Murders at Bear Lake
(The Craziness Within—Return to Bear Lake (Vol 1) Chapter 2
As he walked through town, he passed one of the clothing outlet stores. The little old ladies were shopping from the outside and spreading gossip about everything and everybody. As he passed by, he couldn’t help but hear that he became the number one topic for the moment.
“Why Sally, I wonder who that young man is that just passed by?” Helen said while adjusting her glasses and fluffing out her hair in the back to make it look fuller.
“I’m not sure; I’ve not seen him around here before,” Sally replied while watching Brad walk away.
“Well, I don’t know about you ladies, but if I were only thirty years younger, I would give him a run for his money,” Louise commented ever so loudly with a crooked smile and a look of lust.
“Well I never,” Sally said. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself Louise; he is young enough to be your grandson.”
“So what, Sally?” Helen replied with a giggle. “We may look old, but we’re not blind yet. It isn’t going to hurt to look a little bit. That’s what makes us feel alive and like teenage girls again.” All three of the ladies looked at each other for a moment then laughing, which in their case sounded like three cackling hens.
Meanwhile, the ladies kept on window shopping and talking, while Brad made his way on to the diner. Brad popped into the diner for a cup of sweet tea. Heidi was behind the counter, helping customers who had just sat down. Brad sat down at the very end of the counter that was next to the wall. That side was closer to the jukebox, so the music was a little louder, but he didn’t mind because he had something else on his mind. He wanted to strike up a conversation, but he didn’t want to get Heidi into trouble.
“Hey Heidi, when do you take a break?” Brad asked this glowing angel in a waitress uniform.
“Hey Brad, I’m taking one now—hang on for a minute,” She replied. She brought him his sweet tea and sat down. She looked at him for a few seconds, just long enough to realize just how handsome he was.
“I thought were going to take that to go? Heidi said with a small smile.
“I was thinking of getting some tea and taking a stroll around town, but I decided to go ahead and sit here to chat with you,” Brad said while looking softly into Heidi’s eyes. She had a quick breath before smiling and looking down at the table.
They talked for about five or ten minutes when Chief Drake walked through the door of the diner carrying a piece of paper in his hand. Heidi’s dad, Jack Stevenson, was in behind the counter with a cup of coffee already prepared for the Chief. They greeted each other, walked to one side and talked quietly about the paper the Chief had in his hand. Heidi and Brad looked to see her dad shaking his head yes and taking the paper from Chief Drake’s hand before he turned to leave the diner. After the Chief left the diner, Jack took some tape and went over to one of the windows, where he placed that paper so that everybody who passes by will be able to see it.
“Back to work, Heidi,” Jack said.
“Yes Daddy,” she replied. “I’m sorry Brad, but I have to get back to work.”
“It’s all right Heidi, I might go and check out the town some more.”
“Ok, so we’ll talk to each other another time,” Heidi said to Brad with a look of wanting upon her face as she got up to go back to work. In her mind, she was hoping that she could see him again. There was just something about him that made her heart want to fly.
“Sure we will. You know where I’m staying at,” Brad replied with a big smile.
He finished his tea, walked toward the door, Heidi told him bye and then she proceeded back to work. Brad walked out the door and paused to look at the paper in the window that Heidi’s dad had taped up. It was a missing person’s flyer, and on it was a girl whose name is Savannah Smith. She was 19 years old, with black hair and pale skin; her eyes were green, and her height was five foot nine. There was a small butterfly tattoo on her right shoulder blade. Last seen three days ago by her father. While Brad stood there an older man walked up to read the missing person flier as well.
“Isn’t it a shame that such a young and pretty girl could get gone,” the old man said.
“I know what you mean, sir,” Brad replied as he turned to see who was talking to him.
“Hello young man, my name is Hubert Staff.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Staff, my name is Brad Jones.”
