“What a disgrace.”
“That poor family.”
“That’s what happens when you spoil your kids.”
“I always knew Danny was a decent crook.”
“Rich kids. Rotten to the core, the lot of them.”
And so on, and so on. If I had to listen to anymore rude comments from people who were supposed to be mourning my brother with us, I was going to lose it. I walked into the room where our guests were gathered, occupying themselves with senseless gossip.
I cleared my throat and the whispers stopped. “Thank you everyone for gathering here today and supporting my family through this difficult time. If you would please make your way out to the patio, we’ve laid out some food and drinks for you there.”
Everyone got up from their seats and went over to the patio. All the weariness of the three days washed over me right then and I collapsed onto the nearest couch.
“It’s over. You were so strong and I’m proud of you,” my husband said appearing behind me. I smiled weakly at him and took the hand he offered. He squeezed mine lightly and sat beside me, pulling me to lay my head on his chest.
“All those horrible things they’re saying about him. You don’t think they’re true do you?” I asked him.
“What do you think Diana?” He stroked my hair lightly and I curled up into a ball leaning into his gentle touch.
“I asked you first,” I pouted poking his leg. He caught my finger, put it in his mouth and bit it playfully before kissing my hand and holding it in his.
“I think Daniel was a guy who wouldn’t say no to the odd party but he had enough class to avoid booze, drugs and hookers,” Seth said.
“Thanks for the insightful description,” I said rolling my eyes.
“You’re welcome,” he smiled slyly at me.
“I just can’t wrap my mind around it you know. Father says I’m just having a hard time dealing with my grief but I really feel like there’s more to Danny’s story,” I said.
“You think the reporters left something out?” asked Seth.
The gory words of the newspaper article that had brought all manner of hateful gossip on our family came unbidden to my mind.
Daniel Paul Mitchell (19), son of the elite couple, John and Pauline Mitchell, was found dead in a motel room rumored to be the hub of illicit activities, on Sunday the 19th of November. The 19 year old died from an overdose of the drug “heroin.”
According to Detective Nathan Henderson, lead detective on the case, Daniel committed suicide by drug overdose after killing Susan Meyer (18). The 18 year old victim was found stabbed to death in the same motel room and the murder weapon was found covered in the victim’s blood and Daniel’s fingerprints on it.
Albert Meyer (48), the victim’s uncle and spokesperson for the Meyer family said the family will be mourning their daughter quietly in their country home with only close friends and family attending the funeral.
The Mitchell family could not be reached for comment.
“Could not be reached for comment,” I scoffed as I recalled the last line of the article. “More like they didn’t bother to reach out to us for comment because Daniel is apparently a murdering junkie.”
“No one said anything about a junkie,” Seth pointed out.
“Not directly,” I countered. Seth shrugged.
“Maybe you should talk to someone. A therapist or something, to help you work through your grief?”
“Maybe,” I murmured. “I’m going upstairs to check on mother.” I got up and kissed his forehead then made my way to the second floor of my parent’s lavish home.
My knock on mother’s door was met by a muffled response. I opened the door and walked in to find mother in bed, covering her head with a blanket.
“Mother,” I called to her as I sat on the bed. She responded with a whimper and my heart broke. Mother and Daniel had never really gotten along but for the most part, she did love him. He was her son after all.
“It’s going to be okay, mother,” I said soothingly as I gently pried the blankets out of her clutches and revealed her blotched, tear-stained face. Oh mother.
“No it’s not,” she wailed. Suddenly I felt like the roles were reversed and I, the 25 year old child was comforting my 49 year old mother.
“It is. We’ll get through this together, you me and father, okay,” I said firmly.
“So are you going to walk around with me and shield me from all those gossiping women? How will I ever go to the clubhouse? How could Daniel be so selfish and disgrace the family like this? If he were alive, I would disown him right away.”
My mouth fell open. I may have spoken a little too soon about mother’s love for Daniel.
That’s what she was crying about?
Not that she had lost her only son.
Not that her son was accused of heinous crimes that he couldn’t possibly have committed.
She was upset because she wouldn’t be able to go to the clubhouse because of the horrid stories flying around about Daniel’s death.
