Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Pied Piper at the Green Gables Inn, Newport, Oregon

David was forever haunted by his night at the Green Gables Inn. He had chanced upon the Victorian B&B during his evening walk and decided on an early dinner. He was attracted by the irresistible smell of bread baking and walked down the driveway into a garage converted into a small bar and eating space. In the back was a kitchen.
          As he entered the cozy cafe nestled close to the windy beach in Newport, he saw to his right a guitar-playing duo, a man is his early fifties and a blond woman in her mid-twenties, both strumming Gibson guitars. The young woman was stunning, reminding David of that mythical goddess on a white horse, her long, blond hair flowing down her front.
          A harried waitress came forward and led David to a side room which had been remodeled into a small dining area and seated him at a table for two. He sat with his back to the wall and could see the musicians in the bar mirror. Occasionally, the girl caught David’s eye and he noted her intense blue eyes. There was something about her.
          David studied the menu and when the waitress returned he pointed to a glass of the Chianti, a salad, and the cannelloni. A young man brought his wine and David sipped it, wondering about the two traveling troubadours. He supposed they played for tips, probably also hawking a CD.
Looking around he saw there were two couples at one table; at another table were three older women out of an evening of Italian food. As David settled in, relaxing and enjoying the ambiance of the Green Gables, he noted that the blond woman suddenly put her guitar aside and picked up a flute, a rare Mendini golden flute. She began to play and David noticed that the other diners appeared to go rigid, as if the music transfixed them.
In the bar mirror, David saw the man put down his guitar and motion to the diners in the main room to stand. Then the man stepped into David’s room and raised his arms for them to stand. David watched puzzled as the people at the two tables stiffly stood.
          Trying to make sense of the situation, David glanced in the mirror and saw the blond watching him with intense blue eyes. Intuition told David he should also stand, not draw attention to himself. He slowly stood and the young woman looked away.
          As he stood motionless, David watched as the man moved and opened the door. The woman rose from her stool playing her flute and slowly led the people in the front out the door and up the driveway. As the diners in David’s room began to shuffle forward, he got in line as if to follow, but at the room’s door David peeled off to the left, hiding behind a coat rack. As he huddled out of sight, he saw the man look in the room, presumably checking to see that everyone had left.
          David waited until he felt a slight tremor, perhaps the restaurant’s door shutting. He carefully peeked out and saw two black vans pull away from the front. David went to the phone on the counter and dialed 911. He then grabbed a yellow, legal pad and pen from the counter and began to write.

Officer Joe Finley was the first to arrive at the restaurant. He had quickly called in his findings and asked for backup. Joe was surprised when an unmarked cruiser pulled up and the Captain got out.
          Noting Joe’s surprise, the Captain explained there had been a similar incident up the coast in Long Beach, Washington State. It appeared five customers and three staff had vanished from the Lightship, a small beach cafe. In that case there were no witnesses.
          “At least we have an observer.” The officer explained.
          “He’s deaf and dumb?” The Captain asked.
          “Hearing impaired and unable to speak,” Joe corrected. “But he has written the episode out in detail.” And Joe handed the Captain the yellow pad.
          “There’s this.” The Captain nodded. “But a shame he isn't normal.”
          “If he was normal, we wouldn't have anyone.”
          The Captain raised his eyebrows.
          “Our witness would have followed the pied piper into the night.”

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