My piece of blog fiction continues…______________________________________
by John L. Harmon
The spectacled man, rims as thick and dark as his mop of hair, maneuvers slowly around a particular tree in Stickler Woods, holding a black gadget in his left hand. A faint hum emits from the technological contraption, accompanied by an occasional flickering light. He intensely watches the visual information until satisfied. With a click of a button, he powers down the gadget and strolls over to his blond coworker.
“Atmosphere complete?” the woman inquires, making certain everything is accounted for.
“Yes,” the man answers, hunching down in tandem with his coworker to deposit black gadgets, and several vials from lab coat pockets, into the metal containers.
Standing up together, they hover over the remnants of a quickly discarded picnic. A soft blanket, half-unrolled, lays near a turned over basket, forgotten and dirty. The contents of the picnic basket have spilled about, giving them something to ponder.
“Bananas…” they say simultaneously, curiously.
“Should we bag them?” he asks.
“No, we should leave them for the police.”
“If you insist.”
A knowing glance passes between the scientific duo before heading, in unison, to their large white van. Easy silence surrounds them as they buckle up and drive out of Stickler Woods onto paved road. Their direction is conspicuously aiming for Sturgeons.
“Are you on watch tonight, Christine?” the man breaks the silence from the passenger seat.
“Yes,” she answers, not giving much thought to his question until she hears an approaching vehicle. “There is much to see in this town, Samuel.”
“Indeed,” he replies, flashing that becoming smile and giving his glasses a nudge up. His blue eyes zero in on an extremely beige hat before the SUV shoots past in a black blur, cherries on.
Acting Chief Deputy Clyde Woodhouse, he broached that subject yesterday afternoon, fiddles with the passenger side seatbelt strap, contemplating the large white van that just sped by. Well, not the van so much as the blond woman driving it. The glimpse was fleeting and uncertain, but enough to leave him beguiled.
Acting Sheriff Benjamin Straker sits stoically behind the wheel. He once again noticed the large white van and its out of county license plates. This time, however, he also noticed the two occupants, but he barely gave it a thought, for his mind is currently in a quagmire with this new incident playing off of yesterday’s.
Tracy Newcastle showed up at her house in such an incoherent and disheveled state that her parents rushed her to the hospital and called the police to report an assault. After the doctors examined the young woman and medically calmed her down, it was Ben’s turn. Her story left the Acting Sheriff perplexed and left Mr. and Mrs. Newcastle completely distraught. Not helping their parental trauma was the fact a streak of their daughter’s perfect blond hair had turned a startling white.
Driving into Stickler Woods, Ben wonders what information he will have for Tommy Schroder’s parents. Is Tommy still there or has he vanished like Bob Kinney? The dragging of Lake Pontoon turned up nada, not even a sickly-green rowboat, giving him doubts about what they will find in this preliminary search.
“Distract me, Clyde,” the Acting Sheriff orders, pulling the SUV to a stop.
“Huh-wha…?” Clyde inquires poetically.
“I need to clear my head so I can focus,” Ben explains. “How was your date last night?”
Clyde, continuing to fiddle with the seatbelt strap, eagerly provides some details, “She was smart, sizzlin’, and direct. We had a real good time.”
Ben nods in silent approval. He is glad something good happened in Sturgeons among the tragic strangeness of the last 24 hours. It is exactly what he needed to hear.
“Now let’s find Tommy Schroder.”
_____________________________Click CHAPTER SIX to continue.
Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,