“Hey Tom, could you get down quickly? You’re keeping Mom waiting,” Eileen calls out. He appears at the top of the stairs shortly grinning wildly, revealing a gap from where his tooth had fallen off some days ago. He is carrying his small toolbox. He pipes, “It would be fun staying with Grandma this weekend. I wish Dad was joining us, too.” Ruffling his brown, wavy curls, his mother assures him that Dad would definitely be joining them.

She had been on the phone for almost an hour last night with her husband, and he had felt deeply alarmed at her experience in Flair’s parking lot. However, his tour is officially wound up and he would be joining them at her Mother’s place in Martha’s Vineyard. The detective on surveillance whom Philip had sent is still seated in his car. Tom had been curious about the plainclothes detective who had been following them wherever they went these past few days. His mother, trying not to alarm him, had been a bit vague about it, and had told him that Mr. Wentworth had been kind enough to send his friend to watch over them. Tom, who was easily distracted, had not pursued his line of questioning: thank goodness.

They go out to meet the plainclothes detective, who opens the door of his car for them and they get in. They reach Portland International Airport in just an hour and their flight to Martha’s Vineyard is in one and a half hour’s time. The plainclothes detective stays with them until it’s time for boarding. Eileen feels her cell vibrating. It was Philip. He informs her that the State River Police had just fished out his contact and friend from the harbor. Apparently, he had been pushed over the embankment by another car. Both of them are very much aware of who the driver of the other car was. Feeling deflated all of a sudden, Eileen expresses her sympathy and her hopes that the murderous bastard would be found as soon as possible. She couldn’t stop worrying about Lucille and Bob’s welfare. Trying so hard to smile for Tom’s benefit, she thanks Philip for his concern and assistance, expressing her sympathy once more on his friend’s demise.

The plainclothes detective finally leaves them when their flight is called. Furiously blinking away her tears, Eileen grabs Tom’s hand as they move towards the gate.


Sequestered in his room at an inn in Camden, Geoff looks at his mini-computer with its surveillance properties. He absolutely loves this toy. It had helped him in his frantic search of Lucille. Never once failing him, its radar has just zeroed in on where those cowards are currently holing up: somewhere in the coastal environs of Camden. Could find them in a matter of hours. Suddenly, he was ravenous. He goes to a nearby restaurant and orders some steak and pasta with some vegetables and a bottle of claret. Browsing through a newspaper after wolfing down the spread before him, he looks for recent news. But all he saw was stories about the local politics and commercials. Putting it away, bored all of a sudden, he leaves his bill on the table. However, as he prepares to leave the restaurant, he notices a small item at the back of the newspaper which is almost unnoticeable. He had almost missed it! It was a passport photograph of his profile, and below this picture is a caption, ”Do you know this man? He’s wanted by the police for a recent homicide.” Casually pulling his hoodie over his head for obscurity, he moves to the inn in long strides. He quickly grabs a few of his items, realizing that he almost gave himself away by idling at the restaurant. Anyone could have recognized him back there. He again blames Lucille and Bob for nearly putting him in jeopardy. He runs slightly to his new rental: an early VW Sedan model, nothing fancy. He had to ditch his mini-van. The police must have the details of the old rental by now. He had kept it hidden away in some bushes flanking the interstate. Could probably take ages before it is found. He had covered it with some leafy branches that he had found lying around. He leaves the inn in 40 minutes, as it has become dark outside.


Bob’s friend’s place seems very cozy. It’s a cottage-style building closeted in the woods. You have to be actually searching for it before you can find it. The couple feels it’s a safe enough place to hide from their enemy. However, they are still very much alert and can’t completely trust this quietude yet, as it would be foolhardy to do so. Geoff is very much at large. They’ve been here, a full day, without any incident. Luckily, a maid had come in lately to clean the place and stock the cupboard and freezer. According to the phone conversation Bob had with his friend several hours ago, he was planning to come home with his wife in two weeks, so they should be alright. Bob, however, had refrained from telling him why they needed to stay in his home for a short while, for he did not want to alarm them unduly.

Lucille is thankful to Bob for his encouragement and understanding in face of all the recent happenings. Not once did she crave for a pill, which otherwise would have been the case had it not been for him. Feeling thankful at being in this secluded place with Bob, she decides to go jogging the next day, but Bob declines, kissing her on the head. He wants to stay back in the house to look over his lesson notes and update them sans his laptop. He, however, cautions her not to move far out into the woods, lest she gets lost. With headphones plugged in, she ventures into the woods, taking care not to go deep into the woods. She observes a group of chaffinches nestled in several trees. The sounds they produce are like music to her ears.

