THE HAYES SISTERS—PART 12

Friday morning Clara and Lena dusted and straightened the room that Gloria would be staying in and made sure the house was tidy. “Did Marcus call you yet Clara”?

“No, he didn’t, but I didn’t expect him to call me for a few days. That’s if Jack does a thorough job of examining Clem’s body”.

Gloria arrived at the agreed time. Clara and Lena helped her with her bags to her new room. “We hope you are comfortable here Gloria”.

“How could I not be, Clara. It’s a beautiful room and I appreciate yours and Lena’s kindness and generosity”.

“Why don’t you unpack and Lena and I will go make a pot of tea, or would you rather have coffee”.

“Tea will be fine, thank you”. Clara and Leana left Gloria to settle in. Gloria stepped out on the balcony and admired the ocean view. Savored the beauty of her new room. Thinking about her life in New York and the struggle it was for her mother to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, and how it would have been so much easier if she had a father there to help. Only fifty-seven and her heart gave out, too young she thought but Gloria promised her mother and herself that she would take care of it. She went back to the room to unpack. Took the letter and the other papers out and put them safely in one of the drawers. She would be needing them soon enough. She could smell the ocean breeze and her life was about to change….Soon.

Lena and Clara were in the kitchen when she went downstairs for tea. Gloria could hear them talking but when they heard her coming they stopped.

“All settled in dear”? Lena asked.

“Yes, thank you again, ladies, it’s a beautiful room and I do appreciate your kindness. Please let me know if I can help in any way this coming season”.

“How sweet of you Gloria, we might take you up on that. Right now sit and have some tea and one of these delicious blueberry muffins, I have had two keys made for you too, one is for the front door and the other is the door that opens to the back balcony in your room so you have a private entrance, if you work late it will come in handy and give you some privacy as well”. Gloria took the keys.

“How sweet of you, thank you, Clara. Now maybe I can start saving enough to get a car. The two of you are wonderful and I feel so welcome. I wish you could have met my mother, she would have liked both of you and she would have loved your home”.

“We are sure she was a wonderful mom, after all, she raised such a sweet daughter”.

“Yes, she died too young working long hours never able to enjoy life”.

“So sorry dear. How did she pass”?

“Her heart gave out, she was only fifty-seven”.

“Oh my, she was too young”.

“Yes, she had a bad heart and struggled for a long time. We came to Cape May once when I was about fifteen and she loved it here. Now here I am living her dream”.

“How sweet”. Lena said. Gloria smiled.

Gloria smiled. The three of them chatted and discussed how much Gloria’s portion of the electric would be and what additional channels she would like to add. Clara called the cable company and added the new channels for the television in the room. When she hung up she told Gloria that the technician would be there on Tuesday and offered to let him in her room if he came when she was working.

“That would be great, thank you, Clara. Just then the doorbell rang. Lena got up to see who it was. Jeffery Bristol stood there. “Jeffery, what a surprise, please come in”.

“I just came to bring your containers back and thank you both again for the delicious meal”.

“Would you like a cup of tea? Clara, Gloria and I are having tea and muffins in the kitchen, come and join us won’t you”? He looked surprised when she mentioned Gloria’s name but said; “Yes, thank you, I’d like that”. They headed down the hall to the kitchen.

“Jeffery! Hello so nice to see you, dear”. He looked at Gloria. “You know Gloria”.

“Yes, from the Tea Room. Hi”. He said. She smiled and greeted him.

“Take a seat and I’ll get you a cup of tea and help yourself to a muffin if you like. “Gloria is staying here now, she just arrived today. We are getting acquainted”.

“Welcome to the neighborhood Gloria. I am sure you will like it here. Ms. Clara and Ms. Lena are wonderful ladies”. Gloria smiled and said; “Yes they are”. As soon as he finished his tea Jeffery left. He told them he had some things to take care of. Clara thought he looked a bit uneasy seeing Gloria and finding out she had moved in. She would talk to Lena about it later. Gloria excused herself. “If you ladies don’t mind I would like to go up to my room and finish putting a few last things away”.

