A waitress with a name tag that read “Rose” came over to serve them. She looked friendly, with her bright-red hair and snapping gum. She took their order and then asked if she could assist them with anything else.

Linda decided to come straight out with what they wanted to know. She began by explaining their situation. “Two of our friends disappeared from a party given at End House this past Friday night. We suspect that the people who reside on the hill are the ones responsible. Do you know anything about them that can help us?”

Rose called over two men. “Hey! Rob and Joe! We need help here!”

Linda and Shana, becoming frightened, began to stand up. Then they noticed that the two old men, who were coming over to them, had big smiles on their wrinkled faces. They joined them at their booth.

Rose said to the men, “These women were at that party and they think that the hill people had something to do with the disappearances.”

The one called Joe, who had a full head of white hair and a long white beard, nodded his head in agreement. “We have always suspected that those people were evil. Tourists disappear every year and nothing is ever done about it. The sheriff seems to be in cahoots with them. Parties are given on the hill on the same two nights each year. On these nights, shadows can be seen creeping around the deserted streets of town.”

Rob, who wore very thick glasses and had curly grey hair, added, “The parties look like secret meetings of some society. Everything is always done after dark.”

Rose spoke up. “We never see these people until the sun goes down. They don’t bother talking to us. I’ve been living here thirty years and I’ve spoken to only a few of them.”

“Our town doesn’t go out after dark; we steer clear of the hill people. There have been many legends, but we don’t know if any are true,” confided Joe.

Shana asked, “What are some of the legends?”

“One legend describes the hill people as vampires in hiding. They meet with the rest of the vampires in the world twice a year. These meetings are planning sessions on how to keep their species alive,” Joe informed them.

“Another legend has the hill people as good vampires that are trying to rid the world of The Dead, a sect of evil vampires who enjoy killing people—just for fun. The Dead have greater powers than regular vampires and are led by a strong and malicious head vampire. The good vampires meet twice a year to plan the defense of their slowly diminishing group,” Rob explained.

“How can you remain living here if you believe the worst of the people in town?” asked a puzzled Linda. She didn’t believe in vampires, but if these people thought so poorly of the townspeople, then why didn’t they just leave?

Rose answered for them, “We don’t know if the legends are true. We’ve been living here unhurt all these years. Maybe the tourists disappearing are just coincidences. We can’t pack up our whole village and leave. We need the income from the ocean: the fishing has been very profitable.”

“Maybe they want you to remain living here for some sinister purpose,” said Shana. Oh great, now Shana is going to frighten them.

“If you find out anything, please let us know,” said Rose, with concern beginning to dawn in her eyes.

“Don’t worry. We’ll let you know of any new developments. We’ll figure this out and find our friends,” said Linda, trying to downplay Shana’s dire warning. The village looked lovely and peaceful on the surface, but Linda was afraid that there was much more brewing beneath the surface. As she ate her lunch, she tried to be as cheerful as possible so that Shana wouldn’t notice her rising fears and suspicions.





Shana was upset that Todd had just revealed to Wolf all the information that they’d just discovered on their own. And she was annoyed at Wolf for his arrogant manner.
“Did you hear or see anything that evening? Did you know about the party beforehand?” asked Shana.
Wolf answered with a snarl, “Of course I knew about the party, but I didn’t know who had planned it. I’d asked around the company, but no one else seemed to know, either. That night I noticed flashing lights in the sky, but I couldn’t hear anything over the storm. All I heard was the crashing of a tree into the house, shattering one of my windows.”
I feel so bad for you. She tried to appear pleasant and calm on the outside. “Could we have a tour of your beautiful house? It looks very unique and interesting from the outside.” She decided to play good cop since Todd was already failing as a bad cop.
“Sure! Come in!” said Wolf, sweeping back his arm to indicate that they were welcome to enter his home. All of a sudden, he was switching gears to act like their friendly host. Shana wasn’t sure whether he was buying her act or not, but she felt that it couldn’t hurt to continue with it.
They stepped inside. They were standing in an enormous gallery with a huge array of life- sized statues displayed all around them. Huge portraits hung on the sparkling white walls under glaring overhead lights. As Shana walked past a portrait, she morbidly realized that the person in the picture was staring straight back at her—no matter where she moved in the room. The eyes didn’t shift, but they somehow monitored her every step.
The atmosphere of the house was beginning to feel confining and stifling. Shana had to hold back the chills that were threatening to stream through her body. Despite being scared and claustrophobic, she was determined to weather this encounter—without appearing afraid or the least bit intimidated. She glanced up at the high vaulted ceiling and noticed that its dark-green tinted glass gave the house a strange green color that reflected on everything.
“Let me show you around my house,” said Wolf, frowning at her.
I can’t wait.



Chapter 15
After Sunday morning services, Linda and Shana approached Father John as he said his usual goodbyes on the front steps of the church. He asked them to join him in his study. They followed him through the main room with its shiny wood benches and ornate statues. The church was bright from the sunshine that shone through its sparkling glass-domed ceiling.
Linda realized that the church and the hotel were the only buildings in town with clear glass windows. She has always been curious about the green tinting on the windows of the homes on the hill. Even the stores on Main Street had green tinting on their windows.
The priest’s study was sunny and cheerful with flowered couches, colorful rugs, and a pretty vase holding yellow daisies on his desk. Mrs. Abigail, the housekeeper, kept the church warm and inviting. She didn’t live in town, but in a small town nearby. She was a vibrant and happy older woman, who took great care of Father John and the church.
Abigail set out tea and cakes for them. She closed the door behind her. She left them alone with the Father; she never intruded into anyone’s business and always knew when to give the priest’s congregants their privacy.
“Father, we’re faced with a terrifying situation in town. Friday night we went to a party at End House, but no one was there to greet us except deadly saws and bone-crushing cages. Luckily, we were able to escape—except for Tom and Edward who were last seen going through a doorway in the basement. Afterward, the doorway disappeared and we never saw them again. Later, Louise—who we thought was dead—came back alive.” Linda stumbled over her words in her haste.
She’d expected the Father to either doubt her words or get angry at her for making up such a morbid tale. However, he just sat down in his chair, nodding his head; he didn’t appear at all surprised to hear about the unusual party.
Father John must be in his late fifties, guessed Linda, but he appeared very strong and rugged-looking for a man his age. He also seemed to be troubled. His eyes darted around as if he expected to be overheard by someone, even though the church was empty and quiet.