In Peril’s Way
In Peril’s Way
Copyright © 2017 by Jeremy G. Woods
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (printed, written, photocopied, visual electronic, audio, or otherwise) without the prior permission of the author.
“Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”
First Edition—May 2009
Second Edition—April 2011
Third Edition—June 2017
I started this book in March 2006 not knowing where it would end up. Two years later I finished it, although I mainly worked on it during the summer of 2006 and fall of 2007. I would like to take the time to thank The One who made this book possible. God has inspired me greatly to write, and it is by His power that I am able to write. He has put the words in my fingers so that I can finish my first novel. The main inspirational message behind In Peril’s Way is that God will not let us Christians down and that, even when it seems like all is hopeless, God is faithful to those of us who have become His child. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
This book is also dedicated to my wife, Magda. She is a great helpmate for me, and I am very thankful to have her in my life, during all of the life’s ups and downs. I look forward to writing more books with her help and encouragement and to encourage her as she also starts writing.
Chapter One: EILEEN 1
Chapter Two: TRAPPED 12
Chapter Three: RESCUED 27
Chapter Four: HITCHED 36
Excerpt: “Stranded” Chapter Two 39
How to Receive Peace from God 42
About the Author 46
“I would hasten to my place of refuge From the stormy
wind and tempest.” (Psalm 55:8).
By the time that Detective Dylan Greene had reached the outskirts of Tupelo, he knew that there would be no turning back until Sunday. On his way through Mississippi, his cell phone’s battery had died and his car had run out of gas. The nearest house seemed uninviting, and the incessant rain rendered it impossible to see even a foot in front of him. Suspecting that he wouldn’t need his cowboy hat, Dylan set it next to him in his pickup truck. Just before the storm had started, he had seen the worn-down house. His most recent thought before running out of gas had been, “I wonder who could live there;” his heart now raced as he departed his car and braced himself to find out.
While stepping up the rugged wooden stairs leading to the eroding porch, Dylan had second thoughts about asking for a place to stay. The stairs creaked loudly as he ascended their worn planks of wood. Dogs barked nearby, and their low-pitched growls seemed to come from behind the house. He heard the clinking of a metal chain that, if broken, might unleash flesh-hungry dogs that had not eaten for days. As he stepped onto the porch, he thought to himself, “I’m better off in my car for tonight than in this forsaken house.” As Dylan reached the doorbell, he rang it, and, not hearing it, he rang again. Realizing that the doorbell must be broken, he opened the screen door. As he knocked on the door, he stepped back so that he would not intimidate the occupant. A few seconds later, a voice barely audible to hear muttered, “Hold on.” He thought he heard something dragging on the floor in the background. He patiently waited on the porch and, after what felt like forever, a gray-haired woman, who seemed to be at least in her seventies, appeared in the doorway.
“What do you want? Whatever you’re selling, I’m not buying,” the woman gruffly stated. She was warmly dressed, compared to Dylan’s thin T-shirt and worn-out blue jeans. He had not anticipated the storm, so he was poorly dressed for the unusually cold weather that came with it. Dylan shivered as he peered in and saw a gun on a shelf within the aged lady’s reach. He knew that if she knew how to work it, and if she had the heart to, she could kill him before he could explain what he was doing there. So, in order to appease his mind, he quickly said, “My car ran out of gas. I just need a place to stay for tonight. I was just wondering—”
The elderly woman cut him off. “You’re wanting to know if you can stay here?”
“If you happened to know of a nearby hotel, that would be appreciated as well.”
“Well, there aren’t any hotels here, and I sure hope there won’t be, either. The thing I hate most is a tourist.” Dylan looked at her as if she had just insulted him.
“I’m going through here on business,” he said. She looked at him sternly. “You know, business…like a business trip.” Dylan was on his way back from an investigation, although he did not want to tell her that. He was headed back home to spend some long-needed time with his fiancée, Eva Malone. “Could I stay here for the night? I just ate, so all you would have to provide me with is a bed. When I get gas in the car tomorrow, I could get breakfast on my trip back.”
She looked at him, thought, and said, “Are you kidding? The gas station’s closed tomorrow, since it’s Sunday. You won’t be out of here before Monday.”
“What do you do if you run out of gas on a Sunday?”