“You go right ahead dear and there is a linen closet in your bathroom and you can use the washer and dryer that Lena and I use if you like. It’s in the pantry off the kitchen and pointed the door. The guests use the washers and dryers in the basement in the summer but you can use ours”.

“Thank you, that is so kind of you”. She said and left to go back upstairs.

“Lena, did you notice the look on Jeffery’s face when he saw Gloria sitting here”?

“Yes, I thought he looked surprised but that’s only natural”.

“I don’t think so Lena, it’s not like he doesn’t know her. I’ve seen them chatting at the Tea Room and they seemed quite friendly”.

“Please don’t let that imagination of yours make more of this than it is Clara”.

“No, I think something is going on”.

“Yes, I know and you intend to find out what it is”. They looked at each other and laughed. Gloria went back to work on Saturday. The weekend passed quickly. Monday Gloria was off and slept in but she took the sisters out to dinner and the three had a nice evening. They liked having a young person living in the house, and Gloria liked living with them. She was a little Leary at first but started to feel more comfortable as the days passed.

Tuesday morning Clara was having her breakfast and the phone rang. It was Marcus Kent.

THE HAYES SISTERS—PART 11

When Clara arrived home Lena was having breakfast. “Clara, please don’t tell me you’re playing detective again”.

“I am just trying to make sure Clem died of a heart attack or if he was murdered”.

“According to the autopsy, he had a heart attack”.

“Lena did you know that if someone gave you an overdose shot of Potassium Chloride you

could die”?

“No, I didn’t know that”.

“It’s true”. Clara handed Lena the extra copy of the information she gave to Marcus Kent. Lena read it and looked at Clara. “Oh my goodness, Clara, are you thinking someone did this to Clem”?

“It’s possible”.

“But, who would want to kill Clem. Everyone liked him”.

“There is a possibility that someone didn’t, Lena”.

“Who”?

“A disgruntled son, a lady friend that was jealous. I don’t know for sure but Clem was a healthy active man and I can’t believe he just had a heart attack out of the blue. I gave a copy of that sheet to Marcus, he is going to talk to the coroner and make sure he examined Marcus’s body thoroughly. He promised to call me with the result”.

“Do you think Jeffery would do that to his own father”?

“I don’t know Lena but anything is possible”.

“What about Gloria”?

“What about her”.

“She is moving in tomorrow remember”?

“Yes, I know Lena but what has this got to do with her? She’s only been in Cape May for about six or seven months. She really didn’t know Clem that well. Why would she do something like that, and don’t mention this to her when she moves in tomorrow, I don’t want to scare her away”.

“Ok, Ok, I won’t say a word”.

Gloria finished her shift at the Tea Room and took the bus back to her room. She was all packed and couldn’t wait for the morning. She would have a beautiful room in one of the finest homes in Cape May and at no cost to her, except for Cable and electric. She was over the moon. And, she would be living practically next door to Jeff Bristol. She was over the moon. What luck, she thought.

THE HAYES SISTERS—PART 10

Thursday morning Clara woke early, showered and dressed. She took the paperwork she printed the nite before and went down to the kitchen and made herself some breakfast. It was nearing seven o’clock, she would call Marcus shortly.

Marcus Kent sat at his desk drinking his first coffee of the day. Being Police Chief suited him. He had worked long and hard to attain his position and was popular with the people of Cape May and the officers that worked under him. He was reading one of the reports when his phone rang. He picked up the receiver. “Cape May Police, Chief Kent speaking, how may I help you”.

“Marcus, good morning how are you, this is Clara Hayes”.

“Oh, fine Miss Hayes, good morning to you too. How can I help you”?

“If you have some free time I would like to speak with you”.

“Is everything alright Clara”?

“Yes, I want to speak to you about Clem Bristol. We were away when he passed and just read it in the newspaper when we returned a few days ago. We had dinner with Jeffery last night and he told us the autopsy result was death by heart attack”.

“Yes, that’s right Clara”.

“Marcus, don’t you find it strange that Clem died from a heart attack”?

“Clara he was seventy-four years old, no I don’t find it strange”.

“Well I do, and I would like to discuss the situation with you. I have been doing some research on the internet and I have a few questions I would like answered”.

