An Adirondack Mystery – Chapter 6

Word must have spread about this stranger in the little village that was real handy with tools and could fix anything. Before I knew it, people were stopping me on the street inquiring if I was Mike Bennet , how are you, it’s good to meet you and on. Jack and Bill had been real busy chattering about the work we had done and as I was the only stranger left in town, it was not too hard for the locals to figure out who I was. Most of them just wanted to introduce themselves while a couple of the others were making inquiries if I could come and do some work for them. I tried to talk if off and tell them I was on vacation but a couple of them wouldn’t take no for an answer and before I knew it, I had a list of things to do a mile long.

I mentioned this to Julie on one of my nightly visits the Bar. “You hear about all these people who want me to do some work for them. Did you put them up to it or was it Jack and Bill”. I asked.
“Why would I go and do a thing like that” she replied.”Your a free man and can do whatever you want. Are you going to help them out”?
“I suppose” I said “It’s not like I need to be anywhere special for another month and a half and they all seem like nice people”
“I hear that Mrs Duncan has asked you to fix her kitchen up a bit” Julie said after she had served a customer. “You want to watch her as she is just itching to get her claws on another man so she can wear them out like she has the last two”.
I was intrigued. “What do you mean, wear them out”? I asked suddenly very interested.
“It’s no secret in this town that she has strong desires and the men she fixes her sites on generally cannot keep up with her and her desires and demands” Julie replied.
Julie wandered off to serve another customer and left me sitting and wondering what I might be letting myself into and whether I would risk being up to the challenge. When Julie returned, I asked her what happened to the men after Mrs Duncan finishes with them.
“No one really knows. They are just not around anymore. Your not thinking of working for her are you”?
I thought about Mrs Duncan who it has to be said was in herself a very nice looking woman with a well-kept figure and thought of the risks. I was a little intrigued by what Mrs Duncan’s desires might be  but no matter how hard I prodded Julie, she wouldn’t explain anything on the subject.
“Just stay away from her if you know what is best for you” Julie said in a low voice so no one else could hear. “She’s nothing but trouble”.
I laughed it off and told her I could take care of myself and that I was a big boy. “Just remember what I said” she repeated.

The next day, I was curious about Julie’s warning so I searched out Jack who was at his house. He invited me in and I could see the obvious signs of a home that was very comfortable but had never had a women’s touch. Although you would not describe it as messy, it did seem like every available flat surface had something stacked on it and some looked like it may have been there for years.
“Want a drink” Jack said after we had exchanged pleasantries.
“No thanks, too early in the day for me”, I explained and he nodded in agreement.
“How about coffee then, I just made a fresh pot”
“That sounds great, no sugar and a little milk if you don’t mind”. I was an avid coffee drinker whether it be in the city with Starbuck’s Lattes or up in the mountain with fresh brewed. Coffee was one of my biggest weaknesses. “What can you tell me about Mrs Duncan” I asked “She has some work for me and Julie is trying to warn me off from her. Why do you think that is”
Jack thought for a bit and said,”Mrs Duncan moved here fifteen years ago and tried to make friends with every man in the village including me. She has managed to be the reason for a couple of marriage break ups and responsible for several rows in others. She is not too well liked and there are stories that she is somehow mixed up in the disappearance of at least two of the men who were attracted to her. They were both here alone on vacation and no one knew when or what happened to them. They probably just left town in the middle of the night to escape Mrs Duncan’s clutches. There are other stories of her dabbling in witchcraft which is pretty hard to believe in this day and age. Do you believe in witchcraft, Mike”?
I thought about it for a bit and then said, “I’m not really sure if I do or not. I have seen a few things in my travels that defy logical explanation but to describe them as witchcraft maybe going too far.I think that when something happens that cannot be explained, it is very easy to think of the supernatural as the reason.  Then again, they used to burn witches at the stake and in many cases was because they were also apothacarist and chemists and invented cures for ailments that should never be cured”. We talked some more on the subject as I finished my coffee and bid Jack farewell.

