While Maria takes over trying to find information, I focus on making sure Jude is okay. He’s a lot more coherent than he usually is after a seizure, but the nosebleed thing has me freaked out. It could be nothing or it could be something horrible. Most likely it’s nothing. I should stop worrying. As someone who went to medical school, though, it’s hard to not worry. It doesn’t help that his aura is all over the place.
“Stop it,” Jude says, eyes closed.
“Stop what?” I asked, surprised.
“Stop worrying and staring at me like I’m about to die or something. It’s annoying.”
I gape, unsure how to answer. How did he know?
“I can feel you staring at me,” he says.
“No, you dumbass. I opened my eyes while you were spacing off and I saw that you were staring at me. Now stop.”
I clear my throat, embarrassed, and turn away. Instead, I look at Maria, who is still waiting for an answer on the phone.
“Hey, Owen! It’s me, Maria,” Maria says on the phone. I narrow my eyes, and Jude practically falls over trying to sit up. Even Hazel glances back, but only for a second. Jude’s aura is crystal clear now. He is pissed. Haylee is the only one who doesn’t know that Owen is the jackass who cheated on Maria while they were engaged.
“I need information, but I don’t have the clearance to access it. It’s incredibly important, though.” She pulls the phone away from her ear and puts it on speaker so that we can all hear.
“I’m not your personal detective. I don’t have time to play your little ghost hunting games, Maria,” Owen says angrily.
“This is a life or death situation! Look, it’s nothing huge. We just need you to find out when someone’s realtor appointment is scheduled for. No big deal.”
“It’s no big deal, but it’s a life or death situation?”
“Well, I meant the information is no big deal. They won’t hand it out to just anyone, but if you call them from…”
“Yeah, I get it. I’m a detective. I know how this stuff works.” He’s silent for a few seconds, then finally he sighs. “Okay, fine. I guess I owe you, and it’s not serious information, so fine. What’s the company name?”
Maria rattles off the information, sounding very professional, then thanks him and hangs up. “Now we just wait for him to call us back. Should just be a few minutes.” She looks back and notices Jude glaring at her. “What?”
“You know what! Why the hell did you call him?” Jude shouts.
Maria looks taken aback at his reaction, though I’m not surprised at all. For some reason, Jude has always been protective of Maria when it comes to her past failed relationship. One might even think that he was in love with her… but that’s ridiculous. Jude doesn’t fall in love.
Maria struggles to speak, gasping like a fish. “We need to know! Who cares how we find out? I’m just using him! It’s none of your business anyways!” Her face is red and flustered, as is her aura. It’s awkwardly silent for a few minutes, until Maria’s phone rings, breaking the silence. She quickly answers, placing it back on speaker and glaring at Jude defiantly. “So?”
“Maria… what have you gotten yourself into?” Owen asks quietly.
“What do you mean?” I lean closer to hear the conversation better.
“Shit,” he whispers to himself. “You and your friends are involved in a murder case,” he hisses.
Murder case? No…
“About two hours ago, a girl was beheaded at the address you gave me. By a realtor from the company that you had me call. And now you have to go to the station because you are now a possible witness. Satisfied?” Owen sounds angry, but Maria doesn’t seem to notice.
“Sarah was… she’s dead?” Maria chokes back a sob.
“Oh, great, you even know her name. Perfect. That won’t be suspicious at all.”
Jude grabs the phone from Maria, hangs up, and chucks it at the side of van. It hits the wall, dangerously close to my head.
“Whoa! Calm down, dude! You almost hit me!” I yelp.
At the same time, Maria shrieks something about her phone, and Haylee complains loudly about being involved in all of this nonsense and not wanting to go to prison. Then we’re all shouting at once, me fighting with Haylee and Jude fighting with Maria.
We all stop fighting at once and our shouts turn to shrieks as Hazel brings the van to an abrupt stop on the side of the road. “All of you shut up!” she screams, even though we already stopped fighting when we thought we were going to die in a car wreck. “Why are you all fighting? Is that helpful?”
We all hang our heads in shame. Except Jude, who doesn’t think he can do anything wrong. He looks at Hazel stubbornly, holding her angry gaze until she gives up and looks away.
“This has never happened before. Someone dying during an investigation. This is not something that we’re prepared to deal with,” she says quietly. “I don’t know what to do.”
None of us knows what to do. Most of our ghost hunts were simple, some were even kind of fun. This has not been simple, and it is far from fun.
Maria clears her throat and speaks up. “We should go to the police station, tell them what we know, and then we can figure out what to do from there. If we avoid the police, it will only make us look suspicious.”
“What exactly are we supposed to tell them? That we all have magical powers and I knew that she was going to die because I saw the future through a necklace that belonged to a dead girl? That sounds reasonable,” Jude says sarcastically.
“No, we can tell them that we were hired to investigate a haunting in the house. We left town to investigate a possible lead, and while we were away, we found out that the murder happened,” Maria says.