Sitting down on a log, her thoughts unwillingly go to Geoff. She had met him while on an outing with some friends at Tingley Beach, Albuquerque. He had seemed like a gentleman at the time and full of vitality. Her friend Sandra, who had come over for a visit, had encouraged her to go out with him. A whirlwind romance had ensued and they had gotten engaged. Everything went downhill two weeks later. He had turned from a decent gentleman to a jealous brute. The last fight which, had ended up in his commitment to a mental facility, had led to her flight to Arlington. Then the nightmares had started. She had begun popping pills like they were candy. She did this mostly to ward off some panic and anxiety attacks. Little wonder she was never committed to a mental institution as well. She had rented a modest two-room apartment and occasionally visited Sandra, who lived 20 minutes away.

She decides to go back to the safety of the cottage about 30 minutes later. She draws nearer to the fairy tale-like cottage with a huge satisfied smile. She starts to realize that something is off when she notices a set of strange, large footprints leading up to the front door. Her thoughts quickly moving to Bob and his possible whereabouts, she steps into the living room in trepidation and there stands her nemesis, gloating in a wolfish manner.


She continues to stare at this brute of a man she had once given herself to, her thoughts going once more to Bob. Correctly reading her expression, Geoff draws out cruelly, “I see you’re looking for the simpering coward you call a husband.” Feeling a hardening of her heart at the callous way Geoff referred to her beloved husband, Lucille throws caution to the wind as she gives a sneering smile saying, “You call him a coward, but my darling Bob is more of a man than you could ever hope to be, no matter how hard you try.” No sooner had the words left her mouth then she felt a violent push that sends her crashing into a chair, which turns over on impact. She almost faints with the blinding pain that followed. Roaring like a wounded lion, Geoff stretches his hands forward, fingers hooked, as he grabs her braids, twisting them violently until she feels her hair almost being ripped from her skull. He hauls her to her feet and shouts in her face, spittle gathered at the corners of his mouth. “I will teach you to talk back at me, whore.” His broad hands suddenly form a band on her throat as he begins to squeeze. She faintly hears him saying that Bob couldn’t come to her rescue now, as he’s beyond help himself. She’s almost beginning to welcome the blackness that is kindly dropping its protective cloak on her when she hears two faint pops going off like that of someone blowing a bubble gum, then nothing.


She comes to after what seems like some minutes later, but which was actually two hours, to see some faces staring down at her. They’re mostly EMTs and some cops. She could make out Bob’s face, too. But why is his face bloody? She tries to sit up, but feels so weak with the effort. The EMTs seem to be fussing over her now. Then feeling a sense of dread, as she suddenly realizes that they were on the run from her crazy fiancé, her frightened eyes dart about. Clasping her hands in his and looking down into her face with the love he felt for her, Bob whispers the news, which she receives with mixed feelings. “Geoff is dead. He will never bother us again.” Though Geoff had intended to kill them both, the news of his death left her somewhat deflated and relieved at the same time. It was a pity that he never totally recovered, despite the treatments he received while at the facility.


Bob had actually been brave. He was taken unawares when he heard a sound from the door, thinking that it was Lucille back from her jogging. Then the next thing he knew, he was sent flying across the room from the brutish blow delivered on his jaw by Geoff. Not yet done with him, Geoff had hauled him up by the waistband of his sweatpants and sent him crashing against the glass windows, which had broken on impact and left several cuts on his face. Then he had passed out. Drunk with power and fueled by his rage, he had left his gun on the table and gone out to meet Lucille, who was just coming back from her jogging. While he was busy dealing brutally with Lucille, Bob had gradually stirred, then raised himself, wincing with the effort. He had spotted the gun lying on the table and had gingerly picked it up. He had walked in groggily to where Lucille’s life was being squeezed out in Geoff’s bare hands. This had prompted him to snap out of his drug-like state, and aiming the gun, had fired it at Geoff a couple of times.


Two days later, Bob has his friend’s house properly fixed. The broken windows and a chair had been replaced. The rooms have also been tidied, and now he can’t wait to get back to Birch—and sanity—with his dear wife, Lucille.


For all installments of “Echo of Silence,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Prologue
  2. Part 1
  3. Part 2
  4. Part 3