Click on Chapter 7  for the next episode

An Adirondack Mystery – Chapter 7

I decided that I would pay Mrs Duncan a visit as these stories were starting to intrigue me and had aroused my curiosity. So, the next day, I knocked on Mrs Duncan’s door of the neat little house that she lived in. The yard was well-kept as was the house itself. Certainly didn’t look like the outside needed any work. Mrs Duncan answered the door still in her robe and I introduced myself.
She said,”Come in, come in and make yourself comfortable while I go and change”.
I said that wouldn’t be a problem as she ushered me into the kitchen.
“Coffee” she asked to which of course I nodded affirmatively, “Help your self to milk and sugar while I go slip into something more suitable”.

Mrs Duncan disappeared and  I heard the shower running. I looked around the kitchen and I could see a few places that could use some work. Her house was very clean and tidy with ornaments and nick-nacks all over the place. I would call it a typical single women’s house with no male person to bugger it up. She re-appeared after about 10 minutes looking sparkling clean and fresh. I caught the smell of her as she brushed past me heading for the coffee pot.
“More coffee” she asked and brought the pot over. She was neatly dressed in a blouse that was buttoned up to the neck and a pair of jeans that looked good on her and were not so tight as to show every wrinkle of her body.

We sat and chatted for a while and she told me her name was  Fiona and “would I please call her that as Mrs Duncan was so formal”.  Turns out she was a widow and her husband had left her enough money and stocks that she could live very comfortably in this small town. It was surprising how much she told me about herself and whether it was because she liked to talk or she felt it necessary to get off to a good start.

“You have probably heard all of the talk in the village about me and my insatiable desires” she said.
“Yes, I have heard some stuff but I prefer to find out for myself if you are half as bad as you are painted” I replied.
She laughed a nice musical sort of laugh of a women well in control of herself. I got the impression that she could handle herself in any situation.
“I am not too well liked mostly because I like to make friends and some of the wives have accused me of trying to break up  their marriages” she said.
I thought about it and said to her,” Well, have you”?
She laughed once more and then said, “I may have flirted a bit but I have not encouraged anyone to break up their marriage. I make no secret of the fact that I am lonely and I make friends very easily. Some of them have come knocking on my door but I have always sent them away with a flea in their ear. I like living here and don’t want to jeopardise or complicate that by having a fling with one of the married locals”.

I sat there drinking my coffee and looked her over. I guessed she was about my age maybe a year or two younger, had a nice, neat figure and long hair. She looked a very attractive lady and certainly had me interested but then again, if any woman was kind to me, I was immediately interested in them. I glanced around the kitchen and then said,”What work did you want me to look at”?
“Oh yes”, she replied. “I need the shelves fixed in the pantry, plus an additional cabinet or two and some other small stuff. I would do it myself but am afraid that I would mess it up. Is this something you could do”?
I looked at the work and made a few notes of the materials I would need. She mentioned that she already had the cabinets out back in the shed and led me to take a look. I looked around and the place was pretty neat for a workshop. There were some carpentry tools hanging over a wooden bench enough for me to do the work she was wanting.

“I can do this for you and I see that you have some tools. Will it be OK if I borrow them to do the job. I don’t have any tools with me as I am supposed to be on vacation”.
“Yes, of course you can. Those are my woodworking tools as I do a lot of wood carving. I made this and this” she said as she led me into the other room and pointed to some very nice wood carvings. One was a bear about four feet tall on all fours and the others were other smaller animals. There was a wolf and a mountain lion and a couple of other animals all of various sizes.
Not only good-looking but talented as well, I thought. “Do you like animals that all of your carvings are of them” I inquired.
She replied, “I do other stuff as well and I usually sell a lot of it in town. Right now, animals are all I have to show you”.
I made arrangements to stop by the next day to start on the work and I bid her goodbye as I made my way out of the door and decided that she was getting a bad rap from the villagers and wondered what I could do about it. Later that day, I ran into Julie as she was walking through the village and I stopped to chat with her. This time, she was dressed in a tight-fitting pair of jeans, boots a low-cut blouse and a jacket that was open and flying in the wind. I marvelled at the fact that even though it was cold, she wanted her jacket open to show off what she had, which was plenty.
We chatted for a bit and then she went on her way. I watched as she walked away and found that I was comparing her to Fiona. The two were nowhere alike. Julie was flashy, liked to show off her figure and generally was a tease. My first impression of Fiona was that she was more or less the exact opposite but as I had only just met her, maybe I was being unfair to Julie. I had mentioned to Julie that I had stopped by Mrs Duncan’s house, had looked at the work and was going ahead with it starting in the morning. She didn’t seem that surprised and repeated her warning to “Watch myself”.

