Lassiter Leeks eyed everyone like they were staring at him. His conscience was playing games and his mind, he thought was breaking. None of this was supposed to happen. He didn’t have luggage. Everything he needed would be in a SUV on the road above the Valley. It had all been arranged. Now all he had to do was make like he was going sightseeing up one of the trails and disappear into the wilderness…at least that is what it was supposed to look like.
Nonetheless he checked in like everyone else so he wouldn’t draw attention to himself. Later would be soon enough. And maybe tomorrow morning. A good supper, a good night’s sleep and a big breakfast wouldn’t hurt.
Be patient Lass. It’s got you through this mess so far and the cops will never figure it out. Up the cliff and gone in the morning. No one will even notice.
A cloud as dark as the worst nightmare gathered over the valley. Though it was hour until sundown it seemed like night had fallen like a storm, but the clouds were docile, merely harbingers of something that night come. There was no distant thunder, no hints of rain but a deep chill and a feint mist descended upon the valley floor.
The conductor scanned the sky then turned toward the Inn Keeper. He said in a thoughtful, amused tone, “It seems he is not pleased with what is happening. What do you suppose has gone awry?”
“Someone is missing. The person arrived but it seems he is no longer in the valley. He doesn’t like it when someone rebels.” Replied the Inn Keeper.
“But no one knows how they came here or why. Why would they run off?” asked the Conductor.
“Maybe they already had plans to use this trip to escape something outside the valley.”
As Lassiter Leeks finished his breakfast he cast a wary eye around the dining room. No one was paying attention to him. All he had to do was go for a walk. He could make it seem he was going to see the falls. Instead of taking pictures and returning he would just keep on going.
A few minutes later he exited the dining room and strolled away casually toward the trail to the falls. It was a cool day but the sun was bright and the autumn colours were amazing. It felt like a great day to disappear, but as he started up the trail dark clouds came in from every direction. A wind blew harsh and cold and it seemed he could hear a voice, a dark thing that called his name, but that was of course ridiculous. It was his own insecurities, his fear of getting caught and a worry that when he reached the rendezvous place there would be no car, no supplies, nothing but a long empty road with no destination he could reach on foot before the night closed in.
Detective Sam Wakes scratched his head, trying to get at the itch jumping around in his mind. He got this when his gut was trying to tell him something was wrong…not just a little wrong…it was completely out of whack. Murder had happened right under his nose and two days had gone by and he still had no idea what was going on, not to mention having dreams about a train crashing into the river in the deepest part of the valley and why would it take so long for the people in the city to miss the train’s return.
Lassiter was missing. He couldn’t find his sergeant and no one seemed to care that he was a cop. They were too busy trying piece their own dilemmas together and assaulting the desk clerk with questions and demands for the use of a telephone, of which there was only one and apparently it was out of order.
No, the clouds were telling of something ominous. “I’m retiring when I get back. This life is getting to me. I think I’m going of my rocker.” He said out loud.
“No Inspector. You are quite solid in your mind and you will be one of the first know the answer to this mystery.” It was the Conductor.
“What has happened?”
“A transition, Inspector, though it seems to be and one this time around. Nothing seems to be going according to plan. It seems it has all been infected with the random factor, which hasn’t happened for oh…two thousand or so years.”
“I think I’ll head for the bar. I need something to fog my brain a little so I can think straight.” The Inspector replied.
“You do that Inspector, and while you are at it have another word with Ms. Bleck. She knows more than a little about the murdered man and your sergeant. Leeks will probably be returned to us before the day is out.”
“Where did the Sergeant get to?”
“He…well…I really can’t say. It is… not my place.”
“I need a drink.” The Inspector groaned and walked away.
BEGINNING All Aboard The ancient steam locomotive chugged into the station. The seven passenger cars emitted dozens of chattering, cheerful, grumpy, and noisy passengers with a hundred different versions of their experience aboard the Valley Of Dreams tour train. When the platform cleared the five passenger cars were removed and next group climbed into the…Keep reading
Samantha Bleck watched the world chug by slowly. She was lost in a dream that fit nicely into the scenery just past the window. The book in her hands was her own, a murder mystery she had written that somehow fit perfectly into this strange journey to nowhere. It was like her imagination was coming true and as if somewhere aboard the train was a killer ready to play out the scene she had written in chapter three. She wondered if her book could have been a premonition, but how could that be since she had decided to take the tour on a whim.Keep reading
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