Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Fifty-five:

Patrick Mackenzie (Night of September 11, 1994)

Jake and I patiently waited for Mrs. Ricci and Zack’s dad to leave the room before coming out of the closet. While stepping out, we cautiously avoided the big puddle of blood, near the vanity.

“Jake, what the hell did we just watch?” I uttered, holding back my tears as I looked over at Principal Ricci’s corpse, wrapped up in that rug.

“I’m not sure; I’m still piecing it together, myself,” he responded. He then noticed me, staring at the body, and swiveled me back around by my shoulders. “Hey, don’t look at that. Alright? You’ve already seen enough for one night.”

“Jake, we have to go to the police,” I cried out, literally.

“We can’t,” Jake said, crouching down to my eye-level. “Don’t you see? Romano is the police, the sheriff, even, and he helped her wrap him up.”

“We have to tell Ma and Pops then.”

“We will, just not yet. Let’s get the fuck away from this party first.”

Jake cracked open the door to peep his head out, into the hallway. When he saw that the coast was clear, he signaled for me to follow him out there. Looking around the house, we noticed that it was almost empty. I guess that means the party’s over. Suddenly, Jake threw his arm out in front of me, making me stop in my tracks.

“Oh, yeah, I accidentally spilled a bit of red wine on the other one,” I heard Mrs. Ricci’s voice say. I looked over to see where it was coming from and not even fifteen feet away from us, there she was, talking to our parents in the foyer. “I can be such a clutz sometimes.”

“There they are,” Pops called out as Jake and I got closer to the three of them. “See Sue? I told you there was nothing to worry about.”

Chills went up and down my spine the moment Mrs. Ricci turned to face us. She smiled, from ear to ear, and I could’ve sworn her teeth had a razor edge, just like the faceless woman, outside my window last night.

“Are you guys ready to go?” Ma asked, snapping me back into reality. I glanced down at her stomach and saw that she was clutching onto it for dear life. To answer her question, I nodded, silently.

In the car, as we drove farther and farther away from the Ricci house, I looked over at Jake, who had been sitting in the backseat, next to me, and nudged his arm. “Tell them,” I whispered to him.

“No, not yet,” he whispered back.

“What are you guys going on about back there?” Pops peeked at us through the rear view mirror.

“Tell them,” I continued to mouth to Jake.

“Nothing,” Jake answered Pops.

It was made clear to me that I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. “We saw Mrs. Ricci kill her husband!” I yelled out, to which Pops slammed on the breaks. “That feels so good to get off my chest.”

Cars honked at us as they passed by. Pops honked back and cursed their names, before turning around, along with Ma.

“You saw what?” Ma questioned, as if anyone in that car could have missed it when I said it the first time.

“We were hiding in their closet and we watched them get into this big argument,” I began to explain. “And that led up to Mrs. Ricci sticking a big knife into Mr. Ricci.”

“Oh my God,” Ma uttered, swiveling back around.

“What were you two doing in their closet?” Pops interrogated.

“We found a duffle bag, full of drugs, on their bed,” Jake said, staring down at his seatbelt, before I could even get another word in. I looked at him, suspiciously, curious as to how he would know what was in the bag. “We heard them coming in, so we hid.”

“Hun, we have to tell Ace about this,” Ma exclaimed to Pops.

“That’s the other thing, Ma. Romano helped her clean it up,” Jake continued. “They’re also having an affair.”

“Well, shit,” I heard Pops say under his breath.

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