Watson - Kathi S. Barton


Wats leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. He loved being able to work for himself, but he’d been working much too hard. The family alone was keeping him hopping. Thinking of the conversation he’d had with his cousin Shawn today, he wondered what was going to happen to him when he figured out that life could throw you a curveball without any notice.

“I’m going to take some time off.” Wats asked him what he was going to do that for. “I’m thinking if I don’t get my home in order now, I’m going to be sitting here with an empty house when I’m sixty years old. Not that it’s old, but the house is so empty, it’s like living in a tomb.”

“All right. Not that I think you’d need time off to buy some furniture, but I hope you get it done the way you want it.” Shawn told him he was going to fill it with things he loved that he picked up at estate auctions. “Why? I mean, great, but why?”

“When was the last time you were at my parents’ home?” Wats said he didn’t remember. “Yeah, well, it’s all steel and glass. I don’t know if Dad even likes it. Anyway, I’m going to get things that speak to me. Dad is going to go on this trip with me. He’s thinking he is going to love living in the condo. At least his brothers are close by, and he can walk to town if he wants. We’re going to have some fun getting to know each other.”

“Now, that I can get behind. What is your dad doing with his home?” Uncle Hank hadn’t been in his house since Penny had been arrested. They all called her that now, and it was fun. “My dad is going to sell his as soon as he gets it emptied out. It seems none of them were very thrilled about returning to their homes.”

“Dad is donating the house to the city. I haven’t any idea what they’re going to do with it—it’s really run-down—but he gave them the property there too. That’s about fifty acres. I’m thinking they’re going to tear the house down then put in something equally ugly.” No doubt. Wats told him about North’s dad running for mayor. “He’d be really good at that. With as long as this family has lived here, he’d know just about anything and everything about the town.”

Wats sat up when his phone rang. He thought he’d put it on the service, but he might not have gotten it right. There was a learning curve on just about everything he did lately. Saying his name, Wats waited while the person at the other end calmed down enough to speak.

“My grandfather is gone.” Wats didn’t know what she meant—gone as in missing or gone that he’d died. “He’s not here. I came in this morning to stay with him while I finished up my classes, and we had a nice breakfast. Then when I went to the university to see about the classes I would need, I came home, and someone had been in here. There is blood all over the place too.”

“Did you call the police?” There was a long pause, and Wats asked her again. “I don’t even know who this is or what your grandfather’s name is.”

“My grandda is James Oliver. My name is Rayne Oliver. Why do you think he had your phone number in his phone marked as police?” Wats said that he didn’t have any idea. “I’m going to call the police now. I’m so sorry to have bothered you.”

“It’s no trouble. I’m on my way there with my medical bag. When we find him, I’ll be able to see how he’s faring.” He didn’t want to say anything about him maybe being dead. Lots of blood could be scary enough. “I’m going to call my cousins in too. All of us can look for him.”

Wats called the others and told them what was going on. He also mentioned how his number was listed as the emergency number. He called North last, as his number had been busy when he’d called him the first time.

“He’s with me at my house.” Wats turned his car around and headed toward North’s home. “As for the blood, I don’t know. There wasn’t any there when the two of us left there a few hours ago.”

“She said there was a great deal of it.” Wats parked in the parking