jan burke
jan burke

Remember Me, Irene



I made the turn. After a short distance, we were in front of another gate. She reached into her bag and pressed a remote control button that caused this gate to open, pushed it again once we were through. We drove down a dark, tree-lined lane that gave way to a long, curving driveway that sloped up to the mansion. There was a Jaguar in the driveway.

"Looks like Ben is home," I said. But she was concentrating on the house, a puzzled look on her face.

"The lights are out."

It took me a moment to register what she was saying, because there were plenty of lights on—but then I realized they were exterior lights. The house itself was dark.

"Maybe he's gone to bed," I said, but she was shaking her head. I barely noticed her denial, because at that moment, what I at first took to be a berserk, woolly bear came bounding toward the car. As it grew closer, it started barking, and I realized it was not ursine but canine—the biggest dog I have ever seen in my life.

"Don't jump, Finn!" she called out. Apparently he heard her, or saw the censure on her face. He scrambled to a halt and plopped his rear down just outside the passenger door—close enough to her window to steam it with his breath. Sitting, he was nearly as tall as the car. He started whining.

"He's an Irish wolfhound," she said, anticipating my question. "Back up, silly," she said to him with affection. "I can't get out."

His response was to lift a paw as big as a saucer and smack it against her window. When he set it down again, Claire drew in a sharp breath. There was blood on the window.

© Jan Burke