A tall, beautifully-built blonde with green eyes met him at her apartment door as he was preparing to knock. Vicky had a way of doing that to Tim.
Raised in what some would call a “commune,” but what followers believed was a “community, Vicky intrigued him, and he hoped that he did more for her than that. She was like two different people, one fun-loving and adventurous, the other academic, serious, and he was still learning to distinguish between the two.
She was fun-loving and adventurous today.
“I have a surprise for you,” she said as she pulled the door closed behind her.
Tim followed her out to her Mini Cooper, “But we can’t take my car, so we’ll have to take your truck.”
“No prob,” Tim said.
Forty-five minutes later and several miles of rugged dirt road behind them, they came to a rise that overlooked a ghost town hidden in the folds of the Nevada desert. Vicky smiled as she watched the look of amazement on Tim’s face.
“Wow,” he said.
“I knew you’d love it,” she said.
They slowly drove down the steep embankment and into the wide center strip of land that had served as the main street at one point. The buildings, though old and abandoned, were in good shape.
Tim reached behind the seat of his truck and pulled out his camera. Vicky could see that he was excited about the photographic possibilities of the place.
“How did you find this?” Tim asked.
“I didn’t,” she answered. “It found me.”
He wanted to ask her to explain, but it wasn’t the first time she had said this, so he knew it was useless. Instead, he allowed his mind to wander to a favorite subject, the Spann Ranch.
The ranch, as it was known, had been a one-time movie set. Forgotten since the hay-day of Western films, save for Charlie Manson and his followers, Spann was hardly used, except for a hang-out.
Not counting location, the abandoned town could be the same.
Without thinking, he said, “And to think I’m here with a woman whose family was considered ‘the Manson family of the East Coast.'”
The smile slipped from Vicky Lester’s face as she replied, “I know, why do you think I brought you out here.”
Tim felt a sudden chill of death’s hand surge over his body as he came to realize his mistake.