Scene Ten

Under the auspices of getting some fresh air after dealing with the stresses inflicted upon her at the restaurant, Melody made a short stroll down the end of the block and attempted to summon the leader of the boys. She did this by flashing a coded message through what she hoped to be his back window, using a cat laser toy. The message was as stealthy as she could make it, but location, as they say, is everything. Shine a laser pointer into the wrong room and then you have adult heat coming down on you. Questions, accusations, uncomfortable “Dad” jokes. It wasn’t something she was in the mood to deal with.

The boys, thankfully, were a furtive bunch. They prowled the neighborhood like a midnight militia, guarding Lafayette street from the creeping terrors of the night, and the untamed spirits of the peculiar. Anything the police would bat an eyelash at, they consumed as though a tasty confectionery. They had been instrumental at uncovering the doings of the Woman in White, going as far as to surveil the weather station by planting night-vision cameras at the door. They had even captured the photographic proof of a ghost and the bardo that attacked her.

Mostly, though, they patrolled.

“Come on,” Melody said under her breath, flashing the message again.

“General?” came a voice from behind her.

Melody jumped, and dropped the laser to the ground. She turned to find a slightly shorter shadow-figure. “Lieutenant?” she asked the thing.

With a flashlight, the figure illuminated it's own face, revealing a different boy. “Private Barnes,” he said. “The Lieutenant's in the war room. He sent me out to check out the disturbance.”

“Oh,” Melody said, and smiled. “Did I set off an alarm or something?”

Private Barnes turned off the flashlight, but didn't reply. He spun around and began to walk towards the back of the house.

“Am I following you now?” Melody asked. She took a few apprehensive steps in the wake of his travel, and then stopped. She didn't know this boy. She barely knew the Lieutenant. Their conversations consisted of nods and cryptic notes and a basic notion that he and his friends were here to help. But following some strange, dark figure into a possibly “exit-challenged” location seemed to be asking a little too much.

Once Barnes disappeared around the house, Melody took a few more steps out into the backyard to get a greater overview of what might be around the corner. She was more than a little afraid, truth be told, that the yard might be a minefield. If not with mortars then possibly dog droppings, as the place wasn't encircled by a protective fence.

Thankfully, the Lieutenant emerged from a side door to greet her.

“General,” he said, saluting her.

“At ease,” Melody said, and smiled. “I have something to discuss with you.”

Lieutenant Shinally stood before her, legs spread wide, hands behind his back. “About the Conroy situation?”

Melody nodded, although she was unsure how he could possibly know what topic she had on her mind. The thought that the boys might have the entire neighborhood under constant surveillance completely unnerved her. “My father has some missing pieces...”

Shinally nodded. “As do we,” he said. “Maybe together we can put the puzzle together.” He nodded and then invited Melody into the “War room”, which turned out to be the basement of his parents home.

Melody made it as far as the stairwell before being confronted.

“Hi ya!” came the cheerful, if not slightly slurred, voice of a woman behind her. “You must be that girl from down the street.” The woman wore clothing too tight even for her bony frame, high-heels and blonde hair teased so high that at times it struggled to stay upright. She burped in her mouth and seemed to struggle with her thoughts. After a long pause the woman added, “Can I get you some lemon-aid?” Another mouth burp. “...Or something?”

“Karen,” said the Lieutenant. “Don't.”

She waved the boy off. “Tish tish,” she said. “I'm just being friendly.” She turned to Melody. “Let me know if you need something, cutie.” She patted Melody on the shoulder and then turned around and closed the door which demarcated the kitchen from the basement stairwell.

Melody turned to the Lieutenant. “Cutie?”

Shinally walked determinedly down the stairs. “She's drunk,” he said. Once he was at the bottom, he switched on a light, exposing the open basement room with maps lining the walls. “Don't pay any attention to her,” he finished. “Ever.”

“Oh,” Melody said, feeling flushed. “I'm sorry,” she said. “Your mother...?”

“Left us.” The Lieutenant said this with finality and Melody didn't press it.

The basement consisted of one large room, and at least one side room. Both of which were uncluttered. The room contained a washer and dryer on the end nearest the stairway, and there was a desk in front of the large map taped to the wall in the main part of the room.

“So this is the famous 'War Room',” she said.

The Lieutenant cleared his throat. “Well,” he said. “I hope it's not really famous. This is supposed to be an undercover operation.”

This guy is very literal, Melody thought.

He pointed to the large hand-drawn sheet. “Recognize this?”

Melody examined it closer, and saw that the map was extremely detailed. The areas were shaded depending on what level one was looking at. Light gray for the top surface, structures above ground, et cetera, light blue for underground areas, basements, sewers, et cetera. Lot's of et ceretas, she thought to herself.



He pointed to Chuck Conroy's house, and noted a small tunnel of about two feet in diameter which flowed out of Chuck's basement and under the next three houses. “See how it terminates at this location.” He indicated the small lot, on top of which the weather station now sat.

“How did you...?”

“It's probably best not to reveal our methods at this time.”

Melody raised her eyebrow at this. She thought it could only be a couple of things. Flexible hose with a camera on the end, ground penetrating radar, or good ol' fashioned breaking and entering and a flashlight. She assumed since there wasn't any excavation at the lot, that it was the latter.

“Why do you think that is?” Melody of course had her assumptions about the place, but there were still more mysteries than answers. “I mean, I assume it has to do with the well.”

The Lieutenant gave her an odd, expressionless look. “The well?”

Melody realized that she hadn't ever told him about that. In hindsight, there were probably a lot of things she had never told him.

“Yeah,” she said, apprehensively. “There's some kind of well buried where the basement of that house used to be.” Her family had discovered that when they had been haunted by the Hound from Hell. A ghostly version of the Woman in White's house had lit up the night, and displayed as a great life-sized blueprint. “I mean, ghostly blueprints aren’t exactly a proof of concept, and for sure we all saw slightly different things – probably because the projection was most likely in our minds rather than rooted in reality – and I realize I might be rambling at the moment – but one thing was the same throughout our visions...this well.” She told the story to the Lieutenant whose eyes grew larger by the sentence. “My father calls it 'The Well to Hell'.”

Lt. Shinally stared off into the distance, thoughtfully. “I see,” he said.

“I mean,” Melody chuckled. “It's not really a portal into Hell. The very thought...”

“No,” he said, stopping her. “I understand. What I'm wondering about, though, is you say it's buried?”

“I...” Melody stopped. She suddenly wasn't sure of anything.

“Because if my suspicions are correct that can't be true.”

“What are you thinking?”

The Lieutenant suddenly had a bright, enthusiastic face. “What we should have done a long time ago. Start the excavation.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode Four

Melody Jackson

vs. The Creeping Terror

by BMB Johnson

Scene Ten

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