“No. I didn't. I didn't want to. I didn't mean to.” He covered his ears with his stained hands. “He made me do it. He killed you.”
“I warned you not to listen to him. I warned you about his powers.”
“Oh. Shut up,” Michael yelled. He picked up a bottle to slam against the mirror. Shattered pieced of the mirror landed in the basin. And on the floor. He laughed. “That will shut you up.” Michael stepped out of his shoes. Set the shower to warm. Stepped beneath the flow to wash the blood from his clothes, and body. He stood there until the water ran cold. His wet clothes lay in a heap on the floor of the shower stall. Calmed in his mind by the time he stepped out to dry his body. Pleased his mother wasn't able to see him. “Bloody pest.” He smiled. Pleased with himself she had been exterminated in body. All he had to do was be rid of the rest of her.
“I heard you, Michael. You may have hidden the body. But. You can't keep me quiet. Your secrets will be exposed. Eventually.” a hideous laugh echoed in the bathroom before she left.
“Ah. Shut up. I'll find a way to squash your spirit,” Michael cursed. He made his way to the bedroom. Found some dry clothes to put on. Slowly. He made his way down the stairs to the study. Michael went to the wet bar to pour a whiskey. Straight. No water. No ice. He downed the drink in one gulp. Went to sit in the chair to see what had happened since he last tuned in. Closing his eyes. He waited. Frowned.
The scene hadn't changed. Except there were a few extra people moving around the bedroom taking photos. Searching for clues. The wife of Billy lay on the bed with the dagger in her chest. Yeah. War axe hadn't been moved from the man's back. “Can't see his face,” flashed through his mind. “I wonder if...” A female scream interrupted his thoughts.
Sergeant Rowlins had screamed. The scream had left her mouth before she was able to stop it.
Everyone stopped working to stare at her.
“Haven't been to a murder scene before,” asked Detective Fireside.
“I've attended many a murder scene, Sir. But. Not one where a body. Moved.”
“Moved,” came a sceptical reply.
“Yes. Moved. Like he was rolling over.” She demonstrated with her hands. “When I screamed. The body feel back into place.”
“Dead bodies don't move,” said Fireside.
“Rowlins is right.” Heads turned in the direction of the photographer.
“Not you. Too. Burns.”
Ray Burns walked to where Fireside stood. He clicked the camera to show the proof.
“Well. I'll be. How did that happen?” Fireside looked closer at the bed. No way was anyone able to crawl beneath the bed.
Fast moving boots pounded up the stairs. A breathless Terri came to a stop at the doorway. Two officers were right behind her.
“What happened? Who screamed,” puffed Terri.
“You shouldn't be up here,” snapped Fireside.
“Why didn't you stop her,” he growled at his officers.
“Run, rabbit, run,” replied one officer. “Have you ever tried to catch a fleeing, rabbit?”
“What has. Are you trying to be funny?”
“He means. They didn't have a chance of stopping me,” replied Terri. “I was the one to find my sister.”
“Did your sister ever suggest she believed this house to be.” Fireside glares at Rowlins. She stopped talking.
“Suggest what,” asked Terri. “What have you found?”
“Haunted,” finished Rowlins.
Terri shrugged. “Never mentioned anything strange, happening. Who is the dude with the axe in his back?”
“Dude. He's not,” Fireside asked, with a searching look.
“No. He's not her husband. Billy is away. Suppose to be working on a new novel.”
“Have you contacted him?”
“No. He's unreachable when at the cottage. Doesn't like to be. Disturbed.”
Fireside walked over to the chair to search the pockets of the clothes. He extracted a wallet from the pocket of the trousers. He opened it. Cursed.
“Has your sister mentioned a man by the name of, Lindsay Cox?”
“No. Does he have a family in this area?”
“No. Not of this area.”
“Jessica. What have you done,” wailed Terri, turning to leave the room.
