Where the Heart Leads, Part 2

[Continuing my flash fiction story from yesterday]

Micky’s call to elderly man was greeted cooly, and when the private investigator mentioned Jonas Haart, his contact ended the call abruptly.

Going to the police was never a consideration — years of working with the authorities gave Micky confidence that it would take more than the sales receipt for a fuel can to re-open the investigation. Neither was dropping the case. Instead, Micky booked the next flight to Phoenix, and upon his arrival contacted Uber for a ride to his contact’s home.

The sedan pulled in to a retirement community, tiny one-floor homes with white paint and red clay stains. Micky’s expectations rose as he saw the interior lights were on at his destination. He rushed to the front door and rang the buzzer; a moment later, feet shuffled towards him, and the door opened.

From behind the screen door, Micky cleared his throat, already dry from the desert heat. “Mister Clague?”

Eyes that had seen enough of this world looked up at him. “You must be that detective.”

“I’m not with the police, sir. I’m just a private investigator, working on behalf of my client — ”

“Clara.” Energy blossomed in his tired eyes. The man pushed the screen door open, and beckoned Micky to enter. “She always treated me well, like she did everyone. She never deserved any of this.”

As soon as he entered the home, Micky blinked as a wave of ammonia fumes came over him. The elderly man shuffled towards a cushioned arm chair, and waved towards a sofa at the far end of the room.

“I don’t want take too much of your time, Mr. Clague — ”

“Eddie, please.” Reaching the arm chair, Eddie turned, and smiled. “If I’m going to tell you this story, we need to be on a first name basis.”

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