Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why, Esme? Why?

by Josh

She held her palm to her forehead and sighed. “I’m sorry, Tom, it’s just…I read about what happened last night and…it’s been almost seven years since I left the Bureau. There have been other high-profile murders. But this one has just…crawled under my skin…and I don’t know why.”

“You don’t?” He sounded surprised. “How do you think I knew you’d call?”

“What do you mean?”

“The homeless man. As soon as I learned about him, how the killer used him as bait, I knew this case was going to stick to you like a bad dream. I almost called you.”

“The homeless man? Why would he…?”

“Because of your parents, Esme.”

Oh.

Esme shrank down in her seat to a little girl.

Her parents.

Who’d lived on and off welfare all their life. Who falsified addresses to get their daughter into the best public schools. Who pushed her every day to rise above their situation and, when she did, when she got that scholarship letter to George Washington University, when she said goodbye to them and went off to start her freshman year…

There was a shelter in the south side, Coleman House. Lead paint on the walls but walls were better than the open air in December in Boston. 18 year-old Esme came home from her first semester in D.C. full of stories but home was no longer there. Coleman House was there, yes, but her parents had gone. All they had left her was two blue ink words – her mother’s careful cursive – on a piece of yellow paper.

BE FREE, it said. BE FREE.

She spent the entire two weeks searching the city for her mom and dad but they didn’t want to be found, and when you didn’t want to be found in the cross-streets of Boston, you might as well have been vapor.

She almost didn’t go back to school, but her friends urged her. They insisted it’s what her parents would have wanted. Still, every break she returned to Coleman House, and the Congress Ave. YMCA, and searched every shelter and underpass in the whole city for her family. Until the day she got into Quantico, when she decided to never go back.

(Excerpted from While Galileo Preys, the first novel in the Esme Stuart series, reprinted here with the permission of the author, who was too lazy to type up something new for this week's assignment and decided instead to pull a copy/paste job)

5 comments:

Meredith Cole said...

Great excerpt, Josh! Very intriguing...

Joshua Corin said...

Thanks, Meredith!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Wow. I already want to give Esme a hug and you haven't even begun to torture her.

Thanks for the excerpt!

Joshua Corin said...

Thank you, Becky!

Kelli Stanley said...

Wonderful excerpt from a book I could re-read constantly. :)

Thanks, Josh!!