a hit man after Don?
She knew that Don had been involved in some shady business. She knew that it had caused him to lose a lot of money. And he had borrowed money from somewhere to cover his debts. And his bills.
That had caused him to become even more violent. Not that he wasn’t violent before. He had always been an angry man. Full of hate. Full of spite.
Whatever it was that had drawn Samantha to him had long vanished. Or had been an ideal, not a reality. No one in the neighborhood got along with him. No one liked him.
But Don worked. No one was home. That meant that the person now inside the house had broken in. Who knew what they were now doing.
Tiffany dialed 9-1-1 like the utilities lady had instructed her. “Yes. I would like to report a break in. Yes. 2105 Lake Drive. The burglar is driving a stolen utilities truck.”
Michael took Tiffany’s call. “This is Detective Michael Sherman. How can I help you?”
Tiffany was hushed. “I would like to report a break in. There is a stolen utilities truck outside 2105 Lake Drive.”
The utilities truck. The one clue that tied all of Torkelsen’s bombings together. Nearly everyone recalled a utilities truck in their area before the blasts. But no utilities work that needed to be done. Torkelsen had finally given himself away.
Michael was now alarmed. “Usually, we tell the person calling in to stay where they are, but you need to make your way home. get as far as you can away from the scene. Make sure you haven’t been seen, first.”
She was suddenly nervous. “No one has come out yet. And they aren’t very concerned with anything because they haven’t even looked out any window to make sure they haven’t been followed or seen.”
Michael reassured her. “Then, he hasn’t realized that you saw him or have been observing. Get away from there now. We are on our way.”
He hung up, motioned to his team, and headed for the door. Justin, on cue, called for Brownell’s team to be with them. Reilly contacted the M.E. No telling whether there would be a casualty.
Tiffany rushed home. She didn’t notice Don’s car as it whizzed by going toward his home. She had covered the seven blocks between his house and hers in almost no time. She had no idea whether the truck was still there or not.
Her only thought was getting home to safety. Lucky she had been a sprinter in high school and college. Still, she was amazed that she was still in good enough shape to have made seven blocks in such a short time.
she ran up her steps, turned and hid behind the solid railing of the porch. She was glad that she lived in a stucco house. so many hiding spots out in the open.
Her only fear was that she had become a possible target as well by doing as she had been asked. She worried that she’d stood out in the open just long enough to be spotted. Even in a single glance. She hunkered down and began to pray for protection.
She looked around the edge of her hiding place to see if the truck had gone by yet or not. No truck. No intruder. No danger. Not yet.
Minutes went by. Then the sky lit up with the explosion of 2105 Lake Drive. Don had returned home. Tiffany suddenly realized that he had returned. the police were going to be too late.
But if Don had returned, then the truck must’ve been gone. And it had not passed her as she sprinted home. That meant it had gone the other way. Probably the killer’s way of not being identified. she didn’t know. Nor did she care.
Moments later, sirens wailed as the police drew close. They had finally come. She breathed a sigh of relief. Then a thought suddenly hit. What if he came for her?