Objects in a Rearview Mirror

by Fannie Feazell

Nathan was six when his power first manifested itself. At least that was the first time the boy knew that something was happening. It was Halloween, and his favorite babysitter, twelve year old Bobby Nelson, had painted his face for that evening's party at the Grange Hall. He'd painted a very creditable werewolf face, assuring Nathan that once he put in the fake plastic fangs he'd 'scare the bejezzus' out of all the little girls. Then Bobby (who was big for his age), had hefted Nathan up on his hip so he could admire himself in the bathroom mirror.

Nathan's terrified screams had brought Grandfather running to find a bewildered and embarrassed Bobby nursing a bruised side, and Nathan cowering in the bathtub. "I'm sorry," said Bobby. "I know he likes monsters. I didn't think the make up would scare him that bad."

Grandfather studied the shaking Nathan, then told Bobby there was no problem, but to go on home and get ready for the party himself. Bobby left. Grandfather put the lid down on the toilet, sat down, and waited till Nathan crept over and climbed on his lap. Then he put his arms around his grandson and calmly said, "Boy, I believe it's started for you."

Nathan knew what Grandfather meant--it was a family thing, not to be mentioned outside their tiny group. Nathan nodded, burying his face against Grandfather's warm flannel shirt. The old man patted him. "Come on, now, Nate. You've known this was going to happen." He sighed. "I just wish your first time could've been something gentle, to sort of ease you in."

"Howcome, Grandpa? Howcome I saw that?" pleaded the boy.

Nathan wasn't ready to tell exactly what he'd seen, so Grandfather answered an unspoken question. "Because you have our family blood, Nate. Everyone in our family has some form of The Sight--some greater, some lesser. Me, I'm one of the less powerful ones, though I'm good at what I do." He chuckled. "Knowing the weather is no small thing for a farmer. And your father was gifted with being able to find things." Grandfather sighed. "I wish he wouldn't have been so ambitious. His Sight made him a wizard at his chosen profession, and he brought in a lot of money that I've put aside for you. But he'd have lived longer if he'd, oh, become a treasure hunter instead of a bounty hunter." He sighed. "I sort of thought you'd gotten what he did. You've always been good at finding things. But I guess you got sort of a mix--finding as well as this." The boy had quieted, and he said, "Can you tell me what it was now?" The boy, not taking his face away from Grandfather's chest, pointed silently at the mirror. "In the mirror, eh? Well, it comes to us all in different ways, but we haven't had one of those for several generations. Can you tell me what it was?"

"Bobby," said Nathan. "Blood, all bloody." He started sobbing. "Oh, Grandpa--the little dog. The poor little dog."

Grandfather rocked the crying child, staring grimly over his head at the mirror. Bobby's family had a new puppy, one bought to replace the dog who'd run away a few months before. Grandfather patted Nathan's back. "Maybe... Maybe the poor little dog is hit by a car, and Bobby tries to help him." Nathan lifted a tear stained face that was both hopeful, and doubtful. Grandfather smiled at him, asking God to forgive him for lying to the child, because he had a pretty good idea of what the little one's first vision had meant.

After that Halloween, they no longer asked Bobby to babysit. Grandfather told him it was because Nathan was being teased for not having a girl baby sitter.

Sixteen Years Later

The town was small, very small. Nathan was tired. He decided that if there was a motel he'd stop for the night--maybe a day or two. This town was right on one of the Interstates, so they'd be used to nomads passing through. His stomach rumbled, and he pulled over to a small diner. A REAL diner--it looked as if it had actually been refurbished from a railroad car. It didn't exactly sparkle, but it had been pretty well maintaned, and it looked friendly.

Nathan got out, then reached into the car and removed his shoulder bag. Hefting it over his shoulder, he went inside. A blast of chilled air and the scent of frying onions and coffee greeted him, and he found himself smiling. The waitress behind the counter saw him and offered a smile in return. She saw what a handsome young man he was, and the smile became a little more than the usual commercial greeting. It was between breakfast and lunch, but there were still a few customers nursing coffee or eating the last few bites of their eggs or waffles.

Nathan nodded to the waitress and took one of the tiny booths along the wall, dropping his bag on the padded seat between himself and the wall. He was delighted to see one of the table-top juke boxes he thought had completely disappeared ages ago. He had a pocket full of quarters, and decided he was going to use most of them before he left. Nathan plucked a laminated menu off the clip on the side of the jukebox and started studying it.

