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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2262863
A reported salivates over a scoop.
Agatha Winfield
WC 498

There is a story on this island about an old lady that lives alone deep in the woods. Her name is Agatha Winfield. Fifteen years ago, Agatha's husband, Langford, having grown tired of her, fled Waco Island, never to return.

Motorized vehicles have never been allowed on Waco Island, so bicycle paths crisscross the area. There is only one route to her door. I was instructed that markings on a bicycle path guide the way. The trick is to find the right one.

Years ago, Winfield House had been a bustling bed and breakfast. After Langford Winfield disappeared, Agatha closed it down and became a recluse. Supplies were always delivered to the front door when Winfield House was open for business. She continued that practice, out of humiliation, some guessed. I have never met her, so I cannot say.

Being a reporter, I would love to interview Mrs. Winfield for a human-interest piece for The Waco Gazette. She must have a story to tell. Living with a man with a heart as cold as ice (and having been abandoned by him) will tug on a reader's heartstrings.

I set out on my trusty bike, laptop strapped onto the carrier, searching for the magic path. On my fourth try, I find it. Glow-tape markers on stakes are planted every ten feet. I follow the glow-tape.

It is dusk as I approach the house. I stay back twenty yards or so and assess the situation. Light spills from one window. I rest my bike against a tree, unstrap my laptop, and fight my way through the overgrown yard toward the light.

I peek through the kitchen window. A hunched, older woman (with garish red hair and matching lips) sits at a heavy pine table. Agatha
Winfield is dunking gingernuts in a Wedgewood cup of what appears to be tea.

I creep around the house, peeking in windows. Each room seems to be painted in colors of the rainbow; the furniture is Victorian, shabby, stuffed, and dated.

This house gives me a feeling of dis-ease. I am praying it does not reflect the state of mind of Agatha Winfield. Or maybe, that would add an interesting wrinkle.

I grasp the brass door knocker and am ready to announce my arrival when a light comes on in the room next to the front door. I slither toward the light.

Agatha enters the room, sits on the settee, and kicks off her shoes. She takes off the red wig, exposing a bald head with tufts of white. Has chemotherapy ravaged her? She slips out of her dress, and the reality hits me…

I wrote the story with a little different twist than I had intended; it was well-received by our readership.

The Waco Island police gave me a commendation for solving the mystery. Langford confessed to the murder and led the police to where he buried Agatha's body all those years ago.

Oh, and the Gazette gave me a raise and a promotion.

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