Chapter 2.07 – Shredded Bin Bags

The three girls and Caleb arrived at the motel on the docks in Evergreen Harbor just before sunrise. The girls loitered out of view in the shadows, trying to avoid the rats scurrying around in the accumulated trash and the first bright rays of sun, while Caleb went to check in.

“Good morning, young man. Welcome to The Dock!” The receptionist greeted him, warmly. “How can I help you?”

“I require a room,” Caleb replied.

“You’re very early! I wouldn’t usually allow check-in before 2pm, but business is slow thanks to the dock worker strike and I like your face, kid. Please fill out your details here.” The man slipped a piece of paper and a pen across the counter and watched as Caleb wrote. “Travelling alone?”

“No, with my wife,” Caleb said.

“Wife, eh?” The man wore an odd expression; slightly disappointed? Caleb reasoned that couldn’t be right, but now was not the time to dwell on his lack of emotional understanding.

“Yes, Amy.”

“You don’t look old enough to be married.”

“I get that a lot. We’re um, newlyweds.”

“Oh, I see. Congratulations! In that case, I’ll give you room 5.” The man winked, taking Caleb’s form and giving it a quick scan. “Oh, what lovely handwriting you have… Thor? What a strange name! Gone are the days when people had normal names like Wilbert and Broof. That’ll be eighty simoleons, please.”



Ralf Widdlefinkle hated Forgotten Hollow.

None of the towns in his district were without issue; Windenburg was Wangshaft’s territory and Glimmerbrook was full of barefooted lunatics, but he’d rather spend a morning chasing escapees from The Tower or shutting down a ‘witch hunt’ than being reminded that he was also responsible for policing this dying, inseverable limb of a town.

Forgotten Hollow had a beautiful village, acres of natural forest and a notorious reputation for being a place you visited and never returned from. He had always begrudged having to investigate all those dead-end missing person cases; a never-ending carousel of absent hitchhikers, prostitutes and their clients. As he’d climbed the, admittedly limited, ranks of the Woodland Borough Police Department, Ralf had gradually shifted these unsolvable cases, as well as most of his other cases, to his willing deputy, Chase Crooks.

These excellent delegation skills had enabled Ralf to focus his efforts on more important issues, such as ensuring that he finished work promptly at 4pm each day and that his office always had a good supply of croissants.

Unfortunately for Ralf, his deputy had not turned in today. He’d been hoping to perfect his latest coffee blend while he caught up on the big ongoing investigation being carried out by the Sims Bureau of Investigation; a juicy celebrity case of murder and potential kidnapping that he was not allowed to touch, despite three of the suspects being residents of Forgotten Hollow.

SBI had made it abundantly clear that they did not want a backwater police force dabbling in their investigation and Ralf was not one to argue. He wasn’t here about the Moss case. He was investigating a separate allegation of assault filed by Dale BarGuy.

But there was a problem; Ralf had never heard of the alleged assailant. He had searched all the files and had found nothing about a ‘Caleb Vatore’. The only Vatore he could find record of was a Dr. Lilith Vatore in Del Sol Valley. Possibly a relative, but he wasn’t going to trudge all the way over to her in the city if he didn’t absolutely have to. He had hauled himself to the bar, the scene of the alleged assault, in the hope that someone here might be able to point him in the right direction.

Policing at its finest.

He checked his watch for the umpteenth time and let out an exasperated sigh. Eight thirty, he’d told her and it was almost nine. Ralf looked towards the bar, resignedly. Did he have to do everything himself?

Right on cue there came a shrill call from behind him. “Hey Boss! Sorry I’m late! I have had one helluva night!”

Before Ralf could cut her off, reprimand her or even blink, the force’s newest recruit, Jessica Spoon had started doing what she did best. Yakking.

“I went out with Chase last night and before you say it; I know, I said I wouldn’t give him another chance and I know he’s your nephew and I don’t want to insult your sister’s parenting skills, but the guy is such a jerk, Boss. I mean, seriously. He picked me up from my mum’s place and my poor mum must have only said two words to him. Typical Chase; he was as nice as pie to her face and then as soon as we were alone, before we’d even reached our seats in the cinema, he’d started with his jokes. He called her a llama! I mean, okay, she has a bit of a moustache and is spitting a bit when she talks right now, but that’s due to her medication.”