The waitress, her nametag said Fern, came over, carrying a mug and a pot of coffee. As she reached his booth she held them up in silent inquiry. "Oh, yes, please!" said Nathan. As she poured the coffee he said, "I hate to be any trouble, but is there a chance of me getting real milk instead of THAT?" He flicked his finger disdainfully at the packs of artificial dairy creamer.

"Well," the waitress drawled, "since you asked so nice, I guess we can spare a few drops." She leaned over, giving him a good look down the front of her blouse and whispered conspiratorilly, "And I won't even charge you for a glass of milk--that's what the old buzzard who does the books here wants us to do."

Nathan smiled at her. "Thank you, miss. I grew up on a farm, with my own cow, and I just can't abide that fake stuff."

"I'll go get it while you make up your mind what you want." She winked at him and went back to the counter. The other waitress, a woman who looked too worn for her age, had just emerged from the back of the diner, and was tying on her apron. Fern was rummaging in an undercounter cabinet, and she said, "Hey, Renee, did they throw out those little old glass bottle things they used to put cream in for the coffee?"

Renee frowned. "I don't think so, but they haven't used them for close to ten years." She grimaced. "Just taking up space, but the owner is a pack rat. Try looking in that next cabinet, pushed way to the back, and why do you want them?"

Fern opened the other cabinet. "Check out the cutie in booth four. He's worth a little extra effort, dontcha think?"

Renee looked at the young man, who was perusing a menu. He was in his early twenties--the first flush of true manhood. He was tall, a little too slender for his height. His face was long and humorous, though not quite classically handsome. There was just something about his eyes... They were a beautiful green (to go with his red hair), but there was a shadow in the back of those eyes. It was as if he'd seen a lot of trouble and pain. She wondered if he'd been a sickly child--that could give someone that air--as if they weren't quite firmly connected to the rest of the world.

The young man had slipped the menu back into the clip and hefted a carry-all bag up onto the table. As Fern filled the tiny bottle she'd found with milk, he unzipped the bag and pulled out a shiny silver object. Renee frowned, wondering what it was. It was oddly shaped, solid and rectangular, and it just looked out of place, as if you'd never expect to see it in a diner booth. He was turning it in his hands, and a shaft of sunlight struck it, shooting glints out. "Huh," said Renee. "What on earth is that boy doing with a car mirror?"

Fern glanced over and shrugged. "Men and cars. But if you're really curious," she twitched her hips. "I'll ask him." Fern sashayed over to the booth and deposited the bottle of milk. "Here you do, sweetie--straight moo-juice. Now," she pulled out her order pad and plucked a pen from her blouse pocket. "Have you decided?"

"Are the breakfast specials still good?"

"For you," she winked, "sure."

He smiled at her. "Thanks. I'll have the The Fieldhand Special, then, with a large orange juice, three eggs over easy, extra hashbrowns with onions, and some toast on the side."

She whistled softly as she made her notes. "Darn, sugar, you must not have eaten in a coon's age."

He shrugged. "High metabolism. It runs in my family."

"Lucky you." She pointed with her pen. "Is that what I think it is?"

He was holding the mirror, and now he turned it around in his hands, putting the mirrored surface toward the tabletop. "It's the rear view mirror of a 1958 Edsel." He smiled sheepishly. "And if you're wondering why I'm carrying it, I hope someday to rebuild the car around it." Fern laughed. "Everyone has a dream."

"Some simpler than others. I'm just dreaming about a good looking man to take me away from all this," she flirted. Fern gave his order to the short order cook and told Renee about the customer. They both had a good giggle over it. Renee said she might as well get a key and carry it around, waiting till she could build a house around it.

Fern brought the loaded tray out to Nathan and began to deposit plates and platters of bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, pancakes, toast, biscuits and gravy. When she'd emptied the tray she tucked it up under her arm and used her free hand to brush a loose curl back behind her ear. "Whoo. Comes the end of my shift and I'm feeling frazzled." She adjusted her collar, pushing her chest out a little. "I bet I look a mess."

He was still holding the mirror, but he glanced up from it to give her a quick once over. "You look very nice."

"Kind of you to say so, but I feel... Tell you what..." she bent over a little more. "That mirror in the can is warped. Let me have a quick peek in your mirror, just to be sure my shadown isn't smeared, and I don't need a fresh coat of lipstick?" He got very still, then offered the mirror to her. "Oh, no need for that." She reached down and gripped his wrist, tilting the mirror so it would catch her reflection.

Nathan kept his eyes fixed on her face, saying faintly, "Are you sure you want to do that?"

