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Dear Ellie - Part 12



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

From Part 11

Larson's tough act didn't work so well. He mellowed out and took the time to offer Scott a cup of coffee. "Okay, let's try this again, Mr. Branson. Shall we? Without waiting for an answer Larson continued.

"Why did you attack David Martin?"

"He had been eyeing me up since the beginning of the press conference. Your Officer Alexander reminded me that Martin threatened to see me dead. He was mocking me the whole time. He was pushing me to do what I did."

Larson started the video from the beginning. After a few moments, he turned quickly to Scott. In surprise, Scott pushed his chair back.

"Mr. Branson, why did you move so quickly? Did you feel threatened? Why didn't you charge me like you did Mr. Martin? I'll tell you why, because you didn't really feel threatened by Mr. Martin. You panicked, and you were afraid he'd expose the truth - the truth that both of you were in on the kidnapping. Isn't that the way it really was?"

"So - are you going to arrest me?"


Larson glared hard at Scott. "Yes, but not today. We'll wait until your handwriting analysis proves you wrote the note."

"Look, Detective. Why would I write a note that would incriminate me? That would be stupid, don't you think?"

"I've never met a smart criminal. You're all stupid, don't you think? Now, get outta here before I change my mind."

Scott pushed in his chair and made his way toward the door as Detective Larson's phone rang. "Wait! Wait! Branson, sit down. We may be arresting you today after all. The results from your handwriting exam are done. I'll have them momentarily. Sit yourself down, Mr. Branson. Relax and enjoy your last moments of freedom."

Scott tensed up. His heart was pounding hard and fast. The three minutes it took for the results to be delivered seemed like three hours - maybe longer. How could he enjoy his last moments of freedom?

Stella knocked on Larson's door and delivered an envelope. Larson stood proudly as he waved the envelope above his head. His celebration turned deadly serious as he held the envelope in Scott's face. "And the winner is. . . 'The result of this handwriting comparison is inconclusive . . ."'

"Get outta here, Branson. I don't ever want to see your ugly face around this precinct again."

"Whoa, slow down. You have me here. I'm a person of interest - or so you say. I know my rights. I'm not leaving until you tell me the results. So let's have it!"

"Branson, shut up! Get outta here."

Scott took a deep breath, pushed in his chair and started for the door. "You will be hearing from my lawyer."

"Okay, Branson. Sit down."

Scott headed for the chair. I like Stella better. She calls me Mr. Branson."

"Mr. Branson, the long and the short of it is the results are inconclusive."

"Which means?

"Which means we cannot say you wrote the note. But . . . neither can we say you didn't. You're still under investigation, so don't get feeling too comfortable. Now, as I said before - "Get outta here."


Scott was dismissed just in time to start his night shift job at the gym. The sun was just beginning to set when Scott decided to call off work and head over to the Brownsville Golden Age Nursing Home. Ellie wouldn't need to know. He'd be back by the time his shift was supposed to be over.

Shadows covered the ground as Scott parked the car about three blocks away. He'd make the rest of the trip on foot. Carefully, he surveyed the situation and waited for total darkness to surround him before making his move. On the way, he passed a Burger King and thought, "Why not?" By the time Scott finished his meal, thick darkness covered the night. He crept back to the old, abandoned building that was once home to the aged.

He tried each door, but all were locked. Around back he found an old, rusty fire escape that led to the second floor. An open window was in plain view. Looking behind him, Scott hoisted himself up and crawled through the window.

Once inside, he turned on the flashlight he kept in his car. The building was covered in shadows that flickered in the waving light. He traveled down the corridor, keeping a close eye on the floor and walls. Anything might be a clue, and he didn't want to miss it.

Turning down the next hall, and in the distant dark, he could see a light shining under a door. Not wanting to get too close too soon, he took one more step, then listened. At least two voices could be heard, but no words were intelligible. He continued to listen. He could hear chairs being pushed across the warped floor. With just enough time, he made it around the corner and hid in a broom closet as three people walked by. It was too dark to recognize them.