“And how do we explain why we asked Owen to call the realtor?”
Maria snorts. “We won’t have to worry about that. If they found out that he used his position to obtain information for someone outside the precinct, he could get in serious trouble. Trust me, he won’t tell.”
I trust her. She was a cop, after all. She knows how all this works. I nod and glance at Jude, then do a double take. “Your nose is bleeding again…” I quickly hand him a tissue.
“Are we all in agreement? Haylee, we can drop you off somewhere to wait. You aren’t involved in any of this,” Hazel says. We all agree to the plan. We will drop off Haylee at a store or something while we go to the police department. We tell them our story, then pick Haylee back up and bring her home. Then we can figure out what to do next.
Once we make it back into town, we drop Haylee off at Walmart. She protests and says that Walmart is full of ugly people, but one look from Hazel shuts her up. That’s my girl.
At the police department, we tell them who we are and why we’re there. The busty blonde woman at the desk looks at us strangely.
“You’re the…” she holds back a giggle. “The paranormal investigators that the Harrisburg’s hired?”
“Yes, we were told to come in because we were possible witnesses to a murder case,” Maria says, doing a great job of acting like she doesn’t know every single detail.
“Who relayed that message?” the woman says, her keyboard clicking loudly as she types something into her computer. “The officer in charge of the investigation hasn’t even gotten your contact information yet.”
“I used to be a police officer. When one of my former coworkers heard about the case, he contacted me and told me that we were going to be called in,” Maria says smoothly. She’s good at this whole lying thing. It’s kind of scary. What else has she lied about?
The woman looks at us suspiciously, but nods. “Wait over there. An officer will be with you shortly to take your statements,” she says, gesturing to a row of hard plastic seats by the window.
We all sit down in the chairs and wait anxiously. “So, is this like a group thing, like we all go in at once, or are they gonna ask us all individually?” I ask, tapping my foot nervously.
“It depends on how involved they think we are in all of this. If the Harrisburg’s gave them any reason to think we might be suspects, it will be individual, and may turn into an interrogation,” Maria says. “Otherwise, they may just get a quick statement right here and we can be on our way. Based on her initial reaction, I’m guessing it will be the latter.”
I look over at Jude and Hazel. Jude is slouched in his seat and resting his head on Hazels shoulder. I almost wish I was doing as terrible as he was so I could have an excuse to put my head on her shoulder, but then again, I don’t think it would be worth it. “Let’s hope so. Then we can go home and rest.” Maria sighs and nods.
After what seems like an eternity, an officer comes over and pulls out a notepad. “You’re the, uh, paranormal investigators?” His grin tells me that he also doesn’t take us seriously. Good. That’s exactly what we want this time. “Alright, we’ll try to make this quick. Did you know the victim?”
“Sort of. We met with the family once and briefly spoke to Sarah about her experiences concerning the possible haunting,” Maria answers. The officer snorts when she mentions the word ‘haunting’.
“The Harrisburg’s mentioned that you spent a night at their house while they were away. Did you notice anyone suspicious hanging around the house, or on the property? Besides, you know, ghosts?” He smirks.
“No, nothing living. Just the ghost of Olivia Colton. Might want to look her up if you don’t know who she is. Could be important to your investigation, considering the similarities in the two cases,” Maria says haughtily. The smirk vanishes.
“You think the two cases are related?” he asks.
“Well, considering that two young girls that lived in the same house were both beheaded, albeit, years apart, I would say yes. I do believe the cases are related.”
“We believe that this may be a copycat killer. Some freak who knew the history of the house and decided they wanted to try it out. No offense, but I’d leave the investigating to the professionals, sweetheart.”
Jude suddenly speaks up. “Yeah, you keep things real professional here, don’t you?”
“Excuse me?” the officer asks.
“Jude, don’t,” I snap. He’s going to get us in trouble, like always.
“Does your wife know?” He looks over at the female officer at the desk, then back at him with a devilish grin. “About you and officer hotties “professional” work activities?”
The officers face turns red. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. I think I have a good enough statement. You lot can be on your way.” He glares at Jude, then turns on his heel and stalks away, keeping his attention purposefully off of the female officer.
“Great. Piss off the cops, Jude. That’s exactly what we want,” I say sarcastically. “Let’s just hurry up and get out of here, before he changes his mind and decides to arrest us or something.”
Jude shrugs. “He was being an asshole. I wasn’t gonna let him get away with that.”
“You’re an asshole all the time. Don’t be a hypocrite,” Hazel says.
“Really? Is no one on my side? Maria?”
“It’s really better to not be rude to the police, even if they are being rude to you. I mean, thank you for trying to stick up for me, but maybe do it more tactfully next time,” Maria says, avoiding looking at him. “Also, you owe me a new phone.”
“And don’t forget about my shoes,” I chime in. As long as we’re all picking on Jude, I might as well join in the fun.
“I just can’t do anything right, can I?”