Monday, August 2, 2010

By Detective Anita McElone
from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED by E.J. Copperman

You ever get a bad vibe off a place?

I'm not a superstitious person, believe me. I've never in my life come across a situation that didn't have a logical explanation, even if it took some doing to find. In fact, that's why I wanted to become a cop to begin with, and why I was thrilled to be promoted to detective--I like to find the explanation.

But I have to admit, this house at 123 Seafront Avenue here in Harbor Haven has me spooked. I mean, I've seen stuff going on there I can't explain. And that's never happened before.

This is a pretty quiet town. We're on the Jersey Shore (but not where they film that TV show with the people who don't do anything but complain and work on their tans), but even during the season, we don't get a lot of loud teenagers or drunks. We have no boardwalk and no amusement pier. The people who come here on vacation are looking for a quiet, relaxing time, and they almost always get it.
Except at that house... The woman who bought the place recently is named Alison Kerby, and from a police standpoint, she's fine. She's fixing up the place to turn it into a guesthouse (and don't let her hear you calling it a B&B!), and not bothering anybody. Even when she's using power tools, nobody can hear--the rest of the block has been bought up by a real estate developer building luxury condos or something, so nobody's living nearby. My guess is Kerby will be the one complaining of noise when they knock down those houses and start constructing.

From a personal perspective, though, something weird is going on over there. And as much as I'd like to, I can't blame it all on Kerby. The trouble started almost a year before she got there, in fact, before I got to Harbor Haven, when two people were found dead--suicides--in the house she eventually bought. Now, that would spook a lot of people, but not Kerby; she went ahead and took the place, then started to gut it for renovations.

And then all of a sudden she starts coming around to the station, asking me questions about the suicides (because the detective who investigated has since retired). And calling me to her house when there are strange goings on. Kerby's wearing a bandage on her head, and a check with the local hospital showed her showing up unconscious with blunt trauma to her head. So maybe that explains some of her behavior.

But when she starts insisting the suicides were murders, and suggesting people who she thinks were responsible--that starts encroaching on my territory, and making me look bad. Not to mention, she's getting in the way of an investigation she doesn't know about. All in all, it's going to be a long October.

And there's a weird vibe coming off that house. I don't want to be there come Halloween, if I can help it.


  1. Weird vibe coming off that house? It sounds like you should swing by that place on Halloween!

  2. I don't believe in a lot of woo-woo nonsense, but it sounds like that woman Alison is a little bonkers. You might want to keep your distance.

  3. I *do* believe in that "woo-woo nonsense." (Come on, Tally, you meant to tell me you never got the creeping willies in that back bedroom at Grandma Peachy's?)

    Anywho, if a house with a history of suicides is giving you the heebie jeebies, it's probably haunted. So we may not agree on the why, but Tally and I agree on the what: stay away!

  4. If the guesthouse at 123 Seafront is a dead ringer for the book's cover, I completely believe in the weird vibe!

  5. Hi Anita,

    Trust your instincts. If you think something strange is happening, it probably is. I know there's a "presence" at my newly inherited house.


  6. Kerby doesn't sound like she's afraid of much! I don't think I could take on a house with that kind of history...

  7. I would keep away from that house if I was you.

  8. Spooky, EJ. And yes, I have gotten a bad vibe coming off a house. Years ago while visiting Jamaica---Rose Hill plantation was a tourist spot. Apparently, scores of slaves were killed by the cruel owner in the 17th Century there. Man. . .it came at me in a wave. A wave of BAD VIBE. The other folks trooped inside to take a look. You couldn't have paid me to go in. Brrrrrrr.

  9. Anita says: I'm keeping away from there as much as I can, but I am a police officer. I don't get to choose the scene of a crime. Or is that saying too much?

  10. That is the best cover! And who doesn't love a spooky house? Ooooooo!

    ~ Krista

  11. If Alison Kerby bought that house knowing its history, and stays even if those strange happenings gave her blunt-force trauma to the head, maybe your department should hire her. She
    sounds like one tough lady!

    123 Seafront Avenue sounds to me like a perfect place to go on Halloween. You want someplace less spooky, like the cemetery?