Crimes of the Fay, Chapter 14

“A homeless man found him this morning,” a forensic investigator told us as she led Sandra and me to an alleyway next to a business adjacent to Town Square. “I think, given his dissheveled appearance, no one took him that seriously. The responding officer said he walked all the way to a mattress store before someone called nine-one-one.”

“The mattress store where Reed Radley worked? That’s a coincidence!” I remarked.

The forensic investigator politely differed, “Hardly! Take a look.”

She used her wand to pull aside a white sheet that surround the crime scene, and it stunned us to see a man lying dead beside the trash can with a sign that read: “He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last! Surrender to the Fay!” The message got hung up using discarded hangers, and it, too, got its ink from blood! “This is just like Reed Radley’s murder! Except they left the body here. Maybe they had too many potential wtinesses nearby.”

“We think that the victim put up a good fight,” the forensic investigator informed us. “We found a blood smear on the wall behind you.” After Sandra and I jumped a little to distance ourselves from the evidence, the forensic investigator added, “The DNA matches the sample obtained from your previous crime scene.”

“So, we have a serial killer on our hands,” Sandra stated.

Thinking about how the forensic investigator mentioned the witness finding the body this morning, I followed up with, “When’s the estimated time of death?”

She replied, “Somewhere between three and six a.m.”

“Ah, so Aidan’s not off the hook yet!” I concluded. “We need to test his DNA against the killer’s samples. Damn, why didn’t I think of that this morning? It could have saved us several hours of questioning!”

“Not necessarily. He could’ve orchestrated the murders without doing it himself.” When it clicked for her that she had been talking about someone she fancied, she suddenly amended herself, “Not that Aidan is capable of doing anything like that…”

I tried not to roll my eyes. Sandra struck me as a very intelligent person, but something about Aidan really fogged up her logic! I just simply commented, “Well, let’s see where the evidence takes us. Did you take a look at-?”

Before I could finish my sentence, I heard some sappy, old-school love ballad blaring from Town Square, which seemed a little strange but I tried to ignore it. I attempted to ask my question again, but then I heard a familiar voice echo out, “Shannon, Baby, please come home!”

I buried my face into my forehead, but I could sense the investigators and officers still on the scene’s eyes all fall on me. I couldn’t believe that he had done something so drastic and utterly stupid! Sandra tentatively queried, “Uh… isn’t that Ben?”

“Yes!” I admitted with my hands still covering my face.

“Did you tell him you were coming here?” Sandra inquired.

I responded, “No!” She brought up a good point, and the very idea of her concept pushed aside all of my embarrassment and prompted me to march right over to his little stunt. The rest of my colleagues followed me out of sheer curiosity.

It totally mortified me to see a crowd surrounding Ben, who dressed like a character from a cheesy, eighties’ romcom, and they all cheered at my appearance. Ben used his wand to lower the music from his boombox (where he got that from, I’ll never know!), and he addressed me, “Shannon, I know I screwed up, and I’m really, really sorry! I miss you so much! Please, come back to me!”

The crowd began chanting, “Do it! Do it! Do it!” He conjured up some roses and tried to hand them to me, and I wouldn’t take them. The crowd really urged me to forgive him and take him back at that point. He really made himself look like a romantic, and I looked like a jerk for not accepting his apology! They had no way of knowing what he did to me, and then it suddenly occurred to me the best way to end this…

I pulled out my wand and pointed it at my throat so I could amplify my voice against the cacophony of the crowd. “This man cheated on me with several hookers and stole my money to pay for them!” The crowd grew disgusted at him and hurled insults at him before they dispersed. It pleased me to see my plan working, but it also annoyed me that I had to air out our dirty laundry in order to do it! He just stood there in a humiliated astonishment, so I seized the moment to let him have it, “You son of a bitch! You left us homeless to feed your addiction, and you expect I’ll just fall for that stupid gesture and forget everything you did to me?”

“I wasn’t gonna leave you on the streets!” he protested. “I had it all worked out for us to stay at my mother’s house ’til we got our own place again.”

“You mom lives all the way in Baltimore! You expected me to drive three hours to get to work each day? And three hours back?”

Ben argued, “You could’ve used your magic to get you there faster!”

I yelled, “Ugh! Really? You think I have the energy and the concentration it takes to do a spell of that magnitude twice a day, five days a week? I may be smart enough, but I… Wait, what am I saying? That’s assuming that I’d forgive you for sleeping with the hookers and the Fay!” That last word renewed my focus on why I had come to Town Square in the first place, which led me to ask him, “How did you know I was here?”