The rage grew from the pit of my belly and threatened to explode as this realization dawned on me. I stood up slowly and walked out of the room without saying a word. I loved my mother and I didn’t want to disrespect her but I would not sit there and indulge her selfishness. She called out to me as I went out the door but I ignored her and kept walking.
I stomped down the stairs and Seth looked up from his couch in surprise.
“Is everything…” he began.
“We’re leaving. Right now,” I cut in, heading for the door. Seth followed me out and didn’t question me as I practically flew past the guests on the patio.
The white hot rage pumping through my veins was blinding me and it took a while for me to register who was talking. Her calm, soft voice cleared my foggy brain a bit and I finally remembered who she was.
“Christine?” I asked, a little unsure.
“Yeah,” she nodded and smiled warmly at me. Christine Wilson was my best friend’s young sister. She was the same age as Danny and they would play together whenever her sister Cara, came over to our house and brought her along. I hadn’t seen her or her sister for almost a year now. They’d moved away to another state and never contacted us since.
She wrapped her tiny arms around me and hugged me. I awkwardly returned the hug.
“I’m so sorry about Danny,” she said, frowning slightly.
“Thank you. At this point I think you’re the only one who’s genuinely sorry,” I sighed.
“Oh.” Her eyes widened in surprise but out of politeness, she covered it up. “Again, if you need anything, I’m happy to help.”
A thought hit me. “Actually would you mind staying with the guests? I need to get out of here and mother isn’t in a good state. Dad took my grandparents home after the funeral so…”
“No need to explain. I’ll stay. You go get some rest,” she said.
“Thank you Christine,” I squeezed her hands gently and left.
Seth drove us home and the minute we stepped into the house, I headed upstairs to bed. He checked the locks and switched off the lights then joined me.
“I love you,” he whispered to me, wrapping an arm around my waist.
“I love you too,” I said back snuggling up closer to him.
No matter how hard I tried to relax, I just couldn’t bring myself to sleep. My mind was too muddled and I was too upset about everything. So an hour after I had gotten into bed, I slipped out, careful not to wake Seth and went to the study downstairs. I powered on the laptop and clicked open the browser then typed in “heroin.” A bunch of pages appeared on the screen and I clicked on the first page and scanned through the information on it.
Recreational uses. Medicinal uses. Methods of administration include oral, intravenous, insufflation, smoking and suppository. Death from an overdose of heroin may take anywhere between several minutes and several hours. Effects of overdose include fatal respiratory depression and a lowering of blood pressure.
Something scratched at the back of my mind as I read through the effects but I couldn’t for the life of me dredge it up to the forefront of my mind. I pushed the fragments of the thought away and clicked open another page. It was mostly the same information and some very alarming statistics about the number of people who die from heroin overdoses.
A passage towards the end of the page I was currently reading caught my eye and I scrolled down to it.
Cocaine is sometimes used in combination with heroin, and is referred to as a speedball when injected or moonrocks when smoked together. Cocaine acts as a stimulant, whereas heroin acts as a depressant. Co-administration provides an intense rush of euphoria with a high that combines both effects of the drugs, while excluding the negative effects, such as anxiety and sedation. The effects of cocaine wear off far more quickly than heroin, so if an overdose of heroin was used to compensate for cocaine, the end result is fatal respiratory depression.
A memory slammed into me upon reading those words. A doctor’s appointment, a couple of months back. I had dismissed my ancient history class early that day so I could take Danny to the doctor because mother had to go to some function that she ‘absolutely couldn’t cancel’ and father was out of town for business, as usual.
“Danny’s heart rate is a little faster than the average for his age and his blood pressure is quite high, bordering on hypertension levels. Danny, I want you to make sure you cut down on fatty and salty foods, at least for the next two weeks so we can check and see if that changes anything and we’ll take it from there. No stressful activities and no recreational drugs either. I know what you kids get up to these days. Especially not cocaine, it raises blood pressure and it will kill you especially in a heartbeat.”
The pieces came together in my mind then after recalling Doctor Thompson’s words to Danny. I searched again for the page on heroin and looked for one line in particular.
Effects of overdose include fatal respiratory depression and a lowering of blood pressure.
