“Green Lake” Episode 1 Scene 2
Episode 1: Scene 2
Denver, Colorado—9:56 AM
The house was like any other along the street. Nothing unusual.
Whitewashed fence, lawn somewhat cut, and bushes that needed trimming. The couple wanted a happy home, so they painted it a bright yellow—the “lady” of the home’s favorite color. All appeared normal.
Except, death had paid a visit early in the morning.
Michael Barrett stood over his travel bag, barely conscious. Time had stopped, and if asked he couldn’t say how long he had been staring into the bag he had been packing for over an hour.
Michael had been told that his parents were dead.
Not a good way to start the day.
Never a good sleeper, he had been given the news of his parents’ death, and had been informed by the Green Lake Police that they would prefer he “come home” so that all the grisly business of solving the “WHY” could be accomplished. That was one great thing about home, everyone there believed in the personal touch.
Michael Barrett was respected in Denver. Just turned forty-five years old, he had become a history teacher at “Molly Brown High School.” Worked there for over ten years, and had served on almost every school board function since. He played high school football and had always considered it a benefit to his health and appearance—he looked good for his age.
Although a native of Green Lake, Michael thought he left it all behind.
A subtle noise caught his attention, bringing him back to the world of reality.
Something was tapping upon his bedroom’s window pane.
What the hell’s that? he wondered.
Opening up the curtains, he was startled to see a raven tapping the glass with its beak. The bird didn’t fly away, and appeared to be challenging the man for the ownership of the place.
The raven squawked loudly.
“Fuck you, bird!”
Michael closed the curtains.
The man returned to his packing, grabbing at least three days worth of clothes, some toiletries, and a Stephen King book to read on the flight.
“Kathy?” Michael shouted.
“Yes?” came a distant voice.
Someone headed up a flight of stairs toward Michael’s bedroom.
Kathy Barrett, also forty-five years old, met Michael in college. Unlike her husband, who went on to get a degree in history, and become a teacher, Kathy sacrificed it all to become one of the last “stay home” mothers. She thought it best to raise her children well. Never once did she regret that choice.
“I don’t understand,” she said, handing her husband several pairs of socks. “Why won’t the police just tell you what happened over the phone. It doesn’t make sense that they were both shot in their home. I don’t ever remember Green Lake having a murder.”
This last caused Michael to pause, looking at Kathy strangely. She was from Denver and knew nothing about Green Lake.
“How do you know that?” Michael asked.
Awkward, Kathy paid attention to her husband’s appearance, gently wiping his shoulders clean. “From what you’ve said about the place, dear.”
“Oh,” Michael returned to his packing, moving about the room in a concentrated, but mournful way.
The sight of his sorrow hurt Kathy.
“When I got the call this morning, Sherriff Freeman made no sense. I grew up with that man, and never have I heard him so distressed. You’d think it was his parents. Where the hell is my phone charger? God! I’m losing my mind.”
Kathy came up behind her husband and gave him a hug. She tried her best to hold back her own tears, putting her head on his back. She was pleased to feel his anxiety ease a bit, and both held each other’s hands.
“I’m here for you, baby,” Kathy said, kissing Michael upon his back.
Michael turned around, fully taking Kathy into his arms. The woman buried her face into her husband’s chest.
“I don’t want you to go back alone,” Kathy confessed her voice shaky.
“Babe, you and the kids will be there in a few days.”
“I can have someone watch the kids and take them to Green Lake later in the week.”
Michael shook his head ‘no.’
This was the way of the world. There were final promises to keep and funerals to plan.
“Thanks, I just need to get there and find out what the hell the story is. You and the kids are leaving on Thursday and I’ll meet you at the airport. I’ll call as soon as I land, but if I don’t hurry up I’ll not make it on time.” Michael separated from his wife, kissing her, “I love you.”
“I love you, honey,” Kathy beamed, looking up. “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of everything. And, your phone charger is plugged in the wall by the nightstand.”
Michael walked over and grabbed the charger throwing it in his suitcase. He finished packing everything up and headed downstairs with Kathy.
“What would I do without you, girl?”
“Probably go insane, dear.”
“Dad! Wait up.”
Angela, their daughter, rushed out of her room.
Angela, the oldest child, had always been the awkward one. Every family had one. Friends were hard to come by, and she always had a book in her hand. This puzzled her father, because he thought she was beautiful. Still, with all the problems she did have, she was an honor student. That part, at least, Michael was thankful for.
“You weren’t going to leave without saying goodbye, were you?” Angela was graceful. Long hair and soft brown eyes. She had a little scar on the tip of her nose from chicken pox when she was five, but it wasn’t noticeable unless you really looked for it. She covered it up, mostly, with foundation make up.
Her eyes were red.
She had been crying.
“I’m sorry honey, I forgot,” Michael hugged his daughter.
“He forgot. Some father this is, huh?”
“I’ll see you in a couple of days, so take care of your brother. I’m not sure how he’s doing right now. I’ll call you guys tonight, but I need to leave or I’ll be late. Love you.”
He leaned down and kissed his daughter on her forehead, giving her a hug as he grabbed his suitcase from Kathy.
“Oh, daddy,” Angela whispered.
His daughter appeared to be crying again. As she pulled away from her father, she noticed that she had left tears on his shirt. Laughing timidly, she tried to wipe them away.
Michael never loved his daughter more than he did at that moment.
“It will be okay, honey. I know right now everything is a shock,” again, he looked at his watch . . . running late . . .
“Michael,” Kathy said, pointing to the door.
“I’m out,” he insisted, pausing at the threshold. “I love you guys.”
Michael blew a kiss at his wife, leaving the house. Getting into his car he waved at the two of them as he started the engine and pulled out, heading down the road.
He forgot to say goodbye to Joe.
The tears started up again.
Death had a strange effect on everyone.
As he arrived at the airport, he prepared himself for a long flight, a rubber chicken dinner, and airsickness.
“Here we go,” he huffed, popping two pain killers into his mouth.
His cell phone buzzed.
What the hell?
The tiny screen of his phone informed him of who had called.
It was the last person on earth he had expected . . .
DAD’S PHONE . . .
As the tiny phone continued to chime out a silly little tune, Michael recognized it as the tone he had set for calls from those he knew.
YOU HAVE (1) MESSAGE . . .
His thumb shaking, Michael pushed the green button.
SEE YOU SOON . . .
“Who the hell is this?” Michael asked, staring down at his phone.
Again, the words “DAD’S PHONE . . .” blinked on his tiny screen.
Several people walked passed his car, talking, complaining, and doing what people do when they are running late. The scene brought him back to reality, reminding him of his own situation.
He put the cell phone in his pocket.
“Figure it out later,” he stated, getting out of the car.
On the plane, he got his seat, and for the first time since he had received the terrible news about his parents, felt a moment of pause.
He closed his eyes, trying his best to filter out the sounds of people around him.
It didn’t work.
His cell phone went off again.
“Twice in a day,” he mused, smiling. “Who am I all of a sudden?”
Again, the terrible tease appeared on his phone.
DAD’S PHONE . . .
Michael texted back, answering.
WHO IS THIS???!
Several seconds passed.
A man started to complain about not getting enough peanuts, and that he hated the in-flight movie.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT . . . JUST . . . WELCOME HOME . . .
“Okay,” Michael huffed, glaring down at his phone, uneasy. “All right. Someone wants to play a game.”
Michael started to dial a phone number on his phone.
“Hey, buddy,” someone barked.
Michael looked up and across the aisle at a man in a business suit. He was calmly shaking his head.
“Pilots don’t like it when you use your cell phones while on the runway. Remember what happened to Alec Baldwin?”
Michael pointed up to the still open door of the plane.
“Not moving yet,” he pointed out.
