during a winter storm, they claim they’ve seen a dead body by the
swing sets of the Columbia County Elementary School. After he
investigates, DeLong sees no evidence, not even a body. But were the
boys telling the truth?
Russ Calhoun, DeLong sets out to find whether Manny Grimes is alive
or dead. The further away he gets to the bottom of the mystery, the
closer he comes to realize that his own life is falling apart.
unravel, losing his sense of control, falling into old temptations he
spent years to overcome. Will he be able to move past his own demons
and untangle the web of lies before it’s too late?
Lieutenant Jim DeLong realizes at first sight this case will be the
most difficult one of his career. DeLong is immediately swept into
the memories of his childhood and dark secrets he’s longed to forget.
will be resurrected whether DeLong likes it or not. He and his
brother have been estranged by unhappy times in their youth. With no
clear motive, DeLong questions his ability to remain objective.
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DeLong closed the garage door and went inside the house. He heard
soft murmurs floating from the living room. He knew his six-year-old
daughter, Bella, was in school, so he guessed Samantha was probably
watching television. DeLong was glad to be with his wife, even for just
a few minutes. After coming onto the scene and seeing his brother’s
wife, he just wanted to hold on to Samantha and never let her go. It was
nothing but a harsh reminder that in the blink of an eye, everything can
go wrong. The memory of Bree was etched in his mind and continued
to haunt him. Seeing her in the water left him feeling empty.
Samantha liked to tell him that everything happened for a reason.
But there was no reason for women like Bree DeLong to be
She was a kindhearted young woman who wanted nothing more
than to help those less fortunate—particularly children.
“Honey, I’m home,” DeLong called out. Draping his jacket on the
back of the kitchen chair, he let out a long yawn. His eyes felt heavy,
and his stomach rumbled. But despite his hunger, he didn’t feel much
like eating. He would opt for a quick nap, but he wasn’t sure that would
“Jim, we’re in here, honey.”
Was someone here?
Remembering the urgency in Samantha’s text resulted in his
DeLong grabbed a Coke can from the refrigerator and stepped into
the living room.
Though deep down it didn’t come to a surprise to him, DeLong
almost dropped the can when he saw his brother sitting on the couch
next to his wife.
“Sully.” He blinked a few times as if he were trying to stop
imagining things. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry to come here like this.” Sullivan glanced over at
Samantha, then back at DeLong. He looked as though he wanted to say
something and then shook his head. Sullivan pushed to his feet. “Sorry,
22 Angela Kay
Sam, I can’t do this. I really should go.”
Samantha put a hand on his wrist to keep him from moving away.
“You’re always welcome here, Sully. Right, Jim?” She shot her
husband a look of warning.
“Of course,” he stammered.
Samantha pulled Sullivan back to the cushions.
DeLong studied his older brother for a good five minutes, taking in
every sadness, every anger. He seemed to have aged a few more years
since DeLong had seen him at the morgue. His eyes were hollow, and
he looked as though he hadn’t slept for a week.
He wanted to say something consoling to him, but what could he
say? There were no words to ease someone in this time of grief. If there
were, he wasn’t aware of them.
“How are you doing?” He sat on the edge of the coffee table.
Sullivan only shook his head. His eyes began to water, a single tear
sliding down the corner of his eye. He bounced his knees and set his
head in his hands.
“I didn’t have anywhere else to go,” Sullivan mumbled. “Ally’s in
school. I-I went there to tell her what happened, but I just couldn’t.”
“We’ll figure this out. It’ll be OK.” DeLong cleared his throat,
pressed his fingertips to his eyelids, and then leaned in toward his
brother. “Why don’t you go ahead and tell me everything you know?
Start from the last time you spoke to or saw Bree. What she was doing,
where she went, who she spoke to…don’t leave anything out.”
Sullivan looked at DeLong, then Samantha and back again. “The
last time we spoke was yesterday morning. I think around six or so. It
was before she took Ally to school.”
“How did she seem?” DeLong asked.
Sullivan shrugged. “Normal.”
“Do you know what her plan for the day was?”