“Interesting,” announced Fireside. He stared at the bodies. All eyes were trained on them to see if either one moved. The chiming of the grandfather clock broke the silence.
“Where does the wife live,” asked Rowlins.
“How did you know he had a wife?”
“The way you looked at the photo you quickly slid back into the wallet. Might be his sister,” she suggested.
“Either way. They have to be told. And we have to notify the husband. Where ever he is,” said Fireside, wondering what other pieces of this tangled web was yet to come to light.
He started toward the doorway. He ordered. “Keep a close eye on the bodies until they are ready to be moved. I'd like to know who else might have an interest in the identity of the male victim. Have a feeling he happened to be in the wrong place.”
“Move it, Rowlins,” fireside called on his way out the doorway. She shrugged. Took off at a run to catch up with him. He stopped. She nearly ran into the back of him. He stared at the other weaponry on the wall on the entrance hall.
“I suppose we can be thank our lucky stars the murder didn't use the ball, and chain. That wound have made a right mess of the victims. Those spikes look deadly.”
“Do you watch a lot of gruesome movies. Or did you use one in a past life,” asked Rowlins.
“I see enough battle scared victims every day in this job.” He headed for the front doorway. “What do you know about past lives?”
“No much. Not my cup of tea, Sir.”
“Have ant idea what moved the body?”
“Wasn't moved with strings. Not sure how might weight a ghost can lift.”
“Ghost,” snapped Terri. “What ghost. I've never seen one. Is there...”
“The sergeant consumed giggle juice with her breakfast,” Fireside answered.
“We need the address where to find the husband.” Rowlins flipped open her notebook. She wrote down the address. Told them how to reach the cottage.
“Do you want me to show you the way,” Terri offered.
“No, thank you. Maybe you have other close family who need to know. Take Constable Snow with you. He can take your statement. And any other information the family can supply.” Terri walked on shaky legs knowing what she faced on seeing the family.
“Give your car keys to Snow. You're not in a fit state to drive.”
Terri walked around to the passenger side of her car. Opened the door. Got in. Closed the door before resting back against the seat.
“Where to,” asked Constable Snow, after he started the engine. Terri gave him the address of her parents home.
Billy was woken from his drunken stupor by loud banging on the cottage door. His head echoed in time with each bang. Muscles protested any movement. Billy had fallen asleep at the table his head rested on his folded arms. He groaned. His head didn't feel like a part of his body. Too heavy. Standing slowly from the chair. He made his way to the front door. The banging persisted.
“Stop the noise,” said Billy, holding his hands to his ears waiting for the noise to stop. “Where's the fire,” he asked on opening the door.
“Billy Marshall,” asked the strange voice. He slowly raised his head. Placed a hand up to shade his eyes from the glare of the sun.
“Yes. What can I help you with?”
Fireside reached for his badge to produce it. “Detective Fireside.” He nodded to Rowlins. “Sergeant Rowlins. We'd like a word with you. May we come in.”
“Why are you here?” Billy blinked. A thought flashed through his mushy brain. “Who sent you. Not many people know where I am.”
“Terri Wise gave us directions to the cottage.”
“What had Terri done. Why didn't you go to her family. Or Jessica.”
“Where have you been in the past twenty-four hours?”
“Here. I haven't left since I arrived. Why?”
“Your wife has been murdered.” Billy's eyes backward before he collapsed to the floor.
“Well. Done. Sir,” said Rowlins. “You sure know how to deliver a punch without using a fist.”
“Smart ass. Go find a bucket of water.”
“No need.” She walked to the tap where there was a hose. “Pull him outside.” She turned on the tap when she picked up the hose.
“You can't use that,” he said, shocked at her actions.
“Who said I can't?”
“Oh. Look at the luxury liner. What I'd give to be out there.”
“Where?” Fireside turned in the direction of her pointing finger. While he searched for the non existent ship to find a person on a sailboard, she turned the hose on Billy.