“Green Lake” Episode 1 Scene 3
Episode 1: Scene 3
The Woman in the Tree House
Sheriff Edward Freeman was a simple man. He believed in three basic things: one, that Harry Truman was the best President this country ever had; two, the bacon double cheeseburger was the zenith of man’s creation; and three, that he was too smart to live in Green Lake. All of his life he had been trying to leave this “one horse” town, but always seemed to come right back home. Even when he was in the military, he ended up stationed within an hour’s drive away. All his other friends went to Japan, Europe, and even the South Pole! He stayed in California. Just bad karma.
Freeman was huge.
Standing just over six foot five, he seemed to scare most of the women out of his life by simply entering a room. When he was a youngster, it bothered him. Now, not so much. Being single allowed him the luxury of concentrating on his career.
It was the only thing in his life left pure.
Or it was until he started to investigate the Barrett killings.
The office was quiet. Usually by this time in the day, he would have to close his office door, due to the traffic in front of the coffee machine. He knew of at least three “secret loves” and one “hot romance” going on between fellow officers. Hell, it wasn’t hard to figure out who was “doing” who—he had only six people working under him, and the division of the sexes was fifty-fifty. Law officers seemed to end up with fellow law officers, or, if they were lucky a doctor or official of the court.
Life…what a pisser!
Freeman entered his office, tired.
The dreams were starting to come back to him.
Since he had been a kid, he’d been a victim of night terrors. Vivid and terrible nightmares that would cause him to wake, screaming, sweating, and displaced. It had been a few years since he had any good ones, and had thought, with therapy, that that dark episode of his life had moved on.
The last few nights proved the ending of that theory.
The man barely slept anymore.
Sighing heavily, he surrendered to gravity and fell back into his chair.
New paperwork waited for him to sign.
Several volunteer police officers, used only during tourist season or emergencies, had to be authorized to remain on duty. He had been responsible for this. It was his idea to enact laws he learned in the military, adding forces to his when things were bad.
A murder/suicide was bad.
So, he signed the papers.
“The Mayor’s not going to like this,” he chuckled.
Freeman knew he would have to explain his actions. Green Lake wasn’t as prosperous as it had once been. Like everyone else in the nation, she was struggling. Too much bean counting and not enough job creation going on. He would have to remind the City Council that their town hadn’t had a murder for almost seventy years—Green Lake wasn’t prepared to handle something like this.
“Doug!” Freeman yelled out into the hall, holding up the authorizations, “Can you come in here?”
Doug was one of his “solid” officers. He had stayed on the force after graduating from high school, and fell in love with the work. A football star that never had a chance to gain the attention of the big city colleges, nor play professionally. In the end, he went to San Jose State and got a degree in criminal justice.
In essence, Doug was the closest thing to a “CSI” unit Freeman had.
“What’s up, boss?”
Freeman glared up at Doug.
He didn’t like being called “boss.”
“Here are the papers for the extra officers.”
Doug grabbed at them, eagerly.
“Team’s going to appreciate that.”
Doug wasn’t a handsome man, but for some reason he was a magnet to the ladies. Freeman theorized it was due to his honest face, short-cut hair, and baby blue eyes. Christ! The man looked like Beaver Cleaver.
“Where is the evidence sheet on the Barrett case?”
“I’ll get it.”
Freeman tried to stop Doug. That’s why they had a secretary. It was his job to get things.
Doug never took this into account.
That’s why Freeman liked the guy.
The Sheriff laughed, tiredly.
Reaching into a cookie jar he kept at the edge of his desk, Freeman grabbed a couple of chocolate chip cookies—his only vice, next to smoking. He knew that they were bad for him, and caused most of the weight problems he had throughout his life, but, life was short—you might as well enjoy it.
Doug came back in, handing over the folder.
Already, the thing was starting to bulk up with paperwork.
Freeman opened it up, scanning.
“You looking for something special?” Doug asked, curious.
“I just got a call from Michael Barrett; he is on his way and should be here in about five hours. He mentioned something strange. Maybe it is the emotion of everything, but he said he received a text message from his parent’s cell phone just now. I thought CSI recovered a cell phone from the scene.”
Doug let out a gasp of surprise.
“Yea, I saw it on the sheet,” the deputy stated. “That’s strange though. What did it say?”
Freeman tried his best to look calm. This was turning out to be too damn familiar.
It was like the nightmare he had been having for the last three nights. The one that had been keeping him from sleeping.
The one that had warned him, at least a day before, about the Barrett killings.
