The Last Goodbye: Part 3

Brooke used her car to drive herself and Zoe back to Marla’s house where her aunt and grandparents were worriedly awaiting her return.

“Sweetheart, we were so worried,” her grandmother said holding tightly to her hand. It seemed as if she was trying to keep Zoe from escaping again.

“I’m fine now,” she said and insisted on take her hand back. “I just needed some time alone to think.”

“I’m just glad you’re safe,” Aunt Marla said and just then Johnny came bolting out of the kitchen.

“Zoe, you’re back!” he shouted and ran towards her. He wrapped his little arms around her waist since that was as high as he could reach. Even for a seven year old Johnny was small and looked more like five. “Are you going to help me with my catching?” Zoe remembered that she promised to help him with his little league practice, but after everything that had happened she wondered if it was an appropriate time. She hesitated not know how to answer him. “Zoe, you promised.”

“I think that’s an excellent idea,” Aunt Marla said approaching Zoe. “Maybe you and Brooke could take Johnny to the park.”

“Are you sure?” Zoe asked her.

“I think you and Johnny should go and try to have some fun,” Aunt Marla said and in a way she was right. If she stuck around she knew she would just go crazy. “Your grandparents and I will handle things, so I’m counting on you to look after your cousin, alright?”

“Sure,” she said and looked over towards Johnny. “Let’s go, kid.”

“Yeah, Johnny said and ran to the closet where his ball and mitt were in a box.

Brooke offered to drive them to the park and hang out for a while. Zoe really needed another girl closer to her own age to hang out with. Johnny was excited and ran to the car and waited patiently for the girls. They came out after making a few sandwiches and other snacks.

The park was only a ten minute drive, and even with that short of a distance Johnny could barely contain himself and sat restlessly in his seat. “Are we there yet?” Johnny asked after Brooke had only been driving for less than a minute.

“Relax, Johnny, we’ll be there soon,” Zoe said and turned on the radio. The latest Men at Work song was playing. It was one of the modern bands she actually liked.

“At least something tolerable is playing on the radio,” Zoe said which made Brooke laugh.

“I swear I don’t understand your hatred for pop music.” Zoe playfully slapped her arm as she turned the corner. The older girl laughed and had a good time while Johnny played in the back seat with one of his Hot Wheels cars. It was one that Zoe bought him for Christmas last year. He wheeled the car up and down the seat and up the back of Zoe’s seat and over the headrest making the sounds that a car would make going at high speeds.

Finally they arrived at the park, and Brooke parked the car near the picnic area where there were parking spaces for cars. Johnny jumped out of the car the second Brooke stopped and looked over the picnic area to the open field where he saw some other kids playing ball.

“Brooke, Zoe, hurry up,” he said and picked up his bag with his equipment in it. The girls exited the car and followed Johnny out to the field. Zoe carried their lunch in a cold bag while Brooke carried nothing but her purse which matched perfectly with her outfit.

The girls sat down on one of the benches while Johnny ran out onto the field when he heard some of his school friends calling for him.

Since Zoe skipped breakfast having some time to eat while Johnny played with his friends was a dream come true. Still she felt guilty going on with her life while her mother was dead. There was a sad and sullen look on her face as she bit into the sandwich. She was too lost in her own thoughts to hear Brook’s voice. It wasn’t until the older girl waved her hand in front of her that she grabbed her attention.

“Hey, what’s with you?” Brooke asked and Zoe looked over at her while still trying to keep an eye on Johnny.

“I knew it was going to happen,” Zoe said and Brooke looking confused. “Well, sort of.”

“How do you mean?” Brooke asked and looked at her a little strange.

“I just meant that I had this bad feeling that something terrible was going to happen when Mom went out by herself,” Zoe said and Brooke looked somewhat relieved.

“That’s no biggy, a lot of people have those feelings,” Brooke said, trying to make her feel better. “I did when my mom died.”

“Yeah, but you knew something might happen because she was sick for a while,’ Zoe said and thought back to the terrible dream she had a few weeks before she and her mother left for their trip. “This is different. It’s like I knew she was going to die, and I didn’t do anything to stop it.”