“I got a police radio,” he confessed. When I gave him a reproachful look, he defended himself, “Well, you wouldn’t answer my texts or return my calls! I had to find some way to get you to talk to me!”

“So, this is your solution? Harassing me at work? You see that crime scene over there?” I gestured towards the alley. “A man just died! I’m investigating a gruesome murder, it’s kind of important! So, I’m going back to my job now! Any future communication should be done through an attorney!”

I turned to leave, but he stopped me by saying, “An attorney? Why would I need an attorney? I already did my time for the whole prostitution thing!”

I bellowed, “A divorce attorney, you idiot!”

His face contorted into confusion, and he actually asked me, “A divorce attorney? Wait, you’re leaving me?”

The idiocy of that question made my head hurt. I didn’t know how to respond, and I honestly didn’t want to explain it to him. I needed to get back to my investigation, and I was about ready to tell him to shove off when I saw a blue streak pass me. Sandra chased after it while commanding, “Stop in the name of the law!” I shot one last dirty look at Ben before I joined her pursuit.

When I caught up with Sandra, I realized that we were chasing a Fay! I wanted to ask her what he did to warrant that pursuit, but with both of us running at top speed, neither of us had the breath to talk about it. I took a mental note that I really needed to get back into shape, and then I concentrated on catching this Fay. I had no idea why Sandra started chasing him, but I felt positive that she did so for a very good reason! He turned down an alleyway, and after we did too, we saw multiple pathways that he could have ran and we had no indication of which way he went. We stopped to catch our breath, and then Sandra half joked, “I’m getting too old for this!”

A garbage truck tried to go down the path opposite from us, but when the driver saw us, he stopped and waited for us to finish our operation. I suggested to Sandra, “Well, since we know he didn’t go that way, how about you look left and I look right?” She nodded in agreement, and we split up.

I kept my wand in the ready in case he decided to ambush us. I had no idea who this Fay was or what he was capable of, but I figured that if it hadn’t been urgent, Sandra would have let him go. I crept quietly and checked behind every trash can and dumpster, but I saw no sign of him. It smelled pretty badly though, and I hoped that we could find the suspect quickly so that the sanitation worker could continue doing his job! All of a sudden, I saw some bins ahead of me rattle, and I knew that the Fay was about to make a run for it. I really didn’t feel like doing another chase, so I used all of my remaining concentration on a spell. Luckily, I pointed my wand at just the right spot at just the right time and I nailed him! He got knocked to the floor, and I rapidly swooped in to cuff him. As I did so, the Fay bemoaned, “This isn’t right! You can’t arrest the victim!”

“This isn’t an arrest, you’re just being detained,” I told him as I snapped the cuffs on him. I had a lot of people pronounce that I had no legal authority to arrest them after they ran from me, so it had become customary for me to explain that I just needed their cooperation until a thorough investigation was conducted. Sometimes people at the scene ran for arbitrary reasons, but we needed to know what happened before we just released them! I prepared to explain to him that we needed to make sure of his claim before we released him, but the last part of his statement now stood out to me. “Wait, what do you mean, victim?”

Sandra had seen me apprehend the subject, and she ran over to assist. “Nice work!” she complimented me.

“Sandra, who is this?” I asked her. “What happened?”

She answered me, “This is Dion Cielo. He’s the murder victim from your crime scene!”

“You’re the murder victim?” I stared at him incredulously. He acknowledged the validity of these words, but he didn’t say anything else. His behavior flabbergasted me! In every other case I came across that involved a Fay, I had never seen one who refused to explain how they became a victim! Normally, they like to stir things up by really making the crimes against them seem worse than they actually were. Like, when I was a rookie cop and met my first Fay at that trailer park, he really hammed up his chihuahua bite as attempted murder, but someone actually killed this man and he refused to talk! “Why’d you run? Who did this to you?” He pursed his lips and didn’t say another word.

Crimes of the Fay, Chapter 13

“Let me guess, one of my former clients implicated me in a crime they committed,” Aidan regarded me sardonically. “Whatever they said I did, they’re lying! I’m not that type of guy!”

“Oh really?” I responded in a tone of disbelief. “And just why would one of your clients implicate you in a crime?”

He explained, “Spite. Most of my clients are satisfied with our transaction, but you can’t please everyone. All of my sales are final, so if a client isn’t happy, then they might resort to drastic measures.”

I asked him, “What is it exactly that you sell?” I was dying of curiosity to know the answer to that question!

“Anything I can get my hands on,” he claimed. Obviously, I grew skeptical of that one, and it must have shown on my face because he then clarified, “Anything I can sell legally, I mean. Furniture, used cars, clothes… You’d be amazed how many people can’t use free selling apps! Or some people try to use them and can’t figure out how to do it properly. My staff and I sell it for them and make a living off of the commission.”

