Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Lake Hideaway, Cascade, Idaho

   "She was a shooter." Madelyn said, as they turned into the driveway of the lake-view cabin. "She was a contract killer for the Mafia back east; now she's retired and lives on the Lake by herself. Apparently, there was a problem in New York, something went south. And Auntie Maudie came to Idaho."
   "We are bringing Auntie Maude pie for what?" Carlson asked.
   "You never know," Madelyn replied.
   They pulled into the drive of the cabin, which was set back from the road. In the yard, a big, black dog was chained to a tree and howled when their car stopped. They parked in front of the small stone and frame structure. Carlson toted the fresh pie.
   The cabin door swung open and a tall, fit-looking, gray haired woman welcomed them. She praised the cherry pie and took them to the back, settling them in patio seats overlooking the lake. Then she returned with pieces of pie and lemonade.
   Madelyn introduced Carlson, telling Auntie Maude he was interested in the Lake Cascade Hyde Manor, the mystery of the Brown Family. That heinous murder where the family was shot dead at the dinner table, and the foster girl missing. It was the lurid lake legend for the summer.
   Was Averil Brown kidnapped? Or did she murder her foster parents, the daughter and son, and then vanish to a new life? The Brown Family murders were never solved. And Carlson, Madelyn's new boyfriend, was fascinated by the story.
   " Happened early this summer." Auntie Maude said. "Just after I retired and settled here at the Lake. I was in the New York shipping business, an expediter. I moved things along." She explained, eying Carlson.
  "I had some troubles, so took my savings and came out here. But we won't talk about that."
  Carlson returned to the Brown Family. "And you think Averil, the foster girl, did it?"
  Auntie Maude shrugged. "Averil and her mother were originally from Arizona. Their name was Quicksilver, her Mother was Indian. But in early summer the mother was murdered, throat slit, by someone Averil saw in the shadows, called him Shadow Man. Averil was a strange one. Had a way about her, bright as a bulb, maybe too bright. She seemed to know things, knew all about me. But we bonded anyway."
  Auntie Maude continued: "After her Mom was killed, Averil was committed to the Institute for Gifted Girls. The Browns took her from the Institute, and the State paid the Browns to keep her. Then the murders."
   "Averil just vanished?" Carlson asked.
   Auntie Maude nodded. "Averil was different. Even I was wary around her." She smiled and looked at the young couple. "Maddy knows not much spooks me."
   Madelyn laughed and asked. " But Averil gave you the jitters?"
   Auntie Maude nodded. She got up and walked to edge of the hill that sloped away to the pristine lake. Auntie Maude turned and looked at them. "Actually, I think Averil was....."
   There was a sharp crack that echoed down the lake. Auntie Maude flapped her arms, spun around and collapsed on her back. Auntie Maude's forehead was splattered with blood, a neat hole between her eyes.
   The police concluded it was a stray shot from a small-game hunter. But Maddy knew it was New York retribution
   The County now owns the lake cabin and offers it for rent. But so far no takers.

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