“Clara, I appreciate your help in past cases and your interest, but, the coroner did a throe job and didn’t find anything else. I know Clem was a friend and neighbor but I think this is an open and shut case”.

“You listen to me Marcus Kent, nothing is just open and shut. There are circumstances in all cases and I think I have proven that to you several times. Wouldn’t you agree”?

“Yes, Clara both you and Lena have been a great help on quite a few occasions”.

“Well, hear me out then”.

“Alright, I’ll hear you out. When do you want to come in”?

“Is now a good time for you”?

“Yes, as long as it doesn’t take too long. I have a meeting at nine o’clock”.

“That’s fine. It won’t take that long. I’ll be there in about twenty minutes”.

“Okay, I’ll be in my office waiting”.

“Fine, see you soon. By Marcus”.

“By Clara”. Marcus hung up, wondering what she was going to come up with this time. Clara left Lena a note that she was going to see Marcus and would be back before ten o’clock. Grabbed her paperwork, her keys, and purse and headed out the door. Less than a half hour later she was sitting in Marcus’s office.

“Okay, Clara what is it that you have to show me”? Clara handed him the following.
Potassium Chloride:
Potassium Chloride is known to be among the ingredients in many prescription drugs, such as Klor-Con, Klor-Con 8, Klor-Con 10, and Klor-Con/25, among others. Potassium Chloride breaks down into both its’ individual components, potassium, and chlorine. Both are found in the human body and the presence of either or both of these will not raise suspicion by either the attending physician or the coroner, who will carry out the autopsy.
This compound breaks down into both potassium and chlorine, in which the chlorine (Cl) binds with the human body’s naturally occurring sodium (Na) to create NaCl — sodium chloride — common table salt. The resultant heart attack is found to have no known cause — as all that is found in the body is a slightly elevated level of NaCl. Too much potassium in the body causes tachycardia (fast heart rate), which then leads to something known as ventricular fibrillation, which is one of many types of cardiac arrest.
Calcium Gluconate:
Calcium Gluconate is available in a 10% hypertonic I.V. (intravenous) solution, which simply means that the concentration is higher than what normally appears in the human body. The process by which this works is known as osmosis — the hypertonic solution removes the water and glucose from the body’s cells — replacing it with Calcium Gluconate. The calcium and the glucose are deposited in the body to be used as energy/fuel. The glucose is used for fuel, while the calcium remains in the body.

The Calcium Gluconate removes chlorine and replaces it with calcium, thus creating an electrolytic imbalance. The three compounds that become imbalanced are sodium (Na), potassium (K), and chlorine (Cl). This interferes with the normal LUB-DUB heartbeat impulse, which can then be regulated either too fast or too slow, creating a heart attack.

Marcus put the sheet down and looked at Clara. “So you think someone came in with an IV bag, hooked it up and killed Clem”?

“Don’t be ridiculous Marcus. It can be injected with a needle into a vein too”.

“We’re waiting for the toxicology report now and if anything is off I will look into it”.

“It won’t show up Marcus. Did the coroner look for needle marks”?

“I am sure he did Clara. However, it wasn’t mentioned in the report so I guess he didn’t find anything”.

“Did he check the body thoroughly. You know there is more than the veins in the arms”.

“I am sure he did. Jack has been doing his job for over twenty-five years and he is good at what he does”.

“Well ask him to check again and I would like to speak with him”.

“Oh, no Clara. I will not let you badger Jack the way you badger me. I will speak to him and get back to you. Now I have a meeting to attend”.

“I will be waiting for your call Marcus”.

“I know you will Clara. Have a nice day”. With that Clara left.

THE HAYES SISTERS—PART 9

Clara and Lena packed up the chicken dinner and brownies. They headed over to Clem’s house to deliver the meal to Jeffery. “I hope he invites us in to share the meal with him”, Clara said to Lena.

“If he does don’t question him……too much Clara”. The sisters giggled as they walked.

Jeffery Bristol answered the door when the bell rang. “Hello Jeffery, how are you doing”? Lena asked, giving him a hug, as did Clara.

