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 5
We last left Kinsley and Claire at the police station to be interviewed regarding their knowledge of George's murder. Steve West is the detective in charge.
Steve pressed on, “Mrs. Oliver, do you know what Jeffrey Harding does for a living?” Through tears, Claire shook her head. “Jeffrey Harding works for a secret government operation in Nevada called Area 51. We need to talk to him, but he won’t come in. Do you think you could get him to come in?”
The conversation was interrupted as Detective Keeler entered to deliver a note to Steve. While reading the note, it became plain to Claire and Kinsley something was wrong - just what, they couldn’t tell.
Steve stood. “Mrs. Oliver, that will be all. You may leave.”
Claire stood and pushed in her chair, almost running to the door. Kinsley was not so quick to leave. “What is it, Detective West?”
“It’s nothing, Ms. Oliver. You are free to go with your mother.”
“Wait a minute! We came down here to the station to give and get information concerning my father’s death. Now, what’s going on?”
“Keeler, show these ladies to the door, please.”
Another house to sell. Kinsley did her best to keep busy. Still, she grieved for her father. The property assigned to Kinsley had been on the market for a few weeks. Her work had fallen behind because of her father’s murder. It was past time for her to follow up with her client at Avens Court. Kinsley pulled into the driveway and walked to the door. Something strange was in the air even before she rang the doorbell.
No one came to the door. There was no indication of anyone living in the house at the present. She rang the bell again. Still no answer. Moving slowly she used her key to unlock the door and stepped inside. There was indeed something strange in the air.
The big-screen TV was blaring off the stand. A bathroom light glowed from the upstairs hall. A pan of water had boiled dry on the kitchen stove. But that wasn’t all. On the floor in front of the stove, a pile of women’s clothing and shoes sat. It looked as if the woman had just stepped out of them. The recliner in the living room took on a different look. Pajamas and slippers lay neatly on the chair. Pajama top resting against the back of the chair. Pants spread out on the seat as if someone was still wearing them. Slippers sat in an orderly position at the bottom of the chair.
In the playroom, a child’s doll and accessories remained scattered on the floor. A sippy cup of sour milk had been overturned, leaving a trail of dried milk on the carpet. Kinsley fought the urge to throw up. Nothing turned her stomach like sour milk.
Something supernatural seemed to fill the house, and Kinsley couldn’t decide if she should run or remain to investigate further. She entered one more room - The master bedroom. The pillow propped against the headboard; the blankets ruffled as if someone had been underneath them. A small, black book lay opened, facedown. She reached for the book and turned it over. It was the Bible.
Her first thought was, Nobody reads the Bible these days - poor confused souls. Then she noticed someone had highlighted certain verses with a yellow highlighter. The verses read, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Try as she may, she could not escape the images she saw. They continued to haunt her throughout the day and into the night. The eeriness clung to her and held her captive. Not sure what her mother may think, she was hesitant to talk to Claire. Her hesitation gave way to words.
“Mom, can we talk?”
Claire put down The Washington Post and looked at Kinsley. Her mother’s intuition told her something was deeply wrong. “What is it, Kins?”
“Mom, I went to the Smith home today. They called a while back wanting to sell. I just never got around to it until today. Nobody was home - or were they? I mean, Mom, the TV was playing. There was a pot of water that had boiled away on the stove. A baby’s bottle was on the floor with some toys. Of course, the milk was sour. You know I can’t stand sour milk. Isn’t sour milk the sign of a witch’s presence?
"But Mom, that is the easy stuff. The family’s clothes - it was like they just stepped out of them. Mrs. Smith’s dress and shoes were at the front of the stove. They were on the floor like they just fell off her body. Mr. Smith’s nightclothes was on his recliner. I could picture him sitting there fully dressed. Everything was in place, except him. He was definitely not there. The baby - her toys were just as she left them beside an empty diaper. Mom, it was just plain spooky. I’m trying to decide if I should report it to the police. Got some ideas?”
“I doubt there are any witches in the house. The Smith’s seem like good folks. It’s probably just a leftover from the catastrophe a few weeks back. Remember, President Dickinson said that a drastic change in air pressure was responsible for the removal of millions worldwide. My guess is the Smiths were just some unlucky ones who crumbled under the change.
But then again, there are always those crazy rumors that Christians would be removed from the earth in what they call the rapture - whatever that means. You know, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and all the goodie-two-shoes are removed to Heaven.”
“Mom, do you think . . . Never mind. Thanks for your help. I’m heading up to bed. See you in the morning.”
For days, the scene at the Smith’s house continued to surface in Kinsley’s mind, but then another thought began to invade her thinking. Temporarily distracted, her mission returned to what was important - finding her father’s killer.
A phone call may have sufficed, but she decided to drive to the police station. She knocked on Detective West’s door.
“Come in.” A disgruntled Kinsley pushed open the door. “Oh, Ms. Oliver! It’s so nice to see you. Have a seat, please. What can I do for you?”
“Detective, it’s been a week and a half since my dad’s murder. I want to . . . no, I need to - know why we’ve been kept in the dark about the investigation. I mean, we know nothing. You’ve said nothing. You’ve completely ignored the case. Why, Detective? Why?”
“Ms. Oliver, the case has been dismissed.”
“What! Why? You didn’t even tell us. I demand to know what this is about! Right now!” An irritated Kinsley stood as her voice raised.
“The case was closed because of a technicality in the investigation. It’s out of my hands - and yours. You need to go now.”
Detective Keeler bumped into Kinsley as she rounded the corner. “Oh, Ms. Oliver, I’m so sorry.”
“No, it’s my fault, Detective. I’m just so angry!”
“So Steve told you about the big payoff, huh? Yeah, that’s great! That deal probably saved my job. The department has been struggling lately, and without that big donation, it wouldn’t have been long until we go under. It’s just a shame it was your dad’s case they wanted to be dropped.”
Confusion filled Kinsley’s mind, but only for a moment. Then she played along. “Oh, yes, he told me all about it. He did forget to mention who it was that bribed you guys. I was wondering who that may be.”
“We don’t like to use the word bribe, but that would be a woman by the name of Marisol. Jeff Harding delivered the cashier’s check for two-and-a-half million dollars.”
Kinsley's jaw dropped. “Wait! Wait! Wait! Detective. You’re telling me your department took a bribe from one of the leading suspects?”
“Well, Ms. Oliver, It’s like this . . .”
“Keeler, stop taking Ms. Oliver’s time. Get to work. NOW!” From down the hall, an angry Detective West shouted.
Frustration flowed over Kinsley. If she had but a few more minutes, she may have been able to make sense of the situation. She knew of Jeff Harding, but who was Marisol? And what interest did she have in allowing George’s murderer to go free?
The police were of no help. She knew if she was to find the answers, she would have to take on the case herself. She wasn’t sure what that meant, but she had a place to start. She wasn’t sure where it would lead, but she had to see. She wasn’t sure what to do, but that didn’t matter.
The light turned red as Kinsley slowed down. The cell phone in her purse was ringing. She grabbed it before the light changed to green. It was Claire. “Kins, where are you? The police just pulled in front of the house. Maybe they have some news about your father’s death.”
“I’m on my way” - and the light turned green. Kinsley wasn’t sure how she could explain to Claire the police had no interest in the case, but she was curious why they were paying a personal visit to her home. She arrived just as the officers were unloading three boxes from the cruiser.
Claire was waiting at the door looking hopeful. The officers carefully placed the boxes on the porch and lifted a paper taped on the top box.
“What’s this?” Claire asked.
“This is a release form for your husband’s belongings. CSI confiscated them to process them as evidence in his murder investigation. You need to sign the form showing you received the items, and we’ll be on our way.”
“You folks are really proficient. I didn’t expect the case to be moving this quickly after our meeting with Detective West. Do you have some leads?”
The officer began to speak when Kinsley interrupted. “Thank you, officers. I’ll explain everything to Mom, Have a nice day!”
The officers made their way to their cruiser, leaving Kinsley and Claire on the porch with the boxes. They looked at each other.
“Mom, I don’t know how to tell you this . . .” Kinsley rehearsed the details of what took place earlier at the police station. Both broke down and cried.
The landline was ringing inside the house. Claire ran to get it.
“Hi, Claire. This is Jeff. I’ve been missing you. I was hoping maybe we could meet later tonight. How about The Ashburn Pub, 7:00 o’clock?”
“Oh, that sounds so nice, Jeff. That would be a welcomed relief after the day I had. See you then.”
Kinsley didn’t need to hear both sides of the conversation to know what was going on. “Mom, you can’t do this. That creep’s a suspect in my father’s murder - your husband, I might add. You could be next. You’re not leaving this house.”
“Kins, I don’t expect you to understand. I had a very hard day. I’m tired of the stress of these past few weeks without your father. I need to unwind, to relax. If George was here, it would be different, but he’s not. I’m going out tonight. End of discussion, young lady. Besides, I’m going to get him to confess.”
“Mom, you don’t expect me to believe that, do you?”
“No, now I need to get ready. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Kinsley sighed. “I hope so.”
- The Marisol Deception - Part 7
Kinsley has made an important discovery - and what is Claire doing now?
© 2019 William Kovacic