THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN

2312 Spring Lake Rd.As Janet finished drying the last of the dinner dishes, she leaned across the sink and looked out the kitchen window at the quickly darkening evening sky.  From the sight of the ominous clouds rolling in, she realized that Burt had been dead on regarding the oncoming storm and said a brief silent prayer that he would finish getting the horses settled and make it back up to the house before the storm hit.  Although she couldn’t quite put her finger on exactly why, something had started to fill her with a sense of dread.

An eerie silence had settled over the Lamont home like the long shadows cast by the fading glow of the quickly disappearing sun, punctuated by the steady tick… tick… tick… of the clock on the wall.  It was a sound Janet had become all too familiar with because on more than one occasion, she could have sworn that clock was speaking to her in a mysterious language only she could understand – a secret voice that reminded her of the very real truth that her happiness came with an expiration date.

Focused solely on the sound of the clock as it began to fill the house with its near deafening sound, Janet wasn’t prepared for the sudden gust of wind that blew open the back door with a loud crash causing her to nearly jump out of her skin.  Her heart racing a mile a minute, she hurried over to close the door tightly, but couldn’t resist peering out at the black clouds as the continued their systematic march towards the house.  There was no denying the fact that they were most definitely in for rough weather.

No sooner had Janet pulled the door closed and latched it tightly, the telephone rang.

“Hello?  Lamont residence,” she said warmly as she held the receiver to her ear.

“Janet darling, it’s Jillian,” her younger sister said on the other end of the line.  “I hope I’m not calling at a bad time?  If I’m interrupting dinner, I can….”

“You’re not interrupting a thing,” Janet replied with a smile.  “I was just putting away the dishes.  Burt went down to check on the horses.  It looks like we’re in for some nasty weather.”

Jillian Callison“Well after this summer, we need the rain.”

“So how are you settling in with your new housekeeper?”

“Okay, I suppose,” Jillian sighed.  “To be honest, I really can’t complain about Mrs. Whitehead.  She definitely knows what she’s doing and I couldn’t ask for more competent help I just… well….  I know Reginald and his mother meant well, but I just wish that they’d asked me first.  Mrs. Whitehead is so stern and rigid that she almost makes me feel awkward in my own home.  I don’t like that at all.  Right now Reginald is working late at the paper on a deadline and I’m stuck here in the house with just Mrs. Whitehead to talk to and… I’m bored silly.  It’s one of the reasons I called – to give myself something to keep me occupied until Reginald gets home.”

“Until Burt gets back from the barn, I have nothing going on so I’m all yours.  You can simply chatter away.”

“Good!” Jillian exclaimed.  “I phoned Judith earlier and I swear that it seemed like she couldn’t get rid of me fast enough.”

Janet silently bristled at the mention of their older sister’s name.

“And what is Judith up to this evening?” she asked curtly, more because it was the proper thing to do than because she was truly interested.

“Oh, who really knows?  She was going on and on about how she was tired of letting someone else – the fates, maybe – dictate her life and how people deserved to know the truth.  I couldn’t really make heads or tails out of what she was talking about.  I think she said something about driving out to see you before she hung up, but I guess if she’s not there than she’s changed her mind.  Maybe the weather….”

Janet Lamont“J-Judith said she was coming out… here?”  Janet’s hand flew up to her mouth as an overwhelming sense of panic began to overtake her.

“Yes, but that was quite a while ago,” Jillian explain, completely unaware of the true implications of her innocent conversation.  “If she’s not there already, then I’m sure she changed her mind and decided to stay in because of the weather.  You know how she hates driving in the rain.  Especially after….”

Jillian continued on with her end of the conversation, but Janet wasn’t hearing a word that she said.  Her mind was too preoccupied with thoughts of the telephone call Burt had received right after dinner.  Despite his insistence that it was merely Mr. McGee at the bank and her willingness to take him at his word, Janet’s intuition was now telling her that the telephone call was far more important.

“Jillian, I….  Something’s come up,” she said into the receiver as he eyes drifted towards the open window facing the barn down the hillside.  “I’m sorry, but I’ve… got to go.”

“Well, all right, then,” she replied, a little taken aback be the drastic change in the sound of her sister’s voice.  “If you really have to….”

However, before Jillian could even finish her sentence, the familiar click on the other end of the line immediately told her that Janet had already hung up the phone.  Despite the distinct peculiarity of Janet’s behavior, Jillian had no way of knowing that at just that moment, her sister was already making a panicked and hasty dash towards the barn.


RIVERVIEW NIGHTCLUB

Riverview NightclubDonna Allison struggled to hold onto the front door of the club as a huge gust of wind nearly ripped it out of her hands.  There was definitely a large storm coming and if she’d had her way, she would’ve been more than happy to ride it out in her room at the boarding house.  Unfortunately, as much time and effort as she’d spent getting to know Dr. Rutherford, whenever he telephoned and invited her to a little secret rendezvous, she knew it would be in her best interest to comply.

Still standing just inside the doorway, Donna glanced down at her watch and realized that she was early.  She wasn’t supposed to meet Fred for another 30 to 45 minutes.  Deciding that the only thing left for her to do was order a drink – because she knew she’d need as much alcohol as she could manage to make it through the evening – she breezed past the hostess with a dismissive wave of her hand and headed towards the bar.  She’d barely even set foot inside the lounge area when she saw Fred cozied up to a woman who Donna didn’t know, although she seemed vaguely familiar.

