Read The Truth of Yesterday Online

Authors: Josh Aterovis

The Truth of Yesterday

Chapter 1

 

 

     We like to think of life as a story -- complete with a nice, neat beginning, middle, and end. Real life is seldom that orderly. We often forget just how powerful the past can be. After all, it's over and done with, so how can it affect the present? The truth is, while it may be over, it is seldom done, especially in matters not properly dealt with. It has a way of twisting our perception, our feelings, and even our reality. Things we thought long behind us can suddenly be very much before us.

 

     Our past affects every waking minute; it defines who we are today, whether for good or bad. It even has the power to affect the future in ways we can't even begin to understand. Like echoes returning from a great distance or ripples in a pond, it can come back to haunt us; torturing us with might-have-
beens
, taunting us with unrealized potential, terrorizing us with truths we tried to ignore, tormenting us with losses too great to take in.

 

     In our own ways, we each try to move on from our past. Some try to do so by closing their eyes in the time-honored ostrich approach: if I can't see you, then you can't see me. Others try to outrun it. Some manage to convince themselves it never happened. There are as many methods of avoiding as there are pasts to avoid. In the end, however, if you live long enough, the past will catch up to you. If you aren't careful, you may live just long enough for it to do so…and no longer.

 

Chapter 1

 

     I sat slumped in my chair, eyes on the clock, counting the seconds until I would be released from this class. The professor droned on and on in the background but I'd stopped listening half an hour ago. Lucky for me, he wasn't saying anything of any real importance anyway. This class was a waste of time. I could have just read the book and showed up for the tests, and done just as well, but I was always afraid I'd miss something important if I did that. So far, I had not been rewarded for my diligence. The professor was simply having a love affair with the sound of his own voice and we were all voyeurs.

 

     Finally, the class ended and I was the first person out the door. I was supposed to meet Micah, my boyfriend, on the other side of town. He said he had something he wanted us to talk about; I didn't know what, but that phrase alone is enough to strike fear in my heart. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, but I did want it to be over. Then again, maybe I was just overreacting. It didn't have to be anything serious. I checked my watch as I slid into my car. I had twenty minutes to get there. As long as traffic was light, I'd have no problem. I go to school at a small college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Pemberton
University
is located in the small city of
Salisbury
, and while it is home to no less than three colleges, it isn't really a college town.

 

     Fortune smiled upon me and traffic was as light as it gets around here. I actually arrived a bit early at the diner we had agreed to meet at and had to wait for Micah. Micah writes for the local daily newspaper. He isn't originally from the area but he moved here last year when he was hired as a reporter. For a long time he was relegated to puff pieces and jobs everyone else passed over, but his report on a bed and breakfast with a resident ghost (more on that later) had garnered him a little more respect not too long ago. He'd even begun a weekly series on local
hauntings
.

 

     The bed and breakfast in question was owned by my surrogate father, Adam Connelly and his partner, Steve Redden. By the way, I mean partner in the romantic sense as well as the business sense. Adam had taken me in several years ago when my real father had kicked me out of the house after finding out I was gay. Adam's son Seth, who was also my friend and gay as well, had been killed not long before that and I'd been stabbed in the process. I'd lived with Adam, Steve, and Adam's younger son Kane from that day on.

 

     Steve had bought the house that he and Adam had turned into a bed and breakfast at the beginning of summer, about 5 months ago. It was a pre-civil war era mansion that had needed a lot of work. They managed to get an awful lot done in a short amount of time and they had opened the inn just a month ago. What Steve hadn't known when he bought the house was that it was already inhabited by a woman who had been dead for over 150 years. A family friend, Judy, who is something of a psychic and very familiar with supernatural phenomenon, volunteered to help in an attempt to move the spirit, named
Amalie
, on her way. In the process, I'd discovered that I have several unwanted psychic Gifts, as Judy refers to them. When I say psychic, don't imagine that woman on TV who exhorts you to call now for your free tarot reading. It's not like that at all. Judy describes it as sensitivity to the spiritual plane. Whatever you call it, it wasn't anything I wanted and I no intention of pursuing it. I'm still wondering where you return this so called gift. Meanwhile, we thought we had found a way to lay
Amalie
to rest, but an uneasy feeling still made me avoid the house. I'd only been back once since the day we thought we'd said goodbye to her, and that was for the Grand Opening of the newly named
Amalie
House. When
Amalie
herself made a surprise guest appearance, no one had really been all that shocked.

 

     Business at
Amalie
House had been slow thus far, but that was to be expected with a dead woman showing up for the Grand Opening. Besides that, Steve had only just started advertising and construction was still going on nearby where Steve and Adam were building a small house for all of us to live in. It was being built to look like an old guest house that had once stood on the property but had burned down at some point over the last century. While the house was being built, we were still living at the beach house, which was a half hour away. Because of the distance, Adam and Steve took turns staying at the B&B while the other stayed home with Kane.

