Century End – A Tracy Gayle mystery – part one – by Trish Hubschman #DetectiveMystery

Century End – A Tracy Gayle mystery – part one – by Trish Hubschman #DetectiveMystery

Century End

A Tracy Gayle mystery

By Trish Hubschman

May 2022

Tracy Gayle

Road construction? Bah! This was the last thing I needed. I had an appointment today with a real estate agent and wasn’t even sure where I was going. Pennsylvania wasn’t my turf. Long Island was. Danny had asked me to check out some property for him. He was in California at the moment. Since I didn’t have anything on the schedule for this weekend, I figured, why not go to PA. It wasn’t too far away and I could visit my friend, Jackie. All that sounded good, but I hadn’t bargained for this traffic jam or road construction. Heck, it as Saturday.

My frustration was rising. I gripped the steering wheel tighter. I think I swore too. I was fighting a temptation to lean heavily on the car’s horn, but what good would that do? It wouldn’t make things move faster.  Three lanes of traffic had to merge into two. Okay, I reasoned, once I got past the line of orange cones, I’d be moving along at a normal pace again. I wondered if I should call Daphne Books, the agent, I was meeting at two o’clock, to alert her of the situation and tell her I might be late. I didn’t want to finally arrive at her office to find she had taken another client out or something. That would make this a wasted trip to the Keystone state.

My fiancé, Danny Tide, is a successful rock musician. He is also an astute businessman. For some reason, he’s interested in purchasing, as I discovered from looking it up on the Internet last night, a bona fide ghost town called Century End.

I arrived at Essence Realty forty-five minutes later than my scheduled appointment. That really wasn’t too bad! Daphne was waiting for me. She was in her late twenties, blonde and seemed very vivacious. We’d never met before.

“What can you tell me about this ghost town?” I asked her.

She giggled. “I’ve heard about it since I was a kid, and boy, did I want to go see the place,” she said.

I glance briefly at her in the passenger seat beside me. We had decided to take my car, or rather, Danny’s. he kept a BMW at the Long Island house. I was driving. “Did you ever go there?” I asked. “Your bucket dream!” I teased.

She giggled again and shook her head. “My folks wouldn’t let me. Mom kept insisting it wasn’t safe. It’s a totally abandoned town. It has been for a long time. The place is probably falling apart and haunted too,” she said.

I didn’t doubt that.

I wanted her to start at the beginning, tell the story as she knew it from childhood. “What’s that there?” I asked. She had some papers on her lap.

She shifted in her seat. “I wrote a report in fifth grade on Century End.” She held it up in the air. “Last night, I just had to dig it up.” She began reading out loud from the childish scrawl from the papers on her lap. “In the 1950s and 60s, Century

End was a major coal mining community,” Daphne said. “In 1968, there was a huge fire in one of the mines. It spread throughout the town.”

“Was there extensive damage from the fire?” I asked. “Did the whole town burn down?”

She shook her head. “Only a section of the town was wiped out and a dwelling here and there, I understand,” Daphne replied. “My Great-uncle Max worked in the mines.  He didn’t live in century End though, He told me years ago that the fireman had done a, as he phrased it, fair job at extinguishing the fire without too many casualties.” She giggled.  I wasn’t sure why.

“So why was the town abandoned?” I asked. It held to reason that the people in Century Mend had intended to rebuild their town after the disastrous, but not too deadly, fire.

She raised one shoulder in a shrug. “Because even after the fire in the town itself was out, people were mysteriously dying in their homes.”

That one caught me off guard. “Why? What were they dying from? Why was it so mysterious?” I threw out rapidly.

She was quiet for a moment. “Carbon monoxide poisoning,” she dropped like a bomb.  “It’s believed that the fire in the coal mines still burns after all these years.”

I had to think fast for a question or answer to her last statement.

 

Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game and uneasy Tides. Tracy is hired by rock musician, Danny Tide, to find out who set fire to his band’s summer tour bus. In doing this, more diabolical things arise, mysteries, murders, romance.

Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is deafblind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, and their dog, henry.

