Part 247 – Yay! Hildreth Joins The Shirtless Brigade

Hildreth felt conspicuous.

Horribly, terribly conspicuous.

He’d taken a couple of wrong turns, which led him further into the shopping area.

And he was bleeding through his nice white shirt.

No one actively stared at him, but he knew they wanted to stare so badly.

I might as well have a sign “VICTIM OF A CRIME” floating above my head. He sighed. I just want to get back to the house.

He passed by Frimola’s Faboo Frivolities when he saw them exit a bridal boutique just up ahead.

Elsie and her mother.

They were laughing and having a good time.

He stood still and watched her walk away.

It isn’t fair.

He flagged down a taxi. “Could you take me to the residential area? I’m lost.”

“Ya look like someone shot you up. Ya got money?”

He checked his pockets.

No wallet, but he did have a twenty dollar bill.

“Yeah. I got money.”

“Good. Get in.”


Hildreth leaned his head back.

It isn’t fair. Elsie should be living the ordinary day to day life of a librarian. Organizing books. Figuring out why their computer system keeps crashing. Telling the first graders to please shush and quit sticking their hands into the aquarium.

That should be her life.

And it isn’t.

This life of kill or be killed…It wasn’t her choice. Just as it wasn’t mine. It was made for us and we had to go along with it. Blindly, blandly go along with it. If she hadn’t, she’d be happier. If I hadn’t, my family…

“Okay, mack. Here’s your stop.”

He opened his eyes. “Thanks.”  He paid the man and got out of the taxi.


It took him way too long to find the house.

His shoulders hurt.

His back hurt.

He wanted to crawl into a hot bath and disappear.

Hildreth was just super happy that he hadn’t locked the front door. He entered the house and headed straight for the bathroom.

He took off his shirt and looked at his reflection in the bathroom mirror.

A puncture wound sat in a matched set under his clavicles. Same size. Same shape. Crusted over with newly dried blood. Sure to bruise up nicely when all was said and done.

He half turned both ways to get a look at his back.





All neatly lined up.





He sighed again. “Elsie’s gonna kill me. But I think she’ll kill him first. So, there’s that bright side.”

He grabbed a towel and got it wet with soap and water.

“I’m just glad I’ve had a recent tetanus shot.” He winced as he touched it against his wounds.

Yet, I can’t complain. I got off easy this time. Elsie won’t see it that way, though.  She’ll be mad at me. She’ll want to know why I went and what can I say? What answer can I give her?

Truth is, I went there to challenge him. And nearly got myself killed in the process. How can I tell her that?

But she doesn’t have to know.

I don’t have to tell her.

I ‘m not going to walk around shirtless in front of her.

So, she’ll never know. She’ll never see.

Until our wedding night.

Then, I’ll be able to tell her that it’s just an old hunter injury. It will be the truth by then.

Huh. I wonder if she has her own collection of battle scars. She’s a hunter like me. I’m sure she does.

“Oh! I’m sorry.”

He startled and spun around.

A young woman stood in the doorway. Her face turned red.

She was not Elsie.

8 thoughts on “Part 247 – Yay! Hildreth Joins The Shirtless Brigade”

    1. 😀

      It was kind of tricky trying to convey that enough time had passed between his leaving the jail and everything that happened after that. I also wanted to give Barbara enough time to get the address of Clarice’s place. So, poor Hildreth had to get lost. 😀

      And yes. He had to get shirtless too. 😆

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! 😀

      Some chapter heading just write themselves. 😆 And, as I told Sarah in my comment above, Hildreth just had to get his shirt off – to make things awkward for Barbara and to deepen Elsie’s anti-Barbara complex. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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