Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Killing and the Green-Eyed Girl, Des Moines, Iowa

messiah, Eureka Springs, AK. Green-eyed girl, killing, Des Moines, IA
 Eureka Springs, Arkansas, tolerated the Psychic Center run by Ella Mae Quicksilver with its dribble of visitors. But as the trickle became a flow and people talked of a “Movement”, the forbearance became a misgiving. When the Center flourished, local churches became alarmed. Some wags whispered the green-eyed daughter, Averil Jean, was an apostle, a prophet, or perhaps a messiah… maybe worse. The town wise men gathered, muttering and nodding; something had to be done.
            Early one Monday morning in the dark of night, Averil woke her mother.  She said the townspeople would come for them that evening and it was time to go. They were always packed for flight and as the quirky town slept, the mother and daughter stole away. Ella asked about a sign, a star? But Averil shook her head. They would head north.

Hunter Farnham with his smooth, confident presentation was awarded the contract to manage DigitalCoin’s money. Hunter suspected the nerd company was a hacker operation, stealing money from all over the world.  He had control of $500 million that he managed for the company. Thinking the geeks did not scrutinize his trades, Hunter slowly skimmed a little here and a little there. Small amounts that could easily be explained. A peanut here, a peanut there and after awhile… a jar of peanuts.
Taking his stash, Hunter bet it all on an improbable Sweet Sixteen basketball game. He heard via a source that the University of Florida was going to lay down for Florida Gulf Coast University, a no-body upstart from Fort Meyers, Florida. The odds were 100 to one. When FGCU won, Vegas would take the hit from the Sweet Sixteen historic upset and Hunter could retire.
But the Gators did not lie down and Hunter lost big. Fortunately, he kept a reserve and he fled his Boston office. He reinvented himself as a farmer in Iowa, buying a rambling farm house outside of Des Moines, the old Boynton farm. He grew a beard and became a recluse, but he did need a maid as he hated housework and cooking.
Thinking of placing an ad on Craig’s List, Hunter was startled one morning when two women appeared at his isolated spread. On inspection, it was a mother and daughter. The mother was dark, attractive, and perhaps Native American. The daughter shyly kept her head down as the mother explained they were looking for work, preferably live-in. She could clean, wash, and cook with help from her daughter, who was home schooled.
As there was a large, empty addition on the back of the original farmhouse, Hunter agreed and welcomed the Quicksilvers. The two looked harmless enough. The 13-year old girl was quiet and the mother clean and respectful.
A month later on his birthday, Hunter befriended Ella Mae and Averil Jean with wine and cheese, and then invited them to join him at his dinner table. When it got dark Hunter produced a cake and for the first time he scrutinized Averil, taking note of the six-fingers on each hand. He was startled by her jade, green eyes and felt a sizzle as Averil gazed at him; a shock ran up and down his spine, touching his soul. Who was the young girl?
As spring came, Hunter took on a brother and sister, Ben and Inez, to help with the plowing and planting. He put them in the small guest house set behind the farmhouse. Ella Mae was immediately taken by the brother, a large strapping man in his late twenties. But Averil sensed evil, divining that the supposed brother and sister were at Hunter’s farm for more than spring planting. She told her mother they must leave the farm. This time Ella Mae, who yearned for male companionship, protested when Averil warned of danger.
“Perhaps there is another way.” Averil replied. 

The expanded family fell into an easy routine with Ben and Inez preparing for planting and Ella and Averil taking care of the house and meals. Hunter took note that in the evenings, Averil would stand by an old Elm tree watching the sun go down. As darkness fell, Hunter discerned a faint aura around the young girl. The sight stirred Hunter, yet made the hairs on the back of his neck stand, sending shivers down his spine.
            One night Ben got his call from Boston. The geeks had drained Hunter’s Des Moines Bank account. “Time to take care of business.” The voice said cryptically.
            Ben got out of bed. He dressed in his blacks and took his snout-silencer revolver.
“Don’t mess it up.” Inez said acidly from bed. “And do the half-breed and her weird daughter.”
Leaving the cottage, Ben went to the main house, entering through the kitchen. Hunter slept in a downstairs suite to the left. Ben stopped in the hallway, startled by a presence at the other end of the hall that was bathed in the pale moonlight. It was Averil in a translucent gown, her black hair loose and her green eyes glittering in the dim light with a golden aura about her head. Averil’s arms were extended as if she were an angel, her hands splayed, welcoming the errant Ben.
            Ben aimed the silenced gun, but felt a shock and fell to his knees, then gasped as a spirit gripped his soul, the pistol falling to the floor. Averil came forward and put her arms around Ben, pulling him close. She helped him to his feet and led him outside, directing Ben to kneel by the Elm tree, facing east to wait sunrise.
            Averil then went around the house to the cottage and opened the door. Inez looked up in astonishment as Averil entered. She quickly moved to the bed and took Ben’s pillow, hovering over Inez. Startled, then amused, the muscular Inez looked with disdain at the frail, young girl, who smiled down at her.
            Without a word, Averil put the pillow over Inez’s face, who suddenly found herself pinned to the bed. She struggled to scream, to fight, but could only manage a whine. In a few minutes, Inez was still.
            Averil looked down at the prostrate woman.
            There were many worth saving, but also those not worth saving.


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