Her website is www.dldbooks.com/Hubschman/

Century End

A Tracy Gayle mystery

By Trish Hubschman

May 2022

Tracy Gayle

Road construction? Bah! This was the last thing I needed. I had an appointment today with a real estate agent and wasn’t even sure where I was going. Pennsylvania wasn’t my turf. Long Island was. Danny had asked me to check out some property for him. He was in California at the moment. Since I didn’t have anything on the schedule for this weekend, I figured, why not go to PA. It wasn’t too far away and I could visit my friend, Jackie. All that sounded good, but I hadn’t bargained for this traffic jam or road construction. Heck, it as Saturday.

My frustration was rising. I gripped the steering wheel tighter. I think I swore too. I was fighting a temptation to lean heavily on the car’s horn, but what good would that do? It wouldn’t make things move faster.  Three lanes of traffic had to merge into two. Okay, I reasoned, once I got past the line of orange cones, I’d be moving along at a normal pace again. I wondered if I should call Daphne Books, the agent, I was meeting at two o’clock, to alert her of the situation and tell her I might be late. I didn’t want to finally arrive at her office to find she had taken another client out or something. That would make this a wasted trip to the Keystone state.

My fiancé, Danny Tide, is a successful rock musician. He is also an astute businessman. For some reason, he’s interested in purchasing, as I discovered from looking it up on the Internet last night, a bona fide ghost town called Century End.

I arrived at Essence Realty forty-five minutes later than my scheduled appointment. That really wasn’t too bad! Daphne was waiting for me. She was in her late twenties, blonde and seemed very vivacious. We’d never met before.

“What can you tell me about this ghost town?” I asked her.

She giggled. “I’ve heard about it since I was a kid, and boy, did I want to go see the place,” she said.

I glance briefly at her in the passenger seat beside me. We had decided to take my car, or rather, Danny’s. he kept a BMW at the Long Island house. I was driving. “Did you ever go there?” I asked. “Your bucket dream!” I teased.

She giggled again and shook her head. “My folks wouldn’t let me. Mom kept insisting it wasn’t safe. It’s a totally abandoned town. It has been for a long time. The place is probably falling apart and haunted too,” she said.

I didn’t doubt that.

I wanted her to start at the beginning, tell the story as she knew it from childhood. “What’s that there?” I asked. She had some papers on her lap.

She shifted in her seat. “I wrote a report in fifth grade on Century End.” She held it up in the air. “Last night, I just had to dig it up.” She began reading out loud from the childish scrawl from the papers on her lap. “In the 1950s and 60s, Century

End was a major coal mining community,” Daphne said. “In 1968, there was a huge fire in one of the mines. It spread throughout the town.”

“Was there extensive damage from the fire?” I asked. “Did the whole town burn down?”

She shook her head. “Only a section of the town was wiped out and a dwelling here and there, I understand,” Daphne replied. “My Great-uncle Max worked in the mines.  He didn’t live in century End though, He told me years ago that the fireman had done a, as he phrased it, fair job at extinguishing the fire without too many casualties.” She giggled.  I wasn’t sure why.

“So why was the town abandoned?” I asked. It held to reason that the people in Century Mend had intended to rebuild their town after the disastrous, but not too deadly, fire.

She raised one shoulder in a shrug. “Because even after the fire in the town itself was out, people were mysteriously dying in their homes.”

That one caught me off guard. “Why? What were they dying from? Why was it so mysterious?” I threw out rapidly.

She was quiet for a moment. “Carbon monoxide poisoning,” she dropped like a bomb.  “It’s believed that the fire in the coal mines still burns after all these years.”

I had to think fast for a question or answer to her last statement.

 

Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game and uneasy Tides. Tracy is hired by rock musician, Danny Tide, to find out who set fire to his band’s summer tour bus. In doing this, more diabolical things arise, mysteries, murders, romance.

Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is deafblind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, and their dog, henry.

Her website is www.dldbooks.com/Hubschman/

2 Comments

  1. Patricia Hubschman Reply
    July 13, 2022

    Century End is based on a ghost town in Pennsylvania. Danny wants to know if it’s safe to rebuild the town and Tracy is going to find that out. There are 6 parts to this story and I’m presently working on a sequal

  2. I enjoyed the first installment and can say to readers, the second will be along next week.
    So, stay tuned and be sure to share this with a friend so they can come along next week and enjoy.

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