“We always fill up our cars with gas on Saturday night if we need to fill up before Monday. Didn’t you pass by the gas station on your way over here and see the traffic at the gas station?” she asked.
He thought, but didn’t reply.
“Anyway, the station closes at ten every Saturday night.”
“Well, could I stay here until Monday so that I can get gas before heading home?”
“Yeah. I have a bed in the spare bedroom that you can use until then. It was used by my late husband, Horace, until he passed on a few months ago.”
She seemed mysterious. If he hadn’t known better, he would have suspected that he had just walked in on his next case. In spite of her deceitful appearance, however, she seemed helpless, needing someone to watch over her daily.
“Come on in,” she stated, friendlier now that she was more accustomed to this stranger. “Excuse my exhaustion. I just woke up and couldn’t come right to the door because I had to change from my pajamas.”
As Dylan stepped into her carpeted house, he noticed that the inside was more welcoming than the outside. Seeing the deer heads that lined the upper portion of her walls, he asked, “So, do you hunt?”
“No, but Horace went hunting all around the country. Each deer head represents a hunting trip he made in each state. As you can tell, he went quite often.”
Dylan set his eyes on a plaque noting the number of hunting trips Horace had been on and silently counted the deer heads. “Why does the plaque over there show fifty-two hunting trips, and there are only fifty-one deer heads?”
The woman perceived his keen eye, and she theorized, “You must be a detective.” There was a pause, and she appeared to create her story as she went. There was distrust, on Dylan’s part, as to the verity of her story. As quickly as she could, she said, “Horace died right after his hunting trip. The taxidermist is expected to send the stuffed deer’s head any day now, but, until then, there will only be fifty-one.” She paused again. “I’m sorry, but I never caught your name.”
“My name’s Dylan. Dylan Greene. I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I didn’t catch yours either.”
“Mine’s Eileen Whittaker.”
“Nice to meet you.” They shook hands and stepped back. Thunder rumbled in the near distance, and Dylan jumped back even further. He had forgotten about the storm since his entrance in her house even though he was still drenched from the rain. Dylan started shivering, and, noticing his reaction to the rain, Eileen excused herself to get him a towel to dry him off. Eileen’s cat sulked into the room. Dylan saw that the cat was soaked, and the cat had just entered the room from outside through the kitty-door. Taken aback by the cat’s stride, Dylan moved towards it. He was about to pet it when suddenly, as quickly as the lightning was striking, the cat swiftly hobbled over to the windowsill, which was situated under the deer that was shot during Horace’s first hunting trip. Eileen walked in, unnoticed by Dylan. She stood there, watching Dylan, appearing to spy on him. The cat’s sudden movement appeared to instigate the barking of dogs in the distance. Eileen spoke at this moment, bringing him two towels. “One is for you right now, and one is for if you need it later on tonight.” She also had a washcloth in her hand. “If you need to take a shower, you can use that extra towel to dry off, and here is a washcloth.” She handed Dylan the two towels and the washcloth. Then, after noticing her cat, she said, “I see you’ve already met Roger.”
“My cat. He thinks he’s human, so we named him a human name, Roger. Don’t mind him, though,” Eileen said.
Dylan sat down on the sofa next to the doorway that Eileen had just come from. The dogs continued barking. “The dogs barking: Are they yours?”
“Yes. My late husband and I got them.”
“They were barking when I came here.”
“Yes, but not because you were here. Whenever they see Roger, they bark.”
“How did you know that the cat had just gotten onto the windowsill when I came up on the porch?”
“In my room,” Eileen nervously began, “there is another windowsill that Roger likes to climb on. I woke up when the dogs barked, and I saw her right behind my bedpost.” Dylan could tell that she wasn’t telling the truth, but he decided not to say anything. Instead, he only kept a mental note. “And, besides, the dogs are deaf,” Eileen added, hopeful to add logic to her story.
“All of them?”
“Yep. We found that out after we had rescued them from the pound.”
“From the pound, you said?”
Roger leapt off the windowsill and headed towards Dylan. At this, the dogs stopped barking, but they started whimpering. Roger jumped into Dylan’s lap, and Dylan started petting him.
“Yes. We wanted dogs to protect us, so we decided to take a trip to the pound,” replied Eileen.
“Those dogs sounded like they were about to get loose. You might want to go outside and ensure their security.”
