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I sat at the kitchen table, watching the coffee drip.

Drip, drip drip. Knock, knock, KNOCK!

There's nothing like seeing the town sheriff at your kitchen door before the first hit of caffeine. Isn't there a law about this type of thing?

"Hey, Mike, coffee's on. What brings you here so early?"

"Sorry, gal, I'm on official business" he replied. "There was an little incident in the neighborhood last night, and we're canvassing for information. Do you know this man?" The photograph he handed me was worn, torn and familiar.

"Of course I know this man," I said. "That's Jack Anderson when he was about 45, perhaps 46 years old?"

"When's the last time you saw him? Do you know where he is living? Can you give me any details about your last conversation? Any information you give me would be helpful."

I looked at Mike, gathering my thoughts. I took a deep breath, and noticed the damn coffee was ready. "So, Mike, black and double sugar?" I popped some coffee cake into the microwave and pushed the defrost button.

"Nance, you're avoiding my questions." So, so true.

"Okay, Mike. Easy questions and easy answers, but I don't know why you are looking for information about a dead man. I last saw him in February 2006. I don't remember much about our last conversation. As for where he's living - that depends on your outlook on life, but it's an odd thing to ask. His ashes are in Mount Comfort Cemetery, outside Washington, DC. Some might say he's burning in hell; I like to think he's drinking too many beers in purgatory. Honestly, I don't know why you are asking me questions about a man that died ten years ago."

Mike drank his cuppa as if it was the first beer of the evening. He forked the coffee cake into his mouth as if it was his first meal in days. He looked up at me with a hundred questions in his eyes.

"Neighbor gal, this man's body was found at the end of your block. You're in the photo he had in his wallet. There's something wrong here."

"Damn right there's something wrong here. But look up the Social Security records. Jack has been dead for ten years. Dead men can't die. I can't help you with your corpse."

Mike left, an unhappy man buzzed with too much sugar and caffeine. He'll be back with more questions. I won't have more answers.


Damn you Jack, this is your worst Halloween prank yet. You promised you'd stop this sh*t the last time I moved. I don't even want to know how you did it; really, I don't want to know. Stalking bad-ass, they'll never think I killed you. Because dead men can't die.

Horrorquest 2010

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