Opening of a story for a detective novel, set in a college town, with the usual suspects
|The moon cast shadows across the sidewalk, a brick and wrought iron gate creaking as it slowly opened into a manicured lawn and courtyard. My footsteps drowned out the sounds of the trees overhead creaking and moaning in the wind. It was nothing eventful, and yet there was the feeling that there was someone watching me as I made my way to the adequate guesthouse in the back of the property. I had been there almost a week, and I was still finding my way along the limestone flagstones leading toward the guest house. I didn't have a phone, television, or a garage to park the car I had rented from the airport car rental. The library and the courthouse were about the only businesses that I had had any experience with, and I was coming from the library tonight. I was turning the corner, and headed toward the guesthouse, and that is when I just happened to glance up at the windows at the main house, a formidable mansion with glass pane windows and bricks. I saw her face just for a glimpse, a moonlight beam giving it the pale glow of the face of an angel. The family that owned the property were frolicking in the South of France, so it wasn't a member of the family. The housekeeper had taken a vacation as well, so I thought I was alone on the property. I was stunned for a minute, then I remembered that the daughter sometimes came home from the local college on the weekends to get away from her sorority sisters and the chaos of a party college campus. She was studying public relations, or so I was told, as the housekeeper handed the keys to me in a hurry to catch her flight to see her grandchildren in Toledo, Ohio.
Quietly, I unlocked the deadbolt to my humble digs, and closed the door behind me without acknowledging the peering eyes in the second story window across the lawn. I turned on the lamp by the door, and headed over to the gas log fireplace. The temperature started to drop the week I was moving in, and the only entertainment I had was a turntable stereo that dated from the seventies, which just happened to play well into my interests. It was a matter of time in the library that I found the neglected classical vinyl music selections, and having a decent appreciation of the arts allowed me to select some better known artists. The gas log clicked on without a problem, casting an orange hue across the tile floor, and the turntable in the corner was soon whirring with the sounds of Rachmaninoff and Beethoven. The speakers were surprising in the quality of sound, and I soon found myself mesmerized by the sounds as I made a cup of hot tea and a can of Chicken Noodle soup. I was still working on graduate courses at the nearby college, so my meager budget allowed me to splurge occasionally and buy something besides soup, and tonight was going to be a feast. Ritz crackers, summer sausage from my Christmas gift basket, and smoked gouda thinly sliced and melted in the microwave. Life was good, as I sat on the couch staring into the fire, slipping into dreamland.