“Zoe, you can’t blame yourself for that,” Brooke said, trying to reason with her. “There’s no way you could have known no matter how much mystical powers you have.”

Zoe burst out laughing. Brooke had a way of making her feel better even if she didn’t want to. “I guess you’re right.” Zoe looked over to see Johnny still playing, but there was a man hanging out by a tree that was near the water fountain that was close to the field. He was standing there smoking a cigarette, and she noticed that he was staring at the kids on the field. Chills went down her spine at the man’s behavior. “I think we should get going.”

“Why?” Brooke asked after only having eaten less than half her sandwich. “Is there something wrong?”

“Just that guy over there,” she said and tried not to look like she was watching him.

“Where?” Brooke asked.

“The one by the water fountain,” Zoe said and Brooke looked over towards the direction Zoe was speaking of.

“Oh, him, he’s cool,” Brooke said and went back to eating her sandwich. Once she swallowed the food in her mouth, she continued, “That’s Lance Baker, Sam Baker’s little brother.”

“Oh, the owner of the pizza place,” Zoe said and looked relieved.

“Yeah, Lance’s is weird but not dangerous, so turn your radar off,” Brooke said jokingly. “I think it’s broken.”

“Maybe, but that guy still gives me the creeps,” she said and stood up. “Why don’t we get Johnny and get out of here. We could take him for pizza.”

“Okay, sure,” she said and stood up and grabbed their cold bag. The girls took off to collect their young charge not knowing that someone was watching them.

To Be Continued…

The Last Goodbye: Part 2

It took a better part of an hour before Zoe came down stairs and only because she heard the familiar adult voices of her aunt and grandparents conversing downstairs. Paul and Elizabeth Evans were the best grandparents she could have ever asked for.

She had inherited her fiery red hair from her grandmother who looked like she could have been Lucille Ball’s sister. Her grandfather was the sweetest man in the world and when she first became part of their family he spoiled her rotten, buying her anything she wanted, but the only thing she really wanted was a loving family. She did get that, but she still worried what they were going to do with her now that her mother was gone.

She changed into a pair of jeans and a thin lavender sweater. She hesitantly walked down the stairs just as she heard her grandmother say her name.

“Oh, there she is,” the woman said and swiftly walked over to the stairs just as she reached the bottom step. “How are you, sweetheart?” Her grandmother put her arm around her and led her to the couch.

She saw Johnny on the floor playing with his cars. He looked up when he saw her. “Zoe,” he said practically singing her name. “I thought you would never wake up, and that you would go away like Aunt Renee.”

“Oh, no, Johnny, I wouldn’t do that,” she said and gave the little boy a hug.

“Of course she’s not,” their grandmother said and touched both of their hands. Zoe wanted to cry, but she stopped herself not wanting to upset her grandmother. Of everyone in the family she was the most emotional.

“So when is Mom’s…?” Zoe started to ask the question but couldn’t finish it.

“Tomorrow, sweetie,” Aunt Marla said walking towards the kitchen. “I need to make a few more phone calls about the funeral. I want everything to be right for Renee.”

“What about the flowers?” her grandmother asked. “You know Renee loved purple lilacs, if there not…”

“Don’t worry, Mom, we’ll make sure everything is just the way Renee would have wanted,” her aunt said trying to reassure her mother. All this funeral talk was making Zoe uneasy, and she stood up from the couch where she had been sitting.

“She wouldn’t have wanted this,” Zoe said not realizing what she was doing. “She would want to be alive and not dead. She promised me she would never leave me again.”

She couldn’t help losing control even if it was in front of everyone. She raced for the door and ran out. She felt embarrassed and didn’t want to see anyone at that moment. She walked for about an hour trying to remember the good times she had here, but all she could think of now was that it was the place that took her mother from her. Why did they have to come here? Why couldn’t Aunt Marla and Johnny have just come to California to visit them? There were so many things that transpired in such a short time that she didn’t understand.

