The Changing (The Biergarten Series)

The Changing (The Biergarten Series) by T. M. Wright, F. W. Armstrong

Book: The Changing (The Biergarten Series) by T. M. Wright, F. W. Armstrong Read Free Book Online
Authors: T. M. Wright, F. W. Armstrong
Tags: Horror
was a woman of simple tastes. In her move from Erie, Pennsylvania, she'd either discarded or given to the Salvation Army a number of things that she and her estranged husband had shared and that he had—with unusual magnanimity, she thought at the time—let her keep. Things like a portable stereo, a ten-year-old color TV, two cherry end tables, a super-8-min movie camera and projector, which they'd used quite a lot during the first year of their marriage, and several boxes of essentially useless odds and ends.
    She'd had to acquire a number of things when she'd moved to Rochester and settled into her apartment on Fairview Heights: furniture, cooking utensils, a bed. She bought them all in one day, using her savings to buy only the best, if not the best-looking, stuff she could find. Form, she believed, followed function; if something looked nice but didn't work, what good was it?
    She also read quite a lot, and had built quite an impressive library. Her tastes were eclectic; the only sort of books she didn't read were modern romances. She read historicals , westerns and spy thrillers, horror, poetry, mainstream fiction, psychological fiction, self-help, and current events. She had all of the Arthur Conan Doyle books, all of Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, John Updike, T. M. Wright, Shirley Jackson, Richard Brautigan , Paula Fox, and Peter S. Beagle, to name a few of her favorite authors. And she read every night.
    Tonight she would not read. Tonight she would spend her evening hours agonizing, in vain, over the "goddamned, cowardly bastard"—as she thought of him—who was writing her these anonymous, sophomorically philosophical, and weirdly accusative letters. Why, if he knew her awful secret, didn't he simply share it with her personally? That would be better. That would be better for both of them. Her anxiety followed her to bed and then into sleep.
    ~ * ~
    The following morning, Saturday, May 3, was warm, dry, and cloudless, and Ryerson Biergarten thought there were places he'd rather be than trying to pump a possible murder suspect; the psychic effort always left him weary.
    With Creosote tucked snorting under his arm, he knocked firmly on the massive oak door—there was a window in the middle of it covered by a sheer curtain—at 8 Fairview Heights, saw a doorbell, used it. Seconds later he watched as a short, square-faced, dark-haired woman in a long green terrycloth robe appeared from an inner room, moved to the front door, parted the sheer curtains, and peered out.
    "Yes?" said the woman.
    "I'd like to speak to Greta Lynch," Ryerson called through the closed door.
    "Greta's asleep. Could you come back later, please?"
    Ryerson checked his watch. "You're sure she's asleep? It is 10:30, you know."
    "Yes. I know what time it is."
    "Could I leave her my card, then?"
    The woman looked confused. "Your what?”
    “My card. Could I leave it with you to give to her?"
    The woman hesitated, opened the door slightly, stuck her face into the opening. "Yes, you can leave your card. Are you a salesman?"
    "Then what are you?"
    "I'm an investigator." Creosote cut loose; the woman gave him a look that was half confusion, half disgust.
    "What's wrong with him ?" she asked.
    "Nothing," Ryerson answered. "He always does that."
    "Oh." Her face vanished from the opening briefly. Ryerson read a momentary anxiety; her face reappeared. "Greta's not up. It's Saturday; I guess it's her day off."
    "You're her—" Ryerson hesitated expectantly.
    "I'm her landlady, Linda Bowerman . And her friend." That last, Ryerson knew, was a veiled warning; I'm her protector, too , it said. "What is it you're investigating?"
    "I'm investigating the murders at The Park."
    Linda Bowerman nodded her acceptance of that. "And how do you think Greta's connected with them?"
    "I'm not saying I do. She does work at The Park, however, so there are some—"
    "And so do ten thousand other people, Mr.—”
    “ Biergarten ."
    "Uh-huh." Again her face disappeared

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