Ralf tried to get a word in. “We should—“

“Well, I’m ashamed to admit it but that was one joke too far and I lost my rag with him. I think I told him to drop dead or jump in the river, I forget which. I remember storming out of the theatre, sort of. I was wearing ridiculous shoes and I don’t think he even bothered to follow me. Then the next thing I know, it’s the crack of dawn and I’m waking up near the kids’ play area with one doozy of a headache.”

“The play area?”

“I have literally no idea what happened, Boss. But other than a bit of a rash on my neck where I think a mosquito got me, I appear unscathed and my knickers were still on. Which is just as well because let me tell you; I’m having the mother of all periods right now! Hey, that’s probably why I got so angry with Chase, come to think of it. Menstrual stress.

“Jess—“

“That must be it because I saw a dog this morning that had a slightly funny leg, the poor thing, and I started sobbing like a baby. And my iron levels are low at the best of times so I probably just fainted last night. Women problems, hey? You men are so lucky that you don’t have to deal with this never-ending woe. My emotions are all out of whack, my boobs really hurt and, Watcher, the cramps I’m having, I couldn’t even tell you. Like a load of pixies moshing around inside of me. Party in my uterus! I should get a warrant and shut the place down. ‘It’s the police! Everybody out!'”

Ralf merely sighed as Jessica waffled on.

“Have you seen the headline about that Moss case? The lawyer fellow confessed, but Watcher knows what to. I was chatting to my friend, Libby, over at the coroner’s office and – I didn’t tell you this – but she says the report is inconclusive. Can you believe that? They still can’t be a hundred percent sure how Sandy died. It’s madness! What did that man do to her? Libby obviously couldn’t give me all the information but apparently there is more than one probable cause of death. Travis must have really, really wanted his wife dead. And they haven’t let the butler go yet, either, so he probably played a part. Factor in the guys from the mill here and something really doesn’t add up.”

“It’s not our—“

“Have you heard from Chase? I’m guessing not as we’re here instead of him. Not like him not to show up for work, is it? Then again, he turns thirty next week and I think he’s having some sort of breakdown about it. Went to the gym nine times last week! I wonder if he met someone after I left – the ticket booth attendant was giving him the eye. Most likely he thought it would be funny to let me wander aimlessly in the dark in my stupid shoes. I’ve called him twice but his phone is going straight to voicemail and I’m not going to call him again or he’ll think I want him back and that ship has well and truly sank now. I managed to get the first bus home but I barely had time to shower let alone eat before I got your message so I might pass out again. I hope this bar has snacks.”

Ralf had pretty much stopped listening by this point, but after a few blessed beats of silence, he turned to the girl. She seemed to have finished.

“Okay, fun night. Did you read the report?”

“Yes, Boss,” Jessica replied. “Read it on the bus next to this woman who had the cutest hat I have ever seen. She made it herself by knitting with shredded bin bags. I think they were used ones, she smelled a bit funky, but—“

She was off again. “The report, Jess?”

“Oh right, yes. Alleged assault. Interesting that the alleged assailant has no previous, well, anything. What are we thinking; fake name? Possibly a drifter?”

Ralf hadn’t really thought anything; that was her job. “Possibly. Hopefully someone in here knows something. After you.”



“You have got to be kidding me, Caleb,” April said with disdain. “He definitely did not give us an upgrade!”

Caleb looked around at the sparse room. “It’s not that bad.”

“Not that bad!?” April screeched. “It’s awful! Oh my gosh! If this is a good room what does the crappy room look like?”

“Maybe it has slightly bigger rats,” Melinda suggested as something furry brushed past her boot, disappearing into a hole in the wall.

“Or extra blood stains on the bed,” Faith chimed in, looking at the tatty remnants of the bedsheets. “Shitting hell. Even I’d think twice about getting it on in that thing.”

“I’m not staying here!” April wailed. “We’ll catch something!”

