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.
- Dear Ellie - Part 17
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price.
Previously we left Ellie and Stella standing at the door of room 235, and we know strange things happen in room 235.
Back home the number 235 kept appearing over and over in Ellie's mind. It had to be room 235 at the Brownsville building. She was on the phone to Stella.
"Stella, please. We have to go back to Brownsville. It's room 235 again, Something's there. We have to find it."
By this time Stella was beyond weary. "Honey, now listen. We were jus' there. There ain't nothing' happenin', at leas' not tonight."
"Oh, okay Stella. I'll go myself. Thanks for your time." The sarcasm in Ellie's voice was plain to hear.
"No, Honey. You stay right there. I'm on my way."
The sun was beginning to rise as the pair pulled into the nursing home parking lot. Knowing Ellie had just been released from the hospital was a concern for Stella. Ellie was once again ordered to stay put in the cruiser.
"No. Stella. I'm going in with you. I have to see for myself. I'm ready.for this. I really am."
The two made their way quietly to the elevator and pushed floor two. The elevator rose slowly at first, then jerked to a stop. Stella pushed the up button again, and the elevator continued uninterrupted to the second floor. The door opened, and the two continued down the hall to room 235. All was quiet.
Stella turned the knob and hit the light switch.
Stella entered the room first, followed by Ellie. The pressure was beginning to build. Ellie was about to see another side of Stella - an annoying side, and Ellie was just as annoyed. A quick observation brought disgust to Stella's face as she turned to Ellie. "There ain't nothin' here, Child - jus' an empty room. Ya wasted my time. Are ya satisfied now?"
"No. No, I'm not Stella. I know it's room 235. This is the place. With that, a rattling sound was heard coming from the only closet in the room. Then Ellie heard it. A child's voice was heard, although muffled by the closed door.
"Mommy! Mommy! Help me!"
Stella grabbed Ellie's arm as she ran to the door. "Hold on, now, Honey. I'm the one with the gun. We might need it." Carefully they approached the door together. Stella turned the knob and pulled. The door was locked from the inside.Stella tried to kick down the door but to no avail.
"Carrie, Sweetheart. Can you open the door?" Ellie wanted to know.
The door opened. The closet was empty. The lone light in the room began to flicker. As the light twinkled for the last time, a strange presence could be felt in the room. Stella reached for her pistol, then her flashlight. The strange presence began to collect itself in the closet entrance. The pale likeness of Rosie Spenser stood defiantly with crossed arms as evil poured from her visage.
"I told you once. I do not tell you again. You have reaped the fruit of your disobedience."
Ellie fell to her knees before the figure. "How have I disobeyed? Please, where's my Carrie?"
"I told you to never, NEVER, come here again. As for your Carrie, you have reaped what you have sown. She is gone - never to return to you. I have taken Carrie's soul, and if you do not leave now, I will have yours as well."
Stella pulled Ellie to a standing position. Ellie had no plans to leave without Carrie, but Stella's reason won. They would fight another day.
Larson was having a fit. Stella was loving it! "Wha's the problem, Big L?"
"Don't call me Big L again! I'm the detective. You're just . . . just . . ."Larson finally spit it out - "just a cop. The lab just called. The Branson DNA results have been compromised. I can't prove anything from that cord now."
Stella finished her thought aloud. "You never could anyway."
"Washington, you know Branson's guilty. He sabotaged the results to protect himself. What are we going to do?"
"What are we gonna do? You're the detective. I'm jus' a cop. So, ya do realize Branson is in jail. He could hardly sabotage the results. He has no access to 'em anyway. He couldn't contaminate them if he wanted to. Ya need to think things through, Detective. Now, I've got work to do. 'Scuse me."
Are you Detective Material?
Stella hurried through her day. She knew, at some point, Ellie would want to go back to the Brownsville building. Ellie heard the warning, but Stella knew that wouldn't deter her. After all, she's a mother searching for her missing child.
The day Stella's child was taken remained vivid in her mind even though it was years ago. To Ellie, it was Carrie calling through the closet door at the abandoned nursing home. To Stella, it was Alise. Her mind was flooded with distant memories making it difficult to concentrate. She remembered her vow to find her daughter never counting the cost.
The men at the precinct were no help to her. Larson was her biggest critic, constantly finding problems with her work and never offering any encouragement or support. She couldn't understand why. She gave the West Mifflin police 110% effort every day. She deserved better.
On the job, she was as tough as any other man on the force. She stood up to them without wavering on a daily basis. When making arrests, she knew how to handle herself and get the job done. In short, there was no one better. Perhaps that was the problem.
Long ago, Stella had learned to turn her job face on and off. Despite her tough exterior, she was still a mother whose missing child has never been found. When she wasn't serving as a cop, she resorted to tears.
At the end of the workday, she turned the switch and allowed the tears to flow freely. She began to think about the previous night and day. Questions entered her mind that she'd rather not face at the present, but couldn't ignore. Her thoughts turned to Carrie.
Ellie's pain reminded her so much of her own. The circumstances were different, but Stella understood what Ellie was going through. Working the case with Ellie was becoming more difficult day by day. Every time Stella looked into Ellie's eyes, guilt rose to the surface. How could she have allowed her little Alise to be taken so quickly and so easily? How could she have been so careless? Her life would never be the same. The loss of her daughter drove her mad at times. Time doesn't heal all wounds, and this was one of the ones that kept bleeding. Day after day, Ellie would remind her of her loss.
Stella began to think. "I know Scott's innocent. Larson on the other hand - why is he so intent on arresting Scott? If I didn't know better, I might suspect him of the Branson abduction. But I do know better. Larson might be a creep, but he's not a kidnapper. Now, if I could find my Alise. If I only could!"
© 2017 William Kovacic