The self-proclaimed detective remained in the closet long enough to be sure he was alone. Then he went back to the room where he had first seen the light and heard the voices. The door was locked.


The morning brought another visit from the West Mifflin Police Department which meant another visit to the precinct. Larson, Alexander, and Stella were all present at the interrogation. Ellie remained at home - clueless. She expected the worst.

Larson began. "Well, Branson - oh, excuse me, Mr. Branson. It seems like you made the Brownsville News. The picture is quite good." Larson threw a copy of the morning paper on the table in front of Scott. There could be little doubt. The composite drawing was a dead-ringer for Scott.

"So, what were you doing breaking into the Brownsville building last night?" Larson winked at Alex and Stella. "This is gonna be good. I can hardly wait to hear his explanation!"

"I was doing what you guys aren't. Finding my daughter."

"Oh, and so, did you find her?"

"Obviously not - but I will. I can promise you that. If you don't find her, I will,"

"Larson smiled his toothy grin of victory. "If she is to be found, we'll find her. You're going away to jail for a while for unlawful entry of a building. We can hold you on that until we can prove your part in your daughter's abduction."

"Then you'll let me know what you find out about those strange voices I heard last night, right?"

Larson just smiled again as he began to read Scott his rights.

Stella broke in. "Wait a minute! Wait a minute, Larson. She looked at Scott "What voices did you hear?"

"I don't know. I couldn't make out what they were saying, but there were three of them. I saw them as they were leaving."

"And they mus' have seen you, too. Tha's a pretty good likeness of ya in the paper."

Larson interrupted. Okay. Okay. Enough of the small talk. Let's get Branson taken care of and off to jail."

"Wait, Larson. Jus' hold on. Mr. Branson, you're not goin' anywhere jus' yet. What makes you so sure you gonna find your daughter, Mr. Branson?"

"It's a gut feeling, Officer Washington. Know what I mean?"

"I do. You, me, and Ellie are going to pay a visit to the nursing home tonight. We'll find your daughter. Meet me in the south lot at 11:45. I hear tha's when Rosie Sullivan's ghos' is to be the most active. Who knows? Maybe Rosie herself saw somethin' that can break the case."

Larson's patience was wearing thin. "Now, Washington. I'm the detective on this case. You're just a street officer. Don't tell me . . ."

"Oh, shut up, Larson. I'll see ya tonight in Brownsville, Mr. Branson."

Stella met Scott and Ellie at the abandoned building just as planned. The three walked carefully through the parking lot and tried unsuccessfully to enter by the side door. Scott led them to the fire escape. The three crept silently down the hall. Scott jumped. He felt someone or something pull him back. There were moans coming from down the hall in the opposite direction. The three followed the sounds.

Stella whispered, "Is that what you heard las' night, Scott?"

Inwardly, Scott beamed. He had graduated from Mr. Branson to Scott. "No, I could hear people talking last night. This isn't conversation. This is just plain weird."

They continued to follow the sounds. Stella focused her flashlight on each door as they passed. The moans grew louder. Finally, they came to room 235. As they stopped, so did the strange sounds from the other side of the of door.

Stella ordered everyone to stay close behind her. She would go first with her gun drawn. She slowly turned the knob. The door opened easily. She reached her hand along the wall in search of a light switch. After a few tries, she hit the switch. No light appeared. Just a thumping sound was heard. It was the ceiling fan. Stella tried again. This time she hit the lights. Although very dim, there was enough light to see the entire room.

The first things Ellie's eyes focused on were the sunken orbs of a rotted corpse hanging from the ceiling fan, held only by an old light cord wrapped securely around her neck. The body was still dancing from Stella's start-up of the fan. Ellie screamed. Scott held her close. Stella just looked on, jaw dropped and wide-eyed.

The skeletal remains were dressed in nurse's scrubs. Stella flashed her light on the name badge. It read, Rosie Spenser.

© 2017 William Kovacic

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