During her walk she found herself at a familiar place. There was Bongo’s, the local pizza shop where a lot of the teenagers hung out. When she walked in she didn’t recognize anyone. She had not been here since last year, and things can change fast. She sat down at one of the tables and picked up a menu that was being supported by the salt and pepper shakers on either side. Even though she wasn’t really hungry, she picked up the menu to see if there was anything new on the menu.

She stared down at the menu just as someone shouted her name. “Hey, Zoe!” a female voice called out.

She looked up and smiled for the first time that day seeing a familiar face. “Brooke, what are you doing here?” It was her ex-step-cousin and a girl she had always looked up to.

“Looking for you,” Brooke said and sat down. As usual she looked like she was going to some big gala event. Her brown hair was meticulously styled. She had her hair permed which was something that Zoe was always accused of, but her hair was naturally curly and she rarely did anything with it. Brooke also wore designer clothes. She was a model and also got to keep some of the clothes as part of her pay. “Marla sent me to find you.”

“Did she tell you I ran out?” Zoe asked but the last thing she wanted to do was to go back to the house and explain herself.

“Yeah, and that you were upset,” she said with concern in her eyes. “I heard about your mom, and I’m sorry. I know what it’s like to lose a mother.”

“I know, but you still have your dad,” Zoe said looking down at the floor. “I don’t have anyone.”

“Yes, you do, Zoe,” Brooke said with a serious look on her face. You have your aunt, your grandparents and don’t forget little Johnny. His sees you more like a sister than cousin.”

“Well, maybe but now they’re stuck with me and I don’t want to be a burden.”

“You’re not,” Brooke said as the waiter approached their table.

“What can I get you ladies?” the waiter asked and gave Brooke a wink.

“Down, Tony,” Brooke said and subtly flirted back. “I’m with my baby cousin.” Even though Brooke wasn’t technically her cousin anymore she still considered her family. “Two sodas for now, black cherry, right?”

She directed the question to Zoe. She nodded without actually saying anything. After Tony left to fill their order Brooke continued with her pep talk.

“Now, the truth is I would love it if you stayed,” Brooke said and tried to get her excited about the idea, but Zoe remained docile. “We would have all summer to hang out before I go back to school.”

“Brooke, even if I did I wouldn’t be any fun to hang out with,” Zoe said and went back to pretending to read the menu.

“Look, I know you’re hurting because of you mom dying, but I felt the same way when my mom died.” She tried to be sympathetic, but Zoe didn’t want sympathy. She wanted her mom back. She didn’t realize that Brooke more than anyone knew what she was going through. “All I wanted to do was to hide away from the world and disappear, but that’s the worst thing you could do.”

“I know, but it just happened last night, and all anyone wants to talk about is getting her funeral together. She shouldn’t be dead, Brooke. It’ not fair.”

“I know it’s not fair, but that’s life,” Brooke said and her eyes lowered. Zoe knew how much she missed her mother who had died of cancer when she was eight years old, but at least she still had her father. “I know it seems hopeless now, but it will get better.”

“Maybe it will, but she’ll still be dead,” she said and tears came to her eyes again. “I’m never going to see her again.”

“Yeah, I know, but one day you’ll remember her and it won’t hurt so much,” she said and took her hand. Somehow Brooke’s words did make her feel better. “So what do you say I take you back to your aunt’s?”

“Okay, but I can’t promise I won’t freak out again,” she said and Brooke smiled which made Zoe laugh which she hadn’t done since getting the horrible news. The two girls rose from their seats after Brooke laid a few bills on the table to pay for their drinks. She had her car outside ready to take Zoe back to her aunt’s house.

The Last Goodbye: Part 1

Chapter Five: The Last Goodbye

Zoe barely slept the night before, and when she did finally drift off she was awakened by a phone ringing. It was sitting on the nightstand, and she glanced at the clock that was sitting next to it and saw that it was ten in the morning.

She picked it up after it rang several times. “Hello?” She wondered why anyone else in the house didn’t answer the phone.

“Hey, Zoe,” a male voice came over the phone. She was so disoriented at first, because she was dead tired. Even though her body craved sleep she didn’t want to drift off. “Have you already forgotten me?”

