The following is an excerpt from near the beginning of PS: I’m Innocent:
Lizzie stumbled forward. She found the rutted dirt road and ran down it. She remembered seeing an isolated stilt house back in the woods. Probably nobody would be there off season. She had nowhere else to run.
Painfully gasping for breath, she stumbled up to the frame house with gray siding. Deserted. No lights on. No sign of life. No car was in the parking area beneath the house. The only sounds were the whirring of insects. She darted toward the tool shed under the house.
She was too late to get away. He was right behind her. She was out of breath. She turned to face him.
The short haired, muscular man dashed to within a few feet of her. He stopped and stood looking up and down Lizzie’s slender body. She felt as though he was looking right through her thin cotton shirt and tight, well-worn jeans. He chuckled and walked up to her. He held a pistol in one hand while he motioned with the other for Lizzie to relax. “Calm down, young lady, just calm down. I don’t want to hurt you. I only want your camera.”
Lizzie backed slowly until she was against the rough wood wall of the tool shed. She trembled, too afraid to say anything. The air seemed thick and unbreathable. Maybe she could dart around into the blackness behind the tool shed before the man actually grabbed her, and then lose herself in the woods.
The man had a glint in his eyes and a sardonic smile. “If you’re not going to hand it over, I’ll have to take it from you.” He looked like he was enjoying himself. He held the gun up. It looked huge.
Lizzie expected to be assaulted, raped. She felt terribly alone. Even if she called out, nobody could hear her and running again didn’t seem possible. She started to cry.
The man stepped forward and viciously ripped the video camcorder from Lizzie’s hand. She stifled a scream. Her hand hurt. He was so close she could smell the odor of boat fuel on him.
“Please don’t hurt me,” Lizzie sobbed. “Please – please – don’t…”
The following excerpt is from later in the novel:
Standing naked in the middle of this strange living room, Lizzie could hear her own heart beating fast, very fast.
She took a step then stopped. She tried to concentrate on slowing her breathing, on reaching within her, on calming herself. Her chest was rising and falling rapidly along with her breathing. She felt as naked as she was.
Suddenly lights blazed on. Lizzie whirled to find herself eye to eye with the old man she’d met previously. He had come up behind her silently. He was wearing striped pajamas. He didn’t have his machine gun this time.
“You ever hear of knocking?” he asked.
“I’ve had some trouble,” Lizzie stammered, crossing her arms over the front of her body.
The old man shook his head solemnly. “It sounded like the Fourth of July or Chinese New Year out there, ‘cept I recognized it as a Glock. Was that you?”
“Uh, yes, but….”
“You leave anybody alive?”
“No, no, I didn’t,” Lizzie sobbed. “I’m, uh, I’m sorry to barge into your house like this.”
“So nobody’s following you?”
“No… No, there shouldn’t be. But they’ll look for me. Oh God, they’ll look for me.” Lizzie threw herself against the old man and started crying onto his chest.
The old man didn’t seem sure where to put his hands. Finally he placed a hand on each of Lizzie’s bare shoulders and gently pushed her away from him.
“You’re gonna get me all excited jumpin’ onto me like that. Besides, you’re getting blood and sand and stuff all over my pajamas. You look like you been working the night shift at the slaughter house.”
“I’m sorry,” Lizzie looked down at herself. She was amazed how much blood and sand coated her body. Leaves were stuck in the congealing blood. “Do… Do you have anything I could wear?”
“I don’t think getting dressed should come first.”
“What should come first?” asked Lizzie, her voice shaking.
“A long hot bath: wash all that crap off, lie there and relax; get your head straight, you seem like you might be a little bit in shock at the moment. After you’ve had a nice long bath, put Neosporin and bandages on them cuts, get one of my robes out of the bathroom closet, come back in the living room and we can talk then.”
The old man took Lizzie’s hand and started leading her down a hallway. “Young people don’t got the proper appreciation for a hot bath. When you’re an old retired guy like me one thing you appreciate is a long, hot bath. I keep adding hot water to keep it hot.”
“I’m Lizzie. Do I remember right that you’re Joey something?”
“Yeah, that’s right. Here’s the bathroom.” Joey opened a door, reached in and turned on a light.
“I don’t want to get you in trouble, Joey. I just killed a policeman, a sergeant.”
Joey put his hands on Lizzie’s shoulders, turned her toward him, and looked in her eyes. “That ain’t good. I always told my boys; don’t never kill no cops; it don’t matter how they screw you up. It ain’t worth it to kill a cop. It makes all the other cops mad like sick dogs.”
“I couldn’t help it,” Lizzie cried.
“My dear sainted mother always made me promise not to get in no pissing contest with a dick. God rest her soul.” Joey crossed himself. He sighed and shook his large head. “Anyway, what’s done is done. Now the cops’ll be seriously lookin’ for you. I’m gonna turn the lights out in the living room and lock the front door. You can leave the light on in the bathroom. It don’t show outside. Take your bath quietly. Don’t sing or nothin’.”
Joey gave Lizzie a gentle push into the bathroom and shut the door. She heard him walk off toward the living room. She wondered if he might be a little senile.
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