“As well as can be expected”. He replied. “Please come in ladies and thank you for bringing me dinner”. The sisters stepped into the house. “We brought you some roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, and we made some brownies, we hope you like brownies Jeffery”.

“I do, thank you, Miss Clara”.

“Let’s go into the kitchen, and let me take those packages off your hands”.

“Thank you, Jeffery”, and they followed him to the kitchen.

“The food smells delicious and I am hungry. Would you like to stay and have dinner with me”?

“If you’d like the company, we’d love to”. Lena and Clara opened the packages and Jeffery got plates and flatware out to set the table. “Did you get the autopsy result yet”? Clara inquired.

“Yes, but they are waiting for the toxicology report”.

“Did they find the cause of death”?

“Yes, it was a heart attack”.

“Really? That’s so hard to believe, Clem was always the picture of health and he was very active”.

“I know”. Then, looking at Clara said; “he had quite an active social life, as you probably know”, and then added; “I don’t understand it myself”.

“We are so sorry Jeffery if there is anything we can do to help please don’t hesitate to call us”

“Thank you, Miss Clara. My father was well liked and everyone has been so kind offering to help. Why don’t we all sit and eat this delicious food you brought”. They chatted as they ate, but Jeffery didn’t seem to want to discuss his father’s death. When they were finished Clara asked;

“Will you be staying here at the house now or will you be going back to California”?

“I have to go back to California to tie up some loose ends, but will return in a few days. This dinner was delicious ladies. Shall we have the brownies now”? Clara could see that this was not going to be easy. Jeffery was not willing to talk about anything right now. She didn’t know if it was out of sorrow or a different reason. “We are going to pass on desert Jeffery. It’s getting late and we have to get home, but we will be happy to clear the table and do the dishes for you”.

“No, no thank you ladies, you have done enough. I will take care of this. It will keep me busy”.

“We will say goodnight then. Are you ready Lena”? She saw the look in Clara’s eyes. They said goodbye to Jeffery and the sisters left. As the ladies walked the short distance to their house Lena said; “What is it Clara”?

“We have to go see Marcus tomorrow and get some information about the autopsy. I don’t believe Clem had a sudden heart attack. And, did you see the look he gave me when he said, “as you probably know”.

“Clem Bristol had many affairs. He was not looking to get married again. Last I heard he was pretty hot and heavy with Beanie. Maybe his son hated him for that. I think that’s why they didn’t get along. And, what was he doing back here anyway, staying at the Golden Lion and not with his father”. As they entered their house Clara said; “There’s more to Clem’s death than meets the eye, Lena”.

“Clara, they did an autopsy”.

“Well, I don’t believe the result, I think they are overlooking something, and I intend to find out what they are missing”.

“Clara, let’s have a cup of tea and get some sleep. Don’t read more into what Jeffery said. His father just passed away. He was a child when you and Clem dated”. Lena put the kettle on and made the tea. She knew tomorrow was going to be a busy day. Clara was working on the computer for quite some time before she went to bed. Lena heard the printer humming away as she drifted off to sleep.

THE HAYES SISTERS—PART 8

Lena looked at Clara. “Talk about a third degree. I thought she was going to get up and walk out”.“Oh, Lena, I wasn’t that bad, I was just trying to get to know her”.

“Oh, Lena, I wasn’t that bad, I was just trying to get to know her”.

“Get to know her! She might as well have been in an interrogation room at police headquarters”.

“You are so dramatic, Lena. She took the room didn’t she”?

“Yes, thanks to my intervention”.

“I can always count on you to back me up sis”. She smiled at Lena. “How’s that meal coming for our next victim”.

“He’s not a victim, he just lost his father. It’s the neighborly thing to do. I dropped the temperature so it wouldn’t overcook. It should be done just about seven o’clock. And, don’t question him if he invites us in”.

“I just want to know if he got the autopsy report yet, but, I will be subtle, I promise”.

Jeffery Bristol saw Gloria leaving the Hayes house as he drove up to his house. He pulled in the driveway and wondered what was going on. Why would she be visiting the Hayes sisters? He didn’t think she could afford to rent from them on her salary. He made a mental note to invite the ladies in to dine with him when they brought over the meal. His father was gone and he was the master of the house now. It was just a matter of the autopsy, then he would have his father cremated and he would be on easy street. He decided to take a short nap and then shower and dress before the Hayes sisters arrived.