“I see…” I didn’t actually completely see what he meant, I just needed a moment to mail this information over. His explanation made sense, but it felt like something was missing still. I remembered the details of his website, and then it hit me. “Why doesn’t your company’s site give any examples of what you sell? Not even any success stories?”

Aidan replied, “I’ve found that an air of mysteriousness draws more people in. They ask us questions, which forces them to talk to a sales rep. Plus, I have the website for people I’m trying to recruit. I want to make my business seem as prestigious as possible, and selling old lamps and trading cards doesn’t seem very lucrative. Most of our clients are obtained through face to face interactions, so I don’t really need to use the website to describe what we sell.”

He appeared to have an answer for everything, which made me think he must have frequently dealt with law enforcement prior to this. He had a clean record, but that didn’t mean he never had any interactions with the police. It doesn’t go on a citizen’s record when we just have a conversation with them. His quick replies led me to believe that he talked to several officers in the past, which meant he got reported for suspicious behavior a lot. He may have had a smug expression, but his body language indicated to me that he was hiding something, and I felt bound and determined to unearth what he wanted to keep secret! “So, tell me, Mister Maddox…”

“You can call me Aidan,” he smoothly offered to me.

“Mister Maddox…” I didn’t take his bait. “…tell me why I would find your card tucked inside the wallet of a prostitute.”

He frowned slightly as he spoke, “Sometimes I try to recruit prostitutes and drug dealers to convince them to make a living in a more honest way. A lot of them think they have no other option, especially the Fay Folks. So many Fays died after leading a life of crime, and when they return, they continue in the same pattern. I try to be a good influence so that they can get into Heaven no matter what they did in the past!” I didn’t buy that drivel, but evidently my colleagues did. Aidan and I both heard an audible sigh from behind the two way mirror! I shook my head in disapproval, but Aidan chose to ignore it. “Is that why I’m here? You found my card in a dead hooker’s purse?”

I reacted listlessly, “No. Now, do you happen to recruit other sales people to your business? Besides drug dealers, people who sell things legally.”

“Of course!” he responded. “I worked in sales long enough to know a good sales person when I see one! I always wanna work with people who have the same skills and passion for the industry as I do!”

“So, you got into sales just ’cause you love to sell things?” I questioned. “There’s no other explanation for doing what you do?” I didn’t really believe he sold other people’s random junk, especially for the pure joy of selling things. I had an inkling that whatever he actually sold, he did it for another motivation.

He differed with my premise, “That’s not the only reason. I’ve already mentioned that I like to help people. But there’s other reasons too! Like, I get to travel all over the state and sell in amazing places that I never would have thought about going to if my work didn’t take me there. You must know what that’s like, right? Haven’t you had to work on a case that made you go to a small town in the middle of nowhere that was so charming that you stayed and just hung out at the shops and cute little restaurants and stuff?”

After the incident that occurred right before my father tried to take us to the seashore, the subject of travel made me feel uncomfortable. “I only work in Slygow County. It’s very rare if I have to go anywhere outside of our district.”

“What about your husband?” He glanced over to my left hand. “Do you ever do any traveling with him?”

“My husband…” I had gotten so used to wearing my wedding ring that I forgot that I was still wearing it. I twisted it around a bit, and a pang of sadness swept over me. I had mostly accepted my fate of becoming a divorced woman, but this felt so final to me! Just like the graduation ceremonies I participated in, this signified the end of a chapter and showed the whole world what happened. Taking it off would make it official- I was single again! There was no going back for me, there was no way I’d ever take Ben back after everything he did, but it still seemed sad to say goodbye to my old life! I took it off at that moment both because I wanted to let go of the notion of ever returning to the past and because I didn’t want to recount to anyone else what was happening. “My personal life is none of your business!” I noticed that he raised an eyebrow as I pocketed the ring, so I changed the subject by bluntly querying, “How did you know Reed Radley?”

He had to think about the answer to my question. “Reed Radley… Reed Radley… It rings a bell… Was he a drug dealer?”

I snapped, “He didn’t sell drugs, he sold mattresses!”

“Oh, him!” He recalled, and I paid full attention to this crucial detail. “I’ve seen him at different charity events in the area. Real nice guy! Why, did something happen to him?”

“Uh, yeah! Do you think a detective would bring someone into the station for questioning for kicks and giggles?” I pointed out. “And did I mention something about a murder?”

His expression grew dejected upon this revelation. “He’s dead? That’s too bad! He seemed like such a good dude!”

I probed, “A good dude who was quite the womanizer! What happened between you two? Did he steal your girlfriend?”

