See disclaimer chapter 1
Abby and Holly were laughing over a joke that Holly had told when they approached the bookstore. Abby fished out her keys and went to insert them in the lock when the door opened under the slight pressure that she had applied to it.
"Stay here, Holly," Abby ordered, afraid of what she might find. She slowly eased the door open a bit more.
"Why, Abby? What's wrong?" Fear crept into Holly's voice.
"Just do it, okay, sweetie?" Abigail crept into the shop. She gasped at the sight that met her eyes. Books were everywhere, pages torn out and scattered on the floor. Shelves were overturned, the chairs in the reading nook were slashed, stuffing pulled out of them.
"Abby?" she heard her young friend question from the door. Abby turned to see Holly looking at the chaos with a growing expression of fear.
"Holly! Stay out!" Abby wasn't sure if it was safe or not. She didn't know if whoever did this was still here, and she was not going to put Holly at risk. "Go next door and call the police, okay?" She tried to make the words sound calm, to not let her fear become apparent. She walked over to her desk. The drawers had been ripped out and dumped on the floor. Kneeling in the midst of it, she reached out and touched a jagged piece of glass that was once the snow globe that sat on her desk. A noise startled her. Jumping up, she expected to see the culprit but only saw a book tumble from a teetering table. Her mind just couldn't comprehend what would drive someone to do this, to destroy her life.
"Abby?" She turned at the soft voice. "I called the police and my dad." Abby walked over to stand by her and they both surveyed the vandalism. "How could anyone do this?" Holly blurted out. "Why would anyone want to tear apart a bookstore?"
"I don't know sweetie," Abby put an arm around the girl's shoulders. "I'm sure the police will find out." But she had her doubts about that. Her life lay in shambles and whoever was responsible was probably long gone.
Sirens sounded in the distance. "It's about time," she muttered. Uniformed officers slowly exited the cars that had driven up.
"Ms. Spark?" one young man inquired.
"Yes, I'm Abigail Spark," she replied.
"We received a call that you had a break-in?" he continued, consulting a note pad.
"Yes," Abby fairly shouted. "Could you please just get on with it, without all these stupid questions?" Her patience was wearing thin as policemen were just standing around, not doing anything. "Aren't you supposed to investigate, or something?" A hysterical note was creeping into her voice. "Follow me! I'll show you!" She turned and led the way into her shop. "Do I have to tell you how to do your job?" she screamed.
"Ma'am, calm down," the young officer addressed her. "We need to ask a few questions first." Abby gave him a blank look. "Do you have an alarm system?"
"Of course, I have an alarm system! What kind of stupid question is that?" A glimmer of understanding flashed through her mind. "It didn't go off."
The officer had a sympathetic expression. "Do you remember setting it the last time you left?"
Abby went back over last night when she had closed up early to go see Stanley. "Yes, I distinctly remember engaging it."
He nodded and made a notation in his book. "If you would wait over there," he pointed to the window, "we might have some more questions for you."
Abby went back over by Holly. The pair watched as officers started sifting through the debris.
"Abigail!" Stans voice reached her. He came through the door and saw her standing next to his daughter, a hand covering her mouth and a horrified expression on her face. He looked around and saw the disaster area that had once been her neat and tidy shop.
Holly rushed over to her father. "Daddy, I'm glad youre here." Stan bent down and took his little girl in his arms. "Abby's store got broken into. I called the police for her."
He smiled gently into her upturned face. "It's a good thing you were here, baby. Why don't you head home and I will bring Abby home in a little bit? I think she'll need both of us with her tonight." Holly nodded. Stan kissed her cheek and steered her out the door.
Then he turned to Abby. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. He wrapped her up in a strong embrace, and placed soft kisses in her hair. "Abby, I'm so sorry."
"Why, Stanley?" she whispered, her voice quavering. "Why would someone do this to me?"
"I don't know, sweetheart," Stan replied softly. "Maybe they wanted money."
"But to destroy everything? I dont understand!" She watched as the police continued their investigation. Stan could feel her shoulders begin to shake as she sobbed. "Why???" she wailed as she buried her face in his chest.
"Ms. Spark?" A detective in a suit approached her. "Do you know a Stanley Jobson?"
Stan's head shot up. "I'm Stanley Jobson."
Abby frowned. "Why? What does Stan have to do with this?"
The officer handed Abby a piece of paper in a plastic baggie. She turned it over in her hands and gasped when she read it. Stan watched the blood drain from her face and took the item from her. He read "I know you Stanley Jobson, and I'm sure you would like to know who I am. You will soon. Until then, just remember that I'm watching and I know what, and who is special to you."
"Stan, what's going on?" Abby whispered.
He looked into her eyes, seeing her confusion. "I don't know," he said slowly. "This is because of me." He backed away from her outstretched hands. "You could have been hurt, because of me."
"Mr. Jobson," the officer called out, "we need to ask you some questions."
Stan took one more look at Abby before he turned and ran down the street. He had to put as much distance between them as he could. He would not put Abby in danger.
"Stanley!" Abbys cry followed him.