The Keyhole Killer

Orville Barker was an unassuming young man, especially for these parts. It made it very easy for him to find a job when he walked in to Wide River last month. Nellie over at the restaurant and boarding house took him in for his first few nights and quickly saw what a good worker he was after he traded dish washing and cleaning for board. She’s the one that recommended him to Miss Opus over at the hotel when she needed a new night clerk. Orville was a drifter though. Never stayed long in any one town to make too many friends. He preferred it that way. He also preferred towns on what the miners referred to as the gold line. Trails where there were towns every fifteen miles or so and close to the next mine. They could blow into town, work for a few days, then blow on to the next one. It wasn’t the miners he appreciated though. He appreciated the ladies that followed the miners and stayed at nice, cozy, safe, places like Miss Opus’.

Word travels fast along the gold line if it involves gold finds, but not much about anything else. People came and went for the month Orville worked in Wide River. Miss Opus found more ladies skipped out on paying in the middle of the night after Orville came and she began to suspect him of letting them leave without paying, so she fired him. Everything returned to normal and bills were paid upon checkout just as they had always been. Miss Opus found herself working all day and night again though and late one evening a week later, a young lady inquired about a room for the night, looking quite disheveled. Miss Opus, concerned as any proper lady would be, asked if everything was alright. The tale the young lady told turned Miss Opus’ ears white. Other women sitting in the lobby overheard her tale and chimed in with what they had heard about the man they nicknamed “The Keyhole Killer.”

Miss Opus began to shake as the ladies described a man they think has been killing women for the last four years on the gold line. He was an unassuming young man with well-groomed hair, and always likes extra starch on his shirts. Miss Opus called the sheriff and told him all about the lady’s stories and that she feared her customers had not actually skipped out on their bills.

Sheriff Glen and Roger searched the hotel from to bottom and all they found were sketches of women through a keyhole in his former room, and six human hearts placed in the shape of a keyhole with three empty spots just outside his window hidden by some scrub.



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