I sprung up from my sleep suddenly. I had beads of sweat rolling down my forehead, and my whole body felt flushed. I felt as if I just had a really bad dream. I had. Well, at first, I had but why would I still feel like this, and why did I wake up so frightened? Maybe, it was an actual dream?
I laid back down, trying to remember, but all I could remember was Herosavieltun. All those horrible images came racing through. I held on to the stone tightly. I felt it warm up quickly in my palm. The images faded into positive embraces. If someone was being beaten, the individual would become the recipient of a warm, loving hug. Then I remembered. I remembered saving that little girl.
The dream! It was about her. The little girl! The dream was about what I saw in Herosavieltun. Except, when I tried to stop it, I was beaten badly. Remembering this dream made my stomach turn. It made me worry that maybe I wouldn't be able to save Ruth. Maybe the person who hurt her, will hurt me. I was scared for my life. I knew the more information I got, the bigger trouble I would be in. That is when I realized I must tell someone else, to protect me and to find out what really happened to Ruth.
I didn't know how I could explain that I knew she didn't kill herself. I couldn't talk about my dreams. Maybe I could say that I did have a dream? I had a dream that Ruth was murdered, and the crime scene looked suspicious. Yes. That was what I would tell them. Now, who was “them”? I knew the person I could trust the most was Jamie and, of course, my two sisters. Since Jamie has a car, he could drive me where I needed to be, and the girls go to the same high school where Ruth was found in, so they could spy on people that I think will reveal information.
But, what about Matt? Could he be trusted? Sometimes I think he is too close with dad. I will have to ask Jamie about him. Jordan, I think is too young. I know I am even younger, but this job had been given to me, and he was not very mature. He might not understand, or would he? None of us are really that close with him, and he seems a bit delusioned about our family. Maybe that was how he dealt with it? For now, I would only tell Jamie.
A loud knock came at my door. I jumped right out of my bed. “Who is it?”
“It's your brother, Jamie. Open up!” I wondered what was so important that he would be banging on my door so early in the morning. “Okay, okay, just a minute.” I put my robe on then went to open the door.
His eyes were watering and his face was red and tense. “What is the matter Jamie?” I asked softly.
“Can I come in?”
“Quick. Close the door.” So I did.
“Dad went out again this morning. And this time I followed him.” He announced as he paced across the carpet, and tried to stop his hands from shaking.
“Did he see you?”
“No. I don't think so. Well… I hope not. I made sure he was well down the road before I left.”
“So, what did you find?”
“Another.. well.. it was another.. “ His eyes watered more now, almost over flowing.
“Another what? What could it possibly be?”
“Another woman!” He shouted. “Another woman” He whispered. I was not surprised, and I couldn't understand why he was.
“Jamie. I am sorry but that doesn't really surprise me. Our father is a lying jerk. You know that.”
He shook his head, “Y-yes, I know he is but this woman, Liz. This woman is not what you would expect…And, on top of that he went to see her on the day of Ruth's funeral!”
“What do you mean, she is not what I would expect? And yeah, that is pretty insensitive, for him to even go over there on a day like today, but I am still not shocked Jamie.”
He grabbed my arm, and sat me down on the bed. “It's not a woman. I mean it is, but it isn't.”
“It's a girl. A teenaged girl, Liz!” Wow. He was preying on other girls as well? Now that Ruth is gone, it made sense. Maybe he was doing this the entire time?
“Was it at her house? Hotel?” I pried.
“A hotel. A dingy hotel. Just off of highway 12, south.”
My heart dropped. Was he connected? Could the addresses on the picture be linked to hotels my father was going to? “What street?” I asked, but a part of me didn't want to know.
“Uh, I think it was Shephard.” He was connected…but how? Did he kill her? No. He is evil but not that evil. He couldn't hurt his daughter like that. Wait, no one is evil. That is too hard to believe, especially at a time like this. Where were my helpers? I didn't know what to do. I held the stone. My heart slowed.
“Liz? Are you okay?” He was now sitting beside me on my bed, and put his arm around me firmly.
