There is no easy way out of Oak Meadows.
|Word count: 1,455
Susan Gregory, carrying a gray laptop case, followed Fredrick Morris into her new office. Using her her left hand she brushed her dishwater blond hair out of her eyes and looked around. Lining the walls were half-a-dozen large gray metal filling cabinets. In the center of the room was a four-drawer oak desk, with a brown leather swivel chair sitting behind it and a dusty green couch sitting in front of it. On top of the desk was a manual 1960 Smith-Corona type writer with a ream of typing paper stacked next to it.
"What am I supposed to do with that?" Susan pointed to the typewriter.
"You're supposed to put a blank sheet of paper in and type up your story for tomorrow morning's edition." Morris sit down on the couch.
"Don't be silly, Fred," she laid the laptop case on the couch and opened it. "Where do I plug this in?"
Fred smiled, as he watch Susan remove the laptop and carry it to the desk. He knew the gentlemanly thing to do would be to explain to his cousin why no one in the Oak Meadow's Tribune used computers. However, since no one had ever accused him of being a gentleman, he crossed his legs and watched as Susan looked for an electrical outlet. After about ten minutes she found a two pronged outlet between two of the filing cabinets opposite the door.
"I suppose you want an adapter," he got up and walked around the desk. Opening the top right hand draw he removed a pack of unfiltered cigarettes and a plug in adepter which let the two pronged outlet use a three pronged electrical cord. "Here," he tossed her the adepter. "Would you like a cigarette?"
"I don't smoke," she said, catching the adepter. "And even if I did smoke, I wouldn't smoke unfiltered."
"You will," he laughed as he lit himself a cigarette before putting the pack back in the drawer. Next he took a flash light out of the drawer before closing it. With the cigarette hanging from his mouth, he walked back to the couch and sit down.
Susan inserted the adepter into the outlet and then plugged the laptop into the adepter. Placing the computer on the floor, she pull the swivel chair close to the laptop and sit down. Next she picked up her laptop and turned it on. Susan screamed, as sparks flew from the outlet, and two minutes later the light in the entire building went out.
"Well," said Fred turning on the flashlight and then walking over to Susan. "I guess this means that tomorrow morning's edition is going to be late." He shined the light in Susan's eyes, "Are you all right, Cousin?"
"I'm alive," she pushed the useless computer to the floor. "No thanks to you! Why the hell...."
"Ms Gregory," said Charley Jones, the managing edition rushing into the room. "Since you've shut down the paper for the next twenty-four hours, why don't you and Mr. Morris go to the Nelson house. Apparently, Miss Gertrude Holmes found Mr. and Mrs. Nelson dead when she arrived at there home for a visit today."
"What's the address?" Susan got up, stood for a few minutes getting her balance, then went to the couch, closed the laptop case, and placed the strap over her right shoulder. "Pop always said this would make a good briefcase. Now," she turned to face Jones. "About that address."
Morris here knows the address," he frowned. "And don't forget to get pictures of the bodies."
Thirty minutes later, Fred parked his land rover in front of the Nelson house. Susan got out and ran up the front steps. She flashed her reporter's ID to the officer standing at the door and he pointed towards the living room. Inside, she found Police Chief Anderson writing in a notebook as he walked around the room.
"Chief Anderson," Susan smiled as she stepped into his path causing him to come to a sudden stop. "What happened here?"
"Well, uh," he glanced at her ID, "Ms Gregory, I'm not quite sure." He stroked his chin considering how much he should tell the press. "It appears that Mr. and Mrs. Nelson were murdered."
Fredrick Morris entered the room and begin talking pictures. "Morris," said Chief Anderson. "Don't..."
"Don't what, Anderson," Morris squatted in front of Rose Nelson, getting a close up of her face. "Taking pictures is my job and since I'm the only photographer in Oak Meadows willing to take picture of corpses." He sneered, "Your office needs me as much as the Tribune."
Why, Anderson thought, did I ever come back to this cornball town.
"Chief Anderson," Susan had pen and paper in hand, "any idea who murdered the Nelson's."
"Oh, what the hell," he mumbled. "It seems, Ms Gregory," he took her by the arm and led her onto the front porch. "That whoever murdered the Nelson's drained their bodies of blood." Anderson sit down on the swing and motioned Susan to sit next to him.
"Are you sure," she wrote quickly. Thank the stars, she thought, Mom insisted on teaching me short hand.
"Very sure," he frowned. "I investigated another murder of this type about a month ago at the house next door." He pointed to the Parker house.
"Not that I know of, Ms Gregory. It's possible that..." an ambulance pulled into the driveway and undertaker leaped out. "Excuse me while I see to the removal of the bodies."
"Jackson," Anderson shouted to the undertaker, "you were supposed to be here thirty minutes ago."
"Sorry, Anderson," Jackson growled, "but there were problems at the cemetery."
"As I was saying," he turned back to Susan, "it's possible that the daughter, Lilly, saw something. We're not sure where she is at this time."
Lilly sit by the living room window of the Parker house watching the commotion next door. She knew she should go see why the police and undertaker were at her parent's home, but it had taken her all night to unpack the boxes. Then when Calvin had returned two hours before dawn, she had helped him move the coffin into his bedroom. She was so tired she could barely keep her eyes open, the only thing she wanted to do was sleep.
I'll go back home this afternoon, she thought as she lay down on the couch and closed her eyes. All I need is a little rest before dealing with Mama.
Lilly awake an hour after sunset to find Calvin standing over her. "I didn't mean to wake you," he he smiled showing two white and sharp canine teeth. "I have to go out again tonight, why don't to take the guest bedroom instead of sleeping on the couch."
I suppose, Calvin thought as he walked out his front door. I'm eventually going to have to tell her about her parents, but right now I'm starving.
Blending into the night, he walked toward the east end of the street and paused in front of the Holmes house. I wonder what Gossiping Gertrude tastes like. Walking onto the porch, he tried the front door, but found it locked. Next he walked around to side of the house where he found an open bedroom window. Inside he sunk his fangs into the neck of the town gossip, but did not completely drain her blood. If anyone in this town deserves to be a vampire, he smiled as he left through the window. It's the town gossip, after all, she was the one who caused me to become a vampire. Celia Crimshaw would never have noticed me if Gertrude hadn't spread rumors about Lilly and me.
Calvin was still hungry, but there was one more thing he had to do before finding his next victim. Going into the alley, he slipped into the backyard across from the Holmes house. Going into garage he removed a hammer and nails from the workbench. Then he went to the house, he slipped into an open bedroom window. The coffin in the center of the room was open and empty. Closing the lid, he pounded the nails into it sealing the coffin shut. Next he ripped a page from a journal sitting on the nightstand. Picking up a pin he wrote: Dear Celia, There is no easy way out of Oak Meadows. He then placed the note on top of the coffin and used a nail to hold it in place.
The next morning Celia Crimshaw's neighbors were awaken at dawn by a shriek of pure pain coming from the Crimshaw house. When Chief Anderson arrived thirty minutes later, he found a crumbling skeleton by the coffin in Celia's bedroom.