Eubanks, Oregon must have been impressive in its day. My ride rolls past numerous old mansions, their columned porches and ornate bow windows marking them as the product of the Gilded Age. Here, on the western side of the Cascades, wealth came from timber. I didn’t need to research the town to know that, just looking at the uniform nature of the forests surround the town was more than enough to tell me how those early robber barons had become so rich.
“So, you hoping to get a room in one of the B&B’s?”
The question brings me back into the cab of the pickup truck, back to the local who’d given me a ride from Portland. I’d gotten my ride with Ed Prince through a ride-share app I’d installed on my phone. Just getting to Oregon from Colorado had taken every cent of my money, and for once I blessed being dead so I didn’t need to eat. I had feared I’d need to walk, or worse yet hitchhike, to Eubanks. Luck had been on my side, and Ed had been in Portland on business to give me my ride.
“I don’t know. Are they cheap?”
Ed gave me a sidelong smile. “Don’t you wish! I live here and I can’t afford a night in one of those places. Prices have gone through the roof since Eubanks was ‘discovered’ by the trendy types out of places like Portland and Seattle. I was in the bar where I bought my first beer last week, and I could have gotten dead-drunk back then for what they wanted for one beer now.” He gave his head a shake. “Oh well, I guess it’s better than the town whithering. If you don’t mind me asking, but you don’t look like the typical visitor, so what brings you to my little town?”
What they hell? “Me? I guess you could say I’m an undead detective who travels around hunting down violent spirits that kill people and eliminates them.”
I got the response I’d expected. Ed laughed. “So I guess being a what, a professional spirit killer, doesn’t pay too well?”
“Not a penny, actually. I usually panhandle to make ends meet, but I didn’t have time to get any done before I saw you were coming out here. Any places where an broke, undead guy can get a room?”
That got me another laugh. “Yeah, as a matter of fact, we do have one place that’s cheap, a hostel. Kids hiking in the mountains around here use it a lot. The city opened it a few years ago in an old lumber mill. I’ve never been in it, but I hear they did a real nice job on the conversion. Best of all, I hear you can stay there free if you’re willing to clean and cook.”
Now it was my turn to laugh. “Believe me, if I cooked, they’d throw my ass out in the street. But I’d be willing to clean if that will get me a bed for the night. Don’t suppose you could drop me at this hostel?”
We were in downtown Eubanks now, driving down a brick street lined with meticulously restored buildings filled with boutique shops. Ed pulled into an empty parking spot and put his truck into park. “Sorry, the hostel’s on the other side of town from where I’m going. You can get directions from any of the shop keepers. Me, I need to get home before my wife’s puts a contract out on me.”
I take the hint and get out. My duffel’s in the back, so I grab it before sticking my head in the window to ask one final question. “So, how far is where I’m looking to go from here?”
“Not far, maybe a mile, but I’d suggest you get a move on.” Ed gestures towards a mountain that looms above the downtown buildings. “We call that The Weatherman. Want to know why?”
“Okay, I’ll bite: why do you call that mountain The Weatherman?”
He gives me a smile. “We call it that because it’s the most reliable weather forecaster around. If you can see it, then it’s fixin’ to rain…and if you can’t see it, it’s already raining.”
I give a snort of laughter. “I walked into that one, didn’t I? Thanks for the lift, Ed, and the weather advice too.”
Ed had been a bit optimistic I the distance I had to walk. I got directions from the girl behind the counter of the chocolate shop, the third person I’d asked, and by when I got there, my phone cheerfully told me I’d walked 1.3 miles. Full credit to the city of Eubanks, what must have once been an eyesore had been turned into a cheery space for itinerant visitors. The broad outer walls were covered in graffiti murals, the quality of which varied from amateurish to excellent. Inside, much of the space was in use by the city government for storage, but the office space, break and changing rooms had undergone a profound remodeling. Utilitarian gray walls had given way to a brighter palate, and there was nothing of the gritty feel of a manufacturing facility to be seen. An old man with an anchor tattooed on his neck is sitting behind the counter inside the main entrance gave me a smile as I entered.
“Welcome to the Pacific Coast Hostel. I take it you’re looking for a place to stay?”
“You read my mind. That must be a handy talent to have.”
That earned me a laugh. “I bet it would be.” He looked me over with a more sober eye before continuing. “Are you in town for the Forest Festival?”
