Friday, November 27, 2015

The Candidate's Mother, Shard Villa, Middlebury, Vermont

The young newshounds got rooms at the Middlebury Inn. After a brief talk with their informant they drove south on Route 7. The candidate had stirred the pot by stating he had attacked his mother with a hammer…during his youthful, dark days. The candidate claimed he found spiritual guidance and took a different road, becoming an admired and consummate professional.
      Skyler was fascinated by the odd tale and approached Chloe to pursue the story. They got a free-lance assignment to find the candidate’s mother and interview her. The media had to know the truth!
     Fortunately, Chloe had a friend at the Vermont Medical School who was taking a residency in geriatrics. He had discovered the candidate’s mother secreted away at the Shard Villa, an upscale, assisted-living home in Middlebury, Vermont. The doctor was able to arrange a meeting for the reporters. Chloe would ask the questions and Skyler would clandestinely film the interview with the elderly woman.
     Their contact greeted them at the Shard Villa and escorted them to an upstairs turret room with a view of the Green Mountains. The two introduced themselves, taking seats in front of the candidate’s mother, Mable. The elderly woman sat on an upholstered chair with a plaid blanket over her legs. In her left hand she fingered a silver cross; Mable's right hand was under the coverlet.              After small talk, she coughed and asked Skyler to get a glass of water from the kitchenette across the room.The young man turned away and the silver cross slipped from the old lady’s gnarled hand. Chloe bent from her chair to retrieve the icon, taking the cross from the floor. Suddenly Mable‘s right hand came out from under the blanket holding a ball peen hammer. With a swift blow, she popped Chloe on the head and the young woman collapsed to the floor with a soft thud.
     Skyler was just returning with the glass of water and he gaped at Chloe sprawled on the floor.
     “I think she’s fainted.” The elderly woman said her eyes wide.
     Quickly Skyler crossed the room and knelt beside Chloe. He saw the wound in the back of her head and looked up at Mable, who then cracked Skyler in the forehead. The young man toppled on his back and the room was still, but then Chloe groaned.
     The old lady bent down. “You got it wrong, dearie.” She whispered.
     “I’m the one with the hammer.”

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The White Buffalo Trading Post Explosion, Kendrick Park, Northern Arizona

The wind whistled among the pine trees and an odd noise in the night woke Bruce. His research group was staying at the White Buffalo Trading Post and in the morning he would present the history of the Red Mountain Devil, a Hualapai tribal legend of a creature that inhabited the Grand Canyon area in Northern Arizona.
     Creeping from his bed to the window, Bruce saw there was a moon illuminating the still landscape and he heard again the clinking sound. Catching his breath, Bruce saw something lope from the inn’s propane tanks and vanish among the rocks on the other side of the road. A bobcat?
     Donning a heavy sweat shirt and jeans, Bruce hurried outside to the parking lot with a flashlight. Everything was still as he crept to the road, scanning the light among the brush. Suddenly his beam caught a figure crouched in the juniper, red eyes blazing in the dark. The shape rose and vanished along a trail into the pines. Bruce crossed the road, calling out. And then the White Buffalo exploded.

Later, sitting on the ground with a blanket around his shoulders Bruce stared at the fire-scarred ruins of the trading post. His team was dead and only he and the owners who lived in front had survived the explosion. After paramedics treated him, the Sheriff asked questions, curious why he had come outside and escaped the fire. Bruce told the Sheriff he had awakened to a noise and gone to the window, seeing something run from the shadows of the inn and cross the road. The Sheriff asked Bruce what he had seen.
          “Please don’t tell us it was the Red Mountain Devil.”  A deputy scoffed sarcastically.
          Bruce took a breath and paused.
          “Probably a bobcat.” He answered.