Click on Chapter 8  for the next episode

An Adirondack Mystery – Chapter 9

The next day both Jack and Bill came to visit me and we all walked to the local coffee shop and sat down at a table.
After the usual small talk, Jack said,”We have been wanting to talk to you ever since you came to town and to warn you about some of the people here that you need to watch out for. We can’t prove it but we think that Mrs Duncan and a couple of others are mixed up in something and have ways to make people disappear. It didn’t matter when you first came here but you decided to stay a while, we both felt that we should talk to you about it”.
I looked at them both and could see they were very serious. I laughed nervously and said “Wait a minute. Are you telling me that they are practicing some sort of witchcraft here in this little town and that some of you know about it”.
“That is exactly what we are saying” said Bill “We can’t prove it but too many strange things have happened in her house with too many people for there not to be something going on”.
“Is that why you think something happened to those two men that she claims were her brother and son” I asked. “Weren’t the police involved and didn’t anyone check on them. Didn’t somebody make enquiries”. “Yes” said Jack “all of those things happened and in the end, there was no evidence of any foul play so the cases were dropped”.
“OK” I said, “Now you are beginning to worry me. What should we do. Is there any way that we can follow-up on this and try to prove that there is something going on”.
“I would suggest that you get out-of-town and forget about this whole thing” said Jack.
Bill nodded in agreement “The sooner the better” he said.”If you don’t I’m afraid that you will disappear like the other two guys”.
“OK, let me think this over. I like it here and have made some friends. I don’t like being run out-of-town because maybe there ‘s a chance that someone is using some form of hocus pocus. This is the 21st century for goodness sake. I thought the black arts were long gone” I said but for all of my bravado, was getting a little worried. “How do I know that this won’t follow me wherever I go? Maybe it’s too late and I should stay here and try to fight this”.
We left the coffee-house with the promise that we would meet later that evening and discuss this further. In the meantime I was filled with both fear and curiosity wondering just what it was that might happen to me.

I was due at Mrs Duncan’s that afternoon to finish the painting and to get paid for the work. I didn’t want to skip out without at least getting what was owed me and I could only get that if I completed the painting. Kind of a catch twenty-two. I decided that I would go ahead and finish the job and now that I was forewarned, to be on my guard against anything unusual.

Mrs Duncan, Fiona, answered the door and welcomed me inside as though she hadn’t seen me in a while. It had only been a few hours but she treated it as though it had been weeks. She seemed very pleased to see me and she exuded a glow of anticipation as though she was expecting something to happen. Maybe, I was just imagining this knowing what I thought I knew about her and that in reality, she was just pleased to get her work completed and for me to be out of her hair and house.

I accepted her offer of coffee but instead of sitting to drink it, opted instead  to drink it as I worked and then get out while I was still in one piece. Fiona, sat in the kitchen chattering away about the village and the people she had met there and other stories that actually were quite interesting while I worked on painting. I chatted as best I could but I was so much on my guard that my efforts were a little hard to come by and I know that I wasn’t being the best conversationalist. I hoped that I wasn’t giving anything away with my poor efforts to be entertaining.

I was finishing up and cleaning the brushes out the back of the house. I put them away in the shed and noticed that she had started work on another sculpting this time of a full-sized bear standing on it’s back feet with the arms upraised. It stood well over six feet tall and when I moved  over to take a closer look, wondered why I hadn’t seen this before on my various trips to the shed. It was so big that it had to weigh a couple of thousand pounds and certainly was going to take a lot of moving. How could she have carved it so quickly as it was not here yesterday and quite obviously, the work would take quite a bit of time and effort.

