Copyright 2015 MillieAnne Lowe, Oceanside, California
“I think I know who that woman might be,” said a voice from the staircase.
Startled, George and Mattie froze. Then seeing Haley come down the stairs in her nightgown, George fired two quick questions, “Who is she? How do you know?”
“It’s only a guess from what I heard you say. Do you remember anything else?”
“Yes, although some of the details of the visions repeat themselves and blend with new details in my recall.” George paced back and forth in the living room as he spoke. “I’m in a dimly lit cavern and a dark figure is moving closer to the woman. Her eyes are opened wide with terror.”
“What do you think is happening? Is she about to die?” Mattie spoke in a panic. “George, what are we going to do?”
George jabbed one of the couch pillows with his fist. “Unlike the other visions I’ve had, tonight I’ve tapped into someone’s immediate need. Bits and pieces still come to mind but there’s not enough information to determine what to do or where to start.”
“I know what you haven’t said, George,” interjected Mattie. “You think it has to do with the Serial Killer who is terrorizing everyone on Nob Hill.”
“You’re right, Mattie. And, here’s something else I’ve just recalled. A strong wind storm is swirling things around and I hear a specific and unusual noise, too.”
“Is it like a train coming before a hurricane? What does it sound like,” said Haley. She moved over to the couch with Mattie and they sat down, clasping each other’s hands.
George snapped his fingers and rushed over to the floor radio. “I knew I’d heard that sound before.” He turned the small black knob on the right side of the smooth rosewood panel. “It sounds like this,” he said and paused. “It is the sound we hear when we turn on a radio.”
The three of them listened with intense interest. “It is static mixed with the electrical whining noises. This always happens when the radio tubes are warming up.”
“What you’ve described is chaotic,” said Mattie. “Strange noises amid turbulence, a flashing knife blade that almost gets you, a girl screaming, and a terrified woman lying on a rock in the dark. George, you’ve tapped in on the minds of the Serial Killer’s victims.”
“Whatever the reason you’ve connected with them, I believe they are still alive,” said Haley. “We’ve got to do something quick.”
“I agree, but how am I going to find her?” said George waving his arms and looking upwards toward the ceiling.
“Didn’t you say, ‘Pictures, red paint, twinkling lights, a bridge, paper chaos, and sharp knives?” asked Haley. “I think one of the two women you connected with is Eric’s aunt, Robin. Eric had said that one of the treasures of living on Russian Hill is the beautiful view of the sparkling lights on the Bay Bridge at night.”
“Oh, and she’s an artist,” added Mattie. “The red paint and paper chaos might be from that.”
“We’ve got to warn Eric and get to his aunt right away,” said George.
Haley stood and said, “I’ll get you Eric’s phone numbers and go change my clothes.”
“You’re going with me?” said George.
“Most definitely,” said Haley closing the closet door. She slapped a piece of paper in George’s hand. “I’ll be five minutes.”
When Haley disappeared from the top of the stairs, George pulled Mattie into the kitchen. He whispered, “As soon as we leave, call Joe and Norm. Tell them, Red apples. They’ll watch the house and protect you until I get back. Got that?”
“Yes,” Mattie said. “I’ll fill a thermos and pack what you’ll need.”
“I’ve got some other packing to do as well.”
“You think you need to, George?”
“Don’t worry. You haven’t forgotten my specialty, have you? I’ll be fine. And even if all is well at Robin’s house, I may decide to stay a bit longer in that city. Keep us in your prayers, will you?” George kissed Mattie’s forehead and headed for the kitchen wall telephone.
Eric picked up the call at the first ring. “Captain Mahoney.”
“Eric. This is George. A friend of Haley’s Aunt Mattie. Listen with care, please. You don’t know me, but I sense that your Aunt Robin is in danger. I sometimes have a psychic ability to receive visions and from what I’ve seen tonight, Haley and I were motivated to warn you. We are coming to your aunt’s house. Eric, we want to be on hand to help if needed.”
George heard a heavy sigh. “Your hunches or visions are correct,” said Eric. “I just got off the phone with my aunt. She called out for help. I’m leaving now. I’ll see you there.”
Standing at his gun cabinet hidden behind one of the pantry walls, George slid on his shoulder holster and tucked in his handgun. He picked out one of the five powerful rifles poised in readiness and he picked out the ammunition he needed.
George heard Haley’s quiet footsteps too late. He cursed himself for letting down his guard as he snapped the secret panel shut and turned. Haley’s eyes were wide and her hands trembled.
“Eric’s on his way to Robin’s house,” said George. “I told him we were on our way as well.” He shifted his rifle to his other hand, and patted her on the shoulder. “The unknown can make us worry more than we need to, Haley. We’re doing what we need to do now. I know it’ll be hard for you, but let’s try to stay calm.”
Mattie came into the kitchen carrying a tall thermos and two shoulder bags. “Here’s a change of clothes, for both of you. Haley, you and George might be staying there longer than you expect.”
Haley’s trembling hands took the overnight bag from Mattie. The thought of staying for more than a few hours deepened the seriousness of the situation. George saw how she tried to hide her fears in her response, “Aunt Mattie, you think of everything.” She kissed her aunt’s cheek and gave her a big squeeze. “You be careful, too.” She turned and rushed through the front door and down the porch steps, her breath making small white puffs in the darkness of the woods.
George accepted the tall thermos of coffee and his shoulder bag. When Mattie’s arms slipped under his elbows to hug him he felt her fingers touched the leather holster. He watched her as she leaned back and eyed the rifle he held in his other hand.
Then as they looked looking into each other’s eyes, Mattie said softly, “Whatever is out there signals a great danger. Be careful.”
George held Mattie with his lean and strong arms close and tight. His kiss, though short, was loving and deep. Then he let go and bounded out of the cabin to his van.
“Here’s the hot coffee,” he said as he handed the thermos to Haley. “The collapsible cups are in the glove box. Cream and sugar packs are there, too.” He paused when he saw her cold and scared face. To distract her, he said, “Those clothes look good you and they’ll keep you warm Haley. You know how San Francisco’s chilly at night.”
She nodded and he saw a small smile.
He backed out of his van’s cab and went to open the van’s hatch. Haley turned to watch him tuck his rifle in place and then cover it with a tarp. The hatch snapped close.
George slipped into his leather seat, locked his door, and turned the key. The roar of the powerful engine filled the cab. The van rolled forward crunching gravel like teeth grinding candy.
“Thank you for not making me stay behind. I want to be there to help in any way I can.”
“I understand what you mean, Haley.”
“How long before we get to Aunt Robin’s?”
“Thirty to forty minutes. Maybe even faster as its late now. You can catch a nap if you want.”
“I couldn’t. I’m worried and excited at the same time. I don’t want anything bad to happen to Eric’s aunt, and I’m in shock that I will be seeing Eric again so soon. I had myself psyched out for a long duration without any contact with him.”
“Aye, I can understand those feelings, too,” said George.
The next few minutes passed in silence, until Haley said, “From what you’ve described, I am afraid for his aunt. She’s all alone. Jeannie, Krista, and I were going to stay with her tonight.”
George acknowledged her concern with a nod of his head. Haley yawned, scooted down in her seat, and used the hood on her jacket as a pillow. “This thick jacket feels so comfortable, I could …”
“Fall asleep,” said George, finishing the sentence for her. The steady hum of the road and her exhaustion from the lack of sleep over the last two days had finally captured her.
Copyright 2015 MillieAnne Lowe, Oceanside, California