Reads: 40

CHAPTER XVIII: CLIFFHANGER 

 

Except for the high sheriff of Chandler County and his department who were investigating the second murder to occur in less than a week - that of Dr. Wesley Grant, Renee Austin, the late dentist’s girlfriend who was in severe shock, and RG Faris, Bradley Burns, and Jim Monroe who were dealing with the dead body of Ned Bowers - most of the citizenry of Walkers Ferry were changing gears from the rigorous work week and settling into the weekend. Yet several minds remained unsettled from the past week’s strange events. 

 

Radio Billy sat at home in front of his TV, still brooding and troubled. He didn’t know what the messages from his jam box meant – The fish is the link. He swims in a sea of contradictions. Beware the school master - The Sheriff and those SBI guys hadn’t been much help. But what really bothered him was the fact that he was fairly certain he knew who had killed that burned up a lawyer man. He had seen someone – a woman, a strong woman – carry his body into the courthouse last Sunday night. And no one would listen to him! 

 

Elsewhere, young Randy Gordon sat in his mobile home and lit up a joint, still sore and bruised from the ass beating Frankie Taggart had delivered to him – a serious warning that could turn deadly next time. He was also in trouble now, for he had absconded probation supervision. But by the time Mr. Martin knew he was overdue and missing, he would be long gone from Chandler County. He had stood Shelly Unell up for the prom tonight too… But that was the least of his worries. 

 

Dennis Martin sat in his living room at home watching an old movie, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER with Robert Mitchum and drinking his third glass of Cabernet. He was still kicking himself for having thought his girlfriend, Ann Richmond, guilty of Carl’s murder. But what else was he supposed to have thought? She said she had sent him up in smoke. Well, that’s where their relationship seemed to be now – up in smoke. She was mad as hell at him right now. 

 

And yes, Ann was still stewing over Dennis thinking her a murderer, but tonight she was more troubled with strange little Michael Powers in his obsession over this Amis he kept talking about who said he was going to get her. Who was Amis? 

 

Scottie Conner went over some legal briefs preparing for the Millard’s Canyon case and dreading going to bed for the night. What if she dreamed of that mysterious cemetery again tonight and those ghostly boys and the old hag? 

 

Marshall Rickman slammed down his fourth Southern Comfort and Mountain Dew in the solitude of his one bedroom apartment, nearing La La Land. This was driving him nuts. Dennis was the only one he could talk to about this matter and if he had to hogtie him to his chair come Monday morning he would. 

 

Newly widowed Rachel Tucker, only hours from her late husband’s funeral, screamed in ecstasy as Christian Gerber made all the right moves, breaking a couple of bedsprings, as they celebrated old Carl’s being laid to rest, as they laid each other.

 

And in the now dark cemetery where Carl’s charred body reposed six feet under, a lone figure dropped a single rose on the fresh grave under the canopy and chuckled, saying in a deep gravelly voice, “Adios partner.“ 

 

In the probation office of the courthouse, Ronnie Barber had decided to work late into the weekend tonight to get his cases in some kind of order since word has spread that the dreaded Darth Dakota Talbert would be coming in next week to do spot audits, hunting for a fresh head to mount on his wall. But Ronnie didn’t work. He just sat transfixed by his fishtank, watching the fish swim back and forth, back and forth. So soothing, so peaceful. 

 

In her home, waiting patiently for her son to come home from the prom, Marsha Purser thought about Shane‘s therapy with Mary Rose Keller this coming Tuesday. She so hoped Shane had not made a spectacle of himself tonight at the prom. 

 

Meanwhile as the clock neared midnight on this fog shrouded evening, the prom was beginning to wind down. Everyone had enjoyed themselves and the band leader announced they would play one last number… a nice slow one so the couples could end their evening nice and close. 

 

Sherry Carrigan had rebuffed all of Shane Purser’s  efforts to get her on the dance floor. She had given him every excuse conceivable from headaches to claiming she just couldn’t dance to that particular song. So Shane and Sherry had sat alone in their little cubbyhole and basically made small talk, although Shane had wound up doing most of the talking while Sherry listened patiently. Shane had felt if he just kept things light and not pressure her, she might slowly warm back up to him. She had been attentive and nice, but had kept the burners on low and given him no encouragement of rekindling their once torrid romance. 

 

But as the hour grew late and the band struck up the last number, Shane became desperate. 

 

“Sherry, this is the last dance of the prom. The last dance of our Senior year.  Please dance just this one with me.“ 

 

Sherry looked deep into Shane’s eyes and saw his longing… and his pain. She had caused that pain…a lot of it…and she knew it. But it couldn’t be helped. What to do? Not dancing with him would cause more pain, but dancing with him could cause even greater pain… and…well…very possibly other problems. But he persisted with a lovesick face she could not turn down.

 

 “Sherry,“ he begged, “Whatever happens to us, please give me this dance! I need so much just to hold you again. It’s been so long. Please!“ 

 

Sherry smiled and put a soft hand to his face. 

 

“Shane,“ she whispered, “my dear sweet Shane.“ 

 

She took a breath and at last relented. “All right,“ she said softly. 

 

A tear of joy came to Shane‘s eye and he stood.He held his hand out and very reluctantly, Sherry took it and stood up as well.

 

His heart swelling with joy, he led his sweet Sherry out to the dance floor, moving in and around other dancing couples who eyed them curiously, until they found a spot. Then very gently, Shane took Sherry into his arms and held her close. He closed his eyes in ecstasy being this near to her again and rocked her gently to the soft music. 

 

The other nearby couples watched for a few seconds then backed away, giving Shane and Sherry the floor. Other couples noticed as well as people slowly stopped dancing to watch Walkers Ferry’s sweetest and nicest pair together again. 

 

Within a couple of minutes, Shane and Sherry had the dance floor all to themselves. Shane knew they were all watching but didn’t care. He was proud, so proud, to be seen with his Sherry again. The more they danced, the closer Sherry pulled herself up against him. She laid her head on Shane‘s shoulder and whispered in his ear. 

 

“I love you, Shane. Always.“ 

 

Shane pulled her even closer. His eyes welled up. 

 

“I love you, Sherry. Always too,“ he whispered back. 

 

Time stood still for him as all the Senior class of Walkers Ferry watched them dance. 

 

Erica Hart stood with her arms crossed, tears streaming from her eyes. She lifted a hand to wipe her face. 

 

Bonnie Taylor, who stood in the crowd next to her, leaned over to Erica and asked softly, “Erica? Who is he dancing with?“ 

 

Erica smiled through tears and turned to Bonnie. “Who do you think? Sherry Carrigan.“ 

 

Bonnie nodded, “Ohhhh.“ 

 

Shane continued to hold Sherry tighter and tighter, never wanting to let her go. He could smell her fresh hair, her alluring perfume. He was in Heaven this night. For Shane was holding tight and dancing with his one true love, Sherry Carrigan. 

 

But to his classmates gathered round to observe, he held the empty air. 

 

For Shane Purser danced alone…..

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED....

End of Book 3


Submitted: June 23, 2022

© Copyright 2022 david w michael. All rights reserved.

Chapters

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments