HorrorScope, chapter 3 “Silence of the Peacocks.”
This is not the final draft, but still editing and rewriting as I go through again. This little snippet though will give you a taste of the re-creation style of parts of the narrative.
Instead she finally went to Mike’s. Apparently the fact Dee was married and had a baby girl did not bother the young 19 year old Mike Mageau, at least as little as it bothered Dee. This was 1969 after all, two years after the Summer of Love. The middleclass was only now awakening to an antiestablishment pulse to break the norms and not assume the most negative thing about anything or anybody acting out of that norm. This is part rationalization, granted. Dee Ferrin was still more vanguard than mainstream. The reaction to her lifestyle would probably have been worse than that in one of the top 10 songs of the year before—Harper Valley P.T.A.
Well, the note said, “Mrs. Johnson,
you’re wearing your dresses way too high
It’s reported you’ve been drinking
and a-runnin’ ’round with men and going wild
And we don’t believe you ought to be bringing up your little girl this way”
It was signed by the secretary, Harper Valley P.T.A.
Dee was as much a reflection of the counterculture as she was, by type, part of the cause for the receptive attitudes around San Francisco. Her life was certainly not the typical mainstream life of a 22 year old wife. Nor had it been. Her reputation for excitement must have been such that the young Mike Mageau had a definite impression of her and geared his introduction accordingly. He had said he was wanted by the FBI, thinking this would make her like him.
But Dee had liked him anyway, though he had some peculiarities. He thought he was too skinny. As a result he dressed to build himself up. For instance, despite the summer’s tepid air from the bay, he had dressed tonight in 3 pairs of pants, 1 t-shirt, one long sleeve shirt, and over these 3 sweaters.
In this combination— her thin but lively flower print and his built up stork’s physique— they sailed down Columbus Parkway in her brown Corvair, windows down and radio playing the currents hits. Under the clutches of the canopy of eucalyptus, into the starlight, and at last they plunged into the cleft of the bosom where the solitary orb of light floating in the ink marked the lamppost at Blue Rock Springs Park.
The Corvair’s headlights swept the golden letters of the painted redwood sign, steadied, closed in and stopped. She parked at an angle, her headlights obliquely lighting the sign. She didn’t park in a stall. No one was there. There was no point in being picky. Dee was never picky. She turned the headlights off and the sign went dark. Dee turned off the engine and kept the radio playing softly.
There wasn’t much time to say anything before a couple of cars came rolling in. Kids giggled, set off some firecrackers, and rolled back onto Columbus Parkway and into the clutching shadows of the eucalyptus canopy.
It must have been near midnight. They had barely been left alone when yet another car came from the direction of Springs Road and pulled in next to Dee on her driver’s side. Considering she was parked crooked, it was bold to mimic her angle. Mike looked over. He could see there was only one man in the car. It looked like a car similar to Dee’s Corvair. The person turned off his headlights and sat there. He was parked only 6 to 8 feet away. This was indeed bold. Dee too looked over. Mike joked about how she knows everybody.
“Do you know him?”
“Oh, never mind,” she replied.
He didn’t know what she meant. No matter anyway. The lights on the strange car soon came on and the car started up and pulled out and drove off back to town.
It was a queer moment but Dee knew many odd people. After all, she liked the far side. Mike didn’t pursue it.
Only minutes later the same car returned, this time pulling to the right side and at an angle. At least they thought it was the same car. They looked over their shoulders at the blinding headlights. It might be a policeman. The policeman on this beat checked the lot occasionally. A powerful flashlight came on and started to move behind them and up to Mike’s open window. Now Mike was sure it was a cop. As the light came to the window he looked over his shoulder. He saw a beefy guy; under 6-foot tall he estimated. He had a blue short-sleeved shirt on. He carried one of those big handheld flashlights in his left hand. Mike leaned back and reached around to get his wallet. It was a fortuitously timed act.
A shot burst forth. Mike felt burning pain in his neck. He jumped back. Dee clutched the steering wheel, but 2 more shots pumped out, piercing through her right arm and then through her left. Another shot spit out. She slumped from a shot in her ribs. Mike was flailing about. A shot hissed out again from behind the blinding splatter of the flashlight. His hip burned with pain.
The bright flashlight beam streaked off the car. Footsteps casually thumped away. Blood trickled and dripped down the interior, lit only by the surreal light of the assailant’s headlights. They cast a lumbering shadow over the gruesome scene in the Corvair as the killer passed before them.
Mike let out a scream of agony, mixed with anger.
The shadow stopped, steadied. The flashlight beam streaked over the car again, sparkling off the rear window and illuminating the blood streaking down the interior paneling. The footsteps were returning. Mike panicked. He started jumping about in the backseat. The flashlight splatter stopped at the side window. From behind the splatter two more shots burst out. His shoulder burned in back and then his leg. Two more shots burst out at Dee. She was slumped over the wheel and took the shots in her right back without any attempt to block them.
The splatter of the flashlight beam coasted off the car again. Moments later the killer’s shadow lumbered through the blood in the Corvair as the villain passed in front of his headlights again to the driver’s side of his car.
* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.