Little Girl LostbyLisa Summers©
There really IS a Premont, Texas, and you can find it if you follow the directions in this story. There is also an old, abandoned elementary school in Premont, on Rte 281 that looks pretty much as I described it. To my knowledge, however, the school is not haunted, nor was a young girl murdered there. Any resemblance of actual businesses or persons to any described in this story, are completely coincidental and unintentional. This story is Copyright 2005, Lisa Summers. You can contact me at the address in my profile.
If you drive south from San Antonio, Texas, about 70 miles or so, on Highway 37, then exit to State Rte 281 and head south, you'll eventually come to the town of Premont, a typical little sleepy Texas town, lying on one of the popular 'Winter Texan' driving routes to the Rio Grande Valley. Its two main industries today appear to be convenience stores and tire changing stations.
If you remember these directions, just when you reach the Premont town limits, you'll see an abandoned elementary school on the right, right after the abandoned gas station/shaded parking lot where the Premont town cop waits for unwary speeders. It's a typical Texas elementary school built in the early 1950's to handle the glut of children produced by families of vets from World War II, laid out on one level, in a 'C' shape, with a playground lying in the embrace of the classroom arms of the 'C.'
That playground must have been a very special, protected place for the children who attended the school, but today the playground equipment, which is still in place as though waiting for children to answer the recess bell, is overgrown by 5' high weeds, the iron fittings on the swings and other equipment now streaked with rust, the wood on the seesaw splitting and cracking from years of uninterrupted south Texas sun. There are fire ant mounds throughout the silent play area, and ticks wait fruitlessly on top of weed stalks for unwary passers-by. But this story isn't about the speed trap cop, nor fire ants, nor the little Texas town of Premont, and not really even about the school. It's about something else altogether.
The school was purportedly abandoned when a regional elementary school was built to consolidate the populations of Premont and several other smaller towns, when their populations declined in the 1990's. But the real reason the school was closed, as every person in Premont knew, was because of the murder of little Izel Montemayor, her body found raped and strangled, and draped lifeless across the red and blue-painted seesaw.
My name is Kendall Armstrong. I'm a Trooper (II) with the Texas Department of Public Safety - or rather, I WAS a trooper. At the time this story begins, I was out on short-term disability, recovering from a firearms wound received while subduing a drug trafficking suspect in Marble Falls, Texas, west of Austin. I had been assigned to a desk job in Austin, and to tell the truth, I was bored to tears and considering my future with the Department.
I was 27 years old, 5' 10" tall, 155 pounds, in very good physical shape (other than the leg wound, from which I was recovering normally, and also some residual exposure to chemicals used in the manufacture of crystal meth), medium brown hair, blue-eyed, a typical Texas gal (and that does NOT include 'big hair,' loud abrasive voice, or any of the other stereotypes.) I was attractive enough, as I had done a little modeling in high school before I went to College Station to attend, and graduate from, Texas A & M University. I had been with the Department of Public Safety for a little more than six years.
I was seated at my battered, government-issue 30 year old desk, doing address trace backs on a burglary suspect, when my boss's boss, Ed Bonillo, the Director of the Criminal Law Division, called me into his office.
"Kendall, how's your rehab coming? Been doing your exercises?" he asked, with a slight smile, his salt and pepper moustache twitching with amusement. He knew me well enough to know that avoiding exercise, or requirements set by a doctor, were never an issue. If anything, I usually overdid things, just to 'be sure.' "And your mom, how's she doing?"
Ed was a friend of our family, as he'd worked with my father when they were both young DPS Troopers chasing speeders on IH-35. When my father had passed on ten years and six months before, Ed had done what he could to make sure our family was taken care of, so he'd always been special to my mother, brother and me. Not that it gave me any advantages when I became a Texas State Trooper. If anything, he was harder on me than the others, but that was fine with me. I figured it was the only way I'd get to be the best, that maybe I'd even qualify someday as a Texas Ranger. Favoritism wouldn't help me there, only how good I really was.
But my career was currently on hold with my disability, and as I've said, I was up in the air on whether I'd continue on in the field.
"She's fine, sir, and sends her regards," I answered him, standing at attention.
"You can stand at ease, Trooper," he said. I relaxed, as he leaned back in his chair.
"Kendall, I was wondering if you'd be interested in assisting a researcher, helping me out, and burning off some of that vacation leave you have yet to start using."