Gloria arrived at her room and started packing. She was so excited to have such luck. She liked Lena but she thought Clara was a busy body. Always asking questions but it would be worth the aggravation she thought, the room was gorgeous and free. She made sure the letter was packed safely in the first suitcase and then made herself something to eat. Yes, she thought, now it’s my turn, and smiled to herself.

THE HAYES SISTERS—PART 7

“You could make a fortune renting this room out”.

“It was our mother’s room and we have never rented it. If friends visit we let them stay in it, but other than that it’s empty”

“Why me though”?

“Because we like you Gloria and you look like you could use a little kindness in your life. I just had a gut feeling about you, that’s it”. Lena chimed in with;

“It sounds like you like the room so is that a yes”?

“Yes! It’s a big yes and a big thank you”.

“Good, Clara and I are happy to have you stay here. Why don’t we all go down to the kitchen and have a cup of tea or coffee if you like and get to know each other better.” They all started down the steps. “Oh yes Gloria, there is a lock on your door and I will give you the key before you leave today.”

“That would be wonderful, thanks”. In the kitchen, the ladies sat at the table and decided on tea. Lena said she would get it ready and checked on her food and brownies in the oven. “These brownies are just about done”. She removed them from the oven and placed then on top of the stove.

“They smell delicious, and so does whatever else you made”, replied Gloria.

“It’s just chicken, potatoes and carrots, but they have a while to go yet. If you like you may have a brownie as soon as they are cool enough to handle”.

“I’d love one, thank you, Lena”.

“So”. Clara said; “Where are you from originally”?

“Rochester, New York. I was born and raised there”.

“Do you have any children”? Clara inquired.

“No, I don’t and was never married. It was just me and my mother. I lost her almost two years ago and miss her terribly. She was a wonderful mom”.

“Is your dad still in New York”?

“I never knew my father”.

“I’m so sorry Gloria. Your mother raised a wonderful daughter. How old are you? I figured about thirty”?

“Ha, I wish, I’m thirty-seven”.

“I don’t believe that”.

“I can show you my drivers license if you like Clara”.

“No, no it’s just that you look younger”.

“Thank you, I’m flattered”. Clara looked at Lena and said;

“She’s just a few years younger than Jeffery”.

“Yes, that’s right”. Lena replied.

“Do you mean Jeffery Bristol”? Gloria asked.

“Yes, do you know him”.

“Not personally Clara. He stops into the Tea Room a few times a week to eat and I chatted with him a couple of times because he is always alone. I always wondered why he wasn’t with his father but it was not my business to ask and he never mentioned anything so I didn’t ask”.

“He never mentioned that he was Clem’s son”?

“Yes, he did mention that his father was Clem Bristol and that he owned a house here on Beech St.”.

“What’s your last name Gloria, I forgot to ask, and we have to add it to the mail box”.

“It Mandell, Gloria Lois Mandell. My mother’s name was Lois and she gave me Lois as a middle name”.

“Do you have any other family in New York”.

“I have a couple of cousins on my mothers’ side, but they are both married and live in California”.

“I wasn’t close to my mother’s sister and after mom passed there was no reason for me to hang around Rochester so I decided to move here”.

“Were your parents divorced”?

“No, they were never married. I don’t know who my father was or is. Why? Does that make a difference”? She sounded defensive. “Of course not Gloria, we are just trying to get to know you a little better”.

“OK, enough of that Clara. The brownies are ready Gloria, would you like one”?

“I’d love one, thank you, Lena”. Lena shot Clara a look.

“When would you like to move in Gloria”?

“Is Friday alright with you and Lena”?

“That’s fine”.

“I don’t have any furniture, just my clothing and a few items that belonged to my mom. It will be just me and my luggage. Friday is good for me because I am off. I work the weekend. It will give me the whole day to enjoy my new room”.

“That will be fine with us dear”. Clara handed her the key to her room and Gloria smiled.

