RUBICON RANCH: RILEY’S STORY — Chapter 11: Jeff and Kourtney Peterson — by J B Kohl and Eric Beetner
Jeff stood with his back to it for a long time. He could hear the whipping of the yellow POLICE LINE tape wrapped impotently around the murder scene. When he approached he saw it but averted his eyes, not ready to take in the final resting place of his daughter. When he did turn around his eyes let loose again with tears he thought he’d used up. The desert tableau sent a shiver up his spine. The yellow frame, the broken TV, the footprints in the sand all around him like he’d missed a party.
When he left the house that morning he wasn’t sure where he’d end up. He needed air and Rubicon offered some of the best as a lure to people in colder climes to drop everything and move south. He sucked big lungfulls of the stuff and it did little to clear his head of the swirling thoughts that plagued him since the sheriff first came to his door. His feet took him to the spot by following some father’s instinct and the casual words the Sheriff let drop about where the body had been found.
With each passing hour he felt less like Riley’s father and more like the stranger he really was. Her real father would never have let this happen.
All that fresh air whistled in his ears. A dark green lizard darted out from under the TV set moving in stuttering bursts. Jeff wanted to crush it, to throw rocks and tell the creature not to use that discarded set as refuge. There could be no peace there.
He’d always told Riley she watched too much TV.
Jeff stepped over the yellow tape with little effort, angry at the police for their lack of understanding how sacred this place had become. He touched the edge of the hollow set, feeling tiny shards of the broken picture tube. His finger ran along the rim trying to imagine his daughter’s body fitting into such a small space and at the same time willing the image away, which worked about as well as the police tape.
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