“Your funeral,” the man stated, opening up a copy of Time Magazine. There was a raven on the cover. Something about abnormal bird activity.
The phone started to ring.
“Hello?” the voice was both piped and distant.
Michael perked up in his chair.
“Sherriff, this is Michael Barrett.”
“I’m . . . here, sir.”
“What’s with the titles, Eddie? I’m on a plane heading to you. Listen, I have a quick question. More of a curiosity. Do you have my parent’s cell phone?”
“No,” came the response. By the sounds of the background noise, Michael could sense that Edward Freeman was at home, having breakfast with his family. “What’s wrong, Michael?”
“I just got a text message from my . . . father. I know that, under the circumstances, that’s quite impossible. It’s really freaking me out, so, I called to see if you or if any of your men might have texted me.”
In the background of the call a child had started to cry.
Michael looked out his flight window.
A raven sat upon the wing of the plane.
All these birds? Was that . . . normal??
“Michael, I do not know what to tell you. You say this all came from your father’s cell phone? I really never knew that he had one.”
“Just recently, Ed. He hated the idea of us buying it for him for Christmas, but, you know how shaky the phone lines have always been out at the house. What if something happened . . .” Michael paused. Again, his eyes began to tear up. “I just wish that I could understand all of this insanity. Since when did madmen break into people’s homes in Green Lake and start killing them?”
The stress in his voice carried, and a few passengers on board the plane had started to glance back at Michael, concerned. One stewardess, noticing Michael’s tears, silently offered him a napkin.
Michael accepted it, nodding with gratitude.
There was a long silence on the phone.
Michael could hear Sherriff Freeman tapping his fingers upon his table.
“Look, Michael, maybe someone is playing a sick game with you. I hope not. I’ll tell you this . . . I would rather have told you in person, but there was no outside person in this crime.”
The airplane’s crew started to close the plane’s door.
Announcements went out.
Lights blinked, ordering people to their seats.
“What are you saying, Eddie?”
“It was your dad,” was all the Sherriff said.
A member of the crew spotted Michael on his phone and started to walk toward him.
The man in the business suit chuckled, softly humming the theme song for the movie Jaws.
“Coming in for the kill,” he said, flipping a page of his magazine.
“What do you mean it was my dad?” Michael demanded, standing up.
“Sir, all cell phones are to be turned off while the plane is in motion,” the steward stated, concerned that Michael had darted up from his seat.
“This is an important call,” Michael explained, switching the cell from right ear to left.
“I am sure, sir. However, airline rules state . . .”
“Fuck your rules!” Michael returned to his call, “What do you mean that it was my father?”
“By all evidence from the scene,” Freeman sighed, “Your father shot your mother in the back of her head, and then turned the weapon upon himself. It was a murder/suicide.”
Michael’s eyes opened wide.
He dropped the phone.
“Sir, you will turn your phone off, right now, or you will be forced to leave the flight,” the gentleman steward ordered, pointing to Michael’s chair, insisting that he sit down.
Numb, he complied.
“Thank you,” the steward walked down the aisle.
“Told you,” the business man huffed, confident in his knowledge.
Michael looked down at his feet, picking up his phone.
“Michael, you still there?”
“I want you to call me as soon as you land. I heard the warning, so I’ll end this call for now. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye,” Michael pushed the red button just as the steward returned to the front of the plane.
All the staff glared at him.
The steward picked up a phone receiver, turning on the plane’s intercom system.
“Hello everyone, we are closing the plane doors so I need all of you to put away your electronic devices. When the Captain turns on the light, you will be able to bring them back online. Also, please make sure your seats are in their upright position and that the tray tables are safely secured. We will be making our security announcements soon. We should be in the air in a couple of minutes.”
So began the deliverance into a nightmare.
Michael put his phone back in his pocket and turned away facing the window.
The bird on the wing of the plane was gone.
No one, but him, had ever noticed it.