“No, of course not, Tyler,” she said and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. “I just didn’t sleep very well last night.”

“Really, I thought you were at your aunt’s,” he said and stayed quiet, afraid she might break down if she said anything. “Oh, I know, you girls had a slumber party, right?”

“No,” she said, not able to hide the fact that she was upset. She took a deep breath but couldn’t bring herself to say anything.

“What’s wrong?” Tyler asked, and Zoe swallowed preparing to tell him what happened, not wanting to hear it anywhere else.

“It’s my mother,” she said and not sure how to continue.

“What, did she ground you or something?” he asked and she wished that was all it was.

“No, Tyler, my mother… she’s… she’s… dead,” Zoe said and saying it made her breakdown.

“What? How?” She barely heard him through her tears.

“When we arrived, my aunt still wasn’t home yet, so Mom went out to look for her. I begged her not to go, but she didn’t listen to me. Then later they found her by the docks. She was… stabbed.”

“Oh my God,” Tyler said in shock. “Did they catch the guy who did it?”

“I don’t know,” she said and tried to calm herself. “My aunt’s boyfriend is a cop, and they’re must be working on it. I’m not sure, but I’m scared though.”

“About what?” he asked.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to me… with my mother….gone…”

“Zoe, you have a family who loves you,” Tyler said and she had to admit that he was right. “Not like mine, my parents can’t wait until I get out of their house. That’s how my dad refers to it, just because I won’t do what he wants.”

“Well, one day when you become a rich rock star he’ll think different,” she and saw the pick he gave her sitting on her nightstand. Just then she heard her Aunt Marla calling her name. “I gotta go. My aunt is calling me.”

“Sure,” he said, sounding disappointed. “Call if you need anything.”

“Okay, I will,” Zoe said and hung up the phone. She got up out of bed and grabbed the robe that was hanging on the door. She quickly put it and left the room.

When she entered the hallway she saw her aunt standing by the bathroom door. She saw that she was already dressed in her smart navy blue business suit with a modest length skirt. She also wore a pair of matching pumps that looked brand new.

“Were you on the phone?” her aunt asked her.

“Yeah, with a friend of mine from California,” Zoe said and her aunt gave her a stern look. “Don’t worry, he called me.”

“A he?” her aunt said and Zoe rolled her eyes.

“He’s just a friend,” Zoe said and looked towards the bathroom. A shower was starting to look good to her right now.

“Alright, if you say so,” her aunt said and came up to her and gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Now hurry up and come down. Your grandparents are coming in a few hours.”

“How’s Johnny taking the news about…?”

“He’s upset, but he’s more worried about you,” Aunt Marla said, but Zoe turned away.

“I’m fine,” she said and walked into the bathroom. She knew what she said was a lie. She wasn’t fine and would never be again. That she was sure of.

When Fate Steps In: Part 7

She heard noises coming from the spare room and saw that the door was ajar. She peeked in to see her niece rummaging through a suitcase and walked into the doorway and stood there watching what she was doing. She stood there for the longest time before stepping inside.

“What are you doing?” she asked her niece, but Zoe didn’t pay her any attention. She just kept busy going through the suit case as she took out the slightly wrinkled clothes and took to the task of refolding them. She walked up to her cautiously thinking the girl would stop and look up but she didn’t. “Zoe, stop!” Marla shouted in the hopes of getting a response out of her.

When she still wouldn’t speak to her or even acknowledge her presence Marla snatched the piece of clothing she was folding out of her hands. “Give it back!” Zoe shouted, but Marla refused to relinquish the article.

“Zoe, tell me what you’re doing?” she asked staring into the girl’s angry eyes.

“Mom doesn’t look her clothes all wrinkled, so I thought I’d straighten them out before she gets back,” she said and Marla couldn’t believe what she just heard. “Can I please have that back? It’s mom’s favorite blouse.”

“Zoe, you mother isn’t coming back,” Marla said with tears in her eyes.

“Yes, she is and she won’t like it if you get her clothes all dirty,” Zoe said and reached for the blouse. This time Marla gave in and let her have it. “You know how she hates to do laundry.”