I turned my back on the bear vowing to get the hell out of there as soon as possible and I turned towards the door. I heard her call to me and turned back around but didn’t see her anywhere but when I turned back towards the door, the bear was now in front of me blocking the way out. I thought, how can this be, how is this two thousand pound wooden bear moving on its own.

Click on Chapter 10  for the next episode

An Adirondack Mystery – Chapter 10

Fiona was standing in the doorway behind the bear.
“What the hell is going on” I shouted, “How is this thing moving. Run, run save yourself” I screamed at her.
Fiona just stood there smiling and said, “This bear will not hurt me as I made him. He does everything I tell him to do and he has been programmed to bring your body to me”.
“Why”  I screamed, “What have I done that you wish me dead”.
“You have done nothing” she said as she moved over to the other wall “But I need your life to extend my own. It is the only way I can continue to live in this world as this person in this body. It is already growing old and needs renewing and the other two men did not provide me with sufficient sustenance and only bought me a couple more years.”
“So there is truth to the rumors that they disappeared and you lied to me about who and what they were. You have been working on this ever since we first met” I said.
“Yes, I have and now it’s time, its your turn. It’s no good fighting it as you can’t win”.
I turned back towards the bear who was now much closer to me than before. I looked around to see if I could find another way out but my feet seemed very heavy and rooted to the floor. Just like having a bad dream when you can’t fight and can’t run and nothing works. Why can’t I move I thought and then I remembered that the coffee had been a little bitter when I drank it and that I must have been drugged.

I heard a shout which seemed a long way away. It was Jack and Bill, the Calvary coming to the rescue. Mrs Duncan turned in them in anger and pointed her finger at them. A bolt of lightning flew out from her finger but both Jack and Bill dodged it. Both had their rifles with them and  one of them shot at the bear who was now no more than six feet from me.
The bear never slowed as it glided slowly towards me. Even though I couldn’t move, I could still talk and screamed at Jack “Shoot Mrs Duncan, shoot her to break the spell”.
Mrs Duncan was pointing her finger at me and Bill threw himself in the way and took the full force of the electric bolt and collapsed in a heap on the floor. The bear was now within two feet of me and then Jack shot Mrs Duncan who fell to the floor. The bear stopped moving and as we watched, Mrs Duncan writhed and screamed as she turned into this old hag not a bit like the beautiful lady she had been and then into an alien shape and it was over. She fell silent and then all of a sudden, she was gone with nothing left of her, not even her clothes.

The spell was broken and I was able to move and rushed to Bill who was laying very still on the floor. He was still breathing and was obviously in some pain. We worked on him a bit and he sat up and asked if it was over and we nodded in agreement. The bear was nowhere to be seen.

“How did you guys know to be here” I asked “You arrived in the nick of time as that bear was going to absorb me as soon as it was close enough. She obtained her sustenance to increase her life span from her carvings who in of themselves were also very advanced technical wonders. I bet that if we were to trace the carvings she has sold over the years, we would find that the owners had all died after they bought them. Her technical ability was strong enough and she was tied in so closely to her carvings that they were able to transport whatever she needed from others back to her body. I wonder how old she really was”?

Jack said, “We suspected that she would try something on you because you were a suitable person just passing through with no strings attached so we have been taking it in turns to keep an eye on you. When you came back today to finish your work, we were both not far away”.

“What now”, I asked. “What about the police. Won’t they be wondering about Mrs Duncan’s disappearance”? “No, we will take care of them. Don’t worry about it. She will only be gone for a little while” was their response. There words never sunk in and it wasn’t until the end that I began to realize that they too are involved.

So, I went back to my hotel to think about all that had happened that day and about the fact that Mrs Duncan was able to make a two thousand pound bear move and also that she was actually needing other bodies to maintain her life. It was all so bloody scary that I didn’t want to think about it any more and felt like getting drunk to hide the memories. That of course was not the answer but a stiff drink would certainly help.