I’d seen signs announcing the community event as I’d walked through downtown. I guess a town built on logging would celebrate the forests and logging in general, but none of the events I’d seen advertised held any interest for me. “No, actually, I’m here to do some hiking. I’ve heard the Pacific Coast & Central Oregon Trail is a nice trail, so I thought I’d take some free time I have and walk as much of it as I can.”
That got me a much closer examination, and I could understand why. Dressed in a tee shirt, jeans and tennies, I wasn’t exactly ‘kitted out’ for hiking. I did my best to disarm the distrust I saw growing in the man’s eyes. “I’m just a day hiker, nothing too strenuous or hard-core. That’s part of the reason I chose this trail.”
The wariness receded from the man’s expression. “Then you’ve come for the right reason. The Trail is an easy walk, and safe as long as you pay attention to the weather and the time. I hope you enjoy it Mister…”
“Ishkowa, George Ishkowa. I hate to ask this, and I know the price of a room here is whatever guests can afford, but it took most of what little I had to get here. So I can’t pay, but if you’ll let me, I’d like to worked for my room and board. I can’t cook, but I’m pretty good at cleaning up and such.”
“George, I like your honesty, and I could always use a hand keeping this place clean. I hate to say it, but a lot of the kids who stay here don’t seem to know how to pick up after themselves, let alone clean up. So if you can help me get this place a bit more ship-shape, you’re welcome to stay as long as you want.” He held out his hand, and we shook on the arrangement. “My name’s Frank, Frank Oberweise, and I hope you enjoy your stay.”
Frank pulls a tablet out from under the counter, taps a couple of tabs on the screen, then hands it and a stylus to me. “Just sign on the dotted line and I’ll give you a locker key so you have a secure place to stow your stuff. We don’t serve lunch here, just breakfast and supper, so if you’re hungry, you’ll have to hike back to downtown to get something to eat. Supper’s usually around eighteen hundred hours…sorry, 6 PM, and breakfast is around 6 AM.”
I contemplate signing my name in the Kanji characters my parents insisted I learn, but knowing George looks too much like a couple of ‘smiley faces’ separated by another emoji that might be mistaken for something pornographic, I use English. I hand everything back to Frank, and as he hands me my locker key, I ask about his use of odd terms. “I’m fine, Frank, grabbed a bite to eat before I walked out here. Interesting way you told me the time…you ex-military?”
Frank smiled. “Busted. Yeah, I was in the Navy, a twenty year man. Then I came back here hoping to get a job with one of the mills…only to find they were all on their last legs. So I just rattled around, doing odd jobs and such, until the city decided to open this place. Being vet doesn’t mean as much as it used to, but it was enough to get me hired. So now I’ve got my pension and a little something on top of that for tending to this place. Not a bad gig, if you can get it.”
“I’ll take your word for it. I don’t think the military would have me, even if I volunteered.”
Frank begins leading me down a hall, but glances back to sweep his gaze over me again. “Why not? I hear the Army will take anyone with a pulse and the a voice to say ‘Take me!’”
I give him a smile, knowing that if I told him I was already dead, it wouldn’t go over well. “Bad heart. Not enough to keep me from walking,” I add as his eyes widen “but enough for me to not be considered fit for combat.”
“Well, you’ve got the right attitude, I’ll give you that. ‘Never give up ’til the game’s up!’, as the saying goes.” We stop in front of a row of lockers that wouldn’t have been out of place in my old high school’s gym. Frank gestures towards one. “Here’s your locker, number 23.” He points down the hall to an open door. “That’s the main sleeping area. It’s three-high bunk beds like we had on the Ike, the Dwight D. Eisenhower, without the chains to fold them up when they’re not in use. Most of them are in use, but we tell people who don’t want to give up their rack to tie something to it to let others know it’s occupied. So all you need to do is find one without any decoration, and you’re good.” He points to another, closed door at the end of the hall. “Men’s bathroom is behind that door,” he sweeps his hand towards a second closed door on the opposite side of the hall from the sleeping area. “Women’s bathroom is in there, and unless you’re trans, stay out. Trying to ‘get some’ here is frowned on. We’ve got small, private cubicles for folks who are married or couples down at the other end of the hall, in the old offices. But we’ve had too many guys decide that a woman on her own is ‘fair game’ to let it slide, so just remember to leave them alone, and it’s all golden.”
“Fair enough, Frank, and thanks for heads up. When do you usually clean? If I’m going to earn my keep, it’d be a good idea for me to know when I have to report for work.”
Frank nods. “Yeah, it would. Most folks are out the door before nine, unless the weather’s epically bad, so I usually start cleaning around ten. I’m usually done before noon, so the two of us should be able to get things squared away by eleven. If you’re willing to pack your lunch, that’d give you six, maybe seven hours on the trail.”
“Okay, Frank, I’ll be ready to pitch in tomorrow. For now, I think I’ll stow my stuff, find a bed, then I think I’ll take a quick hike to get a feel for the trail.”
“Sure thing. Have fun, and I’ll see you later.”
I watch Frank walk off before opening the locker. The inside isn’t spotless, but it’s far cleaner than any locker like this I’ve ever seen. I don’t need it, but I grab my rain coat out of my duffel before pulling a spare shoestring out to serve to mark whatever unclaimed bunk I can find. No surprise, all the bunks near the entrance sport some sort of marker, but I’m not interested in having a bunk near the exit. At the back of the room, I find an entire tower of bunks without any sort of marker on them. Why none of them has an occupant I neither know nor care. I whip my shoestring into a neat bow on the bottom bunk and head back towards the entrance. Frank isn’t there, but there is a stack of maps for the Trail on the counter. I take one and head out.
The reason I’m in Eubanks is because of the stories surrounding the Pacific Coast & Central Oregon Trail. It had started life as a robust shortline railroad, one stretching from the Pacific coast at Bandon to places like Eubanks. It’s life blood had been hauling finished lumber, and when public sentiment turned against clear-cut mountainsides, it had died along with the logging industry. I’d been drawn to it not just by reports of spirits, but by the sudden change in the behavior of those spirits.
Local folklore said that, on the final day the Pacific Coast & Central Oregon operated, an old hobo that had ridden the rails many times had committed suicide. He had done this perhaps the most symbolic of ways, by stepping in front of that last train as it hit the bottom of a steep grade on the edge of Eubanks. For years afterwards, locals said you could sometimes see the shadowy shape of a man in ragged clothing standing in the middle of the old tracks. When the state had decided to convert the abandoned right-of-way into a hiking trail, workers supposedly experienced odd events, ranging from cold chills in the middle of hot days to upended water coolers. After the trail opened, hikers reported seeing what became known as the Shadow Man near the spot where the hobo had taken his life, but beyond a vague shape seen from the corner of an eye, no further interactions were reported.
That changed four years ago. A female hiker descending the old grade saw something dark flit across the trail. But instead of an encounter with the now legendary Shadow Man, she faced a presence that shoved them violently back. When the hiker again tried to advance, a form appeared before her, not a vague shadow, but as what the hiker described it, more like a black hole cut into reality itself.
The encounter caused the hiker to flee back up the trail, where she met a party of hikers coming down. None of the group was willing to believe that she had experienced the events she described, but her fear was so obvious none of them could completely dismiss her either. Whether because of their numbers, or some other reason, the hikers saw nothing.
The event was almost forgotten when another female hiker had a similar, but far more violent encounter. Again, the woman was walking alone when a black shape slammed into her, knocking her to the ground. When she tried to get up, the shape enveloped her, restraining her from moving until a male hiker coming up the trail arrived. His description of the event was that he saw the woman on the ground, struggling inside what looked like a small bank of dark fog. When he approached, the fog dispersed, leaving the woman screaming on the ground.
After that, other strange events occurred, all of them involving single female hikers. They also involved only women who were headed towards Eubanks, never away from the town. But why they happened, I had no clue, and with only women encountering what I was sure was a spirit, no foreseeable way of finding out what was going on. But I knew I had to find a way to discover what was happening, before more violent, possibly even fatal, encounters occurred.
With nothing else to do, I make the short walk to the trail head and start trudging away from town. According to the map, the spot where everything happened is almost two miles away from the hostel, but I only make half of that before the first rain drop smacks down on my head. Being undead, I don’t need my raincoat, but I know if I’m not wearing it, I’ll have questions asked of me that I’d rather not have to answer, so on it goes. My destination comes into sight as what has become a light sprinkling of large drops turns into a true downpour.
The hill looms before me, its upper slope obscured by the rain. Water is already beginning to course down the trail, the innumerable rivulets of muddy water bearing everything from pine needles to pieces of trash. The spot where I am standing is actually the top of an old cement culvert, it’s low buttressed edges still exhibiting the neat work done by the railroad engineers who built it decades ago. What is perhaps a quiet stream now rushes in a growing torrent out of the hills to pass through it.
I can see why the hobo had chosen this spot to end his life. The trail rises straight before me, but the angle is such that a train could never stop in time to miss a man. Beyond that, there is also a peace here in this isolated place filled with the sound of flowing water. I lean on the cold concrete of the downhill side of the culvert, letting that peace flow into me as I watch the stream rush away below me.
I feel a chill in the air that has nothing to do with the rain, the sort of coldness I know comes only from the presence of another spirit. The feeling shifts, and just as sunlight changes where your body is warm as the Sun moves, I know that the spirit is no longer behind me, but moving around to my left. I turn my head and see a vague, dark shape, the rain falling through it, move to stand beside me.
“You’re the man who killed himself here, aren’t you?”
I see motion in the form, like a ghostly head nodding agreement.
“But you aren’t the one who’s been attacking those women, are you?”
Now the form grows more distinct, and I can see, like a sepia-toned image, an old man in ragged clothing. His face sports a scraggly beard, like he hasn’t shaved in days, and a frown is etched deep into his face as he shakes his head. His arm rises, and he points down the course of the stream. I look, but see nothing through the falling rain. “What’s there?”
The form starts to fade, and I reach out to grab its arm. My undead flesh makes it solid enough for me to hold the arm, and the Shadow Man with it, in place. The face changes, shock registers in the man’s eyes, then fear at what he must realize is no ordinary encounter. I lean towards him, intent on getting an answer.
“What were you trying to tell me? What’s down there?”
The Shadow Man tries to pull away, but he can no more escape me than a mortal man could someone holding their arm. The face become even more sharply defined, like he is coming more into the world with me, and out of his mouth, I hear a voice filled with fear reply.
“What are you?”
“I’m dead, like you. But unlike you, I seek to protect the living from harm.”
“But I never hurt nobody!”
I easy my grip on his arm, not quite letting go, but no longer the fixed grip of someone determined to hold on no matter what. “I know that, but something has been attacking women, right here.” The Shadow Man stops trying to get away from me, and I release him completely. “I need to know what it is, and if you know, why it’s doing what it is. I want to stop whatever it is before it hurts one of those women.”
“It ain’t tryin’ ta hurt them women, it’s tryin’ ta save’em! I saw it…I saw it and I didn’t believe it. He brought her down here, I think he was gonna dump her body in the creek, but she weren’t dead yet.” The old man looks away, visibly shaking at the memory of what he must have seen. “I saw him beat her head with a big ol’ branch, beat it til her brains was splashed all over the place. Then he cussed her, called her a dirty whore and things I never heard before, an shoved her in the creek. It’s her what’s goin’ after them women, an she scares me! She’s so bent on keepin’ them women from goin’ to that place that I’m a’feared she’s gonna hurt one of’em bad.”
There is a moment’s pause as the horror of what this lonely spirit must have witnessed sinks in, but the true terror of what he has seen is far from over.
“She ain’t the only one he brought out here. I seen him bring five others, but they was all dead already. He’s got one a them noisy things they drive around here ta work on the old line, and he always has’em trussed up on the back…like they was deer or somethin’!” Shadow Man fixes me with eyes that are haunted by something worse than death.”Mister, I don’t rightly know what ya are, but ya gotta stop him!”
“I’ll do what I can, but I need to know who it is…who’s killing these women?”
“I don’t know him, but he’s got a tattoo right here.” He raises his hand to point to his neck. “A tattoo o’ an anchor, like the sailors I knew who come back from the War had.”
Frank! So much for the friendly old man and not bothering the unaccompanied women. “I’ll do what I can. When was the last time you saw him out here?”
“Couple o’ months, maybe. He brought her out here on a day just like this, an dumped her in the creek like she was garbage. Why you wanta know?”
“Because I can either tell the police what he’s doing…or I can kill him myself. If there’s evidence, if the police can find a body, or even bones, then they might do arrest him. Do you know where this creek goes?”
“Sure, down ta the Coquille River, then ta the Pacific. Why?”
