The story begins here. The previous week begins here.
I knew it was over when I saw that fourth police car arrive. The narrow gravel road would not even let two cars pass each other, much less leave room to hide in the fog. Before, I had been a man with an unbelievable story; now I was a man with an unbelievable story caught trying to get away. Close to losing control of the car in the dense murk, I closed the door and reached for the handbrake. A pothole sent the car bouncing, slamming my head hard against the roof. Dazed by the blow, I could not find the handbrake in the dark, and my feet seemed all tangled up and unable to get to the foot brake. The car rattled and shook down the road, barely under control. Ahead of me, the pulsing lights came slowly up the main road and ... right past the turnoff. The cop had missed the gravel road in the fog.
The front of the car scraped alarmingly as I hit the pavement and the car drifted as I jerked the wheel around to take me in the opposite direction from the police car. I corrected by turning into the drift and straightened out to head in the direction that I thought the road led. The cop's backup lights came on and I coasted down the main road, watching to see what he would do. He tuned onto the gravel road and a few second later, I braked to a stop, started my engine, turned on my lights and began the slow drive home.
Later that evening, I answered a firm knock at the door. Two policemen greeted me sternly. When I made my call to 911 my voice had been tight, so I relaxed my throat as much as I could and lowered my voice an octave from my usual tone. I also added a slight Texas accent. "Yes, officers, how can I help you?"
"May we come in?"
I stepped out and closed the door behind me. "I'd rather talk out here. What is the problem?"
"You don't want your neighbors overhearing this, we should probably go inside."
"Why? What is it about?"
"Is this your jacket, sir?"
"Well, I have a jacket like that but I think mine is in my closet. Do you want me to go check?"
"We'll go check if you don't mind."
"I'll go check. No offense, but I anyone who watches NYPD Blue knows not to let a police man in the house." The cop looked annoyed, but he let me go into my house and come out a few seconds later. "The jacket isn't in my closet where I usually put it so that could be mine. I also can't find my cell phone. Is it in the jacket pocket?"
"Any idea how you lost the jacket?"
"Well, I was wearing it this morning, so I probably took it off somewhere and left it. Did you find my cell phone too?"
"Any idea where you might have left it?"
I told them where I had eaten lunch and where I had stopped for coffee that day.
"Your cell phone," one of the them told me dramatically, "was used to lure police to a location where they were ambushed."
"Oh, crap. Was anyone killed?"
"Did you call 911 earlier today?"
"Sorry, if I'm suspected of a homicide, I'm not going to answer any more questions without a lawyer."
"No officers were injured. We are just investigating how this call was made."
"I'm sorry. I know you are just doing your job, but I'm suddenly at a huge risk and I have to protect myself. No more answers without my lawyer."
I must have put on a convincing show because they didn't detain me. They just said that detectives would be in touch with me, but no one ever called.
A few weeks later, I decided to tell the story on my blog, and you pretty much know the rest. It's a fanciful tale, of course. Alternative worlds, ancient gods, sea monsters and mythology. But who was that guy and why did he pause in his murder to tell me the story? I'll leave it to you to wonder.