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FORSAKEN AND BETAKEN

by Catherine C. Straub

Chapter 20


FORSAKEN AND BETAKEN

by Catherine C. Straub

Chapter 20

Morning is coming, but night will come again.
— Isaiah 21:12

The Tom Cats peered about nodding slyly…. The calendar days eased to late October and exploits going on in the neighbor hood. The busybody up the street felt the whole matters like a carnival...

“Who is ‘that woman’ up the street always sitting outside or peeking out a window watching us?” Flo and Marcy peered disgusted at the other.

*****

Flo, Chad, Marcy, and Peter were invited to a Halloween costume party held by Erma Case (at church) in her large mansion. There were no squabbles what to go as? Flo and Marcy prayed; they needed a night out.

“What a place.” Marcy murmured. They rounded a corner approaching a tall open gate. “She donates fairly well to church, and aids fund raisers.” Flo needed this reprieve in her hectic life. Tonight, she wanted to fly to the stars and pretend… she’s someone else until the bleak dawn arrived. Then come back to reality.

Marcy was in the same fix — as Flo’s gaiety phobia to indulge far and few between? Chad felt her problems were his. He knew they required more holiday parties — beginning with this one. He peered at the costumed adults behind him, wondering who was who?

Peter adored Marcy. He nearly went bonkers — the days she’s in a coma. Prior he wanted to look on matters like a casual date. His mind changed fast when she’s struck down. Tonight he’s happy to spend a night suffering for her — appearing like a costumed nerd, attending a Halloween house party, her being alive. They both nudged their partner, as they approached the house from a distance.

Flo neared Marcy… “Are you having fun?”

“Getting into a costume, did the trick for me?” She’d been bored. Flo had come to the rescue with this idea.

“I need oil,” the tin man complained.

The Lion roared at him, “be quiet.”

“These outfits are keen; I like your idea Flo, who is that in front of us?”

“Marcy? I’m happy you like the outfits; it looks like that bachelor ‘with the charm of Dracula’ in front of us. She invited anyone she saw on the street?”

“I should ‘be tending patients’ instead of ‘Bobbing’ for Apples?”

“Darling we discussed that, and you wanted to come?” Peter kept quiet, he did not mind being in a costume to be with Marcy.

“Well here we are at the entrance. Look who’s ahead of us… Gilda and

Mitchell, they don’t go to our church. The teens are still at home. Do you consider any one of them will come?”

*****

Thomas reclined on the bed pouting…. “Why can’t we go out for Halloween, Emmy? The others went to a party held by that church woman.”

“Thomas comes here this minute.” He stood in front of her.

“I’m ‘tired from my pregnancy’ and everything today, do you have to pester me to go anywhere?” Eugene would never pester her — he’d consider her feelings. She had just spoken to him in the bathroom. He felt bad, where he was, but he loved this costume time of the year. “Just for one year could we sit in the kitchen, and cater to the costumed kids …who come to the door?”

“I’m yours for anything, you desire my princess?”

At the party, they prepared to play the game of partners. Everyone drew a number. The host spoke: “Half of you will draw — your partner for the treasure hunt. The hunt will go on in every room, but the bedrooms. Do not be bashful pick a number, and hope you get the mate you desire and start on the hunt. The prizes are stated on the treasure you find, which will tell the cache.”

Flo drew the name of a handsome man. Marcy picked Chad. Peter went with the host, Erma. “Does everyone have his or her partner?” The host scanned the room? “Okay. We are just about ready to roar. Let’s go one, two, three, go!”

Flo’s secretive partner took her arm; they raced to the downstairs rooms. In an extra room, and they found one treasure. The lights went out…. In the next instant, like a whip, a man kissed her. She walloped him on the head!

“I’m Emmy’s dad!” The lights came on and her partner or the pusher was gone! She hurried away — then she heard a piercing screech. A strange shocked lady said: “a lady is dead in the one room!!!” Chad returned to her side — seeing Flo upset.

“Something wrong, my love?” He held her arm, “Whose dead?”

They peered about? Her mind distracted, she remembered, him saying: “he’s “Emmy’s dad?” She did not know the voice, and figured a disguised accent.

