Chapter One:

 

If they had me when Humpty Dumpty fell then Humpty Dumpty would not have been a nursery rhyme.  He would have been just another fat egg with a balance problem.  That is what I do, piece things together.  I have the ability to see a crime scene and know what happened.  I can sift the unnecessary from the necessary and relevant in a glance, and help the police understand what took place.  The Chief of Police loves me for this.

The call came today while I was at Taco Bell.  I hate fast food, but I have become more and more lazy lately and just give in.  I was sitting in one of those hard plastic chairs having a bean burrito and two soft tacos when I first felt the vibration and heard the phone ring.

I answered it, grabbed a pen, and wrote down the information on a napkin that was close.  The dispatcher told me that there was a 914C at the Haynee’s farm, and that the Chief of Police requested I come to the scene as soon as possible.  She gave a few more details of the event and hung up tersely.  A 914C means everything is over, and they need me to piece it together for them.

I finished my dinner, why hurry, no one was going anywhere.  I live in a sleepy Kentucky county with about twenty thousand residents.  It’s big enough that everyone can keep some anonymity, but not big enough that people don’t know what’s happening in your life.  But since it’s a relatively small town not much happens.  I don’t mind that because it causes fewer interruptions.  Outwardly I put on a great face, I am an elected official, but believe me no one else wants this job.

I left Taco Bell and got into my official State owned Taurus.  It was black which fits me and my job to a T.  The car is not very special, but why should I complain since it’s free.  I drove out to the Haynee’s farm passing the McNally’s place and our newest attraction, the Homestead winery.  The wine is crappy, but I heard it will get better as the soil matures and the winemakers develop more of their craft.

I had been to the Haynee’s farm many times.  Brenda, the daughter, was a friend of mine from high school and a real nice girl.  We never went out on a date, but we were good friends.  I don’t know why we didn’t date.  I suppose we just enjoyed each other’s company like siblings.  Her parents were always really nice to me.  Mrs. Haynee always asked me to join them for their summer family parties and picnics.  They treated me like a cousin.  It was really nice to be a part of their family. 

Brenda and I lost touch when I started college.  She stayed home with her family helping take care of her sick father and the farm, while I went on to the university.  As time passed we stopped talking to each other.  During college I heard she was getting married to Mike Miller, who I knew when we were kids, but he wasn’t someone I liked to be around.

When we were eight years old, Mike and I and a couple of other friends were down at the lake fishing during the summer.  It was a great day.  The kind of day that you only dream about now when you’re staring out of your office window hoping not to get interrupted by the damn phone.  It was the kind of day that as an adult screams for a beer and a hammock with nothing but a gentle breeze and silence.  Back then we didn’t have a clue how special it was.  We were out of school, and that was all that mattered.  We were catching a few little crappie here and there, maybe a bluegill or two when Mike decided to change the whole atmosphere.  Mike was standing in the lake with the water up to his knees.  He pulled a few fish out of the collapsible fish basket that was tied off on a submerged log next to him, and tossed them up on the bank.  He was delighted and started laughing as they flopped around straining for breath.  He waded over to the bank, and stepped out by the fish.  The fish were trying to flop their way back to the life sustaining water, but many of them were just making their situation worse.  One of the fish, I think a bluegill was starting to get the right direction, but was stopped short callously.  Mike stepped right on it with his dirty, wet tennis shoe.  The fish made a pop as its insides squirted out of its mouth.  Mike loved this.  He started laughing and stepping on the other fish making them pop just like the first one.  After that I didn’t hang around him much. 

            Years later when we were in high school, Mike and some other guys drove into the clearing by the same lake on another summer afternoon.  I was fishing off to the side and they called me over and we enjoyed a few beers.  I was never opposed to a few beers while I was fishing.  Mike found a turtle near the shore and started to torture it.  I thought he would’ve grown out of this, but the idea of torture seemed to actually grow in him.  He was crafty in his torturing.  He took center stage with the turtle and in the beginning started to just aggravate it.  Once he got the animal frustrated he began in earnest.  First he clamped jumper cable ends to the animal’s arms and legs.  The vice like pinchers of the connectors were causing the turtle severe pain.  After this he lit some firecrackers and threw them at the turtle.  For his finale he tied three firecrackers together, lit them, and then got the turtle to bite them.  The explosion was gross.  The poor turtle’s head was gone in the burst of the explosion.  Its legs twitched for a brief time and then went still.

