General Fiction posted November 9, 2017 Chapters:  ...16 17 -18- 19... 


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The police are trying to figure out who wanted Stan dead.

A chapter in the book Demons in My Head

Likely Suspects

by Mistydawn


The quiet little neighborhood is woken by sirens, as patrol cars quickly line the streets. Soon nosy neighbors congregate on their lawns trying to figure out what's going on.

"I'll have patrol canvas the neighborhood for witnesses. Rachel, I want you to talk to his maid, and Jerry I want you to go inside, take a look around," the captain instructs.

"We're on it boss," Jerry says, heading towards the house. Noticing his buddy down the hall, he walks towards him.

"What can you tell me, Kirk?"

"Since there are no signs of forced entry or a struggle I'm assuming Mr. Howard knew them and let them into his house. The perpetrator follows Stan to the den where he smacks him on the back of the head with this." Gesturing to a small bronze statue, he continues, "I checked the weapon for fingerprints and found three different sets. I'll run them when I get back to our lab. I also found this lying beside Stan's head." He holds up a small clear envelope. "According to its pattern and a few stray threads, I'd say it came from a woman's navy blue jacket."

"Where did all this water come from?" Jerry asks, stepping off of the soggy carpet.

"It's an overflow from the tub. Apparently, he was getting ready to take a bath when his visitor shows up."

"When was Stan attacked?"

"Calculating the stream of water coming out of the faucet, then comparing that to the overflow, I'd say it took place within the last few hours. I'm sure our ME can give you a more accurate time of death when she gets him to the morgue."

"Thanks, son."