“I’ll do that tomorrow. A few years ago, Horace and I were robbed, and those dogs couldn’t even get loose to attack the intruders. I’m confident that they won’t get loose between now and tomorrow.”
Dylan said, “They might be hungry. They sure sound it.” Suspicious of negligence on her part, he added, “The Animal Control might come over and take them away from you if they suspect that you have neglected to feed your dogs.”
Guiltily trying to change the subject, she replied, “You look tired. You might want to go ahead and hit the shower and hit the sack.” Roger jumped off Dylan’s lap as he got up from his chair.
Following Eileen’s advice, Dylan took a shower and got ready for bed. He began to suspect that he was on the trail of another detective case, although he knew that he would have to collect more evidence before he reported her to the authorities. He went to bed, fearing any move that Eileen might make. He knew that if he had shown that he mistrusted her, she might grab her gun off the shelf next to the door, and she would get away with her crimes. In order to ensure his and others’ safety, he decided it would be to his benefit to keep an eye on the doorway during the night. “I can always catch up on sleep at home,” he reasoned.
“You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength.” (Psalm 31:4).
The next morning, which was Sunday, Dylan awoke at six o’clock to the sound of Eileen’s voice. “Dylan, do you want eggs and bacon, or pancakes?” Groggily, he replied that he usually got up later, but that he went to Church at around nine on Sunday mornings. He stated that he would prefer to sleep in for now. “It’s now or never. I don’t plan to cook anytime soon,” replied Eileen cheerfully.
Dylan found it in himself to decide that he wanted eggs and bacon. “I would like eggs and bacon,” he hollered. By this time, he had gotten up. As he got out of the room, he realized that Eileen didn’t seem guilty of any crime, so he shrugged his accusations off as conjecture.
Currently, Eileen was in the kitchen, slaving over the stove. She normally cooked herself pancakes, so she was out of practice of cooking eggs and bacon. Breakfast was served in ten minutes, and, in the meanwhile, Dylan was entertaining himself by petting Roger, who had pranced in recently. When breakfast had been on the table for a minute, Dylan walked over to the table, sat down across from Eileen, and said the blessing for both of them. After the blessing, the both of them dug in.
Twenty minutes later, after eating the meal, Dylan contemplated asking where the nearby Church was. His hesitation was based on the facts that it was still muddy and rainy outside, that his car still wouldn’t start, and that he didn’t want to ask Eileen to drive him to Church. Being deeply devout, Dylan had a hard time deciding not to go, but he realized for the first time that he would have a hard time getting anywhere that day. He didn’t even bother requesting for a ride to Church, for fear of her thinking that he was being too imposing.
Up until now, he had been at the dining table, but he soon made his way back to the couch, where he let Roger jump into his lap.
“Roger sure has changed his opinion about you since last night. Last night he darted from you,” stated Eileen. Yet, there was one thing she had missed factually about the previous night.
Dylan picked up on this detail keenly. “Eileen, you were getting my towel when Roger darted in. How do you know that Roger disliked me last night?”
Eileen spent a few seconds coming out of this verbal trap she had set herself into; meanwhile, she acted like she didn’t understand the question and cupped her right hand over her ear. “Come again?”
“If you were getting my towel when Roger came in, then how do you know about Roger’s reaction to me?”
“I suspected that Roger leaped onto the windowsill right before I came in.”
“But you failed to realize that I never said that Roger leaped on the windowsill. For all you know, I could’ve set him there,” reasoned Dylan. “Admit it, Eileen. You were standing there most of the time in the doorway.”
“Okay, so what if I was standing there? Is there anything wrong with me being quick to get your washcloths and towels?”
“No, but there is something wrong with you spying on me.”
“You seemed suspicious, so I thought I should spy on you.”
“No, Eileen. You are suspicious. I have always suspected that you have done something wrong, yet I should have suspected you earlier.”
“You need to learn when to keep your mouth shut. You see that gun over there on the mantle?” Dylan’s eyes diverted towards the door and nodded his head. “I confess that Horace did not hunt. I’m the one who killed all those deer. Horace just sat around all day and was a lazy bum. If I were you, I’d watch what I say because someone could get hurt. I know how to shoot that gun, and I’m not afraid to.”