“Zoe, please don’t do this,” Marla pleaded with her, but she continued working until something made her stop. There in an envelope in the pocket and rested in the top the suitcase. It was sticking out so she reached for it and took it out. “Honey, what’s wrong?”

Zoe slowly opened up the envelope and found the two tickets and remembered their trip. She had prepaid for them when they arrived in Laurel. They were round trip to Paris with a stop in New York. They were going to spend the day their shopping and getting their hair done and see a Broadway show. Zoe had been longing to see Cats for a while and they were going to make a night of it.

“It’s our tickets,” Zoe said and then threw them on the floor. “We were supposed to spend the summer together, just mom and me…”

She looked over at her aunt who had tears in her eyes. She concentrated hard trying to see the face of her mother, but she could always tell them apart, especially after her mother dyed her hair blonde, but it was something else. They weren’t the same. Others couldn’t see it but she did.

“She promised!” Zoe shouted and broke down and cried. She fell to the floor while grabbing her mother favorite blouse and clutching onto it for dear life. “Why did you leave me? You promised you never would. Why?!”

Marla sat down on the floor with her and held onto her as she cried. They both cried together having lost something so precious. After a while Zoe became docile and numb and sat on the bed just staring at the floor. Marla took the suitcase and put it in the corner and sat down next to her.

“You should get some sleep,” she said and handed Zoe a nightgown.

Zoe looked up at her sadly. “What going to happen now?”

“Well, I need to call your grandparents before they hear this on the news,” Marla said while stroking her hair. “Then a funeral in a few days.”

“What will happen to me?” Zoe asked. There was sadness and fear in her eyes as she looked at her aunt.

“We’ll figure something out,” Aunt said and embraced her. “For now I want you to get some rest, and we’ll talk in in the morning.”

Zoe nodded as she took the nightgown. She looked over at the clock and saw it was after three in the morning. Marla left her room leaving her alone. She changed clothes but didn’t even bother putting her old clothes away. She just left them on the floor and crawled into bed. She just couldn’t understand why fate had been so cruel to her. Whatever she had seemed to be taken away without warning and she feared that it would always be that way.

This is the end of chapter four, but be here next time as the story continues. With the death of Zoe’s mother her future is uncertain. What will happened to her? Be here next time to find out.

When Fate Steps In: Part 6

It was well after midnight before Ben arrived at Marla’s home. He could see the living room light was still on and wondered if the kids were still up. He knew Marla was strict about Johnny going to bed by nine, but her niece was a teenager, and she was on summer vacation.

Marla was just waking up and realized they were sitting in her driveway. For a moment she forgot all about what happened that night and in a way pretended they were having a regular date. There was no denying the truth. Renee was dead, and she was the one who had to tell her daughter.

“I really don’t want to go in there right now,” Marla said, looking at the light shining in the window. “I hope Johnny’s in bed. He gets cranky when he doesn’t get enough sleep. Renee always said I worry too much, but Johnny’s so fragile, and…”

“It’s alright to be upset,” Ben said, but we have to go in that house. Hopefully both of the kids are asleep, and you won’t have to deal with it until tomorrow.”

“Maybe, but Zoe’s going to be so upset,” she said and then looked over at Ben. “What will happen to her?”

“She has you and your parents and Johnny. She’ll get through this and so will you,” he said holding onto her hand. “Are you ready?”

“As long as you’re with me,” she said and reached over and looked him in the eyes. “I’m so lucky to have you.” He kissed her tenderly and she felt she had enough strong to face what she had to do. She exited the car and walked up to her door with Ben trailing behind. She reminded herself that she had to stay strong for her niece and her son.

As she opened the door she saw a familiar redhead sitting on the couch. Her long hair was down and looked like she just brushed it out. She jumped up out of her chair when she saw her aunt walk in.

“Aunt Marla, it’s so good to see you,” Zoe said and run to her aunt and gave her a hug. Zoe looked over and saw a tall brown-haired man standing in the doorway. “So is this the guy?” she asked and then whispered into her ear. “He’s cute.”

