The dark of night and the streets were all but empty.
While sitting quietly in my motel room on route 66 I hear the soft, gentle murmurs from the next room. A young couple having sex, great that’s all I need. I came out here for peace and quiet to finish my novel and all I get is moans and visual images of the beat of each heart, the rush of blood through their bodies and heated throws you have teenage uncontrolled drunken sex.
I have sequestered myself to get this book done by the deadline so the publishing company won’t revoke my advance.
You now it’s bad enough that the woman at the check in looked a lot like the Crypt Keeper but now this, seriously I need a drink. Oh what fantastic agony is this? Empty scotch bottle.
Great on top of everything else I have to drive 17 miles to the road side liquor depot. I’ve got absolutely no hope of writing freedom now. Now I’ll be lucky if I make it back by dawn and the Sandman takes eyesight for a good 8 hours after a Vicodin and scotch cocktail. Well there is no time like the present to scamper off to the liquor store.
As I make the short trek from my motel room to my car I notice a black pick-up driving by slowly, but it doesn’t turn in and doesn’t stop. The windows are darkly tinted so naturally I cannot make out who is inside it. I mark it in my mind as odd and note the licence plate “It’s Mine”. Hmm, someone’s little bitter I think to myself. Oh well, I’m in need of scotch and that is what I am going to get.
In 1981 Jenna Tilson moved into a beautiful house on Chestnut Avenue not far from route 66. It had the greenest lawn on the block and a huge back yard with the largest oak tree you have ever seen. The trunk alone was the width of three grown men. Its branches were long and reached up to the sky as high as the eye could see.
Jenna had come into a considerable fortune after the death of her husband, Charles, and decided after two years of locking herself away from the outside world she needed a major change. This house had caught her eye from the moment she’d driven past it in her Escalade three months ago. The “For Sale” sign brought a beam of happiness to her immediately and she contacted the Realtor and got down to business.
Move in day…
The sun shone so bright that one would go blind if not wearing sunglasses but nothing could distract Jenna from the complete cloud nine feeling she had. The drive was long but the music she played soothed her broken heart. All three of Colbie Caillat’s albums were close at hand and Jenna played them all consecutively. Singing and smiling on her way to her new home. This was absolutely the right decision. A new beginning was waiting for her and she was more than willing to meet it head on.
As she arrived she saw the movers were already unloading and properly placing everything where it should go. The fact that they were so professional and organized lifted any stress of unpacking she could have faced. Boxes were gently packed and clearly labelled providing quick guidance. She was meticulous when packing it all up. The fact that she had a slight obsessive compulsion to have things in order at all times actually came into play rather well on this occasion. Charles used to torment her about it but playfully as he knew it could not be helped. They’d wind up giggling over it for hours on end and some days they would wind up literally on the floor in fits of uncontrollable laughter until tears were streaming down their cheeks and they could hardly catch a breath. It always led to the most soulful love-making and endless hours of being wrapped up in each other arms by the fireplace. God, she missed that feeling, she only let her heart sink for a second and then quickly pulled herself together as one of the movers approached her car window. She shut the engine off and opened up her door. Beautiful day Miss, isn’t it, he said with a grandfather like voice. He was older with silver hair but incredibly pleasant and Jenna couldn’t help but smile and reply, yes it is; the best day for a move in.
Three hours later all was quiet and Jenna stood in the front foyer and examined her new surroundings.
For 10:00 PM the liquor store was quite busy. I grabbed my forty of Scotch and decided it would do for now. I paid the cashier, who brown-bagged it and off I went, stopping for a fuel fill at the gas station and grabbing a carton of smokes. When I jumped back in my car I thought I caught a glimpse of that pick up again. It was getting foggy so this time I couldn’t see the plate. It sped off down the road.
As I slowly rolled back into the Motel parking lot I see the black pick-up parked about six spaces up from mine. So, whoever it is, I know they are here somewhere inside the Motel. I shrug it off and make way to my room. On my short walk someone bumps right into me.
“Oh, so sorry”
I, I am aw hell I’m just a damn clutz that’s what I am, he says. Right when I was about to reply he runs off around the side of the building. I follow him but he’s gone, just done, no footprints in the mud, no sounds, just…nothing. Puzzled I return to my room and dead bolt the door, making sure the blinds and curtains are shut tight.