“I don’t have a girlfriend!” Aidan denied that allegation. “And none of my exes were worth fighting over!”

“Did you and Reed ever argue over anything?” I inquired.

He denied that he had. I continued to press him for hours, and he stuck to the same story of knowing nothing about Reed outside of charity events. The logic of his statements didn’t deter me from figuring out what he wanted to hide from me! I kept trying different tactics to squeeze it out of him, and no matter how many times he thwarted my efforts, I refused to give up on this! At first, anyways. After a while, I started to grow frustrated and needed a break. When I requested that another detective take over for a while, I had numerous volunteers. Chief Mazarine handed the reins over to someone who didn’t find men attractive, which disappointed a lot of people! Apparently, he got tired of everyone not working and kicked them out of the observation room, but some of my colleagues still tried to sneak over there, including Sandra. She came over to my cubicle and argued with Chief Mazarine, “It’s my case too though!”

Chief Mazarine shot back, “The only note you took was the words ‘He’s single!’ And you underlined single several times! Maintenant, arrête d’agir comme une fille prébubère et retourne au travail!”

“Yes, sir!” she reacted cordially. After she complied, Chief Mazarine stormed back to his office.

“You speak French?” I conversed with her.

She sat down next to me as she replied, “No, but I know he says the word ‘travail’ when he wants people to get back to work, so I do.” Before I could ask why he burst into French when he got upset, Sandra informed me, “I’m assuming his parents came from a French speaking country and he learned that language first. I’ve never asked him though. He doesn’t talk about his personal life much.”

I remarked, “I don’t blame him! I wish my personal life was still private!”

“Oh, don’t worry about that! Everyone’s too busy talking about Aidan Maddox right now, so I’m sure they all forgot about that!” she assured me. Or at least she tried to. I felt sure that once the excitement of a studly suspect wore off, they would resume gossiping about Ben’s sordid affair! Sandra leaned over my shoulder and observed me researching a page on social media. “Ooh, is that Aidan Maddox’s profile? I already checked it out… for case research, of course… I didn’t see much there.”

“It’s actually Reed Radley’s profile,” I let her know. “I wanted to see if he had any connections to my current person of interest. I don’t see any mutual friends between the two of them. I see that they have some mutual interests in charity groups, but no other links. He must have covered his tracks and got rid of any connections that tied him to Reed Radley!”

Sandra countered with, “Or maybe he’s innocent.”

I differed with her on that, “He’s hiding something! I can tell! I’m gonna figure out what he doesn’t want us to know!”

She obviously didn’t want to believe that her crush did anything impure, but before she could argue, Chief Mazarine suddenly burst in! A part of me thought that the detective currently questioning Aidan had found something, which would make me happy to get a break in the case but would also make me jealous since I wasn’t the one who brought him down. Chief Mazarine’s expression seemed too alarmed for that, and our attention peaked when we realized that! Chief Mazarine directed us, “Go to Town Square right now! There’s something you should see…”

The Liebster Award

Thank you to Cindy Georgakas for nominating me for this award! She’s a talented poet and writer, so please check out her blog too: I’ve met so many supportive people here, and I really do appreciate it! If you’re reading this and I didn’t nominate you, please note that I consider you an honorable mention 🙂


  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers
  4. Ask your nominees 11 questions
  5. Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post

Here are the answers to the questions I was asked:

1) If you could do anything you wanted, what would it be? That’s an easy one. It’s been my dream for over 20 years to turn my best stories into movies and star in them! I’m never going to stop trying to make that happen!

2) Who do you admire most and why? I admire anyone who had a dream and worked hard to make it happen!

3) Who has been the biggest influencer in your work? Even though I don’t admire her anymore because of her hateful rhetoric, my biggest influence was JK Rowling. The style and story of Harry Potter made me a better writer!

4) What are you working on in your life? Right now, I’m trying to find regular employment, which isn’t easy during a pandemic! Especially for us actors! I’d like to do something in the arts, but maybe if my novels really take off, I won’t have to worry about it!

5) What is your favorite saying or affirmation? Your dreams matter! Your feelings matter! You matter!

6) Where is your happy place? The beach! But I love to hang out in almost any natural environment!

7) What do you yearn for? Right now, I yearn to make my Hollywood dreams come true! But I also yearn to travel around the world too!

8) What is your favorite thing to do? Acting, writing, and traveling!

9) If you could be anyone in the world who would it be? Sipping on some wine overlooking the white sands of an Italian beach!

10) You’ll be happy when? When I’m doing question 8 & especially if I get to do my answer to question 9!

