Home > Undead and Unreturnable (Undead #4)

Undead and Unreturnable (Undead #4)
MaryJanice Davidson

Prologue

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press December 15, 2005

THIRD WOMAN FOUND SLAIN. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The body of an Edina resident was found this morning at approximately six-thirty A.M. Cathie Robinson, 26, was found in the parking lot of the Lake Street Wal-Mart. Forensics show that she had been strangled. She had been reported missing on December 13. She is believed to be the third victim of the so-called Driveway Killer, who has so far claimed at least three local victims.

Detective Nick Berry, who has been working with the FBI since the second victim, Martha Lundquist, was found on November 23, said the investigation is pursuing several leads. “This is our top priority,” Berry said. “Nothing else even comes close.”

Ms. Lundquist was reported missing on November 8, and her body was found in the parking lot of a White Bear Lake Target store on November 10.

The FBI has profiled the killer, who appears to be choosing tall blond women with light-colored eyes and short hair. Although an arrest is “imminent,” Berry warns Minneapolis women to use caution when leaving their places of business.

It is believed that the Driveway Killer has also struck in Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas.

The FBI and local police believe that the first local victim was Katie Johnson, 27, who was reported missing on October 28 and whose body was found on November 4 in the parking lot of the Lakeville McStop.

From the Star Tribune
December 17, 2005

BORN, to Antonia Taylor and John Peter Taylor of Edina, Minnesota, a boy, Jonathon Peter Taylor II, at 12:05 A.M. on December 15 at Fairview Ridges Edina.

Chapter 1

This is how my tombstone read:

ELIZABETH ANNE TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 1974 –APRIL 25, 2004

OUR SWEETHEART, ONLY RESTING

“That’s just so depressing,” my best friend, Jessica Watkins, observed.

“It’s weird.” My sister, Laura Goodman, was staring. “That is very, very weird.”

“Our sweetheart, only resting?” I asked. “What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

“I think it’s nice,” my sister said, a little hesitantly. She looked like a dirty old man’s dream with her long, butterscotch-blond hair, big blue eyes, and red peacoat. You know how ministers’ kids will sometimes go wild when they finally get away from their parents? Laura was the devil’s daughter (no, really), so her way of rebelling was to be as nice and sweet as possible. A dastardly plan. “It’s a little different. Most of the people I know would have gone with a Bible verse, but your mama certainly didn’t have to.”

“Given how things turned out,” Jess replied, running a hand over her skinned-back black hair, “it’s a little prophetic, don’t you think?” As usual, when she put her hair up, she pulled it back so tightly, the arch of her eyebrows made her look constantly amazed. Though it’s possible, given where we were standing, that she really was amazed.

“I think standing in front of my own grave is the last place I want to be on the seventeenth day of December, is what I think.” Depressing and creepy. Must be the holidays.

Jessica sighed again and rested her forehead on my shoulder. “Poor Betsy. I can’t get over it. You were so young!”

Laura smirked a little. “Like turning thirty wasn’t enough of a trauma. Poor Betsy.”

“So young!”

“Will you pull yourself together, please? I’m right here.” I stuck my hands into my coat pockets and sulked. “What is it, like ten below out? I’m freezing.”

“You’re always freezing. Don’t bitch if you’re going to go outside without your gloves. And it’s thirty-five degrees, you big baby.”

“Would you like my coat?” Laura said. “I don’t really feel the cold.”

“Another one of your sinister powers,” Jessica said. “We’ll add it to the list with weapons made of hellfire and always being able to calculate a twenty-two percent tip. Now Bets, run this by me again…how’d your tombstone finally show up here?”

I explained, hopefully for the last time. I had, of course, died in the spring. Rose in the early dawn hours the day of my funeral and gone on undead walkabout. Because my body was MIA, the funeral was cancelled.

But my mother, who had been in a huge fight with my dad and stepmom about what to spend on my marble tombstone, had rushed to order the thing. By the time it was finished, no funeral, no service, no burial. (My family knew the truth about what I was now, and so did Jessica. My other coworkers and friends had been told the funeral had been a joke, one in very poor taste.)

So anyway, my tombstone had been in storage the last six months. (My stepmother had been pushing for plain, cheap granite, with my initials and my dates of death and birth; a penny saved is a penny earned, apparently. My dad, as he always did when my mom and Antonia were involved, stayed out of it.)

After a few months, the funeral home had politely contacted my mother and asked what she’d like to do with my tombstone. Mom had the plot and the stone paid for, so she had them stick it in the dirt the day before yesterday, and mentioned it at lunch yesterday. You know how it goes: “Waiter, I’ll have the tomato soup with Parmesan croutons, and by the way, honey, I had your tombstone set up in the cemetery yesterday.”

Jessica and Laura had been morbidly curious to see it, and I’d tagged along. What the hell, it made for a break from wedding arrangements and Christmas cards.

“Your mom,” Jessica commented, “is a model of scary efficiency.”

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