Chapter Nine Silence Speaks Volumes.
It didn’t take long to get to the turn off that led to the Murphy’s mountain log cabin. When they rounded a curve in the drive way they realise that the name log cabin didn’t cover it. Yes the building was made of logs but on a grand scale. It looked like Tyrolean hotel up in the alps.
As they pulled up in front of the house two bully boys in immaculate suits were waiting for them.
The two women got out of the car and pointedly refused to be intimidated buy them. They crossed over to the door and Steffi used the large ornate knocker to make three sharp bangs.
The heavies moved restlessly as if annoyed at being ignored.
The door creaked open to reveal a tall thin elderly man in a butlers outfit.
“Can I help you ladies?” He asked.
“Detective Sergeant and Detective with the Serious Crime Squad.” The two women showed their warrant cards and shields. “Is Michael Murphy in? It is imperative that we speak to him.”
“I am afraid Master Michael is not at home at present.” His voice had the soft burr of Southern Ireland.
Steffi took out one of her contact cards and passed it over.
“It is vital that he gets in touch with us. A matter of life and death.” Steffi paused dramatically for the hidden person just behind the butler. “His!”
The door opened further to reveal the head of the family, Sean Murphy.
“What seems to be the problem Jitters?”
“There are two policewomen to see Master Michael sir.”
Steffi and Julie duly went for their warrant cards but Sean waved their hands away.
“It seems the police budget has improved.” He said with a wry smile.
“Not that much. These costumes were hired so we could interview your son and Helen discreetly at his club.” Steffi told him. “We didn’t want to embarrass him or frighten his clientele.”
Sean Murphy was in outward appearance a successful businessman in his late fifties with black curly hair that only now showed flecks of grey. An amiable smile was never far from his lips but his eyes were cold and calculating. You dreaded that smile vanishing from his lips.
He was the hard hearted boss of the Irish gangs that ran protection rackets, prostitutes and illegal drink and gambling dens over half of the city. A man who would kill you without a blink.
“I’m sure they thanked you but just in case they didn’t, please take my gratitude for your consideration.” Again that snake smile flitted over his lips like a cat ready to play with a mouse. “I am afraid Jitters is correct in as much as he isn’t here at the moment.”
“Michael is in grave danger. Evidence has come to light after we had interviewed them that a serial killer had targeted them.” Steffi gave a unhappy sigh. “We weren’t quick enough to save Helen.”
“You better come in. Jitters take them to the study while I collect the family? Oh Jitters make sure the Ladies needs are dealt with.”
Jitters took them down a short wood panelled corridor where family portraits hung in regimental lines.
As they were ushered into the study Steffi mentally reviewed what they knew about the Murphy clan.
Sean Murphy had nine children by his first wife Adel. Their were five boys and four girls. The rumour was that Adel was the force behind their climb to power but she never got to enjoy the fruits of their labour dying from lung cancer.
Sean remarried and had Mike with his much younger wife Kathleen.
Steffi and Julie were just enjoying a cup of coffee when the Murphy family trooped in and spread out around the sizable room. Sean took up the seat at the fine desk. Kathleen stood behind him and laid a hand on his shoulder.
Sean thankfully avoided introducing the family instead he introduced the women instead.
“These to fine ladies are detectives with the Serious Crime Squad so don’t let their clothes fool you they are two smart cookies.” Sean gave all the children an icy stare. “They interviewed your brother Mike at his club dressed as they are out of respect and we will show them the same respect. Now ladies what are your first names. I think it will improve the atmosphere no end.”
“I am Stephanie, a Detective Sergeant, and this is Julie, a Detective.” Steffi paused a second to see if their names registered with any of them. Obviously it didn’t. “We need to locate Michael as soon as possible. We have every right to believe his life is in grave danger.”
“What makes you think that?” One of the women asked.
Steffi took a deep breath before delivering an abridged version of events.
“We went to your brothers club dressed like this to interview him and Helen over the murders of Bruno and Laura. Trying to pick their brains as to who could have done it.
After we left evidence came into our hands that both Helen and Michael were the killers next target. I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to tell you how we came to be in possession of this fact.
We set off after them to warn them and get them to safety, but we were to late to save Helen.
The killer like’s torturing his victims first.
The murderer fed her to a moving staircase which took off her head and tore her in half. He had already beheaded Bruno, skinned alive Laura and vivisection Laura’s model.
We came up here hope against hope he was here.
Now do you understand why it is imperative to find him?”
Some of the boys went a little green unlike the girls who’s faces hardened.
“I’m finding what your saying hard to believe but since you’re saying it, it must be so.”
“I don’t care where he is hiding, whether it’s a strip club, illegal gambling joint even a brothel as long as we have found him safe and well.” Steffi said fiercely. “Every moment we dither could bring him closer to death.”
“Understood. A truce?” Sean asked.
“A truce.” Steffi agreed.
“Jitters get our guest’s some fresh coffee.”
Sean pointed at each son in turn and gave them their orders. Mainly to check on Mikes familiar haunts. The girls he got either dealing with the brothel Madams, Mike’s girlfriends or manning the telephone.