"Sir?" I said.
"You see, I've got a, er, personal problem. I have a niece, Kesare Morales, who's a researcher into, um, paranormal activities, and she'd like to do some on-site research down in south Texas. She needs a bodyguard and an assistant. Interested?"
"Paranormal, sir?" I asked, staring at the golf posters on the wall behind him. "Isn't that college talk for 'ghosts?'"
"Umm, yes, I think so. But I can vouch for Kes, she's quite level-headed, and normal, not a flake. And I'd consider it a personal favor," he said.
I sighed. I thought about my present situation, and it wasn't helping my career attitude very much. Maybe a (hopefully) short term goof job like this would help to clear my head, and if nothing else, I could continue on down to South Padre Island for some beach time, which always helped me think about things. I made my decision.
"Sir, okay sir. I'll do it - IF it's not a long-term thing," I said.
"Great," he said. "I don't think it's going to take more than a week, and you'll make Kes' job a lot easier."
"Sir, may I ask a question?" I said.
"Sure," he said.
"Why does she need a bodyguard? Is it in one of the rough sections?" I asked.
"Kendall, do you remember the Montemayor killing in Premont about 10 years ago? Happened shortly before your father died?"
"Yes sir," I said. "It was a little girl, I think, wasn't it? Raped and strangled?"
"Yes, in a school building, one night," he said. "The building was abandoned shortly thereafter. There's reputedly been, well, lights and noises spotted there, and several local cops were assaulted under suspicious circumstances while investigating the events."
"Wouldn't a local cop be a better choice to pull guard duty, sir?" I asked.
"Possibly, but none of them want to do it, besides, they've had cutbacks due to declining population in the area, and frankly, they don't have the time. Their hands are full with the illegals they're tasked to keep an eye out for, as well as the random crystal meth labs that pop up on some of the ranches. Speaking of which, any lasting effects from that meth bust?" Director Bonilla asked.
"Occasional headaches, sir, and random flashes of light, but the doc says it'll pass as the chemicals work out of my body," I replied.
"Well, take it easy Kendall, you're still not 100 percent, so there's no point in acting as though you are," he said, frowning.
"Yes sir," I said, not seeing any point to arguing with him over that. But I really only had one speed, turbo, and I didn't think I could change then. He gave me Miss, I mean 'Doctor' Morales' phone number, and when I returned to my desk I gave her a call. A pleasant-sounding voice answered the phone, and turned out to belong to Dr. Morales. Her voice sounded very young, maybe early twenties, which surprised me, as I had pictured her as being in maybe her late thirties or early forties.
She asked me to meet her at her office on the University of Texas campus later that afternoon. I was surprised at the urgency, but the Director had assured me that leave would be no problem, so I notified my immediate supervisor, and he gave me the nod to take the afternoon off. I drove out in civilian clothes in my personal car, a white 1998 Mustang. It was getting old, sure, but I took good care of it, and I loved it so much that I couldn't bear to sell it.
Her office was located on the University of Texas campus in Austin, near the intersection of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto Boulevard, in the basement of Moore Hall, a short 3 mile trip from our DPS offices on Lamar. I parked in a visitor's space and headed inside. Following the directions she'd given me over the phone, I made my way to her small office in the basement. Inside, behinds towering piles of paperwork, I found a beautiful Hispanic woman looking as though she were no older than 20, wearing large black-framed glasses. She had long, lustrous black hair, a small frame, perhaps 5' tall, nice body and a pleasant smile, with beautiful, even white teeth. And deep, deep brown eyes.
"Uh, Doctor Morales?" I asked, doubting that one so young could be a Doctor.
"Yes. Trooper Kendall?" she responded. As I was in civilian clothes, and not wearing my usual 'cop' expression, I could pass for a grad student, though academia is not my preference, at all!
"Um, that would be Trooper Armstrong, ma'am. Kendall's my first name. But please, ma'am, call me Kendall, rather than 'Trooper.'"
"Only if you'll call me Kes, rather than Doctor, or, worse, 'ma'am.'"
"Yes, ma'am," I responded, then we both laughed. "Old habits die hard, ma-, Kes," I said.
