A Dawn of Death

A Dawn of Death by Gin Jones

Book: A Dawn of Death by Gin Jones Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gin Jones
Cory O'Keefe Real Estate office at the far end, but Helen wasn't sure where the play came in.
    Cory's smart car was barely visible in front of his storefront, despite its glowing lime-green color. It was overshadowed by a herd of SUVs, vans, and trucks. The bright blue pickup parked next to the smart car had the Toth Construction logo printed on the tailgate. Business in the strip mall was brisk, and there weren't any open parking spaces, so Jack let Helen out and double-parked behind the smart car.
    Through the real estate agency's floor-to-ceiling storefront windows, Helen could see easels propped up to display poster-sized pictures of local houses for sale. Inside, there were more of the pictures hanging on the walls. On one side of the reception area that ran the entire width of the agency's unit in the strip mall, there were three computer stations for viewing listings online. Filling up most of the other side was a massive antique trestle table with nothing but a computer monitor and a multiline business phone in that awful yellowish-beige that manufacturers hadn't used for electronics in at least ten years. Behind the table sat a black-haired, olive-skinned girl who looked to be in her late teens. She wore the white blouse and plaid skirt of a private school uniform.
    "Is Mr. O'Keefe in?"
    The girl nodded. "But he's with someone."
    "Maybe you can help me."
    The girl sighed. "I'm just an intern, and I'm not allowed to do anything except answer the phone and make copies."
    "I can come back later if there's a better time to see him."
    "He won't be long." She glanced toward the central hallway as if expecting someone to emerge even as she spoke. "Cory isn't with a client. It's just Marty Drumm from Toth Construction."
    "I've met Marty. What's he doing here?"
    "He's probably asking about Crescent Street again."
    "Crescent Street?"
    "It's this really adorable bungalow from the 1920s, and it's been on the market for a few years, and Sheryl Toth wanted to knock it down and build another row of her boring town houses. It would be such a waste to do that." She froze for a moment, apparently realizing she might have insulted Helen's home since the girl had no way of knowing where Helen lived. "Some town houses are great, of course, but Crescent Street just isn't a good location for the kind of homes that Sheryl builds. Or used to build, I mean."
    "What's so bad about Sheryl's homes?"
    "They're not bad exactly. It's just that if you saw the bungalow, you'd understand why it shouldn't be torn down." She went over to pull a file from the cabinet in the corner behind her desk. "I'm Gloria, by the way."
    "Nice to meet you."
    Gloria opened the file and pointed at a picture clipped to the inside. "See? Isn't the bungalow just wonderful? I know it needs some work, but there's so much potential. It would be perfect for a first time home buyer. It just needs a little paint, a little landscaping, maybe an addition in the back."
    Plus, a new roof , Helen thought, along with a total revamp of the plumbing, electrical, and heating systems . No wonder the only interested buyer thought it should be razed. "I'm not in the market. I already have a home."
    "You wouldn't have to live there. It could just be an investment," Gloria said. "Or maybe you know someone who is looking for a dream house. Someone who could appreciate a place like this, someone who'd like to create some sweat equity."
    Helen realized she was actively considering the possibilities, and she already had far too much to deal with between growing her vegetables, volunteering at the library, and crocheting chemo caps. Fixing up that house wouldn't be a hobby. It would be a full-time job, better suited—much as she hated to even think the words—to someone physically stronger than she was. If she could get the house renovated simply by being pushy and nosy, that was one thing, but she couldn't wield a jackhammer or even a regular hammer for long without potentially triggering a

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