For those who wondered if Karen’s father would appear again:
Karen Johnston stood at the double French doors of the bedroom and looked out over the wood deck of her two-story Denver home. The barren trees beyond were black skeletons against the silvered sky. A thin layer of ice from the last snow storm still clung to the capped-rail fence that outlined their large wooded lot, but sunshine was predicted to melt it tomorrow. She pulled her cashmere cardigan tighter. It had been a harsh winter, and it was only February.
When her cell phone rang, she grabbed for it from the near-by nightstand and glanced at the screen before answering. “Hi, Mark,” she said, a slight lilt in her voice. She was pleased to hear from him. It had been a couple of months. The first few minutes of their conversations were always stilted. To be expected, she guessed, since her biological father had only recently come into her life. Mark lived in Kansas City, Missouri—a fact she had discovered last July.
“Good to hear you voice, “Mark said.
And months later:
She (Karen) rose gingerly onto her knees and stretched her back for a minute; then pulled open his bottom drawer. Golf shirts and casual tees. Just fold them she cautioned herself. Don’t throw anything out he might get upset about. As she pulled out a navy crew-neck to refold it, a piece of paper fluttered to the floor. It must have been inside the pocket. One glance and her limbs went rigid.
And from one of the historical stories that takes place in Tulsa:
She was waiting at the front door when James arrived at 5:30. She had locked all the doors and windows, and James took note immediately.
”Why do you have the house closed up, Abby? My God, it’s 90 degrees in here.” He moved toward one of the living room windows and turned the metal lock to open it.
She hesitated. He would laugh at her silliness. She was a tough German woman and was seldom afraid of anything. “You won’t believe what I saw earlier when I pushed Thomas in the pram. K.K.K. James, I’m sure of it.”
He walked to the tattered tweed sofa and patted the cushion for her to sit beside him. “Where’s Thomas?” he asked.
“Finally sleeping. He wore himself out crying all afternoon. Teething probably.” She turned to face him. “But James I saw them. About six of them coming out of a warehouse over on 2nd street. They were carrying their robes and hats. I know that’s what they were.”
James looked skeptical. “Here? That close by?”
She nodded. “I was concerned because one of the men saw me and knew that I saw him.”
“They left in cars, all at once. Headed off south somewhere. I don’t like it, James. They must be up to something. Have you heard any rumors?”
“No, but just stay close to home for a few days, Abby.”
A few weeks later:
Around 11:00 p.m., though their bedroom curtains remained closed, she saw the sky light up and heard distant screams. She (Abby) could only imagine what was happening in Greenwood. It was a city under siege.