Kathryn Merlangton stared at the vase cradling the dying roses. Two red blooms bowed over the white sympathy card like mourners looking down upon a casket. She took deep breaths in an attempt not to cry and drew in the cloying smell of the flowers. A crash from outside drew her attention. Dargo, her mother's--her--timid Doberman, jumped to his feet with a whine.
If those damn Meyer twins tagged her car again, she'd make sure they'd clean it off with a toothbrush. Dargo trembled against her thigh and she leaned over him to grab the flashlight off the counter. With the sound of breaking glass just outside the garage door, Dargo bolted from the kitchen toward the living room.
Kathryn sucked in a breath and thrust the flashlight out like a weapon. When she heard Dargo's nails slide across the floor and then the rumble of his retreat up the stairs, she shook her head and lowered her pathetic weapon.
She grabbed the cordless phone from its cradle and pressed the speakerphone button. After dialing 911 and leaving it on the counter, she withdrew a French knife from the block of wood her father claimed was a homemade knife holder. With the flashlight in one hand and the knife in the other, she walked over and cracked open the door, shining the flashlight into the garage.
"911. What is your emergency?"
The garage was gone. An impenetrable blackness lurked outside the door.