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The Journeyman by Dan Dillard
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The Journeyman

by Dan Dillard

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As a kid, I dreamed of visiting The Emerald City. As an adult, I bought property in South Park, Colorado.

In between – I made various Narnias, solved cases in Bayport, imagined skipping school, (and getting detention) in Shermer, Ill., and stopped for coffee in Ilium. I’ve wished that floo powder was a real thing, and daydreamed of becoming a Slayer in Sunnydale. I’ve planned my escape from Arkham, and I built my fictional vacation home in Castle Rock.

My recent literary travels brought me to Walker’s Woods, a small Midwestern town where bad things happen. The latest news focuses on a string of disappearances, and a possible serial killer in the area.

Chelsea Ritter lives, and goes to school in Walker’s Woods. At 14 years old, the headlines are not her top priority. Yet.

Her parents got divorced when she was younger, and Chelsea lives with her dad, Luke. They share the same quirky sense of humor, and love of good music. He’s not as fond of Persephone, her four year old pet tarantula, as he used to be. Creepy, or not, Persephone is still a part of their family.

School kind of sucks, especially if you’re being harassed by the troglodytes roaming the halls. She is a good student, but like most people – she enjoys her extra-curricular activities more. She loves to read, watch old b&w monster movies, and she is an exceptional artist. She has also kept a non-traditional kind of journal since she was eleven. At first, it was just something to do. Now, the pages of “WEIRD SHIT MY NEIGHBOR DOES” are almost full. They’ve never officially met, but she is amused by Mr. Clay, and his OCD habits.

It probably would have stayed just a fun way to pass time – if she hadn’t accidentally happened upon something unusual, even for him. She was trying to hunt down a grasshopper for Persephone. It had hopped off her porch, and when she found it again, it was in-between her house and Mr. Clay’s house. Just as she captured it, she heard something hit Mr. Clay’s basement window from the inside. She was startled by the sound, and dropped Persephone’s snack. As it hopped away, she noticed that whatever caused the sound on the window, had also chipped away a piece of the black paint that was he used instead of curtains. She heard sounds, possibly voices, but she couldn’t make them out, and she couldn’t see into the basement from her vantage point. She did the next best thing – she pulled out her cell phone, and got it set up and recording video with minimal effort. After she got about ten minutes recorded, she grabbed her phone and headed home to say goodbye to her dad before he left on a quick business trip.

She ordered a pizza and settled in to watch a old horror movie, forgetting all about the recording until she went to bed. The light from the neighbor’s bedroom window came on, and reminded her. She grabbed her journal, a handful of pens, and hopped into bed – ready to watch Mr. Arthur Clay, and take some notes before going to sleep for the night.

What she saw would have been enough to keep other people awake for the rest of their lives.

Her neighbor mutilated & murdered someone while she was right outside, separated only by a thin pane of glass. He killed her, he drained her, and he cut out her eyes. And Chelsea had it on video.

I don’t know what I would do if I recorded a video of a murder. Call the police, hide under my bed, move – all pretty good options. I certainly wouldn’t go knock on a murderer’s door to tell them I have evidence of the crime. Blackmail can be lucrative, but it’s still a little too dangerous for me. Chelsea, on the other hand, knows exactly what she wants.

She was a little nervous when she knocked on his door, but his awkwardness empowered her. When she told him that she saw him, and recorded what he did – the fear and anger showed on his face.

That’s when Chelsea smiled, and told Art exactly what she wanted. ( )
  Shadow_Girl | Apr 21, 2015 |
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