Welcome to FROST HARROW, my new modern (1990s) gothic horror series!
TWENTY-EIGHT – ONE FOR THE ROAD
“We have to stop meeting like this,” Richard Christopher joked as he walked in the door of the Nest Cafe & Diner.
Grant Winslow looked up from the paper he’d been reading in his booth near the door and snorted. “Either that or we need to start a lonely-hearts club.”
“I’d rather start a lonely-hearts club band,” said Rick, taking the seat across the table from Grant. “The servants off this evening?”
“Nope. I just needed a change of scenery. Didn’t you have a date tonight?”
“Yeah, I did. That friend of yours I met the other night, Cassie Peters.”
“Cassie?” asked Grant. “I didn’t think she was very interested in you. She ran off right after you came in.”
“Well, she must have seen something she liked,” said Rick, smiling. “I made enough of an impression that she tracked me down—I don’t even want to know how she did that.”
“There aren’t that many cops in Frosthaven. And I thought you said she had a friend on the force.”
“I guess that’s logical.”
Grant smiled. “Good thing you’re a cop and not a detective.”
A waitress appeared at Rick’s elbow, and he ordered a beer. Grant signaled for a refill of his.
“So what happened?” Grant asked, finishing off the beer he had been working on.
“She called it off. Said she had to take care of a sick friend—that dizzy Frost girl, I think. You know, the one who drove her car over the cliff a couple of weeks back.”
“Yeah. That’s right. Say, you know her, don’t you?”
The waitress interrupted them with their new drinks. Grant paid for both and then continued the conversation after she left. “I knew Ivy when we were kids. And I was the first one on the scene of the accident.”
Rick nodded. “Oh. Right. I saw that in the accident report, but I’d forgotten. I missed you at the scene. You must have been gone by the time I got there.”
“I guess,” Grant said. “Anyway, I’ve seen her a couple of times since. She’s a nice gal. Did Cassie say what was wrong with her?”
“Nope. My mystery date was pretty vague. I wouldn’t worry about her too much, though. Nuttiness runs in that girl’s family. Want to know what I heard in the station earlier?”
Grant raised one eyebrow and nodded.
The cop set down his glass and began his story.
“Her cousin, Morgan Frost, rented a motel room earlier today. Later, a guy turns up in it nude and sporting a big lump on his head. No money or credit cards taken or anything, just a nasty bump.
“He can’t remember what happened and when my buddies, Bob and Jim, finally catch up with her, she lawyers up on them. Refuses to talk.
“The family paid for the damages to the room before the sheets even got cold, and the hotel forgot the whole thing. The guy with the bump didn’t want to press charges, so the DA had to drop the case. What else could he do?”
Rick picked up the glass and took a long drink of beer. “Like I said, the whole family’s wacko. And maybe it’s contagious. That guy from the hotel had to take a trip to the emergency room.”
Grant smiled. “I’d be more worried about catching something from Cassie, if I were you. She strikes me as a man-eater.”
Rick chuckled and took a drink of his beer. “Just the kind of woman I like. The kind that’ll rub a guy in all the right places. I need a gal like that about now. It’s been way too long, man.”
Grant smiled. “I heard that about you.”
“Shoot. Can’t a guy keep any secrets?” Rick asked, a broad grin breaking across his dark face.
Grant got out of his seat. “Maybe I should head over to Cassie’s house and see if Ivy’s okay. Can I get her address from you?”
“Sure,” said Rick, fishing a piece of paper out of his pocket. He read the number to grant. “It’s 1996 King Street, about a half mile down from Bachman Avenue.”
Grant threw the officer a small, courteous salute. “Thanks, Rick. Catch you later.”
“Probably tomorrow if our schedules keep running parallel.”
“Probably,” Grant said, smiling. He stepped out the door and pulled it closed behind him. The small bell attached to the top of the entryway dinged as he went.
Rick sat back in the booth, took his beer in one hand, picked up Grant’s paper in the other, and turned to the sports section. He had a feeling it was going to be another long night.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Read my FREE Frost Harrow Halloween stories:
“The Weeping Ghost” (2012), “A Trace of Violet” (2013), “Lunchroom Zombies” (2014), “Omens & Visitations” (2015), “Fata Morgana” (2016), “At the Appointed Hour” (2017), and “Devil’s Lake” (2018).
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