“I will go see, okay!” Chad said. The only man that acted like he desired more of her was Mitchell Senior. Dear Lord was Gilda murdered?

Chad returned… “Some woman had a lance run into her stomach! Let’s get the others and leave. I’ve had enough?” Marcy and Peter were near and agreed. They hastened to the car parked away from the gate.

“Was that woman murdered or was it an accident?”

“Flo — somehow, she appeared like Gilda, said Marcy. The woman could be made up like her?”

“Darn — I hope not — is someone trying ‘to pin’ something on us, said Flo? Did anyone know us, if it comes down to that? We stayed home is a good excuse, if we are considered suspects?”

Chad frowned. “I should have worked — and better go in… Drive there and I will write in, I’m working. I’ll have to say some one saw me there — if we’re in danger. Where can you be Peter, and girls?” They stopped in front of the hospital.

In few minutes, he was back out! “As far as my friend said, I just left work?”

“I will have to be with Marcy, said Peter — opening the doors for Halloween?”

Flo home with the other two — worried what happened to their enjoyment.

“Are you kidding, ‘a dead woman’ and maybe it is Gilda. You were right here with us Flo.” Chad bravely, told her, taking her hand. It all sounded — like another murder… the past Chief’s son, now the wife. Flo was musing, what about the one who mentioned he’s “Emmy’s dad” and disappeared after she hit him. She tortured. In the mean time, they had to get out of costume?

“When will we know who died? Turn the radio on?”

“A woman was killed at the Halloween Party held by Erma and Leonard Case. She’s been identified as Gilda Morrison. Her husband Mitchell said he had a different partner for the treasure hunt. Her partner Grant Himes was taken into custody asserting: “He did not kill her.” This is Alec Barks: reporting for the Associated Press.”

“Our worst nighmare, nobody knew us,” Marcy dubiously remarked?

“None of us spoke to anyone, ‘Right,’ said Flo? Did anyone look at you? I never responded we’d attend.” Emmy entered the kitchen.

“You ‘better hide’ and get rid of the costumes. Nobody knew you — except the store; you purchased your costume from?”

“I had my scarf and sunglasses on, and I don’t know the Sales clerk?”

“Aunt Flo, lets talk about some thing else? I hear Halloweeners at the door. Thomas goes see what?” Flo and Marcy knew they must not miss Gilda’s funeral like they almost missed her son, Mitchell. Mitchell Senior must have become suspicious of her.

*****

Darkness set in. Flo and Chad were relaxing in the parlor whilst a loud rap sounded at the side door. CHAD STOOD. Flo heard him talking to a policeman. Edgily, they peered at the others, trying to relax…? They’d been better taking that Florida trip instead, they felt miserably. She peeked around the corner to see the officer speaking: He yelled at them, if they attended the gala? “We thought of going, but changed our minds. I had to work. The rest attended to Trick or Treat.” Chad positive minded returned and sat down.

“I think the clue of mine is working. I saw him cross the street to Marcy’s house. In the first place, why is he here? Was it the case of being a parishioner or some other reason?”

Flo decided to confide her secret. “Did you know the man, I picked for a partner? So the lights went out, where you were?” She peered around at the others…..

“No. I did not recognize the man,” Chad responded. “What are you talking about, the lights stayed on…”

“The lights turned off where I was, and someone uttered: “I’m Emmy’s dad!” “And the person knew me, and he tried more, but I whacked him on the head.”

Chad near laughed: “so this check is about that, and how it happened?”

“Sherlock, I hope this is it, lets go make whoopee. Heck, with the cops.”

“Watson? Are you some funny case or what?” They climbed the steps.

Thomas and Emmy watched them happy to hear them joking — staying sitting? He loved Halloween — horrible tonight, though, with Gilda’s murder.

“Did you ‘hear that’ Thomas — a police man was just here, nobody knew we snuck to the party. I won’t tell; we slid out — when that lady yelled about a death.”

“Nobody recognized us disguised, as two wharf bums. We had seen twenty Halloween goers. We made it for the tail end of the treasure hunt.”

“We didn’t know who we would choose. Whom did that Mitchell go with? He seemed to slink off. I forget whom he was with. Did Joyce and Beth attend?”

