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Authors: Glenn Rolfe

Tags: #supernatural;werewolves

Blood and Rain (8 page)

BOOK: Blood and Rain
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Chapter Twelve

“Joel, wake up, man.” Wes held the cup of Dunkin' Donuts to Joel's face.

“Huh, what? Oh, hey.”

“I don't think Nick's gonna be much use to us, least not for a couple of days. We gotta strike while the iron's hot. Here.”

Joel sat up, rubbed his eyes and accepted the coffee. “What's the plan?”

“I couldn't sleep last night…bad dreams…anyway, I'm going to see the good sheriff, and you, my friend, are going to Hollis Oaks General Hospital.”

“What for?”

“That's where they took the bodies. The guy you're going to track down is Seth Kimball. Get whatever you can out of him.”

Joel sipped his drink. “Cool. Meet back here?”

“Yep.”

Joel watched Wes, keys in hand, head for the door. “Hey, if you got the car, how am I getting there?”

“It's down off of Main Street. It's like a twenty-minute walk.”

“Seth Kimball, please.” Joel smirked at the look the receptionist was giving him. It wasn't every day that a guy with a dayglow-painted Mohawk and wearing a Circle Jerks T-shirt showed up asking for the coroner.

“And what is this regarding?”

“Oh, sorry. Joel O' Brien. I work for the
Insider
. I'm here to do an interview.” He smiled.

“If you want to just have a seat, I'll let him know you're waiting.”

“Cool. Thanks.”

Twenty minutes later a man in dress slacks and a light-blue button-up shirt walked over to him.

“Hi, Mr. O'Brien?” he said as he stuck his hand out. “Seth Kimball.”

Joel stood up and shook his hand. “I know we didn't set anything up. Thanks for seeing me.”

“I'm not sure what this is about? You work for the
Insider
?”

“Yeah.” Joel looked at the large woman two seats over. She held a Nora Roberts book, but had been eyeballing him since she sat down. “Can we talk outside?”

“I'm pretty swamped—”

“I heard.”

“The
Insider
, huh?”


Crypto
.”

Kimball's gaze darted from Joel to the lady next to him. “Make it quick. Come on.”

The coroner led him out through a side entrance to the employee-parking area. He pulled out a cigarette and offered one to Joel.

“Don't smoke,” Joel said. “Tobacco anyway.”

Kimball lit his cigarette. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. Then back again and dug at his forefinger with his thumb.

“The
Crypto Insider
. What can
I
do for you?”

Joel pulled out his mini voice recorder and pressed the red button. “You handled the bodies from the attacks over in Gilson Creek this weekend?”

“Yes,” Kimball said. His gaze dropped to the device.

“Did you happen to notice anything peculiar about them?”

“That's still part of an ongoing investigation. I'm not at liberty to discuss my findings.”

“That's okay. I don't want you to get in trouble. It was an
animal
attack though, correct? I mean, that's what the sheriff told reporters.”

Kimball sucked down another drag. Then flung the butt to the ground. “Looks like it, yes.”

“Is there any possibility that it wasn't?”

“Excuse me?”

“Were you the coroner here in 1997?”

“No. Listen, Mr. O'Brien. I have a lot of things to get to—”

“Just one more question. Do you believe in werewolves?”

“I don't have time for this. If you want to chase monsters, Mr. O'Brien, why don't you try writing fiction? Have a good day.”

Joel hit Stop on his recorder and watched the coroner speed-walk back inside. He wondered if Wes would have better luck.

Deputy Randy Hines tried to focus on the paperwork, but couldn't get past the impossible shadow left from last night's dream. He got up from his desk to grab another cup of coffee.

“Hey, Randy,” Rita said. “You feeling okay?”

“Yeah,” he lied. “Just trying to get through all of this paperwork.”

“Did you hear any more on Theresa Turcott's boy?”

“No. Seth Kimball was supposed to talk to Joe last night. I haven't seen him yet this morning.”

“Damn shame. Can't imagine what this is gonna do to her. She's had her struggles.”

Randy knew about the Turcotts. A family in the bottle. Joe hadn't said much about Keith's death. Just that it could be related. Dwayne, on the other hand, told him about the kid's leg. Randy had seen the damage to the car's roof with his own eyes. It looked a hell of a lot like the car out on Christie Road.

The doors to the station opened. A guy in a T-shirt and jeans, sporting a lip ring and a ponytail, walked to Rita's desk.

“Hi. I was wondering if I might be able to speak with the sheriff.”

“He's—” Rita said.

Randy joined them. “Sheriff's out at the moment. I'm Deputy Hines. What's this in regards to?”

