Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

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Oscar sat on his perch watching Carole make a sandwich for lunch. Once she finished and poured herself some tea he jumped down and went to his food dish.

“You gonna have lunch with me?” Carole asked and smiled as he looked up at her and let out a gentle ‘mew’.

She sat at the table and looked out at the melting snow scape wishing spring would hurry and get here. It had been such a cold, snowy winter.

Just as she took a bite of her sandwich her cell phone rang. She looked at the caller ID and saw that it was her friend Amy.

“Hey,” she said with her mouth full.

“Sorry to bother you. Are you eating?” Amy said sounding upset.

“Yeah, no problem,” Carole said and took a sip of tea to wash the food down. “What’s wrong?”

“I was wondering if I could stop by after work and just talk,” Amy’s voice was full of fear.

“Sure. I’m off all week,” Carole said. “I don’t have any plans. Want to meet for dinner?”

“No. I need to talk to you. Alone.”

“Okay. We can order pizza or Chinese if you want,” Carole wasn’t sure what was wrong, but obviously Amy really needed to speak to her.

“Either will be fine. I’ll see you around 5:30.”

“Sure. See you then,” Carole said and hung up the phone. She had known Amy for about fifteen years and had never heard her sound like this. Something had really gotten to her. Carole couldn’t put her finger on it.

Just then the feeling came back and made her grab at her stomach. “What the hell?” she thought, as she bent over her kitchen table. Carole started getting a vision but couldn’t believe what she was seeing. It was a woman on a table with her arms, legs and head cut from her body. She saw the woman’s face but didn’t recognize her. The room looked dirty and only a light hanging over the body illuminated it.

Carole saw a figure, a man she thought, picking up each arm and leg and putting them in separate black plastic bags. The he took the head and bagged it, too. He used two bags for the body tying what looked like twine around the middle of the body to secure the bags. (Earlier, you said he put the legs into the bags before he cut off her head).

Then he looked at Carole. Dark, foreboding eyes stared right into hers. She could see a smile under the surgical mask. He brought up a finger to his mouth and said “Shh.” This snapped her out of it. She sat up and noticed Oscar’s hair on end and his tail puffed.

“It’s okay baby,” she said as he hesitantly walked to her. She reached down and petted him and he slowly started to relax.

“Poor thing,” she said to him. “This bothers you, too, doesn’t it?” He mewed and rubbed against her legs. She wondered if he felt the other little visions she got. Carole was never home when they hit. She was either at work or out when they came to her. Well, no, she did have one at home once and didn’t remember Oscar reacting to it. Maybe this one was just so strong, if that was the word, that he could feel it. Poor thing, at least he finally calmed down.

Carole sat back in her chair and closed her eyes for a second. She opened them and looked at her lunch. She picked up her sandwich and took another bite and chewed, thinking about what she’d just seen. She unconsciously took a sip of her tea and set the cup down.

There had been nothing outstanding in the room in her vision. There was one door on the wall to the left of the table the woman was on. Then there was another smaller table. She thought she saw a chain saw sitting on it, beside a box of trash bags.

The man, she was sure it was a man now, wore a rain suit that covered his clothing completely, surgical cap and mask, and surgical gloves. He was careful, she thought, to not leave any evidence on the body, the bags or his own clothing.

She couldn’t get those eyes out her head. Never had she seen such dark, frightening eyes. Almost, what, hypnotic? So dark you couldn’t see the pupils.

Carole finished her sandwich and got up to put the plate in the sink, then went to the fridge and poured some more tea. She wanted to rearrange the closet in her second bedroom and thought that would be a good way to pass the time until Amy came over. She just wondered what was bothering her friend.

Carole, after finishing with the closet, saw it was getting late and decided to order pizza on-line and arranged for it to be delivered around 5:15PM. She had beer and soda pop in the fridge, so that was all set. Now she just had to wait for Amy to get there.

She sat and went over in her mind what she’d seen in the last feeling. The woman wasn’t someone she knew, and Carole couldn’t help wondering if she was alive when he cut her into pieces and hoped she wasn’t. She remembered him looking directly in her eyes and shushing her. That really gave her the creeps. Did he know her? She knew she didn’t know him because she’d remember those eyes. The irises were so dark, black or a very, very dark brown. She would remember someone like that. Was he even real? Maybe he just represented someone else. But that poor woman!

Carole jumped when doorbell rang. It was either the pizza or Amy.

She went to look through the peep hole and saw that it was Amy. It was just a little past five. The look of fear on her face made Carole open the door quickly.

“Come on in,” Carole said, holding the door open. Amy walked in and closed the outer door.

“Damn, is this weather ever going to let up?” Amy said and shivered as Carole shut the inner door behind her.

“Might not get spring until June if this keeps up,” Carole said trying to lighten Amy’s mood. “I can put some coffee on. The pizza should be here soon.”

“Yeah, that sounds like a plan,” Amy said and took her hat, scarf and coat off and hung them on the nearby coat rack. She wrapped her arms around herself and walked to the kitchen table and sat down.

Carole finished with the coffee maker and sat across from her friend. She saw Amy had a wild look in her eyes.

“Now, tell me,” Carole said.

Amy thought for a minute. She knew Carole had some sort of intuition or something. Maybe she could tell her what the dream meant. She takes a deep breath.

“To be honest I feel silly about all this,” Amy started. “This morning I was walking Bud like I always do before work. He got upset and pulled me to the bank. I saw a black trash bag with red painted toe nails sticking out of it.”

Carole gasped. She remembered the woman had red painted toe and finger nails.

Amy saw Carole’s reaction. “Has it been on the news?” she asked Carole.