"Sure. Have to keep looking good if I expect to snag a beau."

Nathan hesitated, then reluctantly looked into the mirror. There was Fern's reflection--but not as she was seeing it. What he saw was a disheveled woman, weeping, nursing a split lip and a black eye. Her lips were moving. He couldn't hear anything--he never heard anything--but he'd become good at reading lips. She was saying something like, 'why? I'm sorry. I didn't flirt with him. You promised you wouldn't again...'

"Guess I can go awhile without repairs," she said cheerfully. "Well, I'm off now. Renee will take care of you." She jerked her thumb at the other woman behind the counter.

As she turned to go, starting to untie her apron, Nathan said quietly, "Miss Fern?" She turned back, a questioning, flirtatious look on her face. "Miss Fern--about the boyfriends. You don't have to take it." Fern looked confused, then a little disturbed. "You're a good woman, and you don't have to take it. Please don't. It could be dangerous."

"I... uh... Yeah. Thanks. You have a nice day." Fern hurried away, wondering why the cute ones always seemed just a little weird.

Nathan laid the mirror aside on the table, sighing. He tried not to use it, but he'd learned a long time that ignoring the Sight wasn't easy. Sometimes it would sneak up on him. It was just that there was so seldom anything he could do about it. Like that time he'd been at the convenience store, and had looked up into the security mirror mounted over the register. He'd clearly seen the man behind him climbing out a bedroom window as police broke down a door. Then he'd seen the man draw a gun and shoot. Nathan made his purchase, went outside and called 911 to tell them a wanted fugitive was at the store, then left before he heard the sirens wail.

He ate. The meal was excellent--almost as good as what Grandfather used to make when he was a child. The waitress--Renee--was attentive, but not smothering. He took his time. Customers came and went. Most of them seemed to be regulars, and he knew there was a good bit of studying and speculating going on about him. He supposed it was time to buy some new clothes--if you looked too shabby, you attracted attention. Maybe trade in the car, too. Something only a few years old, instead of a junker. I'll need more money.

He finished, but decided that he couldn't resist a slice of the Dutch apple pie sitting under the glass dome on the counter. Renee brought it and indicated his mirror. "You really think you'll manage to build a car around that."

Nathan smiled. "Possibly. It's nice to dream, isn't it?"

Renee grunted. "Even if you have small dreams it's hard to make a go of them sometimes."

The cook hollered, "Renee! Phone call. It's your babysitter. She says your kid is coughing again."

"Oh, lord! That damn cough medicine costs... And tips have been so bad..." She muttered to herself as she headed for the phone.

Nathan took a bite of pie, then he couldn't help himself. He picked up the mirror and tilted it till it caught Renee at the phone. The reflection showed her standing at the cash register, looking around. Then she opened it and quickly slipped some money into her apron pocket. Nathan started to frown, but then the image changed. Renee was standing in front of a pharmacy counter. A little girl, coughing raggedly, was hanging onto her skirts as she bought a bottle of cough medicine.

Renee came back, looking at the almost untouched dessert. "Finally reached your limit?"

"I'll have that wrapped up, if you don't mind."

"Don't mind at all." She took the plate. "Bring it right back."

"I'm glad you're doing that. I hate to see pie going to waste."

Nathan looked around, locating the speaker. He was a bluff, hearty man in his mid-fifties. He was sitting at the counter, but he'd turned around on his stool to watch Nathan. "I know just about all of the locals, but I don't recognize you. Just passing through?" Nathan nodded. "Where's home, when you're there?"

Nathan pointed outside. "That one--the one that's more primer than paint."

"You're not living in your car, are you?" The man sounded curious rather than condemning.

"There's a farm, but it's a long way away. I have somewhere to go if I need to, but so far I haven't needed to."

"Ah, a travelin' man! Life on the road must be quite a life."

"You'd be surprised."

"Do you sleep in your car all the time?"

"Sometimes I can afford a motel room. I was thinking about grabbing one here."

"Oh, you're out of luck there. No motels or hotels hereabouts. There are a few people who might be persuaded to give you a room for a night."

Nathan felt a touch of chill. "Do you know any of them?"

"Well, so happens I'm one. I figure it's my Christian duty to help out folks when I can. I can't give cash help, but I can provide a bed, a bath, and a square meal. Interested?"

Nathan studied him. Not taking his eyes off the man, he turned the mirror toward him, then glanced at it. He stiffened. It was jumbled--flashes of dark woods, pale, blood streaked limbs flopping as a body tumbled into a hole, the rise and fall of a shovel, and the man's sweaty, intense face. "I might be, but I have a few things to do."