Dylan was flustered because she now seemed suspicious again, and he wanted proof that she knew how to use the gun. Although he did not directly ask her for proof, Eileen brought him over to her room and, as they passed Horace’s room, Dylan saw something he had never noticed before: there were bloodstains on the carpet. Dylan had gone to bed the night before without turning the light on and had gotten ready quickly the next morning, so he had not seen the bloodstains. Dylan reached Eileen’s room, and he expected the worse. She brought him into the room, pointed to Horace’s dead body on the floor, exited her room, and closed the door. Dylan tried to get out, but it was no use. He was locked in, and there was no telling when he would get out. The door locked on the outside, not the inside. When he heard Eileen’s laughter of triumph, it dawned on him for the first time that he was dealing with a madwoman.
The only thing that went through Dylan’s mind for the first ten minutes was his fiancée, Eva Malone. The only thing her countenance knew was beauty. Dylan had worked on a case in which she had been a client. That was five years earlier, and they had been seriously dating for four years. The only reason that they delayed their marriage was that Dylan’s job would have him away from home most of the time and that it would be very dangerous for Eva to come with him. Their hometown’s locals had predicted that within three months they would get married. Dylan loved Eva for her Christian lifestyle, for her red hair and blue eyes, and for her undeniable beauty; and Eva loved Dylan for his devoutness, for his brown hair and eyes, and for his bravery. The only thought that crossed Dylan’s mind the first few minutes that he was locked in the room was what Eva was doing while he was gone.
Yet, as ten minutes had passed, he began to concentrate on a way out. Unfortunately, he knew that Eileen must have lied about Roger having been in her room when the dogs were barking, for there was no window in sight. Dylan looked around the room for any form of communication that could connect him with the outside world. The only way to communicate that he could conjure up was to holler; but that would do him no good because he was in the middle of nowhere. He hadn’t yet looked out to see how much in the middle of nowhere he was since the previous night, but at the present moment he was not at liberty to do such a thing. He took his cell phone out from his pocket and hopelessly sighed as he looked at it. Then he stuck it back in his pocket.
Dylan looked around the room again, and he saw Horace’s body. He had not thought of Horace’s body for fifteen minutes, but Horace was wearing blue jeans, so Dylan figured Horace might have some form of communication on him. He emptied both pockets and counted 48 cents in pennies, nickels, and dimes. Besides the change, he found a billfold, house keys, and a cell phone. Dylan picked up the cell phone and dialed the police. A lifeless voice answered his call. The operator said, “Tupelo Emergency Office. How can I help you?”
Dylan was distracted by her tone, but he answered, “I’m Detective Dylan Greene, from Baton Rouge, and I am hostage of a lady named Eileen Whittaker. I need police to come respond.”
“I need your location.”
“I’m somewhere in a suburb of Tupelo.”
“Do you know the address?” asked the voice.
“No. It was too dark last night. And rainy.”
“Well, do you have any clues at all to where you are?”
“The house looks abandoned and deserted.”
“I’m sorry, Dylan, but we can’t be any help to you because we don’t know where you are.”
“Can’t you trace this call?”
“Yes. We’re doing that right now. We’ll be on our way.”
Dylan slammed the phone down because he could tell it might be a while until he was found.
Dylan began examining the body that was lying in front of him. First, he felt around for the place that Horace was shot. The bullet had pierced the sternum, leaving a bloody hole where it had gone through. It appeared as if Horace had been shot at no less than two times, but Dylan couldn’t confirm the amount. According to his own calculations, Horace could not have been dead for more than twenty-four hours.
Dylan abandoned examining Horace’s body for the meantime, and he carefully searched the room for other ways to get out. He thought about knocking down the door, but he figured that there was a better way to get out. His search ended when he ran across an NIV Bible in a chest of drawers. He hadn’t done his usual devotional, and he hadn’t been able to go to Church that morning, so he knew that he should study the Bible. He prayed that God would guide his daily Bible reading, and he pulled the Bible from out of the drawers and sat down in the chair that was situated in front of the bed. He turned to Psalm 34, the next passage in his daily devotional, and he read the passage until his eyes shifted toward verse four. His fingers followed along as he read from the passage: “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” He considered these words of David that still affected him about three thousand years after they were written, carefully planned by God, and Dylan began to have a better understanding of the word fear. His search for a way out did not lead him to an exit, yet it did extinguish his unneeded fear of Eileen’s insanity.
