Now You See Her by Linda Howard Read Online (FREE)
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Clayton, New York
It was the third of September, one of those cloudless, perfect days nestled between the heat of summer and the approaching winter chill. The sky was so blue that Sweeney, getting out of her car in the supermarket parking lot, went stock-still and gawked upward at that amazing blue bowl as if she had never seen sky before. She hadn’t-not like this.
If there was one thing in life she knew, it was colors, and she had never before seen that particular shade of blue. It was incredible, deeper and darker, richer than any sky had the right to be. Just for today, this perfect day, the haze of atmosphere between heaven and earth had thinned, and she stood closer to the edge of the universe than she ever had before, so close that she felt almost as if she might be sucked into that blue, right away from earth.
Could she reproduce it? Mentally she mixed the pigments, automatically discarding some as her internal eye judged the results. No, that touch of white would make the shade too babyish. This wasn’t a wimpy blue-it was the most kick-ass blue she had ever seen. This was pure and dramatic, pulling her in and overwhelming her with the richness of its beauty. She stood with her face upturned, errand forgotten, and felt exalted by color, filled to overflowing, her heart swollen and aching with ecstasy.
When she finally remembered to drag her gaze back to earth, her eyes were dazzled. She saw a flash of … something, and though she hadn’t been looking at the sun, she thought the sky must be brighter than she’d thought, because her eyes needed to adjust. She blinked, then squinted. It was something solid, and yet not quite. . . . It was a child, oddly twodimensional.
She looked at the child, blinked, then looked again. Shock hit her like a sledgehammer, congealing her blood, numbing her fingertips.
The child was dead. She had attended his funeral a month before. But on this perfect day, while performing a perfectly ordinary errand, she saw a dead child walking across the parking lot.
Speechless, Sweeney darted her gaze to the woman the boy was following: his mother. Sue Beresford was carrying a bag of groceries in one arm, her other hand clutching the little paw of her rambunctious four-year-old, Corbin. Her face was drawn, her eyes shadowed with the sharp grief of a mother who had lost her older son to leukemia only a month before.
.. But there was little Sam, dead a month, following along behind her.
Sweeney’s feet were frozen to the pavement, her entire body numb and incapable of movement as she watched the little boy desperately trailing behind his mother, trying to get her attention. “Mom,” ten-year-old Samuel Beresford kept saying, his voice thin with anxiety. “Mom!” But Sue didn’t respond, just kept walking, towing little Corbin behind her. Sam tried to catch her shirt, but the fabric slipped through his insubstantial grasp. He looked at Sweeney and she plainly saw his frustration, his bewilderment and fear. “She can’t hear me,” he said, the words wavering as if she heard them through an imperfect sound system. He hurried to catch up, his thin legs flashing under the loud plaid of his baggy shorts.