Click on Chapter 11  for the last episode

An Adirondack Mystery – Chapter 11

I made my way over to the bar. It was pretty quiet as it was early and the usual night crowd had not yet arrived. Julie was not behind the bar but the first waitress I met, Grace was filling in. “Hello Grace, where’s Julie”? I asked
She looked at me and said, “Whats the matter, don’t you want to talk to me instead. Am I not cute enough”
“I’m sorry” I said, “That didn’t come out right at all. Of course you are just fine to talk to”.
She laughed and said “I was just kidding, don’t take it so seriously. Relax a bit, what do you want to drink”. So I ordered a scotch and sat there watching Grace as she went about her work. It seemed an awful familiar scenario me drinking watching Grace instead of Julie and mentally comparing the two. Grace seemed different from when I first saw her. She appeared much more confident and I couldn’t help but notice how her shape had changed from when she first served me in the Restaurant. She was much more sexy and looked more like Julie than I first noticed. I shrugged it off as not paying enough attention the first time, drank my scotch and headed for the door back to my hotel. I planned on moving out in the morning although I didn’t really have any plans of where to go. Definitely somewhere warmer, I thought as the cold night air had frost about it and anywhere to get  away from the horrors of the afternoon.

There was a knock on the door. I looked at my watch which said it was 2:00 am. “Hello” I asked, “Who is it”?
“It is me , Julie. let me in its freezing out here”
I hurriedly threw on a shirt and pants my mind in a whirl wondering why Julie was visiting me at this hour of the morning and unlocked the door.  Julie stood there looking as beautiful as ever.
“Can I come in” she asked, “I’m cold”
“What are you doing out at this time of night and yes come in, come in”.
Julie slid through the door and even though she may have been cold, it didn’t stop her from moving in a provocative way which I was very quick to notice. I also noticed that she had more than a vague resemblance to Mrs Duncan but thought that was ridiculous. She slid over and sat on the bed taking off her coat as she did. She seemed more beautiful than ever but at the same time didn’t quite look the same. “You know that women, especially beautiful women, don’t usually knock on my door at 2:00 am in the morning. Although I am flattered, I am thinking that there is more to this than meets the eye. What gives”? “Nothing gives” she said “I just wanted some company and you are attracted to me so I figured I would visit you”.
I couldn’t believe my luck that this beautiful women who I had admired for a month was ready to share my bed as I could think of no other reason she would be in my Hotel room at 2:00 am in the morning. Being a true red-blooded male, I sat down next to her on the bed and she turned towards me with a look in her eye that was so inviting. I leaned forward and kissed her to see what would happen. She enthusiastically returned my kiss and before long, we were under the covers all involved with the heat of the moment.
After, she lay back and said, “I heard about what happened today at Mrs Duncan’s house. Jack filled me in. I told you to stay away from her but no, you just had to barrel on in to find out for yourself. You could have been killed and she would go on living for another 50 years looking the same as she does now”.
“How do you know so much about her” I asked fearing the worst.
“Because, she was my sister and we are two of a kind”  she said as she leaned over and kissed me.
I tried to pull away from her but as before, I was back in the dreamland of not moving, not fighting totally under her spell.
“It is unlucky for you that you have stumbled in to this small town. I tried to tell you to leave while you had the chance as I knew Fiona was going after you. I couldn’t warn you as you would have not believed me. Lucky for you, Jack and Bill were trying to protect you but they are not here tonight. They suspected Fiona was being very careless and leaving too many loose ends so they were watching her or she might have led the humans to discover who we really are. The reason they know about me and Fiona and now Grace is because they too are a part of my race. The whole village is. We are from a different world many light years away and have been here for many years. We all need human sustenance to continue living and undiscovered. I did not want you to give me what I want without me giving you something in return and I know you wanted me. Sorry Bill” she said as she turned towards me and kissed me as she folded herself around me and absorbed my body into hers…

She left the hotel as she had arrived, silently with no one to see her. She made her way to Mrs Duncan’s house and as she walked over the threshold, she changed to look exactly like Mrs Duncan as Fiona was reborn. Back at the bar, Grace looked more and more like Julie as she gradually became her and a new Grace was the waitress.

Such is the life in this small sleepy little village in the Adirondacks.