Dunhallow, Georgia was not a big town.  It was not a small town either.  It was an hour or so from the coast and a few hours from the mountains.  Atlanta, Augusta, and Savannah were only a reasonable drive away.  It boasted less than ten thousand residents and more than five thousand.  It was absolutely perfect for a man looking to avoid attention and ready to hide.  It was exactly the type of place they would look. There was no way Henry could stay here more than six days.

“Dawn has dawned.  Shake your legs and get after her.”  Maude’s daddy said that every single morning since as far back as she could remember.  She was fifty-four and only saw her Daddy a few times a week-

“Let me see, I saw him Sunday so I should probably check on him today or tomorrow.  That man is so stubborn.  He never wants to slow down but he just got to realize that he’s eighty-two years old and can’t do like he used to…”

-these days but she woke up with his voice in the back of her head saying that almost every day.  Most days she was up well before the dawn.  Most days, like this day, she was unlocking the back door to the diner while the sun had another hour or so in bed.  Jorge, her short order cook (whom she always called George), would be arriving soon and together they would get things ready for opening at six.  The morning waitress-

“Let me see, that would be Ann today”

-would arrive in half an hour to make sure the tables and silver prep was done.

“Let me see, Tuesday means Mr. Williker will be in to wait till the pharmacy opens, and Pete Bolt said he was taking the day to do some fall break fishing with his boys, and that nice Mr. Morgen said he was coming back in…”

Fortunately, she never saw or felt the blow that severed her spinal cord.

“I’m just saying, that don’t make no sense, Monny.”

“I’m not telling you it does, Sam.  I’m telling you the Mayor told me that he wanted us to handle the investigation and not farm it out to GBI.  Maybe he’s applying for a grant or something.  You can use their forensics but we’re not turning it over.  In house.”  Monny Gamble was a tall man knew how to use that to his advantage to make a point in a conversation.  Sam Waters felt himself ease back slightly as his boss leaned in.

“Yeah but I’m pretty much the whole of “in house”.  Me and Phil are the whole investigation division and he handles property.  Homicide is, by definition, a crime against a person, which means it’s all me.  Miss Maude was a sweet lady and she deserves better than one overworked cop.”

“You can make use of any officers or resources you need.”  Monny sighed and leaned back.  “Use Phil too if you need.  I know Miss Maude was a nice lady.  Hell I’ve eaten lunch here at least three times a week for fifteen years.  But I’m telling you what I’ve been told.”

As his boss turned and walked away, Sam shook his head.  Monny had been on the force for his whole career.  He’d only recently been promoted from deputy chief and he was used to having someone over his head giving him orders.  Well, Sam was used to that too and now he had orders.  Not very many homicides happened in Dunhallow.  At least, not many that couldn’t be handled with a couple of witness statements along the lines of “they were drunk and fighting and then one of them pulled out a gun and shot him dead.”  No witnesses here so far.  No drunken arguments or domestic disturbances that went too far.  Jorge, in his initial statement, had said that he’d arrived at 5:30, as usual.  The back door had been open, which was not usual, and he’d found Miss Maude on the floor inside.  Sam had arrived before they moved the body and he’d seen that the back of her lower skull had been caved in.  He’d have to wait for official COD from the coroner but that part seemed fairly clear.  So far that was the sum total of all of his facts.


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