THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY
YEAR TWO: CASE FILE NO. 25-77

Cat Detectives

AMBER LOVE 29-OCT-2018 Catch up on Year One and previous Year Two cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. For a one-time tip, you can go to the new PayPal.me.

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Where we left off:

While Gus investigated noises coming through the bathroom wall, a spirit left him a present.

Candyman

Last was the first time I noticed the strange white fungi in the woods. They look like different size marshmallows, but I wouldn’t suggest tasting them. I have no idea what kind of mushrooms they are. It turns out there are other reasons to keep from eating these tempting puffs: it might alarm you.

chipmunk

The puffy mallow mushrooms returned this year so I had to investigate the origin while Gus got to know (chase) the woodland chipmunks of Rock Ridge off the corner trail. The corner trail is a slight incline. I spotted the funny fungi at the top right on the trail and in the shrubbery around a tree. What I discovered terrified me to my core.

In 1931, a drifter rolled into town jumping the train cars on the railway. A lot of men did this to move from town to town. Some picked up odd jobs and stuck around for a few days or months. There was an ethical code to the hobo life and if that’s where you found yourself, you had better stick to it. Louis T. [no last name] arrived on a hot day. He told folks he was from New York, but Louis T. wasn’t the type of man you could trust. Some people learned it quickly. Others fell for what ruse of the day Louis T. presented. He was a con man through and through.

The criminal blood ran hot in Louis T. and filled his veins. He was more than a grifter. When he had enough drinks in him, he bragged about murder. Not one murder either. Murder like it was his hobby — just something to categorize his Friday nights.

Louis T. dragged out the words in his crusty voice with a throat full of phlegm from chain smoking his hand-rolled cigarettes. He bragged about stabbing a man outside a bar after he stole his billfold. Then there was the “mouthy broad” who rejected his advances. He caught up with her as she walked through a park on her way home.

His stories were almost predictable in their escalation. After the woman in park, Louis T. hopped to a different town and that’s where he met Jenny and Peter. He didn’t know their last names only that their father was a local cop on patrol. Louis T. walked down the sidewalk. His clothes were covered in a year’s worth of dirt and booze. Officer Pullman was walking out of a five and dime store and had a boy gripped by the collar. The officer gave the kid a firm warning about stealing and let him go.

The cop could smell Louis T. coming from a block away. It was obvious he was a stranger when he started harassing every pretty lady who walked by — or rather crossed to the other side of the street to walk by. Pullman stopped Louis T. and asked him some questions. Name. Address. Reason for being in their town. When the cop couldn’t get any satisfactory answers other than the name Louis T., he said they were going to the police station where Louis could spend time in the drunk tank.

Pullman tossed his keys and emptied his pockets of the candy from the five and dime. He meant to take it back to the store owner after chasing the klepto-kid off, but Louis T. entered the picture and the candy was forgotten.

The cop got fed up with Louis T.’s crap pretty fast. The scoundrel kept on running his mouth about how he could kill Pullman if he really wanted. Then Louis T., being an observant grifter, noticed a photo in the police station of the officer and his beaming, beautiful family. A wife, a son, and a daughter. And of course a dog looking as happy as the humans.

“That’s a mighty nice family you got. It must be real nice to have a wife that sweet to go home to every night.”

Officer Pullman couldn’t stand the words coming out of the creep’s mouth. He removed the handcuffs and shoved Louis T. into the cell, but Louis didn’t stay down. He got up and it turned into a brutal fisticuffs bout. Pullman expected someone so unhealthy to be as weak as a rusted hinge.

Louis T. successfully knocked the cop unconscious. He poked all around the cop shop looking for weapons, money, food, anything valuable including information. He found exactly what he wanted.

The road was lined on both sides with single family homes. The structures were identical except for slight variances in colors. Louis T. stalked around the Pullman house when he found it. He saw a wife dutifully folding laundry into piles on the kitchen table. A boy about sixteen was shooting basketball into a hoop at the side of the house. A pretty girl about fifteen sat at the dining room table doing homework.

When Officer Pullman woke up, he found his prisoner escaped and phone ringing off the hook from the operator who wouldn’t give up. She was reporting that people heard screams at a house. The address was his own.

knife with blood

By the time the cop arrived, his family had been slaughtered. Louis T. had already hopped on a passing train and he landed here in our town. Louis T. tried to change clothes, but he couldn’t exactly go shopping with the money he stole as long as he was covered in blood. He punched out another hobo and looted all his clothes. He kept changing disguises to keep the Law confused.

Louis T. found his way to the Baptist church. It wasn’t the kind of church full of ornate gold objects d’art, but he did find the pastor’s private office. Inside, he found the best disguise yet. He washed up in the first indoor bathroom he’d seen in months. He put on the black shirt and pants then affixed the stiff white collar.

minister

The reporters went wild. Papers flew off the presses. Newsies sold out in minutes.

The massacre was the catalyst for the first non-mafia related task force between local cops, state police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. They hunted Louis T. down to our little burg. Dogs followed his scent and tracked him through the woods and to the other side of the Musky River. When they found him, he was sitting against a tree eating the last of a chocolate covered marshmallow bar.

There was barely anything left of Louis T. to cremate. His entire body was filled with holes and lead. Since then they said that his tethered angry spirit haunts the woods. He starts to make his presence known in the fall by manifesting those silly looking mushrooms. He shows up on October 30th during the night. His figure stays around for 2 nights. Witnesses have all reported consistent stories that Louis T. appears in minister’s garb, his body oozing blood from the bullet holes, and eating his last chocolate covered marshmallow bar.

His spirit tries to lure people with the mushrooms. They think it’s going to be something pleasant and delicious. Instead, the fungi are imbued with Louis T.’s evil. Anyone who eats one falls into a type of trance, not quite catatonic, but not in control of themselves either. If they cross paths with Louis T. on Halloween Night when he’s corporeal, he murders again. If they escape, they’re never the same. They’re plagued with nightmares, visions, and psychosomatic feelings of a knife blade along their skin.

Links:

In all seriousness, 2018 has had more mushroom poisonings in NJ than previous years. Don’t eat wild mushrooms. This damp, humid, and rainy weather is perfect for mushrooms to flourish.

There are mushrooms that also kill trees instead of people. They are parasitic and live off live healthy trees damaging them.

A list of preachers from Hell in TV/movies.

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