“Well, I’ll tell you, Brad. Back in my days of being young, everyone could go out places, stay for as long as they wanted and not have to worry about locking their homes up or anything,” Mr. Staff said.
“I’ll bet it was pretty peaceful back then compared to these days,” Brad said.
“I guess at times it might not have been so peaceful, but people were a lot friendlier back then.” Mr. Staff shook Brad’s hand and told him that it was nice to have met him, but he had to go. Brad replied the same, and both men went their separate ways. Brad was all alone again as he walked up a couple of blocks away from the diner while taking in the sights of the town. There was a faint sound of yelling that seemed to be coming from behind him. When Brad turned to see who it was, he saw Heidi running up the street in his direction and waving one arm to be sure that she got his attention, which she did most indeed. Brad could not help but stare at the angel that was running his way. A sweet warm feeling filled his heart with joy and butterflies fluttered inside his stomach.
“Hey, wait up,” Heidi yelled. Brad laughed and stood there with his arms folded giving her a chance to catch up.
“I thought you had to work?” He asked with a smile on his face showing that he was happy to see her. Heidi slowed down to catch her breath. When she caught up with Brad, she started smiling as well.
“My dad let me go early because one of the other waitresses came in early. Where are you going?”
“I don’t know, I’m just walking,” Brad said. Heidi pulled out a set of vehicle keys and looked at him.
“Why walk when you can ride?” She said. Brad looked, smiled and all that came out of his mouth was, “Okay,” Then went along with her. She drove a black four by four truck with a red cloth interior and big mud tires. They both jumped in and drove off down the main street that ran down through town.
“I usually don’t talk to strangers, but you seem all right,” Heidi said to Brad.
“Yeah, you seem all right too,” He replied back. Heidi went back to her house to change clothes, and then they were off again. They drove out of town down the same road that Brad had walked in on. As they drove, Brad noticed that things looked a lot different in the daylight. He did happen to see that the trees were very tall, like their shadows at night. Brad looked at Heidi and asked, “What is the name of the road that we are on right now?”
“Why, we’re on Willow’s Ridge Road. By the way, would you like to see Bear Lake?” Heidi asked.
“Sure, I passed that sign on my way into town the last night,” Brad told her. “It was kind of creepy walking up through this area, especially that late at night.
“OK then, let’s go and see it,” Heidi replied. Brad was all for going, so that’s where they headed. Brad told Heidi about the noises that he heard the night before as he was coming down Willow’s Ridge Road.
Brad told her that the noises sounded like branches snapping under someone’s feet. Heidi glanced at Brad and the more he talked the bigger her eyes got.
“Oh gosh, that would have scared me something awful if I would have been in that situation all by myself,” Heidi said with a tremble of her body. She listened attentively to Brad as he talked about what happened to him.
“It sure scared me,” Brad said. As they drove up toward Bear Lake they talked and laughed. Brad mentioned the girl on the flier back at the diner.
“I got a look at the flier, and I know that girl,” Heidi said excitedly.
“How do you know her?” Brad asked.
“I used to go to school with her,” Heidi replied.
“It’s awful that something has happened to her,” Brad said. “Wonder if she ran away?” Heidi shrugged her shoulders and shook her head.
“No, I don’t think that she would run away. She had a good life. Her parents loved her, and her dad would spoil her with things.”
“What about her mom?” Brad asked.
“Her mom works for a pretty big company, so they always had a good relationship as well,” Heidi replied.
As they rounded the curve, they saw blue and red lights flashing. The yellow tape had been strung up across the road that went to Bear Lake. The Chief and his deputies were there as well. There were some other officers that were talking amongst themselves and walking around gathering what could have been evidence of a crime. There was an officer that had a camera and was taking pictures inside the taped off area. There was some traffic out so the deputy had to direct traffic so that the onlookers would move on. A large black van started turning down the dirt road. Brad and Heidi noticed the white letters on the side of the van, and they read CORONER. Brad looked at Heidi, they both looked at each other and at the same time they both said, “UH-OH!” while quickly turning their heads and looking straight ahead out the windshield of the truck.