“No. Not that I heard. I had the local radio station on all day,” Carole said. “That must have been horrible for you. No wonder you’re so upset.”

Amy, who had her hands folded on top of the table, began to tremble. Carole reached across the table and put her hands over them.

“It’ll take time to get that out of your head,” Carole said.

“It’s not just that,” Amy said not pulling back from Carole. “The one detective made me feel like I was hiding something.”

“That’s the way they work,” Carole said. The coffee was ready and she got up to make a cup for each of them. “They don’t have any idea and you found it...” Carole trailed off. “You didn’t see anything did you? Is someone threatening you to keep quiet?”

Carol brought the coffee to the table; they both drank it black.

Amy looked directly into Carole’s eyes.

“You saw something?” Carole’s eyes widened.

“No. Not really,” Amy said debating whether or not to say anything. “I had a dream last night.”

“Tell me about it.”

Amy hung her head. “You’re going to think I’m crazy,” Amy said.

“No, I won’t,” Carole assured her. “Tell me.”

Amy took a deep breath. “I dreamt about that leg last night. I saw the woman on a table, all cut up and a man putting the leg in a black bag. Then he looked me in the eye and shushed me.”

It frightened Carole. “What?”

Carole’s head started spinning. She looked down at her coffee and jumped when the doorbell rang. “Must be the pizza,” she said and got up to get the door.

While she was gone Amy started to feel like Carole probably thought she was crazy. Could she think she had something to do with it?

Carole came back into the kitchen and put the pizza box on the table. She went and got two plates and opened the top of the pizza box to let it cool a little then sat down.

She looked over at Amy who slowly brought her head up to look Carole in the eyes.

“I didn’t have anything to do with it,” Amy said with tears in her eyes. “That detective made me feel like I was hiding something from him.”

“I know you didn’t. They have a job to do. I had a weird dream, too,” Carole said not wanting to let on about her feelings.


“Yes. Only I saw a woman, like you did, and the man putting each of her parts into black plastic bags.”

“That’s terrible! Did he look up at you, too?” Amy started to relax a little bit, now that she knew someone else had seen it too.

“Yeah, once he finished with the whole body,” Carole sighed. “Scared the shit out of me!”

“Me, too! I just don’t know why it happened to me,” Amy said and took a slice of pizza.

Carole reached into the box and took a slice, also. She reached for two napkins and handed one to Amy. They both ate their pieces and reached in for another.

“Did you recognize the woman?” Amy asked between bites.

“No. And I didn’t recognize that man. Those eyes were so dark, I’d know if I knew him, and I’d be able to identify him,” Carole said and took another bite.

“I’m afraid if I tell the police they’ll think I knew something about it,” Amy put her pizza slice down and took a sip of her coffee. “They want to talk to me again.”

The room became silent and suddenly Amy’s cell phone rang. They both jumped and then smiled at their reactions.

“Hello,” Amy answered.

“Hello, Ms. Lang? This is Detective Marsden. I’m sorry to call you so late but I was wondering if you could come in tomorrow morning?” He didn’t mention that they had found all the limbs and the torso.

Carole saw the color slip from Amy’s face and her hands begin to shake.

“Sure, what time?” she asked hoping her voice didn’t give away her nervousness.

“Around 9AM?”

“Yes, I’ll be there.”

“Good. See you then,” Marsden said and hung up the phone.

Amy shut hers off and locked it before putting it back in her purse. She was pale and still shaking.

“They want me to come in and talk to them tomorrow morning.” She looked up at Carole, the fear evident in her eyes.

“I wouldn’t worry,” Carole said trying to calm her friend. “They probably just want to go through everything again. After a good night’s rest you might remember something.”

“A good night’s rest?” Amy said shocked. “I don’t think I’ll ever sleep again. What if I see him again?”

“You probably won’t unless your own subconscious brings it up,” Carole tried to reassure her.

“Probably? I know I will. How do you know he won’t come back in my dreams?”

Carole realized she had better tell Amy about her feelings. She looked down at her plate contemplating where to start. The she looked up.

“When I was 13 I had a feeling and a type of vision that I later learned was the same as my mother had. My great-aunt had died and the feeling and vision was about her,” Carole looked directly in Amy’s eyes to be sure she was following. “Ever since I’ve had these feelings and pictures.”

“So you know when people are going to die?” Amy was intrigued.

“Yes, or just after they die. Today the feeling made me double over like I was sucker-punched in the gut. Then I saw the woman and that man. He was putting her body parts into black trash bags. Then he looked me right in the eye and shushed me.”

“Oh my God! You saw him too! Why don’t you come with me tomorrow?”

“I don’t think the police are interested in my feelings and visions. They think of us as quacks.”

“But you could back up my dream,” Amy pleaded.

“They’ll probably think you coached me. No, I can’t go,” Carole picked up her coffee cup and took a sip. It was getting cold.

“You won’t go you mean,” Amy was getting angry. “What if they don’t think you’re a quack? You saw the whole body and him.”

“They have no idea who this woman was?”

“No. They only found the arm as far as I know. They didn’t say anything else about it to me.”

Carole thought for a moment. “They might think I’m the one who did it, or that I know the man who did,” she was fighting a battle in her mind. She wanted to help her friend but also wanted to stay out of jail. Her bnetter side won. “All right, I’ll go. Let’s just hope the detectives have an open mind.”

Amy’s face brightened, but only a little. She still felt sick inside. “I have to be there by nine o’clock so I’ll come pick you up.”

“Okay. Let’s finish this pizza. Do you want some more coffee?”

“Sure,” Amy said feeling a lot better about facing the next day.

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