PJ sat gripping the tablet and her shoulders sagged. “There’s no signature that I can see.”
“Duh,” said Fred. “This is crazy. I’m havin nuthin to do with it.” He went in his camper and slammed the door. Doris watched him go and turned back to the group.
“I know what he thinks—that if I get involved in the investigation, they will focus even more on me as a suspect. But what are they going to do to a bunch of retirees who only want to clear their names?”
Aletha said, “This needs to wait til later. Looks like the trick-or-treaters are getting ready to start.” She began to collect plates and silverware. “Doris, I’ll help you take these inside and we’ll do them up after the Trick-or-Treating.”
Soon they were all seated by the road in their respective campsites with baskets of candy. Children in costume raced from site to site, dragging plastic bags or pumpkins to hold their loot. Some adults too were decked out and gleaning a few treats as they strolled along. Darth Vader drove a golf cart up the road with one hand and wielded a light saber in the other. Princess Leia rode at his side, almost completely disguised with mask, wig, and white gown. Out of character however was the casted leg propped up on the front of the cart.
“Must be that Bonnie Bruns and her husband,” PJ commented to Punk. A large Raggedy Ann and Andy ambled along the road. As they got close, PJ realized it was Stan and Shirley. The parade of characters provided a welcome distraction to the worries of the day.
PJ had donned a witch’s hat and robe but Punk’s only concession to the festivities was an arrow-through-the head device. It did catch a few stares and giggles from the kids.
At the end of the scheduled time, PJ took the remaining candy inside and Punk folded up the little table. When she returned outside, the wind had picked up, making the orange lights along the awning dance and bounce off items in the campsite creating a surreal disco-hell.
PJ heard a thunk over her head. On the roof of the camper, a figure all in black crouched. The lights glistened off a silver hook at the end of one arm.
“Punk!” she yelled and pointed. It appeared to be the same figure from the campfire the night before.
“Get down from there!” Punk yelled. The figure grabbed above his head at a tree branch to swing down the back side. As PJ and Punk ran around the back end of the trailer, they heard the branch break with a sharp crack. The dark form hit the ground with an “Ooof!”
Punk reached over and pulled the dark ski mask up.
“Hey! Aren’t you the kid from next door?”
“It is,” PJ said. “The one with the dog bite on his ankle.”
“I didn’t—,” blubbered the kid, but they were distracted by more crashing in the tree line. Another boy burst out of the trees over by the silver trailer and raced inside.
“I think your buddy just left you to hang by yourself,” Punk said.
“Hang? You can’t—my mom and dad won’t let—,” and he started to cry.
“Get up,” Punk said. “Come around the other side here.” And he marched Blake Sneth to their fire pit area, with the young man glancing over his shoulder hoping to see help on the way.
“Now.” Punk turned him around to face him. “What were you doing on my roof?”
“J-just trying to scare someone. It’s Halloween,” he whined.
“And that was you last night, too, wasn’t it?” PJ pointed at him. “And then Bonnie Bruns’ dog chased you and bit you? That’s what really happened to your ankle!”
“Yes but, I didn’t mean—,” Blake sputtered but stopped as he saw his mother come around the end of the trailer in time to hear his confession.
“Blake Joshua Sneth! What is the matter with you?” Adela marched over and actually grabbed his ear.
“Ow!” He ducked his head out of her grasp. “I didn’t mean to hurt her. I went to see her last night after the bonfire to see how she was.”
“Did you apologize?”
“Well…I didn’t exactly tell her it was me.” He looked everywhere but at his mother. “But I did run an errand for her.” As if that made up for all of the trouble.
“You are going to confess and apologize to her and to everyone else as well. You can do it on the hayride.”
“Willie and I aren’t planning to go on the hayride.”
“Your plans just changed,” his mother said.