“I'm doing some research on this weekend's incidents. Just wanted to ask a few questions.”

“We're still looking into things. Who are you affiliated with?”

“You'd probably laugh if I told you.”

“Try me.”

“Okay. I run a weekly publication called, the
Crypto Insider
—”

“I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave.” Randy stepped around the counter and motioned toward the door.

“But I haven't done anything. I just want to inquire—”

Randy grabbed the guy's elbow. “Listen.”

“Hey.”

Randy pulled him to the doors. “Don't go stirring up any nonsense. These are good people in this town. We just lost three members of our community. The last thing we need is your trash rag drumming up articles on monsters and ghosts. We've had enough horror for the week.”

Randy opened the door.

The guy jerked his arm free and walked down the front steps and onto the sidewalk. “You've got about twenty-eight days until the next full moon, Deputy. You're gonna have to spill the beans about this sooner or later.”

Randy instinctively put his hand to the gun on his hip.

“Whoa. Hey, I'm leaving.”

He watched the guy back away with his hands up. A cold rush of adrenaline pumped through his arms and chest. The hand on his shoulder startled him.

“Oh sorry, Randy. What was that all about?” Rita said.

His heart hammered. “Nothing.”

“You okay? Your hand is shaking.”

He still had his hand on his gun. He raised it and wiped his mouth. “Yeah, I think I'm going to take a stroll down to Mel's and grab something to eat.”

“You sure you're okay?”

He didn't answer. He just kept rubbing his mouth and chin. “I'll be back.”

Wes exited Jenner's Grocery with a can of Mountain Dew and a copy of the
Coral County Sentinel
. The stories were separate. There was one for the guy out on Christie Road and another for local teen Keith Turcott on Bixby Drive. There was nothing about the incident at the park. Not today anyway. He wondered if he'd be able to get something out of the Turcott kid's parents. It was a shitty move, but he didn't drive all the way up here for nothing. He called the hotel.

“Hey,” Joel said on the other end.

“Hey, did you get anything out of the coroner?”

“Nah, but he seemed real edgy. Hightailed it back inside after I mentioned the word
werewolf
.”

“You what?”

“I knew he wasn't going to give me anything. It got a rise outta him.”

“Yeah, well, that's just about what I got here too. Sheriff was out. Deputy Hines escorted me out of the building.”

“Shitty.”

“Yeah, but I'm calling because I need you to do me a favor.”

Wes pulled his car into the Turcott's driveway. Joel had found the address on the internet for him.

The garage looked like something exploded inside. Most of the door was gone. Wes grabbed his digital camera from the front seat and snapped a few pictures. He glanced at the trailer next to it, checking the windows to see if anyone was watching him. Satisfied no one was, Wes checked the area in front of the garage for animal tracks. There had been no mention of the beast being involved, in the paper or on the newscast this morning, but he had a feeling.

“Can I help you?”

He spun around at the woman's voice and tucked his slim camera into his back pocket. He waved to the woman in the doorway. “Hi. Mrs. Turcott?”

“Yes?”

“Hi, my name's Wes Kaplan. I work for a paper out of New Hampshire. I know this isn't the ideal time to speak with you, but would you have a couple minutes to spare?”

“I…I already told the sheriff everything…I…”

“I just have a couple of quick questions, ma'am, and then I promise I'll be out of your way.”

She looked dazed. He could smell the booze on her breath. He jumped at his chance before she could turn away or say no.

“What happened to the garage door?”

Her gaze floated to the garage and then out toward the forest over the small field that led away from it.

“Ma'am?”

“Do you…”

“Do I…”

“Do you believe in the supernatural?”

“Yes.”

“Whatever did that was not from around here.”

“Did you see it?”

“I heard his screams…” She disappeared in the memory.

Wes waited for her to return.

“When I came to the door…I saw it bust through the garage and run out there…”

“What did it look like?”

“It killed my boy and then it ran out there.” She pointed toward the woods.

“You saw it though. What did it look like?”

“It killed my boy.” She was gone. Tears rolled down her red cheeks.

“Thank you, Mrs. Turcott. I'm sorry for your loss.”

He left her in the doorway. She stayed there as he got in his car, staring out into the woods beyond. The goose bumps on his arms told him he had his story.

Chapter Thirteen

By Thursday, life in Gilson Creek had returned to normal. The sound of birds chirping came just before the sun's golden glow crested the horizon and signaled the dawn. The Donavans across the street followed shortly thereafter. Allan Donavan made his way across his creaky porch, in a worn-out housecoat, to see where the paperboy lazily had planted his copy of the morning
Coral County Sentinel
. The more genteel types—like his neighbor Marv Thompson—found copies of the
New York Times
on their stoops.