            Mike really enjoyed the show he put on.  I couldn’t even finish my beer, but for some reason I wouldn’t leave.  Maybe I was fascinated by someone so obviously crazy, or I was afraid.  Years later I heard of his further exploits.  They were horrific to me, but funny to others.  Most of them were still animal related, but I’m sure there is some poor soul out there that’s too afraid to come forward because of the humiliation. 

            At Brenda and Mike’s wedding I had my last encounter with Mike.  I came back to town for the occasion, and since I had been gone for a few years I had lost touch with everyone.  I was holding up a table in a corner of the reception hall having a drink when Mike came over to me.  He said he knew how close Brenda and I were years ago, and that she was really excited that I came home for the wedding.  I made my pleasantries with him and we caught up a bit keeping to general topics. 

            When our conversation was winding down Mike leaned in toward me.  He was a little unsteady on his feet from the alcohol and I could smell the gardenia pinned to his lapel.  He said to me these exact words, and I remember them because they froze me, “I’m glad you came back too, Eamon and I have been waiting for you.  You are the bridge and the binder.  Make no mistake you have been marked.”  His voice was scratchy and sounded like an old man.

            He stepped back and his eyes were glazed with a hint of red.  He looked demonic.  Then the next second he was smacking me on my back saying he would see me at the lake this summer. 

He left, and I was shaken.  I downed my drink in a gulp and calmed down.  Those eyes were evil.  He said Eamon with a sinister tone and an Old English feel, which made it even stranger because Mike was not a very educated man.

            I didn’t come back to town until my mother died and my father needed help.  I don’t know if I ever would’ve come back.  There are certain things that you just want to leave behind and never return to again. 

            I pulled into the driveway of the Haynee’s farm and parked off to the left.  There were four police cars and an ambulance blocking my way further up the driveway.  It was a warm afternoon and the idea of going into this house to see what had happened was not helping the tacos settle.  My stomach has turned to iron over the last years, but I had never been this intimate with a victim.

            The scene inside the house was amazing in a macabre way.  There was blood everywhere.  Everyone contains well over a gallon and a half of blood in their body.  The way the wounds were inflicted much of that blood was allowed to leave the bodies and pour over the floor and furniture to create a red tinge to large areas.  A casual observer would not be able to tell who started what and where it ended, but that is why they call me in.  There were two officers taking photos and surveying the scene.  I asked them politely to leave when they were finished with their photography and to not let anyone in until I was finished.  The officers know I have a different way of working and didn’t mind in the slightest to comply with my request.

            They finished in a short time and left, closing the door behind them.  I stood there for a while just soaking it in.  The Haynee house was a simple farm house.  The front room served as a living room and den.  There was a TV near the door, an old embroidered couch by the window, and two recliners set up along the back wall.  The room was still decorated like it was thirty years ago.  It did not look like Mr. and Mrs. Haynee liked change.

            The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Haynee had not been removed, and to my trained nose, the smell was getting worse.  Mr. Haynee was still in his chair and Mrs. Haynee was sprawled face down on the carpet.  I could tell from the first look that this all happened last night between 9 and 10 pm.  I didn’t see the bodies of Brenda or Mike.  The last I had heard, and as I said before in this small town word tends to get around, was that Mike and Brenda were living here because Mike had lost his job.

            I wanted to get a look at the whole house to see if there was anything else here that would be relevant.  I followed a partially bloodied footprint down the hall and found Brenda in the bathroom.  She was slumped over the tub with her body arranged as if she was leaning over the edge of a boat grabbing at the water, although her head was hanging at an abrupt inhuman angle.  The blood in this room flowed freely from her body covering the floor and, without the benefit of the carpet to soak it up, started to pool at the entrance.

            I made my way upstairs and found Mike in his in-laws bedroom.  He was lying on the bed with his head pointing toward the foot of the bed.  The body was positioned on the bed so that his head was dangling off the edge causing his mouth to open in a grotesque smile.  He was holding onto the murder weapon, a large butcher knife.  His right index finger was cut off and there was a large gash in his stomach and a stab wound in his neck. 

            I knew who committed the murders, I knew how it happened, but I still needed to know why.  Let me fill in the blanks. 