I Nominate:

1) Christine Novalarue:

2) Rain Alchemist:

3) Smile:

4) DonyazCorner:

5) Elle-Vue:

6) Study Lover Vikas:

7) Fen:

8) Saania Sparkle:

9) Deep Thought:

10) The Flaker Pen:

11) Deeply Shreded:

My Questions:

1) Where are you originally from, and how did you end up where you are now?

2) If you could be any animal for a day, what would you pick and why?

3) If you had to live in a setting created by Disney, which would you pick and why?

4) What song is stuck in your head right now?

5) What’s something you can see if you look outside your nearest window?

6) If you could learn a new skill instantly, what would you pick and why?

7) What would your life look like if you were working in your dream job?

8) What movie scene always makes you cry?

9) What do you do when you can’t sleep?

10) What’s a product from your childhood that you wish would come back today?

11) What’s something small that you achieved that you’re very proud of?

Thanks again for the nomination, Cindy!

Crimes of the Fay, Chapter 12

“Tarahill LLC, a sales company,” Sandra read out loud. “Hmm, that does seem like a vague enough business description to be a front for a prostitution ring, but what makes you think this came from her boss and not just a potential john?”

I replied, “It’s the only one in her wallet. And it came from one of the inner compartments, not like she stashed away contact information from an interested customer. She kept it safe, so this obviously means something to her!”

Sandra agreed with me, “We definitely need to check this place out! Ooh, I hope their website is as shady as this card!”

It actually was! As we sat at my desk and used my computer to research this company, we discovered that, like the business card, it appeared very chic and sophisticated but didn’t tell us much about the establishment or any day-to-day operations. “It doesn’t even say what they sell!” I noted.

“Oh, there’s a section about the owner,” Sandra very keenly pointed out. I clicked on the link, and a head shot of a very striking man appeared. He had slicked back, blonde hair, sparkling, light blue eyes, and a broad, toothy grin. This picture didn’t show anything below his shoulders, but anyone who saw the picture could tell that underneath his fine suit he had a well sculpted body too. Sandra gushed, “Oh, he’s hot!”

“Yeah, and he probably uses his good looks to get away with murder!” I meant that almost literally. While his picture conveyed a nice, easy-going personality, I immediately didn’t trust him. I thought he put up a pretense of benevolence and used that to lull people into a false sense of security. Reading his biography only deepened my suspicions of him. “Started off in his garage, and fifteen years later, he became Maryland’s top salesman. Still doesn’t say what he sells. Spends his free time honing his magic… Well, clearly he’s a powerful magian. He could definitely have the skills it’d take to scare a street-savvy person like Dahlia!”

Sandra appeared to have been listening, but she seemed to engrossed in that page to look at me while I was talking. “Sounds plausible. Aw, he likes to give to charity!” She probably sensed my reproachful stare because she tore herself away from the computer and apologized, “Sorry! I’m not setting the best example for you, but… Wow! He’s gorgeous!”

Her eyes flickered back to the screen and glued themselves to a photo of him planting some trees with a group of kids and adults wearing foster care tee shirts, and I rolled my eyes. “Mister Maddox undoubtedly staged this to fool people into trusting him!”

“Mister who?” Sandra hadn’t taken her gaze off of the picture.

“Aidan Maddox. That’s the name of the guy you’re drooling over.” I showed her where his name appeared on the page.

Sandra, once again, pulled herself away from the screen and suggested, “You investigate that site. He’s got me acting like a school here! I kept trying to see if he had a wedding ring, and I forgot that I’m wearing one! If you meet my husband, don’t tell him about this!”

I couldn’t help but grin at her quirkiness. “I won’t! Personally, I don’t see what the big fuss is…” I saw something on that site that made my eyes go wide.

“Ah, he’s got you under his hypnosis too!” Sandra chimed.

“Oh, please!” I refuted. “Take a closer look at that charity photo again.”

I covered Aidan’s image so she wouldn’t get distracted and could see what I saw. When she spotted it, she gasped, “That’s Reed Radley in the background!”

I nodded vigorously. “He knew our victim, and the murderer’s accomplice. Sounds like enough to bring him in for questioning!” Sandra’s eyes sparkled at that thought, but she immediately corrected herself and acted ultra professionally.

After we got a warrant issued, it was time to go home for the day. With all of the exciting developments of the case, I forgot how tired I felt! I snuck a couple more donuts so that the sugar would keep me awake for the ride home. Even though I didn’t feel totally comfortable with my living situation, just knowing I could lay down and rest made me feel at ease! That changed quickly as Travis saw me coming and popped out of his house to ask, “Did you find my bike?”

I lied, “Not yet!” His expression showed signs of wanting to ask more questions, so I rushed inside the house.