“Honey, we need to sit down and talk,” Marla said which confused Zoe. She looked around as if she were searching for something.

“Where’s mom?” she asked, but there was a serious look on Marla’s face. It brought on a certain anxiety to Zoe. “Something happened, didn’t it?”

“Sweetie, please calm down, and I’ll tell you,” she said and led her over to the couch to sit down. Ben joined them and said down in one of the chairs. “There’s been an accident.”

“Is mom in the hospital?” Zoe asked her breathing becoming heavy. “We should go see her light now, because if she wakes up in the hospital and we’re not there…”

“She not in the hospital, Zoe,” Marla said and a tear escaped her eye. “She was attacked, and…”

“What happened to her?” Zoe asked trying not to lose control. “Tell me.”

“Honey, she was beaten and stabbed,” Marla said and closed her eyes tight. All she could see was the way her sister looked when she found her. “She…” she started to say but couldn’t bring herself to do it.

“She’s dead?” Zoe asked, her face had turned pale, and she looked like she was passed out any moment. Marla couldn’t speak so she just nodded confirming what her niece may have been thinking. “No, no, no, no!” Zoe shouted as she stood up and moved away slowly from her aunt. “I told not to go. I begged her, but she didn’t listen! Why didn’t she listen?!”

“Zoe, please, calm down,” Marla said practically begging her. She came up to her and tried to comfort her.

“No, it’s a lie,” she said. She looked as if she were trying to find the answers to the obvious situation. “It’s not true, and I won’t believe it.” Zoe turned around and ran up the stairs. Marla could still hear her crying which broke her heart.

“I need to go talk to her,” Marla said and turned to Ben.

“I’ll wait down here,” he said and kissed her forehead.

She turned around and climbed the stairs. Part of her didn’t want to deal with this, but she knew she had to. Zoe was alone and she needed someone to talk to. With her mother gone it had to be her.

To Be Continued…

When Fate Steps In: Part 5

Marla sat in the car not knowing what to do or how to feel. She couldn’t look in the direction of her damaged car, because she would see the deceased body of her beloved sister. She couldn’t make sense of any of this. It was just an hour ago that she was talking to her on the phone. She had come for a visit at Marla’s insistence. So she concluded in her mind that this was her fault.

She heard the police sirens not long after Ben called for backup. Since the body was still warm he had no way of knowing if the killer was still in the area, and with that danger he couldn’t leave Marla alone. She looked like a zombie sitting in his car. She was looking out the window, but away from the crime scene. She shouldn’t have seen her sister like that. It looked like Renee had put up a fight and it was in fact it was the stabbing that killed her.

Marla glanced over to the other side of the car to see Ben talking with one of the officers. She looked at her damaged car to see officers surrounding her sister’s body. They had on their plastic gloves and evidence bags. One officer was approaching the team carrying a large black bag. She went into a panic knowing Renee was claustrophobic. She knew in her mind that it was illogical, but all she could think about was the time they were trapped in a basement when they were five years old. It only lasted for an hour, but Renee was in a panic and never really got over it. Being placed in a body bag wasn’t something Renee could tolerate.

She flew out of the car and over to where Ben was talking to one of the other detectives. It was his partner Adam Jones. “Don’t put her in the bag, please,” she said and Ben looked over at her and saw how upset she was. Her request was irrational, but it was more than understandable. She wasn’t in her right mind, and he had to be careful how he approached about her behavior.

“Marla, sweetheart, she’s dead,” he said in soft voice. His hands were touching her upper arms, and he was trying to be easy with her. “We need to take her to the morgue. Don’t worry. We will take good care of her.”

“She wouldn’t want to be closed up in that bag,” she said and tears were running down her face.

“I know, but you have to realize that she not alive anymore,” he said and she was shaking her head back and forth. She looked over to the officers beginning the process of putting her sister’s body in the bag. Something in her snapped. She ran over to the scene before Ben could stop her. “No!” she screamed. “Leave my sister alone! You can’t put her in that bag!” By this time Ben caught up with her and tried to hold her back without hurting her. “She can’t breathe if you put her in there!”

