Connections Jan 2015 - Page 12

tables, and chairs between the two wide sets of windows. Then she’d stood back to look over her pretty handiwork, becoming mesmerized by the sun’s rays as it ran its long fingers across her couches’ bright cushions. That day she’d been content and happy that she’d moved to this quaint little town. A short month later, with all her new friends watching, she’d put up the sign that read Oasis by the Sea, proudly opening her doors to business. The bookstore had soon become a popular hangout for the town’s residents and its abundant tourists, where they could purchase homemade food, coffee, desserts, and of course, books. Many tourists returned year after year to visit the peaceful, isolated little town. What the tourists didn’t know or even suspect was that Oasis had a long, dark history of unsolved murders and unexplained disappearances—which had been concealed from the public over the years. End House had been the scene for many of these horrific events. Only recently had Linda been made aware of this fact by a close personal friend, who also happened to be a reporter researching the house. Too terrified to pursue this matter any further, he was afraid not only of the house, but also of the town and its reclusive inhabitants, not knowing if the sheriff or the long-time residents were behind these events. He’d warned her not to ask too many questions; but to either leave it alone or leave town altogether. She thought about Oasis and its creepy inhabitants. This made her think about Todd again. He was the only one who had the enviable position of belonging to both social groups. He was able to enjoy the company of her close friends, while at the same time he was able to conduct business with the elite of the community and attend their very private parties. He was the only person in town who was able to cross the fine line between the disparate social groups. Todd had to be the key that could help unlock all the hidden mysteries in town. She also feared that he played a very important role in the town’s questionable politics and history, along with the sheriff and the original residents. Not only was Todd powerful in town, he was also very wealthy. His office building was by far the largest one on Main Street. The green-tinted glass structure spanned a whole block adjacent to the beach’s walkway. His investment company occupied all four floors, containing the offices for his many employees. Linda believed that Todd’s company was too big for such a small town, and its ultra modern glass structure did not blend well with the countrified look of the other stores along Main Street. In contrast, right across from Todd’s building was the picturesque town park. Its tree-lined paths offered residents and its many visitors: benches for daydreaming and for gazing out at views of the sundrenched beach and ocean, or at the park’s large gazebo with its colorful trellis of flowers. The grassy park was bordered on one end by the beach’s walkway and on the opposite end by Edward and Tom’s hardware store. The next store was Oasis Rentals, where Shirley conducted her business while delving into everyone’s personal life. Her neighbor was Louise’s Dress Up, which offered an extensive line of lingerie, hats, shoes, bags, and anything else the wealthy woman might require. Louise catered exclusively to the elite of Oasis, but had never been asked to socialize with them. That had to be the reason