Trevor Morris smiled and said warmly, “Well me dearest, it seems our little excursion is turning into an intriguing adventure. This valley of yours is not at all what I was expecting, or what you were expecting either, I think.”
Anna took her partners arm and squeezed it a little harder than she intended. She said nervously, “It is nothing like I expected. I feel like we have been kidnapped and dropped off in the past or something. It’s like stepping back into…oh, I don’t know but it certainly is 2021.”
“Come along. We have been instructed to register for our room. Maybe the desk clerk can fill us in a little.” Trevor replied light-heartedly and towed Anna along like a child. “Besides, things like this always has a deep seeded mystery and a ghost or two. Why there has already been a murder and there is a convenient inspector of police on hand and that conductor looks like he could be Boris Karloff’s twin, only a little too skinny.”
“You are teasing me Trevor. Can’t you see how frightened I am? I want to get back on the train and go home.” Anna admonished moodily.
“I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon my dear. I believe we are being set up for something. Didn’t the ticket agent tell us something very special always happens on the last trip of the season to the Valley Of Dreams?”
“This is no dream Trevor. It’s a bloody nightmare.” Anna groaned.
“Odd that you should put it that way with a murder on hand. I wonder if was bloody. I must go look it up. I’ll enquire where the corpse is being held. In the kitchen’s freezer I suspect, and my dear, you know I have been trying to drum up a new story. Well, fate seems to have given me some inspiration.”
“I can think of better way for you to get inspired. I have to be at work tomorrow but the way things look I won’t make it and…”
Anna stopped cold in her tracks and stood there frozen in space and time it seemed. All she seemed to be able to do is blink her eyes which were opened as wide as an eye could possibly be opened.
“Anna. What is it? What’s gotten into you?” Trevor demanded anxiously and tried to pry his arm free but Anna had a firm grip on his jacket.
“Good lord Anna. Snap out of it.” Trevor demanded as he wiggled his arm out of the jacket sleeve, then the pulled the other out quickly letting the jacket drop so that it dangled in Anna’s grip.
“Please someone. Come help us. Something is wrong with my wife. I think she might have had a stroke.” Trevor cried out.
But no one came. It seemed in that moment they were alone in the Valley of Dreams except for cries and screams of terror that echoed down from the valley walls and down the narrow canyon where the train tracks entered the valley.
“Now this is crazy…no…it’s absolutely insane. Somebody, anybody, where did everybody go?” Trevor tried to cry out over the din of terror, but his words seemed to bounce back at him and fall dead in the air.
Said the Conductor to the desk clerk, “It seems a little different this year. No one seems to be enjoying themselves. I would give a year’s pay to go on an extended vacation, even if…”
“Have you forgotten? You went on this very same trip and, well, here you are…here we are.” The desk clerk interrupted.
“Hmmm. Yes I remember but it’s all quite vague and I don’t recall having any choice in the matter, the Conductor replied.
“We were all given a choice.” The hotel manager’s voice crept in to the conversation.”
“Hey. What are you three talking about? What is going on? Another voice edged in.
“Oh well Sergeant. We were just talking about how we got our jobs with the tour company.” The Manager answered quickly.
“I’ll have to ask a lot of questions, especially since you have abducted two police officers and there has been a murder. You three are definitely on my persons of interest list.” DS Barnes challenged.
“Well Sergeant we might as well get this over with. We can all go into my office. It will be quiet there.” The manager instructed.
Sergeant Barnes hesitated then moved back. There was something sinister in the manager’s voice and his stare. “Maybe I will wait until the inspector is here.”
“No. No. Sergeant. You will come along now.” The Conductor insisted, then without warning pounced on the policeman and stuck him with a prong that sent an electric current into the officer’s arm. Barnes collapsed in a fit of jerks but the three men managed to pick him up and disappear him into the manager’s office.
Trevor stood there staring at Anna, rather where Anna had been standing just seconds ago. The valley was alive with activity again but now he was alone. Anna had simply vanished. Then, a moment later the Conductor approached him. He inquired cautiously, “Is there a problem Trevor?”
“Ah. I don’t know– I seem to have forgotten something– I think I left it on the train, but…well…I just can’t remember what and I am sure I wasn’t alone.”
“Well Trevor, I am sure it will all come back to you once you have registered at the hotel.”
“Um. Jeez. I thought I had already done that. Me and Anna. Now where has she gotten to?”
“You came alone Trevor. Don’t you remember? Your wife passed away a year ago.”
“Yes. Yes. She did and I haven’t ever been able to get over it.”
“Trevor. It’s the guilt. You should never have pushed your wife…”
Trevor turned away. “She must be here somewhere. She wanted to come to this stupid valley so bad.”
Breakfast was everything he hoped it would be, and more than any man could possibly eat in one sitting. But his plans fell away. The rain was coming down in sheets and the wind blew like howling wolves through the trees that scaled the slopes of the valley.
“I suppose another day won’t hurt. No one’ll be looking for me here anyway. I might as well enjoy a day or so of luxury…free at that.”
“You are mistaken Lassiter Leeks. Everything has a cost. You just happened to have paid for this in advance…so to speak.”
Lassiter Leeks looked around, first left then right, then behind, but no one was there.
“What the &^%$.”
It only took 61 of my 67 years on planet earth to find myself and now that I have, it’s wonderful. I have discovered who and what I am and what I wish to share with the wide, wide world. As soon as my life accomplishments are fulfilled I am getting the heck outa Dodge, but not too soon I hope…I have a mess load of stories yet to write.
Catch up on past episodes
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
A shard of lightning flashed into the canyon access to the valley, striking the bridge and sending a shock wave along the track into the wheels of the train. A rippling sensation ran rampant through the cars until it reached the engine. The Conductor strode purposefully through the cars. “Valley Of Dreams. We have arrived…Keep reading
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.Keep reading