Sarah put her hair in a ponytail while trying to keep one hand on the steering wheel. The day had been absolutely exhausting and she couldn't wait to go home, sink into bed, and crawl under her warm covers. She had to wait over two hours in the waiting room at the doctor's office, only to find that she had been forgotten and the doctor had gone home early, thinking he didn't have any more patients to attend. Oh well, she didn't really look forward to the idea of getting her tetanus shot anyway. Unfortunately, that had put her behind the eight ball as far as her appearance at the book signing. She had to go as she was, pink skirt and all. She was behind a desk the whole time anyway so it didn't really matter. A lot of people turned out to have their books signed and she wasn't able to get out of there almost until the mall had closed. Sarah had taken a break to visit the food court and see if Holly had come to meet her. She hadn't. Sarah wasn't surprised, many things escaped Holly's mind. But that's what made her Holly Peregrin after all. She might have even come and been sidetracked by one of those 'guys' whom she had been observing.

Heading home on Highway 13 she had been caught speeding by a local police officer with nothing better to do than to watch the roads for speeders. Everyone around her was going at least as fast, but for some reason he decided to single her out. She tried to flirt her way out of a ticket, unsuccessfully. He hadn't even hesitated to give her a whopping citation. This was just the topper to a lovely day. As he walked away she cursed under her breath. Hearing her, he had looked up and Sarah proceeded to turn scarlet and slouch in her seat.

Now as she rounded the bend she saw the same blue and red flashing lights. Mistakenly she assumed that they were coming from behind. "Forget them! I did nothing wrong and the least they can do is wait until I get into my driveway." Her heart quickly dropped when she realized the pulsating lights were coming from up ahead. Then it leapt up into her throat when she saw Holly's car in a ditch on the side of the road. There were at least seven police cars on the road in front of her. Before she could catch her breath, a policeman was motioning for her to get out. She parked her car and walked, almost in a daze, to a particularly large congregation of lawmen. As she made her way through the confusion she kept time with her footsteps. "No, no, no, no." Up ahead she caught a glimpse of a familiar figure to which she fled.

There was Johnston sitting on the hood of a police cruiser wrapped in a blanket and shivering. He was as white as a sheet and there was a look of sheer horror on his face.

"Quincy, what's wrong? What's going on? Please tell me what's happening!"

He turned his terrified face towards her and looked up with huge fright filled eyes. "What happened, are you okay?" He nodded his head and was about to speak when he was interrupted by an officer.

"Sarah Vernon?"

"What's going on? Tell me what happened!" She was bordering on hysterical now because she knew whatever was going on, it was something really bad.

"Ma'am, I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. There has…" he stopped abruptly. "Perhaps it would be best to take you both up to the house for now." He motioned to two men standing nearby and they came running up. "Gonzalez, Casey, please accompany Ms. Vernon and Mr. Johnston to the domicile up there. The sergeant and I will join you shortly.

Back at the house, there was a strained atmosphere until the detective they had spoken to earlier came into the room. He turned to Sarah and Quincy. " Have a seat. My name is Detective Steve Gray and if you need anything, anything at all, please tell one of the men here and they will get it for you. I know it has been a trying night already, but I must ask you some questions while your memories are still fresh. I'm sorry to have to do this, but if we want to resolve this, I'll need to know all I can as soon as I can. Especially from you Sarah, because I've already gotten most of Mr. Johnston's information."

"I would help you more if I had an idea of what the heck was wrong."

" Approximately half an hour ago we got a 911 call from your neighbor Frank Peters." He motioned for someone in the next room and Frank was brought over to the kitchen table. He was a frightened teenage boy with freckled skin that was now impossibly white. "Frank, perhaps you'd like to tell them why you called?"

He started out slowly, as though he was afraid of his own voice. " Well, I was walking down the road, along the property line, and maybe a little over it," he stated, apologizing for the trespass with the look in his eyes. "I heard a strange noise and turned my head in the direction it was coming from. It sounded like a little yelp, like a puppy or something. So, I decided to go and check out what it was in case I could help. I saw a body lying there in the dirt and I turned it over because I thought they might be sick. But, she wasn't, she wasn't sick. I think I screamed and then I ran up a side road to my house. You see, she was so warm, at first I had no idea that she was, was…"

Detective Gray called for Officer Casey and had him take the sobbing boy back home. " Ma'am, tonight we found a body on your property, an unidentified female."

"I beg you, just tell me one thing."

"I can try."

"Why is Holly Peregrin's car on the road? Is she the woman you found?"

" I told you before, Ma'am. We have an unidentifiedfemale. We have no idea who it is."

Sarah turned to Johnston for an answer. "You saw the body Quincy. Could you tell who it was?"

"I didn't recognize the body."

"Oh, good, good, it's not Holly."

Slowly, Quincy turned his head away and quietly spoke again. "I wouldn't have been able to identify her body. The face was…it was…destroyed. But I saw a bracelet Sarah. I saw a gold bracelet with a falcon on it, it was just like the one you gave Holly last Christmas. Remember, the play on her last name?" He said with a mirthless, defeated laugh.

"No, no! You don't know it's her, you're lying, you're lying!"

He shook his head and let the tears slide down his face to make small puddles on the floor.

Grey took hold of the conversation once more. "Listen, I don't want any rumors started. None of us, I repeat, none of us really knows who it is. We'll all have to wait until the DNA tests come back. I'm sure there's more than one person in the world with a bracelet that has a bird on it. Just because Ms. Peregrin's car was found nearby doesn't mean the body is hers. And I won't have everyone getting so upset when absolutely nothing is conclusive." He returned to Sarah. "When was the last time you spoke to Ms. Peregrin?"

"Just this morning over the phone. We were planning to meet in the food court of the Brentwood Mall. "

"And did you meet as planned?"

"No, she never showed up. I thought it was a little strange at the time, but I didn't worry about it. See, Holly can be kind of flaky sometimes and this wouldn't have been the first time she left me high and dry."

Author's note:bum, bum, bum! (suspenseful music in background). Interested in this mystery/thriller? Feedback would be great!!!! I would love to pop on my computer and see some reviews and suggestions!!!! Thanx all.