This month’s Monday excerpts are from Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2.
Once again my mind had wandered. I glanced down at Harry. He trotted alongside me, searching the bushes for anything that moved. Harry is still a young dog, not quite a year old. He walks on the leash pretty well but is easily distracted. Usually a quick tug from me brings him back in line, but I had known the day would come when the inevitable would happen. As we neared one of the park benches, I stopped to re-tie my shoe. I must have startled the squirrel because it rushed out from under the bench, ran across the walking path, and ran straight into the wooded area on the other side. My grip on Harry’s leash was not very strong, and he shot away from me and after the squirrel before I even knew what had happened.
“Harry,” I yelled before I ran after him. When I stepped onto the grass on the side of the path, my feet squished. Looking down, I saw the ground was soft and still muddy in places. Just as Sean had warned me, the ground was still wet. I didn’t really have a choice as I could hear Harry barking wildly nearby. It sounded like he was close to the creek. I knew he wouldn’t come to me unless I was in his sight line. Consigning my shoes to their fate, I waded into the brush. Luckily, it was still winter so the woods and brush in the park were thinner than they would be in a few weeks. I didn’t have to go far before I found my dog.
He was standing near the creek bed, barking ferociously at the dead man on the ground. At first, I wasn’t sure he was actually dead, but one step closer showed he was laying perfectly still, head at an odd angle, and face-down in the small creek. He was dressed in what appeared to be a custom-made suit, the white collar of his shirt just showing along the neckline of his jacket and a fedora at his side. The suit reminded me of something from the 1930s with the charcoal color and narrow stripes. I looked at him from head to toe and then stopped.
He was so neatly dressed that I was shocked to see that he wasn’t wearing any shoes. His feet were encased in socks, but his shoes were nowhere in sight. And who wears a fedora? What was a well-dressed mobster doing in Reed Hill City Park? I couldn’t see much of his face, but he looked like a young man. The clothing and hat seemed totally out of place. Harry ran up to me, and I grabbed his leash. Wrapping it tightly around my hand, I pulled him away from the scene and back out to the walking path. I reached in my pocket for my phone. As I dialed 911, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell happened to his shoes.