Danny knew he had a blood pressure problem and if he really wanted to kill himself, presumably before someone caught him with a dead girl whom he supposedly killed then he would have taken something that would do the job faster and for someone with his condition, cocaine would have been the drug of choice, not heroin. Even the doctor had said as much. My hands shook with supressed excitement as I opened another tab in the browser, typed in the word “cocaine” and clicked on the first page in the list that appeared.
Cocaine, also known as coke, is a strong stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled, or injected into the veins. Mental effects may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitation. Physical symptoms may include a fast heart rate, sweating, and large pupils. High doses can result in very high blood pressure or body temperature. Effects begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes.
Five minutes of an elevated blood pressure would have killed Danny instantly given his condition. I clicked open the heroin page and searched for another line that had stood out before.
Death from an overdose of heroin may take anywhere between several minutes and several hours.
It all made sense to me now. Danny hadn’t committed suicide. Someone, who didn’t know about his condition had pumped him up with heroin and made it look like he killed himself! And obviously if someone went through all that trouble to make it look like a suicide then they must have been trying to cover something up and I would bet my last dollar that it had to do with what actually happened to the Meyer girl. That meant someone else had killed her and Danny too.
That meant there was a killer out there.
And I was going to find that killer and clear my brother’s name.
“You’re clutching at straws,” Seth said rubbing his eyes as he sat up in bed. A few minutes ago I had run into our bedroom clutching the printed pages with my argument of Danny’s innocence highlighted and woken him up.
“It’s not clutching at straws if there are actual facts supporting what I’m saying,” I argued. I paced around our bedroom, pumped up on adrenaline with my mind running a mile a minute.
“Facts?” Seth queried.
I nodded vigorously. “Danny had a hypertension issue. Fact. Danny knew about his hypertension issue. Fact. Heroin lowers blood pressure. Fact. Cocaine raises blood pressure. Also fact. Can’t you see? It’s all here in these pages. I just have to take these to the police and explain everything and they’ll clear Danny’s name and find the real killer then my brother can rest in peace.” I was talking almost maniacally now and Seth had to grab my hand to stop me from burning holes into the ground from all my pacing.
“Slow down honey. Let’s think about this for a moment,” he said bringing me to stand between his legs.
“No. There’s no time, we have to go to the police right now.” I tried to move out of his hold but he was too strong for me.
“It’s 2 a.m Diana. Besides, you can’t show up there with a couple of Wikipedia pages and a half-baked theory and tell them you’ve solved a case they consider an open and shut murder-suicide.” Seth spoke gently but his words were like a knife slicing through my gut.
“It’s not a half-baked theory!” I snapped, finally managing to wrench my hands free of his grasp.
Seth sighed. “I’m sorry I said that. I understand you’ve lost one of the only family members that you care deeply for and it’s hard to come to terms with the circumstances surrounding his death. I don’t know if this is your way of dealing with the grief; this trying to piece together what happened and entertaining conspiracy theories and I’m not sure if it’s even healthy for you but you’re doing something, which is good. But you have to do this right. Search thoroughly for answers and don’t be biased because he was your brother and in your eyes, he can do no wrong. Look at every side of this, dig deep and be prepared to deal with whatever you find, even if it’s ugly. If you can do that, then I’ll even help you find the answers you’re looking for, but rushing to the police at this point is out of the question.”
He looked at me desperately, willing me to agree with him. I thought over his advice and decided it wasn’t too bad at all.
“I guess it would be nice to have a partner in all this and who better for the post than my husband,” I said. He sighed in relief and gathered me back in his arms, kissing me briefly.
“That’s my girl,” he said.
“Okay, so where should we start? I was thinking maybe we could interview the doctor and hear his take on my theory about the drug choice and how…”
Seth covered my mouth, stopping my rattling.
“For now let’s go to bed. Tomorrow morning, I promise I will drive you to Doctor Thompson’s office first thing but right now you need to rest so that you’re refreshed and sharp because we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
“Fine,” I grumbled but I let him tuck me into his arms and I laid my head on his chest. For the first time in three days, I was able to fall asleep.
I had found a reason to hope.
“I’m nervous and freaking out. Can you tell that I’m nervous? Or do I just look freaked out?” I was gripping the armrests of the seat in Doctor Thompson’s waiting room like they were an anchor. Well, considering that vice-like grip was the only thing keeping from getting off the seat and pacing up a storm in the lobby, the anchor analogy was very accurate.