Immediately after I stepped inside, Wade confronted me from the kitchen table, “Why’d you throw away my food?”

“Huh?” I only felt half awake at that point, so I didn’t have any idea what he meant.

“You threw away my bagels!” he yelled.

I argued, “They were moldy!”

He scolded me, “You could’ve eaten around it! God, don’t you dare make decisions about the food in my house again!”

It struck me as odd that anyone could get upset about losing moldy bagels, but I also felt very hurt to have an allegation like that sprung on me the minute I got home. I didn’t know what else to say, so I just quietly promised that it wouldn’t happen again. I walked to my room in a defeated manner and thought that the donuts I had eaten would suffice for a meal. I decided to distract myself from any lingering hunger by opening up my phone. I had dozens of messages from Ben, and I realized that I had forgotten about him. I figured that the stress of dealing with him would ruin my appetite, so I steeled myself up to call him. Just as I was about to dial, I heard my mom shout, “I’m just feeding the cats!” She peeked inside my room and whispered, “I brought you some dinner!”

“Thanks, Mom!” I smiled gratefully as I took the rice dish she had made. She returned my smile and hastily tiptoed into into her bedroom. I was glad my mom secretly fed me, but it sort of felt humiliating to have landed myself in a situation where I had to go through that just to eat! I let it go though, and as I ate, my weariness really crept in. My phone started to ring, but I ignored it. I had a big day ahead tomorrow, so I decided he could wait another day and went to sleep.

I really didn’t think I’d wake up so late after going to bed so early, but when I looked at the clock, I realized that I only had fifteen minutes to show up to the office! I mean, we didn’t have a set clock in time, but we tried to stick as closely to the nine to five schedule as possible. We were allowed to come in early and leave early, and the same went if we showed up late, so I wouldn’t have gotten penalized for my lack of promptness, but I hurried to get there as fast as possible in case they had my witness ready for questioning. My mom insisted on giving me a hug goodbye, which I found odd until I saw that she had sneaked some biscuits into my purse! As I dashed out the door, I got a call from Ben. I thought about talking to him on the way to work, but then Travis came out to question me about his missing bicycle again. I lied again and said that I didn’t know what happened to it, and as I got into the car, I felt uneasy. I absolutely detest lying, so I felt really bothered by this continuation. I had no inclination to talk to Ben after that and just sped to the station.

When I arrived I expected to hear the full gamut of my fellow detectives working on their cases, but to my astonishment, most of the cubicles were empty! I got utterly confused by this and wondered if I had accidentally shown up on a Saturday. As I checked my phone to verify what day of the week I had shown up for, I suddenly heard Chief Mazarine shout, “Interrogez votre témoin pour que mon personnel retourne au travail!” I glanced up and saw him staring at me as if he had just given an order that he expected me to follow. I looked at him in confusion, and he responded sarcastically, “What? Am I not speaking English here?”

“Uh, no…” I told him truthfully. “I think that was French.”

“Oh!” He seemed rather gruff about his error, but he made no mention of it. In a language that I could understand, he ordered, “Go interrogate your witness so that my staff will go back to work!” He stormed into the break room without saying another word. I found it strange that my witness would prevent a whole team of detectives from doing their jobs, and very curious now, I walked over to the interrogation room.

I got a jolt of shock to see the observation room packed to the brim with people! When I stepped inside, I could see that most of the women and some of the men were ogling him and whispering excitedly as if they were in proximity to a celebrity! “Oh, for Heaven’s sake!” I pushed past a few people to find Sandra because I felt sure she would participate in this frivolity, and she was, front and center! I snidely mentioned, “I wonder how many people it’d take for this room to lose its soundproof quality!”

Sandra frowned a bit as she inwardly knew that I had a point. She didn’t take her eyes off of him as she informed me, “I can’t go in there with you. I’ll probably cross professional boundaries. You’re the ideal candidate to go in there! You’re single now, so it’s okay!”

“You can’t date a witness!” I objected to her premise.

“You can once he’s cleared!” Sandra brought up.

I shook my head and slowly exited the room. He hadn’t uttered a single word and already had most of my colleagues on his side! I didn’t trust him at all now, and and as I finally escaped from that observation room, I vowed that I wouldn’t get bewitched by his antics!

I charged into that room full of steam, but when I caught a glimpse of him, I froze in my tracks! I had never met someone so gorgeous that they literally took my breath away until that day! He did a double take when he saw me, and suddenly I felt very frumpy! He had a much higher level of fitness than me, and after many years of lovingly calling myself curvy, I now viewed my body large like a cow! I had at least gotten a decent amount of sleep in the last night, but I didn’t think I had fully recovered from my previous insomnia. Plus, I thought my face and skin probably gave away just how stressful my life had become! He gave me a warm smile, and a part of me had the urge to excuse myself from the room and get dolled up, but then it dawned on me why I had come in there in the first place! In a huff, I grabbed the chair across from him and coldly introduced myself, “I’m Detective Shannon Vidette.”

