Chapter 7: Running Scared
“What are you working on Jerry,” Kirk asks, plopping down at his desk. Jerry has been a part of the police force for over twenty years. Joe saw potential in him and took him under his wing. With Joe’s help, Jerry became a detective in a little over three years and a Sergeant in ten. His declining health forced him to step down from the latter position. He didn’t want to give up the rank, but figures its better than taking an early retirement.
Kirk worked in the police lab for ten years, Deciding he needed a change of pace, he took the detective exam and now solves cases alongside Jerry.
“I’m looking into Jack Arnold’s death.”
“Why are you looking into that?”
“Because I think it might have to do with yesterday’s vandalism.”
“I believe that whoever broke into the house was looking for something that might tie him to Jack’s death.”
“Wouldn’t someone else have found it by now?”
“Maybe the last tenants did but were arrested before they had a chance to prove anything. I think I’ll go talk to the neighbors see what they can tell me,” he says, scooping equipment off of his desk.
“Where’s the Sergeant?” Kirk asks, looking around.
“She’s in the basement, pulling old case files.”
“I bet she really loves being around all those creepy crawlers,” snickering he continues.
“I think I’ll go help her.” Jerry sees the evil look in his partner’s eyes as he springs up from his desk.
“Don’t you go pissing her off!” he warns.
“I won’t,” he chuckles, running for the door. Kirk is halfway across the room when he hears his name being called. He reluctantly turns back around.
“Guys, Mrs. Jenkins called, she said that she found a bloody doll hanging from her back door.”
“We’re on our way, Captain,” Jerry says, smiling at Kirk.
Abby is nervously pacing back and forth across the wood floor waiting for the police to arrive.
“What in the world is taking them so long?” Glancing at her watch she realizes it’s only been ten minutes since she called. She starts to check on Adam when she hears someone banging on the front door.
“Oh thank god,” she says, running to answer it. Abby sees a burning cross in the middle of the lawn as soon as she opens the door. Below that sat a large boulder in the shape of a tombstone. RIP was crudely carved in the middle of the oversized rock. In front of the tombstone sat four scarecrow figures, each dressed as a member of her family.
“I can’t take it anymore! I just can’t!” she screams, slamming the front door closed. Someone starts knocking on the back door.
“What did they do now?” she sobs, plopping down on the couch. Hearing the pitter-patter of little feet, she looks up to see Lilly running through the hallway.
“Don’t answer that,” she warns, jumping to her feet.
“But mommy it’s the police.”
“Berryville PD, open up!” She hears a deep voice announce.
“Go play upstairs,” Abby instructs, walking towards the entryway.
“Yes mommy,” Lilly replies, hopping back up the stairs.
“Is this the doll you called about?” Jerry asks, pointing to the grotesque looking toy swinging in front of them. Seeing the doll, Abby shivers as she turns away.
“Yes, that’s the one and there’s something else you need to see in the yard,” she informs them, walking towards the front of the house. The detectives follow behind her.
“This just happened,” she says, opening the front door. Seeing the eerie decorations, Jerry motions his crew into action.
“Start at the beginning and tell me everything that’s happened,” the detective instructs, taking a notebook out of his pocket.
“I heard someone banging on the back door. When I opened it, I saw the doll hanging from the ceiling. So I called you. A couple of minutes ago I heard someone pounding on the front door. When I opened it, I discovered this,” she cries, hysterically waving her hand towards the yard.
“Did you see anybody when you opened the door?”
“I haven’t seen a soul all day, officer,” she sobs.
“Can I talk to you for a minute, Jerry?” Kirk asks, from across the room.
“What is it, son?”
“I found this pinned to the doll clothes,” he says, handing Jerry a piece of paper. It said; this is your final warning. Stop asking questions or else.
“Or else what? Asking what questions?” Jerry asks.
“Maybe she knows,” Kirk suggests, pointing towards Abby.
“Mrs. Jenkins, we found this pinned to the doll.” Grabbing the note from the officer, she reads it.
“What does it mean?” Rachel asks, stepping up beside her.
“It means I should stop looking into Jack Arnold’s death if I don’t want my family harmed.”
“Harmed?” Rachel asks.
“Yes, yesterday they warned me to leave it alone. Another note said to watch your back.”
“How many threats have you received?”
“This is the third one.”
“Do you have the other two?”
“They’re in the trash.”
“Could you get them for me?” A few minutes later, Abby returns with two crumpled up pieces of paper in her hands.
“When did these threats start?” Rachel asks, quickly scanning the notes.
“Yesterday, right after I started asking questions about the Arnold’s.”
“Were you asking questions before your house was vandalized?”
