Shannon pressed her fingertips to her temples. Whatever it took, she would not revisit the past. One sure way to drown out the memories was physical activity. Shannon changed into an old pair of jeans and a baggy sweatshirt, then fetched a crowbar out of the tool shed.
Upstairs, a circular turret crowned the second story of the Victorian house. As a young child, Shannon had played within these stained plaster walls. As a teenager, she came here to dream, pulling aside the faded brocade draperies to stare at the half-circle of stars around her.
Tonight’s mission wasn’t quite so fanciful.
Shannon slammed the iron bar through a section of cracked plaster, and set about purging Geoff Chastain from her life once again.
The sun had crested the horizon before Shannon paused to survey the piles of crumbled plaster. She stretched and breathed deeply, letting her mind race with plans for refinishing the room. A soft rose color on the walls would set off the solid oak moldings around the floor-to-ceiling windows framing a semicircular view of the city. Unfortunately, a hundred and twenty years of paint had to be stripped away from the moldings to find their original beauty.
"Hey, Jasper, why don't you go start the coffee while I clean up?" Shannon scratched the dog's ears. Training her dog to push the start button on her coffeemaker with his nose had been a stroke of genius. Of course, she could use the automatic timer, but Jasper seemed so pleased with himself that Shannon didn't have the heart to take that task away from him.
As Shannon walked toward the bathroom, the chime of the doorbell brought her to an abrupt halt. No one paid a social call this early in the morning. Something must be wrong.
Shannon dashed down the stairs and threw open the door.