“You look like an over-caffeinated raccoon,” Seth teased and I pinched him.
“What if he says I’m wrong? Or what if he…”
“Mr and Mrs Hughes?”
I jolted out of my seat at the sound of our names from the receptionist’s lips. Seth stood next to me and put a comforting arm around my shoulders as she led us to Doctor Thompson’s office. Doctor Thompson was friends with father and so he indulged me as I laid out my theory for him.
“So I need your take on this, based on your medical expertise,” I told him after I had explained everything and shown him the web pages.
He shuffled through the pages, tracing his finger over the words I had highlighted as he read through them.
“Danny had essential hypertension. It’s the type where the underlying cause of the hypertension cannot be determined. We couldn’t tell what was causing it even after I recommended that he cut on salt and fats. Given that; if he took heroin, the initial effect would have been lowering of his already high blood pressure which wouldn’t have killed him right away but with time the other effects would have caught up to him,” he said. He paused and lifted his horn-rimmed glasses a little so he could rub the bridge of his nose.
“Cocaine on the other hand would have elevated his blood pressure and given how high it already was, the drug could have caused an instant heart-attack or an aneurysm.”
“So with heroin, it would have taken a longer time for him to die than with cocaine?” I asked and he nodded. After thanking him and asking him not to mention the reason for our visit to anyone, we left.
“I was right!” I squealed excitedly. “Danny didn’t kill himself!”
“Not to burst your bubble sweetheart but all we know so far is that cocaine would have been a better choice for Danny over heroin for a quick death but maybe he used heroin because it was the one readily available,” Seth said as he drove us home.
“You’re forgetting the fact that Danny knew for a fact that cocaine would have been a better drug to serve the purpose of suicide. Knowing that, it’s the one he would have picked,” I argued.
Seth chewed on that for a bit. “Okay, then maybe he couldn’t afford cocaine?”
“Money was never a problem for Danny. Our parents just threw tonnes of money at him to make up for their poor parenting skills so he was literally always loaded,” I said shaking my head.
“Maybe he couldn’t find cocaine and settled for the next best thing?” Seth suggested.
I shook my head again. “Whoever would have sold him the heroin would most likely have cocaine too.”
“Okay. I’ll agree with you that maybe this isn’t as cut and dry as the police found it to be but this small detail of drug choice isn’t enough to prove any foul play.”
“That’s why our next stop is the motel where they found him. I need to get more evidence and that seems like the best place to start,” I said determinedly.
“What? No, you’re not going there. It’s a terrible place,” Seth said.
“I need to Seth. It’s the place where my brother died and it may be the only place with the answers I need. Please,” I begged him. He reluctantly gave in.
“Okay but I’ll ask the questions,” he said. I agreed to his condition and he made a U-turn to take us to the motel.
The place was at the end of town and the building looked like it might crumble and fall any minute and yet people were flocking in and out of it like it was an A-class supermarket. I squinted up at the sign hanging precariously above the tattered black and white striped awning. The words Motel 4 were barely decipherable on the sign under the layer of dust and rust that had collected on it. A few people looked over at our car but for the most part, people went about their business.
“Lock the doors when I’m out and do not open for anyone until I’m back, okay?” Seth urged. I nodded and he squeezed my hand and got out of the car. I reached over and locked his door the minute he was out then sat back and waited.
A few minutes later, Seth emerged from the motel and I quickly unlocked his door when he reached the car.
“Well?” I asked anxiously before he had even sat. “Did you find out anything?”
Seth shook his head sadly and my heart fell. “I’m sorry. The girl at the front desk wouldn’t tell me anything about Danny or the room he was in. All she would say is that they offer facilities to anyone looking to do whatever they want to do in private and if I wasn’t there for the services then she couldn’t help me. Short of getting a hooker to book a room with, I don’t see any other way in.”
An idea struck me as I listened to Seth. “Then you’re getting a hooker.”
“Absolutely not!” Seth exclaimed, shocked by my preposterous idea.
“Not an actual hooker silly. I’m going to play dress up and be your hooker for tonight,” I explained.
“Under normal circumstances that would be a bit of a turn on but I can’t let you go in there. It’s too dangerous.”