“Marla, calm down,” he said, trying to restrain her. She was crying out by now calling out her sister’s name. She slowly fell to the ground weeping. “Come on back to the car. Let the men do their job, and we’ll find the man who did this to her.”

She held onto Ben as he led her back to the car. She could no longer speak clearly, she was crying and babbling gibberish as Ben opened up the car door for her. He helped her inside trying to comfort her as best as he could.

“Now, I promise you that I try finish up here as soon as I can, and then I’ll take you home, okay?” Without warning she gasped thinking about home and what waited for her there. “Baby, what’ wrong?”

“Zoe,” she said with her voice cracking a little. “She’s at the house with Johnny. How am I supposed to tell her about…?”

She broke down and cried again as Ben held her. “We’ll tell her together.” His hand was gliding up and down her back trying to calm her down. “Now, I need to go talk to Detective Jones. It will only take a few minutes, okay?”

“Alright,” she said and sat back in her seat. “I’m fine now.”

He rose up and rejoined the conversation he was having with his partner. By the time he came back Marla had fallen asleep. It was better that she did, because she was going to need all the rest she could get. Her family was going to have a lot to deal with once the reality of the situation set in.

When Fate Steps In: Part 4

This is a sad part, so everyone get out your tissues.

Marla didn’t follow Ben’s orders, not that she ever did. Something was going on, and she wasn’t going to be left out of the loop. She exited the car and walked quietly but swiftly to the large shiny silver object that was only faintly illuminated by the light of the moon.

As she came closer the object came more into focus. It was in fact her car, but there was something else. Ben was squatting down preoccupied by something. She looked closely and could see a pair of human legs.

“Ben, what happened?” she asked and he looked up.

“Another murder,” he said and stood up and tried to stir her away from the scene.

“Who is it?” she asked but she looked to the left and saw the bracelet the dead woman was wearing. It looked like the same one that Marla gave to Renee for Christmas. “No, no, it can’t be.”

“What is it?” Ben asked and still tried to stir her away from the body.

“I think it’s Renee!” she shouted and escaped his grasp and ran towards the dead woman. She knelt down on the ground and turned the woman’s head so she could see her face. She screamed when she saw her own face staring back at her, although battered and bruised.

“Marla, come away from there, please,” Ben said softly, trying to urge her away.

She looked back at him with tears in her eyes. “It’s Renee. She’s dead.” She broke down and cried as Ben held her. “Why? Why her?”

“I don’t know, sweetheart,” he said, while stroking her hair. “We need to call the station.” He was able to persuade her to walk back with him to the car, while he made the call on the CB radio.

To Be Continued…

When Fate Steps In: Part 3

Marla was riding with Ben in his car. He was technically on duty, but he needed her to identify that missing car as hers. Plus she was worried about her sister. It was getting late and with three other women being attacked over the last few months being on the street at night was risky.

Naturally she would be worried that Renee was out on the streets alone. Laurel was once a safe small town, but as of late it had become a dangerous place. So far the killer had only attacked prostitutes. They were the easiest of targets. It didn’t seem like the public was too outraged when a prostitute was murdered. It seemed that the world valued their lives so much less than those who weren’t in what the girls themselves called ‘the business.’ Three had been three attacked, but only one death. Marla had volunteered her services on the helping with the case since two of the girls were her regular patients. She also saw to it that he surviving victims got the counseling they needed.

Marla was more of a medical doctor, but there were a few psychiatrists at the hospital she recruited on the case to help build a psychological profile. She sat in the car restless and fidgeting. Ben looked over at her in concern.

“Is everything alright?” Ben asked as this were near the peer where Renee had told them her car was.

“No, I’m fine,” Marla said and pulled down the mirror that rested above the dash. She wanted to check her hair and makeup. She wasn’t really hung up on her looks. She just needed something to do. “I’m just worried about Renee.”