He held out his hand for me to shake as he greeted me, “Aidan Maddox! Pleasure to meet you!” I refused to shake his hand, and he somewhat dejectedly put his hand down. “I see, straight to business!”

I stated, “This isn’t a social call! I’m not a floosie you found at closing time at the bar! I’m sure you’re used to flirting your way out of trouble…” He nodded to acknowledge the truth of my claim. “… but you’ll need more than that this time! It won’t work on something as serious as murder!” His face fell, he seemed genuinely scared, and that made me feel certain that he had something to do with Reed Radley’s death!

Crimes of the Fay, Chapter 11

I could hardly sleep that night. Oh sure, I had a comfortable bed and plenty of blankets, but it felt strange to lay on a mattress that didn’t belong to me. It was also the first night where I didn’t sleep next to Ben in over a decade. Not that I had any inclination to cuddle with him ever again, but it did seem strange to have no one with me in the room at night. I had gotten used to the feel of that bed we shared, and it irked me that he’d get to use it when he came home! Well, for a few days he would. Unless he pulled a miracle, he would have to leave it all behind when our old place got foreclosed on. I really wanted to rush over there before he got a chance to get rid of anything because he didn’t deserve to pocket any money he made from our stuff, but I wouldn’t have any time for that since I needed to question a suspect. While I felt excited to potentially break this case wide open, I couldn’t get my mind off of all the little things that I’d never get the chance to experience again!

When I woke up… What am I saying? I didn’t really get any sleep! Well, when I gave up on trying to get any rest, I got dressed and tried to conjure the muffins that I had at my old house, but I couldn’t summon them. I realized that Ben had already gotten home and probably put a block on the property since I wouldn’t give him access to the few bucks he didn’t steal for his prostitutes. I tried a couple more items, and none of it worked, so I knew that’s exactly what he did! I noticed several dozen unread text messages from him on my phone, and I knew that he had a lot of questions for me. I didn’t have the time to deal with him that morning though, so I ignored him and ventured into the kitchen to see what I could find for breakfast there. My mom and Wade were still sleeping, so I had to guess at what food they’d be willing to spare. I found what I thought was blueberry bagels and toasted them, but then I noticed on the label that they were supposed to be plain. I really didn’t have any time to search for anything else, so I threw the bagels out and dashed out the door.

When I got to the station, I learned that the police were still processing our person of interest, so I decided to use a portion of what scant money I had left to buy myself something to eat. I hated to watch my bank account shrink even further, but I had an important day ahead of me and it didn’t make sense for me to go into that interrogation room feeling both exhausted and starving! I had a paycheck coming in a week, but I had not idea how much of it I’d get to keep after I filed for divorce, so spending anything at that moment made me feel uneasy. I talked myself into it though, but when I went into the break room, to my delight, someone had brought a box of donuts! Normally, none of us liked to eat those things due to the stupid stereotype, which is why I imagined that they laid there uneaten, but they felt like a blessing that day and I happily munched on a couple of them!

Sandra came in holding two cups of coffee from a local shop, and she stared at me in surprise when she saw me actually enjoying scarfing down some donuts. It took me a few seconds to sense her presence, and when I did, I felt a little embarrassed, like I just got caught receiving charity. Luckily, she decided not to comment on that and offered me one of her cups. “I figured you might need an extra boost today!”

“Thanks!” I gladly accepted the coffee and immediately began slurping it.

“Did you get any sleep last night?” Sandra conversed as she stood by my side.

I shook my head. “I had a lot to think about.”

She remarked, “I can only imagine!” We both took a sip from our cups, and she abruptly mentioned, “Her name is Dahlia, by the way.”

“Huh?” My mind had briefly considered taking the rest of the donuts for breakfast tomorrow. It seemed a bit unethical since the donuts were meant to get shared with everyone, but it seemed unlikely that anyone else would take them. Plus, I had no idea how much of the food at my new home Wade would feel willing to share, and based on the bagels, I didn’t know if I’d want to! When my thoughts got back on track, a pang of sadness ran through me at the mention of the prostitute who had slept with my husband. It really wasn’t her fault, and I knew she wasn’t the first one he’d done it with, but I had really hoped that my job would provide me a much needed break from my failed marriage. I sighed, “Oh, I know!”

