Preview from MILLICENT'S TOWER
(Wednesday morning, May 26, 1982)
“Let them come invade my place if they want to, Toby, but they know good and damned well they’re not welcome. And if they think they can get away with my money, it’ll be over my dead body!”
Millicent slammed the humming telephone receiver back in its cradle on the nightstand. “The nerve of Rochelle, calling me at this hour. You’d think she would have more respect for her aging aunt than to give her an early morning wake-up call.”
She glanced at the glass-domed clock beside the phone with its gold plates turning back and forth, back and forth. "Ten o'clock!" she exclaimed. "Humph. And she just called to tell me that she and her family'll be busting in here today without so much as a how-do-you-do of advance notice."
Toby, who was totally awake by now, began licking his paw in his morning bath routine. Millicent reached over and stroked him, hearing his purr-motor start up. A deep cough wracked her body as she looked around the room. The light seeping through the windows was ample for her to see the disarray and clutter. "What a mess I live in," she mumbled to the cat. "Why do you think I never have energy anymore, Toby? Why do I want to just stay in bed and let everything else go to pot?"
She yawned and stretched, turning on her side. A quick glance at the calendar on the nightstand told her that it was Wednesday, May 26, 1982. "Five years, almost to the day, since Bernie passed away. I hate to think about where I was at that time and then look at where I am now." She reached for the pack of cigarettes and lighter on the nightstand and lit up. Leaning back on her pillow, she watched the smoke as it curled above the bed.
"Five years since Rochelle was here with her mama for the funeral. I wonder what she has on her agenda. She's surely not coming to visit dear ole auntie for old times' sake. Nope. I'd bet Bernie's whole fortune she's up to something, or else she wouldn't just be showing up."
She snuffed out the cigarette. Another spasm of coughing shook her body. She reached under the pillow for her revolver and placed it on the nightstand. Then she leaned back into the pillows. "I'll get up and take my pills soon," she mumbled, "but for now, I just need a little more sleep."
And with that, she pulled up the covers and closed her eyes. Toby never even stirred.