"Please, take a seat, Kendall. I guess Ed told you something of what I'm trying to do?" she asked. I sat down on a gray, dusty armless metal chair that looked as though it had served Sam Houston when Texas was an independent country. I noticed her perfume, Amarige D'Amour, if I wasn't mistaken. It was very nice.
"Not much, Kes," I said. "He just said that you needed a bodyguard and someone to help you in some investigation into an old murder site, in Premont, I think."
"Yes, but this probably has nothing to do with that. It's research into some paranormal activity at the same site at which the killing occurred, but I have no idea at this point if it's related or not." As Kes spoke, I looked around, an old cop habit. At her workstation, where most people put the things most intimate to them, there were pictures of Kes holding two or three different cats or kittens, a picture of an older couple, perhaps her parents, and a photograph of a little girl with features and coloring similar to Kes', perhaps her at an earlier age. No picture of Kes with a husband, boyfriend, or for that matter, girlfriend.
"Anyway," she continued, "I have a research grant, a very small research grant, to investigate and take visual, audio and thermographic readings at the site, and record my organoleptic impressions, that sort of thing." She paused.
"Organoleptic?" I asked.
"It means, what you can perceive with the five senses, you know, hear, smell, taste, feel and see. In conjunction with the instruments such as recorders, cameras and recording thermometers, it's been proven to be valuable to have an individual around who's trained to be observant. That's why I think that you'd be so helpful to me. Are you interested?" she asked, looking intently at me. I wasn't sure if she had poor eyesight, or if she was just that interested in my reaction..
I looked at her big brown eyes, and her black hair. She seemed to be a pleasant enough person, not at all a dried up old academic, and I figured, what the hell, if it didn't go longer than a week, it might be interesting, and far enough removed from my day to day to nearly be considered exotic. In other words, semi-vacationish.
"Okay," I said. "How much are you paying, and just how long will this take?"
"Not very much," she said apologetically, "to answer your first question, and probably 5 to 7 days, to answer the second. Of course, the grant covers the lodging, travel and meal costs while we're down there. And we have a choice of the Oasis Motel, or the Oasis Motel, so plush lodgings are guaranteed!" We both giggled at that.
"Well, the last place I stayed, before the hospital, was in an abandoned cow feed barn hard by a crystal meth lab run by two dirt bags near Marble Falls, last winter, so I expect that either of those two motels will be fine."
"Oh my!" she exclaimed. "I should think so." After a pause she said, "If it's alright with you, I'd like to get started tomorrow, so if there's a husband, or boyfriend or, anything like that, you'd better let them know."
"No, nothing like that," I responded, which seemed to please her, undoubtedly because I'd eliminated one more reason for delay, "Just the Director."
"Good, can you meet me here tomorrow at 7 AM?" she asked.
"Sure, anything special I need to bring?" I asked.
"Well, your police stuff, that is, your gun and badge, enough rough wear clothes for a week, unless you like doing laundry, and a bedroll."
"A bedroll?" I asked. "I thought motels had started supplying beds in all their rooms these days."
She laughed. "Some of the research may require overnighting, or at least a fair amount of time overnight, inside the school. Better to be comfortable. I've got lawn chairs for us both, but only my own sleeping bag."
"Oh, okay, no problem," I responded. We said our goodbyes, and I walked back to my car, thinking the matter over. She had seemed to be on the up and up, and certainly Ed's endorsement carried an immense amount of weight with me. I considered my observations of Dr. Kesare Morales as I drove back to my apartment.
Besides being petite, about 5' tall, approximately 105 pounds, she had even, white teeth, thick, dark eyebrows, brown eyes, long black hair held in a ponytail with a silver and turquoise holder, like those popular in the 70's, long bangs, full, red lips, short, cute nose, high, almost Indian cheekbones, a nicely balanced and eye-pleasing facial structure, prominent 34B breasts, a slim waist and full hips.
I thought that she'd make a good mother based on body type, but clearly that wasn't likely to happen anytime soon, based on the photographs at her desk, and the lack of rings on her fingers, plus her avoidance of much by way of makeup. She wasn't the kind that needed much makeup anyway, a thought that I found oddly, and irritatingly, pleasing.
