Chapter 19

By Wednesday morning the town was back to normal: stores were bustling with activity; people could be seen walking and jogging.

     Todd slept every night at Linda’s house, driving her to and from work every day. Each night, Sam continued his careful watch over Shana while she slept peacefully. Deputy Carl had stayed only one night with Mike and David, claiming that he hadn’t been able to handle their constant bickering.

     Linda was sitting alone at her counter; staring into space, sad over David finding a dead body on the beach. She couldn’t understand how one town could be cursed with so many bizarre events and suspicious deaths.

     Shana hurried in, all excited. “We should see how Louise is doing today. I haven’t heard from her since she returned from the dead.” She looked at Linda’s sad expression and the dejected slump of her shoulders and asked, “Are you okay? You look awful—”

     “Thanks…I’m fine,” Linda assured her. “I’m worried about Tom and Edward…and now the dead woman on the beach…”

     “We can’t do anything to help the woman anymore, but we can still try to locate Tom and Edward. They could have run away…or maybe they were just frightened away. First we must figure out who was behind the awful party. We can begin with Louise and see what she knows—I’m positive that she knows much more than she’s telling.”

     Determined to shake off her sad mood, she gave Shana a timid smile. “Okay. I’ll follow you…as always. Lead away.”

     Linda locked her book shop before they walked across the street. They entered Louise’s store and were surprised to find it empty of any customers. And Louise wasn’t anywhere to be found.

     “This is pretty strange. She’s never left the front desk unattended before…” said Shana while searching for any sign of Louise. Clothes were strewn across the counter—as if she’d run out in the middle of a transaction.

     “She did seem different after the accident…I hope she’s all right.” A cold wind whipped past Linda just as Louise ran over to them from the back of the store. She seemed harried and upset, not her usual chatty self.

     “I’m sorry, but I’m leaving for the day. Could we get together another time?”

     “Sure, as long as you are okay…” Linda wondered why she’d felt the sudden chill just as Louise had appeared—almost as if she carried a cold presence with her. Maybe she was now the walking dead. She shuddered while

scolding herself for having such ridiculous thoughts. She wasn’t going to share that one even with Shana, who was the queen of weird thoughts.

     “I’m just fine,” replied Louise, ushering them out of her store.

     They found themselves back across the street in Linda’s bookstore, without any new leads from Louise.

     “All I wanted to know was if Louise had remembered anything from that night. I’ve never liked her too much anyway,” said Shana.

     “I don’t like the way she’d hurried us out of her store. Maybe we should stay away from her permanently.”

     “We could try getting information from another source. We’ve never asked Shirley, Hank, or Minnie and Frank what they thought about the party.”

     “There are all so secretive, but it’s worth a try.”

     “We can interview them tomorrow.”

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