“There is something I found in Liz's locker. You have to see it. I am not sure, right now, if we should tell anyone else, but I just know I need your help, and you already know so much, so there is no sense in trying to hide anything from you.”
“What is it Liz? Please. You can trust me.” I got out the letter and all of the pictures I had found in Ruth's locker. “Here. Look at these.”
“Who are these people?”
“I don't know. Look on the back. And- here - maybe read this first.” I watched my brother read the shocking letter. His eyes darted fast, back and forth, like a ping pong ball. His eyebrows sank then lifted, and so on. When he finished, he scanned the letter, again and again.
“I just don't know what to say. Why was she involved with such an idiot? She should have come to me. I could protect her.” He continued to scan the letter.
“I think she felt alone, very alone.” I tried to explain.
“But she had all of us.”
“Did she really? And - even if she did - how could she trust her brothers and sisters, if her own father treated her like dirt?” I couldn`t help but respond in that way. My anger took over as I thought of our father, and what he did to her.
“How do you mean?” I raised my eyebrows, and stared at him for moment, in disbelief. He didn't know what I was talking about? I wasn’t sure how that could be.
“Oh.” His eyes fell to the ground and his body drooped, in disappointment, of himself. “I wish I could have done something. I mean not that I could've, but how? How Liz? I didn't-” Tears sank down his face.
“I know Jamie. We all feel guilty. But, now, I think this should make us all realize how much we need each other, and that we can't be scared. Just because we were raised by the same parents doesn't make us them. We are good people, right? And I think we should start acting like it, before something this bad happens again.”
He wiped the tears quickly off his face, shook his head, and said, “You’re right. Now, what else did you want to show me?”
“The pictures. Look at the back of them.”
“What are these? Addresses? Oh my god! One of them is where dad went to.”
“Exactly. And, I think, first thing tomorrow we should go there. Actually, tonight might be better, just in case he decides to go there tomorrow morning too.”
“Good point. But what does this all mean, Liz? And, why do we have to go there? Couldn't it be a coincidence? Do you really think dad is connected somehow to Ruth's...Wait, they confirmed it was a suicide, didn't they?”
“That's what the police say. But-”
“But what?” I began to tell him almost everything, but, if I had to refer to my dreams, I simple referred to them as that - dreams.
“So these dreams gave you so much suspicion, about Ruth's death, that you decided to start investigating it? And, you think Ruth is supporting you in this?”
“I know it sounds a little crazy, but I really do think Ruth came to me in a dream. I know you always hear about it on TV and movies and stuff, but I really do believe it could happen. And, I had a very strong instinct, right from the moment I thought she had gone missing.”
“Okay, Liz. I am going trust you, but I have a feeling it wasn't a suicide either. I think we really have to be careful. And, I don't think we should tell the others yet, not until after we check out these addresses.”
“Deal.” I nodded.
“And, we have to be really careful if we aren't going to tell the police. You really believe that they won't investigate further?” His eyes squinted with doubt.
“Maybe, and we might be in trouble if they do. I have the stuff from her locker, and the necklace from the beach. They might think I had something do with it or, if dad is involved, they might even cover it up, or never believe us. I just want to be sure, before we bring all of the evidence to them. For now, let's pretend we don't know anything. And, really, at this point, we don't know any details.”
“Yeah, I was thinking the same things, and just making sure we are in the same boat, so we can come to a clear understanding on what we are going to do about this. And, no more hiding stuff. You tell me everything you are doing, and everywhere you are going, and I will do the same. Better yet, we will do whatever needs to be done together. The others might wonder, but oh well. They will find out soon enough. There is no point in creating drama, if there isn't a good enough reason to yet.”
“Yeah, for sure.” I nodded again in agreement. I liked that we both had similar feelings about the whole situation.
“Okay, so where can we hide this stuff for now?” Jamie asked, scanning the room.
“Well, I can put it in my jewellery case. It is pretty big, and it has a lock on it.”
“Okay, but don't leave it out in the open, just in case Christine or Sam want to search in here. If it's locked, it might bring more attention, especially since they already know about the necklace.” Jamie reminded me. I ignored his ‘know it all’ attitude, since I already thought about those things, and was onto something more important.
