“Who the hell are the Ea-Su?” John said out loud. His words failed to reach the ears of any living thing. The power of the dead air overwhelming them.
John could only wonder what he had stumbled into, and whether or not he would survive to see Christmas.
Two Harbors Police Station
As Kenneth Meadows entered the interview room he reflected on the fact that it had to have been a pretty surprising suspect to pull the Chief of Police out of his office for another one of the frequently found dead in this town. On the other hand, he had finished the normal stack of paperwork an hour before.
Meadows had been flipping through the fishing section of the Sears & Roebuck catalog when Lieutenant Anderson had come in. The Lt. had told him that they had arrested some guy carrying a body out of the old potter’s cemetery, south of town.
Meadows just sighed when he had been told this. It seemed to be the perfect culmination to the series of events that had been the height of town gossip for weeks, ever since Halloween. As he got a look at the culprit he was more than a little surprised.
‘Some guy’, indeed.
As he sat down across from the suspect, Chief Meadows tapped the autopsy file, a few reports and pictures of the crime scene inside a manila folder, were lying on the table.
“You know,” Meadows began dryly, “We get quite a few ‘jelly beans’ who are all wet wandering into town, gumming up the works for folks, folks who have taken offense to these crumbs one too many times. We just haven’t ever gotten one who was a ‘Joe Brooks Abercrombie’ college type before, Professor DeShane.” Meadows said as he dropped the file he had picked up, in front of John, a police file that had a transcript from a telephone interview with the Dean of UCLA stapled to the front.
John just smiled at the policeman’s attempt to insult him. He leaned forward, putting his manacled hands on the metal table. “Why, thank you Chief, I am rather smartly dressed, but alas, I do not know everything, otherwise I would know who killed my friend Rick and Professor Delafield.”
Meadows ignored John’s attempt to provoke him into revealing any information. “So, why’d you do it?”
John looked at the middle-aged man as he pulled out a metal flask marked Old Number 7. He knew that the flask was not filled with water, he could smell the Tennessee Sippin’ Whiskey from where he was sitting.
DeShane continued to look at Meadows with a gaze that mixed deference with surprise in the face of seeming insanity. “Chief, I assure you I had nothing to do with his death. As a matter of fact, I dearly wanted to speak with him about the Ancient Sumerian City of Eridu.” Chief Meadows just rolled his eyes at this.
“Are you telling me that you think that I killed a man with my bare hands, even though I was packing heat, and then walked out onto the highway with his body in my arms?” There was surprise in John’s voice, along with a touch of bitterness.Were these people so stupid that they did not recognize a threat, one that lurked in their very midst?
John thought to himself with building incredulity.
“Look DeShane, I don’t know what’s going on, but I know I’m going to find out before you leave this station, or head on over to the Minnesota state big house.” Meadows said as he walked around, switched on the sun lamp, and hovered over John. Even at 5’11”, the sight of him leaning over the archeologist should have been intimidating to the man.
Then Meadows began asking more questions. “What were you doing in that cemetery?”
John had to squint to keep from going blind from the sun lamp the Chief had turned on, to make him sweat. DeShane knew that if he told the Chief the truth he would, in all probability, be locked up in the Duluth state nut house.
“I have been told that there were some civil war era graves up there, and since I am in town investigating my friend’s death I figured that I would indulge in my civil war history hobby by collecting some more American Civil War era names.”
“Did you meet Delafield in that cemetery, to buy or sell something, and the deal headed south? We all know how you archeologists are nothing but tomb raiders.”
John just laughed at the insinuation. “At all times I adhere to the standards required by the international conventions for the protection of antiquities. As for the second part of your question, Professor Delafield was already dying when I found him.”
“Or is this because Delafield found out a secret of yours and was going to bleed you, until you fit him for a Chicago overcoat, by beating him to death?” At this John’s face had the look of utter incomprehension plastered across it.
“Look, I realize that when someone is trying to bleed you that bad blood will abound. Never-the-less, you have to realize something too: this is America, we do not follow vigilante justice, and we follow the law. As sure as God made little green apples, you should have reported his attempt to bleed you.”
It was then that realization suddenly dawned to John. The people who had killed Rick and Delafield had mandated secrecy... apparently they were very good at keeping secrets.
With a look that held a touch of fascinated bewilderment and, especially in his grin, the hint that he was not totally around the bend, John asked a question that infuriated Kenneth Meadows. “You have no idea what is going on, or who is behind all of these deaths and disappearances, do you?”
John had been bumping gums with the Chief of Police for several hours before they finally let him go. Insufficient evidence they had said. Although, John would have bet a sawbuck that Julian, the Dean of UCLA, had something to do with it.
Julian James had contacts within the FBI. Moreover, John was sure that ‘ole JJ’ had dropped a few hints about having a few G-Men show up to take over the investigation.
One thing John knew about small town police chiefs, they despised the thought of the Bureau getting in their way and taking over their investigations. However, as much as John smiled at the thought of the chief sweating over that possibility, it did nothing to help him figure out what was happening in this town.
Once John was released he had returned to the cemetery to retrieve the notebook Delafield had had in his pocket. Some sort of journal the man had used to keep track of his evidence.