It was almost too much for the man to take.
Flipping through the evidence folder, he stopped at the sheet that had itemized what CSI had catalogued as important. He moved his fingers down the page and saw it, one cell phone recovered. He closed the folder, resting back into his chair.
“Well, they did find the cell phone. Maybe they had two? Search around and find out.”
“Okay, boss,” Doug turned, starting to leave. “What did the text say, if I may ask?”
Freeman shook his head, trying to wave away all the haunting images gathering in his mind.
“Oh, something about welcome home, see you soon, something like that. We are meeting when he gets here.”
Doug let out a dry laugh.
“What?” Freeman asked, his eyes narrowing.
“If I remember high school, you guys didn’t exactly get along too well.”
“That was a long time ago, Doug. People change.”
“Not too much, boss.”
Doug reached in and took the folder off the desk, leaving the Sheriff’s office. Freeman sat and pondered for a second, then reached into his bottom drawer pulling out a bottle of whiskey. He poured himself a drink, using an empty coffee cup, and drank it down quick. He poured another, savoring it slower the second time around.
“Just like the dreams,” he whispered.
The wind had started to pick up.
The sky looked cloudy. It was going to rain.
“The tree house,” Freeman huffed. “Funny. Hadn’t thought about that for over fifteen years.”
The tree house was a huge edifice that loomed upon one of the many ancient trees near “The Silver Witch,” just outside the city limits of Green Lake. At one time, the old haunt had been the largest silver mine in North America. Fortunes, crimes untold, and dynasties had been created from this one dried out hole in the side of a mountain. Now . . . it was just a place all the boys took their dates for a “good time.”
They would use a tree house that had been built over the generations since the closing of the mine as a lover’s den. Originally built as a foreman’s station, the tree house was massive.
Three hangings, one suicide, and four missing persons had been known to take place around the thing. Freeman remembered teasing a girl into making out with him there once, saying that the danger of the place made for great sex.
It did too!
But, for the last several nights, it was not of his lost loves he had been dreaming about.
There was another haunting his mind’s eye.
A woman, of that, he was sure.
However, her identity was unknown to him.
The dream would always start out the same . . . .
Upon climbing the rope ladder, up to the wooden deck leading inside the tree house, Freeman would reach out, opening the door. Inside, amongst the broken, forgotten, and rotted furniture, he would see pictures and lighted candles left behind by the local kids. Empty beer cans, scattered editions of Playboy and Hustler. Dumb stuff.
A strange table took the place of the rolled up mattress someone had once brought into the place. It seemed made from a dark wood he was unfamiliar with. This was always disturbing to him, because, as a hobby, Freeman was a carpenter. He knew his woods.
The woman was covered in a dark cloak.
He could tell she was female by both her form and her scent.
“Why do you come here?” she would whisper to him.
Freeman never answered.
He would only watch.
He recognized the funny “comic book” like cards she seemed to be playing with upon the table—Tarot Cards. He only knew this because his mother had once been into the occult. In the seventies, it was the “cool” thing to do. To know one’s fate before it came into reality.
His mother once did a reading on him, but would never tell him what the last of the cards meant—“Too scary for you at your young age,” she would say.
“He is coming!” the woman yelled, slamming her hands upon the table.
Blood started to drip off the dark wood, running upon the floor like water.
Freeman would always walk backward, trying his best to avoid contact with the oncoming bloodbath.
“Stop!” Freeman would order.
“Do you think you can stop us, now?” the figure would ask.
She would laugh.
It was an evil, sadistic, and crazy laugh.
“You think you killed us. You think we were stopped. In truth, sir, we never left!”
The cloaked figure would turn to face him, slowly, reaching up to remove her hood.
At that point, Freeman would always wake up.
He would scream. He would calm himself. He would try to forget.
He was not good at pretending.
Freeman turned away from his desk, looking out his office window.
A man, dressed in black, sat in his car, staring in Freeman’s direction. There was nothing special about him. Just a middle-aged man wearing a pair of dark sunglasses.
Freeman’s phone rang, startling him.
The Sheriff answered it.
“Michael Barrett is on the way, I’ll let you know when he gets here.”
He hung up the phone and finished the last of his drink. He got up and grabbed his coat that hung on a coat rack near his desk.
“Doug, I’m going to head over to the Barrett place and look around. I’ll be back soon.”
“Okay, boss. If I find something out, I’ll let you know.”
Upon heading to his car, the Sheriff noticed that the mysterious “Man in Black,” his dark sunglasses, and the car . . . were gone.