“Yes, I mentioned wanting to return some items I’d found to the librarian. When I came home the place was torn apart.”
“Did you mention this to anyone besides Janet?”
“What did you tell her you found?”
“I told her about Suzanne’s diary.”
“Where’s the diary now?”
“It’s in the study.”
“Can you get it for me please?” Rachel starts admiring the beautiful decor as she’s waiting for Abby to return. The house is gorgeous, she thinks, slowly looking around. Its large arched doorways and dark polished wood gave it an antique appeal. Its vintage lighting added to the unique rustic ambiance.
“It’s gone! The diary is gone.” Abby cries, rushing in the room.
“Maybe you just misplaced it.”
“ I was looking through it right before I found the doll.”
“Let’s retrace your steps just to be sure, ok?” Rachel suggests.
“You’re looking through it and then?”
“I went to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. That’s when I heard the pounding on the back door.” Abby walks to the door, Rachel follows behind her.
“What did you do then?”
“I called you guys.”
“What happened next?”
“I was pacing back and forth when I heard someone pounding on the front door. I answered it, thinking it was you, and that’s when I saw the cross. I heard you knock on the back door but didn’t want to answer because I was afraid what else I might find. That’s when Lilly told me you were at the door.”
“Could Lilly have taken it?”
“I don’t see why she would, but I’ll ask.”
“Lilly can you come here a minute, please?”
“What is it mommy?” she asks, from the top of the stairs.
“Did you take Suzanne’s diary off of daddy’s desk?”
“No mommy,” she answers, combing her doll’s hair
“You’re not in trouble if you did.”
“I didn’t do it, Mommy, Mike did.”
“Who’s Mike, honey?” Rachel asks.
“He’s the guy who broke into the house yesterday and the one who came in and took the diary.”
“Did you see him come into the house?”
“No, but Anna, Ashley, and Amy did.”
“Who are they, sweetheart?”
“They’re my friends.”
“Her imaginary friends,” Abby whispers. Nodding, Rachel continues.
“Oh, well thank you for your help, sweetheart.”
“Can we have lunch now, mommy?”
“In a few minutes. Go play upstairs and I’ll call you when it’s done.”
“Ok,” she says, disappearing down the hall. Turning to Rachel, Abby quickly explains.
“Lilly’s had three imaginary friends since she’s moved in here. She says they tell her things.”
“Kids and their imaginations,” Rachel laughs. If only it was her imagination, Abby thinks, glancing back up the stairs.
“I’m going to take the letters to the lab, see what they can tell us. In the meantime, I think you and the children should go somewhere safe until we can figure out who is doing this.”
“My husband can’t leave his job.”
“Oh my god honey I just heard. Are you alright?” Greg asks, running into the front room.
“I am now,” she cries, hugging Greg tightly.
“I suggest you guys go to a safe place until we can find out who’s behind all of this.”
“I can’t leave in the middle of my project.”
“Someone is threatening you and your family’s life. So it’d be best if you go to a safe location now before you’re seriously injured.”
“She’s right, Greg, we have to go.” Abby agrees.
“I can’t leave now.”
“We have to, for the kid’s sake!”
“You and the kids go back to Arizona. I’ll be there as soon as I wrap this up.”
“No, I’m not leaving without you,” she cries, clinging onto her husband.
“We have to think about the kids, Abby.”
“You won’t be safe here by yourself.”
“I won’t stay here. I’ll go to a motel, out of town.”
“Whoever is doing this could easily follow you from work back to the motel without you even knowing,” the Sergeant says.
“All I need is one more week to finish up and then we can leave this place for good.”
“Tell you what, I know a couple of retired cops that owe me a favor. I’ll see if I can get them to watch the house until you finish your job.
“I’d appreciate that officer,” Greg says, cuddling his shaken wife.
Abby is startled awake by a loud noise coming from across the room. Glancing over she sees the blinds flapping furiously in the wind.
“Who opened the window?” she asks, rushing over to close it. Hearing the door slam shut, Abby quickly spins around. She sees the silhouette of a large man standing in the shadows. Abby tries to scream, but nothing comes out of her mouth. She tries to run towards the bed, but her feet remained firmly in place. She sees the intruder dragging his ax across the floor as he walks towards her husband. Abby tries to scream again but she still couldn’t make a sound. She attempts to run to the bed but her feet remain glued to the floor. I have to warn Greg, she thinks, looking around, hoping to come up with an idea. She struggles to reach for the table lamp but it was too far away. Hovering over the bed, the intruder vociferously states;
“If I can’t have her, nobody can!” Lifting up the ax, he slams the sharp blade into Greg’s body.