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FORSAKEN AND BETAKEN

by Catherine C. Straub

Chapter 21


FORSAKEN AND BETAKEN

by Catherine C. Straub

Chapter 21

The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor.
— Luke 4:18

Caged in with no solution to escape a mad man's clutches.

The two neighbors held hands, as they prayed — feeling edgy, but not fools, as Flo drove with one hand. They knew how cagey Mitchell Senior was… He already tried to set them up for his wife’s murder — and sent a cop checking on them to save himself. This let the time open for him to figure a new plot to catch them like a hare running wild. They were on their way to his house, playing it by ear, whatever. There they parked the car.

Flo rapped on the door, not locked, and slightly ajar, it opened. To their astonishment, they saw the bullet hole (bleeding on the table) from Mitchell’s head slumped there. Flo checked his pulse; “HE’S DEAD!” “We must hurry and search this place, Maybe, this is a worse frame?”

“Flo, I recall him up by the baby station — an odd smell came from his shoulder leaning toward me — making me sneeze, and after nothing went well. Could someone frame us more, if we tamper with the body?”

“THE SCOUNDREL — WHY DID HE HURT YOU — AND TRY HIS BEST TO ASSAULT ME.”

“It’s not our affair, let’s get out of here with any information we find.”

Immediately, they made a thorough check? Satisfied all was fine, they went back to the car. I still wonder if that odor was for someone else. I got the whiff. Did he expect his wife to come to the baby section? Later it sounded like he made his first visit to the hospital. ” Flo peered at her — the past finally came to her mind.

“Let’s leave this spook place! He has a whole picture album of Emmy when little. They drove home ready for a pot of coffee, thinking they’d hear the news on his murder in a day or so.

*****

A secretive, enemy figure entered the house, a half hour after their leave. Now he gathered all his clothing and extras and put them in his car with his body to dispose of both.

“As far as why you smelled that odor, said Flo. It seems anyone near gets it with his devious mind. He never showed up to see you, because someone could place him in the vicinity.”

“Heat up the coffee pot; we did lock the house didn’t we? Flo opened the door of the house, and every thing looked peaceful. “This case should be over, a son, and how many illegitimate kids. Let’s pray for safety while the coffee perks.”

“The coffee is ready.” They sipped coffee and lounged around for an hour. Marcy went home and in minutes dialed Flo.

“Hey? Someone is at my door?” Marcy said.

“Wait for me to get there,” to answer.” She peered out her kitchen window, covering her mouth!

Her treasure hunt partner of last eve (his recognizable six foot height and brown hair figure) was nonchalantly standing outside Marcy’s side door. Cautiously, Flo opened her door and circled around the house, and crossed the street. She entered by the back door, and prompted to the hesitant Marcy: “Answer it … I have my gun ready.”

Marcy opened the door a slit — sizing him up? “Hello. My name is Ness Maine’s. I’m a new Insurance Business; here is my card, and some information on insurance?” Why was he in this neighborhood? Flo thought, she waited… coincidental; Mitchell gave their names to police officers? “Thank you!” She shut the door? They watched him leave the driveway, and walk up the street.

“Isn’t that interesting?”

“It is odd, said Flo. He chooses this neighborhood (involved in the plot) so who made sure, they got me in the first place?” We’ll go through his information. How many enemies did Mitchell murder…?

“How could you tell this partner in disguise? Could he be the same man?”

“His mask only hid a little, his burnt brown hair color stood out. It was his voice, once I listened here? Why did he leave me? I might take the chance to ask him? I’m sure now that Mitchell fixed Gilda’s mask, and someone ripped it? Why’d he leave her? It is so odd, two leaving — did he have two men working for him?” Flo urged. Let’s ‘go have a coffee’ and see if he comes to my door recognizing me — you must watch his eyes?” They dashed across the street — when he turned his back.

“You mean you are going to ‘buy insurance’.” Marcy shocked — no body building men around to aid them. On there own, no end yet to the problem man connected… to Mitchell.

“I’d like to know, why he deserted me in the dark. Say he knows me. I detest that man Mitchell?”

“Caution is the word Flo: this man is unsafe to ask connections? The question persists — how he got your partner number, turn you over to Mitchell, and they both escape and Gilda ends up dead.”

“It looks like his son or associate (of some kind) is coming around this area. I tend to wonder, if he made an arrangement prior to today with dead Mitchell.”

“This coffee is really special! Do you ‘have a treat’ to appease my sugar habit: cookies, rolls, or cake?” She gave Flo a sympathy look — and Flo swatted her hand.

“I’ve raisin, chocolate chip cookies, and cinnamon rolls, ‘come here sweet tooth’ and pick out what you need.” Again Flo and Marcy glanced up the street for the Insurance Man.

