Terror From McKellar Forest 11
Legends Don’t Die ...
It’s about 20 minutes later when Officer Collins appears in the Diamond T 4-ton 6 X 6 Tactical Truck filled with National Guard personnel. Daphne is gazing out the window while Buddy is still in the kitchen finishing off a wonderful Western Omelet she made for him and a strong cup of decaf coffee.
“It looks like the cavalry has arrived—literally!” Daphne proclaims as Buddy pushes back from his seat to join her at the window.
“Will wonders ever cease?” Buddy remarks looking from his wife to the window and back to her again. “There is no way The Ripper is going to sneak up on that.”
Giving Daphne a quick peck on the cheek, Buddy hurries out to meet Officer Collins.
“I see the Chief isn’t playing this time around.” Buddy chuckles.
“You got that right, Buddy!” Tim grins. “It’s time to put this mother down!”
“You know, there’s a saying—Legends don’t die, they just relocate.” One of the National Guardsman, Specialist Jordan Westbrook rejoinders.
“What do you mean by that?” Buddy queries.
“The Ripper. It’s noted that his tale originated around the Klondike vicinity. People have attempted to kill him I don’t know how many times. But he still manages to return.” Westbrook informs Buddy.
“Yeah, somewhere else.” Another guardsman echoes.
“You mean you believe this? I took a shot at him, wounded him just the other night.” Buddy brags.
“Did he appear any the worse for wear when he chased you back home?” Tim tries hard to muffle a chuckle.
“How’d you hear about that? I never went into any details with the Chief. I just kinda scratched the surface.” Buddy sheepishly responds.
“Fred Galloway let loose that you broke a speed record when you had The Ripper hot on your trail.” There is laughter from a few men as they visualize a burly Buddy Houston hopping over the adjoining fence to make it to his house.
“I guess you would move too if you were being engaged in a life or death struggle.” An indignant Buddy retorts. Tim gives him a brotherly tap on the back and walks him to the awaiting vehicle.
There is a sudden scream—then nothing.
“Who was that?” Staff Sergeant Bingham questions. “Where is Jones?”
“Jones, Jones?” Different voices ring out but there is no answer. One of the men returns running to the large vehicle.
“Sargent Bingham, The Ripper got Jones!” Specialist Darby replies.
“What? How did that happen?” Men begin to congregate in a semi-circle around the truck as Darby tells his brief story.
“Jones needed to take a leak, sir. I told him to ask Officer Houston if he could use his facilities, but he shook his head no and headed for the woods over there.”
“The same woods where Mr. Galloway lost his dog?” Sargent Bingham asks in disbelief.
“Yes, sir.” Specialist Darby replies.
“The dang fool—what was he thinking?” Sargent Bingham queries, then looks back at Specialist Darby.
“And how is it that you made it back, Darby?” The Sargent inquires.
“It happened so fast. One minute, I was talking to Specialist Jones—the next minute his head rolls pass me. I mean he went over near a tree and, and—”
“Calm down son, go get into the truck. I want five of you men to retrieve the remains of Specialist Jones. If you feel incline to do so, shoot anything that moves.” Sargent Bingham orders.
“Hold on there.” Tim Collins corrects. “There could be civilians in those woods.”
“Do you really think they’d still be alive?” Sargent Bingham gives Collins a stern look. “I didn’t think so. Men, you have your orders.”
Five men head toward the woods or undeveloped area of Morgan’s Bluff. One man carries a rather large canvas bag. The others are carrying their M16 Rifles on the ready.
The man with the canvas bag. Specialist Westbrook, commences picking up the remains of Specialist Jones while the other four stand in close proximity of each other, forming a square that moves wherever Westbrook does until their mission is completed. Then slowly they return to the Diamond T. No one has his back facing forward. It is a great sigh of relief as well as sadness when the men are finally at the truck.
“That poor fellow. Did he have a family?” Officer Collins questions.
