A Ghostly Informant - Virginia Coalson
A Ghostly Informant - Virginia Coalson
Nestled in the cul-de-sac of Bluewater Lane were six two bedroom cottages. The rear of all the properties bordered the back waters of Lake Windsor. The lake was huge and the main tourist attraction in the small town of Lovejoy. The town was always busy as many came to the lake for vacations, weekend get-a-ways, or to retire in the warmth of Lovejoy; like the residents of Bluewater Lane. Those visiting the lake enjoyed wellkept nature and hiking trails and almost two miles of manmade white sandy beach. The tourist could enjoy the sun, build sand castles, and splash in the lake. Lovejoy also was the home of a small nudist resort, One with Nature, which had its own beach, camp grounds, and rental cottages. Those who came to enjoy the water and other activities didn’t bother the residents of Bluewater Lane and mostly stayed to themselves… or did they?
The last month had brought an uneasiness to the neighborhood. Several of the homes had been broken-in and ransacked. The thieves didn’t get a lot as the residents were all retired and lived a simple life. What valuables they did have were locked in a safe or in a bank safety deposit box. A normal haul for the robbers was a flat screen, some silver flatware and maybe a laptop.
All of the break-ins so far had occurred when no one was home. That didn’t matter to those on Bluewater Lane. They all were on edge worrying what would happen if the crooks returned when they were at home. Someone may be harmed or worse - killed in the process.
Harriet Turner, a widow and her fur baby, a pug named Bonkers, lived at 13 Bluewater Lane, the first home before the cul-de-sac began its circle. Harriet had yet to be robbed and was thankful for that. Tony a detective for the Lovejoy police department and her son, made sure his mom had the latest tech
gadgets. He had installed video cameras so his mom could see who was at the door without going to it. He also had an alarm system with a mobile panic button that would notify the authorities. Harriet Turner at 13 Bluewater Lane was at home yet the home was almost dark as the sun began going down. The only sign of light was a dim glow of the dark green pulled curtains of the living room.
Behind the door of 13 Bluewater Lane the room was cold and the flickering flames of the candles that were surrounding the Ouija board were the only source of light. Harriett and Bonkers were holding their weekly séance. Harriett was finishing up her conversation with her late husband Isaac as Bonkers rolled over to her back, legs up in front of what Harriett referred to as Isaac’s chair. Once Harriett ended her conversation with the other side, Bonkers got to her feet. Harriett was placing the board back in the box as she said “Bonkers you know Tony doesn’t approve of this, so let’s keep it to ourselves.” Bonkers barked as Harriett was placing the triangle on top of the board. She was placing the top on the box as she added “We enjoy our visits with Isaac and it’s imperative that we continue. Isaac and I always discussed the budget and sought advice from one another. Just because he has passed doesn’t mean that has to stop.” Bonkers barked once as Harriet was pushing the Ouija box under the beige floral print sofa. With the box tucked out of sight, Harriett got to her feet and turned the lamp on that was on the table next to the sofa.
Harriet was leaning over blowing the candles out one by one as Bonkers began barking and charging the front door. With the last candle out, Harriett eased down on the couch and was looking at the monitor on the table next to the lamp. The dark screen came to life as the motion sensor triggered and shed light on the front porch. Harriett was watching two men ap
proach the stoop as she said “Good guard dog Bonkers, we do have visitors.” Bonkers continued barking as Harriet was focused on the monitor. Once the two men in dark hoodies reached the porch, Harriett said “Bonkers I’ve seen these two somewhere, but not sure where… I think it’s safe to go to the door.”
Harriet was heading to the door when she felt an invisible force pulling her back. She halted her advance as the room chilled and filled with Isaac’s voice “Harriet, I sense trouble. Don’t unlock the door and call Tony.”
Harriet always listened to Isaac in these situations as he was the best at sniffing out danger. She nodded her head as she was removing her phone from the apron pocket. She called Tony as she made her way back to the monitor. While waiting on him to answer, she noticed the two men running from the porch. Bonkers stopped barking and came running toward the sofa. The fawn colored pug hopped up next to Harriet as she said “That’s strange, they didn’t knock or ring the doorbell Bonkers. Maybe they were at the wrong house?”
Harriet was petting the dog when Tony answered the phone. She explained the events to him and the dress of the two gentleman. He informed his mother that she was probably right, they were at the wrong house and there was nothing to worry about. He then let her know that he would see if a car was in the area that can ride through the cul-de-sac, just in case.