“I’ll have you to protect me and no one is going to suspect anything if we’re paying for their ‘services’ so we won’t be bothered. Maybe we could even be lucky and get the room Danny was in.” I was already planning what I would wear.
“Why do I keep letting you talk me into going along with your ridiculous plans,” Seth groaned laying his head back on the seat.
“Because you’re an awesome husband,” I told him and planted a kiss on his cheek. “Let’s go. I have a costume to pick out.” I rubbed my hands together excitedly and Seth mumbled something about me being crazy before driving away from the motel.
Mother spent half an hour singing the same old tune of how I would always come to ask her for money because I had decided to ‘not only marry an English professor who earned peanuts but also enter into teaching, a profession that was the death sentence of my bank account.’ I had never asked her for money before and if I had the choice I wouldn’t have but I needed a lot of money today and fast in case I would need it to bribe someone for information at the motel. So because of that, I sat and took every punch she threw at me and didn’t say a word. She finally gave me the money and I waited for Seth to pick me up then we were on our way home to prepare for tonight.
“How do I look?” I asked as I twirled in front of Seth in the skimpy skirt that barely covered my thighs, black fishnet stockings and a red crop top to match with my red stilettos.
“Whoa,” Seth whistled. “You should dress like this more often.” I laughed and sat on our bed waiting for him to finish dressing. When he was done he joined me on the bed and held my hands in his.
“We might not find anything in the motel tonight or we might find exactly what the newspapers said about Danny’s death. Either way, I need to know that you’ll be okay no matter what we do or don’t find.”
“I promise if we don’t get any information tonight, I’ll let this whole thing go, but for Danny, I have to at least try,” I promised him. He accepted this and kissed me before we went out to the car and drove into the night, heading to Motel 4.
A couple of men sitting around in the motel lobby whistled when I walked in and Seth placed a hand on my hip and plastered me to his side as we walked to the receptionist.
“We’d like a room for the night please,” Seth said, always so polite. He handed the girl some money and she reached behind her for a key. She placed the key with the number ten written on it in front of us and Seth was about to reach for it when I stopped him.
“Do you mind switching us to room six?” I asked her.
She frowned at me. “Can’t, it’s still a crime scene.”
“We would really appreciate it if you could switch us to room six,” I said sliding over a hundred dollar bill. She looked at me with her eyebrow raised. “Pretty boy here told me it’s been a lifelong fantasy to do it in a crime scene and I told him this place would deliver cause that’s where that kid killed the girl and all.”
She gave Seth a strange look and I held my breath but she took the hundred dollars I had given her and switched our key.
“If you get caught in there, I don’t know you,” she said.
“Sure, thanks,” I said then hesitated. “That kid from room six, was he here often?”
“I don’t know,” she said, a blank expression on her face.
“Maybe someone else who works on the front desk when you’re not here saw him before the day he died?” I asked again.
“I’m the only one who’s worked this desk for the past three years and I see everyone who comes into the motel,” she said. There was a hint of something in her tone but I couldn’t quite grasp it.
Seth cleared his throat and patted his pocket. Oh, she wanted more money for her information. I brought out another hundred and slid it over to her.
“He was here once. The night he died,” she said tucking the money away into the pocket of her jeans.
“Was he here alone?” Seth asked and the girl immediately looked pointedly at me and I slid over another hundred. I knew mother’s money would come in handy.
“He went in there alone but a girl followed him in a while later. I didn’t notice if anyone else went in there,” she said.
“Is there any way to see what happened in the room the night he died?”
Something flashed in her eyes but she quickly hid it. Fear maybe? It was too quick for me to see. She knew something. I placed another hundred on the desk but she shook her head and literally stepped backwards away from it. I added two more hundreds and she practically shoved them back at me. What was she so afraid of?
“Enjoy your room,” she said firmly dismissing us. I followed Seth to room six where some yellow police line barricade tape covered the door. Looking around to make sure no one was watching, we unlocked it, stepped over the barricade tape and closed the door behind us.
The stench assaulted my nostrils immediately, so potent it made my eyes water. I caught sight of a big red blotch on the carpet, probably where Susan had lain bleeding to death. My stomach tried to make a compelling case to hurl my guts out but I forced it down.
