Community by Graham Masterton

By Graham Masterton

Michael is curious about a motor vehicle crash which kills his female friend. He wakes to discover himself within the sanatorium of a small city in Montana. There he convalesces and steadily turns into familiar with the area people, such a lot of whom appear to be shrewdpermanent and fascinating, even though a few are smug and hard to get on with.

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He turned, heading for the stairs. ” Insight struck. “Herb! ” “The phone book! ” I squeezed past my portly partner and raced up the stairs. The phone book was where I left it, BURGLAR ALARMS covering the left-hand page. I went through each of the listings, put there was no black marker. I checked the other page, and didn’t see anything unusual. But on the very top of the right hand page was spillover from the previous entry. A listing called CHARLIE’S, with the phone number 847-209-7219. When I noted what subject came alphabetically before BURGLAR ALARMS in the phonebook, I grinned like an idiot.

The dishwasher contained eight clean mason jars, with lids, and a turkey baster. Nothing else. No garbage in the garbage can. The refrigerator was empty except for a box of baking soda. The freezer contained three full trays of ice cubes. I checked cabinets, found a few glasses and dishes, but no food. The drawers held silverware, some dishtowels, and a full box of Swedish Fish cherry gummy candy. I left the kitchen for the den, sat at the late Edward Wyatt’s desk, and inched my way through it.

The manager, a squat Mandarin Chinese named Ti, did a double-take when I entered. “Phin! ” He rushed around the counter to meet me, hands and shirt dusty with flour. ” Ti’s features twisted in concern. “Was it them? ” I gave him a brief nod. Ti hung his head. “I am sorry to bring this suffering upon you. ” I shrugged, which hurt. “It was my fault. ” That was an understatement. After combing Chicago for almost a week, I’d discovered the bangers had gone underground. I got one guy to talk, and after a bit of friendly persuasion he gladly offered some vital info; Sunny’s killers were due to appear in court on an unrelated charge.

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