“You can’t catch anything; you’re undead,” Caleb said, patiently. “The sun is up and there aren’t any other hotels near here, so you’ll have to stay. We’ll head off the second night falls, I promise.”

“Fine! I’ll stay but what are we supposed to do for all that of time? There’s literally nothing around here. The TV doesn’t even have a socket to plug into!”

“There are lots of things we could do, April,” Caleb replied, trying to avoid looking at Faith’s impish face; she was on the verge of an inappropriate quip, he was sure. “We can talk, tell stories, play charades…”

“Ugh, charades?” Faith grimaced. “Stories? I’m gonna need more than this one sad bottle of vodka to get us through a whole day of hearing about April’s poor little rich girl life. Fringey, go to that store we passed on the way here and get some more. And if they’ve got anything even remotely fun in there, buy that too. A paddling pool, a pack of cards heck even a bikini wax kit would be more fun than charades.

April murmured her agreement.

Caleb sighed. “Melinda, can I have some money?”

Melinda had been so transfixed by the rat in the skirting board that she’d almost forgotten to rain on the parade. “No. Funds are limited you guys; we can’t squander them on alcohol and random junk. And you’re not shoplifting again,” she said to Caleb, shutting him down before he even opened his mouth. “We’ll survive. It’s only a few hours.”

“Screw that!” Faith huffed. “I have some money you can use.” She reached into her pocket and handed Caleb the small roll of notes she had acquired the previous night.

“Where did you get that?” Melinda asked.

“I forgot I had it,” Faith replied. “Oops! Silly me.”

“Yes,” Melinda whispered, feeling defeated. “Silly you.”

22 thoughts on “Chapter 2.07 – Shredded Bin Bags

  1. Oh boy, trust April and Caleb to pick the “perfect” person to diine on. Definitely convinced Chase’s disappearance will get looked into thoroughly, Ralf has a lot of incentive there. The dude was his nephew, sure, whatevs, but more importantly, he was the one who ensured Ralf didn’t have to do any work. People are willing to go into great lengths to avoid work, so no doubt Ralf will be keen to find him.

    Also, silly SBI, not realising cases in a small town the size of Forgotten Hollow are ought to be connected.

    Jess is a lot. She’s at 150% at all times. Even her short segment gives me a headache. Poor Chase. That date was not worth getting killed over, ha.

    Aww, Melinda trying and failing to keep them straight. She needs to ditch these guys.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was perfect. Very tasty and probably the only one on the force who would’ve had a clue how to go about finding Caleb. Win-win. Plus, now Chase gets some peace and quiet. Oh, does Ralf come across as slightly work-shy?

      I know right? Shoddy policework, SBI. A dude in their custody has a broken jaw, you think they’d investigate why/who. I’m sure there are reasons.

      Jessica IS a lot. You’ll find that in many of the future scenes featuring the lively Miss. Spoon that I’ll make sure she’s eating/drinking something so I don’t use up all my word count typing out her nonsense. 😂

      But where would she go? What would she do? Also… careful what you wish for.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha! I had foreseen that Caleb’s wonderful refuge would turn out to be a garbage dump 🤣
    The receptionist is something special … Well, he likes Caleb’s face and handwriting … Wink, wink 😙

    And this story shows yet another of its layers. This is not the first time we meet Chase and Jessica …. Although we have seen Chase alive for the last time, effectively finished by Caleb.
    When I listen to Jessica I think we have almost found April’s lost reflection 😂
    I will guarantee that Ralf and the entire Woodland Borough Police Department will now seriously dig deeper into the mysteries of Forgotten Hollow … unless Seth removes Ralph’s kidney before he manages to peel all the layers in this onion 😟

    The net is tightened around Caleb and the girls. April has chosen to give Caleb the wrong prey.
    Meanwhile, they surrender unsuspectingly to their usual quarrels.
    Melinda is still trying to speak the voice of reason, but there seems to be little hope for reason for the little flock on the run 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully the end destination will be slightly less of a dump or I think the girls might revolt.

      Of all the people for Caleb to finish it had to be a police officer. I can’t imagine this will just go away, no. Although looking at Ralf and Jessica, I’m not sure it will be the finest of investigations, Seth might not feel the need to intervene.