Joe nodded at both men. Mr. Donavan waved back. Marv the asshole did not.

Joe met the morning the same way he always did. He leaned against the support beams of his front porch that were in dire need of being repainted. He liked to breathe in the mornings, telling himself it gave him a sense of things to come. He wasn't sure how or why he did this exactly—it was just one of his daily rituals.

He heard car after car roll down his street, blaring the sounds of
Wild Ted's Morning Meds
as they passed by. Some people liked to get their mornings off and running with loud rock music, but Joe thought a cup of Folgers did the trick just fine.

Life hummed along as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred, though if anyone had seen the bodies of Brian Rowel, Keith Turcott or Mike Ouellette, they would have known better.

The
Coral County Sentinel
ran obituaries on Michael “Old Mike” Ouellette and Keith Turcott. For Old Mike's they went with the generic, but acceptable, mountain lion story. Despite the fact that there hadn't been any mountain lion sightings in Maine since Gilson Creek's last series in 1997, and in all of Maine since 1938, people went along with it. There was no mention of the severed arm, the gnawed-on chest cavity or the massive damage inflicted to the face of the deceased. Keith Turcott's obit simply stated that he died from injuries suffered in his garage.

School was done for the summer. The teens of Gilson Creek flocked to Emerson Lake en masse. Joe knew Sonya and her friends would spend most of their days there too. He'd give them the days in which to do so. The beach closed at dusk, but Joe was already planning to supply the lake with a deputy to make certain the water and sand were vacated by dark. Summer was supposed to be full of promise and good times, but for Joe it looked like another season of silver bullets and dread. The next full moon was in twenty-six days.

For Nick Bruce, summer's promise and the idea that anything was possible made him want to stay anywhere but inside.

Wes called him that morning to make sure he was okay and to let him know that he and Joel had managed to scrape together a terrific article for Friday's edition of the
Crypto Insider
. His Full Moon Monster was going to be front-page news again. Wes said that if Nick was interested, he'd love to have him stay on the story.

Nick hadn't returned Wes's phone calls. He'd only started to feel better this morning. He cleaned the bite on his arm. The wound was no longer black (if it had ever been black), and it appeared to be healing quite well. The teeth hadn't sunk in as deep as he'd originally thought. He felt there was no need to go to the hospital. Whatever infection there might have been had run its course.

Nick entered the kitchen. His mom was sitting at the table, drinking a cup of coffee and thumbing through one of her entertainment-gossip magazines. She looked him over. “Good morning. Feelin' better?”

“Yeah. This coffee fresh?”

“It was an hour ago.”

“Good enough.”

He poured a mug of her burnt Blueberry Cobbler and joined her at the table. He watched her gaze fall to the bandage on his arm.

“Did that happen in your car?”

“My car?”

“Yeah, AAA guy dropped it off Sunday morning. You get in an accident?”

“Not exactly.” He remembered the blown tire. “I got a flat.”

“What happened to your arm?”

“Some animal bit me while I was changing the tire.”

“Animal?”

Her face went pale.

“What? I'm okay. It wasn't even that deep.”

“It was probably that mountain lion that killed Old Mike and that man on Christie Road.”

“Mountain lion?”

“Yes. And that's where the AAA guy says he picked your car up.” His mother scooted out of her seat and to his side. She hugged his head the way she used to when he was little. “You're lucky to be alive.”

He shrugged out of her hold. “I'm fine, Mom.”

“We better get you to the doctor.” She made a move for her car keys on the kitchen counter.

“Jesus, Mom. I said I'm fine.”

“Don't you talk to me like that. Now, come on. We're taking you to see—”

“No. We're not.” Nick shot up to his feet. The chair slid across the floor and slammed into the cupboards. The little tree of mugs rattled.

His mother took a step back.

“I'm okay. I just need some air.”

He left her standing in the kitchen, grasping her keys. Outside, he stopped at his car. He forgot to ask her where his keys were. He decided to walk it off. Whatever
it
was.

He'd never really raised his voice to his mother. That had been his father's thing. He, Daniel Bruce, had been the hard one. The big-mouthed macho loser. Until he turned into a ghost and vanished from both of their lives. Good riddance. Nick would never be like his father.

He reached the end of his street. Part of him wanted to go home and apologize to his mom. Let her take him to the hospital for her peace of mind. The woods across the street called to another part of him. Something deeper, primal. He sniffed the air—something musty lay beneath the scent of pine and dirt.

He stepped off the pavement and onto the path. For being laid up for the better part of a week, he felt spry, loose. He broke into a jog, and then into a sprint. He felt free…and hungry.

BOOK: Blood and Rain
11.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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