“We should ‘be able to see’ where his is? Where’s his car parked? Let’s walk down the street, see if one’s around — sort of off the street, and search it?” They hastened to the one bend at the corner; they saw a lone light blue car parked and peeked inside. It was not near a house. Flo used her hankie to open the door. She rifled through the glove department — finding nothing. “Let’s go to my house, the back way — certainly instead of looking like “sitting ducks?”

“Ness must have killed his dad using him. Mitchell Senior had to set up the murder of his stepson, suspicious of his step dad.”

“We did get the biggest laugh on him. In not too long there, with him alive, we could have been statistics, said Flo? Just one wrong move, or he would eradicate you sneaky like, you almost never came back? Gilda’s girls are seeking aide, so upset that their mother wed him. They’re consoling the other doing without her.”

“When the lights went out… was the perfect time. I would still like to know, why my partner left me, and I never saw him until today?”

In a half hour, they heard a rap on the door. “Go in the other room and only come out if you hear me say ‘goofy’ more than once?” She moved to answer.

“I’m the new Insurance Man in town? I have a card and information here?”

Flo didn’t notice any recognition in his eyes. “Do you have time to explain? I need information on Home Owners Insurance?”

“Sure,” she moved aside as he entered? “Come sit down here? Where are you from?” She modestly peered at him. He was recommended here by guess who?

“My family lives in Chicago, on Dearborn Street. I came over here on Friday… Then this woman from the church invited me to this party that turned into a murder scene. I thought; this is not my parlay of a great night.” He never “blinked an eye.” Maybe this was another of “the master” of horror, Mitchell’s hideous ideas. He’d make a relative wonder… after deserting her that night at his instructions. Then play a game… “I’ll let you know about insurance?”

“So everything is on the up and up?” Marcy neared her… after he left.

“Boy, was that Mitchell ever a sly dog probably recommending this street for Insurance Sales, like the officer? He’s one of his illegitimate kids. Who knows what devious matters, he might pull, as your partner at the Trick or Treat Party that could get him in trouble?”

“Mitchell didn’t tell him everything? I hope we handled — what we needed to.”

“His possessions were still in the house — like a shrine?”

“I usually partook of lunch with Chad… when you were in a coma. Let’s us go tell him everything? Would you help me again to check the locks? That dang Mitchell was in this house — bugging it or his crooked cops?” His legitimate son was not aware of everything, we hope for our sakes.” Like a big fool she showed him the files, Thomas was leery of?

“We talked about this matter before. He wanted to hurt someone, and it happens to be you — like a serial killer. You saw him there.”

“Emmy loves me, and is my helper.”

“When we left, we locked Mitchell’s house, asked Marcy. We should of left it opens like it was?”

“We’ll ride out there first! We could always be looking for him?”

*****

“Pull in close to the door — you wait…” Flo got out and wrapped her hankie around the doorknob and pushed it in without it moving?” With a positive step they walked back to the car.

Arriving for Chad ready to go — peered at their clothes. “My partner last night (at the party) is the new Insurance Man in town. He was around to our houses, and he even mentioned that Erma asked him to a party where a murder occurred? He didn’t recognize me. I still wonder why he left me last night. He’s a look of Mitchell Senior.”

“What can we do, not ask him,’ but he seems harmless?” He stared at her well; nothing was over. Until Emmy’s parents were found. Who was this relative now slyly told to come to their neighborhood — that devil, Mitchell? There were so many other areas to research; he was such a cagey one? That is why caution was so vital. Wariness of any ‘lion’ in sheep’s clothing they had to be.”

“Don’t ‘under estimate’ anyone… He could be taking up where his father left off? Remember how — they were at first?” Marcy said her bit. “He acted on the good side than too? He let us think he’s sorry his son died, the best con, I ever met.”

“What did you ask; to make him respond that way?” Chad questioned.

“He mentioned he was new around her. His parents come from Dearborn Street in Chicago.” They walked into the cafeteria taking a tray. “Say I gave him business. What do you think, Chad?”

“I really don’t recognize if — you’re ‘inviting danger? He disappeared last night. ‘Are you sure’ his isn’t the voice of Emmy’s dad….”

“How he’s not old enough to be her father?”

“You two must relax the rest of the day?” Chad advised

“I think Mitchell Senior caused my coma with an abhorrent odor. I inhaled it standing near him at the nursery that day.”

Chad gawked at Marcy his mouth agape, “What time was that, the brute?”

“Early in the morning — after I felt tired — and remember blacking out later on?”

“What are all of his ghastly deeds? He must have hatched a plot with your partner at Erma’s house, and what are we in for now? He already sent an Insurance Man from the party after the officers. It is hard to believe he’s dead. “Eat your food now. I feel like I’m barely living on the run from crooks? I thought you’d slay the dragon.” He said curtly.

