The Serial Killer of Bush Street Part 11

https://millieannelowe.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/the-serial-kil…street-part-11/

Copyright 2014 MillieAnne Lowe, Orange County, California

“If we don’t stop to get something to eat now, I’m going to jump out of this car!”

I knew from past incidents that Jeanne can be brutal or sarcastic when her meals haven’t been timely. I quickly apologized. “I’m sorry, Jeanne. I apologize to both of you. I’ve been running scared and just wanted to get far enough away to feel safe before we stopped anywhere. But look over there, it’s a McDonald’s.”

“I am ready to eat three burgers and six orders of fries in five minutes,” Jeanne said. “Wanna bet I can’t do it?” she teased us and got us laughing again.

“Oh, I know you can,” Krista said. “I’m hungry, too, and about to faint back here.”

“Is that all that’s wrong with you?” asked Jeanne.

“No,” answered Krista, “My bladder is about to burst!”

I pulled into McDonald’s parking lot, grabbed my purse and said, “I bet I can beat you to the restroom!”

“I’m headed for the burgers first. I’ll order for you two okay? I know your favorites.”

“Double our orders!” I yelled back at her.

Finding a sink to use, I washed my face with paper towels, watered down my hair, leaned over and brushed through what had been a matted mess since the rainstorm. I looked under the other stalls and checked that we were alone. “You know what, Krista. It seems a very long time ago that Mrs. Johnson got shot. I wonder how she’s feeling right now.”

Krista came over to wash her hands. As she reached for the soap dispenser, I saw that her hands shook. “Are you okay? What’s the matter?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m hungry, or maybe it’s because I’m scared. I haven’t ever been through anything like this. What are we going to do?”

I put my arms around her and gave her a gentle hug. “We’ll have more of a plan after we finish our lunch. I promise.”

The warm and spicy aroma of beef, bacon, and fries cooking took our minds off our dilemma. Jeanne had our food, sodas, and napkins set out on the table.

In a large horseshoe booth, we ate with little more than “Pass the ketchup,” as conversation.

When we finished, Jeanne said, “I think I feel full. Maybe I should order another bag of fries just in case.”

“Try waiting ten minutes. You know, give your stomach to get more of the full signal?” I said.

“You’re right, Haley,” she yawned and stretched. “So, tell us about the place we’re going to. And, what’s your aunt like? What’s her name by the way?”

Jeanne was back to herself again. Firing rapid questions and wanting fast answers.

“My aunt’s name is Mattie, and she’s my mom’s older sister. Older by about ten years, I think. The last time I saw her was at a family reunion in Saratoga when I was just a little girl…”

“Okay…,” said Krista. “You paused. What’s the matter?”

“I have to be honest with you. It’s bothered me since we got on the freeway. I don’t know exactly how to find her cabin. I’ve been on the roads into the woods a hundred times, but I was never the one driving.”

“And you don’t have a specific address, and you don’t know her telephone number, or her neighbors, and what else don’t you know, Haley?” Jeanne said.

“I know it’s a big cabin with a sun deck on the second landing, that there is a fabulous view looking out into the rolling hills of the valley below. We used to see deer jumping from one area to the next. And, I’ll never forget the family of quail passing by my bedroom window at 10 o’clock every morning. They were so fun to watch. The father quail walked at the head of the line, and then the mother quail followed him. Behind her, baby quails followed in a single file, and a larger quail would bring up the end. I always imagined that it was the uncle quail back there protecting the little ones.”

“Haley,” said Krista, “you just took us on a trip back to your childhood. It sounds great.”

“What else do you remember about the place,” asked Jeanne.

“It’s where we’ll be surrounded by squirrels hopping from tree to tree or scrambling on our roof. Thick leaves from Oak trees and a variety of pine needles on the ground will soften our steps. In some areas, the full branches of the trees block us from the sun, and the shade during the day makes it a magical and beautiful place.”

I paused to think of what else I could share. “I remember now. We cross over two short bridges before we turn left on some road to get to the cabin. I’ll probably remember more when we get there.”

“What’s your Aunt Mattie like?” said Krista.

“She’s huggable, loveable, caring and generous. Most important for all of us right now, is that we’ll be able to trust her to help us. She’s never let me down before.”

“Your Aunt Mattie and the cabin sound fabulous,” said Jeanne. “I can’t wait to get there. What will we do for clothes?”

“Don’t worry. She a writer and a playwright. She has an attic full of clothes left behind by family and friends, and she has costumes! Going upstairs will be like shopping for a new wardrobe. We need that kind of fun, right?”

“Right!”

“Aunt Mattie will keep well-fed, too. She’s a great cook.”

“That sounds too good to be true,” said Krista, and I saw her face in my rear view mirror. She was smiling.

“That’s the way she’s made me feel all the time.”

“Well, we’d better get moving,” Jeanne said. “Finding this is new home is going to be like a scavenger hunt.”

“Well,” said Krista, and leaning back in her seat. “At least The Creep isn’t on our tail right now.”

“Don’t forget,” I added, “We’re getting as far away as we can from the neighborhood serial killer, too.”

Copyright 2014 MillieAnne Lowe, Orange County, California

 

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