Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mere Acquaintances- Chapter Thirteen

Emery Landers was the second of six children. His older brother Samuel was the model of perfection in his father’s eyes, and he spent his first few years trying to live up to that model. His sister Rebekah came along when he was six, Mary when he was eight, David when he was ten, and Levi when he was nearly twenty. Andrew Landers, his father and the local preacher, had special places in his heart for the younger children, too, but something of a sore spot for Emery, though neither Emery nor his mother Sarah could ever pinpoint a reason for it.

Dodging Bibles was a daily exercise for Emery for most of his life. It was a favorite punishment for Andrew, to throw the heavy tomes at his second son in an effort to “batter some decency into him”.

No one was surprised that when Emery left for college, he dropped out in his sophomore year and didn’t return home.

Physically sound, he got a job with the police force in Winterbrook. He married his college sweetheart and had one son, but the marriage was unsuccessful-- his son turned out not to be his-- and he never even tried to date again after that. He contented himself with his job.

A bullet to the hip forced him to settle permanently behind a desk by the time he was thirty-one, and for ten years, he got by doing paperwork. His physical health deteriorated, and it was a complete fluke that he was the only officer in the area when Silvia Hopkirk threatened to jump off a five-story building.

He was simply passing by on his way home, walking the last two blocks from his bus stop to his apartment, when he saw the crowd outside the office building. Silvia, a twenty-year-old, was shouting that she was going to jump. She had nothing left to live for-- she’d miscarried her second pregnancy, had been diagnosed with AIDS, her boyfriend of five years had left her, she was stuck waitressing at a diner-- her list of woes went on. Emery did everything he could to talk her out of jumping.

But his years of training weren’t enough. Silvia flung herself off the roof at the same moment police sirens became audible in the distance, approaching to deal with the situation. She hit the pavement a moment later, and as the concrete shattered the young woman’s body, the sight did the same to Emery’s mind.

Becca had never thought of the big Emery Landers as a younger, fitter man in a police uniform, but after reading his profile, she couldn’t picture him any other way.

Finding his ex-wife Anna Jane, his sisters and brothers, and his parents would be a challenge. And even so, she wondered how much help his family would be. It had been decades since he’d had any contact with his siblings-- from what she could surmise from the files, anyway.

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