He shortly returned to his pursuit for an exit. As he examined the mirror that was hanging beside the bed, he recalled that the mirror could be used to disguise something. He had read in mystery novels about villains covering up a passageway with an ordinary object, such as a mirror, but he never had seen the criminals’ motives for concealing the passages. Yet, as he removed the mirror from the wall, he saw that it was true: a mirror had carefully hidden the window to disguise its location. Dylan took one last look at the room as he grabbed the stool near the bed, opened the window, and stepped out into his freedom.
Now in his freedom, Dylan walked towards the dog cages that Eileen’s dogs were locked in. He entered a shed adjacent to the dogs and began to investigate. On a shelf, directly above some unopened dog food, lay a can. He opened the dog food and scooped up some of the food. After returning from the first dog cage and dumping the food into a pan that surprisingly was in there, Dylan returned to the shed and repeated the process for the twelve other dogs. He then returned to the shed and looked around for clues.
After twenty minutes of not finding any clues, Dylan walked back to the window he had come in, but it was closed. He pushed on the window, but it was useless to budge the locked window. Dylan ran to the front door and banged on the door. To his surprise, moments later, it was not Eileen who answered the door: a complete stranger’s face appeared in the doorway. She appeared young enough to be Eileen’s daughter.
“Where’s Eileen?” Dylan asked.
“She was taken to an insane asylum. My husband just took her there, and I am taking out all of Eileen’s belongings. But who are you?”
“I’m Detective Dylan Greene.”
The woman let Dylan in. “My name is Regina Summers. I am Eileen’s daughter.”
As Dylan walked in, he saw half of the deer heads on the floor and said, “So I hear that Eileen killed all these deer.”
“Where did you hear that?”
“Eileen told me.”
“She can’t shoot a gun, so she couldn’t kill deer. Her husband, Horace, hunted all of these deer. Horace recently died,” Regina stated.
“She told me that, too.”
“So, what brings you here?”
“I ran out of gas on the way back home from my most recent case.”
“Why don’t you get gas and go on home?” She was stuttering as she said this.
“I need to stay and investigate. A good detective doesn’t leave a mystery unsolved.” He paused. “Did you say I could get gas?”
“Yes, of course. The gas station is open.”
“Are you sure? The gas station closes on Sundays.”
“Not here. I had to get gas on my way to Eileen’s house.”
“But…Eileen said that the gas station closed last night at six-o’clock.”
“Eileen says anything to get what she wants.”
“You mean that the gas station’s open?”
“I mean it hadn’t closed.”
“I still need to investigate, and a good detective needs a partner. I have a phone call to make.”
Regina opened her mouth, but she did not say anything. She was too nervous to protest verbally, but her actions said everything. Dylan walked back to the room he had been kidnapped in and pulled out Horace’s cell phone again. While dialing the Baton Rouge Detective Agency, he stepped into the room where Regina was. As soon as he had dialed the last digit, Regina snatched the phone from him and pressed the ‘End’ button.
“Why did you do that?” Dylan asked.
“Why are you so interested in this case?”
“I stumbled into a case that needs to be solved. I’m here to solve it.”
“Eileen’s in the insane asylum. Case closed,” Regina stated.
“Well, not exactly. The motive still hasn’t been verified. If the motive isn’t clear, then we have work still to be done.”
“Well, I’ll let you make the phone call. But I am not the one who forced you to find out the truth.”
“Are you trying to tell me that there’s more to this case that you know about and that you’re not letting me in on?”
“All I know is that it’s obviously purely insanity that drove Eileen to kill Horace. What more does there have to be?”
“I don’t know, but that’s what I’m determined to discover.”
“The righteous is delivered from trouble, But the wicked takes his place.” (Proverbs 11:8).
Dylan spent the remainder of the day looking through old scrapbooks that he found in Eileen’s bookshelves. Although he found nothing to show Eileen’s reason for murder, he began to see how her family had worked while Regina was still living with her parents. Eileen was always smiling in the photos, while Horace and Regina appeared unsatisfied. In several photos of Regina’s milestone moments, Horace was nowhere to be found. In fact, Horace was not in the family picture at Regina’s graduation. Regina did not talk to Dylan while he glanced through the several family albums and scrapbooks that he had found. Instead, she silently watched television. She seemed estranged from her emotions.