“We’re in. What now?” I asked Seth.
“Look around I guess,” Seth shrugged. “Be careful not to touch anything. We don’t want the cops finding our fingerprints.
“Got that covered,” I said handing him the garden gloves I had packed into my small sling back. I wore the oven mittens that I brought for myself and got to work. I looked through the drawers by the bed while Seth searched the cupboards and under the mattress. They were all mostly empty save for the occasional underwear or wigs probably left over from the room’s prior occupants. There really wasn’t much hope of finding anything since the room was so bare.
I got on my knees to look under the bed and almost called off the search when a glint caught my eye. I reached my arm out and grasped something cold and metallic in my hand. I held my breath as I retracted my hand to see what I had fished out. A golden charm bracelet lay in my palm. The patches of black on the chain gave away that it wasn’t pure gold. The bracelet only had two charms on it, a bone shaped charm and one half of a heart with the letters C and W engraved on it.
“I got it after Buddy died. Kind of a way to remember what a special pet he was. Chrissie has one too, same charms and everything.”
The memory danced in front of my eyes knocking the wind out of me.
“Christine has one too,” I whispered transfixed on the bracelet. I barely registered Seth coming to sit by the ground beside me as the horrifying truth of what I had found slammed into me.
“Where did you find that?” Seth asked.
“Under the bed,” I replied almost robotically. “Seth. I think I know who killed my brother.”
“I told you I don’t know!” the receptionist fairly yelled. After discovering the bracelet, Seth and I had gone back downstairs to ask her again if there was any way we could see what happened in the room the night Danny died. I needed to be sure who had been in that room with him before I accused the wrong person of murder, but she was adamant that she couldn’t help.
“Please,” I begged her. “Danny was my brother, the only real family I had and he’s being accused of horrible things that I know he didn’t do. He was a good guy, I need to find out the truth and clear his name. Right now even our mother believes those horrid things in the newspaper and I can’t just sit and let Danny’s image be tarnished by lies so if you know something, anything, please help us.”
She looked conflicted but I could tell I got through to her. She led us out of the hotel and into a dark, empty alley.
“There’s a guy, Jimmy, he made a deal with the hotel owner to put cameras into the motel rooms and record stuff,” she paused.
“Stuff?” Seth asked.
“You know, people having sex, doing drugs, whatever,” she replied. I felt like I would hurl again so I clamped my mouth tightly shut.
“He picks out some of the videos and sells them on some website. So if anyone saw something that night, it will be Jimmy,” she said.
“Let’s go to Jimmy now and ask him for the tapes,” I said and the girl shrunk into the wall looking scared.
“Hold on love. Jimmy’s not just going to just hand over the footage out of the goodness of his heart,” Seth said.
“And he’ll kill me if he finds out I told you. I’ll lose my job and I’ll be back begging on the streets,” the girl cried.
“Then what are we supposed to do. We need those tapes a.s.a.p,” I said rubbing my neck. It was only 9 p.m but it felt like it was so much later in the night.
“How about we offer to buy them from him. You still have some cash right?” Seth asked me.
“Yeah but he’ll ask us how we know about the tapes anyway and then she’ll be in trouble.”
“We’ll just say we’re there on behalf of a friend who was at the motel on the night Danny died and he found out about Jimmy’s video services so he wants to buy the videos from him so that his wife doesn’t find out about his affair,” Seth suggested. It seemed like a stretch but I was willing to try anything. The receptionist told us where to find Jimmy then scurried out of the alley and back into the motel. We found Jimmy’s place easily, a shabby little house a couple of miles away from the motel. I could tell he was drunk and quite possibly high from the redness of his eyes as he squinted at us.
“You Jimmy?” Seth asked.
“Who’s asking?” Jimmy drawled.
“Someone who wants to offer you a lot of money,” I said. Jimmy looked suspicious but he cracked open the door a little more. We’d piqued his interest, good.
“Sounds fishy. Why would you just show up out of the blue and offer me money?” he asked.
“You have something we want and we’re willing to pay for it,” Seth said. I couldn’t believe we were actually negotiating with a druggie for his sex tape collection. Next stop, drug dealers.
“What is it you want?” Jimmy asked.
