Earl said he had never been out to their place but Harvey had talked about it so much when they first bought the place that he could picture it in his mind quite clearly. But he gave good directions to find the house, just follow the road out of town all the way down the valley. A great big white house with red trim, right by the river. I thanked Earl and gave him some coffee money. Should be easy enough to find the house, I said to Karin and the cats, so off we went. One strange thing however, was that Earl called them Harvey and Alice, but their names are Harold and Shirley. Maybe he just forgot and made up some names, said Karin. I don’t think so, Earl didn’t seem like the kind of man that would forget names easily. It was a nice scenic drive which Karin and I enjoyed. The cats were sleeping on the back seat the whole trip.
We should be getting close now and as we came around a curve we could see a white house in the distance. That must be it, said Karin. Good thing we saw it back there as trees blocked the view of the house from the road. We pulled into the driveway which was fairly long and stopped beside the house. It didn’t look like anyone had lived here in a long time. We went up to the front door and knocked but there was no answer. Meow, meow!=Back door open! The cats had gone around back to check things out. We followed Muffin back to where Mr. Cat was sitting watching the door in case someone came out. The door was wide open. I don’t like the looks of that, I said as I pulled out my gun. The cats were ready with their slingshots too.
We all went inside cautiously and I called out, asking if anyone was home. No answer. It was a rather large, old house and although it needed work on the outside, the inside was actually very nice. Someone must be living here, said Karin, but something seems strange about this place. I agreed. Sometimes you just get a “feeling” about a place. After checking around thoroughly we went back outside and started looking around the back yard area. There was a small garden shed, full of gardening tools. Meow, meow!=We find something important! We followed Muffin around behind the shed where there was…a grave! Just a simple white cross marked the grave with the name of Alice Cooper and when she died, 8 months ago. This is interesting, I said, why did the daughter say her mom’s name was Shirley? Yes, it looks like Earl was right after all, replied Karin. It did indeed.
Unless Harold/Harvey wanted to keep up their hidden identity for some reason. But why would they change their names unless they were hiding from someone, or hiding something. There was no sign of another grave anywhere around the property. I unlocked the garage door and inside was Harold’s truck, the only vehicle they had. Earl was right about the color and make of the truck too. It was something from the 1970’s. Hmm, that’s odd. What’s odd?, asked Karin. Well, a vehicle that old would likely need some work done on it now and then, but the guy at the service station had never seen Harold and his wife, though I think for now I will call him Harvey like Earl does. There can’t be more than a couple hundred people in that town and it’s also the only place to get gas. How come that guy never saw Harold before? Maybe he never looks after the gas pumps, said Karin. He was the only man there when we stopped to ask, I reminded her.
He must have met Harvey many times in the years they lived here. Then why would he say that he didn’t know them?, asked Karin. No idea, it’s just one more part of the mystery. We went back down to the river but there was no sign that anyone but us had been down there today. So we went back to the house. The phone wasn’t working, neither was the electricity. Hmm, that could mean he had them cut off deliberately, or he didn’t pay his bills, I said. Everything else seemed to indicate that someone is still living here. There was plenty of food. The fridge is still working, said Karin rather puzzled. That’s because it’s a propane fridge and stove, I told her. Someone had made breakfast this morning so Harvey couldn’t be far away, I continued, we may as well wait around for him. Meow, meow.=Not like it here, getting nervous. Meow.=Something not right, danger close by.
To be continued.
©2020 Steve McLeod.