Thursday Sampler: Deadly Dominoes by Linda Pirtle
September 6, 2018
Why are people dying around the mysterious waters of Caddo Lake? Is there a serial killer on the loose or is it a national conspiracy? Read an excerpt from Linda Pirtle’s Cozy Mystery, Deadly Dominoes.
“You’d better be careful.”
Lillian, lost in her own world, mentally checked off the items she had just purchased and hoped she had not forgotten anything. She barely heard the advice of the young man who was busy placing into the back of her Jeep the burgeoning sacks of groceries she and Bill, her husband of fifty years, would need while camping at Caddo Lake along with their white Standard Poodle, Eli.
For the first time, Lillian paid attention to the six-foot tall, muscular, dark-haired young man who stood before her waiting for a response. “I beg your pardon – uh — ” She glanced at the name tag pinned to his shirt. “Brandon, what’s that you say?”
“I said ‘you’d better be careful’ .”
“Why would you say that?”
“Crazy things been happening out at that RV park at Caddo Lake.”
“What kinds of crazy things?”
“People have gone fishing, thought they didn’t need a guide to take them around the lake.”
“That’s not crazy. My husband and I never hire a guide when we’re fishing. We love to explore and have been lost several times, but we always find our way home.”
“You don’t understand. I’m saying lost souls at Caddo are never found by the park ranger. They’re gone for good.”
“What could possible happen to them?”
“Don’t know, but be forewarned. Be careful if you go off on your own.”
“I will.” Lillian smiled and changed the subject. She decided to give him a pop quiz, “Okay, Brandon, all warnings aside, just how did you know I’m RVing and, to be more precise, RVing at Caddo?”
“Well, ma’am, there’s that sticker on the front windshield of your Jeep…and,” he paused, “if I hadn’t seen it, I could guess you’re RVing by what I just packed in these sacks. Most folks who go there stock up on mosquito spray, suntan lotion, quick and easy snacks, milk, eggs, bread, corn meal to coat the fish they plan to fry, and cooking oil. And since you’ve bought dog treats, I assume. . .”
“Okay, okay, I get it. You don’t have to recite my grocery list. I’ll have to say that you are an astute young man. I envision you as a detective someday.”
Brandon laughed with Lillian. “Perhaps, you’re the detective, ma’am. I’m enrolled at Sam Houston State University. My major is criminal justice.”
“I should have known. You remind me of my son, Jake, and my adopted son, Grant. Both attended Sam Houston where they received their degrees in criminal justice. Maybe you’ll have the opportunity to meet them while my husband and I are at Caddo. That is, if I can coax them to drive up for the day.”
“That would be nice. I’d like to talk to someone other than a school counselor who could give me some advice, someone in the real world.”
“Oh, they’d be glad to do that. Well, I’ve got to go. Bill’s waiting.” Lillian prepared to leave, but for some unknown reason, felt drawn to the young man. “I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. Since this is the closest store to the lake, we’ll be seeing more of each other. Next time we meet, do me a favor.”
“Sure, ma’am, anything. Just let me know what you need.”
“Dispense with the ma’am and call me Lillian.”
“You got it.”
Lillian started to get in the vehicle, stopped, turned around, and extended her hand to the ambitious young man. Slipping him a twenty-dollar bill, she said, “Brandon, I wish you well, and I thank you.” She put the key in the ignition, started the motor, and proceeded to pull out of the parking lot.
Before heading back to the lake, however, she glanced in her rearview mirror in time to see Brandon walk back into the store. Bill would not be happy with their choice of a campsite if she told him about Brandon’s warning. Lillian debated whether or not to go back and quiz the young man a little more. She was intrigued by his warning, and because he avoided making eye contact when he mentioned lost souls, she suspected he had not related all he knew about the missing persons. No, she decided to keep her promise to Bill. They would have a real vacation. She would mind her own business. But, unable to control her curiosity, she thought about lost souls all the way back to their RV.
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