The family left in animated conversation.
After two cups of coffee, during which they could hear the roar of the family sports cars leaving, Sean returned with Katherine.
“Ladies thank you for letting us know and caring for our boys safety especially as it would be easier just to let him die after all we are organised crime.” Sean told them earnestly. “We are still checking but so far no news. I’ve sent the family out to scour the city for him.”
“We’ll return to our car and call up central dispatch and get them to check the hospitals and intakes from the other Precincts.” Steffi told them. “We’ll take a slow drive back to town and see if we can find him at the few turnoffs. It’s clutching at straws I know but at the moment it is all we have.”
“Thank you Officers.” Sean told them.
“If he does come home how would we let you know?”
Steffi opened her bag and pulled out one of her contact cards.
“Oh an Sean?”
“When the truce is over I’d like to question you over the murder of Detective Lieutenant Stephen Corrigan.”
“I thought it was an accident?” Michelle asked.
“New evidence has come to light that suggests that it was a murder involving Bruno Carlotto, Helen Marks and another person.”
Sean’s face was a block of granite whereas Katherine’s blanched with shock.
Steffi’s face hardened.
“Look at the card! I am Detective Sergeant Stephanie Corrigan, Stephen’s wife albeit only for a scant few hours before I became his widow. And believe me I will find out who ordered my husbands death and I will watch him or her twitch at the end of a rope.”
With a nod to them both she and Julie left.
Kathleen turned on Sean her face white with anger and fear.
“What have you done, what have you done you stupid, stupid man!” Hot tears ran down her cheeks, as she beat at his chest in frustration. “You promised me that you would leave Michael out of it. You swore a vow stronger than our wedding day ones.”
“It was time he became a man.” Sean said coldly grabbing Kathleen’s hands stopping her from hitting his chest any further.
“What?!” She screamed. “Murdering a police officer was your idea of a rite of passage, a... a, a form of initiation?”
“Corrigan was becoming a danger to us all. An irritating itch. I had Bruno and Helen shadow and help him so it would all go smoothly. If he bears the family name he has to know how to look after himself. He had to grow up.”
“To grow up!! I had already trained him in how to look after himself by being as far away from you and his brothers and sisters as humanly possible.” She gave Sean a real back hander that cut his lip. “It may have escaped your notice but there is a serial killer out there. You don’t come near me till our boy is found.”
With that she stomped upstairs with tears rolling down her cheek.
“What have you done you stupid, stupid, boy? What the hell have you done?” Sean muttered as he entered the study.
The lights were on low and a friendly fire crackled in the grate.
He crossed over to the desk and poured himself a ‘Redshank’ Irish Whisky and sipped at it appreciatively, relishing its smoothness over a Scotch or Bourbon.
“You’re wrong Kathleen. You made the boy useless, a milksop.”
He sat down in the chair behind the desk and rubbed his eyes. It was going to be a long night.
He took a beautifully rolled Havana cigar out of is humidor box on his table. He clipped the end off and lit it.
He yawned finding it difficult to stay awake. As he nodded in his chair he heard a fain shussssh sound. He opened his eyes with a struggle in time to see the four tassel ended rope curtain tie backs moving like snakes on the floor.
They reached the chair and swarmed up it. Two tied Sean’s legs to the chair legs while the final two tied his arms to the chairs arms.
Sean tried to wrench himself free without luck, he even tried to use his teeth to undo the knot holding his right arm. He got a hard slap in the face by the tassel’s end for his pleasure. He slumped in his chair trying to work out a way of getting free when the standard lamp flex unplugged it’s self and flashed over his forehead, successfully tying his head back painfully.
The door opened and in lurched Kathleen. She was fast asleep but still walking, lurching as if someone else was in charge of her limbs.
“Kathleen help me. Help me darling.”
She didn’t respond.
“Woman for Christ sake wake up.”
She picked up the cigar out of the ashtray and shoved it hard into his mouth.
She opened the humidor and took out another cigar, cut it and lit it, and shoved it beside the first.
Again and again she pushed the cigars into Sean’s mouth until his mouth was full and then with a show of absolute cruelty she shoved the last two up his nose. One in each nostril.
Barely able to breathe he watched his wife pick up the cut crystal decanter of whisky and pour it over his head.
She put it down, turned and lurched out of the room.
Sean tried to push the cigars out of his mouth with his tongue but to know avail.
Suddenly the standard lamp sparked. A mini flame shot up the cable, igniting the whisky as it passed over his forehead.
With a roar it ignited shrouding his head in a sheet of flame.
His eyes melted, his eardrums exploded, the cigars burning through the septum of his nose.
The house slept on unaware of the Spectre’s presence as he crossed to the burning silently screaming man.
“It seems you are not the last. I will Avenge Corrigan’s death. I am Gods Avenger, His Justice on Earth.” He laid a cool hand on Sean’s forehead totally unaffected by the flames before fading like smoke on the wind.
Save for the crackling of the fire all was quiet.
The hand turned over the next two cards. A depiction of a man in regal regalia was on one whilst a woman also in fine clothes was on the other. The ‘Empress’ and ‘Emperor’.