“I’m sure she’ll be fine,” Ben said trying to reassure her, but by the look on his face he was worried too. They were a few feet away and could see a faint outline of car. With the full moon it looked like it could be Marla’s. He drove closer until he saw something lying near the car. She stopped abruptly and took out his binoculars that he kept on the dashboard. “Marla, stay here.”

“Ben, what…?” before she could finish the he was out of the car and racing towards the scene.

To Be Continued…

When Fate Steps In: Part 2

“Hello,” Renee heard her sister’s voice.

“Hey, sis, it’s Renee,” she said feeling relieved to hear Marla’s voice.

“Renee, oh, honey, it’s so good to hear your voice,” Marla said excitedly. “Where are you?”

“Down by the docks,” she said and gave a short pause. “I found your car. In fact I’m calling on your car phone.”

“I’m so relieved,” Marla said letting out a breath. “I’ll get one of Ben’s to come down there.”

“I’ll be waiting, me and your little red convertible.”

“Renee!” She heard Marla scold her through the phone.

“I only took it because it was an emergency,” she said. “Now, get your boys down here, before this place gets too creepy.”

“We’ll be there is a few minutes,” Marla said and they ended their phone conversation.

Renee sat there for a few minutes before getting out if the car. She hadn’t been here in more than a year. Zoe always loved it here, but her career was in California. Even though Zoe told she would be happy anywhere as long as they were together, she wondered if she wouldn’t rather be living in a place like this where things were much slower than the fast paced world of the city.

She stood out by the water and looked out. It was so beautiful how it glistened in the moonlight. It was a full moon, and she always loved the mystery of a night like this.

The night was quiet, which was a nice change, but suddenly the silence was broken. She heard faint footsteps steadily coming closer and looked to see a man approaching. He was wearing a police uniform, and she was relieved to see that the Laurel Police Department was on the job.

“Officer, the car is over here,” she said and walked back over.

He was standing behind her as she rattled on about the car and her sister and the circumstances of how she found it, but as she was talking, she felt someone grab her from behind. She felt a strong human hand press on her throat. She struggled to get free but a she noticed a piece of metal shining in the light of the full moon. The hand that was on her throat pressed against her mouth she tried to break free, but a she felt a sharp pain on her neck and blood flowed. She was still alive and struggled to get free, but the hands that kept her captive slammed her onto the car smashing her head onto the hood. She turned over and saw she attacker as blood flowed from her head and throat. It was the man dressed as a police officer. She looked on in horror as he thrust the knife into her chest and twisted it before pulling it out. He let her fall to the ground laying in a pool of her own blood.

She laid there dying, knowing death was seconds away. The last thing she heard was the sirens of a police car from a distance away.

To Be Continued…

When Fate Steps In: Part 1

Chapter Four: When Fate Steps In

Renee drove to the docks knowing that Marla often went there when she wanted to clear her head. She parked the car and looked around. She saw a car that looked much like her sister’s everyday car. She ran over to the car to inspect it. She walked to the back and looked at the license plate and saw that it was in fact her sister’s.

She could see that the keys were still in the ignition, but there was no sign of her sister. This alone was enough to worry her. She opened the car door and saw the car phone and picked it up. There was no reception so she turned on the ignition and finally she got a dial tone. She had a list of Marla’s emergency contacts and called the most obvious one, the police department.

She wanted for someone to pick up and heard the voice of a young man come on the line. “Laurel Police Department, may I help you?”

“Yes, my name is Renee Evans, and I found my sister’s car abandoned by the docks, and I think something could have happened to her.”

“Could you give me the name of the plates?” the young man said.

“Sure,” she said. She had it memorized, so she rattled off the plate and and the officer told her that he would run it through the computer.

“Doctor Marla Mandrake?” he said, sounding surprised.

“Yes, she’s my sister,” she said and tried to keep calm. “I’m calling from her car phone.”

“Well, ma’am, that car was reported stolen by Doctor Mandrake. In fact she’s here at the station with Detective Drake.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Renee said and took a long breath. She was so relieved that her sister was safe. “Can I speak to her?”

“I’ll transfer you to his office,” the young man said, so she held on the line and waited for an answer.

To Be Continued…