She Wore Mourning, стр. 80

the best he could, and that we should let him use PECS or signs or whatever he needed to communicate…”

“That makes sense,” Zachary agreed, giving her a nod of encouragement.

“They said that I was just babying him. Keeping him from progressing. They said if he was ever going to get out of Summit, maybe on a work program or something, he would have to be able to speak. To get along in the real world and be treated like everyone else, he needed to be able to speak.”

“And it was working? You said that his behavior had improved at Summit. Did that include his speech?”

Mira picked up one of the photos from the table and stared at it, her eyes shiny with tears.

“Scripted speech,” she offered finally. “They were very proud of how well he was doing with scripted speech.”

“What’s that?”

“I would come to visit him, and he would say, ‘Hi, Mom.’ And I would say hi to him. He would ask me how I was doing, and I would tell him and ask him how he was. He would say, ‘fine’ or ‘happy’ or ‘well.’ But that was it… if I asked him what he had been doing, or who his friends were, or anything like that, he would fall apart. He would cry and mope and shake his head at everything I said. Then when it was time go, and I would say goodbye and hug him, he would pick up the script again. He’s say, ‘Bye, Mom. Love you. See you next time.’ They’d taught him how to say hello and goodbye…” Mira’s voice cracked. “But they had just trained him to say the words. He still couldn’t have a conversation. He still didn’t have a script for what came between hello and goodbye.”

“Maybe that would have come.”

“Maybe… but conversations are complicated. I don’t know how many different scripts he could have learned. There are so many different pathways a conversation could have followed.”

Zachary looked at the yellow envelope at Mira’s elbow that she had not yet opened. She was assiduously ignoring it.

“Do you want to take a break?”

Mira looked relieved. She let out her breath. “Yes. How about some tea? Can I get you a drink?”

“Tea would be great,” Zachary agreed. He was not a tea-drinker, but it was a soothing ritual for those who did. It would help Mira to calm down and move forward again.

She got up from the table and moved around the kitchen, putting the kettle on and rattling the cups and saucers and other bits. She opened the kitchen window a crack, letting in a breath of fresh, cool air.

“How long have you known Isabella?” Zachary asked her.

Isabella, The Happy Artist, beloved local TV personality, had connected the two of them. Zachary had been the one to investigate her son Declan’s death, and in spite of the hell she’d been through as a result, she seemed to be grateful to Zachary.

“I’ve known Isabella a long time. Since we were both in school. We weren’t really close friends. But I watched her when she started painting on TV. Quentin loved to watch her show. I knew Isabella had used a private investigator, so I called her…”

Zachary nodded.

Mira set their cups on the table and filled them. Zachary stirred his, not really interested in drinking it.

“I can look at those when I get home,” he said, nodding to the unopened envelope. “There’s no reason you have to look at them again.”

Mira hesitated, considering his offer, then shook her head. “No. I can do this.”

She took a couple of determined gulps of piping hot tea, and picked it up.

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His Hands Were Quiet, Book 2 of Zachary Goldman Mysteries by P.D. Workman is available now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

For as long as P.D. Workman can remember, the blank page has held an incredible allure. After a number of false starts, she finally wrote her first complete novel at the age of twelve. It was full of fantastic ideas. It was the spring board for many stories over the next few years. Then, forty-some novels later, P.D. Workman finally decided to start publishing. Lots more are on the way!

P.D. Workman is a devout wife and a mother of one, born and raised in Alberta, Canada. She is a homeschooler and an Executive Assistant. She has a passion for art and nature, creative cooking for special diets, and running. She loves to read, to listen to audio books, and to share books out loud with her family. She is a technology geek with a love for all kinds of gadgets and tools to make her writing and work easier and more fun. In person, she is far less well-spoken than on the written page and tends to be shy and reserved with all but those closest to her.

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Please visit P.D. Workman at pdworkman.com to see what else she is working on, to join her mailing list, and to link to her social networks.

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