A World Apart

What defines Normal?

The sharp ringing sound of the bedside phone broke into her peaceful slumber and, with a groan, she pulled the pillow over her head and tried to block it out to no avail.

With another groan, she reached up, fumbling for the phone, knocking over the glass of water and alarm clock on her bedstand before locating the source of the irritating noise.

Picking up the reciever, she dragged it under the pillow with her and mumbled into the phone.

"This had better be good."

"Having the 'stranded on a desert island with a hunk' dream again, huh, Molly?"

Molly groaned again and resisted the urge to throw the phone across the room.

"Trevor, why in blue blazes are you calling me at..." She raised her head, letting the pillow drop from it's place on top of it as she searched around the room for a glimpse of the alarm clock.

She found it moments later as she blindly searched the bedroom floor, stubbornly refusing to turn on a light and admit that she was awake.

Molly cursed as she felt the water over her electronic alarm and hoped that it hadn't gotten into the clock to short it out.

Pulling the alarm clock close to her face, she groaned once again and put the phone back to her ear.

"Three o'clock in the morning?! What the hell kind of story pops up at three o'clock in the freakin morning?!"

"The Woo-Woo kind," Trevor said and she could almost hear the amusement in his voice. "And since you are on the Spooky Patrol you get to get woken up early in the morning right after me."

"The difference being, after this phone call I'm going to bed and you are going to be going to...." She could hear a rustling as Trevor searched for the address to give her. "....3200 Rustle Lane."

The address seemed familiar and Molly frowned as she tried to dredge up where she had heard it before.

"The old Halister Place?" She asked, now sitting up on the edge of the bed and clicking on the light thus giving in to the inevitable.

"The one and the same. Brice Halister, our very own small town celebrated author has been found dead at his family's home."

"Dead?" Molly's eyes flew open and she stood, grabbing her bra that was draped over the chair in the room and struggling to put it on while, at the same time, she attempted to keep the phone caught between her ear and shoulder. "But that would be Bruce's call then. Why send me out to scoop the story?"

"It would  be Bruce's story if it was a simple homicide, suicide or death by natural causes. But, like I said, there's something strange about this one. A neighbor with a telescope caught more than stars when he saw a woman drive up to the house and drop off a note taped to the front gate. The curious neighbor than abandoned said telescope and went over to see what the note said. Probably hoping to sell a scoop to our humble establishment The Observer."

"And?" She had her pants on and zipped up by this time and was struggling to juggle phone and shirt without losing the thread of the story.

"A really weird message suggesting that said small town author was cursed and would die within a certain amount of time."

Molly paused with one arm in her sleeve, the phone pressed almost painfully into her ear.

"And this is what makes it my beat?"

"What makes it your beat is that, reportedly, the neighbor called police to report the threat..."

"Before or after he called you to capture the limelight in a story?"

"After...the point being that once the police came and got no answer on the door, they broke in to discover Brice Halister dead."

"I still don't get why it's my beat." She was slipping her feet into some comfortable loafers and reaching for her purse.

"They found him burned to a crisp but nothing else, the house or anything else was touched by fire except for the body."

"And we know this...why?"

"Get a good enough telescope and you can see more stars than just in the heavens."

The End

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