The Deadroot Murder House, part 13/conclusion

Posted: June 8, 2022 in Deadroot Murder House, Gargoyle Park, Monorrow Case Files

October 1 —  Amancia Bailey finally agrees to see me.  Another trip to Stone Key but this time I’m in the regular visitor’s booth with plexiglass separating me and her.  She doesn’t have that same resigned look in her face, which I expected.  There’s some steel in her gaze this time, all of it directed at me.  She lifts up the phone receiver and I do the same.  I’m about to talk but she beats me to it, tells me her lawyer told her the house where we found her and Starling’s body is gone.  Rumor is it that it was torn down.  Did I have anything to do with that?

I give her a sheepish grin, but she doesn’t look amused.  I kind of shrug noncommittally.

In a low, deliberate voice, she reminds me that I was told to stay away from that house.  She’s scolding me, and I’m feeling annoyed.  I was trying to help her.  Some gratitude wouldn’t hurt.

“That house didn’t get torn down, did it?” she asks me, that steel gaze still levelled at me.

I shake my head.

“Do you know where it is?” she asks.

I shake my head.

She closes her eyes.  Sighs deeply.  Makes the sign of the cross.  When she looks at me again, the steel is gone.  Now there’s just sadness.  Maybe some fear.

“You should have stayed away.”  And that’s it.  She puts the phone back in the receiver and calls for the guard.

I sit there for a minute or two, until the guard behind me clears his throat and tells me it’s time to go.

I can’t quite bring myself to go home, so I take a detour to nurse some cheap whiskey at The Dead Rose.  Never been much of a drinker.  Hard liquor makes me gag when I shoot it.  Not a real manly look.  But it feels like a cheap whiskey night.

I’m angry.  Angry at Amancia.  I guess deep down I was expecting her to be filled with gratitude for everything I did to try to help her.  Even if it didn’t make any difference.  Instead, she’s acting like I’m the one who did something wrong.  So for the first hour or so, I just stew and shudder with each sip of whatever it is they’re calling whiskey.

I’m about halfway into my third, when I finally come around to Amancia’s way of thinking.  I remember that imaginary family I was trying to protect.  The horror I felt thinking about them walking into that house.  Except now the house is gone to parts unknown.  Maybe it’s still in Gargoyle Park.  Maybe it’s heading to a different city.  To put down roots and welcome in that family and do who knows what to them.

I’m taking a sip of my drink as I think that last thought, leading to a spluttering coughing fit that has the whole motley crew of The Dead Rose staring at me.  Time to a call it a night.

As soon as I stand up, I know I’m not fit to drive.  For a second, I think about calling a cab, but I don’t have that kind of money and a long walk seems in order anyway.  As soon as I step outside, I hear the distant rumble of thunder and feel a couple drops of rain on my forehead.  Within a couple blocks, it’s pouring.  It seems fitting.

When I joined the force, I’d heard rumors that there was an undercurrent of corruption running through it.  I’ve certainly seen some things that make me wonder if that’s true.  But I told myself early on that I wouldn’t let it touch me.  I was going to be a good cop.  A shining example to others.  And yet here I am, lying to my commanding officer, talking a city official into creating falsified documents and let’s face it, breaking and entering (breaking and entering into what, that remains a question. . .).  Didn’t seem a big deal at the time.  Just a means to an end or a few white lies to cover my ass.  But that’s probably how this kind of thing starts.  And to what end?  Amancia Bailey’s still in prison and whatever sent her there is still lurking and waiting.

It’s really coming down.  I’m starting to shake, but I keep trudging forward.  I can hear my shoes squishing.  Hope I haven’t ruined them.  There’s a part of me that’s hoping this cold rain will wash away the dirt I’ve been rolling around in, but I don’t think that’s how it works.

Next time, though.  Next time I’ll be better.

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