Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stull #6

Matt sat at the bar in Henry's in downtown Tontzville.  He was nursing his seventh Jack and Coke.  He had his hand resting on his head with his fingers in his hair.  It had been two weeks since his Uncle John died and he had not gotten over it.  Matt had been staying with his sister in Tontzville since the funeral and he hadn't set foot in Stull since the burial, let alone the Historical Society.

Matt spent his time shut up in his sister's apartment or at the bar, drinking to make his pain and failure stop nagging him.  He finished his seventh drink and ordered his eighth.  A girl sat down next to him and looked at him.

"What's wrong?" she asked him.  "Looks like you lost your best friend."

"Close.  Favorite relative.  I'm the next one in line," Matt said.

"Next one in line for what?" the girl asked.  Matt turned to look at her.  She had beautiful golden blonde hair, big green eyes and freckles.  She was wearing odd clothing, a thin blouse and a plaid skirt but Matt found her attractive.

"There is a curse on my family.  No male member of my family has lived past 50," Matt said and realized that would've sounded better had he not been drunk.

"A curse, eh?  Am I safe to talk to you?" the girl smiled.

"Probably.  Women in my family tend to live to be 90 or older," Matt took a drink of his Jack and Coke.  "Matt Stull," he extended his hand.

"Virginia Humphrey," she said as she took his hand.

Matt fumbled trying to get the door to his sister's house to unlock.  Virginia giggled as Matt tried to prove he wasn't as drunk as he really was.

"Ssh!  We don't want to wake up my sister.  Or brother-in-law.  Or niece.  Or nephew."

"Why didn't we just go back to your place in Stull?" Virginia asked.

"I'm too drunk to drive that far and you said you didn't know how to to drive.  Plus we lose time if we drive all the way to Stull."

Within half an hour, Matt and Virginia were in bed trying to keep quiet as they made love.  Matt had remarked several times on how smooth and white her body was.  She almost glowed in the moonlight as it shown down through the window.

When they were finished, they cuddled with each other until they rolled apart and fell asleep.  When Matt woke up in the following morning, Virginia was gone.  "She didn't seem like that type," Matt sighed.  Matt left the guest room and went to the kitchen.  Dennis was in there making a bowl of cereal.  "Hey, I hate to ask this but have you seen anyone who doesn't live here wandering around?" Matt asked.

"You mean besides you?"

"Ha, ha.  Yes, besides me."

"I thought I heard moans of pleasure emanating from the guest room--not your room, the guest room."

"Yeah.  Unfortunately she bailed on me.  I didn't get her phone number or address."

"Did you get her name?" Dennis asked.

"I did get that.  Virginia."

"Virginia.  That's a name you don't hear much anymore."

"At least it doesn't have random vowels hanging out like so many names these days."

Matt arrived at the Historical Society in a good mood.  It was the first time he'd been there in several weeks.  Frank was startled to see him.

"You're back?" Frank asked.

"I never left.  I just stopped coming in."

"At any other job that would've gotten you fired," Frank pointed out.

"But this isn't any other job."

"It's good to have you back.  With Katie's arm still wrapped up, we haven't really been able to do any field work," Frank said.  "I got permission to go to Swissvale.  I just have to call the guy before I leave for it so he knows I'm out there."

"That's great.  We'll do that later.  I got lucky," Matt blurted out.

"What?  How old are you?"

"And she was so amazing and soft," Matt said.

"26, or...?" Frank continued but was interrupted.

"I wasn't able to get a phone number.  She sneaked out while I was asleep."

"Ah, there we go."

"Is there any way you can find an address for her?  You have the largest database of useless information I've ever known."

"I have information on who owns a property, not who lives at an address.  I doubt that would be helpful to you.  Besides, if she snuck out I'm sure she had a really good reason."

"No, she liked me.  I could tell.  She was different.  A girl like her doesn't just hop into bed with anyone."

"Aw, it's cute you think that," Frank said.  "Does she live in Tontzville?  What's her name?"

"Virginia Humphrey."

"Really?  That can't be right.  I guess it's possible..."

"What's wrong?"

"It can't be the same girl because it happened in 1912.  In 1912, a girl named Virginia Humphrey was murdered in Tontzville by the man she was having an affair with.  She was 20, he was 42.  Murdered her in an alley in the middle of winter.  It wasn't until his wife revealed she knew they were having an affair that the police began thinking he killed her.  They originally thought some boxcar hobo.  There's a plaque at 7th and Prospect dedicated to her," Frank pulled a scanned image of a newspaper from the early Twentieth Century on his computer and turned the screen slightly toward Matt.

There was a picture showing a snow-covered crime and a picture of Virginia.  "That's her!" Matt shrieked.  "That's her.  There is no way that's a distant relative.  I slept with a dead girl!"

"Technically, it sounds like you slept with her ghost.  I've heard that Virginia's ghost wanders the area but I've never heard of her actually...doing anything with people," Frank said.

"Well, she did something with me!  How can you even have sex with a ghost?"

"I don't know.  I've never had sex with a ghost.  What was it like?"

"I'm not telling you!"

"You were more than eager a couple minutes ago."

"That was before I knew I made it with a ghost!"  Frank started laughing which made Matt a little angry.  "You're loving this aren't you?  I'm probably cursed now."

"Ah, you were cursed anyway.  More than likely it was just a girl who looked like Virginia and used her name."

"But why would she do that?"

"So you couldn't hunt her down.  So she can say she's not a whore, I don't know," Frank shrugged.  "Just go with that you had a great one-night stand and move on.  Here's an idea:  let's go to Swissvale."

"Nah.  I'm not in the mood to wander around an abandoned townsite right now," Matt said.

"At any other job I could just make you go out there," Frank said.

"But this isn't any other job," said Matt.

Frank returns to Rock Creek and Katie and Matt find the Old Stull Cemetery.