"Well, I'm heading home soon. If you decide you want to, go just out of town and take the first road to the right. I'm at the end, by the woods." He smiled. "I'll be hoping you come by. I get kind of lonely out there on my own." He put a bill down on the counter next to his empty cup of coffee and left.

Renee brought back a styrofoam container. "Here you go. Anything else?"

"No, thank you. Do you know that man I was talking to?"

"Him? Sure. Ralph Cheney. He's lived here..." She blew out a breath. "Well, I think he moved in when I was in junior high. Nice enough guy, though he doesn't tip worth..." She cleared her throat. "Ready for your check?"

"Yes, please." The check came to just over eleven dollars. Nathan handed Renee a ten and a five, saying, "Keep the change."

She smiled at him. "Thank you!"

"Just a second." He pulled two crumpled bills and looked at them. There was a one, and a twenty. He offered her the twenty. "For you."

She stared at him, then bit her lip. "You're making a mistake, Mister." She pointed at the single. "That's the one you want to give me, right?"

"No, I'm not making a mistake." He laid the twenty on the table, stuffed his mirror into the bag, and zipped it shut. "For your little girl."

"How did you--? Oh, you heard me on the phone. Well, thanks, Mister. You're... You're a good man. I haven't been..."

He stood up and patted her arm. "Sometimes we do things we normally wouldn't, if it's for someone we love." He hefted the bag over his shoulder and left the diner.

Nathan drove a few blocks and stopped at a convenience store. He brought the bag with him, but kept it closed, and slung over his shoulder. He pulled out the single dollar bill and stood in front of the plastic boxes of scratch off cards sitting on the counter beside the cash register. He bent close to the plastic, studying the cards. The male clerk watched, amused, and said, "Yeah, when you have only one dollar you have to pick carefully."

"Sure do." Nathan tapped the plastic. "I'll have one of these."

The clerk looked. "The Jingle Bells? Are you sure? We got those for Christmas, and no one's hit more'n a dollar on them since February."

"Yes, that's the one." The clerk took his dollar and handed over a square of stiff paper that was decorated with holly and bells. Nathan took a penny from his pocket and quickly scratched off the bronze concealer. "My lucky day." He handed it to the clerk.

"Well, I'll be! Twenty dollars. You sure can pick 'em, dude." He smiled mischieviously. "Want that in cash, or tickets? I have a lot of people just stand here and feed whatever they win back into the system."

"Tickets," said Nathan. "Um... Two of the Castle Crowns..."

"You sure? Those are five dollars each."

"Yes, I'm sure. And five of the Lucky Pitch." The clerk reeled off two five dollar tickets and five two dollar tickets, handing them over. Nathan tore off the first Castle Crown ticket and handed it to the clerk. "Here."

The man brightened. "Hey, thanks! I never get tips around here." He scratched quickly, then crowed, "I won seven dollars!"

"That's good," said Nathan, scratching away. He pushed a strip of cards toward the man. "You can have those four, too."

"There's no way I could get lucky again." The clerk scratched. "I'll be damned! Another five dollars! How about you?"

"Will you have enough to pay this out?" Nathan handed over the two cards he'd kept.

The clerk goggled. "Dude, that comes to almost four hundred dollars!"

"It says we can cash in any but the top prizes where we buy the tickets. I know it might be a strain, but I really need..."

"The manager is in back, and he can get it for you." He studied Nathan. "If you'll choose one more ticket for me?"

Nathan thought a moment, then opened his bag, took out the mirror, and turned his back on the clerk. He lifted the mirror and studied the man behind him, then turned back around and put away the mirror. "To do any good you'll need to buy either six of the Lollipop Bonanza, or three of the Mermaid's Song. That'll net you a nice chunk of change."

The clerk quickly bought the tickets and scratched them. "A hundred bucks! How do you DO that?"

"Some of us are just lucky."

"I guess so. Damn, I'd like to get you to a race track."

Nathan smiled. "Doesn't work that way. The manager?"

"Yeah, sure. Just... uh... Let's not mention this to him, huh?"

"You came by those honestly, but no--no mention."

"Thanks."

The manager was all bright congratulations to Nathan's face, and muttered darkly about having to open the safe to take out his winnings. He handed it over with a fixed smile, saying, "I don't suppose you'll be putting any of this money back into the community."