“Today is All Saints Day, Marcy. We could go to church in a few minutes?”

“I must work — and cannot go with you today.” Chad put his tray on the rack.

Flo and Marcy drove to the church and found a pew up front.

Ness Maine noticed the two women enter St. Paul Church. He genuflected behind them. He was on his way to a man that knew his family. He found their car in front of him. He watched them pull in Mitchell’s drive. The one tried the door and he was curious how they’re acquainted with Mitchell?

Flo and Marcy never noticed him until they turned around to say, “Peace” to others? Both were shocked, but hid it and on the way out, he whispered…

“I was not aware, you knew Mitchell. I’m on my way out that area. You were in front — found the door locked, where he is.” Both were floored.

“That is the second time today, we were there? Mitchell was my niece’s potential daughter in law. He’s grandfather to the child. She intended marrying Mitchell–birthed Mitchell’s baby?” Nobody aware Eugene’s the real daddy.

“A small world, did the cops come to see you? They dropped in the office, not long ago?” He stared pointedly — his father saying they were nice ladies….

“Why’d the cops visit you… over the crime? How they know who was who?”

“It is funny, but the husband is usually the first suspect, but he is making it look like, anyone else did it? He would turn in anybody, so now I’m suspect.”

“I want Home Owner Insurance from you. Let me know when you can talk.”

In a few days, when the report of Mitchell’s Senior’s death was not heard over the radio or television, they knew someone disposed of the body or other means.

*****

Thanksgiving drew near. The turkeys and kin felt like hiding — not wanting to be slaughtered. The black cats retired behind the barn, until the day was over. All were to congregate over at Marcy’s? Flo was making more pies than Marcy rolled dough with Gilda last year? Emmy was feeling her pregnancy, and had trouble sleeping. She was wishing for a Christmas Baby? She was doing the same procedure, as last time — attending school right to the end. The ovens were hot enough for steaming pies, and what goodies abounded. Yummy and good to taste savor the flavor until the next time the oven was heated, and dough rolled out for the next pie. Suddenly, she heard the phone ring.

“Flo, I intend being there in a few minutes, just going over.”

“Okay darling, I will?” Emmy carried two pies between her and Thomas. Christmas they would enjoy the meal at their house. She wondered if they would invite this Ness connection to that couple, she had looked on first as friends. Mitchell Senior was evidently dead, what a creep, and how many did he kill? Her aunt had confessed in private how Ness escaped when the lights went out at that Halloween Party. She wondered about him? Who whispered he was her father? If her father was Mitchell, who cared — what did a biological name mean? He never put any time into raising her. More so he probably killed his stepson. She was getting near to who murdered her parents. Eugene shared her theories about everything she said — when she took his son to see him. Eugene had a few of the features of Mitchell and Thomas.

They reclined around the large dining table and Chad said grace and a few words of thankfulness, for all gathered this day. Glasses clicked and Flo kissed her husband Chad. Ness looked on jealously — attracted to her, the first day he met her, casing the neighborhood for his new business. He meant to fight for her.

Chad discerned that envious man — boding trouble, and he surely never invited him here. His wife and he loved the other. They didn’t need trouble from (the son of the man) that did secretive horror to people. He held no guilt if he had to shoot him for wanting a fight with him. This might not be the Wild West, but sometimes it reminded him of it.

As Ness catered to Beth and Joyce, Flo detected. What kind of idiots, she never invited him. How did the two women meet him? She often wondered, what went on in the last month. They’d gone on with habitual daily living — and planning for the holiday. She’d bought Homeowners Insurance from him. That was the last she saw of him. However, unbeknownst to her — somehow, he had insinuated himself with two problem women. To her human error, he acted like Flo belonged to him. She would not let herself be caught in his web; she still was leery about him? She’s a married woman and never gives into someone who took her daughter and the neighbor girl on.

Chad slyly eyed Ness’s display? It was so obvious the way; he finagled the two pregnant women in his claws? He was loaded with alcohol — most likely he’d not be so obvious… otherwise? He had now moved into Mitchell’s house and the law said he could. It appeared he was his son? Did he kill his dad using him?

The repast was filling with the various pies and everyone loaded with food and ale. Before they left the table, Marcy cornered Flo?

“Peter and I are ‘getting hitched’ tomorrow evening at 7:00 p. m. in the rectory. You can buy a dress if you want? I confided to Thomas his biological father was not Hilly. He never said anymore, with Earl not taking a care.”

Thomas was shocked hearing of this teen father. Hilly might be better off a man with many women… He was the only one, he knew.

Flo embraced togetherness — she and Chad were married. Soon the company left. Flo went home with Chad, Emmy and Thomas followed stuffed with food and exhausted? As Flo fell asleep, she dreamed early the next day, she’d be picking out a dress that matched Marcy’s aquamarine outfit.

