Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
It’s Over, But Is It ...?
The rest of the morning Chief McGuire and his staff work Smith’s Alley and the surrounding vicinity in an attempt to have everything ready by 5:00 pm. There had been no reports of additional sightings and everyone feels confident that the huge meal The Ripper previously ate has made him lethargic for the rest of the day. However come nightfall, he will be wanting his evening dinner.
At first, Sargent Bingham suggests putting out another dead buck as bait.
“He went for it once, he’ll go for it again.”
“The buck was alive. This killer enjoys bringing down his prey. Besides, what would a buck be doing dead in Smith’s Alley?” The Chief counters.
“Do you really believe that The Ripper would know the difference? After all, he’s just an animal.” The Sargent reproaches.
“A cunning one at best. First rule of order—never, I mean never underestimate your enemy.” The Chief reminds Sargent Bingham to which he has to concur.
“Right, so what do we give him—live bait?”
“Live bait. But it has to be someone who is the best runner available.” McGuire offers.
“I’ve got just the man for the job, Specialist Jodie Westbrook. That fellow is a former Olympic Decathlon champion. Not too many people know that he’s the same Jordan Westbrook that broke records a few years back!” Roscoe proclaims proudly.
“I knew he looked familiar. How did you guys manage to get The Legs on your team?” The Chief is very impressed.
“It’s a long story. Anyway, if anyone could give The Ripper a run for his money—The Legs can.” Roscoe decides, then goes over to Specialist Westbrook to give him the particulars of the plan.
Meanwhile, Officer Collins is with Ellen Corbet at her place. She wants to pick up some more items to take to her parents’ house.
“You don’t think we’ll meet The Ripper as soon as we’ve finished here do you?” Ellen asks a little nervous.
“If I did, I never would have followed you here much less allowed you to come.” Tim replies.
“Allowed me to come? Now look here Tim—”
“Easy now! I didn’t mean it the way it came out. All I am saying is that I would have suggested that you just wait until all this blown over. Darn, you sure are defensive.” Tim replies, rubbing his chin.
“Sorry Tim. It’s just the least thing regarding my independence ticks me off. Now my folks want me to give up my place and permanently move back home.” Ellen sighs heavily.
“It’s hard giving up your only child, I guess. At any rate are you almost finished?” Tim is anxious to leave, considering the history of Ellen’s house.
“Yes. Let’s get back into town. It’s getting near 4:30 pm. Do you suppose The Ripper has a timepiece to assist him in his pursuits?” Both Ellen and Tim have a good laugh at the thought of a grizzly looking at his watch to gauge when to return to town.
Hopping into the formidable Jeep Wrangler, Tim and Ellen make the short trip back to the Corbets’ home. Emily Corbet is waiting just outside the front door.
“Good to see you back. I was beginning to think that something might have happened. I know that The Ripper is supposed to be sleeping off his morning meal but—” She sighs.
“Don’t worry Mrs. Corbet, Ellen and I are fine.” Tim reassures her, tips his hat and returns to the Morgan’s Bluff Police Station.
“Now there’s a fine young man—” Before Emily can go any further, Ellen interrupts.
“Mother, you know I’ve been seeing a lot of Chad Emerson.”
“Yes, I know but wouldn’t a local boy be better?” Ellen interjects.
“Later mother, right now the town is in the middle of a crisis. We need to focus more on how we can help. Have you discussed any of this with your Mystery Club members? Like the merits of meeting by video chat?” Ellen queries.
“That reminds me, I need to have a chat with Buddy Houston’s wife Marie. Her husband’s experience with The Ripper will make a great topic for the next session.” Away Emily goes to make the call.
As the sun begins to slowly sink into the western skies, everyone is on full alert for the coming of The Ripper. The wait is not a long one. As Jodie Westbrook jogs toward Smith’s Alley, a massive shadow looms in the backdrop. It is The Ripper!
The race is on! Jodie sprints with the speed of a gazelle through Smith’s Alley with The Ripper in hot pursuit. However, this time when they reach the end of the long alley, the National Guard is primed with a shower of mortar fire and other military capabilities. Jodie slides out of the way as the men, along with the officers of Morgan’s Bluff, hammer The Ripper with everything they’ve got! However, The Ripper keeps rushing toward McKellar Lake.
He turns around only once when a guardsman gets too ambitious with his gunnery and the man is left minus one arm.
“Damn!” Yells Sargent Bingham. “Keep at it—don’t let that bastard get away. He’s heading for the lake.”
Again and again the men keep shooting at the beast, but he keeps running toward the water. Then, one bullet meets the heart of the menace. Then another and another find their mark. There is a piercing sound and the grizzly hits the water.
The men wait for a carcass to come floating to the surface, but it never happens. Sargent Bingham and Chief McGuire travel, weapons in hand, to the edge of the lake.
“Well, I guess we finished off that s.o.b.” Sargent Bingham concludes.
“I don’t know. I would feel more confident if there was a body.” Chief McGuire responds.
“How could he stay that long under water without drowning even if the bullets didn’t finish him off?” Bingham further boasts.
“Just remembering something Tim told me.” McGuire says, not wanting to reveal the true source.
“And what’s that?” The cocky Bingham rejoinders.
“Legends don’t die, they just go somewhere else.” McGuire repeats. As both men stare at the calm waters, each one thinks he sees a couple of bubbles. At first, neither says a word, looking at one another.
“You don’t suppose—” Chief McGuire breaks the silence.
“I don’t know!” Sargent Bingham states in sheer bewilderment.
Tim and Jodie join the two men at the water’s edge. Tim speaks.
“Chief, do you think he’s really dead?” He stares at the still waters.
“To be honest Tim, and just among the four of us, I don’t know.” The Chief replies shaking his head. “What about you, Roscoe?”
“Don’t repeat me and Jodie if you tell that I said this—”
“You can trust me, Sarge!” Jodie answers, knowing what will come next.
“I think he’s finished here. But woe be it unto the next town.” Sargent looks at each individual.
“Amen!” Chorus the three other men.
The Beef and Beer Bash goes off without any problems. The townsfolk still talk among themselves regarding the incident of the past few weeks. No one discusses whether they believe The Ripper is gone for good but there is a look in their eyes that says, “It’s over but it ain’t the end!”
© 2020 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS