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Four rapid pounds rocked the house. Four more came, thundering through the door and vibrating the walls. I heard the racking of a shotgun to my right; it was Joe, taking aim at the door. I looked at the window and didn’t see the black-eyed inmate anymore. Joe raised the gun to his shoulder, lined up the sights and put his finger on the trigger, beginning to squeeze. “WAIT!” I yelled. Another rapid fire of four knocks came, but softer, not as earth shattering as the first two. “CITY POLICE!” a voice yelled from the other side.
“Put down the god-damn gun.” I growled through my teeth. The door was kicked open and three uniformed officers spilled into the front room. One called out my name and I stepped forward. “There a problem, officer?” I asked, extremely confused.
“You need to come to us. We have a warrant for your arrest in connect to the murder of Teresa Miller.”
“Who?” I asked, raising my hands not resisting. It took me a second before I put it together, the receptionist at Taylor’s job. “Wait…she’s dead? I just saw her not half an hour ago.”
The lead police officer stopped when I said that and gave me a side-long glance. He ushered me to his police car and shoved me into the back seat and pulled out his radio. I was taken back to the police station, fingerprinted and placed in a cold, single man cell. Now, this had bars. It was barely the size of a broom closet, with a bunk and a sink, but instead of the heavy metal door and small window, it bore a heavy gate made of bars.
I waited two hours before someone came to talk to me. That doesn’t mean I was alone though. I could feel him next to me, watching me with sadistic glee. The lights flickered in the building, the storm outside was getting worse. When the lights flickered again, I saw him for a brief moment, less than a blink and he was gone again. Another flicker and it was her, bloody arms outstretched.
Clanging on my jail door woke me up and I nearly fell off the bunk. Had I dreamed the black-eyed inmate, had I dreamed her? I looked up and found Detective Washington, the same man as before standing over me, my cellphone in his hand. He was glaring at me. “Who called you from the shop?”
“Teresa.” I said flatly. “She wanted me to look at the CCTV footage.”
“You are going to stand there and tell me that Teresa Miller called you from the shop?”
I sighed and sat down on the bunk. “Are you going to stand there and continue to ask me questions without reading me my rights or getting me a lawyer?”
“If you didn’t do anything wrong why do you need a lawyer?”
I glared up at him and smiled, even though trial and error from a misspent youth told me that was not a good tactic. “You clearly want me to be guilty of something. I didn’t do anything wrong, but I get the feeling I’m going to need a lawyer.”
“Detective Washington!” a voice called from the booking desk. “It’s Judge Guerra.”
Washington disappeared behind the door and was gone for some time. He came back, pissed. “Judge said you didn’t have enough to hold me, didn’t he?” I knew the look, someone pissed at being told no. “Detective, we want answers, you and I. We’ve only done this twice and it’s already exhausting. You are wasting my time I could spend digging up answers, and you are wasting your time in general.”
He pulled in a breath. “Two people have died under questionable circumstances since you came to town. I can’t believe that’s a coincidence.”
“It’s probably not a coincidence.” I said flatly. “But in order to explain it, you’d have to believe in ghosts.”
The shift lieutenant came up to us “Detective, judge says I can’t hold this man any longer.”
“Fine.” Washington growled as he stormed off “Let him go.”
The lieutenant half smiled. “I wasn’t asking your permission.”
I was sent out the back door of the jail like any other inmate and looked up and down the dark, rainy street. “Peachy…” I said, realizing my car was blocks, or miles away and I had no idea which direction. A pair of headlights lit up and the car they were attached to rolled my way. It was officer Simmons, and he opened the door. “Get in.” he called.
I really should learn his first name.
He pulled away from the jail and steered off into the main drag. “There’s someone we need to talk to.” He said calmly. We traveled about fifteen minutes before pulling up on the street where my car was parked. Elda’s house was quiet. We didn’t stop there. Instead we pulled up to the front of the neighbor’s house and I followed Simmons up the steps. He rang the doorbell. After a moment the porch light came on and a young woman opened the door. She looked exhausted. “I was wondering when you were going to come to me.”
My heart stopped.
Behind her was the black-eyed inmate.
End Part 4