"Sorry." Nathan folded the cash, putting it in his wallet. He gestured vaguely in the direction he'd come--the opposite direction from the way Ralph Cheney had indicated. "I'm afraid I have to be on my way. Thanks, though." He left the store, well aware that the men were watching him. He made a point of signalling his turn before he pulled onto the street and drove away.

Nathan drove out of town. He drove several miles, thinking, I can just keep going. I don't HAVE to do anything. What could I do? And it would be dangerous... He sighed, then turned down a side road. He was pretty sure that he could find somewhere quiet to pull over and perhaps take a nap. He was going to need to be rested up for tonight.

Nathan pulled his car behind some bushes on what looked like a rarely used service road. He was relatively sure that no one had passed by during the day--he was a light sleeper, and the road was so rough that it would be impossible for even the best maintained car to go by quietly.

Nathan slept till sundown. When he woke up he got out of the car and took a long, satisfying pee, then sat in the front seat and ate the pie he'd saved from breakfast. He wanted more, and berated himself for not having bought some sandwiches and chips at the convenience store. He certainly couldn't risk stopping anywhere for food in town--not after he'd gone through so much trouble to convince people that he'd left the same way he'd come.

He waited for the moon to rise, using a box of Wet Naps to give himself a quick wipe-down. He really WAS going to find a motel once he'd put some miles between him and this place--one with lots of hot water. He waited some more. Unless he was mistaken, this town pretty much rolled up the sidewalks by ten o'clock. There might be a tavern or two on the outskirts that did some business, but he wasn't going to be stopping for a drink, and he doubted anyone in the parking lot would see him passing by. People didn't spend much time in the parking lots of those sort of places, and if they did they were usually fucking or fighting, so they'd have other things on their minds.

Nathan took out the mirror and gazed into it. All he saw was his own reflection, just as he was. The Sight never showed him anything about himself. He wondered if that was a good thing, or a bad thing? Finally he judged that the time was right, put away the mirror, and put the car in gear. Other side of town, first road, last house.

He'd been ready to weave down side streets, but it wasn't necessary. All the shops along the main street were shut and dark. All except the convenience store, but there was a woman clerk working there now, and she never looked up from the magazine she was reading as he drove past. Most of the houses had only one or two lights burning, too, though Nathan thought that there were a lot of houses where people sat in a dark living room or den, illuminated by the fascinating glow of the television. He seriously doubted that anyone was aware that he passed through.

The directions were easy to follow. He passed two other houses on the side road, and both of them were dark and silent. Just before he came to the last house, Nathan pulled over to the side and backed around, getting facing back toward the high way. He sat for a moment and glanced toward the end of the road. He could see a small light glimmering through the trees that hid the house. Nathan took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, and got out of the car.

He entered the bushes alongside the road and made his way toward the last house. When he came to the clearing that held the house he didn't step out into the open. Instead he worked his way around to the back of the house, making sure that he'd be out of sight of anyone in the house. He came to the back and studied it. Yes, there was a back door. A few yards behind it, between the house and the bushes where he crouched was a small tool shed. Nathan studied it intently. No lock. Good. He looked at the house. What if I'm wrong this time? His expression hardened. But I'm not.

He went to the shed and rummaged quietly, easily finding what he was looking for. He paused a moment, looking at a pair of garden shears, then shuddered, hefted the tool he'd chosen, and went to the house. Nathan leaned his tool against the wall, where the opened door would screen it, and settled his shoulder bag next to it. He rubbed his hands together, slicked his hair down a little, and knocked.

There were footsteps inside, then the little curtain hanging across the glass set in the door was pulled aside. A dim wash of golden light fell out, illuminating Nathan, and the young man smiled hopefully. Ralph Cheney looked surprised, then returned the smile. He unlocked the door, opening it, then swung the screen door open. "Well, if it isn't my friend from the diner. I'd given up hoping to see you, boy." Nathan shrugged sheepishly. "I didn't hear a car."

"That's why I'm still in town," said Nathan. "It gave up the ghost. I remembered your kind invitation and walked out here. Man, no one will give a man a ride these days."

"No, too much chance of picking up someone dangerous, I guess."

Nathan nodded. "And I shouldn't hitch hike, because it's the same--you never know who's going to be picking you up."

Was it Nathan's imagination, or did Ralph's smile become just a little sharper. "True enough. Wouldn't anyone in town help you?"

"To tell the truth, I didn't ask. I didn't even see anyone who looked the least bit helpful. I guess when they can tell you're a traveler they sort of look through you. But not you, Mister Cheney."