“I am hoping I can save for a car now, wouldn’t that be wonderful”?

“Yes”! The sisters replied in unison.

“Although it doesn’t matter because your house is so close to the Tea Room it only takes about ten minutes to walk, but I would love to own a car. Thank you again and I will see you on Friday, is ten thirty to early for you”?

“No, not at all, it’s fine. We are looking forward to you moving in. It will be nice to have a young person in the house”.

“Bye ladies”. Gloria was practically skipping along the sidewalk.

THE HAYES SISTERS—PART 6

Lena and Clara arrived home with the groceries. Two chickens, potatoes, and carrots. It would be an easy meal to fix and along with that, they purchased a brownie mix. Lena would add nuts and a bit of sour cream and no one would know they were from a box. She was an excellent cook. Within a half hour, the chickens were seasoned and in the over along with the potatoes, carrots and the pan of brownies.

Three thirty the bell rang. “Right on time”. Clara announced.

“Don’t give her the third degree right off Clara”.

“I won’t don’t worry, I don’t want her running off before we get to know her”. Lena answered the door.

“Gloria how nice to see you again, come in, come in.”

“Thank you, Lena. Your home is beautiful”.

“Than you dear, we do try to keep it in order. It’s been in the family for many years”. Clara appeared.

“Gloria come and sit in the drawing room, or would you like to see the room first”?

“If it’s alright I’d like to see the room”.

“Fine, just follow us”. The three headed up the stairs to the third floor. Clara opened the door to the room. “Well, here it is. What do you think”.

“It’s beautiful Clara. It’s so big and airy. Oh, my! It has a view of the ocean. It’s just gorgeous”. The room was painted a pale yellow, on one wall was a queen size bed with a light gray and pale yellow duvet. There was a nightstand on each side of the bed and a lamp on each one. Tow big windows directly on the opposite end of the room gave a view of the Atlantic Ocean. There was another window on the wall to the right that looked over the garden and you could see a couple of houses beyond the property. There was a nice walk in closet, a chest of draws, a sitting area with a love seat and small coffee table, a television and an on suite next to the closet. “This is gorgeous, I can’t believe you are letting me stay here for free. There has to be a catch. Is there a catch”? She looked at the sisters.

“No there’s no catch, just keep the room tidy and if you spill something on the carpet please tell us right away so we can have it cleaned. You will have to pay for cable if you want it and there will be a small charge for electric. In the summer we have a few women that come in and clean and cook for all of us, but Lena and I usually eat our meals in the kitchen. They will clean your room too so if you would like to tip them occasionally I am sure they would appreciate it”. Gloria’s eyes were as big as half-dollars, she was overwhelmed. “I’ll take it, and thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. But, why? Why are you letting me stay here without charging me? Lena shot Clara a nervous look.

A HONEYMOON OVER FORTY YEARS AGO

I know many, many people that love to watch horror. I can’t, I have nightmares if I do. However, I can read a scary book without having nightmares but it sort of hangs with me for a while. Many years before I married I read a book called ‘Harvest Home’ by Thomas Tryon. Talk about scary. I’m posting this first for a reason.

When I got married years later and we were on our honeymoon it was January with over twenty inches of snow on the ground. We stayed in a Pocono, Pa. Resort. When we arrived we were taken to our cabin. It was very romantic with a large heart shaped bed and a huge bath tub for two. A beautiful fireplace, a big comfy sofa, and two overstuffed club chairs. There was only one problem there was no door in the toilet area. It was all part of the same room. Just a half moon shaped wall so it was not visible from the main area. This was not good. I needed total privacy when using the commode. My new husband was so patient with me and for the first few days put on his heavy jacket, boots, gloves and hat if I had to use the toilet he went out on the deck in that freezing weather and waited for me to let him back in the room, because I locked the sliding glass doors so he couldn’t sneak back in while I was busy doing my business.

