The Smiling Tiger by Lenore Glen Offord

The Smiling Tiger by Lenore Glen Offord

Author:Lenore Glen Offord
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781631940996
Publisher: Felony & Mayhem Press
Published: 2016-11-17T16:00:00+00:00


THE SUN WHEELED slowly overhead and its light disappeared from all but the topmost windows of the little street. Georgine got up enough energy to smoke her cigarette and to feel the better for it, even to realize that she had had no lunch and needed it now. A woman came out of the corner house and gazed at her incuriously as she passed; except for her and the little boy there had been no one moving in the narrow lane. And at last, Todd came back.

He had a sandwich on a paper plate, and a carton of coffee. “I’ll train as a car-hop if worse comes to worst,” he said, giving her the food and getting in. “Well, nobody answering to Wyeth’s description has been admitted to any hospital in the city today. What’s more, the storekeeper says there’s been no ambulance around. It couldn’t turn in that street, it would have had either to come in or go out on this side.” He watched her begin to eat, and said no more until she had finished. “I feel fairly sure that he’s not in that house, too,” he added.

“I think he never was,” Georgine murmured.

“I think you’re right.” Todd waited a minute, and then took a short audible breath. “You’ve never been anything but honest with me. —If he did turn out to be alive, would you want to go back to him?”

“After you?” she cried out. “Oh, Todd, don’t be an utter fool!”

“There was a chance that I had been, and a fatuous one at that. But thank you, dear Georgine. Dear Georgine,” he repeated, and looked at her; and all at once she relaxed, and warmth went flowing gently through her for the first time since she had gone taut and frozen at the words of that telephone call.

She had tried not to think of the complications, during the past hours, but certain things had come inexorably, again and again, to batter at the door of her thoughts: the feeling that she always had with Todd, like coming home at the end of a long day; and his hands, and half-sentences spoken in darkness. She had known that it would be like giving up life, to give up those.

“Nobody could make trouble,” she said, vaguely smiling at him. “He was declared dead—and even if he’d just disappeared, there’s a statute of limitations or something, isn’t there? I did worry a little about Barby. She’s his child after all, and if he’d wanted to see her—but it couldn’t have gone any farther than that, surely?” She frowned a little. “But, Todd—if the whole story were untrue, where on earth did anyone get the details? And is it—do you think it could be connected somehow with Mrs. Majendie and the Beyond-Truth? I couldn’t help thinking of that; but I didn’t tell her, I almost did but I swear I never said a word.”

Or had she? Had she somehow conveyed the whole story, perhaps without opening her lips, as the Mother-Superior eyes had met hers in the mirror? Georgine was overtaken by another shiver.


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