“I think she was going to that center she runs—Protecting the
Lord’s Children. After that…” Sullivan trailed off. He seemed to be
thinking about what he wanted to say next. Finally, he replied, “After
that, she was supposed to go home.”
“But she didn’t go home?” DeLong pressed.
“I don’t know. I went fishing with an old friend.”
“From what time to what time?”
Sullivan narrowed his eyes at DeLong. “What does that matter?”
“I need to build a timeline,” DeLong explained. “That’s all.”
Blood Runs Cold 23
Sullivan squared his jaw, reminding DeLong of how their father
always looked when he was forcing himself to remain calm.
“Ten that morning to five in the evening. We went to Clarks Hill
“What’s your friend’s name?”
“James Simmons. We used to work together.”
“Where did you go after fishing?” DeLong asked slowly. He
motioned for Samantha to hand him a pad from the end table. He began
writing the information down.
“Are you implying that I killed her?” Sullivan snapped. DeLong
looked up to see the hot anger flash in Sullivan’s eyes. He opened his
mouth to say something else, but before he did, DeLong held up his
palm. He was used to spouses getting flustered by the police as they
attempted to weed out suspects. His brother was no different.
“I have to ask these questions, Sully.”
“I wouldn’t hurt her. I loved my wife. We had a good marriage. I
can’t…I can’t believe you’d actually think I’d….” Sullivan trailed off
and rose to pace the room.
DeLong remained silent, watching. Samantha glared at him.
DeLong shook his head slightly to warn her to stay out of it.
“We were happy,” Sullivan continued tautly. “She didn’t leave me,
and she wasn’t having any kind of affair. We were happy.”
“Good. Did she have any friends that wanted something more from
her? Something she wasn’t willing to give him?”
Sullivan shook his head with conviction. “No. I mean, everybody
loved her. You know that. That goes without saying. People loved her,
but not in any romantic sense.”
“Did she seem upset at all? Like she was worried about
“No. I mean, I don’t think so.”
“And you? Is everything good with you? You don’t have anything
to worry about? Anything that’s upsetting you?”
DeLong watched as his brother gazed at him. It looked as though
he wanted to say something, but couldn’t decide what it would be.
Finally, he put his head in his hands, sighed and looked back at
“Why don’t you go ahead and say it, Jim.”
“What are you talking about? I need to ask you these questions. I’m
24 Angela Kay
just covering all the bases, Sully.”
“These questions are pointless!” Sullivan sliced his hands in the
air. “How is whatever it was I did going to help find my wife’s killer?”
“Why don’t you just answer my questions, Sullivan? Let me do my
job.” The words come out gruffer than he intended, which resulted in
his wife hissing his name.
Sullivan gaped at his brother, frowning, arms tightly crossed
against his chest. Finally, he shook his head in agitation.
“No. I was wrong to come here. What was I thinking? I mean, I
need someone capable enough to find out who murdered my wife.” A
mixture of undeniable anger and pain flashed in Sullivan’s eyes. “I need
someone that I can trust.”
“You can trust Jim, Sully,” Samantha interjected, eyes wide,
glistening with tears and worry.
Sullivan let out a scoff. “Him? Jim DeLong? Are you kidding me?
No offense, but my drunk little brother could fly off the rails at any
moment. You of all people should know that.”
DeLong squared his jaw in an effort to stay calm. He remained
quiet as Samantha stammered.
Sullivan shook his head and cursed. “Forget it. This was a mistake,
and I’m out of here.”
Before anyone could respond, Sullivan flew out the door.
DeLong frowned, well aware that Samantha was glaring at him.
“Go stop him!” she hissed through her teeth, jabbing her index
finger toward the door.
Obliging, DeLong chased after his brother, calling his name. He
knew it was a fruitless effort, even before he saw Sullivan climbing in
his car and pulling away, tires spinning hotly on the cement.
Angela Kay is a southern lady who spends her days and nights dreaming
up new ways to solve dark murders of normal people.
contest for her one-act entitled “Digging Deeper.” Because of
this, she was able to spend a week in Atlanta at the Horizon Theater
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!