Charles Michael Armstrong carefully navigated the classic BMW up the tree-lined drive. The sleek black convertible purred. The only noise that came to the driver was the husky voiced singer that came from every corner of the new car. He sat in the plush beige leather seat and looked around in bewildered puzzlement. The multilevel, summer-hill stone house, with wide column supports for the veranda graced the entryway, beckoned him in. The beautifully tended garden and the partially hidden gazebo added a splash of color and a hint of mystique to the sprawling grounds. The two-car garage had one door open and his wife’s car, a brand new Super Celica, was gone.
Charles slowly opened the door, and his tired feet, encased in black leather, hand-crafted Saks loafers, stood and wearily leveled himself upright. He looked around in dejection. Tears welled in his eyes as he looked at the piece of paper wadded tightly in his fist. He had been in the company for fifteen years, six years as a senior vice-president. Then the company had been taken over by a million-dollar corporation. The new CEO’s corporate thugs had gone through his long loved career option like a dose of salts. Of the fifteen hundred people, nine hundred had been fired; the new owner was bringing in his own people. The notice that he was no longer required had been simply sent to his email. They didn’t even have the courtesy to tell him face to face. Like most people his age who married a younger woman, he didn’t have much savings left. When he met Renee two years ago, Charles had almost thirty thousand dollars in the bank and had another few hundred thousand dollars in company stock. Now two years later, he had eight hundred dollars left. The bank owned eighty percent of the house and forty percent of the car. He wearily walked up the sidewalk and with a great effort levered himself up the stairs.
Charles stopped in the hall and looked around in despair. The carpet was thick blue shag. The furniture was new; the leather and oak five-piece lounge set radiated money and lots of it. The state-of-the-art stereo system was set in the modern aluminum entertainment center along with the fifty-inch, wall-mounted, plasma TV. The inside of the house radiated wealth as did the carefully tended yard outside.
This is the first story I have read by K.D. Nielson and I found myself totally enthralled. It has been cleverly written and I enjoyed the twist at the end (not quite what I was expecting!). I highly recommend “Hangman” to readers and look forward to reading other stories/books by this author.