The Blue Flower's Scent
Nels Hanson
[Total Pages: 19]
Hanson Page 1
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    "Everything all right?" I asked.
    "Mmm," Beulah said. "Perfect, Phil--"
    "More salad?"
    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

my life 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, Ray Bell.
    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.