"No problem, Sir." Smiling, Kirk gets back to work.

~~~

Rachel sees Mr. Howard's housekeeper smoking a cigarette on the porch. Her hands are trembling as she tries to bring the object up to her mouth.

"My name Is Rachel Bower and I'm with the Berryville Police Department. I heard you're the one who found Mr. Howard?"

"Si, Si I found Mr. Stan lying on the floor when I came into work this morning."

"What time was that?"

"9:30, I always start my cleaning at 9:30."

"Did you see anyone else in the house?"

"No, just Mr. Stan." She takes a drag from her cigarette before adjusting her statement.

"Someone could've been hiding."

"Do you know anyone who might want to hurt him?"

"Si, his wife, he kicked her out three months ago. There's been a lot of friction between them ever since."

"Is there anyone else who'd want to hurt your boss?"

"Si, Si, his oldest child Katelyn. Mr. Stan always worries that she'll come back and hurt him. I guess they had a bad fight and haven't spoken in years."

"Is there anyone else you can think of?"

"No, no that is all."

"If you think of anybody else, call us, alright?" Rachel hands Marie her card.

Rachel sees the paramedics wheeling Mr. Howard out on a gurney, Jerry is right behind them.

"How is he doing?" she asks, walking towards her co-workers.

"He's alive. The paramedics said he was mumbling, "I can't believe she'd do this to me."

"Did he say who?"

"The EMT asked him, but he kept mumbling the same phrase over and over."

"His maid said he kicked his wife out of their house three months ago, and that he and his oldest daughter are estranged. So I'm going to talk to them, see what I can find out."

"I'll finish up here."

***

Madeline is painting a beautiful sunset when she hears banging on her front door. Looking out her kitchen window, she sees a squad car parked in her drive.

"Oh, my God, something's happened to Katelyn!" Running to the front door she throws it open.

"I'm Rachel with the Berryville..."

"What happened to Katelyn, is she alright?" Madeline anxiously questions.

"I'm not here about her, I need to talk to you about your husband, Stan. Where were you this morning between eight and ten?"

"I've been here all morning."

"Can anyone verify that?"

"Katelyn was here until she left for work at 8:00. Then my youngest daughter Katie visited after she left. What is all of this about?"

"Your husband was found unconscious, barely breathing in his home this morning."

"Unconscious, oh, my God, I have to get to the hospital," she says, scooping up her keys. Rachel blocks her inside.

"I need to ask you a few more questions first. Where does Katelyn work?"

"At the cosmetic department at Macy's. I really need to be with him," Madeline says, trying to slide past her. Rachel stops her again.

"Give me Katie's home address and you can leave."

"It's 51 Country Court, now am I free to go?" she asks.

"For now, but I might need to ask you a few more questions later."

"I'll be at the hospital." Grabbing her purse, Madeline bolts outside.

Rachel sees Joe pulling behind her car when she walks down the driveway. "I'm going to visit Katelyn and Katie Howard to verify Mrs. Howard's alibi for this morning."

"You don't think she did it?" he asks, pointing to Madeline.

"The way she reacted to the news and spouted off two alibis without even thinking I doubt it. Katelyn has a history of violence and she and Mr. Howard are estranged, so I'm not ruling her out so quickly."

"I'm headed to the station. Keep me informed, alright?"

"Yes, Sir."

***

Jerry is looking for evidence when Jeff approaches him.

"Jerry, his youngest daughter Katie is here. She wants to know what's going on."

"I'll talk to her." He sees a distraught woman screaming when he steps out of the house. "I've got it," Jerry says.

The officers walk away.

Choking back a tear, Katie tearfully asks, "What happened to my father? Is he alright?"

"Your father was found unconscious this morning. Evidently, someone came into the house and hit him in the head."

"I have to go see him," she says, turning towards her car.

Reaching out, Jerry grabs a hold of her arm. "I need to ask you a few questions, first."

"My father could be dying and you want to ask me questions?" She angrily pulls away.

"I understand you wanting to be with your father, so I'll make this brief. Where were you between eight and ten this morning?"

"I dropped my girls off at school, went to the bank, post office, and then visited mom at her apartment. After that, I went to the grocery store, and then came here."

"What time did you visit your mother?"

"It was almost ten."

"Do you know anyone who'd want to hurt your father?"

"No, I really need to go." She rushes to her car.

***

Stepping into the large department store, Rachel looks around. This place hasn't changed a bit. Seeing an older, heavy-set lady at the cosmetic counter, Rachel walks over to her.

"May I help you?" she asks, giving Rachel a quick once-over.

"Yes, I'm here to see Katelyn Howard."

"I'm sorry, but she isn't working today. Perhaps I can help you with something?"

"When will she be back?"

"She won't be coming back today, or any other day."

"She's fired?"

"Quite some time ago. I know just what you need." Pulling out fancy white bottles from underneath the cabinet, she arranges them in front of her.

"Not today, thanks," Rachel replies, walking away.

"I can make you look like a new woman, in just a few minutes."

"That's ok." Rachel hurries towards the door.

****

Wanting to stop his cerebral hemorrhage, and reduce swelling on his brain, the doctors rush Stan into surgery upon his arrival. They later decide to put him in a medically induced coma to increase his chances of survival.

"There's nothing more you can do, so you might as well go home, get some rest." Stan's surgeon strongly suggests.

Madeline and Katie reluctantly take his advice.

After hours of tossing and turning, Madeline decides to watch TV, hoping to bore herself to sleep. She just started watching a classical romance when someone pounds on her front door.

"Who is it?"

"Mom, it's me, Katelyn, can you please let me in?"

"Oh for heaven sakes," Madeline grumbles as she fumbles with the locks. She sees Katelyn standing half-naked on their front porch. Her hair is a tangled mess and she has two streaks of mascara running down either side of her face. Looking a little closer, Madeline notices bruises on her arms and legs.

"Oh my God, honey, are you alright?" she asks.

"I'm sorry, Mom, I'm so sorry," she cries, falling into her mom's arms. Madeline starts to pull her inside when she sees someone standing behind her. His long greasy hair is pulled into a ponytail, his clothes are a filthy mess and he has numerous tattoos on his dirt-smudged face.

Shoving the women inside, he closes the door behind him. This sudden gust of air sends an overwhelming smell of body odor through the room. Madeline gags from his powerful stench.

"What do you think you're doing, barging into my house like this?" Madeline asks, backing away from his rancid odor.

"Your daughter owes Marcus money, and I came to collect."

"Don't listen to him, Mom!"

"Shut up, bitch," he yells, shoving Katelyn to the floor.

"Get out of my house, now!" Madeline screams.

"Give me my money and I will."

"I'm not paying you a damn dime. So get out before I call the cops."

Reaching into his jacket, he pulls out a revolver. "You can either pay up or I'll kill you both," he says, cocking his gun.

Frightened, Madeline glances at her daughter trembling in the corner.

"How much does she owe you?" Madeline reaches for her purse.

"I figure all the blow she snorted comes to at least five hundred bucks."

"Five hundred dollars," Madeline exclaims.

"You're full of shit, Lucas, I don't owe anyone a dime."

"That's what we should've gotten from your sales today."

"I gave my money to Diego."

"That's not what he's claiming. He says he found you lying on a bench all strung out. When he asked for your money you said you hadn't sold a thing and when he asked for our drugs, you ran away."

"Well, he's lying because I gave every last dime I made to him."

"Wait, what's going on?" Madeline asks.

"Your precious little girl has been selling coke and today she snorted up all my profit."

"Is it true?" Madeline asks, looking over at Katelyn.

 Seeing disapproval on her mom's face she starts bawling. "I didn't want to sell for him, I didn't, but Lucas said he'd kill us both if I didn't pay off an old debt."

"Stop lying, you begged Marcus for a job when you lost yours two months ago."

"He's lying; I wouldn't break my promise to you. Not after all you've done for me."

"I don't know what's going on, but I want you to leave, Lucas."

Getting a firm hold on Madeline's housecoat, he shoves his gun against her head.

Madeline winces from the pain. "Please stop, you're hurting me," Madeline begs.

"Pay what your daughter owes or else."

"Ok, ok, just please let me go."

"Do it, now!" Lucas pounds the butt of his gun into Madeline's head. Blood trickles down the side of her face.

"No one hurts my mother," Katelyn screams. Grabbing a knife off of their kitchen counter, Katelyn runs towards them.

"Katelyn no," Madeline warns.

Lifting her weapon above her head, Katelyn plunges the knife into Lucas's back.

Lucas reflexively squeezes the trigger, they tumble to the floor.
 

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