ZZ Metaline Falls

Thursday Night/Friday Morning

After sorting out the Roadhouse, Sheriff Pitt and Deputy Claridge went home, off shift until tomorrow morning. Deputies Doolitch and Pepper booked Bobby Briggs and Mike Nelson into the small jail beneath the sheriff’s office. Bobby took advantage of his phone call to call his parents, who are planning to arrive first thing in the morning, with lawyer in tow. His father is a local figure of some note, Major Garland Briggs of the U.S. Air Force.

Special Agent Chapman was up late looking into the new revelations from the diary and the cell phone. No key was available to open the lock on the diary, but a quick snap broke the flimsy clasp and allowed access to the diary.

  • The last entry, dated Feb 23rd, read: “Asparagus for dinner again. I hate asparagus. Does this mean I’ll never grow up?” and ended with “Nervous about meeting J tonight.”
  • The entry for Feb 5 read: “Ran 3 miles today—am I exhausted! Kitty got new collar.” Below that was the inscription “DAY ONE!” and a plastic envelope that contained a key and traces of a white powder. The envelope will have to go to Spokane for testing, but Chapman is fairly certain it will test positive for cocaine.
  • The key belongs to a safety deposit box. Wells Fargo is the only bank in town, but it will require a court order to open. If you submit the paperwork tonight you should receive the court order sometime tomorrow.
  • The cell phone does not receive any signal in Metaline Falls, but it appears to have been used more for pictures and video than telephone calls. There are several pictures of Sheryl and her friends, especially Bobby Briggs and Donna Hayward. There is also a video of Sheryl and Donna dancing in the woods. The person holding the camera is never seen, but during a close-up of Sheryl’s eye you can make out the reflection of a motorcycle. Additional detail might be possible if the image is enhanced. This could take some time if you have to send it out, but perhaps someone in town has the necessary equipment and training.

After returning home, Deputy Claridge went to bed and dropped into a deep but somewhat disturbed sleep. After waking the next day, she could remember one particularly vivid dream, where she met a strange dancing dwarf and a girl who looked like Sheryl Grant in an odd room with a black-and-white diagonal tiled floor and red velvet curtains. The dwarf said several things to her, in a strange and stilted accent.

  • “Let’s rock!”
  • “I’ve got good news.”
  • “That gum you like is going to come back in style.”
  • “She’s my cousin. But doesn’t she look almost exactly like Sheryl Grant?” (referring to the girl in the dream)
  • “She’s filled with secrets.”
  • “Where we’re from, the birds sing a pretty song, and there’s always music in the air.”

The girl also made one cryptic announcement, in the same strange accent.

  • “I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back.”

That’s all that Deputy Claridge can remember of the dream, but she has a feeling that there’s more that she doesn’t remember.

Special Agent George Randolf dozed for some time, and when he awoke he was no longer outside the abandoned railcar, but somewhere else in the woods, disoriented and feeling apprehensive. Several owls hooted, and from not far away he could make out the sound of voices. Moving closer, he saw a couple speaking emphatically, then kiss and ride off on a motorcycle. One was a shaggy-haired young tough wearing a motorcycle jacket, and the other he recognized as Donna Hayward. He could hear their voices, but wasn’t close enough to make out the words.

It took over an hour for Randolf to find his way back to the railcar and resume his stakeout. There was no sign of any new activity at the crime scene, nor did anything else suspicious happen throughout the night.


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