*****

Hunting season in Pennsylvania (the designated spot) always occurred the Monday after Thanksgiving, the last Thursday in November. Many deer hunters traveled eastward or westward depending on the “type of deer” they’re looking for? Chad had asked Thomas to go with his party to that state. He was taking time from Saturday until Wednesday when they’d return….

“Thomas go and have fun, she coaxed him. I’m going to give birth in not too long. Then you won’t be able to leave, doggy mouth?”

“Okay. I will go… this time — be back shortly?” She had to coax him, being he felt leery (the last month) with that relative of Mitchell’s, and two female teens being such fools. He felt they could bring worse on for Emmy, Aunt Flo. He seemed infatuated with Flo. He even had the audacity to leer at Chad, her husband. Little John was crawling all over the place and standing proudly. Peter was pushed into going, after Marcy and him spent one night honeymooning in the city.

“We’ll have the house to ourselves. I have Chad’s keys to the city and everywhere?” She had asked Marcy and Beth to sleep with them. They both could help with breakfast? They had a lot of praying….

“I want to get tonight over first, Flo mentioned. She’d returned from town.

Peter had asked Chad to stand in, as his man attendant?” She was feeling a bit tired (from all the excitement).

“Emmy and Thomas were taking the others.”

“Do you expect trouble — in the name of Ness?”

“The trouble is they like him — with nothing to loose. Just let him come here. Maybe he did try to molest me in that dark room? He could have relayed the message for Mitchell? He seemed to go along with him more than not?

“Let’s go to the rectory to see another wedding?”

Marcy and Peter stood before the priest ready for their vows. Flo and Chad stood on either side. The other relatives including: Emmy, Thomas, Joyce, and Beth standing behind interested watching the rite.

In between the commotion –Ness wove his way near Emmy and Thomas. She noticed him, and was irked he came. “Don’t look so sore, their kin, I can come too?” She took Thomas hand, and moved to another spot. So he did know he was kin to her. She’d tell Aunt Flo. He was becoming more sickening all the time. In the last month, her aunt had taken her for target practice, in case; they had to protect themselves. She found her near, as they repaired to a lounge, and whispered what he said. Flo could tell Emmy appeared anxious this relative acted worse, than Mitchell. Were both of them born illegitimate?

“So? He does now, huh? I know it was he? Who asked him here?” She was more irate with foolish Beth and Joyce. She explained to all a month ago they needed caution, and by golly; they’d find out she meant business.

The next day at noon, they saw their beloved men off for their deer hunting journey Marcy and Beth came over to sleep and join the crowd. Everyone settled down for the night Marcy upstairs with Flo.

Emmy had just fallen asleep when the mattress moved. She heard this man — purring: “Come on Emmy have a taste of Ness?” Through a slight light from her drape ajar, she saw him reach for her. Under a throw pillow she reached for the gun, aimed and shot him in the chest. He never knew what hit him. She pushed him off and raced up the steps to Aunt Flo’s room.

“I shot Ness — trying to molest me?”

“Calm down, we’ll take care of it. I’ll wake Marcy? Change the bed and check the floor for bloodstains. She moved to the extra room.

“Marcy wake up, Emmy shot Ness attempting to assault her? We have labor to do.” She shook her. Marcy rubbed her eyes; she’d dozed off….

“Wake up more; we have to help Emmy now that rat acted worse than Mitchell.” She followed Flo to Emmy’s room, and saw his unseeing eyes.

“Why don’t you go tell Emmy if she wants to go up stairs, she can?”

Marcy approached her room and noticed the light was out, and she looked asleep? Good. She was a tough one! She must have changed her sheets like she was told? They hastened to the car half frozen! “Weren’t his album interesting of his parent, a younger Mitchell? Lo and behold little Ness with Mitchell Senior smiles for the camera his arm around the little boy. The house goes to Emmy the next biological kin?”

“Earlier let’s send the two disobeying teens to Aunt Gen and they can come home for Christmas. We say, ‘we can see,’ they gained too much.”

The next morning Flo knocked on the door for Marcy’s, to call Aunt Gen. While the coffee perked, anxious, she dialed her aunt’s number to hear her cheery voice. “They won’t get away with much here,” echoed Aunt Gen, after hearing: “the limit of the two.” Beth and Joyce elated, they took their knitting bags.

They made it back from Aunt Gen’s for church.

They were leaving church when Erma leaned close to them, “were the cops around? That retired cop asking if his son could be your partner, and his wife being murdered. The husband is supposed to be the first suspect, except he turned it around, on others, and now vanished?”

Flo felt irate! “Why ‘didn’t you call and ask me,’ taking on his son. A bad deal, but cheer up Erma, he’s an abuser and now he’s gone?”

“Okay. I’m truly sorry; I never called you. Nobody else made a special request.”




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