the Manhatten Hunt Club (2001) by Saul| John

the Manhatten Hunt Club (2001) by Saul| John

Author:Saul| John [John, Saul,]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Published: 2011-02-09T15:48:34.343000+00:00

Chapter 23

The familiar beep of the answering machine in Jeff's apartment signaling a message waiting was so unexpected that both Keith and Heather stopped short at the door. Their eyes locked on the machine, the same thought crashing into both their heads.

Jeff!

He'd gotten out of the tunnels and was calling for help and--

And both of them hesitated before they'd taken more than a single step toward the machine. Why would Jeff call here? He couldn't know they were looking for him, let alone that his father was staying in his apartment. The red light continued to blink and the beep sounded again.

"No one knows I'm here," Keith said.

Where a moment ago both of them had been eager to listen to the message, they were now reluctant. Why would anyone call here?

"Probably my foreman," Keith said, but the lack of conviction in his voice told Heather he didn't really believe it. Finally, Heather went over and pressed the button.

"One new message," the impersonal voice of the machine intoned.

"Keith? Are you there? If you're there, you pick the phone up right now!" It was Mary's voice, and the edge on it told Keith his wife was on the verge of hysteria. There was a barely perceptible pause, and then she went on. "I know you're staying there--Vic DiMarco says he hasn't seen you since day before yesterday. You have to be at Jeff's. I don't see how you can stand it, with all his things around you--" She abruptly cut off her own words and Keith could almost hear her struggling to regain control of herself. Then she started over: "There's going to be a memorial mass for Jeff tomorrow. I was going to hold it out here at St. Barnabas, but then--well, I started thinking about how much Jeff loved the city, and how many friends he has there, and how much he loved St. Patrick's. So the mass is going to be there. At one o'clock tomorrow afternoon. I tried to call Heather, but she's not home. I'll keep trying...." Her voice trailed off, and now Keith had the distinct impression she was trying to think of more to say, if for no other reason than to avoid hanging up the telephone. Finally, she spoke again, and now her voice had a flat, defeated quality. "If you get this, please call me back, Keith."

There was a click, and then the computer-generated voice spoke again: "1:52 P. M."

As the machine fell silent, neither Keith nor Heather said anything. Keith reached out and pressed the button that activated the outgoing message on the machine, and Jeff's voice emerged from the tinny speaker. "Hi! You know what to do, so go ahead and do it. I'll call you back as soon as I can!"

They both listened to the message, then Keith shook his head. "I can't erase it. We kept it on all through the trial because we were sure he was coming home. And I'm still sure."

Heather chewed at her lower lip.



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