            The family was having a normal night at home.  A nice home cooked meal that Mrs. Haynee was so good at making, and a relaxing night in front of the television.  Mr. Haynee was drinking a beer, and Mrs. Haynee had settled down in her recliner to knit and sip on her “medicinal” bourbon, as I remember her calling it.  Mike was having a bourbon and water which he left on the coffee table next to the embroidered couch.

            Brenda got up to go to the bathroom, and Mike went to the kitchen.  Mike retrieved the butcher knife and walked out to the living room.  He killed Mr. Haynee with a stab to the stomach, pulling his blade up as he pulled it out.  Mrs. Haynee trying to rescue her husband of 47 years got out of her chair only to have Mike slit her throat and break her neck by holding her head up as she fell.  The weight of her body caused her neck to snap as he held onto her head.  He then walked down the hall and stabbed his wife, Brenda, five times in the chest.  She fell backwards to land with one arm over the tub in the position I found her.

            Mike then went upstairs, lay on his in-laws bed and opened his stomach and stabbed himself in the throat.  But where was the finger, and why did he cut it off?

            I found the finger in Brenda and Mike’s bedroom.  It was inside of a circle made from blood with four dots at the compass points.  On the wall Mike had written with his bloodied finger “Eamon is inside, he must be free, freedom can only lead to salvation.” 

            I looked around the room and my eyes fell on the pill bottles on the dresser.  Mike was taking Glucosamine-Chondrontine for his joints, Viagra for his pleasure and Doxepin for his depression.  I knew from my medical training that, Doxepin when combined with certain things can cause hallucinations.  Had Mike been hallucinating all this time, or is he just depressed?  Was he crazy or possessed?

At this point I would have been satisfied and called it quits.  I would have been happy to stop here and go home to my couch and avoided any more interruptions, but something was nagging at me.

                                                            ******

            Once I was finished with my preliminary investigations I informed the Chief of Police and gave some instructions to the two technicians that were assigned to collect the evidence.  I instructed Officer Tim Willis to work on the first floor taking more pictures and collecting fingerprints of the victims.  I wanted to make sure the prints matched the murder weapon.

            I instructed Officer John Mitchell to begin upstairs with Mike Miller.  I wanted him to be meticulous and very detailed.  I told him to take his time and be careful.  He had only been on the evidence unit for four months.  He was good, but he was still a little green.  I wanted to talk to the Chief a little more and then I planned on joining Officer Mitchell upstairs.

            When I came upstairs after talking to the Chief, Officer Mitchell was still photographing the scenes.  He had collected fingerprints from Mike Miller already and collected the bottles of medication on Mike’s dresser.  I asked him to bag some books that looked out of character for Mike.  They pertained to demonology and the occult. I had no idea that Mike was interested in the occult, but I was not surprised when I thought back to the last time I had spoken to him at his wedding.

            When Officer Mitchell finished collecting the books, I would have helped but I was trying to cut down on any contamination and he needed the practice, we turned our attention to Mike’s finger and the cryptic sign and message.  I made sure Officer Mitchell took plenty of photographs before we moved anything. 

            He prepared a bag for Mike’s finger that was still in the middle of the cryptic circle.  As he picked it up he swooned backwards and almost fell over dropping the finger.

            “Are you alright,” I asked.

            “Yeah, I guess.  That was weird,” he said with a small chuckle trying to blow the whole thing off.

            He picked the finger up once more and almost fell backwards again, but this time he held onto the finger.

            “Are you sure you’re ok?” I asked again.

            “I don’t know.  I feel really nauseous.” 

“Something you ate?” I asked.

“I don’t think so,” he said as he dropped the finger into the bag.  “Holy shit.”  He was staring out the bedroom door into the other room.

“What is it,” I said as I moved to see what he was seeing.

“This may sound weird, but do you see that?” he said with a slight crack in his voice.

I did see it and I have no explanation.  Floating above the body of Mike Miller was a black nebulous form of a man.  Although the shape of the figure above Mike was vague there was no mistaking the evil expression and red eyes of the apparition.  The figure began to solidify and a wicked grin formed under the red eyes.  An arm came up pointing at Officer Mitchell. 

In the blink of an eye the form shot from above Mike’s body and slammed into Officer Mitchell knocking him to the floor and was gone.  Officer Mitchell lay on the floor unconscious.  The bag containing the finger now lay within the circle again. 

I bent down to aid Officer Mitchell and was pushed backward by the energy of the circle as it flared to life and glowed bright red and then burned out without leaving a trace on the carpet, leaving only the message on the wall.




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