“Some videos you took at the motel,” Seth answered and Jimmy’s eyes almost popped out of his skull. He tried to shut the door in our faces but Seth was quicker than him and he pushed it open wider. Jimmy stumbled back into the house, his thin wiry frame slamming into the wall.
“We won’t give you any grief. Just give us what we want, we’ll pay you and be out of your hair for good,” I told him. I waved a few hundreds at him and he gave in. I guess money really can buy you everything.
“I don’t remember seeing you in the videos,” he said leading us to a room with several monitors on it showing different footage of the motel rooms.
“We’re here on behalf of a friend. He’s the one in the videos. We need all your footage from the 19th of November,” Seth said.
“I haven’t looked through all of the footage from then so I won’t know where to find the video you want,” Jimmy said.
“Just give us everything from that day,” I said desperately.
“That’ll cost you a lot and you…”
“That’s a thousand bucks. It’s all yours, just give us everything from the 19th,” I said practically throwing the money at him. Jimmy held the money like it was gold and he practically salivated.
“Focus,” Seth said clamping Jimmy’s shoulder, “You’ll celebrate the win when we’re gone.”
Jimmy grabbed a stack of c.d’s marked 19/11/16 and handed them over to us. We hurried out of the house and headed back home. I wasted no time in loading the first c.d and fast-forwarding through the footage, scanning for Danny’s face. I finally caught sight of him halfway through the sixth one. I resumed normal playback and Seth and I watched.
Danny was sitting on the bed when a door opened and Susan Meyer walked in. He stood up and hugged her and they held each other silently for a long time.
“I’m so glad you changed your mind” Susan said.
“I’m sorry I was so horrible before. I was just in shock and I panicked and lashed out at you. I’m sorry,” Danny said to her.
“It’s okay. I understand.”
“We’ll tell your parents together. Then we’ll live together happily, you, me and our baby,” Danny said. I gasped. Susan was pregnant!
They hugged again and Danny was about to kiss her when a knock sounded on the door. He left Susan on the bed and went to check who it was. Christine charged in the minute Danny opened the door.
“Don’t listen to him Susie! If you want to keep the baby then you should. Don’t let him talk you into an abortion like he did to me,” Christine said angrily.
Danny looked as shocked as I felt.
“What abortion?” he asked her.
“Oh don’t you start with me,” Christine snapped at him. Susan got up and stood between them.
“Can everyone calm down so I can explain. Christine, Danny’s not asking me to have an abortion, he’s taking responsibility for our baby and we were just planning our future together,” Susan said with a smile.
Christine looked shocked as she looked back and forth between Susan and Danny then she burst into tears and tried to run out of the room. Susan grabbed her wrist to try and stop her but she yanked it free and her golden charm bracelet fell off and into Susan’s hand. Christine ran out and slammed the door behind her.
“What’s going on?” Danny asked.
“Christine was pregnant by you last year and she says you had a message sent to her that she should get an abortion because you would not father a child out of wedlock. She was desperate so she got the abortion and left town with her sister. But now I realized that you probably didn’t know about it and you weren’t the one who sent her the message so I called her to meet us here so we could clarify this once and for all. She told me about her pregnancy when I confided in her about mine and she urged me to stay away from you because you’d just tell me to get an abortion just like she thought you did with her,” Susan explained.
“I never told her to get an abortion! I didn’t even know she was pregnant,” Danny exclaimed. Susan hugged him and rubbed his back soothingly.
“I know, I know. I wish she’d stayed so we could talk it over and set the record straight,” she said.
“But someone did send a message to Chrissie telling her to abort. Who do you think it was?” Danny asked bewildered. I knew the answer even before Susan suggested it.
“My theory is that it was your parents. Maybe they caught wind of the pregnancy and…”
She never got to finish her sentence. The door slammed open and Christine barreled in, ginger hair flaming, with tear-stained cheeks and a big butcher knife in her hand.
“Chrissie, put the knife down let’s talk about this,” Seth said holding Susan behind him. Christine looked like she hadn’t heard him as she stalked forward with purpose, knife raised high. Seth walked forward to intercept her with his arms raised. She stopped moving when he got to her and momentarily snapped out of her zombie state.