Harriet in haste began clearing the coffee table in case Tony decided to stop by himself. With Bonkers at her heels she was put away the candles, crystal ball, and tarot cards. The last thing to complete the task of removing all evidence of the séance was to get the cushions out of the floor, back on the sofa and in the chair. Once that was done, she and Bonkers settled down to an old western that was showing on TV.
As a gun fight broke out, Bonkers got to her feet and started barking “Calm down vicious guard dog, it’s only on TV.” Once Bonkers hit the floor, the barking became constant as she was running for the door. Harriet glanced toward the door noticing the flashing blue and red lights coming around the living room curtains. “Alexa, turn on the front porch light.” Harriet said then looked down at the monitor. Two patrol cars and an ambulance were at the Landrum’s. Their cottage was directly across Bluewater Lane from Harriet’s. “Bonkers, either Tony over reacted or something has happened to either George or Eleonore.” Harriet froze and covered her face as she gasped then squealed “Oh no another break-in…one of the two got hurt.” Harriet’s hands were shaking as she was retrieving the leash from the hook by the door. She was snapping the leash to the collar of Bonkers as she added “Come on, let’s get out there and see what we can find out or if we can be of any help to Eleonore or George. We will be safe with all the patrolmen around.”
Eleonore and Bonkers were at the edge of the yard. Bonkers was doing her business as Harriet was looking across the street. The paramedics were removing a
stretcher from the house. The body was covered with a blood soaked white sheet. Eleonore was close behind the stretcher. Her face was red, her hands covered in blood as her voice filled the night air “They robbed us and killed my George! They killed my George!”
Harriet bowed her head as her eyes teared up. She didn’t care much for Eleonore but George and Isaac were good friends. After Isaac’s death, George helped Harriet get a lawn care service and helped her pick out a new car when the old Ford stopped running. George was also a good listener and Harriet would bend his ear when they would meet walking the dogs. Harriet’s head popped up as she said “Bonkers, maybe we can help take care of Daisy, George’s dog. You and her seem to get along.”
Harriet and Bonkers were watching as the stretcher was being loaded in the ambulance. With the stretcher inside, they helped Eleonore in and slammed the door shut. The ambulance sped off as Harriett and Bonkers headed across the lane; Tony was doing the same. “Mom that’s far enough, you don’t need to see anymore. Come on, let me get you back in the house. I have some questions for you.”
“Ok Tony, but Daisy can’t be left alone overnight in that mess, let me bring her home with me and Bonkers.”
“Mom, whoever is responsible for this horrendous murder killed the dog also.”
“Oh,” Harriet said once again tearing up as she, Tony, and Bonkers headed up the walk.
With Harriet and Bonkers on the sofa, Tony sat down in the chair his dad always used. “Mom, you said that you may have recognized the two men that showed up at your door tonight. Have you yet to recall where you have seen them?”
“You think they killed George and Daisy?” “Mom, you know that I can’t discuss that with you. Let’s just say that Eleonore swears she saw two men running toward the lake when she arrived home from the store and found George.”
“I know I have seen them, but I still can’t remember where, maybe they have cut the yard before.”
“That’s great Mom, I’ll check with your lawn service in the morning. You got anymore tapes I can put in the security recorder? I’ll take the tape that has their faces on it with me.”
“Yes son I do, they are under the cabinet that the recorder sets on.” Harriett replied.
Tony stood up and walked over to his mom. He bent down and kissed her on the forehead. He was patting Bonkers as he said “I love you and need to get back to work. Once I leave, make sure all the doors are locked and chained and you have your panic button with you.”
“I love you too and be safe tonight. I’m sure I will be OK, I have Bonkers and plus you all will be in the area most of the night.” Harriett said as she rose to her feet. “You know us well.” Tony said as he headed to the spare bedroom where the security equipment was kept.
“I should. There is over fifty years of police work between you and your dad, God bless his soul.” Harriett said.
“That there is mom,” Tony said as he disappeared through the bedroom door.
“Tony, I’m going to take Bonkers back out since we will be locked in the rest of the evening.”
“That is a good idea since there is a lot of activity out there but make sure you lock up tight when you get back in. I’ll honk when I leave the scene to remind you.”
Harriett and Bonkers had stayed out till Tony departed from the scene. Harriet waved as Tony honked the horn and waved back. Once she entered the house she locked the dead bolt and was putting the chain in place as her nostrils filled with fresh popped popcorn. Bonkers took off toward the kitchen, her nails clicking as she was dancing on the linoleum covered floor. Harriet, with her panic button in her hand, joined Bonkers and checked the back door. The chain was in place, the alarm had not sounded so she was sure no one had entered the house from the lake. “Hate to disappoint you girl but there is no popcorn,” Harriet said as she inhaled, pulling the aroma deep into her nose. “I’ll admit it does smell good.”
