There was an unexpected bite to the late January air. The moon danced a hot hash do-si-do with dark cotton-ball clouds while from the tree-lined shadows, boughs crackled in the wind.
Werner wished he had worn his jacket. Clothed in a thin woolen shirt, work pants and Wellingtons, he hastened his pace across the thinly snow-clad lawn toward the rendezvous point among the oak trees that lined the rear of Lambert Manor Estate. It had been a fruitless and unrewarding journey he completed every evening at ten since being hired as the estate’s handyman and groundskeeper. The curtains in the top floor bedroom window shifted. He had noticed it each time before. And smiled to himself. Keeping tabs on me, are you Queenie? Too bad you don’t know the tables have turned.
His employment at Lambert Manor, largely inconsequential, boring and unchallenging, did not matter to him. He would soon be leaving. At the foot of the designated tree, he rolled aside the large rock. Finally. He grasped the envelope and pushed it deeply into his pants pocket with frozen fingers. Rubbing his hands briskly and blowing into them to warm them up, he rolled the stone into its original position.
He walked toward to the manor. A vehicle approached along the drive and stopped opposite the front entrance. Chilled to the bone and barely breathing, he hugged the ground. Two people exited the car. Their chatter indicated that one was a man, the other a woman. The man was about to knock on the door when it opened. After warm greetings and a brief exchange, he stepped across the threshold, followed by the woman who limped in after h...