“You know what coroner means don’t you?” Brad asked while raising his eyebrows up and looking over at Heidi.
“I sure do, and it’s not good. Something is definitely going on,” Heidi replied.
Deputy Sonny Banner was directing the traffic when Heidi and Brad drove by. He saw Brad in the truck, and knew that he has never seen him before. Sonny wasn’t worried about Heidi because he knew her, so he nodded his head as they went by. As they drove slowly by, they overheard the police scanner saying something about a body around the area by the entrance to Bear Lake, and that it’s a crime scene. They both looked at each other with quick glances. A stunned look came over both of their faces. They drove away from the flashing lights of the police cars and suddenly Heidi blurted out, “I’ve got an idea!” Brad about jumped out of his seat and looked at Heidi with a smile.
“Let’s hear it.”
“OK, you know how the deputy back there probably thinks that we’re driving on to the next town?” Heidi said.
“Yeah so,” Brad replied.
“Well, watch this,” Heidi said with a slight smile.
She stopped in the middle of the road and locked her tires so that her four by four would work, then proceeded to pull onto a grassy path that went back into the woods. As Heidi drove down the path Brad was hanging on because of the rough bumps and dips. Heidi couldn’t help but giggle at him, there was just something about him that made her feel as light as the air itself. They ended up coming to a stop and she cut the truck off.
“Ok Heidi, tell me what you are thinking?” Brad asked as he glanced at Heidi then turned to look straight ahead out the windshield of her vehicle.
“All right I will,” Heidi answered confidently. “We’re going to go down this little path to the left and we’re going to do a little snooping.”
“Well, ok but I hope we don’t get caught,” Brad said with an uncertain tone as he slowly turned his head and looked into Heidi’s eyes. He thought he saw her eyes change colors from a light blue to a deep ocean blue. Captivating, he thought as her mouth was moving but he could hear no sound because he was realizing how lost he was in her eyes.
“What’s wrong? Are you listening?” Heidi asked Brad.
“What? Oh yes, I’m listening,” Brad replied with a smile and a giggle.
“I was saying that’s why I brought my binoculars, so we’ll be able to see what’s going on from a distance,” She said as she was opening the truck door to get out.
“And hopefully we won’t be seen right?” Brad said. Heidi just looked at Brad and half rolled her eyes. They got out of the truck and walked down the path. They figured they were getting close to where they wanted to get because they both could hear the police radios talking back and forth and calling out different codes that only the police officers can understand.
They reached a small clearing, but it wasn’t clear enough for them to have been seen by anyone. There were some bushes around so they could keep low enough but yet still see. Brad looked through the binoculars first and as he focused in, he saw that the Chief and the Coroner were talking. There was an officer taking pictures of different things. Brad inched up a little bit closer so that he could get a better look. He could see... a body.
“Oh crap, the radio in the squad car was right... there is a body,” Brad said in a hyped-up nervous voice. He was not liking this at all, and didn’t feel like they should be there.
“Let me see,” Heidi said to Brad as she was reaching for the binoculars. “Oh boy I know that girl, that’s Savannah Smith.”
Yes, it was Savannah Smith, lying motionless on the ground while she was surrounded by leaves and small blades of grass. There was a lot of blood that had spread out across the ground just below the leaves that were around the young girls’ body. Her clothes had been torn to shreds, possibly by the killer or by wild animals, and her skin was a deathly pale. Brad looked at Heidi; she had turned pale as a ghost and her body began to tremble as if she was going into shock.
“We need to get out of here before we’re caught, Heidi,” Brad said firmly but yet with concern.
“OK,” She said quietly. They hurried back to the truck and Brad took the keys because Heidi was too out of it to drive.
“I’m going to drive if that’s all right, you’re not fully here with me right now and we don’t need to wreck. Just make sure you don’t act any different when we go back by,” Brad said.
