Welcome to FROST HARROW, my new modern (1990s) gothic horror series! If you’d like to support this and my other work, go to www.CushingHorrors.com and become my patron! You may also enjoy the Scribe Award-Winning MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE – In print, for kindle, and for all e-book formats. And check out my retro-horror-comedy classic CANOE COPS VS. THE MUMMY as well as my other books. Now… On with the show!
TWENTY-FOUR – EARLY BREAKFAST
Grant wandered into the Nest, a small diner on Frosthaven’s lower west side, just after dawn. He found Richard Christopher already sitting at a stool near the back of the counter.
“Well, if it isn’t Frosthaven’s only cop,” said Grant. “Good morning.”
“What’s good about it?” grumbled Rick, sucking on a scalding cup of black coffee. “Take a seat, if you’re so inclined.”
“Don’t mind if I do.”
“What brings a rich man like you to this small corner of the universe? I thought you had half a million servants to make breakfast in bed for you.”
Grant smiled and signaled for coffee. “I do. But I had trouble sleeping and I didn’t want to wake the staff. Besides, Ruby still makes a mean cup of Joe.”
Rick nodded. “That she does.”
“Isn’t it a bit early for your shift?” Grant asked.
“I couldn’t sleep either. Decided I might as well pick up some overtime since I was up anyway.”
“Bet the boss likes your enthusiasm.”
“The boss,” Rick said, chuckling, “likes running my ass all over town.”
“Maybe he should hire a second guy.”
“Maybe we should raise your taxes to do it.”
Grant smiled. “You might as well. I’d never miss it.”
Rick shook his head. “The rich are different from you and me.”
“Well, from you anyway,” said Grant.
The call came in before Rick had finished his second cup of coffee.
“Shoot,” he said after listening to the dispatcher on his portable unit. “I gotta go.”
“What’s up?” asked Grant.
“Couple of naked people tore each other to pieces at the Jungle Motel.”
Richard rose from his stool at the counter. “Yeah, it takes all kinds. Katie Small called it in. You know her?”
“Don’t think I do.”
“People called her ‘Kitty Galore’ in her former life, but now she runs a damn fine detective agency.”
Grant snorted. “What was she before, an Ian Fleming character?”
“Nah. She was a hooker. Don’t hold it against her, though. Like I said, she’s a good PI now. Runs the Big Detective Agency.”
“Mm,” said Grant around a mouthful of scrambled egg. “I’ve heard of that.”
“Anyway, seems like Kate found the bodies. I better mosey out and see what the story is.” Rick finished his coffee. “If you’ve a lust for blood, you could tag along if you like.”
“No thanks,” said Grant. “I’d rather get my kicks somewhere less sanguine.”
“Don’t blame you. Hey Ruby,” Rick called to the owner. “Pour me another cup. I gotta go, so make it a big one.”
Grant rubbed his chin and looked thoughtful for a moment. “Tell me something, Rick…”
“What you got in mind?”
“After what you told me last night, doesn’t it seem like there have been a lot of sex crimes around Frosthaven lately? I don’t recall it being like this before I went away.”
“Shit,” said Rick, “I didn’t even tell you about the preacher. I got the call on that after you left last night, and it didn’t seem the type of thing to bring up at breakfast.”
The cop took a deep breath and rubbed his chin. “Now that you mention it, though, it does seem like libidos are running wild.”
“Dangerously wild,” said Grant.
“You got that right. Like something out of Clive Barker. Maybe it’s the full moon,” Rick suggested, taking a huge, steaming Styrofoam cup from Ruby.
“You watch yourself with that, officer Christopher,” said Ruby. “We don’t need no McDonalds-style lawsuits on our hands.”
Rick smiled. “Thanks for the warning, Ruby. I’ll be careful.”
“Well,” Grant said, “good luck on this case. You can tell me about the preacher later.”
“If I got to,” said Rick. He pulled on his hat. “You stay out of trouble, Mr. Winslow. Keep that libido under control.”
Grant smiled. “It’s a tough job, but I’ll try if you do.”
Rick chuckled and headed for the door. “I got a date tonight. Maybe I won’t have to.”
“Hey, one last question before you go,” Grant called after him.
Rick arched one eyebrow. “Which is?”
“Why do you always get the shitty jobs?”
Richard shook his head and made for the door. “I’ve been trying to figure that one out myself.”
TO BE CONTINUED…