Previously in this blog serial...
Now the HAUNTING continues...
I am staring at my phone in the parking area of VDV Pharmacy. The three little dots wave as I wait for Eddie’s response. He says that his day has been busy but good. I briefly explain my day has been informative, but it’s not over yet. He wishes me good luck and promises to text when he’s off work. I imagine Eddie’s father breathing down his neck, so I’m glad we are able to touch base at all.
Pocketing my phone, I get out of my car and walk through the small parking area, conflicting emotions fighting for attention. I’m eager to talk more with Eddie but I’m anxious over speaking with Christine Abernathy-Woodhouse. Straker’s book painted her as a logical scientist who hides her caring heart behind an extreme no-nonsense demeanor. This fictional account makes me uncertain how she’ll react to the subject of ten years ago.
I enter the pharmacy, its harsh lighting makes the afternoon sun appear dim in comparison. Blinking my eyes, I take in the grey rows of toiletries, medicine and greeting cards spreading out before me. Much like the library, this is a place I rarely visited as a kid and I can see why. From the severely organized shelves to the intense clerk, nothing about it seems kid-friendly.
“May I help you, young man?” the clerk inquires.
I flinch a little and face an older man with features as sharp as his tone. “Yes, I’m looking for Christine Abernathy-Woodhouse.”
“Oh,” he utters with a barely discreet eye roll. “She’s behind the pharmacy.”
“Thank you, sir.” I start towards the far end of the store where prescriptions are filled, but the clerk corrects me.
“Not there!” He doesn’t even try to hide rolling his eyes this time. “She’s in the alley on her smoke break.”
I’m sure the look on my face matches the shock I feel. Nowhere in Shadowtown did I get the impression the scientist smoked cigarettes or anything else. Maybe the lawman used fiction to paint a prettier version of himself and his friends while exposing the ugly truth of others, such as Ms. Minch and my father.
Thanking the moody clerk again, I quickly vacate the pharmacy. A sidewalk leads me around the building to an alley that I wouldn’t want to walk down at night. The pavement appears wet even though it hasn’t rained since I arrived in Sturgeons. Scraps of paper and other bits of litter are scattered about, making me watch my step. I fully expect to see a huge rat scurry from one of the many overflowing trash cans.
Instead of a rat, I see Christine Abernathy-Woodhouse, with yellow-blond hair just like her fictional counterpart. The tall woman is leaning against an exposed red brick wall, her clean white lab coat sticking out like a sore thumb. Apparently the pharmacy couldn’t be bothered to panel the backside in the same stone-grey siding as the front, but it makes sense with the grungy surroundings.
I notice her cautiously noticing my approach. Her tense body language warns me to take this slow, so I do the only thing I can think of, even though I don’t smoke. “Got an extra one?”
She tilts her head, examining me for a moment before shoving a hand into a pocket and retrieving a rectangular pack. I hesitate and then pull one out, but it’s not a cigarette. The long white cylinder between my fingers is a candy stick and so is the one she is removing from her lips.
“What do you want, kid?”
I sense that a direct question from Christine Abernathy-Woodhouse demands a direct answer. “My name is Jimmy Schroder and I have a question about Shadowtown.”
The HAUNTING continues in…
Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words!
Click the pic ⤵️ for a bloody good film review…