We all see things that we don’t want to see. The problem starts when what we see is something we should not have. What then?
MITCH PANTED AS HE pointed the red flashlight beam down the foyer. The front door was wide open. His heart raced. His hands shook. He expected someone to come through the doorway. He did not have a weapon to protect himself if it came down to that. Guns and knives were not for him. He never entered a house with intentions to hurt anyone.
Twenty seconds passed. No one came through the doorway. No one was there.
He tiptoed to the door and shut it. Then he leaned back against the wall. “Shit,” he whispered. “Damn it.” He must have half-closed it. Dumb mistake. Sloppy. He caught his breath as his heartbeat slowed.
He looked out the door’s windows to outside. There was no movement in the yard. He needed to finish the job and get the hell out of that house. He backed away from the door and turned and went to the stairs.
He crept up the stairs. The third stair whined under his foot. The floors had not squeaked in the hallway. If there was going to be squeaking, it would be on the stairs. He exhaled silently. Each foot landed lightly on the stair before he added his full weight on it. Slow and steady wins the race, he jokingly told himself, trying to lighten his mood.
He stepped off the last stair into the upstairs hallway. Rooms were to his left and right. Bedrooms, he thought. They had to be bedrooms. He counted seven. He hoped there was enough moonlight coming in to see inside the rooms. The room directly to his right was where he would start.
He stood in the doorway of the bedroom. It had to be the master bedroom. The room was large with big pieces of furniture in it. He was going to have to come back and load up the furniture. Each piece had to be an antique. To the right was a huge armoire. To the right of it was a wingback chair. A dresser was in the far corner. A big four-post bed high off the floor was in the middle of the room. A small stand sat at the side of the bed. On the other side of the bed was another dresser with a large mirror. That would be the dresser to search first.
Experience had taught him that a dresser with a mirror was most likely used a lot by the person in that room. And they tended to keep their jewelry close by—possibly inside the dresser.
He headed around the bed to the dresser, jerked to a stop and gasped. He froze for a second before backing up. He hit the wall behind him before he stopped.
The red beam pointed toward the floor at the naked woman on her stomach hogtied.
MITCH TURNED HIS HEAD away from the naked woman on the floor. But he kept looking back at her. It couldn’t be her. It looked like her. But it couldn’t be her.
He saw her leave. He watched her. She had that big suitcase. She got in a taxi. She left. She was gone. A suitcase that size meant she would be away for days. She locked up her house more securely than usual. She even had her cats picked up by a van that was a pet sitting service. All were signs that indicated she would be out for days. Not a day trip.
He turned his head sideways and looked around at the body. After a few seconds he took a hesitant step toward her. The flashlight’s red beam shook across her body. He clamped a hand over his mouth and stood over her and shook his head.
Bruises were everywhere on her—arms, back, buttocks, legs, ankles and wrists. Black marks were on the bottoms of her feet.
What happened to you? He stared down at her and fought back nausea.
As he leaned in to get a closer look, his gloved hand was slowly going toward her feet to touch one of the black marks. What were they? He became aware he was reaching out to touch her, he jerked his hand back. Don’t touch her. Don’t touch anything.
He needed to leave. But, his need to know who she was overwhelmed him. He could not ignore it.
He leaned over and reached out and gently pushed some of her gray hair off her face. He jerked his hand back and pursed his mouth closed. His heart sunk. Disappointment showered over him.
It was her, the homeowner. Sylvia Barnwood was dead. A rag was stuffed inside her mouth. Fear was frozen on her face. She wore heavy makeup. That was odd because he never saw her in makeup. Dried tear streams were down her face. Her eyes were open and looking up—as if she had been pleading with her attacker.
Mitch was shaking. He forced himself not to run out of the room. What if the killer was still inside the house? What if the killer was watching him? Was he outside the door waiting for him to come out? Then, would he kill him too?
Mitch turned off the flashlight and squeezed it and held it like a club. He took three deep breaths while counting to three. He rushed into the hallway, swinging the flashlight. It took him a few seconds to realize he was alone.
He looked downstairs for movement. Convinced it was safe, he walked fast down the stairs. Not as quiet as when he came up the stairs. A few stairs creaked and moaned.
He stepped off the last stair and ran down the hallway and through the foyer. He passed the kitchen and slid when he stopped at the front door. That was where he came in.
He swallowed and took a few deep breaths. He then slowly turned the doorknob and eased the door open enough to peek outside. Everything looked normal.
His legs shook as he stepped outside onto the step. He quietly closed the door and ran off the steps toward the wood line. His car was on the other side of the woods—fifty meters away and parked off the road.
I hoped you enjoyed PART 2 & 3.
Thank you for stopping by. See you next Monday.