We were also assigned a table and would be eating all of our meals at along with eight other newly wed couples. Initially, I thought it was great. We met all of them the next morning at breakfast. There was one couple older than the rest of us, I think the maybe early forties. At the time that was old to me, Ha! We all introduced ourselves and several of the couples had been there for a few days before we arrived. They each told us what activities were available and which ones were fun and others that were boring. There was also a heated indoor pool. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. We tried snowmobiling I did well and enjoyed it. My hubby enjoyed it too but he lost control and drove right off the side of the mountain! It was about a twenty-foot drop but by some miracle, he landed right side up and wasn’t hurt. I shot a rifle for the first time in my life and hit the bull’s eye every time. My groom was as shocked as I and the instructor didn’t believe that I had never used a firearm before.

The food was excellent as were the drinks. Both were included in the price. We did have to buy logs for the fireplace (the logs were the ones that were wrapped and easy to start) and snacks which we loaded up on, Mike bought about twenty or so logs, at that time they were only $1.00 each. We had that fireplace going day and night but it was a lovely place for a honeymoon.

We all had stories to tell about our daily adventures. The older couple were very nice but the wife told us the same story every single day at every meal. She had tried snowmobIling and had fallen off and hurt her leg. The motel sent her to the local hospital for X-rays and it turned out to be just sprained muscles but she went on and on how she considered it negligence on their part and should be compensated. This was told to all of us at every single meal. I am not as patient as my husband and was getting ready to tell her to shut the hell up. I am sure the other couples felt the same way I did by the look on their faces when she started her story……again. One evening as we dressed for dinner I told my husband that if she told that story one more time I was going to tell her exactly what I thought. “Please Pat don’t, you will embarrass me, please”?

“No, this is it. I have had enough of her and her story”.
“Please, please do it for me”. He looked at me with those big brown eyes.
“I’ll try but I can’t promise you anything”.
“Maybe she won’t tell it tonight. We can keep asking her different questions and we’ll leave right after we finish dinner, OK”?
“Alright, I’ll try”. Off we went to the main cabin. We found our group and sat down at the table. We started talking about the food and any other subject we could think of to keep the conversation away from the old lady. It didn’t work, right in the middle of a conversation about what a quaint village we had all visited during the day, she started her injury story. I started kicking Mike under the table and pinching his arm. It started with him smiling at me and then it happened, he started laughing just a little laugh at first and of course that set me to laughing and before we knew it we were both hysterical laughing, after a couple of minutes everyone was laughing out loud, asking us between breaths what we were laughing at. My poor husband didn’t know what to say so he looked at me. I was still hysterical so in between breaths he pointed at me and said, “My wife, she’s nuts”.“What”? Everyone asked as they laughed. He hesitated, uh, it’s a personal joke I can’t tell you, it’s too embarrassing and that set me off even more. After about ten minutes or so we all calmed down and finished out the meal with everyone begging us to please tell them what was so funny but we held fast to his original answer. It did stop us from having to listen to the old lady’s story that night. We still laugh about that to this day.

The following night a world premier movie was being televised. Keep in mind this was in the 70’s. My groom and I decided to have dinner in our lovely cabin by the fire that evening and watch the movie. I was a little hesitant but he reassured me that it would be fine and he would hold me throughout the movie. The lights were all out, the fire was blazing, our dinner had arrived. We set it out on the coffee table along with a bottle of wine and some snacks. We were ready to watch the scary movie. When the show started it looked familiar to me, I said; “I saw this already”.

“Pat, you couldn’t have, this is the first time it has ever been on TV and it’s never been in a movie theater”. I started telling him what was going to happen next. How the couple moves to Salem happy to be living in a lovely rural area. They soon discover the stories about witches and human sacrifices that took place in their community. Then I started to tell him about the man in the town that never spoke. His tongue was cut out and a bunch of other gory things that were going to happen. My new husband got this horrified look on his face. He was not holding me any more.

“There’s no way you could have seen this before, it’s a world premier it has never been televised before. How come you know what’s going to happen”?

“I told you I’ve seen this before”.

He started to freak out. “No way, impossible! What the hell is going on here Pat”?

He looked terrified, I was laughing my butt off.

After about the third commercial I finally remembered about the book.

“Oh, I know why I know what’s going to happen next”.

“How? How do you know”.

” I read the book years ago”.

