Officer Roy Greenlea lay in a ditch near his car. He drifted in and out of consciousness, unaware of his surroundings. He had been stabbed several times in the back and had hit on the back of the head. His attacker had left him for dead, and he was grateful that they had finally stopped their painful assault.
The attacker was happy that their ruse had paid off. A broken down car on a seldom-traveled road had been a great idea. The officer had felt compelled to help the stranded motorist, and once out of his car and kneeling on the roadside; the attack had been swift. He had never seen it coming.
The killer was slowly making their way towards the row of cabins along the lake. They didn’t know which cabin was housing Dixie Mae Carver, but they would find out before the sun set. The trail of breadcrumbs she had left made it easy to track her down. Dixie was going to have to pay for what she had done, and the killer wouldn’t be happy until their knife was dripping with her blood.
Harlan entered the driveway to the cabin going so fast that he fishtailed his truck. Soon after, a police cruiser with lights flashing drove up and parked behind Harlan’s truck. Everyone seemed to get out of their cars at the same time, amid a cloud of dust from the driveway.
Harlan opened the door and barged his way into the living room where a startled Angie dropped her knitting project.
“Which way is the bait store?” Harlan said quickly. “It didn’t show up on my GPS.”
“It wouldn’t,” Angie replied. “It is a mom and pop shop. The owners live in the store; it is a residence, at least it was last time I vacationed here years ago.”
“Which way?” Harlan asked with a raised voice, tension causing wrinkles on his face.
Dixie gave him the directions and then listened as he barked out orders to the other officers waiting in the doorway.
“At the end of the driveway, make a right and go straight up the road. It is a small house, and there is a sign that says ‘Pick and Poke’ on the porch railing,” Harlan explained.
Harlan and the other men left the cabin and headed out in another cloud of dust. Dixie locked the door again and joined her aunt on the couch. Angie was no longer knitting, and she had a pained expression on her face.
“I’m afraid something bad has happened to the young man,” Angie said. “They don’t bring reinforcements for no reason.”
Dixie nodded, unsure of what to say. Everything seemed to be spiraling out of control, and she worried that the killer was nearby.
Louie, who had been lying peacefully on the couch with Angie, arose and stretched. Angie stroked his fur and urged him to lie back down.
Dixie wished she had a big, scary dog right now instead of a nearly bald cat. Louie could be scary when he was getting his toenails trimmed, and perhaps when the intruder had shaved him, but he was not an attack dog.
“Angie, I wonder if we should go upstairs. We’re like sitting ducks in this room! There are no curtains, and the sliding glass door makes a perfect spot to shoot us from,” Dixie said.
“Perhaps you’re right,” Angie said, getting up from the couch nervously. “I’m getting a bad feeling about all of this, and I don’t intend on dying today. I’m much too young for that.”
Dixie urged Angie to go up the stairs ahead of her, and she carried Louie under her right arm as if he were a plump loaf of bread.
Once in the bedroom, Dixie locked the door and took a seat on the edge of her bed. Angie laid down on her bed, knitted her fingers together, and stared at the ceiling.
“Who do you think is doing this?” Angie asked. “I mean, what could you possibly have done that caused a person to go stark raving mad and kill Holly?”
“I have no idea; truly I don’t. I can’t imagine why someone would want to kill little old ladies and try to kill me too. I didn’t know that I had any enemies,” Dixie said. “I still can’t think of anyone who would hate me so much.”
Just then, a loud crashing sound downstairs made them jump. Dixie was pretty sure it was the sliding glass door at the back of the house. Louie dug his claws into the thick comforter, and his tail poofed out to the size of a soda can.
Dixie stood up quickly and ran to the door, making sure that it was locked. She spun around and scanned the room for something to put in front of the door, but the furniture was too heavy to move. Dixie remembered her loaded Derringer and quickly went to her dresser drawer to retrieve it. She was prepared to shoot whoever came through the door.
She listened to the sound of slamming doors and stomping around downstairs. A few loud crashing sounds let Dixie and Angie know that the person was on a destructive rampage. It was only a matter of time before they came to her door and tried to get in.
“Angie, I need you to see if you can get out the window onto the porch roof. If they come through that door, who knows what they’ll do,” Dixie said in a hushed voice.
Just then they heard loud stomping on the stairs. Another loud crashing noise came from the end of the hallway, and it sounded like a door was being ripped off its’ hinges. The hair stood up on the back of Dixie’s neck, propelling her forward to yank the window open. She helped her aunt out the window and onto the porch roof. She grabbed Louie, wrapped him in her sweater despite his protests, and thrust him at Angie through the window.
“Here, keep him safe and duck down,” she told Angie. “I’m going to put an end to this right now, or die trying.”
“That isn’t a confidence builder,” Angie replied.
“Get down so no one can see you,” Dixie urged.
A loud banging began at her door, and she could hear the person on the other side making ‘oof’ sounds as if they were in pain. She briefly considered going through the window herself but decided it would only draw attention to Angie. She didn’t have any more time left.
The lock began to give way, and Dixie ducked down by the side of the bed on the far side of the room. She wanted to have a good shot at the person before they could attack.
A final loud bang and the person burst through the door. The intruder tumbled to the floor on their knees for a moment and then regained their balance. They frantically looked around the room before their eyes landed on Dixie. She was poised with her gun, ready to shoot.
“You don’t have the guts,” Paulina said, inching towards her with a large, hunting knife.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Dixie asked, her voice wavering. She was lining up a shot that would either kill or slow down Paulina.
“Why, I’m here for you, of course!” Paulina said, her face red with rage.
“What did I ever do to you?” Dixie asked. She inhaled and then let out her breath slowly to ready herself to shoot.
“You’re my problem. You stole my boyfriend, stole my customers, and ruined my life,” Paulina said, taking another step towards Dixie.
“Take another step, and I shoot,” Dixie said.
“You’re not going to shoot me, we have a history, remember?” Paulina said, lowering her knife. “It wasn’t enough to take my boyfriend; you ruined my business. What am I supposed to do now, go on Welfare?” she asked, her eyes bulging, as she gestured wildly with the knife.
“I didn’t steal your boyfriend or your job,” Dixie said. “If your customers or your boyfriend left you, it was because of your hateful disposition.”
“Don’t you remember prom? Dave McCallum was my date, not yours. Who did he end up dancing with? You, that’s who!” Paulina said.
“One or two dances, that was it. You remember it wrong,” Dixie said, unable to understand Paulina’s fuzzy memory.
“It doesn’t matter what you say. Everyone left me because you lured them away from me. I had to make them pay for that. No one leaves me; I leave them!” Paulina said before lunging towards Dixie with the knife.
Before she knew what had happened, Dixie had shot Paulina in the chest. A blood stain quickly spread across her yellow t-shirt, and she grasped at her chest. The look on Paulina’s face was a mixture of horror and disbelief.
Dixie was instantly guilt-ridden, and she slowly came around the side of the bed. Much to her amazement, Paulina swung her knife at Dixie, catching her in the arm with the tip of the blade. Dixie staggered backward, and Paulina dropped to her knees, the knife clattering to the floor.
“Damn it, Dixie, why couldn’t you just stay away?” Paulina said, wincing, and then collapsed as she made horrible choking noises.
“I could ask you the same thing,” Dixie replied.