“I was thinking, before we check that address, we should stop by Tanya's. Maybe she knows more about this guy that Ruth was seeing. Maybe he is the same one she went out to dinner with. We can get his info, so we can ask him questions. They obviously had something planned together.”
“Yeah, sounds like a plan, Liz. I guess we should get ready for the funeral now. They are probably wondering where we are.”
The funeral took place at the church, of course. Many people showed up: lots of people I knew, and lots of ones I didn't know. I was surprised to see quite a few teenagers from Ruth's school. I didn't realize she had so many friends. Of course, most of them weren't her friends, just people attracted to drama.
Mr. Walich and most of Ruth's teachers were there as well. They sat in the bench behind us. I heard sniffles amongst the crowd, and I observed all of them in order to determine whether or not they were sincere. I wondered if her killer would show up. I thought it would be highly unlikely, as I am sure the killer would avoid going at all costs for fear of getting caught. Although, the smart thing to do would be to show up to avoid suspicion.
Amongst the teenagers, there was a particularly interesting group. They all sat on the bench behind Tanya and her mom. Tanya and Helen gave a polite wave over as they sat down. The group of juveniles looked neither sad, nor angry, nor or even pleased. They simply looked dead. There was no emotion, not even fake emotion. They reminded me of steel, nice looking but cold. Were these her beach friends? There was no older male as Sal described, but the others fit his description. The younger male could be the one she was involved with. He didn`t look much like a Daniel though.
I prayed to my helpers, to give me a sign, if the killer was in here, and who he or even she was. I then had a striking thought. I realized it would be practically impossible for just one person to hang Ruth from the high school ceiling. Okay, maybe not impossible, but it would take a very strong person- the older male- or perhaps the whole group to tie a body to the ceiling. A mistake or premeditated? I think I needed to find out what she was up to with this Daniel guy before I answer the other questions.
Don`t rush. Be safe. Trust your instincts. The answers will soon follow. I heard Harmony`s sweet whisper, and I felt her warm aura around me. It was completely silent. It felt like I was alone in the church. I opened my eyes and realized I was. It was over? I was praying for that long? Where did everyone go? Or, where did I go? And, why didn`t anyone tap me or something?
Maybe I fell asleep, and this was a dream? Enjoy. Enjoy. The quiet. The still. The beauty. Feel her. Remember and love. A sweet melody glossed over me.
I opened my eyes again, and this time everyone appeared back into existence. My sister, Sam, was walking up to the podium. My father elected her, last night, to give a speech. I felt sorry for her, especially since she is more introverted than the rest of us. I listened intently, praying she would be okay.
She brushed her hair from her face then put it behind her right ear. She then cleared her throat. I heard her breathing deeply, and saw her face turn red. I was beginning to think she was about to freeze. Just then, she started. Her voice was slow and quiet at first, but it grew firm and self-assured.
“There is so much I could say about Ruthanne, but there is only one thing that needs to be said, and that is that she was loved, and will continue to be loved. I remember when she was born; my other sister, Christine, and I were so excited to get another sister. We thought we would be able to teach her everything, and show her all the girly things we loved. But, sadly, as we grew older, we forgot those promises. And, at the most unfortunate time, we finally remember. We all wish we could have done something more, something to stop her from making such a sad decision, but we can`t change the past. What we can change is how we love, and show that love in the future. My other sister, Elizabeth, made me realize this yesterday, when she suggested that we - all of the Murphy kids- do something fun together. It reminded me of how lucky I am to have my brothers and sisters in my life, although it is sad to realize these things after Ruth is gone, I want to thank her for making us realize just that: how lucky and how loved we all are. So, thank you Ruth! We will always remember you, and keep you in our hearts, as we remember to be thankful for the love we receive and for the love we can give, as she always gave her love so freely.``
Everyone in the room was crying, even the steel rods. If I didn`t know any better, I would have thought the helpers were speaking through Sam. Not only were the words moving, but Sam had said them with such poise and confidence. I was proud of her, and proud of Ruth, for bringing love to us.