Authors note: This is a work of fiction. It does not reflect any actual events, and all of the characters are fictional. Any similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.There is a real city of Oceanside, California. It’s San Diego County’s third largest city with a below-average crime rate.
The Grand Pacific Hotel is fictional, but during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were at least two similar resort hotels that did exist, primarily serving railroad passengers and tourists as described in this book.
— Tom Morrow
The GP Hotel case was finally closed. What was not closed was the Dobbins murder case. And there was no telling when it would. The main suspect, the son, Homer Dobbins, Jr., had disappeared and there was no sign of his whereabouts. He had totally vanished.
“Think we’ll ever find him?” Joe asked Danny on a quiet, lazy Friday afternoon at the office some three months later.
“Hell, I don’t know. Maybe one day he’ll show up somewhere looking like something dragged from hell. Who knows?”
“You know his wife has filed for divorce?”
“Yeah, so I’ve heard. Also heard she’s taken over her father-in-law’s estate and has put the old guy in an assisted living apartment.”
“Well, that’s good. He should be in good hands there. Apparently his dementia has gotten a lot worse,” Joe said.
“Yeah, what a shame. He seemed like a nice fellow.”
“Saw where she’s put the house on the market.”
“No kidding. How much?”
“I don’t know. Might be able to pick it up for a song and dance. You interested or something?”
“Naw, not really,” Danny lammented. Though Yolanda has mentioned lately about buying a newer house with an extra bedroom.”
“Interest rates are real good right now,” Joe reckoned.
“Yeah, they are. It’s tempting to look around. Might find a deal.”
“What you and Sara doing this weekend?”
“Going on a picnic. Sara wants to go see the Palomar Observatory. She’s never seen it and wants too. I suggested the picnic.”
“Damn, I haven’t been on a picnic in years. They used to be fun. But I’m getting too old for that crap now,” Danny mumbled. “A tuna fish sandwich and a nap in my easy chair seems more fitting.”
“Haven’t been on many outings lately myself. But I’m looking forward to this one. Also, I’m kind of excited to get up in the mountains. It’s been awhile since I’ve been up on Palomar.”
“Good view up there, but, be sure and keep it on the road. You can go off the side and down a canyon real easy, we’ll never find you.”
“I’ll be careful. Look, I’m calling it a day. I’ll see you Monday.”
“Yeah, you have fun.”
The following morning was bright, clear, and nippy. So nippy in fact that Sara had to nudge the temperature up on the thermostat to knock the chill out of the room. Joe walked into the kitchen for a cup of coffee wearing some heavy-duty gloves just to make a joke about his girlfriend’s frugalness. Sara thought it was sort of funny. She poured him a cup and kissed him on the cheek.
“When do you want to head out?” Sara asked.
“I don’t know. How about nine-thirty. We’’ll take the scenic route. It’ll take us a little longer to get to the top. But the view is worth it. You’ll really love it.”
“I bet,” she countered. “You know since I’ve been here in Southern California, I’ve never gone up there. I’m looking forward to it. Do you supposed they’ll let us in the Observatory?”
“It’s quite the scenery up there. Take your camera. I think they have a little photo museum inside the dome.”
After enjoying their early morning coffee, reading parts of the newspaper, and packing a picnic basket, the couple took off just a little after nine. Joe would go through Pauma Valley on Highway 76 and pick up on County Highway S-6. It was the scenic route Joe wanted to take.
Once there, they started their climb on a very curvy road that had gorgeous views at every turn. Sara, thinking Joe was going too fast, urged him to be careful. While the scenery was beautiful, it could be deadly. A slight slip on the steering wheel could send them cascading down the mountainside and maybe never to be found.
About halfway up the mountain and in a very sharp bend, Sara got one of her paranormal feelings. It sent chills up and down her spin. She lightly grabbed Joe’s right upper arm and asked him to pull over. This neither were expecting.
“Oh, Sara, no. Are you having one of your apparition?”
“I think so. It feels like it.”
“Do you want to walk back there to where you felt it?”
“Yes, I need to. I really do need to take a look.”
Sara and Joe got out of the car and walked back some two hundred feet to the sharp curve where she felt her chill. The closer she got to the curve, the stronger the vibrations within her.
“You’re feeling it? How strong?” Joe asked.
“I’m feeling it and it’s getting stronger. Joe, there’s an unsolved death very near here. I know it.”
“You are sure?”
“Yes, I am.”
When they got to the outside of the curve, Sara looked down. It was very steep and woodsy. Somewhere at the foot of this fall, Sara felt death—a human death.
Joe made an attempt to go below but immediately discovered it was way too dangerous. If he fell, there was nothing he could grab to save his life. He, too, would surely die. Sara urged him back to the road. Joe called a friend at the California Highway Patrol and told him it might be important to send someone to check out the area below the curve.
Not wanting to have their day spoiled, Joe and Sara continued on their trip.
The following morning, a news radio reported:
“Sunday morning, the badly decomposed body of Homer Dobbins, Jr., of Oceanside, was found inside a stolen car at the foot of Palomar Mountain on County Highway S-6. He had been missing for….”