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Incident at Gray Falls

Novel By: CharlesLeeMcCabe

Gray Falls is a small town not too different from towns that you have driven through countless times. It's a sleepy little town where nothing ever happens, at least, that use to be true. This week, however, that is going to change. View table of contents...


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Submitted:Apr 14, 2010    Reads: 50    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

Chapter 1
Welcome to the little community of Gray Falls. It's a quiet little town where thing rarely ever happen. It's the type of town where the kids are bored and the parents are happy. This is the type of place where they roll up the sidewalk at 6 in the evening on every night except for Friday, and even then, the only place to go is Charlie's Bar and Grill. There are three stop lights in town, and two of them are the cautionary type that only flashes yellow. We have two police officers here, and the only reason we have two is because one just moved here to take over for the other one. Most everyone that comes through here makes it a point to come back around from time to time, because there just seems to be something about this place that makes people calm down and relax. Maybe it's something in the air. Who knows?
Our story begins with a quick tour of the town. It's a nice spring day, so it should be a nice little stroll. There's not much to it, so it won't take too long. We can go from one end to the other without too many twists and turn. Over here at one end of town, you have the old Smith place. It was left empty for a few years after the family broke up and went their separate ways. That was a shame because the twin girls that lived there were something else, even if the one with the short hair did always seem a little off. Ralph Mackey lives there now. We'll get back to him. Right next door we have one of the older residents in Gray Falls, Stewart Heeds. He tends to live up to his last name. A couple of blocks down we have the police station with its cruiser sitting out front beside a older truck. It looks like the old guard, Henry Rogers, is showing the new blood, Samantha Derby (Officer Sam to her friends) around the little station.
If we look across the street, we can see the little town square that is the center of life in this town. During a dry day, you'll see a vendor there selling snacks and drinks to passersby, and there he is pushing his cart to his usual spot next to the bandstand. There are also a few sets of tables and chairs for people to sit at when we have live music on warm summer nights. Leaving the town square, we go over a few streets until we see a small apartment building where the new officer is currently hanging her hat with her old college buddy, Bobbi Little. This fellow does not live up to his last name the way Mr. Heeds does, if you catch my meaning. A few doors down we have a small building that houses the office of the family doctor, as well as the office of our resident Counselor, Dr. Perry. Between the two of them, they take pretty good care of this town. If anything too big happens, they can send for an ambulance and the problem goes to the next town. Aside from the occasional over-eager pregnancy, there's not much call for the ambulance.
As we near the other end of town, we pass by a good sized office complex. There are no names on the doors, but that's not too strange, given the fact that no one really uses these offices. They will be rented out from time to time as one of the locals tries out their hand at different businesses, but they usually only keep the doors open for a month or two before trying something else. We see that the road between the buildings caught your eye. I know it's strange to see a dirt road leading out of town, but the only thing out that way is an old cabin owned by a fellow from away. We never really saw the point in paving it, since it doesn't get used too much. I think the fellow's niece and some of her friends were rumored to be coming in by the end of the week, but who really knows?
And here we are at the other end of town, right in front of Charlie's. Given the fact that it's the middle of the day, I am a little surprised by the lack of people here. Guess people are having their lunches in town square today. It's a nice enough day for it. Well, that's about all there is of town. You may have noticed that we don't have a school, but in a town this small, all of our kids go to school in the next town over. Now that you have your bearings, let's take a closer look around.
Let's go back to the old Smith place. Even though Ralph is living there now, I don't think it will ever lose the Smith name. After all, the Smith's were one of the first families to settle here in town. Remember the twins I mentioned before? One was named Alex and the other was named Andria. Alex had the long hair and was always happy and Andrea had short hair and was often quiet and contemplative. If I remember correctly, one of those sisters found a smooth river rock that fit into the palm of her hand. That would have been Alex. She used that rock as a hope stone and put as much positive emotion into this rock as she could. You would always see her walking around smiling and rubbing her little hope stone.
Now, let's take a look at Andrea. Her father gave her a little handmade necklace that one of his co-workers daughters had made. Every time you saw Andrea after that, she always had a hand close to that necklace. It seemed like she was always frowning and rubbing that necklace, much like her sister was rubbing her hope stone. It was almost like she was trying to put all of her doubts and fears into that necklace. Maybe it helped. I would like to think so, because she was too pretty of a girl to let herself get down all of the time. Maybe the stone and the necklace started taking on some of those emotions that the girls started putting into them. Such things have been known to happen.
So, we have these two sisters and they each have an object that they put two very different types of emotion into. They don't even realize what they are doing, because how many people spend time thinking about their own emotional states of mind? Over the years, both young women put away their items, and they go from being well loved items and turn into relics of childhood. But childhood can last longer for some people than others. Maybe the hope stone received a few etchings here and there along the course of its time with Alex. Maybe the necklace falls behind the dresser one day and is forgotten. Maybe over time both women forget all about these relics.
Moving day arrives and the Smiths go their separate ways. It happens all the time. Maybe it was a rushed move and things got left behind. Maybe two of the things that were left behind happen to be a certain stone and necklace. Years pass, as they always due, and the house remains empty until Ralph Mackey moves in. Ralph spent his first few hours in the new house going through what was left behind. He may have been looking for anything that could be useful. Maybe he was just curious about the previous occupants. He came across an old sketched up stone and an old necklace. Ralph thinks that he has no use for either one of these items, but maybe there's someone else out there that may have use for them. So Ralph has a small yard sell in order to get rid of a few of the things that he doesn't really need, and also as a way to meet some of his new neighbors.
So we now have these two relics sitting on a makeshift table, being glanced at and passed over by people browsing out of curiosity. Mostly the people that stop by are more interested in Ralph that of what he is selling. Eventually, though, each item gets picked up and sold. Maybe the hope stone and the necklace were picked up as novelties. Gloria West, a local business woman, is the woman that ends up with the stone. She loves the idea of a hope stone, so she puts it in her purse and it shifts down to the bottom, as a small rock is likely to. Sue Johns, the woman that ends up with the necklace likes the look of old necklaces and puts it with her collection. All is well. Or is it?
Time passes. Gloria forgets all about the stone, but carries it in her purse anyway. Maybe over the next year Gloria started to feel really good even when things are going bad for her. As I seem to remember, Gloria started getting a bit of an inflated attitude. Nothing was ever good enough for her, and that's part of what got her in trouble. She started looking around herself and thinking that she needed better surroundings, which isn't too bad until she started funding her personal surroundings with her company's money. She was pretty good at hiding the transactions, too. At least, she was for a while.
Let's take a look at Sue. She starts wearing the old necklace because she is into retro jewelry and clothing. She starts to doubt herself whenever she wears this necklace and she finds herself double checking all of her work because it never seems right. This goes on for over a year and almost grows into an obsessive disorder until she gets a temp job at a local accounting firm. One day she is going over the numbers on one of their top accounts when she finds a major inconsistency. It would appear that one of the businesswomen, who carried a rather familiar stone, had embezzled large sums of money in a quest to find something up to her personal standards. Because of the doubt spread by one negatively charged necklace, Sue earns a job placed fairly high in the company due to the constant checking and rechecking of her work.
That wasn't the only link between those two, but we will get to a few of the other links in due time.


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