High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery (The Glass Bead Mystery Series)

High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery (The Glass Bead Mystery Series) by Janice Peacock Page A

Book: High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery (The Glass Bead Mystery Series) by Janice Peacock Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janice Peacock
water remained. Tucked at the back of the buffet was a lone bottle of chardonnay I nabbed. It was warm. Ugh! Warm white wine was the worst. Desperate times called for desperate measures, so I grabbed the ice bucket. I caught Allen’s eye as he headed out the door with the chairs, and pantomimed that I was going upstairs to get ice. There’d be a refrigerator in Rosie’s kitchen, and I hoped I’d find some ice to chill the wine.
    The kitchen was at the top of the stairs that led from the store to the apartment. I opened the freezer, grabbed the ice tray and, as I started knocking the cubes into the bucket, I heard screaming, this time from right outside on the balcony. It sounded like Tracy screaming again. I hoped she hadn’t spilled a bowl of guacamole this time, because Rosie would explode at Tracy for ruining the carpet and a perfectly good avocado as well.
    I dropped the ice bucket and dashed out of the kitchen, rounding the corner into the small living room. Tracy was on her knees on the balcony outside, crying and calling for help. Her mother had fallen on the stairs, and Tracy was frantically trying to pick her up. Since Rosie outweighed her daughter by at least fifty pounds, Tracy’s attempts to pull her mom up the stairs were futile.
    “L et me help!” I yelled, running through the open sliding glass door toward them. Rosie was lying face-up, her body sliding down the stairs. She’d been thrashing a moment before, but now Rosie wasn’t moving.
    “ Rosie! Rosie!” She didn’t respond when I called her name. I tried to roll her over to see if a different position might help her, but she didn’t budge. Then I saw it: a loop of beads twisted around the scrollwork on the balcony’s railing. The necklace ran down and around Rosie’s neck, and then came back up and connected to the beads on the balcony.
    Rosie’s necklace was strangling her!
    I tried to pull it loose, but Rosie was sliding down the stairs, and the cord around her neck pulled tighter and tighter. Tracy was crying, and trying to help, but she just didn’t have the strength to move her mom.
    “ We’ve got to cut this wire on the necklace,” I shouted, hoping someone would hear me. Since the music on the patio below us was loud, no one could hear anything up on the balcony.
    “ Hey, I thought I’d come up and help you with the ice,” Allen said as he rounded the corner, but he stopped in his tracks when he came upon our frantic rescue scene.
    “ Quick, Allen, what can you find that will cut wire?”
    “ A kitchen knife!” He ran to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and was back in seconds.
    “ Cut right here,” I said urgently, pointing to a spot on the necklace above Rosie’s head. Allen cut the wire. The tension on the strand loosened and the necklace flew apart—beads tumbling everywhere. By now, the partiers downstairs had finally heard enough commotion to realize something was wrong. The music stopped, and people rushed to the bottom of the outside staircase that connected the balcony with the patio.
    “ Call 911!” I screamed. I flipped Rosie over. “Rosie? Rosie? Are you okay?” I put my ear to her chest. I thought I could hear a faint beating, but I couldn’t tell if that was my own heart pounding, or hers. “I think she’s still alive.”
    Tracy sat on the step next to her mother ’s limp body. “Mama. Mama, please be well, please be alive.” She squeezed Rosie’s hand, and it seemed to me Rosie squeezed back, but that may have been wishful thinking.
    The ambulance arrived minutes later and the medics went to work on Rosie, checking her vital signs, giving her an oxygen mask and starting an IV. Rosie was unconscious as the EMTs put a collar around her neck, placed her on a backboard, and carried her down the stairs. Rosie was alive, but in terrible shape. One of the paramedics said the hospital would have to run tests and monitor her closely to make sure there was no permanent brain damage.
    I watched the emergency

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