Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Killing and the Green-Eyed Girl, Des Moines, Iowa

Previously Ella Mae and her daughter fled Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and took refuge with Hunter Farmham at his isolated Iowa farm, hiring on to clean and cook. In early spring, Hunter hired a couple, Ben and Inez, to do the planting. Averil, Ella’s precocious daughter, warned her mother the Ben and Inez were not what they seemed and on a mission.

The expanded family fell into an easy routine with Ben and Inez preparing for planting, while Ella and Averil took care of the house and meals. Hunter noticed in the evenings Averil would stand by an old Elm tree watching the sun go down. As darkness fell, Hunter discerned a faint aura around the young girl. The sight stirred Hunter, yet made the hairs on the back of his neck stand, sending shivers down his spine. Who was this girl?
            One night Ben got his call from Boston. The geeks had drained Hunter’s Des Moines Bank account and recovered some of the stolen funds. “Time to take care of business.” The voice said cryptically.
            Ben got out of bed, dressed in his blacks and took his snout-silenced revolver.
“Don’t mess it up.” Inez said acidly from bed. “And do the half-breed and her weird daughter.”
Leaving the cottage, Ben went to the main house, entering through the kitchen. Hunter slept in a downstairs suite to the left. Ben stopped in the hallway, startled by a presence bathed in pale moonlight at the other end of the hall. It was Averil in a translucent gown, her black hair loose and her green eyes glittering in the dim light with a golden aura about her head. Averil’s arms were extended as if an angel, her hands splayed, welcoming the errant Ben.
            Ben aimed the silenced gun, but felt a shock as Averil glided forward. He fell to his knees, and then gasped as a spirit gripped his soul; the pistol fell to the floor. Averil came forward and put her arms around Ben, pulling him close, whispering. She helped him to his feet and led him outside, directing Ben to kneel by the Elm tree, facing east to wait sunrise.
            Averil then went around the house to the cottage and opened the door. Inez looked up in astonishment as Averil entered and quickly moved to the bed. Averil took Ben’s pillow and hovered over Inez. The muscular Inez was startled, then amused, and looked with disdain at the frail, young girl, who smiled down at her.
            Without a word, Averil put the pillow over Inez’s face, and she suddenly found herself pinned to the bed. The woman struggled to scream, to fight, but could only manage a whine. And in a few minutes, Inez was still.
There were many souls worth saving, but also those not. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Conman and the Geeks, Des Moines, Iowa

the killing, des Moines Iowas

Previously Sam Bradford of New Orleans, who had murdered his wife for her money, had visited the Eureka Springs Psychic Center. The Seer, Ella Mae Quicksilver, had told Sam his cancer was in remission. When Sam met her daughter, he prostrated himself, pledging his life and his fortune to the 13-year old green-eyed girl, Averil Jean. 

The folks in Eureka Springs at first tolerated the Psychic Center with its trickle of visitors. But as the trickle became a flow and people talked of a “Movement”, the tolerance became a misgiving. When the Center flourished, then local churches became alarmed. Some wags whispered the green-eyed girl was a witch, perhaps a demon, or worse, otherworldly. The town wise men gathered, muttering and nodding; something had to be done.
            Early one Monday morning in the dark of night, Averil woke her mother.  She said the townspeople would come that evening and it was time to go. They were always packed for flight and as the quirky town slept, the mother and daughter stole away. Ella asked about a sign, a star? But Averil shook her head. They would head north.

Hunter Farnham with his smooth, confident presentation was awarded the contract to manage the SoftWare Group’s, money. Hunter suspected the nerd company was a hacker operation, stealing money from all over the world.  He had control of $500 million that he managed. Assuming the group did not scrutinize his trades, Hunter slowly skimmed a little here and a little there. Small amounts that could easily be explained. As his uncle said a peanut here, a peanut there and after awhile… a jar of peanuts.
Taking his stash, Hunter it all on an improbable Sweet Sixteen basketball game. He heard via a source that the University of Florida was going to lay down for Florida Gulf Coast University, a no-body upstart from Fort Meyers, Florida. The odds were 100 to one. When FGCU won, Vegas would take the hit from the Sweet Sixteen upset of all time and Hunter could retire.
But the Gators did not lie down and Hunter lost millions. Fortunately, he kept a reserve and he fled his Boston office. He reinvented himself as a farmer in Iowa, buying a rambling farm house outside of Des Moines, the old Boynton farm. He grew a beard and became a recluse, but he did need a maid as he hated housework and cooking.
Thinking of placing an ad on Craig’s List, Hunter was startled one morning when two women appeared at his isolated spread. On inspection, it was a mother and daughter. The mother was dark, attractive, and perhaps Native American. The daughter shyly kept her head down as the mother explained they were looking for work, preferably live-in. She could clean, wash and cook with help from her daughter, who was home schooled.
As there was a large, empty addition on the back of the original farmhouse, Hunter agreed. The two looked harmless enough. The 13-year old girl was quiet and the mother clean and respectful.
A month later on his birthday, Hunter befriended Ella Mae and Averil Jean with wine and cheese, and then invited them to join him at his dinner table. When it got dark Hunter produced a cake and for the first time he scrutinized Averil, taking note of the six-fingers on each hand. He was startled by her jade, green eyes and felt a sizzle as Averil gazed at him; a shock ran up and down his spine and touched his soul.
As spring came, Hunter took on a brother and sister, Ben and Inez, to help with the plowing and planting. Ella Mae was immediately taken by the brother, a large strapping man in his late twenties. But Averil sensed evil, divining that the supposed brother and sister were at Hunter’s farm for more than spring planting. She told her mother they must leave the farm. This time Ella Mae, who yearned for male companionship, protested when Averil warned of danger.
“Perhaps there is another way.” Averil replied. 

And that is when the killing began.