Read an Excerpt
In Silent Graves
By Gary A. Braunbeck
Copyright © 2004
Gary A. Braunbeck
All right reserved.
... later-after the sirens died down and the area was cordoned
off, after the strobing visibar lights blinked out and
everyone was questioned, after shock and horror slowly
transformed into disgust and grief, after the crowd was
dispersed and the coroner's wagon pulled away with its
grotesque, grim cargo-one of the officers made a last sweep of
the scene and found a neatly folded sheet of stationery tucked
into a corner of the bureau's chipped and dingy mirror. This
discovery would lead detectives to search the ruins of the
motel room again, this time to find a thick envelope taped to
the underside of a drawer in the writing table. Inside this
envelope were hundreds of pages, both handwritten and typed,
which would answer all their questions-forget that the answers
did not fit neatly into the cubically contained prison of
their consensual reality. But, for the moment, there was only
this small, neatly folded piece of paper, taken from the
corner of the chipped and dingy mirror.
The script was delicate and exquisitely feminine, the spaces
between each word painstakingly exact, the angle of her slant
almost Elizabethan in its fluid grace, each letter a blossom,
each word a bouquet, the sentence itself a breathtaking
garland: Send me a pictureof the daughter we never had, the
bright little girl with chubby pink cheeks and wistful smile
and wide gray eyes that say, I used to feel lonely but it's
all better now.
Most of the world thinks that's where Robert Londrigan's story
came to its end, but we know better, don't we?
It's time now. The moon is full and high above; there are
sounds out there beyond this warm firelight, lonely and
semi-human; and around your feet swirls the fog, night-breath
of the river, come to hide you from the things making those
Don't be afraid. Remember the words you were taught? They'll
protect you, if in your heart you truly believe.
Do you remember?
Fine; all together, now:
Come forward, Robert Londrigan, and bring your memories and
the gods and heroes of your childhood with you; come forward
for the wonder of men and women cleaving to one another and
the children who spring forth from the coupling; step from the
shadows of the past and tell us what the good American man you
once were did that was so bad in the eyes of God and humankind
that you were forced to flee the company of people; come
forward eager to cast light all about in the dark corners of
the last thirty-seven days of your life and make clear to us
what happened once upon a time; you don't need a muse to tell
your story, you need a voice that stands in front of you like
a sign marking the end of your journey, one filled with
compassion and some touch of pity and hardened with anger to a
shine; come forward and give body and entitlement and boldness
to your tale before it falls victim to those who would make it
myth. Give it life with a voice that now takes it place in
front of you, ready to begin, to weave the strands together,
to paint your portrait in just detail, to reveal with Ih doll
the nesting set truly begins; come forward! Let us speak the
man you once were back into existence.
* * *
Cedar Hill Division of Police
From: Bill Emerson
To: Ben Littlejohn
First of all, happy Valentine's Day. Sorry I don't have a box
of chocolates for you, but here's a little present,
nonetheless. Montrose homicide decided to overnight this to us
instead of faxing it piecemeal like they've been doing. I
guess they were sick of me calling them half-a-dozen times a
day (I can be a big pain in the you-know-what, no surprise to
you, I'm guessing). I have their guarantee that this is a
"full and complete copy" of the contents of the envelope they
found taped to the bottom of the desk drawer.
Tell you the truth, after reading this, I don't know what the
hell to think. I should also warn you that they had extra sets
of photographs made, and the Polaroids are even worse than the
few they made public right after it happened. Capt. Goldstein
informs me that after we all have ourselves a looksee, this
stuff is to be sealed and never opened again, case closed,
The investigation is now officially in limbo and, considering
what you're going to find in here, maybe it's best that some
cases be left alone. I don't know. Didn't sleep too well last
night after finishing it. The Polaroids in particular are
pretty gruesome. Considering that you and Cheryl just found
out about her being preggies (congratulations, by the way!) it
maybe wouldn't be the greatest idea for you to look at them.
But you're a big boy, you can make your own decisions.
Okay, that's it for me, pal; by the time you're reading this
tomorrow, Eunice and me will be on our way to London. She's
really looking forward to the trip and keeps reminding me that
I haven't had a vacation in four years. I hope I enjoy it;
from what I understand, they serve their beer room-temperature
over there. Oh joy.
You know what gets to me the most? I talked with this guy
maybe four, five times and not once did my yo-yo alarm go off.
Maybe, to quote Danny Glover from any of the Lethal Weapon
movies, I'm getting too old for this s-t.
Excerpted from In Silent Graves
by Gary A. Braunbeck
Copyright © 2004 by Gary A. Braunbeck.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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