Blurb: Timothy left home when he was eighteen to get away from his reckless mother, but he never stopped visiting his grandfather, who taught him what love was all about. Now that Grampy has passed away, Timothy finds that the old man's legacy is everything Timothy has dreamed of—and more.
Inside the house Timothy loves so much is a cache of coins with historical value… and a mystery, because one of them isn’t supposed to exist. In memory of his grandfather, Timothy sets out to make sure that the mystery and the coins are given their due honor. In his quest to keep the government from confiscating his grandfather’s legacy, he meets Joiner, whose interest in Timothy is as clear and open as Timothy is guarded. There are things about Timothy's life and his past he doesn't want anyone to know, not even the kind man who is helping him with the complications of legal tender.
Purchase at Midnight from Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2860
“Morning, Gerald,” he called before dumping the bags on the growing pile.
“You’ve been busy,” Gerald commented as he made his way over.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I got an early start.” Timothy looked at the pile of full, black trash bags. “I bought one of the huge boxes of bags, and that’s only the main floor. I’m probably not going to have enough.” Timothy smiled. At least he was going to have as much crap out of his house as possible. “I better get back at it if I ever want to get finished.” Timothy headed back inside, waving to Gerald.
Timothy knew the upstairs was going to be worse, but he used the same strategy as downstairs. Most of the rooms didn’t take too long, but the bathrooms were filthy and took a long time to clean and undisgustify. Timothy hauled load after load of bags to the curb, getting every room cleaned except for the one he knew was piled full. Standing in the hallway, he looked around and was deciding if it was time to get lunch when he heard a loud knock on the front door. Grabbing a load of trash, he descended the stairs and pulled open the door. He expected it to be Dieter or Gerald. He was not expecting to see his mother.
“What are you doing?” she demanded. “You can’t throw away my stuff!” Timothy stepped back and tried to close the door, but she bustled inside the house. “All that is mine!” Her eyes looked glazed, and Timothy wondered what she was on now.
“I can throw away anything I like. I found all your drug crap, and I’ll call the police and have you arrested right now if you don’t leave. I bet they can find your prints on the syringes and other stuff. That, combined with the fact that you’re high as a kite, should be enough to land you in jail.”
“Is there a problem?” Gerald said from the doorway. “You need to leave. This house and everything in it are Timothy’s to do with what he likes.” Gerald sounded so confident that Timothy saw his mother waver, her head bobbing back and forth between them like some sort of demented bobblehead. “You are not to set foot on this property again.”
“Or what?” she asked, folding her hands over her deflated-looking chest.
“You’ll be arrested, and I bet if they do, they could find plenty on you.” Gerald stared back at her, and Timothy stepped to the door.
“Get out now!” Timothy reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell. “All it takes is three buttons and your crackwhore ass is in jail!” Timothy was barely holding himself together.
“I’m still your mother,” she said, stepping toward Timothy with her hand raised. Timothy braced for her attack but saw her stumble over the threshold, and she went flying, landing half in and half out of the door. When she got up, her nose was bleeding and her face was all scraped. She wavered and stumbled down the stairs.
“You stopped being my mother a long time ago, bitch!” Timothy cried before slamming the door. He looked out the window and saw his mother turn to look back, blood running down her face. She wiped it onto her blouse, barely noticing what it was. Timothy saw her get into a car, and after a few moments, it sped off. He didn’t know if she was driving, but he heard Gerald on the phone.
“My name is Gerald Young, and I want to report a possible incidence of driving under the influence. I suspect both drugs and alcohol. A dark sedan, license number BRH-1208. The vehicle is probably heading west on Newberry toward Capital.” Gerald explained Timothy’s mother’s behavior and provided additional information before disconnecting the call. “That should take care of them,” Gerald said with a smile, shoving his phone into his pants pocket.
“Thank you,” Timothy said.
“No problem. Dieter and I were about to get some lunch, and we were wondering if you’d like to go along. From the size of the pile of bags, you could use a break.”
“I’d love one.” Timothy didn’t want to tell Gerald that he also really didn’t want to be alone right now. “Let me wash up.”