Damn, not promising. “Because if there was a dam or something else that might snag a body, the chances that someone would have found an unidentified body would go up. If it’s just fairly straightforward run down to the ocean, then we’re screwed.” I fix the man before me with my eyes. “What about the woman, the one who’s trying to stop others from being killed? Is she here all the time?”
“Yeah, but she don’t like it when men are around. Ever time they’re around, she stays away. I think she’s afraid o’em, not that I can blame her.”
I turn around slowly, addressing myself to the empty space around me. “If you’re here, I need your help. I want to stop Frank from killing any more women, but I need to know who you were. Help me, please.”
“I was Margaret Olesen.”
The voice seems to echo out of the culvert below me, like the young woman who’s voice I hear is trying to hide from me. I respect her desire to remain unseen. “Margaret, how did you meet Frank?”
A form, blacker than anything I have ever seen, appears before me, and the voice I hear has no fear in it, only anger.
“Meet? All I did was show up at the hostel looking for a place to sleep. Do you think I came onto that creep, that I wanted that old pervert to try to rape me? Or maybe it was my fault he beat the shit out of me before shoving…things into my body because he couldn’t get it up?”
I hold up my hands, hoping to placate the angry spirit in front of me. “No, I don’t think any of those things. I’m just trying to get enough information so I can go to the police and present them with enough evidence to start an investigation.” Even as I say it, I know there’s no way to get the police to investigate. I’m just a visitor, while Frank’s a life-long resident. And how could I explain knowing that Frank used this remote site as the dumping ground for his victims? If I told the cops my information came from the spirit of one of the dead women ad the legendary Shadow Man, they’d either laugh me out the front door or have me committed for a mental evaluation. No, there was no way to bring Frank to justice for what he’d done…at least not to any justice through regular means.
I sense both of the spirits with me waiting, and I know there is only one answer I can give to them. “I promise, Frank will never kill another woman, I’ll stop no matter what I have to do. Do you believe me, Margaret?”
The black shape takes on form, becoming a scared young woman with long hair as dark as the form she had been, disheveled clothing and bruises around her neck. Her eyes lock onto mine and after a moment, she nods her head. “I believe you will do what you say. Save them, Undead Hunter.”
I had never thought of myself as anything but George Ishkowa until the spirit of a dead woman gave me that name, but I liked the label. “I will, Margaret, I swear.” The woman fades away as if the rain has washed her from the face of the Earth, and I turn to the other spirit. Shadow Man is still there, but he too has faded, now barely more than an afterimage of a person floating in space. “I never asked you who you were. Everyone calls you Shadow Man now, but you were once someone. People should know your name.”
The outline solidifies, the old face gives me a wane smile. “I was Paul Bower, an I served in the first War. After I got back…well, after ya been through the Meuse-Argonne, goin’ back ta a reg-u-lar life ain’t easy. When the market crashed, an my logging job disappear’t, I took ta the rails. Bein’ free ta go where ever the rails could take me, it were better’n anythin’. So I jest stuck with it. When there weren’t no more rails ta ride, I figured it’d be better ta go out that way. So here I am.” He swept his arm around. “It didn’t really hurt, dyin’ like that. An I’ve had a chance to see lots since then.” Paul stopped, and like Margaret, he fixed my eyes with his. “You keep yer promise, hear? Kill that sumbitch if that’s what it takes, but you keep yer damned promise. I don’t wanna see him drag a nother woman out here, ever.”
My Dad had been a Marine, and his stories of the Corp had included the heroics of the Marines at the Meuse-Argonne. I hold my hand out to Paul, and he takes. “I will, Marine. Semper Fi.”
I see his head cock to one side. “Yer too young ta be a Marine.”
“My Dad, he was a Marine, 2nd of the 5th, If I didn’t show my respect to a Marine, he’d find me and kick my ass, dead or not.”
Paul laughs, the first joyful noise I’ve heard from him. “Well, yer Dad raised a good kid, so I’m countin’ on ya ta take care a this.”
With that, his form faded away, leaving my hand hanging empty in mid-air, and my mind still unsure how I will solve the problem I face.