This Motel isn’t a crap-hole in St. Nowhere It’s a beautiful establishment out I the country with 64 rooms. Well kept, clean and fresh and well-staffed. I’ve wanted to put words down on paper tonight but with the curiosity of the black truck and the disappearing clumsy man it was all that was on my mind. I couldn’t bring myself back to my novel for the life of me.
The phone rings and scares the living shit out of me. Contemplating on answering, it rings again and again, I grab it.
“You can’t tell anyone”
The line starts crackling and the voice on the other end is a female but I don’t recognize it. Then click and it goes back to the dial-tone. Thinking it’s just someone who dialed the wrong number I pour myself a double scotch, pop a Vicodin and I’m gone for the next 8 hours.
Unpacking brings memories:
Saturday morning Jenna woke with a huge smile on her face, ready to tackle the unpacked box items and place them in their new resting places. Eager to start the day she jumped into a nice hot shower and enjoyed the water pulses on her neck and back. After getting dressed she went downstairs to the kitchen to brew a pot of coffee and heave a small bowl of yogurt and berries for breakfast. While she sat at the table taking in the sun she reminisced about life when Charles was still alive.
They had met in University when Jenna was studying to become a Forensic Pathologist. Something she’d wanted since her father was murdered in her fifth year of life. Her father was a prominent member of the Special Victims Unit in Forks County in North Dakota and was gunned down in broad daylight while on the job. For Jenna becoming a Forensic Pathologist was essential for her own survival. At least then she would be able to determine the cause of death and talk for the dead. This whole avenue of study would teach her how to identify a victim and the time, manner and cause through studies in medical history, evaluating crime scene evidence and performing autopsies to uncover evidence from a body if it existed. She also made sure to train in Toxicology, firearms/ballistics, Trace evidence, Serology (blood analysis), DNA technology and procedures in evidence collection as well as studies in clinical Forensic Pathology because living patients were just as important to her as the dead. Charles was a Homicide Detective in Fargo, North Dakota when he to, was killed on the job by a maniac driving a stolen snow-plough he had taken for a joyride at three in the morning during one of the worst winter storms ever experienced. When they met at the University of North Dakota, Charles had walked right into her knocking her books all over the ground and they just connected instantly. They were inseparable and waited until after graduating to marry.
Jenna wiped a single tear from her eye and ready to venture out to her first day on the job with the North Dakota FBI Crime Lab.
A writer on the verge of something raw…….
As I open my eyes, the blinding sun has found its way through a small sliver in the curtains and I roll over thinking there’s no way its morning already. Stretching out, I grab my watch, the hell?! 2:30pm, well it must have been one helluva sleep. Then I remember the stranger and jump up to peer through the curtains for the truck. Gone, it figures.
Well it’s too late for breakfast but I need food. Freshly showered and dressed I grab my keys, hat and sunglasses and head to town. The chill is brutal today, minus ten and with the sun glistening off the snow-covered ground visibility is slim. Thank god for my Raybans. They are worth every bit of the $300.00 I forked out for them.
Pulling into Carla’s Diner was easy, there were only four vehicles in the lot. I open the door and the bell rings, I laugh to myself waiting to hear a waitress named Flo holler be right with you hun. But nothing. There’s an old white sign with chipped paint that reads “seat yourself”. I pick a table in the front corner so I can people watch, wondering in the back of my mind where the hell that odd guy disappeared to and what was the deal with that truck?
“What can I get for yah hun?” came a sugary voice. Her name tag read Jenny.
“Banquet Burger and Fires please love”
“Can I get you anything to drink while you wait?”
“Sure, I’ll have a large coke”
“I’ll be right back with your coke, shouldn’t be long for your food, it’s quiet in here today.”
I pull my notebook out and jot down a few thoughts but can’t get my mind off the events of the night before, something just isn’t sitting right with me and for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is that’s got me so wound up about that damn truck.
After a hearty meal I pay my bill, leaving Jenny a healthy tip, I grab the local paper on the way out and head out for a drive further into town. Just before pulling out of the dinner car park I see the front page heading
“Ninth girl found dead, Police still have no leads“.
to be continued
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