Crape Myrtle (9)
At the lawyer’s office in Hammond City, Justin Carmen received documents in a UPS bag. He was already briefed on the phone by Jacob Lawrence. The text in the file described Natalia Phol attached with a photograph. Born as Sarin Pholporn in Hawaii on 18th January 1962. Twenty-seven years old owner and operative of Teep Lab, a private investigator and a Muay Thai champion in San Diego, drives a dark shadow blue Ford Bronco II with a license plate; 2NPT975. Sex and ethnicity; transgender – Asian.
Meanwhile, the Ford Bronco accelerated up the Indianapolis Boulevard. Her mind occupied over a reason why she wished not to see Cyril Corporation offices. Too many to chase. One important office located in Bedford Park between Midway and Belt Railway. She missed it too. She’d not be able to return to Chicago anytime soon but there was no point she could think of going there.
She didn’t have the addresses of the two women who died in Robertsdale in Whiting but she was heading there. Particularly to Reese Avenue where Sidney Martin lived. She grew overconfident as an expert to find houses. She drove fast and turned the car into what she assumed Reese Avenue. She didn’t check the map. And shockingly, she read the green signboard; Myrtle Avenue. She quickly grabbed the map and checked to find her on a road right behind Reese Avenue.
Finally, she stopped outside Sidney’s house that stood hidden under a big tree. A narrow brick house with stairs to reach the floor level and a low wire mesh fence around the perimeter, single hung windows and looking ordinary. This house was occupied by new tenants.
Natalia climbed down and sauntered around. An elderly neighbour pointed to a house on Myrtle Avenue that was Laura Hudson’s home; the woman found dead in Forsythe Park. She was 56 years old when she died.
Natalia drove to St Catherine and asked a nurse if she knew Cindy Lockwood; the 39-year-old nurse who died in sleep. She obtained an address on Lake Avenue. She drove back to Robertsdale to take some more snaps. She didn’t bother these families because sadly they think two of the women died of natural deaths.
She drove to Forsythe Park. She remembered a location caught on the photographs in the camera case. There must be a connection. Natalia searched and took a pack of prints to compare with the scenes.
Here, a low-lying natural vegetation and shrubs along with dispersed deciduous trees gave a breadth of view towards Wolf Lake where white pelicans, swans and great egrets breed. An outdoor spot for picnicking or dog walking, children’s park, sports and fresh breeze…quiet, creepy and peaceful. This park was under a restoration scheme. Wolf Lake was a military controlled zone during the Cold War where they tested Nike missiles.
A couple of photographs in the pack exhibited a frosty scene of the park during winter. Natalia could not grasp anything peculiar to connect with. There was a car with red tail lights and taken in long shot. Perhaps not in a sequence of frames and paper size of the prints varied from the rest. Maybe she used a different camera. By now she knew the person behind the camera was Heidelinde Klutz; alias Linda Linz – she dubbed as ‘Kit’.
She thought she was getting somewhere but she got stuck in the park. Someone else was getting closer.
Natalia drove to Hammond City. Parked her car behind Carmen Law Firm and walked towards the office. She captured the surrounding in frames. A low shed with two grid windows and a door facing Hohman Avenue. A huge tree stood behind the office and a house to the left. She wasn’t expecting it like this. Nobody would dare keep important documents in a shed but in the house standing beside.
The sun was going down. Natalia drove towards the intersection. Found a comfortable room at the Inn of Hammond. She was tired after a long day of driving and walking. She entered a hot tub bath.
Lying in bed she thought over the beautiful cities and sights through the countryside. She had never been to the north or the Midwest. She covered everything. No point of going to New York but she’d not be able to come this far again. She decided to make it in three days in no hurry and shoot some photos. She passed so far without a weather hazard though she heard about tornadoes and storm approaching on television. Now that it was turning bad and getting colder in the nights.