- October 13
It was almost 4 am when I got home. My phone had been silent since the last call from Him. I’m guessing he was so sure neither of us would survive his first attack, he hadn’t planned anything else for tonight. Since I was meeting Nick back at the station in just 4 hours, I only had time for a shower and a short nap. Like the captain said, rest while you can.
By the time I got back to the station, I’d already talked with Karl and arranged to meet with him at nine. I’d told him we needed his help with a police matter and I couldn’t say more over the phone. I knew Karl well enough to know his curiosity would get us farther than our badges could.
Nick was already waiting for me at the station. ‘Good morning, Matthews. We have a nine o’clock appointment with Karl and I need another coffee. Are you driving or shall I? I told Karl to keep everyone away from the back and out of the cemetery until we get there. Fortunately, they don’t have anything scheduled until this afternoon so he’s calling everyone and telling them not to come in til noon.
‘You’ve been busy. I’d thought we’d be here a while trying to convince him to let us search during business hours. Coffee sounds good. I’ll drive’ Nick said, dangling car keys. ‘What’s in the equipment bag?’
‘I’ve known Karl a while, he’s always been helpful. When I’m on call, I always check in with all the major funeral homes and cemeteries just to touch base with the directors, don’t you? Most of them will give me a heads up if they see something they think may give me zombie trouble later. As for the bag, things I hope we don’t need, but it never hurts to be prepared. By the way, I also called Paul Sheffield. I told him we had some stuff going on with one of our “special cases” and asked if Marianne Garner could meet us there around 9:30 to dust for fingerprints. That’ll give us a chance to explain things to Karl before she gets there. Marianne’s a friend and doesn’t get freaked by the weird stuff but I don’t want to over-share information. I just hope he left something for us to find.’
‘Yeah, me too, Kincaid. I don’t really want to find out what he has planned for us next. The sooner we find out who he is and get him behind bars, the safer this city will be.
Karl was anxious to hear the details I’d promised and listened patiently while Nick and I told him everything that had happened last night. ‘That happened in MY cemetery? We can’t have this kind of thing going on here. What do you need from me, Dallis? Anything I can do to help you catch this guy, you just name it.’
‘Thanks, Karl. Right now, we just need to search the grounds to see if we can anything to help us identify him. Officer Garner will be here in a few minutes to dust for fingerprints. The zombies gathered at the back of the building so he was probably there. We’re hoping we can isolate a fingerprint. It’s a long shot but we have to start somewhere. Last night, when he started talking to us, I could hear his voice behind me. I think he may have set up a speaker to be sure we could hear him. While we’re waiting for Officer Garner, let’s look for that speaker.’
Nick and I started searching the grounds while Karl waited for Marianne. The ghouls had done their job, there was no sign of the zombies from last night. Marianne had almost finished dusting the door knob and the railings around the landing when we found the speaker. The small wireless speaker had been partially buried at the base of a headstone. It was barely visible and we wouldn’t have found it if the sun hadn’t hit at just the right angle. ‘Good eye, Matthews! I’ll get Marianne.’
‘Hey, Dallis. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I couldn’t isolate any prints from the doorknob and these handrails have been wiped clean. Do you have something else for me?’ ‘Yeah, there’s a small speaker next to one of the headstones.’ Marianne removed the speaker, careful not to ruin any prints that might have been left. ‘I’ll take this in with me, see if I can find anything useful. Anything else?’ ‘No, that’s all. I really need to know if you find anything as soon as possible.’ ‘I’ll get right on it. You know Paul, whatever you want is his top priority. Has he asked you out on a date yet?’ ‘No but you know I work nights, that makes it kinda hard to date. Tell him thanks for me.’
‘I guess we need to look for the ghouls next.’ Nick said as soon as Marianne left, though he didn’t happy about it. ‘Let’s start at the northwest edge and work our way east since that’s the most secluded area.’ If it hadn’t been for the dirt they’d displaced when they dug their hole, we probably wouldn’t have spotted them. The gently rolling landscape is lovely but it’s also perfect for ghouls. Fortunately, these grounds are so well maintained that the small dirt mound stood out like a beacon once we were in position to see it.
Nick and I walked around the opening which was barely big enough for one of them to squeeze through. ‘We need a flame thrower to kill them but I’m not sure how we can do that discreetly. Any ideas?’ I asked as I peered though the opening, using my flashlight to see inside. ‘I can see six of them. They haven’t dug in very far yet but, once the sun sets, they’ll dig through this cemetery like gophers. We need to do this now.’
‘I know a guy who owns an army surplus store. He’s got one we can use and he won’t ask any questions. Have you ever used one?’
‘No, never needed to. I only know that’s how to kill them because my dad told me. I told you we’d need somebody who knows how to use one. Do they need to wear special suits to handle those things?’
‘Nah, saw some videos about them when I was in the army. I never got to use one, though, the army has better technology now. I’ve been trying to find an excuse to use one since Pete got it. I guess now I have one.’
It was Karl’s idea to use one of the graveside tents with side curtains to block any view from the street. Karl and I set up the tent while Nick picked up the flame thrower. Nick returned 45 minutes later looking like a kid with the best toy ever. ‘Nick, I do believe you’re going to enjoy this.’
‘Honestly, I’m not crazy about the idea of frying the ghouls but since somebody’s gotta do it, I might as well be the one who gets to use this baby.’
‘Just point the business end into the hole before you turn it on. Don’t take this personally, but I’ll be waiting out of range. Try not to burn down the tent. And hurry, we’re running late. The less we have to explain to the staff, the better. ’ Good grief, I thought as I walked to a safe distance, I sound like I’m his mother. Mental note to self, put the Mom Gene back in the box until I actually have kids.
It was nearly 1 pm by the time we finished at the cemetery and we still needed to pay a visit to Will Hamilton before we called it a day. We stopped for a quick lunch on our way to Will’s apartment. Burning ghouls didn’t hurt Nick’s appetite, or mine. What had already been long day was about to get worse.***********************************************************************************