Silent Son Author:Gallatin Warfield PARTIAL PROLOGUE: — The young man entered the store, and on appearance alone, his intentions were innocent. Or so it seemed to Addie Bowers standing behind the counter. When the small brass bell above the door tinkled, she looked up from her newspaper and smiled. A customer at last. It had been a slow day so far. — Her husband, Henry, was busy res... more »tocking canned goods on the shelves above the soft drink cooler. When the bell rang, he didn't even turn around. Addie would handle it, just as she had done for the last forty-two years in the small grocery and dry goods shop that stood on a lonely stretch of Mountain Road.
"Hello." Addie's blue-eyed smile was like pale sunshine on a spring day. "What can I get for you this afternoon?"
The man approached the couner, but said nothing. His gaze shifted to a row of pump-action 12 gauges in the gun rack.
Addie's smile continued. "Interested in a gun?"
Henry had stopped his restocking chores. He was a gentleman of the old school, kind, trusting, and soft-spoken, but he held his strength in reserve. He had been a front-line infantry in the war, and had taken his share of incoming shells. That had left him with a certain cynicism that Addie didn't possess. He could always smell an enemy approching.
Henry lowered himself from the stepping-stool and walked toward the counter. Something didn't feel right.
"You're gonna need some ID," Henry said from behind the customer's back.
The man whipped around suddenly and shoved his hand into a military-style fatigue coat. Then he pulled out a large black handgun and pointed it at Henry.
The old man's eyes widened with surprise. "What the hell..." Addie began to shake. "Don't hurt him," she whispered. "Where'd you get that?" Henry said, canting his head toward the giant pistol. The man shrugged, then moved to the side. He motioned Henry to join his wife with a few abrupt flips of the gun barrel. Then he yelled toward the front door. "You comin?"
There was a pause, and then a second man cautiously entered the room and joined the group.
"You must be crazy." Henry said to the first man. "Stone crazy. And you..." He looked accusingly at the companion. "You..." The gunman remained silent, and his companion stepped back, awaiting orders.
The gunman motioned Addie and Henry toward the back wall with another jerk of his gun-hand.« less