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Anthony Kershaw tore off the white envelope taped to the outside of the entrance door and went back inside the house. He didn’t bother removing his shoes, and walked straight into the kitchen where he put the envelope down on the table along with his briefcase and car keys. Then he pulled out a chair and sat down.
This was the tenth letter so far.
It contained no stamp or address, nor any other clues as to who might have left it there, only Anthony’s name typed in big black font.
He exhaled slowly and looked up at the clock on the wall, and knew if he didn’t leave soon he’d be late for work. But even so, he remained where he was.
A few minutes passed and then he heard a door open up and close somewhere further in the house. Then came the soft sound of slippers brushing against the hardwood floor. Shortly thereafter he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Is it another one?" a soft woman’s voice asked.
"Yes. It was taped to the front door." Anthony spoke without turning his head.
The woman leaned forward to get a better look, and then quickly took a step back.
"Why are they doing this?” she said, barely above a whisper and put a hand up to her mouth. “What have we done to deserve this?"
"Well, your guess is as good as mine Cassandra," Anthony replied tersely, turning his head ever so slightly to the right.
"It’s gotta be one of the scumbags you sent off to prison who is looking for revenge." She took a deep breath and wrapped her arms across her tummy.
"I knew this would happen eventually. I just knew it!"
"Come on Cassandra, we don't know that!” Anthony rolled his eyes and picked up the envelope. The words had come out a little bit too fast and a little bit too loudly, and although he couldn’t see it, he knew that the words had made his wife jump.
"You know that just as well as me,” he added in a slightly calmer voice.
“It could be a criminal who’s looking for revenge, or it could just be some weirdo’s idea of a practical joke."
He pushed his index finger through the top corner of the envelope and tore it open in one quick motion. Then he pulled out the single sheet of paper tucked inside and read it aloud.
"You are a dead man walking Anthony Kershaw. Soon you shall meet your maker."
The letter was signed with the same initials as all the others, ‘I.W.D.’
Anthony crumpled the paper and threw it across the table, where it slid off the edge and fell to the floor.
"Whoever it is, he or she likes to keep it short," he said.
"Okay, that's it. I'm calling O'Malley." Cassandra turned around and walked over to the kitchen island and picked up her cell phone.
"No, leave it. It's not going to do any good," Anthony said. "You might as well write a letter to Santa Claus, or the Fairy Godmother for that matter."
He stood up, and went over to his wife and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Come on, put the phone down," he said as he eased the Samsung out of her hand.
"But Anthony, we have to let them know that we have received another letter,” she said, looking up at him with big blue eyes. “This is the tenth letter so far. They have to give us some protection." Her voice was shaking, and Anthony suspected that she would start crying at any moment.
"And how are they going to do that?" he asked quietly.
He took her in his arms and started stroking her hair.
“Come on Cassandra. You know just as well as me that the police can’t protect me. Whoever it is knows where I live, where I work and what car I drive. If the person wants to hurt me, he can do so in a hundred different locations, and there is nothing that I or anyone else can do to stop him. Besides if he wants to kill me, he would probably have done so already."
"So you think it’s just a hoax then?"
"Who knows? Whoever it is obviously enjoys scaring his victims. He probably even gets off on it."
He grabbed her shoulders and gave her a weary smile.
"I have to head off. I’ve got an important court case downtown at eleven.”
He gave her a firm look.
“Listen, I don't want you to call the cops. There is nothing they can do. The only thing we’ll achieve is to piss them off.”
He looked at her for a couple of seconds, before leaning forward and giving her a kiss on the forehead. Then he turned around and walked back to the table and picked up his car keys and briefcase.
"I tell you what. I'll see Henderson from homicide later today. I'll let him know what is going on. He's been on the force for more than thirty years. If he thinks that some extra protection is required, we’ll get it. Perhaps arrange for a car to drive by the house every now and then. What do you say?"
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