Kids Will Be Kids - Part IV

Want to read this from the beginning? Here's Part I, Part II, and Part III

Monday afternoon, just as Dougal was opening the latest issue of Gun Lovers Monthly, the bell above the office door jingled and Jendra entered.

"I feel I must apologize, Sheriff." she said. Today she was wearing a coat patterned in a painful swirl of purple, orange and green. "My husband and I talked it over on the weekend and Tibor feels you can be trusted with the truth concerning our situation."

"Ma'am, I -"

"You see, Sheriff," she said, perching on the edge of one of the hard wooden visitor's chairs, "we're time travellers."

"Time-travellers," Dougal repeated.

Jendra nodded. "We come from the distant future. In fact, this has been quite a popular spot this year, all our friends have been here." She bit her lip. "Anyway, Julien has always been somewhat of a problem child. My family thought he might settle down if he could live in a simpler time, which is why we brought him here."

Dougal remembered what Carl had said about the odd people who'd rented his cottages this summer.

"He truly is incorrigible though," Jendra continued. "We didn't even know he'd brought a disintegration gun with him, until he used it on poor Mr. Gizwold. My husband confiscated the gun, I know you'd rather have it as evidence, I think you call it, but we aren't allowed to leave future technology behind, I'm sure you understand."

Dougal nodded, bemused.

"Anyway," she said, rising. "We'll be leaving tomorrow. I'm sorry to leave you without any evidence of Mr. Gizwold's murder, but I really don't think we should leave Julien behind, do you? I shudder to think of all the damage he could do in this time period."

She reached out and took Dougal's unresisting hand. "Goodbye, Sheriff, and once again, I'm sorry for all the trouble we've been."

She was gone in a swirl of her eye-blinding coat.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Sleep didn't come easily to Dougal that night. He tossed and turned and what little sleep he did get was haunted by indistinct nightmares. It was just as well Mama was visiting her sister, he didn't feel up to an explanation of the puffiness and dark circles under his eyes. It was going to be hard enough when she got back, explaining his part in the goings on of the last week.

As Dougal started the coffee going at the office the next morning, he turned Jendra's story over in his mind. She sounded like she really believed all that foolishness about ray guns and time travel. He wondered what her husband thought about it. Did he even know what his wife was up to? Maybe he should.

He told himself on the drive out to Bayview Cottages that he was only going to make sure the husband, Tibor, knew what was going on. What kind of name was Tibor anyway? Sounded foreign to him. Maybe the whole bunch of them were foreigners and that's why they acted so strangely.

Carl came out of the office to greet him.

"I was just trying to ring you up, Dougal. I had the strangest thing happen ..."

"Wouldn't happen to involve the Nixtrom's, would it?"

"The Nixtrom's? Nah, they're leaving today anyhow. I'm talking about that Gizwold fella."

"Don't tell me he came back?"

"Didn't see him, but the stuff he left behind disappeared and he left what he owed me on the bed in the cottage."

"You don't say ..." Dougal rubbed his chin. Did Gizwold really come back? Or was all this a cover-up for his murder, just like in Real Crimes Magazine. "Say Carl, that woman, Mrs. Nixtrom, said her nephew was visiting too. Did you ever get a good look at him?"

"Yeah, creepy little bugger. Had this crazy look in his eyes. Like to play space alien out in the woods - even had a little ray gun. Kept threatening to disintegrate me if I got in his way."

"Maybe I should take a look around, Carl. I'll have a talk with the Nixtrom's too, just to be on the safe side."

Carl gave him the cottage numbers. Dougal left his car by the office and followed the winding path down to the lake. Something seemed to be missing and it took him a moment to figure out what. It was the gnomes. Carl had a collection of the ugliest garden gnomes you'd ever want to see and they used to be spread out along the path.

Dougal stopped to look around but there was no trace of them. Maybe Carl had moved them; he'd have to remember to ask. And didn't there used to be a big old cement fountain in the picnic area down near the lake?

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