Excerpt: Scarecrows and Corpses

As Halloween nears and Meredith Gardner prepares to celebrate, a murderer is still lurking in the community. Here is an excerpt from chapter 14 to set the scene.

{ Orange and black crepe paper dangled from the cafeteria door frame as I reached for a new roll of scotch tape to secure it.  Carol, Anna, and I had volunteered to decorate the school cafeteria for tomorrow night’s Halloween celebration.  Joseph Cooper had finished cleaning up from the earlier lunch period, so the room was now ours to decorate in spooky goblins and Halloween colors.  I twisted strands of crepe paper, twirling the ends and adding the string to the edge of two treat tables.  Paper jack-o’-lanterns perched upon the cafeteria serving counters.  Fuzzy pipe-cleaner black spiders hung by threads from ceiling tiles and swayed in the warm air blowing out of heat registers. Construction paper orange pumpkin faces and black cats peeked out of every windowpane. 

Meadowood Elementary contained a cornerstone block that read Built in 1902. The older, square brick building rose three floors tall above a full basement that included a labyrinth of pipes and huge octopus-like heater ducts. It had been my own elementary school from kindergarten to sixth grade. As a kid, I climbed up and down those tall staircases going to class or ran around outside on the playground, delighted in climbing the monkey bars or riding on swings. I remember once, as a young child probably seven or eight years old, I got lost in the basement. I wandered from electrical room to steam room to maintenance and thought I would never find my way out again.  Luckily for me, Mister Holden, the janitor at the time, saved me from a fate worse than death.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t save me from the spanking I received when I got home from parents who had been scared out of their wits.  I often recall that childhood experience when I have to work in the school building that has now become so familiar to me. Carol’s voice questioning a second time broke my reverie and brought me back to the present. }

Scarecrows & Corpses in Meadowood

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Nancy M. Wade

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