***Spoiler alert!*** This story contains information about my story Images. If you haven’t read it, click here before reading on.
Marley shows me to a back room full of ghost hunting equipment in his sister’s house.
“We’re getting ready for another hunt, tonight.” He says. “Tiffany is pushing for Charley and me to go even if she can’t.”
I see a pink bear sitting on the desk behind him. “Did she have the baby?”
“A girl,” he smiles, “that she named Evening Rose.” He rolls his eyes and laughs. “I don’t care what she or Charley say, I’m not calling her Evening. Maybe Rosie, or Eve.” He touches the pink fur. “There were some complications, so she can’t come home yet.”
I sit in the chair he directs me to, notepad in hand. “Marley, do you believe in ghosts now?”
He quirks an eyebrow, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “Ghosts are as real as fairy farts.”
“Then what did you find at Windsworth Asylum?”
“That,” he swallows, the teasing glint fading from his eyes, “was worse.” Marley shakes his head. “A woman and her twelve-year-old daughter were being held prisoner there. For ten years, no one knew where they were.”
“Who was keeping them there?”
“I don’t know.” He rubs his temple. “Navigating that basement is like trying to walk backward while blindfolded, through a maze without a map. That’s why the owners didn’t give us permission to hunt down there, and no, I don’t think they have anything to do with this.”
“They’re both 90 years old and have lived in a retirement home for the last fifteen years. As far as I know, they don’t have any family.”
“Did you hear anything the night the three of you were investigating?”
He shakes his head. “That night I covered the upper floor. There were weak spots in the flooring. I used to be a contractor, so I recognized the dangerous areas. I didn’t want either of them to take a wrong step.”
“Why didn’t your sister or brother-in-law hear the cries for help?”
“I don’t think they were loud enough to hear.” His adam’s apple bobs. “When I listened to the recording, I had to concentrate to hear them. Tiffany has allergies and her hearing can go off when they’re acting up, so between that and the breeze, I’m not surprised she didn’t notice. And Charley, he believes in this stuff as much as I do so he probably wasn’t listening.”
“If he doesn’t believe, why does he go hunting?”
“Halloween is the only holiday as far as Charley is concerned and hunting makes for Halloween all year. The others are too boring for him.” He shrugs. “I only go to keep Tiffany from bringing an old rafter down on her head.”
“How are the lady and her daughter doing now?”
“I wish I knew.” He scratches his chin. “The night I found them, the mom was almost dead. The daughter was the one that had been calling for help. She had rickety crates stacked up on a chair so she could reach the window. She was so thin,” his eyes water and he coughs. “When I finally found my way to them, and got her to understand I wasn’t there to hurt them, the girl gave me the tightest hug she could manage.” He straightens his back and sniffs. “If I hadn’t been able to feel her, I would have still taken her for a ghost.”
“Is there anything you’d like to say to whoever was holding them?”
He nods, looking again at the pink bear on the desk. “That little girl was two when you took her. If anything else is done to try to hurt her or her mother,” his gaze darkens, “I will take it very personally.”
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