“All right,” Heidi said still in shock after what she had seen. They got into the truck and headed back toward Willow’s Ridge; on the way there, Heidi turned and looked at Brad.
“I need some coffee,” Heidi said quietly while looking straight ahead.
“Me too—and a cigarette, and I don’t even smoke,” Brad said with a crooked smile, trying to make her smile.
They went to the diner and got some coffee. They talked quietly about what they had seen, and Brad mentioned the night he came into town.
“I wonder if the noises that I heard in the woods that night I came into town was the killer,” Brad said.
“You never know. It might have been,” Heidi said. After they finished their coffees, they left the diner and decided that they were both going to go home. After Heidi dropped Brad off at the Inn, she was off to her house. She went up to her room, where she had pictures stuck on the mirror on her dresser. The pictures were of her and her friends from school. Her closet was full of cute clothes and some frilly dresses. She had a digital clock beside her bed that showed that it was 4:30 PM. She had a twin bed with a white canopy on top and it is pushed up against the wall by her window. When Heidi was in school, she was on the cheerleading squad, so her cheerleading pom-poms hung on her wall next to her bed and on a shelf across the room she had some trophies from cheerleading. Come to think about it, Heidi remembered that Savannah Smith was on her squad. Who in the world would do something so horrible to someone else and have no sense of remorse for their actions? That was the question that was going on inside Heidi’s mind.
Heidi sat down on her bed and went through her school yearbook. As she looked through it, she started to wonder if there would be any more murders. She hoped not, because it scared her to think of stuff like that. She got ready to take a hot bath to calm her nerves, but she couldn’t help but think of going out to the woods and what she and Brad had seen. After her bath, she headed for bed, turned out her light and laid in her bed staring at the ceiling trying not to think of the events that had happened earlier in the day. She slowly drifted to sleep but no dreams came. In the meantime, Brad couldn’t sleep at all. He sat up wondering who would be next or was this just in his imagination.
The next morning Heidi and Brad met up and went to the park to just sit and talk about different things. They sat on a bench which had been carved from an old tree trunk while they talked and sipped on some hot cocoa. While they were talking to each other someone walked up.
“Hello, young man,” The Chief said while looking down at the two.
“Hello, Chief,” Brad said while holding his hand up to block the sun from his eyes.
“Hi Chief Drake,” Heidi said, smiling.
“Hi Heidi, how are you today?” Chief Drake asked as he smiled back. “Nice day isn’t it?” Everyone agreed that it was a nice day and lovely, warmer than the day before.
“I haven’t seen you around here before, son,” Chief Drake said.
“No sir, I’m Brad Jones. I just came into town.”
“So I noticed,” Chief Drake said. “All right everyone, have a nice day, I have the stuff to do. Uh, by the way, you haven’t been down to Bear Lake, have you? Say like yesterday around 2:00 PM?”
Both Heidi and Brad answered, “No,” at about the same time.
“May I ask why, Chief? Heidi asked with concern.
“Not right now,” Chief Drake replied. “I was just wondering but uh... please do me a favor and stay away from down there for right now.” Heidi and Brad both looked at each other and said, “OK” while looking at the Chief. The Chief left and Brad said to Heidi, “Stay away from that area!”
“Whoa, something is seriously going on here,” Heidi said, with a wondering look on her face.
“You’re not kidding,” Brad replied back.
“It’s because of Savannah’s body being found,” Heidi said. “Wow, I just can’t believe it was her,” Brad put his arm around Heidi to help comfort her. She laid her head against his body and sighed, then slightly smiled.
“Yeah. I’m sure they will find out who did that to her,” Brad told Heidi with a soft tone to his voice. As they sat on the bench in the park the birds were singing all around and the sun was warm. There were some children that were playing the game of tag while there were some at the swing set swinging back and forth and giggling at each other. The sound of happiness filled the air along with an airplane that was flying high above.