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This page last viewed: 2017-04-27 and has been viewed 1934 times
Along the Way
By Tee (with help from Pam)
Summary: Face and Murdock on the road Some where between here and there.
Thanks to Pam – for all she does.
The Corvette slipped down highway A31 at two miles per hour under the speed limit. Murdock was fiddling with the tuner on the radio, but not a single station came in clearly. Face flicked the high beams to low as a battered pick-up approached, and then put them on again as it passed.
Illuminated in the beams was a girl walking on the right hand side of the road. Face pulled his foot off the gas, and the sports car slowed before he even tapped on the brake.
"Face, what are you doing?" Murdock sat up straighter in his seat, knowing the answer before he'd even asked the question. "Hannibal said no side trips and no girls in the car."
"I can't leave her out here in the dark, Murdock," Face said, even as he pulled alongside.
She was young, maybe 17 or 18, with long dark hair worn in a simple ponytail down her back. She had a clear, pale complexion and dark, soulful eyes that she turned toward the car as they slowed to a stop.
"Can we give you a lift, Miss?" Face shifted, so he could talk across Murdock.
She was wearing an old-fashioned lace dress with a fancy beaded shawl, and on her feet were low-heeled shoes just made for dancing. "I'm not going far," her smile was tentative, tipping just the corners of her mouth and showing off her full lips. Her soft voice had a hint of an accent of the hill folk in the area.
"Well, we're headed all the way to
"Fine by me." She pulled the door open before Murdock could, and arranged her skirt carefully as she sat on his knee. "This is awfully sweet of you."
"Oh, my pleasure," he said, with a flirtatious grin. Despite the warm summer air, Murdock felt a chill and reached around her to turn the heater up. "Hannibal's gonna kill us if she works for Decker."
Face eased the car back onto the road, smoothly bringing it up to speed.
"Hannibal is our, uhm, boss, and even Decker wouldn't use a civvy as young as you." Face tried to get a look at his pretty passenger, but she was facing Murdock. Just then, she turned, and Face thought she looked very pale in the moonlight. "Where are you heading all dressed up?"
"There's a dance at the Veterans' Hall." She flashed them both a smile. "I was supposed to go with Jimmy Rogers, but he was late picking me up, as usual, so I just started walking. It's really not far."
Murdock felt uncomfortable when she put her hand over his. She was so very young and he was more than fifteen years her senior. "Face, you better drop her off quick, or we are in all kinds of trouble."
"Face? What kind of name is Face?" A few dark strands of her hair escaped out the t-top and she tried to gather them all together, holding the ponytail in her hand.
"It's just a nickname, doll. What's your name?"
"Oh, just up there. See the road there, just past the bridge, turn there."
Face followed her instructions, and slowed the Corvette, turning down the narrow road that led up to the front of the Hall. A dance was well underway and light and music spilled down the front steps and into the drive. She was out of the car almost before Face had it stopped. "Come in if you want, everyone's welcome." With a flick of her skirts and a toss of her hair, she skipped up the steps and disappeared inside.
"Come on." Face started to back the car into a parking space.
"We're already late, Faceman. Hannibal's gonna have us doing push-ups in our sleep, and if that girl isn't jailbait, it's only just barely." But his argument was unconvincing even to him.
"Well, if we're already in trouble, let's have a really good reason." Face grinned and threw the car into park.
They raced each other up the stairs and into the brightly lit hall. A local band was playing a '50's tune, and dancers swayed across a wooden floor that doubled as a basketball court.
"It's free to get in, but we are selling raffle tickets to raise money for the animal shelter." The matronly lady with a name badge that had "Ruth" written on it didn't wait for an answer, and just began to pull a ticket for each of them off a roll.
"Oh, we'll support that, won't we, Face? How much?"
"A dollar a piece or six for five dollars."
"Give her a twenty, Face."
Face pursed his lips, but didn't say anything as he peeled a twenty off the wad of bills. At least now, Murdock was just as implicated as he was in this little side trip. "Did you see the young lady who just came in here? Do you know her name?"
"Lady?" Ruth counted out raffle tickets, setting one half aside to tear apart and put in a big glass punch bowl. The other long tail of tickets she gave to Murdock.
"Well, more a girl, really," Face continued. "Wearing a white dress and a beaded shawl."
Ruth stopped separating tickets and just looked up at him. "Are you pulling my leg?"
Face and Murdock exchanged a puzzled glance. "They are very lovely legs," Face said with a soft smile, "but why would I want to pull them?"
"Danny, Erna, come on over here for sec." Danny, who had been manning the punch bowl, and Erna, the cake table, came over to see what Ruth needed.
"Tell them about the girl you're looking for."
Face frowned, but repeated her description.
"Where are you boys from?" Danny crossed his beefy arms over his meaty chest and glowered at the two men before him.
Face was confused by the reception the two of them were getting, but decided to play along. "We aren't from around here, we're just passing through. We saw the girl and we gave her a lift. We were just hoping for a dance or two. I mean, we know she's too young for us, but a dance or two won't hurt, will it?"
Ruth gave a laugh, a delicate sound from the large lady. "Honey, if you think Mary is too young for you, what must you think of me?"
"Now, Ruth, be nice, these boys don't understand." Erna seemed to take pity on their confusion. "Boys, you just met Cemetery Mary."
"Cemetery Mary?" Murdock shuddered at the name.
"Mary McConnah, she was born in 1931. And every so often she walks down this road and lets nice young men give her a lift. She was killed walking on this road in 1950, when a driver didn't see her in the dark."
Murdock shuddered again. "Face, I don't want to go to this dance after all."
Face nodded, unconsciously wiping clammy hands on his clenched stomach. "You folks can just keep that twenty as a donation. We're late for another appointment."
Erna nodded, but Ruth was still chuckling. "She only takes rides from nice young men, so you must be good people."
"Thanks." Face gave a half wave, but they raced each other back down the wide stone steps and Murdock vaulted over the car door, quickly readjusting his seat.
Face jammed the key into the ignition and didn't worry about the dust that flew from under the tires.
They were silent as they left the parking lot and the country road. They didn't speak a word as Face took the first turnoff from A31 and then onto the highway. Face couldn't shake the cold clammy feeling crawling down his spine and wished he'd taken the time to put the top back on the car. "This never happened, right?"
"Only thing happening is you and me are driving down the road. You know I suffer from intermittent memory loss, Face." But Murdock shuddered, and reached over to flip the heater control to 'high.'
"We didn't take any side trips, and we can honestly say there were no girls in this car."
ever hear different from me, Faceguy. If you step on it, we can get to
"You know, if we're on time, Hannibal's gonna really wonder about us. Maybe we should. . ." But his grin faded as he looked the rearview mirror. He could have sworn there was a girl in white walking along the highway.
He stomped on the gas, hell-bent for
Many towns have a similar ghost story, but this one is based on one called "Cemetery Mary".
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