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Balloon Man

By Frances Laskowski All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Mystery

Blurb

One by one over the years, many of the children of the Atchafalaya Basin had been disappearing, Then, the children of Swarthmore Home are found brutally beaten and murdered, The terrifying, suspenseful race to find the killer before he strikes again, has a sleepy Atchafalaya Basin town all shook up and turning on each other.

Chapter 1

Paris, France 1986

“Papa, are we there yet?” Giselle asked her father.

“No, not yet. Be patient. You are about to see the most wonderful musical! The story is fantastic, or you could call it, fantastique. You will both love it, I’m sure. Ah, my beautiful daughter Giselle and my lovely wife Jeanne—what more could a man ask for than to be in Paris, France with the loves of his life attending a wonderful show?”

Franc LaTorre drove down Boulevard de Clichy slowly pointing out notable buildings along the way. “Look over there,” said Franc, “the famous painter Edgar Degas, lived in that house over there. He died in 1917. On that side,” he said while pointing to the left, “is the studio of French painter William Didier Pouget. And there is the small flat, or as they say in France, the pied-à-terre, of the painter Francis Tattegrain. He lived there in 1910.”

“How do you come by all this information my dear?” asked Jeanne, surprised by Franc’s extensive knowledge of Paris and the history.

“I absorbed it by reading the tourist guide. I am fascinated and astonished at the incredible history of artists. As you know quite well my tailoring requires a bit of artistry,” Franc laughed. “My instincts tell me after Giselle gets a taste of France and all it has to offer in beauty of the arts, she will love it.”

Franc was right, for once they attended The Phantom of the Opera, Giselle was transformed. She would never feel the same about musical theater. Giselle was mesmerized by the voices and songs. She was singing in French “That’s All I Ask of You” and “Think of Me” from The Phantom of the Opera, all the way back to the hotel.

“Listen to her back there, Franc,” said Jeanne. “She has the voice of an angel and perfect French at the age of six!”

Arriving back at the hotel, they tucked Giselle into bed and said goodbye to the sitter. They rode down the elevator to the hotel lobby to have a nightcap.

The orchestra played the waltz, “A Stroll in Paris.” Franc nuzzled up to his wife, whispering in her ear as they danced. “I love you so. What a lovely time this is and a great bonus this trip was from my job! To be able to have you and Giselle with me, I’m so happy.”

He kissed Jeanne lightly as they continued to sway and move to the music. “I will be sure to thank Mr. DeValle for this trip. To think I could someday be a first class gentlemen’s tailor! The Tailor Convention is teaching me so much about fashion and design.”

“I think Giselle is really enjoying this trip,” said Jeanne. “I have never seen a child pick up on a language so fast. I only taught her a little bit and yet she is almost as fluent as I am.”

“Let’s go back to the room and check on her,” said Franc. His wife nodded in agreement.

They walked holding hands like teenagers, giggling and smiling at each other. Jeanne and Franc pushed the elevator button to go back up to the twenty-ninth floor. As the elevator climbed, it labored, and then stopped at the eighteenth floor.

“What’s going on? Are we stuck?”

“It seems like it,” Jeanne said while scanning the button panel, looking for an emergency switch to push. The lights flickered out, and suddenly, the elevator went dark as they stood together in the pitch black, wondering how long they would have to wait. A little whirring noise, a bump, and the elevator started riding up slowly.

“Whew,” said Franc wiping the sweat from his brow. “I thought we would be stuck for...aaahh, nooo, aaahhh, eeeeeeeeeeee!”

Husband and wife screamed together as the elevator plummeted straight down eighteen floors, crashing to the bottom floor.

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