” Oh, thank God, you had me going there. I thought I was a goner. I was almost ready to sneak out while you were sleeping. I thought you were one of them”.

We laughed ourselves silly over that for quite some time. We had a wonderful honeymoon and now we have great memories.

THE HOUSE ON BLACKRAVEN DRIVE

Lucy came home from school crying. Her mother asked her what happened. She told

her mother that the kids told her that she was living in an old funeral home, and there

were ghosts living there with her. Lucy’s mother told her that was partially true. The

house used to be a funeral home but the ghost stories were not true. It was also the

home of the funeral director and his family they lived there happily for many years.

That evening after her mother and father left to meet some friends for dinner.

Lucy told Jonah the story she heard at school. He told her there is no such thing as ghosts, and to

prove it they would check every room in the house. It started to thunder and rain. Lucy did not

want to but Jonah was her older brother and insisted she go with him, unless of course she was a

scaredy cat and started laughing. Lucy finally agreed, she would never give her brother the

satisfaction of knowing she was frightened.

They decided to start in the attic. Lucy’s heart was pounding but she followed her brother

up the steps, holding onto him for dear life.. Jonah open the door to the attic, it made a creaking

sound and Lucy jumped, Jonah just laughed and turned on the light. There was nothing there

except some boxes put there by there parents, they contained odds and ends. They went into each

room, even the rooms they had never been in before. The floors were a bit creaky, and they even

looked in the closets.

“See I told you there is not such thing as ghosts.” There was only one place they had not

investigated, the basement. The storm had worsened the wind was howling and Lucy could hear

the trees rustling against the house. “I don’t want to go down there”.

“Oh come on Lucy don’t be such a baby.” Lucy angrily said;

“Don’t call me a baby”.

“Then stop acting like one, are you afraid that a ghost is going to jump out and say BOO”!

Jonah took the flashlight out of the draw from the table that stood in the front hall.

He opened the door to the dark and musty smelling basement. The two of them decended the narrow

stairwell. Lucy was holding onto the back of Jonah’s shirt collar. “Let go of my collar, you’re

choking me”. Lucy reluctantly let go. When they reached the bottom of the steps it was pitch dark,

just then the thunder boomed and the basement lit up with the lightning strike that followed.

Lucy screamed and Jonah laughed, he flicked on the light switch. Unfortunately there was only one

light in the basement, and it was in the center of the room. It made the basement look eerie with

shadows everywhere. Jonah turned on the flashlight, just then another loud boom, thunder and

lightning. The lights in the house went out, and Lucy screamed again. Jonah laughe but this time it

was a nervous laugh. He was a little frightened this time.

“Jonah I hear something.”

“What do you hear”?

“It sounds like someone is scraping their feet as they walk. Listen can you hear it”? Jonah listened

for a minute. “Yes, I hear hear it”.

“Jonah lets go upstairs and call the police”. Lucy said in a shakey voice.

“No, it’s probably just the wind.” He answered.

“Inside the house”?

“Shut up Lucy and lets just look around a little”.

“Jonah, suppose the house is haunted, we could get killed down here.” Jonah took Lucy’s hand and

said; “Come on, I’m right here. I’ll hold your hand”. He took her hand and they slowly started to

walk toward the far end of the basement. They walked passed the furnace, their fathers

workbench, some furniture that was not being used.

The scratching noise could still be heard by both children. They got closer and closer to

the back wall. All of a sudden they heard a loud cracking sound, and it was not thunder. They

both jumped, and Lucy let out another scream, and grabbed Jonah. Jonah quickly moved

the light toward the sound his heart now pounding fast in his chest. Lucy was now shouting,

“Jonah lets get out of hear, someone is going to kill us”! As he cast the flashlight toward

the corner of the basement, there it was. A mouse had just been caught in a trap trying

to get a hunk of cheese. “There’s your ghost”, Jonah said with a laugh, relieved.

“How disgusting.” Lucy replied. They both starting laughing. The storm had lessoned and the

lights went back on in the house, including the one in the basement.

“Come on, lets go upstairs and get some cookies that mom baked, and a glass of milk”.

Lucy and Jonah did make friends at school and lived happily in that big old house for many years.

THE END