Joyce just removed her Dracula outfit when the cop came to the door? Beth hurried across the street, and snuck in the side door — carrying her Little Bo Peep outfit. She heard the cop enter, asking questions? Beth changed, and listening to the kitchen conversation? Peter said something to make the officer laugh.

Beth went out rubbing her eyes… “Boy, this being pregnant, is sure tiring?”

“So, did you answer the door to any Halloweeners?”

“Yes. At least thirty, before I decided to rest?”

“Well I guess that is all, just a preliminary check up, who went to the party?”

“Do you means all the church parishioners?” The cop mused for a minute, scratching his hair.

“No, he blinked his eyes. A former cop said at least two of you went. Don’t ask me who he is talking about… with people in costumes. I certainly could not tell anyone?”

“When the officer left, Marcy called Flo?” Chad and she were relaxing in bed. Before she came up stairs, she checked the downstairs phone for bugs. Now she unscrewed this one, as it rang. She answered not seeing anything fishy…

“Flo this is Marcy. Peter asked the cop if the check was due to all the parishioners that attended the party. The officer said that a former cop felt at least two of us were there at that disaster party for Gilda or us.”

“How could he tell, unless he watched the house? So he’s trying to frame us?”

“I discern he didn’t recognize us. Could he have someway followed me to the costume place? They were there in line, and he had to know before someway? I will talk with you tomorrow?”

“Chad, did you tell anyone ‘who was who,’ in disguise? He nodded ‘No.’ That Mitchell knew the outfit we wore. It had to be the costume store, and he had a description to go on?”

“That former cop is sure cagey, said Chad. Did he kill her — who else…? He put her into an insane asylum once wanting other women and what else did he does.

We should say our thing — not let him have the upper hand? We do have to move on this matter. He is sure is a sly dog. What a mistake she made marrying him, to protect her kids.” He bet; she knew that fact not long ago to her dire detriment.

“Let’s sleep on it. Maybe we will be able to tell everything, which is a lot of nothing important. We did not want to admit; we were there. No way saying that… is going to help us now. So we have nothing to tell that would not implicate us?”

*****

Flo fell into a deep sleep — never wanting to awake to these matters period…

Beth returned to her room; Peter never talked much. She and Joyce had gone together on the treasure hunt. They heard voices around the area where Gilda was drove through with a lance. They had approached seeing the man that was her partner explains; he’d find another mask to replace her ripped one. They had just turned around to leave, when they heard her shriek — the lance sticking in her stomach. She prayed everything would work out.

The next morning Flo was up early for breakfast fare — serving her husband.

“How are you today?” She did not sleep the best — wanting to have a good time, and horror occurred.

“Just as good as could be,” she smiled broadly at him. She was going to confide in Marcy when she visited. The police drove the girls to school? Most of their families had been in jail except Emmy and Joyce.

“The police were around, said Joyce. It’s not good to mention we were out; the police could have spies around. Weren’t you here when the policeman came?”

“That former cop, Mitchell said to an officer that two of us were there, Flo said. The only way, he could have known our outfits before the party was to check the Costume Store, to find out our description? That had also meant he killed her, and was trying to pin it on us. That’s why I ask for caution. Joyce warns Beth?”

“Beth and I do not fraternize with the students — no worry, Mom?”

Emmy on the alert was sure the two females are present at least to wait in line after them. “Are we in trouble or not? That Mitchell guy must have killed her, said Joyce. The husband is always first suspect, and we should tell the police.” No saying that gives away, we were there last night.

“Last eve at the party, I chose this handsome man, for partner, said Flo. Emmy nodded. The lights went out, as he picked up the treasure. In the next minute, someone said; I’m ‘Emmy’s father’ — the lights came on — my partner gone.”

“You are kidding,” Emmy stood and embraced her? Marcy came over soon. They reverently bowed their heads….

“See on ‘Trick or Treat’ we weren’t prepared for strife. It’s the perfect time, said Marcy. He had a plot planned, and seemed to be alone without anyone in particular. Recall when he held you too tight, then pushed his wife in a mental home.”

“I believe: he killed my brother and wife, and wife and her son. First: he had an affair with my sister in law. Then when she needed cash support, in the middle of the night, he dupes them using a trip for his alibi. They were a natural disaster.




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