Neil Burntree was just about to shove another cream-filled, icing-covered, Boston goodness into his open maw when suddenly his radio sparked to life, making him jump and drop the donut on the ground.
He grumbled a string of profanities under his breath as the CB jangled out a tinny-sounding voice.
"Chief Burntree, ya there?"
He grumbled again and was about to pick up his toppled donut which lie icing-side down on the crusty, un-swept floor when the voice came through, sounding more urgent.
"Chief Burntree come in...old Dale Dixon's reportin' troubles down at Nora Higgins home," the voice was like nails on a chalk board.
Sighing Neil brought his hand up to the radio and held the button.
"10-4 Minnie...what's the old man going on about this time?"
There was a pause and Burntree looked across at a couple, who had stopped in from a road trip for a quick sandwich who were staring at him.
He gave them a hard look and they quickly looked away.
"He says somin' like she's got some troubles diggin' a hole or sommin' like that Chief...problem is now I got reports of gunshots down at the Higgins home now."
Neil stood up slowly grumbling as he did, and while the couple tried to pretend they weren't paying attention they both stared at each other with wide eyes wondering why the hell he wasn't moving any faster.
Neil stretched and put his arms on his back pushing in. His gut pushed out over his belt and his neatly tucked shirt threatened to break lose of its holds.
His doctor had told him to lay off the donuts but Neil couldn't listen to that young blood quack, he was perfectly healthy.
He finally reached up to his CB again and pushed the button.
"Minnie get Jack and Ernie on the horn, tell 'em to make it snappy, the old man's got his gun collection out again, sounds like."
As he pushed his chair into the table he looked back over at the couple who couldn't help but stare at him again with gaping mouths.
"If you want a real sight to see maybe head up to that giant ball of yarn up highway 215," he grumbled, then tipped his hat. "Folks."
He slowly walked out of the Tim Hortons and lowered himself into the cruiser, backed up carefully, slowly pulled into traffic and then switched on the flashers before speeding off towards the Higgins home.
CRACK CRACK CRACK
"Mr. Dixon put down the gun," said a very green-looking cop. "I'm warning you sir, put down your weapon now."
The greenie was with another cop who looked even younger, and had started to pull out his gun slowly.
Neil pulled up and saw Dale pointing his gun at Nora's lilac bush.
The greenie pulled his weapon out fully now and pointed it at Dale.
"Mr. Dixon I'm giving you one final warning," he yelled.
Neil, moving faster than he had in his last 10 years as Chief, jumped out of his cruiser and was behind the young cop in moments.
"Dante, holster that weapon immediately," he growled.
Dante looked back with wide eyes at his boss.
"But Chief, he's got a gun, and there's a body," he started to stammer.
"Now young buck," Neil barked.
Dante quickly put the gun away and Neil motioned for both him and the other officer to move back.
"Call it in Ernie," he grunted to the other cop.
Ernie nodded, face white, as he radioed in the dead body to paramedics.
Meanwhile Neil moved forward and held his hand out.
"Dale?" he called out. "Dale its Chief Burntree...it's Neil Dale, you need to put that damn gun down."
Dale looked at him, eyes wide, legs shaking, mouth starting to drool.
"Its in the bush, its in the bush," he mumbled, and then turned and raised his weapon to the lilac bush.
"Goddammit Dale, will you stop that shit," called out Neil. "You're going to lose your damn hearing and give me a damn heart attack."
Dale looked at him and pointed again.
"The bush Chief! It killed her!" he yelled.
Neil looked down a the lilac bush. Aside from the dead body in front of it and some holes where Dale had decorated it with bullets from his old shot gun, there didn't seem to be anything strange about it.
"I don't understand Dale, how did the bush kill Nora?"
Dale kept pointing and shouting now, almost non-coherent.
"The bush, killed, bush monster..bush, bush, bush."
He was about to take another shot when the greenie, who had slipped up behind him, jumped on him and took him to the ground. The gun fell to the ground as well.
It went off facing near Neil, and hit the windshield of his cruiser instead, shattering it.
"Fucking shit greenie," he screamed out. "What in gods name do you think you're doing? You nearly got me shot."
Dante cuffed Dale and looked sheepishly at Dale as he helped the old man to his feet.
"Gosh sorry Chief, I figured you could use a hand."
"The day I need a goddam hand from you is the day I actually do get shot dead," he barked. "Get him out of here and get the hell out of my sight."
Dante quickly shuffled away with Dale in tow and took him to his own cruiser.
After taking a moment to breath, his doctor also said he should stop going out in the field so much, it was too stressful on his heart, damn hippie, Neil walked over to the lifeless body of Nora Higgins and stared down at the area where the blood had begun to soak into the ground.
From this point of view it certainly looked as though the old bird had taken a shot or two from Dale's ruster shooter with the amount of blood loss.
But something felt very strange, and Neil stared back towards the bush again, as he did he could almost swear he saw something move in the deep darkness.
"Penny for your thoughts chief?" a voice broke through his thoughts, startling him.
"Goddammit Lou," he grumbled, eyeing down the paramedic. "Is everyone trying to give me a heart attack today?"
"Well at least if it was me I could fix you up real quick Chief," Lou said with a grin.
That grin quickly melted from his face when he saw the body of Nora Higgins lying face down in the grass.
"Jesus-fucking-Christ, is that Nora Higgins?" he gasped. "What the hell happened?"
"Well before you interrupted me that's what I was just about to find out, here grab her legs, help me turn her over."
Neil grabbed the dead woman by the shoulders and Lou reluctantly grabbed her legs, and they both pulled her onto her back.
They both quickly stood up too as they saw the gigantic gash across her throat, the skin pale as the moon around it.
But most horrifying was the sheer look of terror that was locked into her face for the rest of time, her eyes wide, her mouth twisted in a forever silent scream.
Lou quickly vomited, aiming, without thought, all over Neil's polished black boots.
"Fuck," grunted Neil as he looked down at the mess.
Overhead the black and menacing clouds were now starting to block out the sun, turning the mid morning light into almost an evening darkness.
Further away thunder rumbled deeply.