As for me, I had a few relationships with boys in high school, and a relationship at A & M, but really hadn't had much time for involvement while working as a member of the Department of Public Safety. I didn't think I was missing much, as those earlier relationships had never been particularly satisfactory. So, for me it was work more than anything else, that filled up my days. I had discussed the situation once or twice, over a bottle of wine, with my brother Jeff, who was gay, and he always told me to 'let life come to you, be open to changes, and it will work out for the best.' I never knew exactly what he was getting at with that, but as far as not going out and getting into a relationship was concerned, I had it covered, since I hardly ever went out or met anyone that I wasn't arresting.
Crawling under the covers of my queen size bed, with its old, white-painted iron headboard, I slept very well that night, and by 7 in the morning I showed up at Kes' office with two steaming cups of Seattle's Best, and she gratefully accepted one. Sipping it, she handed me a placard to put on the dashboard of my car. "It'll keep campus security from ticketing or towing you over the next week," she said. "We're taking a University-owned Chevy Suburban down to Premont." I moved my gear over to the back of the dark blue Suburban, then Kes and I moved a boatload of scientific looking equipment from her office to the vehicle. After it was all stowed, Kes said, "How about I drive the first leg of the trip?"
"Okay," I said. "Austin's the worst of it, anyway." I couldn't help but admire her figure, her ass and slim legs in her khaki cargo shorts and short-sleeve blue work shirt showing her full, round breasts off to good advantage, as she turned and went around the rear to the driver's side. I climbed in to the passenger's side, and buckled in, feeling over-dressed in jeans and sweatshirt.
"You're going to regret that sweatshirt in a couple of hours," she remarked, turning the key in the ignition.
"Oh, no problem, I'm layered today. Tee shirt's my backup," I said. We got onto IH-35 headed south, staring at the deadlocked traffic in the northbound lanes. With 'BOB-FM' providing background music, Kes and I settled into getting to know each other. She told me that she'd gotten her Bachelor's degree in abnormal psychology from the University of Denver. When she decided to go after her Doctorate at New Mexico State, she'd started off with a thesis on the psychology of mass hallucination, but over time it had slid over into research into parapsychology. Then she'd gotten a teaching and research position at UT for the last two years. She had an interesting habit of looking at me and smiling, and then nodding her head up and down slightly after each important point that she made. I found it charming, but a little disconcerting, considering Austin traffic.
"The University isn't real thrilled that I'm spending more and more time on Paranormal activities, but when I explained that it will give them some cachet with schools like Cal-Berkeley, they relented, making up for their largesse in allowing me my work by also cutting my budget and giving me an old closet for an office. If it weren't for the federal grant, I'd be out of luck," she said, her smile disappearing for a second.
"Wow, the academic world's a bit more 'dog-eat-dog' than it looks to the casual outsider," I said.
"And what about you?" Kes asked. "How did you get here?"
I looked out the window at the outlet centers of San Marcos, north of San Antonio."Well, my dad was a cop, he was with the DPS, and when he got killed on duty, it just seemed natural that I follow in his footsteps. My mom adored him, as did my older brother and me. Since my brother's gay, it didn't seem like he was going to be joining the Department, as he wouldn't have felt comfortable with it years ago, nor they with him. It's better these days."
"The way you say that, are you, uh, gay?" Kes asked, looking sidelong at me, some unreadable emotion in her eyes. A stray current of air brought her scent to me. It was still very nice.
"I'm sorry, I don't feel comfortable getting into that right now," I said, hesitantly. "It's just that I don't know you well enough yet to talk about any of that kind of stuff. I'm sorry-"
"No, please, I was thoughtless, asking you that. I was entirely out of place," she said, her eyes returning to the road. An uneasy silence descended over us both, and I considered the answer I'd almost given, before my protective shields had gone up. The truth was, I had no idea of my own sexuality, and I'd spent the last 7 years trying to bury the questions in my own mind.
Up until senior year at Texas A & M, I'd been straight, or thought I was. But one night after a few drinks, my roommate, an Agriculture major and a fellow senior named Sandy and I had inadvertently gotten ourselves into a 'Truth or Dare' game alone in our room late one Friday night. We had each confessed that we found the female form to be far more attractive than the male, then a long discussion on lesbian and bi friends that we knew, and their self-confessed 'first times,' getting us both pretty aroused, and wet. When the conversation was steered by each of us straight into the subject of female masturbation, we'd been lost, and spent the rest of the night, through to early afternoon in each other's arms, no body part free from our curious explorations and orgasm piling on top of orgasm.