Dylan woke up the next morning determined to call the detective agency before Regina woke up, but he already smelled eggs and bacon that she was busy cooking. He decided to make the phone call while she thought he was asleep. The agency was the last place that had been called on the cell phone, but, since he had not dialed ‘Send,’ he would have to type in the number again.
Dylan’s boss answered the phone. “This is the Baton Rouge Detective Agency. Detective Jordan Hayes speaking.”
“Hey, Detective Hayes, this is Dylan Greene.”
“Where have you been? I’ve been leaving you messages on your cell phone all weekend.”
“I’m stuck in the outskirts of Tupelo, Mississippi. Long story. I need you to send some detectives over here to help me with a case I’ve stumbled on. My cell phone’s battery died, so I haven’t been able to answer phone calls. I’ve been staying at some insane lady’s house. Her name is Eileen Whittaker. I’m calling from her dead husband’s cell phone.”
“Why are you stuck in Tupelo?”
“I ran out of gas and the storm we had Saturday made it where I had to stop somewhere.” Dylan could hear footsteps. “I have to go. Send a detective over here near Tupelo, Mississippi. Trace the call from this cell phone. The Tupelo Police wasn’t very helpful. Make sure that you send good reinforcements. I have to go now.” Detective Hayes hung up the phone.
Dylan could hear the footsteps still, and they ended at his door. He heard a knock and Regina said, “Dylan, you up?”
“Yes. I’m up.”
“Come on in the kitchen when you’re dressed. I just cooked your breakfast.”
As she got back to the stove, Dylan put on his pants and shirt and went into the kitchen. The eggs were already served onto two plates when he got there, and the forks were set out on the table. After Dylan said the blessing for both of them, he raced through his eggs and bacon, as he usually did during a meal while on duty.
Three minutes later, Dylan had cleared his plate and was heading back to the room where Horace’s body lay. It was in that room where Dylan had had the best ideas, and he needed to solve this mystery as soon as he could. Where he was standing, Dylan could hear a closet open in a nearby room; the best his trained ear could figure out, the noise came from Horace’s room. The last place he knew of Regina being was in the kitchen, clearing the table, and the last place he had heard that Eileen had been in was the insane asylum. Footsteps approached the door; now it did not matter whose, just that someone was coming. A hand appeared in the doorway and pulled the door toward the doorway. As Dylan pulled on the door to stop it from closing, he saw a glimpse of Eileen. She was the last thing he saw before six o’clock that night.
Dylan awoke promptly at six, when he imagined he heard the voice of his boss, Detective Jordan Hayes. His dream led him to think that the detective agency was nearby, but, as he awoke, he knew that he was wrong. He found himself on the floor of Eileen’s room, but he could not remember how he got there. The door was closed, and, when he tried to open it, the door would not budge. It just dawned on him that this must have all been premeditated because the door would not lock from the inside, only from the outside. Dylan retraced the last things he did, until he recalled seeing Eileen last. He figured out that he must have also dreamed about Eileen.
“Dylan, aren’t you going to have dinner with us?” To Dylan, it sounded like Eileen, but he did not know what to expect next. Dylan reasoned that since Eileen was at the asylum, it had to be Regina that was inviting him to dinner.
“Regina, I’m in Eileen’s room, and the door is locked.”
Eileen opened the door and invited Dylan into the kitchen. From the hallway next to the room, Dylan could see Regina sitting down at the table. Dylan walked ahead of Eileen to whisper Regina a question, but Eileen overheard.
“Regina,” whispered Dylan, “why is Eileen not in the asylum?”
“I never was in the asylum,” Eileen retorted.
“Regina’s husband put you there yesterday afternoon,” Dylan replied.
“What husband? Regina never was married.”
“Eileen’s right. I’m not married. That was a cover-up.”
“Tupelo Villain Headquarters?” Dylan sarcastically questioned.
“No. Tupelo Police Department.” Regina flashed her police badge that clearly validated her statement. “I’m a trainee. You know, follow the police around and ride in the fancy police car.”
“Then how did you get this assignment?”
“Family business. I was not joking that she’s my mother, you know.”
“I know, Regina. Family resemblance led me to suspect that.”
