Golden afternoon sunlight filtered through the russet leaves of the trees lining Dogwood
Drive as Susan and Justin drove beneath their intertwined branches. As they passed by
the autumn tinted trees, she wondered why a street named Dogwood was between a
ghost walk of maples.
Susan reached across the center console of the SUV and touched her husband’s hand.
“I can’t believe we actually left the city, especially for the New England countryside.”
“Well, where else are you gonna be able to research why the New England backwoods
produce so many maniacs?” Justin asked, with a chuckle.
“Ha, Ha, you’re sooo funny. You know damn well I’m trying to prove that the “Warning
Killer” is an urban legend and nothing more. I mean, come on, what type of lunatic is
going to notify his victims prior to murdering them? In a movie perhaps, but it just
doesn’t happen in real life,” Susan explained. “Anyway, I never thought we would
actually move. I kind of figured I would come out here for a weekend once in a while for
now, or maybe we might even come down for the summer. But to just up and move
here, well it’s just not something I thought we would do.”
“Well, I told you before, as an artist I can work anywhere,” he said and lifted the back of
her hand to his lips for a soft kiss, “as long as you’re there. So, tell me all about your
“He’s not my killer,” Susan began as she leaned over to grab a stack of papers from a
soft-sided leather briefcase at her feet. “Besides, I don’t have a lot of hard facts yet, just
the information I was able to dig up online and back at the city library, but the general
story goes back to the beginning of the last century. There was this married couple living
outside a small town in the eastern woods. Theirs was a real May-December
relationship; she was in her young twenties and he was mid- to late-fifties. Her father
owed him money or was otherwise indebted to the guy. The girl was forced to marry the
older man as payment of said debts, even though she was alleged to have a suitor in
the town where her aunt lived. I think it was just cruel and unthinkable to force his
daughter into a marriage she didn’t want, but I guess it was common during that time.”
She shuffled through the pages while pausing to collect her thoughts.
“A couple of years passed without any children being born to the couple and the girl still
would not profess her undying love for the husband, even though he provided everything
she desired.” Susan turned to look out the window, Justin waited patiently for his wife to
continue her story. “At some point they hired a gardener to help care for the grounds.
But, unbeknownst to the husband, he had hired his wife’s lover. And, well, one thing led
to another and within a few months the girl was pregnant with the gardener’s child.
There was some vague mention of the husband suffering a period of serious mental
collapse during that time, proving the pregnancy was extramarital in origin,” she stated,
turning to face Justin.
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