A thick blue mists surrounds the cruise ship as it sails through the unknown. You sit on the edge of your bed reflecting upon the last visit you made. A talking wolf? You would have never imagined you would have been talking to a wolf and it had talked back to you as if it was some kind of human. This tour was getting stranger with each stop. A wave of exhaustion consumes you. You get up from your bed, pull down the blankets and snuggled in your warm bed.
You had had a long day. It had been late in the night by the time you had all arrived back to the ship. Tasha and Dalton has told everyone to go to bed. They even suggested that you all might want to sleep in the following morning. That had been a change for all of you. Every morning you had been expected to rise at 6:30. Breakfast was always served at 7am. When someone asked about breakfast Dalton has said your breakfast would be served to your room. That was odd. But you weren't going to complain. Breakfast in bed sounded delightful!
You pull the blankets over your body, snuggled deeper in the bed and close your eyes. Gently, ever so gently, you drift into a deep slumber. Ever so deep. You lose time and place. It had been awhile since you had sleep this soundly. Your military instincts try to kick in to warn you something was wrong. Could you be inhaling an odorless and colorless gas that is making you sleep this deep? What was Tasha and Dalton doing to all of you. But you let it slide. All you want to do is sleep.
|Dream! by Melody Campbell|
The man in the car with me is skittish as we drive around the streets and back roads of a Sawmill. He introduced himself. “Bill Schuler,”
Bill Schuler was forty-five, short, stocky, and over his lip a moustache grew. His face was sun-darkened and his eyes sunken into deep shelves with dark circles beneath; they made him look much older than his years. Jacob was younger. He was thin, more meaty than scrawny, and light-complexioned. He wore black plastic-rimmed glasses and a five o’clock shadow. His eyelids fluttered constantly and his left eye wandered.
Taking one hand off the wheel I gave him a firm quick shake. “Jacob Hirsch.” I didn’t take my eyes off the road as my 67 Camaro rumbled through the narrow streets. As a reporter in an unfamiliar setting, I wanted to listen to my source while making sure I didn’t run off the road.
“I heard this story once. It scared the hell out of me,” Bill said. “I didn’t want to believe it at first. I shrugged it off as an urban legend. But the longer I lived here, the more I believed there were strange things about this town.”
“So what is the story? And what good is it going to do me?” I asked.
“Are you sure my name won’t be mentioned?” Bill asked.
“I never give up my sources, Bill.”
“Even if your life was threatened? If your family was threatened?”
“Uh.” I stuttered as the car took the sharp s-curve coming into town just a little too fast. The back tire hit the shoulder and the car began to kick into a spin before I was able to correct it. “Trust me. I’m looking for a damn good story. Your name is safe. Now, why is it you chose me?”
“Well, I read your article last fall. The one you did on the Stonebridge Auto Club. I heard you created a lot of talk over that. I heard someone broke your arms over that story.
“Yes, my arms were broken. However, they never got the name of my source. Things changed after that and there was no more trouble for me. The things I wrote about were true; I work in facts and I do check out my sources. So, whatever you have to tell, be sure you give me all the facts.”
I slowed the car and turned into the gravel lot at Keller’s General Store.
“Can we drive on?” Bill asked. “I don’t want anyone seeing me with a stranger.”
After a few seconds, I said, “You brought me here. Where do you want to go?”
Bill tapped on his knee, nervously looking to see if anyone was around. “Turn left out onto Main Street.”
I obliged and put the Camaro in reverse. I eased onto Main and headed east toward the railroad tracks. It was quiet in the car, quiet enough to hear the loping of the engine’s cam.
The town of Sawmill wasn’t much. You had Keller’s, the only store and gas stop. Up the street from there was Braun’s Café; directly across the tracks was O’Leary’s bar. A bank, the Methodist church, a library, and the public grade school summed up Sawmill. It seemed the town was as big as the locals wished it to be and no more.
Two teenage boys covered in dust stood near the store, one drinking a Coke and the other filling the tire on his bike.
“Why do you do it?” Bill asked.
“What? Write what I do?”
“For the glory, I guess. I don’t want to be your typical news reporter. I want to write about things that are different. I want to get a job with a larger paper, like The New York Times, or The L.A Times, or The Dispatch in Saint Louis. My style of writing informs as well as entertains.”
“Well, what I have to say will entertain some, sicken others, and just maybe save a life or two. And then others may never believe it. See the water tower over there?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“See that line of trees on the hill? The hill and those trees span for a hundred miles in either direction. Around here, it is known as The Ridge, or Hickory Ridge to some. Eighty percent of the trees up there are one kind of hickory or another. Beyond the ridge is farmland, Wolf Creek, and the canal. Between the creek and canal is thick woods and marshland. Take a right just across the track.”
I took a right and another quick right when Bill motioned for him to do so.
“Make note of the roads I take you down. Map them in your mind. This part is very important. Now for the story. I moved here in ‘65; and I soon learned I was an outsider in a small town where most everyone can trace their ancestors back to the ones who settled here. The people around here don’t care much for outsiders.”
“So why did they let you move in?”
“They can’t stop it. It would draw too much attention. They’d just as soon make you uncomfortable until you pack up and leave. Or scare the shit out of you and hope you’ll get out of town fast. Anyway, I purchased a hundred acres and a home, known around here as Connolly Manor. The house and property had been sitting empty for quite some time and I responded to an ad in The Stonebridge Times. A Jerome Connolly sold it to me. He was a young man, barely eighteen, and said he inherited it. He had no interest in living here; he wanted the money to put himself through college. The place needed lots of work, but I didn’t care. I loved it. I was a young lawyer with a wife and a child on the way. I knew I wanted to get my family out of the filthy city and into a serene and safe place. It did not take long for me to realize we were not welcome.”
“So what happened?”
“Oh, the people here will talk to you. They will help a passing stranger. Move here, though, and they will just as soon snub you.”
“Sounds like the typical small town to me.”
“But Sawmill is different. You’ll see what I mean. You get to snooping and they will clam up. Yeah, a few will give up a little. But those few have been brainwashed and will lead you in the direction this town wants. That is, to a dead end.”
“You’re saying they will lie to avoid any snoopers. Sounds like you might have something. I like a challenge.”
Bill hesitated for a moment, glancing behind and to the side as if he were worried about being followed. “This town was settled mainly by Irish and German workers, who came to build the canal. These people are tight, a brotherhood where men are men and women know their place.”
OBTUSE is due to be re-released winter of 2013
Who is B.E. Schäfer?
B.E. Schäfer is the pen name of Blake Schaefer.
He has had a long interest in writing and has had a deep love of horror and sci-fi. After reading his first Stephen King novel at the age of twelve, he was hooked. At the age of 15 he was introduced to many other types of fiction and non-fiction books by a teacher of his. He notes many influences in his life including King, Koontz, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Rice Bradbury and many more.
He grew up and was educated in Southern Indiana. He has lived in Illinois and the St. Louis Metro area. He now resides in Indiana with his wife, seven children, a dog and a cat.
He is the author of the Novels SIX TOES, SIX TOES BOOK II THE LEGACY, and OBTUSE-Due to be re-released winter of 2013.
He is also written the Screenplay: OBTUSE coming soon to film.
Visit him at: http://www.b-e-schafer-books.com/ all books are available on Amazon.com and at Barnes and Noble.