Authors: Elizabeth Voss
THE WINSLOW INCIDENT
Copyright © 2011 by S.
This first electronic
edition published by S. Elizabeth Voss in January 2013.
Cover by Tackaberry
Map of Winslow by Allen
Originally published in
hardcover by Five Star Mystery (Gale/Cengage) in December 2011.
This book is a work of
fiction. Names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the product
of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No
part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or
electronic form without the express written permission of the author.
myself considerably discomposed and disordered—full of notions. Poor N.
Burt cut his own throat. We hear great talk about witchcraft.
—From the Diary of Stephen Williams, Longmeadow,
Poisons of the Past
, Mary Kilbourne Matossian)
on’t touch me! Stand back! I am dead, do you hear? I am dead.
I have snakes in my stomach! They are burning burning burning.
—Charles Veladaire, Pont-Saint-Esprit, France,
The Day of St. Anthony’s Fire
, John G. Fuller)
lood is pouring from the sky: We are going to drown. I see
a river of bodies. I see a town of ghosts.
—Aaron Adair, Winslow, Washington, 2010
A Plague of Madness
, G.F. Olson)
In A Town So Small, How Can So Many People be Lost?
Trapped. Trapped Like Rats and Left to Die
Sometimes the Past Needs a Good Diggin’ Up
aybreak found the veterinarian crisscrossing
Loop-Loop Road, looking for his mind. He had lost it the night before and
couldn’t seem to find it anywhere.
Returning home empty-headed, Doc Reed
Simmons slammed and locked his front door.
I’m not well
, he admitted.
He wedged a dining room chair
against the door and then sat, rigid and fearful of making another sound. From
that vantage point he could make out the patch of brown grass that constituted
his lawn but not the vehicle he heard roar up.
His rifle rested across his knees.
This intrusion could only spell
trouble. Since Simmons’ visit to Holloway Ranch the day before, followed by the
realization that he too felt peculiar, he’d had his suspicions. And if those
suspicions turned out to be correct, he did not want to be involved in any
Nothing I can do about it
He shuddered so violently his
teeth clacked together.
Footsteps on the gravel driveway,
as loud as fireworks, advanced toward the porch. Simmons could identify the
condition if not the cause: hyperacusis, his sensitivity to sound growing more
and more painful as this interminable morning wound on and on.
I’m not well
, the thought crept back into his worried mind.
A dog began to bark . . . and
clamor and claw around the porch.
Simmons cringed, which sent his
forehead throbbing again.
How did I cut my head so severely?
flitted through his mind: the red truck, crashed in a roadside ditch; his bloodied
face reflected in the bathroom mirror, hands fumbling to dress the wound. Now
gauze stuck to the gash, making the area even more tender and sore.
If only that were the worst of it.
“Doc Simmons?” a young female
voice sliced his eardrums and encouraged the dog to bark louder. “We need your
Hands trembling, the vet gripped the rifle. Just as he’d
feared, they were coming for him. And why? He wasn’t an MD.
I wish we had a
real doctor on this godforsaken mountainside—
A thunderous knock erupted inches
from his ear, piercing his skull like a spike.
He sprang from the chair.
Holding his gun, he crouched in
the middle of the living room and twisted this way and that—the barking
coming from every direction at once—until he realized,
I can’t see.
Where were his glasses?
Floodgates opened and panic the
likes of which he had never known washed through his core.
I’m not right!
There’s sure to be others. Bound to get worse. What should I do?
was a book he struggled just to open, written in a language he no longer
There—he recognized the
vague shape of his spectacles on the foyer table and dashed to retrieve them.
Donning the glasses brought the world back into focus, brought him instantly
back in control.
“All right, then,” he decided, feeling
angry that they expected him to save them when really the situation was quite
hopeless, wasn’t it?
He kicked away the chair and
wrenched open the door to find the girl poised to knock and plead again.
Trick or treat, he half-expected
her to say.
Instead she gasped and drew back
from the doorway, a reaction that told him
was the trickster in a monster