      The world is falling apart around them and they’re moaning about being bored. Teenagers…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah man. Chase is with the police force? I was thinking they’d be in trouble when the body resurfaces but I guess they dont need to wait that long.

    Jessica ahh 🧡 reminds me of home. Fried my brains though. I read your plabs for Jessica in plumbob’s comment and am happy with your plans! I couldn’t keep up with her dialogue at all 😂

    Ralf sounds like such a dependable guy. 😕 hope he continues to strive for 4pm clock outs.

    I bet that mold infested room has cameras in there. Why would that creepy receptionist give them that shitty room when he found out they’re newly weds? If I were the gang Id be overturning the place looking for spyware. 😆

    Do AE vampys ever sleep? Sounds like they dont need to. Since they’re going to do something other than charade until nightfall?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chase was with the police force. Now he’s with the fishies.

      Jessica reminds you of home? Endless, random chattering? Ha! I’m glad you’re happy with the plan. Now to think of a hundred ways to shut up Jessica…

      I’m sure Ralf will do everything possible to clock out at 4pm.

      Cameras? Grim. Not that he’d see a lot, them not not being visible to cameras and all. Although that would certainly be bad too. Hm.

      They don’t really sleep, no, unless they’re drained or drunk. They’re less energetic during daylight hours though. Need low energy activities.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My money is still on Chase’s body resurfacing.. unless they shredded him to pieces (Eeek not sure I wanna think about this /skip)

        Yeah! Endless, random chattering and zoning out are definitely familiar faces. (duno if im using this right)

        Ooh! That’s good to know! I wonder what Seth does with all his extra time then. Wait. Lilith is the only one with a day job. What did Caleb do all day? Without TV (and I assume all the electronics) too o.o Damn. Poor guy.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oof, Foamy, shredded to pieces? Every time I wonder if AE is just too grim, I see comments like yours and feel so much better about my warped state of mind. 😁

          I started typing an answer and it sounded like a dating profile, so here you go:

          Seth Grimm, ??
          Likes: exploring nature, re-watching memories stolen from his prey and thinking up ways to piss off his ex-girlfriend.
          Dislikes: old technology, being indoors, not being in control
          Looking for: an aggressive woman with a lot of secrets

          Caleb Vatore, 307
          Likes: playing chess alone, petting his stolen cat and helping out his sister with administration.
          Dislikes: himself
          Looking for: literally anyone who’ll have him

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Omg.. this is ingenious. You should consider adding it to your Character page!

            Haaa! I totally imagined myself browsing them as dating profiles. Exploring nature? Check. Re-watch memories.. piss off ex? Er.. swipe left.
            Plays chess? Check. Got a cat. Aw adorable. Helps with admin. Ew Fam business. So far so good, adn then dislikes and looking for are sad breakers. 😂

            Liked by 1 person

  4. The receptionist dude totally had a crush on Caleb. XD He’s too handsome for his own good, even if he looks pasty as a corpse. Eighty simoleons for a room that terrible, my gods. Maybe he could have gotten a discount if he flirted with the man a little, not that Caleb realized what was going on.

    I loved the introduction of Ralf and Jessica! Widdlefinkle is my new favourite last name. Ralf even has the appropriate police belly to show off his heroic efforts at always doing as little as possible. And my gods, Jess XD I wa able to keep up with her rambling but I felt so much send-hand embarrassment from the things she just blurted out in front of her boss, haha. I love these two. I can’t wait to see how their investigation goes, and when they’ll end up stumbling into our runaway groupies.
    Oh hey, all of them are wanted now. Chuck wants to find Melinda, Caleb is being tracked by our new police officers, Faith is stalked by Seth, and the more competent police (sorry, you two) are on April’s tail. This should be fun. xD

    I’ve said it already but respect to Melinda for only mildly flinching when a friggin’ rat brushed past her boot! Once again it looks like she’s the only one with a proper head on her shoulders. You’re on the run and trying to lay low with very very limited funds, guys! Don’t go squandering it all on booze and random things just because you’re bored for a few hours. >.< I wonder what she was thinking when she saw Faith take out that money. She’s trying to keep them afloat and they keep pulling stuff like that. Once again it seems like she’s not being listened to. They really need to stop doing that before Melinda ditches them for real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people dig that pasty corpse look. If he’d flirted with the guy, might have got a nicer room…

      I’m so glad you pointed out Ralf’s belly because I really like it. 😂 He’s so lazy. Luckily, Jessica has enough gusto for the both of them. Wait, are you calling them incompetent?