 

     I'd started college a couple months ago and so far, it had been fairly easy. I'd taken a light course load since I was also working for Novak Investigations. I'd started working there at the beginning of the summer as a secretary type deal. The owner, Shane Novak, a retired cop, had heard of me because of my involvement in the discovery of Seth's killer, which is another story in and of
itself
. Now I was an investigator for Novak, although not yet licensed. You have a few years experience with a licensed PI before you can get your own license. I was taking courses that Novak had said would be helpful in the business and for the most part I was enjoying them, with the one notable exception mentioned earlier.

 

     If your idea of PI work comes from watching TV then you are most likely very mistaken. For the most part, it's a rather boring, low-key job. We don't even get to carry a gun, although Novak had made me take a self-defense class after I was almost killed while looking into a murder for my ex-boyfriend a couple months back.

 

     Currently we were working on two cases, neither very exciting. We had been hired by a local insurance company to check out a work related injury claim. It seemed they had reason to believe the older woman who had made the claim was not as disabled by her accident as she claimed. Novak was handling that case pretty much by himself and I had been given almost free reign over a case of my very own, my first official one. A woman had come into our office the week before and asked to speak to Novak. I'm still manning the front desk so I asked her what it was concerning.

 

     “I think my rat-bastard of a husband is cheating on me and if so I want to know about it so I can file for divorce and sue him for every penny,” she'd replied quite calmly.

 

     I'd been working there long enough by this time to not be too surprised. This was actually our most common type of case. Novak had accepted the case since things were pretty slow at the moment and then assigned it to me. I was still pretty nervous about handling it on my own, but I'd assisted Novak on several similar cases so I pretty much knew the ropes. It involved a lot of following the guy from place to place and sitting around being bored
spitless
. So far, he'd gone faithfully from work to home and back again each day. His only variations so far had been a stop at the grocery store one night and the liquor store another. Of course, I wasn't watching him every second with classes during the day, but I'd paid off one of the secretaries at his office to let me know if he left or had any suspicious phone calls. There had been nothing of the sort to date.

 

     I was just beginning to get a little concerned that Micah wasn't going to show up when I saw his silver Saturn pull into the lot. I'd met Micah while working that case for my ex. It was all very professional at first; he helped me get some information I'd needed, but he'd asked me out and it turned out we really hit it off. We'd been dating now for a few months, but not too seriously. I referred to him as my boyfriend but we hadn't made any sort of real commitment, much to Micah's chagrin. I liked Micah a lot, but I just wasn't ready for that. My first boyfriend, Asher, and I had moved too quickly into the couple thing and it eventually destroyed our relationship to the point that I wasn't sure if we were even capable of being friends anymore, despite the fact that we still cared very deeply for each other. He'd moved away when school started and there were times when I still wondered if I was really over him.

 

     I watched Micah unfold himself from behind the steering wheel and turn to face the restaurant. He stood by the car for a minute, just staring into the windows almost as if he was posing. I waved, but I was pretty sure he didn't see me. Micah is several years older than I am, in his early twenties, and very handsome. He has straight brown hair which tends to fall into his eyes in the cutest way and huge, dark puppy dog eyes. He's a little taller than I am and in great shape. He shook his head as if clearing his thoughts and moved quickly across the parking lot, where I lost sight of him. He reappeared inside a few seconds later. He scanned the room, spotted me, and headed in my direction.

 

     “Hey Killian,” he said, sliding into the booth across from me. We were meeting in a small old-fashioned diner that Micah was particularly fond of, though I didn't really share his enthusiasm. While the atmosphere was cozy and comfortable, the food was only mediocre at best.

 

     “Hey, I was beginning to think you were standing me up,” I said with a grin to let him know I was only teasing.

 

     “Yeah, sorry about that,” he said distractedly, “I got hung up with the story I'm working on right now. I told you they finally gave me something with some real weight, right?”

 

     
“Yeah, the town council thing?”
He'd just told me yesterday about being assigned his first big story, the possibility of major corruption and pay offs within the town council. He was as excited as I'd ever seen him about his work. Today he seemed withdrawn and disturbed though and I wondered if something had gone wrong. I hoped the newspaper hadn't taken it away already and given it to their star reporter, a jerk named Walters. “Is everything ok with that?”

 

     “Oh yeah, it's going great. That's why I was late. I was on the phone with the former secretary of the council member we think was up to his eyeballs in grafts and bribes. He made the mistake of firing her last week and she's just dying to blow him out of the water. She's talking so fast I can barely write it down quick enough. Of course, it will all have to be verified.”

 

     “Cool,” I said. So if he wasn't upset about the story, what was he upset about? I knew he'd tell me in his own time, but I was not known for my patience. “What are you ordering?” I asked to make conversation.

 

     “I think I'll just get a hamburger,” he said without even looking at the menu.

 

     A waitress was approaching our table at that moment, a silver ring flashing in her nose, so much black mascara framing her eyes that she looked like a raccoon, and long, greasy looking brown hair.

 

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