“Not really, he pretty much was a loner.” Specialist Westbrook replies.
“Like the dog. You know, I think some kind of pattern is forming. The Ripper seems to specialize in people who are alone. He hung around Ellen’s home. He killed Mr. Riley. Loner was named that because he stayed pretty much by himself.” Office Collins surmises.
“And, I live away from the rest of the patrolmen. Most guys live around the vicinity of Morgan’s Bluff, but I live out in the newly built community, close to the lake and the forest. That undeveloped patch of land just north of us is almost as good of a hiding place as the McKellar Forest.” Buddy contributes.
“I think we are beginning to see a pattern.” Sargent Bingham says as they drive back toward the center of town and the Morgan’s Bluff Police Station.
Sargent Bingham and Buddy Houston are anxious to share what they have deduced with the Chief while Officer Collins wants to speak to Specialist Westbrook.
“Can I talk with you?” Tim inquires.
“Sure—let me give this form to Specialist Darby. He has the unfortunate task of notifying the next of kin—when applicable.” Tim sits back and relaxes in his seat while the Diamond T makes it short run into town. Specialist Westbrook gives Darby the canvas bag and the form he filled out. Darby will also have to post a report.
As Sargent Bingham and Officer Houston follow Chief McGuire into his private office, Specialist Westbrook follows Officer Collins outside to the back area where there are impressive chairs and tables for leisurely activities.
“You got a really nice setup here, Office Collins, except of course for The Ripper.” Specialist Westbrook compliments.
“Call me Tim.” Officer Collins replies.
“Alright Tim. You can call me Jodie. My first name is Jordan.” Specialist Westbrook extends his hand and the two men exchange a firm shake. “Now, tell me what’s on your mind.”
“I kinda thought so. You seem really interested when I told Officer Houston about the Klondike thing.” Jodie smiles, reaching for his pack of Spearmint Gum. Offering a stick to Tim, he shakes his head.
“Actually, I’m a Juicy Fruit man. I tend to enjoy that sweet flavor—while it lasts.” Tim chuckles.
“Somewhat like a woman. She can be ever so sweet and then, well once the sugar leaves, things can get bland.” That analogy makes both men laugh out loud.
“Sounds like you’ve seen some action.” Tim states, stuffing a stick of gum into his own mouth.
“You might say so. Now, let’s discuss The Ripper!” Jodie rejoinders, turning the subject serious.
“This ain’t no ordinary grizzly, is it?” Tim queries.
“No, Tim it’s not. My daddy used to talk about The Ripper all the time before his stroke. Now, he and mom just take it easy in their Florida home.” Jodie tells him.
“I’ll bet he’s having a time!” Time smiles.
“Yes, he is. You know, sometimes it takes something like recovering from a near tragedy to realize just how wonderful life really is. He was able to retire from Military Procurement and just dunk is toes in the Atlantic Ocean.” This time Jodie is smiling richly.
“Ok, so you mean to tell me that this is the same bear that your father had a run in with?” Tim questions.
“What I believe is that old Klondike Bear passed his spirit on to another grizzly. Some people think I’m loco but that’s just my opinion. If we’re able to kill this grizzly—The Ripper will just shows up somewhere else.” Jodie gives Tim a look and then sits back in his seat.
“You can’t kill a spirit, Jodie.” Tim acknowledges.
“Nope, the best we can hope for is to slow ‘um down a might.” Jodie agrees.
“Until he shows up somewhere else.” Tim echoes the thoughts of Jodie.
“Yeah, until he shows up somewhere else.”
To Be Continued ...
Terror From McKellar Forest 12
- Terror From McKellar Forest 12
Chief McGuire and Sargent Bingham join Officer Collins and Specialist Westbrook on the patio to talk strategy. With Mayor Hodges out of town, he has left the formidable Deputy Mayor Audrey Davenport in charge, as the Sargent will soon discover why.
Questions & Answers
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