story in rtf format
"Everything all right?" I asked.
"Mmm," Beulah said. "Perfect, Phil--"
She shook her head. "I can't."
I looked around the rustic cabin by the aspens
and the blue river, the little hunting lodge that belonged to Sheriff
Jack Blair's father-in-law--Sergeant Glad and my headquarters for
the Montana assignment.
It was a famous place, an historical moment.
The white and blue chimney stones, the cherry paneling, the mounted
trout, and the antlered heads of big game above the mantel--
With a sudden jump, like a dangling loop of
film touching the floor and then quickly winding tight as the projector's
sprocket gripped the perforations, the story of
had started again.
Now everything was normal and legendary.
There was the hope of love. I had known Beulah
Ransom only an hour and I knew it was true--I'd known from the moment
she got out of the blue car and approached the cabin's open red door,
just after Glad and I had pulled in from Clarksville and the weird
hectic day sifting Night Slayer clues with Sheriff Blair and his sergeant,
I'd caught a rare scent on the air, not
pine or a woman's cologne but the subtle and elusive scent of a dark
flower. I remembered Fresno and The Blue Flower Case, the night I
had dreamed that Ellen was alive again and speaking to me about Montana--
Now I felt a twisting stab, saw the orange
light falling through the log cabin's dusty window across the flagstone
hearth. Ellen's ghost would be no match for Beulah.