Harriet and Bonkers were returning to the living room as the lights went off then right back on. A cool breeze blew through the house making Harriet shiver as she stopped in her tracks. Harriet spotted a bowl full of popcorn and a coke sitting on the table next to George’s chair. Bonkers took off running and laid in the floor in front of the chair. Harriet remained still, watching the popcorn that was slowly disappearing. She let out a slight gasp and was taking a step back as the pop floated from the table, moved over the chair, tilted, then was returning to the table. She watched as Bonkers rolled over on her back, her legs kicking as if someone was rubbing her stomach. Harriet spoke up “Spirit, I know not to fear you as Bonkers is not barking and enjoying your presence. Please make yourself known by name.”
A voice came from the chair “I’m thankful you are not frightened as that was not my intent. I’m George Landrum from across the street. Your husband Isaac met me at deaths door and walked me to the other side. He said you could help put my soul at rest.”
“Tony is on the case, he will find out who murdered you and Daisy.” Harriet explained as she took a seat on the couch.
The popcorn bowl floated over to Harriet “Please have some.” Harriet retrieved a handful of popcorn. Once the bowl was floating back to the table, George said “I have faith in Tony, but I want peace and justice sooner rather than later. My killer will be at the funeral, putting on a show.”
“I don’t understand… Were your killers two men?” Harriet asked then placed some popcorn in her mouth. “They were a part of it but the killer was Eleonore.”
George said, his voice cracking.
The popcorn came spewing from her mouth as Harriett shouted “What! You must be mistaken.”
“I was there Harriet, it was definitely Eleonore who cut my throat.” George explained.
“I never suspected the two of you had any problems.” Harriet said as she was cleaning up the popcorn Bonkers had not eaten from the hardwood floor.
“We only fought about those two kids of hers. You did know they were my step children? My loins would never produce such lazy offspring. Anyway, they wanted to borrow more money to start yet another business. I had already financed three adventures for those two that fell through. Heck Harriett, they were about to bankrupt us when I put my foot down.”
“I did not know that…wait they cut my grass before I was able to get the lawn service under contract. That’s how I recognized them when they came to the door tonight.” Harriett said.
“They came here?” George asked as a handful of popcorn disappeared from the bowl. “They did.” Harriett told George of the encounter earlier as the chair began rocking back and forth. She informed George that Tony had retrieved the security tapes that recorded the two.
“That figures, they were both so drunk and high the idiots went to the wrong house first. That’s how much sense they got. I shouldn’t have opened the door for them myself.”
“I feel responsible, if I had let them in maybe they wouldn’t have harmed Daisy and you and all of this could have been prevented.” Harriet said before taking another hand of popcorn.
“Don’t blame yourself, if it had not happened tonight, it would be another night; plus they could have harmed you. Hey, I’m happy and away from her and those two. Now it’s just me and Daisy. Isaac is watching her while I’m visiting you.”
“Well it is a comforting thought knowing you are happy and Daisy is with you. I however don’t understand how I can help you.”
“I had suspected for a long time those two were behind the break-ins around here. Eleonore was feeding them the information of who was in town shopping or on vacation. That’s the reason we were never robbed and she had informed them about the security Tony had installed here.”
“So they left this house alone also.” Harriett said. “That they did. I however expected they were coming in our house when we weren’t there and taking money and my gold coins from our safe. When I would confront Eleonore about it she would claim I was imagining things and the safe count was correct.”
“That was awful of her. But once again, how can I help?”
“Oh yeah, back to that. I installed tiny pen cameras in the spare bedroom where the safe is and in the living room. The detectives will never find them if they don’t know to look for them. I need you to lead Tony
to those cameras. Once he pulls the memory card, he will see the two boys kill Daisy, tie me to a chair, then Eleonore kill me once she returns, carrying no bags I might add.
Harriet opened the drawer of the table the lamp was on and removed a writing tablet along with a pen. George began explaining where the cameras were. He also wanted Harriet to fill Tony in on the arguments, missing money, and coins. Once George, was done the popcorn was gone and the soda can empty.
Bonkers began to whine as the chair stopped rocking and the room began to warm up. Harriet remained seated as she stared at the notes while asking Bonkers
“How are we going to get Tony this info without him knowing I have been talking to ghosts again?” She looked up from the notes as Bonkers was pacing back and forth in front of the sofa. Harriett shouted, “That’s it Bonkers! I will tell Tony that I remember where I saw the two young men before and that made me recall the last conversation I had with George. Let’s see…we will make it last week when we ran into him as I was walking you and he was walking Daisy. Once he finds the cameras the case will be solved.”