“We’ll meet you at the house,” Gerald said with a smile before leaving. Timothy locked the door and washed his hands in the kitchen sink before leaving the house. He met Dieter and Gerald at their place and rode with them to a small Middle Eastern restaurant. Once they were done, Timothy rode back and headed over to his house, with Dieter and Gerald right behind. They had insisted on helping, and together they tackled the room full of junk. There wasn’t much in the room that was worth anything. Not that Timothy had thought there would be, but he had to look at everything before throwing it away. Finally, that room was done, and Timothy thanked Gerald and Dieter for their help. They had an appointment and had to go. “You call if your mother shows up again,” Gerald told him at the front door.
“I will, and thank you both for the help,” Timothy said at the front door before closing it behind them. He really wanted to go himself, but there was still more to do. He hadn’t been in the attic yet, and he wanted to know if there was anything up there. His mother never went up there. When he was a child, he’d found out his mother had a fear of the attic and refused to climb the steps, so he’d often played amid all the stuff that Grampy and Grammy had put up there. After carrying out the last of the trash bags, he climbed to the attic door and opened it, slowly ascending the dark stairs.
When he reached the top, he located the light chain and pulled it. The light bulb came on, and dust motes floated in the air. Timothy saw that all the stuff was still there. Boxes and trunks lined the edges of the floor. The space wasn’t full, but it never had been. He was simply amazed that Grampy and Grammy’s old things were still there. Timothy walked around the room, which spanned the entire top of the house. Everything looked the same. Timothy bent down and opened the lid on one of the trunks filled with old clothes. He could hear Grampy’s voice telling him how Grammy had once worn the dresses inside. Timothy picked one up carefully as he listened to Grampy’s voice in his head telling him about the first time he’s seen Grammy. He’d said it was love at first sight.
Setting the dress back in the trunk, he closed the lid and looked around some more. He smiled and moved one of the trunks aside. The small doorway was still there. When Timothy was young, he and Grampy had built a play place in the attic. No one knew it was there except the two of them. It was their special place. Remember the stories, Timmy. I put it where you always played. Grampy’s voice played in his head. He had told Timothy that over and over again, and as Timothy stared at the door, he wondered if there could be something to Grampy’s words.
He suddenly knew what Grampy had meant. I saved it all for you, Timmy. Whatever “all” meant. Kneeling on the floor, Timothy unlatched the door and opened it, peering inside. Of course he could see nothing, because he and Grampy had always used flashlights. But he didn’t have one. Opening the door further, Timothy closed his eyes and remembered what the room looked like inside. He stuck his head inside again, and a small amount of light shone in through the open doorway, just enough that he could see the room was empty. Leaning further inside, Timothy ran his hand along the angled wall that formed the underside of the roof. Grampy had lined it for him before putting up the wall, and it felt smooth. Then his hand touched a ridge near the limit of his reach. He couldn’t tell anything more, so he backed out of the doorway and stood back up. There was something there, or at least something was different.
Heart pounding, Timothy hurried down the stairs and out the front door, locking it behind him. He needed a flashlight if he was going to find out what was there. “It’s probably nothing,” he told himself more than once as he climbed into his car and sped off to the nearest drugstore. He told himself to calm down even as he entered the store and bought a cheap flashlight and some batteries. Then he hurried back to the house, his heart racing, and rushed back up to the attic, carrying the bag. Putting the batteries in the light, Timothy turned it on and climbed into the small door. There was definitely a spot in the ceiling where it looked like a hole had been cut and patched over. Pressing on the spot caused it to move slightly, and Timothy pressed harder, but it did nothing more than give a little. Backing out once again, Timothy looked around for something he could use as a pry bar and found Grampy’s old toolbox. Inside, he found a handmade screwdriver and carried that back into the little hideout with him.
Wedging it into the edge, Timothy worked the piece of wood free until it fell onto the floor, but nothing followed. “This is stupid,” he told himself even as he reached into the hole, feeling around the edge until his hand brushed against cloth. Timothy worked it free and pulled it out of the hole before backing out of the door for what he hoped was a final time.
The bag jingled as he carried it to the light, and it was heavy too. Opening it under the bulb, Timothy reached inside. Sure enough, they felt like coins, and with his heart racing, he grabbed a few and brought them into the light. They shone as bright and new as the day they were minted. Gold.