I, Miss Jane Davidson, fourth generation resident of Unpleasantville, met my demise doing what I loved most. At age sixty, I was still a dance instructor but. That day, I fell hard to the ground while giving my last class at Dreary Park within the shadow of the huge monolith landmark in the middle of the three-acre municipal grounds.
A widow since 1988, I never had kids and I was the last of the Davidson clan in Unpleasantville. My dance studio, situated at town center, and currently in the middle of a sale - will probably remain in probate until the courts decide how to rightfully dispose of it. My school pension, from thirty years as gym instructor at Unpleasantville Middle School, is also in question.
I was in great physical shape and had no major illnesses, my sudden drop to the ground in front of my class of twenty-one students while exercising to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” came as a shock to all, especially me.
My home at 916 14th Avenue, near the end of the Columbus Cul-de-sac, was the family home since my great-grandfather built it after the Civil War. We are among the oldest of residents here. Living alone in the huge, dark home at what residents considered the ‘empty house at the cul-de-sac’ afforded me the title of the mystery woman of the cul-de-sac and the only time I ventured out was to give my dance classes.
The official autopsy report showed a failed heart which was a mystery to all who knew me, we Davidsons have no history of cardiac issues. Everyone in my family died of natural causes within the history of the town and all within the city limits of Unpleasantville.
I mentioned my fear of an upcoming death to a few students. I never alluded to the how or the who, I just felt my time was coming. Local police had no leads to believe anything other than natural death as I had no enemies.
This marks the thirteenth death at Dreary Park, mysteriously, within the shadow of the monolith, all have been deaths deemed natural causes. I had just announced to my class that this was my final one as I was in the process of selling my house and entertaining my plans of officially retiring to Florida. I would be the first and only Davidson to leave.
Sale of the estate on 14th Avenue now has been halted as I never finalized the process. Some say my body will be buried within the domicile and kept in posterity by the City of Unpleasantville Grounds department. I requested cremation, I wanted my ashes spread outside city lines.
Many have called on action to the city council to dismantle and relocate the monolith at Dreary Park, an eyesore with no fully discernable form. The fact that many deaths have happened within its shadow has caused speculation of supernatural, occult-like incidents. The history of the obelisk isn’t truly known by townspeople or even the town historian or librarian. It is believed that the town of Unpleasantville was built around it.
A tribute to me was held at the town center which coincided with a “Dismantle The Monolith” rally begun by my old middle school students and my dance class students. City Council, the Mayor and Chief of Police expected a peaceful rally but braced for the worst – just in case. “It seems,” the Mayor said, “inhabitants of Unpleasantville never leave – we all die here.
Lou Normann credits Stan Lee, Rod Serling and TV episodes of Colombo as his inspiration for writing. The murder mystery thriller has been in his blood since he can remember. Telling stories came naturally from childhood. It was inevitable that his passion for words and language would turn into novels.