The hostel is packed when I arrive just before darkness falls. I don’t go looking for Frank, I just walk back to the bunk room, stopping to grab dry clothing from my locker so I can change. I drape my wet gear from the bunk above me, letting the water drip onto the floor beside me. The small drips are the last thing I hear as I bring silence into my mind, the closest thing I have to sleep in my undead state. When my mind swims back to the surface, the Sun is streaming in the windows. I rouse myself and find that it is late, nearly ten, and I am no closer to knowing what to do about Frank than I was when I’d laid down. I walk out to find him sitting behind his counter, looking comfortable in his surroundings. He must have seen me, as his head turns my way and he gives me a smile.
“I was wondering if you were going to get up, or if I’d have to come kick you out of your bunk. What happened to all that talk about wanting to earn your bed here?”
He’s so cheery a part of me has trouble believing he’s a serial killer. “Sorry, I guess I slept a lot longer than I’d thought I would, but I’m ready to work now.”
“You sure? I can wait a bit before I start if you want to grab a bowl of cereal or something.”
“No, I’m fine. Let’s get things cleaned up and squared away.”
Frank comes out from behind the counter and leads me down the corridor I hadn’t been down to a blank double door opposite a broad open space that must be the eating area. They open to reveal a small, cramped room stuffed with cleaning supplies and spare linens. Frank motions towards a vacuum cleaner. “Why don’t you take that to the bunk room and start cleaning up. I’ll bring down a cart with fresh sheets and pillow cases as soon as I can get them loaded.”
I do as I’m told, and have the first aisle between the towers of bed cleaned before Frank arrives, a low cart loaded with sheet in front of him and a canvas hamper on rollers behind him. He set about stripping bunks and I know I have to confront him, now, while we’re alone. I stop cleaning and turn the vacuum off. In the sudden silence, I ask Frank about Margaret.
“Hey, Frank, what do you know about Margaret Olesen?”
He almost suppresses his reaction, but I catch the hesitation as he flicks a sheet out before beginning to tuck it in.
“You don’t have to lie, Frank, I know what you did.”
Franks stops and slowly stands up. “You know what?” He looks me up and down, a man easily a head taller than me, and I can almost hear the contempt in his expression. He turns back and continues working his way around the mattress, making every corner the same ‘hospital corner’ my military-trained father had taught me.
“I know you killed her after you raped her. You beat her to death beside the creek, then you threw her body in the water and let it wash away the evidence of your crime.” Frank freezes, and I continue. “I also know you’ve killed at least five other young women, and dumped their bodies at the same spot.” He turns, straightening as he does so, and I press on. “Were there others, Frank? And why did you do it? Why did you have to kill them?”
Perhaps he thought he could overpower me in a rush, because Frank crosses the space between us in a handful of quick strides, and his hand wrap around my throat as he begins to shout at me.
“Why? Why not! Just more stupid sluts, walking around almost advertising that they want to get fucked. Then a real man approaches them, and suddenly they’re Miss Chastity.”
I can feel Frank’s fingers digging into my neck, but when I don’t struggle, or show any sign of folding, I see the triumph in his face change to confusion. That’s when I use the self-defense training Dad gave me, bringing my arms up between Frank’s, breaking his grip. He stares at me, gasping from his effort to strangle me.
“How…how are you not down? Why aren’t you unconscious?”
“Do you remember me asking you about Margaret Olesen? I know what you did to her because she told me.” Frank’s eyes open wide, and he begins to back away from me. “You have to realize something, Frank: you can’t kill someone who’s already dead…like me.”
He turns to run, but I land a kick to the back of his knee that drops him. As he struggles to get back on his feet, I grab the cord of the vacuum, loop it around his neck, and pull it tight. Frank claws at the cord, but he can’t get his fingers between it and his neck. I pull tighter, and his face turns a dark, almost purple shade. As his efforts become more frantic, I lean down next to his ear to whisper the last thing he will ever hear in his ear.
“I swore I’d never let another human be killed by an evil spirit, but you’re not human, Frank. I can’t tell the cops how I know what I know about you, but I can make sure you never kill another innocent woman.” Frank begins to beat his hands on the floor and thrash about, but it’s an effort in vain. His movements become less coordinated, then slowly subside. I keep the cord tight around his neck until I smell his bowels empty, then I let him drop. I retrieve my clothing from where it had hung, take it out and stuff it into my duffel. I have a few hours to get out of town, and I can think of no better way to do so than to walk down the trail where I’d met the victim of Frank Oberweise. Down the trail, to Bandon and the Pacific beyond, to my next task.