“She doesn’t treat me like family, though. I was locked up in a closet for over a day. Luckily I found a key this morning in the closet and got myself out,” Eileen snapped.
“What about your last name, then, Regina? It’s not Summers, is it?”
“No, I use it as my name when I’m on the job. My real last name is Whittaker, like my mother’s. But that just about wraps up the case, doesn’t it Detective Greene?” Regina hurriedly asked.
“Actually, we still have one thing left here on this case. We have a few suspects, but we don’t know who killed Horace,” Dylan stated.
“That’s one thing that I know about and you don’t. Now that you’re not going anywhere for a while, I can admit that I killed Horace,” stated Regina.
“That’s one thing I’d actually like to know about to wrap up this case.”
Regina and Eileen backed up towards the door. Suddenly the door opened.
“Bet you’re surprised to see me!” It was Detective Jordan Hayes.
“I sure am,” replied Dylan.
“Where are your kidnappers?”
“Have you checked behind the door?”
Detective Jordan closed the door. “Oh, there they are. I already got police here. They can do final arrests. Are you alright, Dylan?”
“Speaking of it, actually my head hurts. I think Eileen must have knocked me out sometime before six today.”
“Come in, officers.” Two policemen entered the house and handcuffed Eileen and Regina.
“So, if you did not kill the deer, and if Horace was too lazy to, why did you post deer on the wall?” Dylan asked.
“Haven’t you ever heard of collectors?” Eileen replied.
“Take them out now,” Jordan replied.
“You have the right to remain silent…” the shorter policeman said.
As Regina and Eileen disappeared from sight for the last time, Regina yelled to Dylan, “Remember I’m single after I’m out of jail!”
Dylan and Detective Jordan were the only ones left in the room. “Speaking of being single, I need to get back to Eva, my fiancée,” Dylan pensively stated before he took one last look around the house.
“An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far
above jewels.” (Proverbs 31:10).
The return trip had begun as quietly as one could imagine: Dylan was thinking about what Eva had been doing while he was gone and Jordan was thinking about the danger that Dylan had just been through. Jordan was the first to break the silence:
“So, what was it like, being in that house with two insane women?”
“What would anyone think? It was pretty frightening because I had no idea what they would do next,” Dylan replied.
Another hour of silence, and Dylan wondered aloud: “What will happen to Horace’s body?”
“I sent in some inspectors. They should be at the house right now, but all you need to worry about right now is getting home, getting rest, then getting married.”
More silence occurred, then, as if a light bulb had been turned on, Dylan exclaimed, “Regina killed Horace because Horace had not paid any attention to her as a child, and Eileen was only going insane because she discovered that Regina had killed her husband.”
“Dylan, relax. Return to your daydreams. This mystery is no longer yours to bear.”
The rest of the trip home was spent in silence.
Four months later, Dylan and Eva were relaxing at a ranch. This time, Dylan’s cowboy hat would come in use.
“Eva, why don’t you teach me how to ride a horse now? We have time: my job is now less time-consuming, and I don’t work on Saturdays. You promised me that you would teach me to ride a horse after my last assignment.”
“Make that next to last assignment. Your last assignment was on the way back from another.”
“Actually, here is my last assignment.” Dylan bent down and kissed Eva.
“Put your foot here and jump on the horse,” Eva instructed Dylan. “Now grab hold of these reigns and ride.”
As Dylan held the reigns with one hand, he pulled Eva up on the horse with the other. As she held on tightly to his shoulders, the couple rode off into the sunlight, and a wooden sign attached to the back of their horse read “Just Married.”
Excerpt of the second sequel to In Peril’s Way:
“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; Preserve
my life from dread of the enemy.” (Psalm 64:1).
Cynthia awoke with a jerk. Her surroundings were unfamiliar, but she was still in her car. No ground was in sight, just snow-capped mountains in the distance, and the atmosphere was thinner. Much thinner. She turned on her car and rolled down her windows. Looking out, she realized that she was not near her apartment. In fact, she was stranded in mid-air. She looked for her cell phone to see what signal she could get, but her cell phone was not in her purse. In fact, most things in her purse had vanished. It was almost like a nightmare, but it was real. Clouds rolled along in the distance, yet, to her best judgment, they did not look like rain clouds. She looked at the car clock. It read 2:15. If her calculations were correct, she had been asleep for almost five hours.