“Why her and not me? I loved you, didn’t you love me?” she asked in a sad, broken voice.
“I didn’t know Christine. I didn’t know about your baby,” Seth said regretfully.
Christine snapped again. “Our baby! It was our baby!” She shoved him out of the way and stabbed Susan in the stomach over and over and over again. By the time Seth managed to grab the knife from her it was too late. Susan was lying, dead on the floor, one of her arms stretched out under the bed.
“What have you done?” Seth cried dropping to the floor and holding Susan’s lifeless body in his arms. Christine fell to the floor on her knees and started crying. The door opened again and Cara walked in and closed it. She took in the scene before her then went to her sister and tilted her face up to her.
“I got your message to come here. What happened?” Cara asked.
“I killed her. I killed her. I killed her,” Christine chanted rocking back and forth on her knees. Cara looked over at Susan’s body and the knife in Danny’s hand then back to her sister.
“No you didn’t,” she said.
“What?” Christine asked looking confused.
“You didn’t kill her. He did and then he committed suicide because he couldn’t stand the guilt,” Cara said in a voice so cold and distant.
Danny looked up from Susan’s body, confused.
Cara stood up and took a gun out of her bag. She pointed it at Danny’s head and smiled a sickly sweet smile.
“Wait, wait!” Christine shouted.
“Why? This piece of filth deserves to die after what he did to you. You can never have children because of him,” Cara spat giving Danny a venomous look.
“It’s a miracle people didn’t barge in hear when Susan screamed but they will hear the gun if you shoot him and the cops can trace the gun back to you,” Christine said.
Cara swore and tapped her forehead with the gun. “Now what do we do? I can’t stab him. It won’t look like suicide.”
“I have something you could use on him,” Christine said a tad ashamedly. Danny just looked at them, disbelief clear on his face. I could relate, it was unbelievable that the people we grew up with were this malicious.
“What is it?” Cara asked.
Christine took out a small plastic bag filled with a dark brown powder and some hypodermic needles with a brownish liquid in them from her bag and gave them to Cara.
“I thought you said you stopped shooting up heroin Christine!” Cara yelled.
“I tried. It was too hard. The drugs help me cope Cara, I need them,” Christine whimpered.
“We’ll deal with that later. Give those to me,” Cara said taking the drugs. “On the bed pretty boy.” She pointed the gun at Danny again and he got up off the floor and sat on the bed. She tossed him a needle and the powder.
“Into your left arm, now.”
“Cara, please. I didn’t ask Christine for an abortion. It’s all just a misunderstanding. Please let’s talk about this,” Danny begged.
“Stop wasting my time,” Cara snapped placing the gun right on the side of his head. Danny looked at Christine in despair but she was mumbling something to herself. He took the needle and stuck it into a vein on his left arm. He winced in pain as the needle pricked his skin. I wanted to scream and cry as I watched my brother being tortured.
“Good boy. Now snort that,” Cara said pointing at the powder. “All of it.”
It looked like a hundred gram pack and she wanted him to take all of it. My heart broke.
“Please Cara, please,” Danny pleaded again but Cara wouldn’t listen. Tears rolled down Danny’s face as he poured some on top of the drawers beside the bed and breathed them in. He choked on line after line after line until he started convulsing and his mouth foamed up. He threw up and fell back on the bed looking weak and defeated. In a few minutes, the convulsions stopped and he was dead.
23 November 2016
Cara Wilson (25) and Christine Wilson (19) were arrested last night for the murders of Daniel Paul Mitchell (19) and Susan Meyer (19).
Evidence of the brutal murders was brought to light in form of video footage from the motel where Daniel and Susan were found dead by Diana Johanna Mitchell Hughes (25), sister of the recently accused and her husband of 2 years, Seth Hughes (29). The couple carried out an investigation of their own into the death of the younger Mitchell and discovered the shocking truth which they presented to the police.
The Wilson sisters are due in court on the 30th of November and Daniel Mitchell has officially been cleared of all previous charges against him.
This is the longest short story I’ve ever written! 7 314 words (hmm maybe not a short story after all lol)! This is my piece for the #Mystery genre formy #SelfChallenge (I really hope that’s a genre because I’m a little unclear on those to be honest haha) .
Cheers to a happy holiday this festive season!