Follow Ho Springs on Facebook Follow hosprings on Twitter Subscribe to the RSS Feed Bookmark and Share

eorge’s first thought on opening his eyes in his dark bedroom was: Taryn.

That was always George’s first thought when he woke up: Taryn.

Then he heard the phone ring, realized why he was awake to begin with, and thought again: Taryn. A ringing phone always made him think of Taryn too.

Shit: Taryn. Breath caught short, he lurched out of bed and fumbled for the phone. It was so black out tonight, barely a sliver of a new moon in the sky, and no street lights out here on the lake, only the lap of the water against the varnished wood of the houseboat and, from up in the hills, the hoot of an owl.

Something had happened to her this time, he could feel it. An overdose. Beaten up in the parking lot by some yahoo frustrated that all he could do was watch. Raped by some monster more than frustrated.

“Hello,” he said, grabbing the receiver. “Hello.”

He heard a woman’s voice, yelling, pleading, not making sense.

“Wait,” he said, the outlines of the houseboat’s only room taking shape through the darkness. “Taryn? Has something happened to Taryn?”

There was a pause at the other end and then the woman said, “Who’s Taryn?”

“Who are you?”

“This is Cora McAdams. I’m Senior McAdams daughter, from down at the MAL….”

He knew who Cora McAdams was. How could he forget, after what happened between them? Dark hair. Slender, bordering on scrawny, back in high school. Lips plump and mouth always open, just a little bit, An air of being perennially pissed off, which she probably had been, considering she’d hightailed it to London, Paris, one of those places, and never come back.