"No, not me. I believe in giving travelers what help I can. So..." he pushed the screen door open a little wider. "Come on in."

"Thank you," said Nathan quietly, reaching up to hold the door. "I'll just get my things, here."

Ralph nodded. "How about if I go get us a drink? I've got some moonshine that'll knock you flat." He turned and started into the kitchen.

In one swift movement Nathan grabbed the shovel leaning against the wall and jerked the screen door wide. Before it could bang into the side of the house he'd stepped through the door into the brightly lit kitchen, shovel lifted high, almost brushing the ceiling. Ralph took another step, but he must have sensed something was wrong. he start to turn, but he was too late. He'd have BEEN too late, even if he'd been quicker, but as it was the shovel banged heavingly into the thick part at the back of his skull, rather than smashing his face. He dropped.

Nathan stood over him, breathing hard, shovel cocked in case another blow was needed. When Cheney didn't move for several seconds, Nathan lowered the shovel, then set it aside. He bent down and checked the older man. Cheney's breathing and pulse were strong, and steady. Nathan was glad to find that he'd left a lump on the man's skull, and not a mushy depression. Ralph Cheney might have a concussion, but he probably wasn't going to suffer any permanent damage. Not from that one blow, anyway.

Nathan was strong for his size, but he'd learned a long time ago not to strain himself. He went back to the tool shed and brought a small wheel barrow to the back door. With a lot of tugging and grunting he managed to wrestle Ralph's body up into the bed of the barrow. The man's legs and head flopped over the side, but Nathan doubted he was in any position to worry about minor comforts.

Nathan pushed his burden back into the bushes behind the tool shed. He moved on till the bushes thinned, and he was among big pine trees. He stopped and looked around, frowning. Finally he sighed and trotted back to where he'd left his bag. He was back in a few moments. He stood and held the mirror so that it reflected the forest behind him, turning in a circle. After a moment he put away the mirror, took the shovel that he'd dropped across Ralph Cheney's back, and went to the base of a pine tree that grew slightly tilted. He glanced at Ralph, trying to decide if he was still breathing, then began digging.

Nathan emerged from the brush. His hands were dirty, and his face was smudged. He went into the house through the still opened back door. In the kitchen he used some dish washing detergent to wash up. Using a small hand towel that was decorated with cheerful geese he dried himself off, dried the sink, then polished everything he could think of that he'd touched. He'd already used a handkerchief to wipe down the shovel and barrow. Once he was sure he'd gotten everything he picked up the phone, consulted the list of emergency numbers on the sticker on the wall, and dialed the police. Even if this area had 911 in a case like this it was prudent to rely on the slower forms of authority.

"Police department."

"There's been a crime--a bad one--at Ralph Cheney's house. I don't know the number, but it's on the first road outside the west side of town, the last house."

"What is the nature of...?"

"Look behind the tool shed."

"Your name..."

Nathan hung up, polished the phone, and left the house, making sure to give the knob a good rub. He tucked the towel into his shirt as he jogged toward the bushes. There was a huge selection of dumpsters and storm drains out there. If he waited till he got to the next large town, the odds that anyone would find the towel were astronomical, and the odds that they'd realize it was in any way significant would be even higher.

He made it back to his car without incident, then drove out to the highway. The streetlight that had marked the turn into the road had almost disappeared in his rear view mirror when he was red-and-blue flashing light make the turn, and heard a faint siren.

Nathan relaxed. They'd find Ralph Cheney--probably still alive--right where Nathan had left him. Cheney might have some confused tale to tell about a violent drifter, but once the police had a look at what was in the rough hole beside him, they wouldn't be interested. They'd have a lot of questions for Ralph, and none of them would involve any recent strangers. After all, DNA testing was pretty accurate about discovering how long a body had been in the ground, and there was nothing there that was less than three months in the soil.

I wonder how many? Those kind almost never stop at one. Nathan thought as he drove. I wonder if Bobby Nelson really only did one? Fifteen years after that first frightening Halloween, Bobby had been arrested for killing a local high school girl in a dreadful way. The authorities said it was a good thing they'd caught him, or he might have gone on racking up murders for God knows how long, because he had the signs of a serial killer, including having tortured and killed several pets when he was a child.

Nathan's hand drifted out and patted the shoulder bag sitting beside him. He could feel the outline of the mirror, feeling smooth and cool even through the canvas. The Sight. Blessing and curse.

I wonder what it would be like, Nathan thought, If I could see the future instead of the past?

The End