      Melinda is good at maths so I’m guessing she did something like the following equation:

      Faith + Seth = illegal activity

      Like

  5. Oh no…this is…y’all…y’all did a bad thing. I love watching this slow-motion collision.

    These names are killing me and even though I would need to murder Jessica Spoon, she is inadvertently keeping my three favorite fugitive idiots from getting caught.

    (I cannot look at April without thinking about that terrible wig)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, my. The police squad of Forgotten Hollow sure is something. X´D …and unfortunately, I´m forced to take a very different stance to them than I would normally. Jess is kinda fun, even if she´s a lot. I sort of want to like her, but she´s the enemy which is very unfortunate. Seems definitely smarter than her boss (unless he´d be smart if he bothered) and makes her sort of impressive but also sort of dangerous. *sigh* I hope she never gets close enough so nothing has to happen to her.
    Ralf… eh. The best I can say about him is that he´s making the… un-lives of our hopeless vamps a bit easier, so that´s nice of him. Well that, and I think he may have been a bit of a looker some years ago. *shrug*

    …also. Was that April that Jess saw on the buss? OwO

    *snorts* Just give up, Mel. They ain´t gonna turn into law abiding citizens. Honestly. You got bigger fish to fry than a bit of shoplifting.

    Also, I support all the warped. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s totally OK to like the enemy. Hey, Jessica survived one run in with the vamps, maybe she’ll survive another.

      April on the bus? You mean the stinky woman with the bin bag hat?

      Oh good, because it all gets very warped. 😅

      Like

      1. Heh, maybe it is. But I´m not allowing myself to do so. It might get me sad. Or conflicted. And I hate conflicted. Sorry Jess, keeping my distance.

        Heh, well, yeah. 😀

        As in, even more warped than it already is? :DD Well… you did mention there is one more chapter that gets readers dropping out… but really. How much worse could it get at this stage? (And yes, I know that´s the exact phrase that´s asking for trouble, but I use that on purpose. ;D)

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Hehe, I may have said that the wrong way. I hate /feeling/ conflicted… and I´m successfully avoiding it so far. (Don´t worry, your character yoyo effects don´t count. ;D) Well… except maybe a little about Faith. She can make me feel a little conflicted. Because on the one hand I do like her, but on the other hand I´m kind of mad at her right now. But I can´t envision that lasting very long at all… >.> *low and ominous* One way, or the other.

            Hee, what a weird coincidence. Plastic, smelly stuff on head. 😀

            *thinks about what the vampiric alternative to popcorn would be* P:

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That *is* ominous. I’m sure your feeling about the cast will remain entirely unconflicted. For at least… 2 chapters.

              Haha! Clearly stinky headwear is the latest fashion.

              Hm. Those little capsules that actors use; the ones that pop on contact to look like they’re bleeding. But filled with real blood. This is way too grim for first thing in the morning. But good primer for the next chapter, I suppose. 😆

              Like

              1. Hehehe, oh don´t worry. What´s the worst thing that could happen? I could send a few very heartless comments Faith´s way, if she goes and makes me actually choose a favorite. Which I totally would, I think my heart got forgotten somewhere along this ride. …or I may have not been watching it carefully enough and now it got stolen. *shrugs* Those things happen, I guess. I´m not /reporting/ the theft or anything. ;D …unless it winds up on a porch, /that/ would kinda irk me. P:

                Ah-hahaha, what an idea. And just like popcorn they wouldn´t be very healthy. Anticoagulants galore. Yuck, those food additives. ;DD Still totally worth it to munch on, though. (And you worry about warped. X´D)

                Liked by 1 person

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