The clouds were closer now, and it was apparent that she would have a front-row seat for a storm that was rapidly approaching. This would not be her only time to see a storm from a bird’s-eye view. Her mind quickly recalled a time in her past where she was the closest to a storm that she had ever been.
Her father had taken her family camping on a mountain, and a storm was not in the forecast. At night, her family was around a campfire, about to go to bed, when lightning struck close to where they were. This upcoming storm brought back bad memories that she had had all her life.
This time, the storm started gradually. The rain poured all around her, not leaving one spot on her car dry. Lightning, then thunder, ensued. She was abandoned in an unfamiliar area in a thunderstorm. The lightning was an unusual purple and violet, streaking down from all directions. It appeared to be heat lighting, but Cynthia knew that heat lightning rarely came with rain.
Cynthia fell asleep, her arm resting on the door handle. In her sleep, her hand mashed against the sunroof button and water poured into the vehicle. About thirty minutes had passed by the time she fell asleep. She awoke with a jerk, with water up to her shoulders. Confused, she looked at the accumulating water around her and searched for an escape. She attempted to roll the window down, but it was hopeless—the electronic machine was waterlogged.
So, you have just heard about the God to whom this book is dedicated? I want to give you a chance to learn more about Him. Before you understand about what God has done for you, you should have a good understanding about the history of the world according to the Bible. On the following pages is a brief summary of the Bible in light of what God has done for you.
When God created the world, He created man on the sixth day. Man was created “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). God created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. Adam and Eve walked with God every day in the Garden of Eden. However, one day Satan tempted Adam and Eve and sin entered the world. Sin is whatever we do wrong that separates us from God. They were then kicked out of the Garden of Eden.
Moses, a prophet, was given the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and the Israelites followed the rules given to them. In order to pay for their sins, the priest would have to sacrifice a lamb that had no blemish. However, centuries later, God gave them a way to have all their sins paid for once and for all.
One night in Bethlehem, a baby was born who would end up dying for our sins so that we could go to Heaven. Jesus, the baby, grew up and started to teach in the Temples. He preached to the crowds, healed the sick, raised the dead, and claimed to be God in human form. Some of His messages, also called parables, were stories to put the Kingdom of God on man’s level so that men could begin to understand the way God works.
Eventually, the leaders arrested Him and charged Him with blasphemy because of His claim to be God. He was nailed to a cross, where He died and was buried in a tomb. He had prophesied that He would die and would resurrect from the grave three days later, which He did. After forty days of spending time with His disciples after His resurrection, Jesus ascended into Heaven, where He started preparing Heaven for His followers. His payment for our sins is enough to let us go to Heaven. But we have to choose to accept His payment for our sins and trust Him as our Savior. It is not enough simply to believe that there is a God, for even Satan believes that. We must choose to pick up our cross and follow Him in our daily lives. We must join with other believers so that we will become more knowledgeable about God’s Will for our lives and so that we will be edified. If you would like to trust God as your Savior, pray something like this to Him: “God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I have wronged you, and I am sorry for what I have done against you. Please forgive me and give me a second chance. I confess all my sins to you and I know that you will forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross and rose again the third day for payment for my sins. Please come into my life and transform it and replace my desires with your desires so that I can live life the way you intended. Thank you for coming in my life and saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer and meant it, God has entered into your life and will transform you; however, it is not the prayer that saves you. It is God’s power that saves you. The next step is to find a Bible-believing Church in your area. The pastor there will lead you into the next steps, one of which is baptism. If you don’t already own one, buy a Bible, or do a search on the Internet for an online Bible. Read it every day. God has so much to say, and a lot of it is found in the Bible.
If you already are a Christian but have been falling away in the faith, there still is time. Pray to God that He will guide you and pray that He will restore your relationship with Him. Thank you for taking the time to learn about God, our only true hope.
Jeremy G. Woods was born and raised in Huntsville, AL. He graduated from Grissom High School in 2006 and received his BBA in Marketing with a French minor in the fall of 2009 from the University of North Alabama in Florence, AL. He currently lives in Târgu Mureş, Romania, with his wife, Magda. This was his first book (first published in 2009), and he has five other books. You can find more about him on his website: . Also, you can follow the development of the Detective Dylan Greene Mysteries here (including 2 sequels to eventually be released): .