Donna AllisonBefore Fred had a chance to see her, Donna quickly ducked behind a rather tall potted plant located in the doorway to the bar where she knew she would be able to watch him and the woman who Donna presumed he was setting up to be his next mark.  As a sense of panic began to set in, she exhaled slowly to steady herself.  She’d worked too hard to worm her way into Fred’s good graces and had done too many things – unspeakable things – to garner his confidence in an attempt to learn the truth.  Was he about to replace her as his mistress or had he already grown tired of his wealthy wife – or his recent lack of access to her sizeable bank account?  Donna wasn’t certain, but the fact was clear that there was a new player in the game and she needed to know everything she could about this mystery woman.

When Fred and the woman rose from their bar stools, drinks in hand, Donna ducked even further behind the plant to avoid being noticed.  To her relief, instead of heading in her direction, they took new seats in a very secluded booth – obviously to become “more acquainted”.  Recognizing a perfect opportunity to find out exactly what sort of illicit activities Fred was engaging in, Donna rushed to slide into the adjacent booth, separated only be rather elaborate floral arrangements.  To her delight, if she held very still and listened carefully, she could make out every word Fred and the woman, who he called “Joyce”, was saying….


CALLISON STABLES

Callison Stables“It’s about time you got here,” Burt spat when he saw Judith standing in the doorway.  “I thought you said you were coming right out?”

“I came as quickly as I could.”  She strode confidently into the barn and pulled off the scarf she’d had wrapped around her head while carefully maneuvering to avoid any of the typical stable obstacles.  “In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a storm coming.  That wind is so strong it nearly blew my car off the road as I came around the lake."

Judith stood ever so still for a moment, the scarf clutched in her hands, and looked at Burt.  She couldn’t help but notice the vast distance between them – not only the physical distance, but the emotional distance as well.  It was such a stark and drastic change from how they once were with each other.

“Over the phone you said you had something important to tell me,” his voice finally broke the silence.  “You said it was something about Janet – something that would change my life….”

“It is!  It is!”  She rushed to him, almost half hoping that he would take her into his arms just like he used to.  When he deliberately avoided her grasp, she couldn’t help but register her deep disappointment on her face.  “There are things about your… wife… that you don’t know.”

“I highly doubt that.”  His tone was cool and measured as he folded his arms across his chest in almost a defiant stance.  “If you have something to say, Judith, get on with it.  Janet’s up at the house waiting on me to come back and finish dinner.”

“To hell with Janet!” Judith spat as she began to feel her blood pressure start to rise.  “Janet can wait until hell freezes over for all I care!  She ruined my life – our lives!”

Burt LamontBurt barely reacted to Judith’s seemingly impulsive rant.  None of it was anything he hadn’t heard what seemed like a thousand times before.  All he could really do was shake his head and let out a long exhale.

“This was obviously a mistake,” he said, pushing past her and heading for the door.  “I don’t know what I was thinking agreeing to meet you here like this.  You made it sound like something important.  Because of the sound of your voice, I almost thought you might’ve been telling the truth, but it’s pretty obvious now that this is just another one of your petty little rants against Janet and I refuse to listen to another word.”

“Burt, please, you have to listen!  You have to!”

Judith lunged for him, reaching out to grab him by the arm in an attempt to stop him from leaving, but he swiftly jerked his arm out of her grasp.

“P-please?”  Her voice quivered as a well of buried emotions began to rise towards the surface.  “It’s about the baby – our baby – and the night that… the night that…”

The catch in her voice stopped Burt in his tracks.  Despite everything that had happened since, she had meant something to him once and they did share the loss of a child.  When he turned back to face her, he found her with tears in her eyes and every heartbreak etched on her face.  Unable to ignore the deep emotional pain she was clearly in, he went to her and took her into his arms.

“Judith, what’s this all about?” he asked as he held her tightly.  “What’s so damned important about… the baby… that you had to see me tonight?  What does any of this have to do with Janet?”

Judith Linford“I… remember,” she muttered softly.  “I finally remember everything about the night I fell – about the night I lost our baby.”

“That’s… that’s wonderful!  Maybe you can finally manage to put all of this behind you and move on with….”

“She was there, Burt!” Judith blurted out.  Her moment of emotional weakness had passed and her steely resolve had returned.  “Janet was there!  I remember.”

“Of course she was there.  We’ve already talked about all of this.  Janet’s the one who found you after…”

“No!  You don’t understand, Burt!”  She paused and looked him dead in the eyes.  “Janet was there before I fell.  And she didn’t just find me, she….”

“W-what in the world is going on here?”

Both Burt and Judith turned towards the door of the barn to see Janet standing in the doorway, a look of sheer terror on her face.

“Janet, don’t get upset,” Burt said softly as he left Judith’s side and went to his wife.  “She phoned earlier and sounded upset and said that she needed to talk and I knew that you wouldn’t….”

Janet Lamont“Judith, what are you doing?”  Janet acted like she hadn’t even heard a word Burt had said as she stepped further into the barn.

“I’m finally telling Burt the truth, Janet dear.”

“J-Judith, you… you can’t!”  Janet’s lower lip began to quiver in panic.  “Judith… please…?”

“Okay, what’s going on?”  Burt’s eyes darted from Judith to Janet in confusion.  There was clearly something happening that he knew nothing about.

“Go ahead, Janet,” Judith smiled confidently.  “You heard your husband.  Tell him what you did to me and his baby.  Tell him!”



 


NEXT TIME

Will history repeat?




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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