“Do you still wanna do this?” Sandra wondered.

I firmly assured her, “It’s fine, I can do it!”

She looked pleased to hear me rally like that. “Let’s go wait for our witness then!” I agreed, and we walked towards the interrogation room.

From behind the two way mirror, Sandra and I observed Dahlia sitting alone and waiting impatiently. I noted, “She didn’t ask for a lawyer, that’s surprising!”

“She must think she has some kind of leverage,” Sandra surmised. “She’s probably gonna make this difficult for you.”

“She can try! I’ve dealt with a lot of other people’s crap in the last twenty-four hours, I’m not putting up with it today!” I marched towards the interrogation room, and Sandra followed.

As soon as I entered, Dahlia sneered, “I knew you were behind this! This is harassment! You’re just after me ’cause I screwed your husband!”

I coolly responded, “If I wanted to shake down all the women who slept with my soon-to-be ex, I’d have a lot more people in the room with you!” She couldn’t help but concur, and then I went on, “We’re not here for me, we’re here about Reed Radley. And don’t act like you don’t know him! Based on our interaction on the phone, I know you know him!”

“Yeah, I knew him,” Dahlia acknowledged, “but that doesn’t mean I know what he did outside of our sessions. He was a client, that’s all I knew about him!”

“If you’re so worried about getting into Heaven, why do you keep lying?” I retorted. She seemed offended by my quip, and I sincerely hoped that my slight would compel her to stop the charade. “A couple of weeks ago, he called you. A minute later, he looked up directions to the location where we found his blood. No one saw him again ’til we found his body in the nearby river. Now, don’t tell me you didn’t know what happened to him! Tell me why you lured Reed out there!”

I thought that Dahlia would confess at that point, but she simply pointed out, “You can’t prove I was the reason he went out to the woods that day.”

It sort of flabbergasted me that she still tried to cling onto the notion of her innocence, but I didn’t let that discourage me. “It’s pretty unlikely that he’d phone a prostitute and then go meet up with another Fay!”

“It’s unlikely but not impossible!” Dahlia reasoned.

“What, were you a lawyer while you were human?” I clapped back.

Her face soured by my sass. “I don’t like to talk about my past self! I did a lot of awful, bad stuff that I’ll probably never get a chance to make up for!”

I replied, “So you think the way to start is to get involved in a murder?”

“I didn’t kill anybody!” She scowled at me.

“Do you really think the way to get into Heaven is to help a murderer go free?” I argued. My words definitely stung her, but she didn’t say anything for a while, so I kept pressing, “I see, so you’re just giving up then, huh? You’re just gonna let this killer drag you down to Hell with them?”

She curtly explained to me, “I don’t wanna go to Hell! But I also don’t wanna die before I get a chance to make it to Heaven! If I get killed before I’ve used my second chance to make up for what I did as human, then I’m going to Hell for sure, so I’m not risking it!”

I leaned in and changed my tone to something more sympathetic, “I get it. Only a really powerful magian could summon enough magic to send you over to steal a bike and then back again! This person doesn’t leave footprints, and they managed to kill a man without leaving a drop of evidence except for what he or she left on purpose! I’d be scared too! But we can protect you here. Dozens of magians guard the women’s prison, and you won’t get into trouble there! Not the same way you would in the streets, anyways. You’d not only have a roof over you head, but our facilities do give you the opportunity to do some good deeds too. They don’t call them correctional institutes for nothing! So, just tell us what dirt bag tricked you into landing yourself in this position!”

Dahlia began to weep, and I really believed that she was going to break and let us know who masterminded the crime. Instead, she coldly stated, “Since I’m going to prison either way, I’d rather preserve my life! You can’t prove I did it, so I’ll take my chances at trial!”

Although I felt frustrated and disappointed, I tried not to give her the satisfaction of letting her know that she got to me. I gave her one more shot at cooperation, “We have enough to charge you with conspiracy right now. If you give up the name of the person threatening you into silence, we can recommend a much lighter sentence.” She didn’t react to that other than to fold her arms in a pout, so I sighed and paged the guards, “Go ahead and take her now.”

Sandra and I watched her get cuffed without a fuss. When we were alone, Sandra praised me, “Great job!”

I had expected her to commend me for trying, but I didn’t expect to get a compliment after that! “I didn’t get a confession!”

“We don’t get one every time!” Sandra reminded me. “Your detective work brought us to this point! You got a suspect in custody, and we got a pretty good confirmation that she’s working for someone!”

“We have enough evidence to charge her, but we need more to get a conviction,” I brought up.

Sandra suggested, “Then let’s go get some! Maybe her personal effects will give us a clue who’s threatening her.” I knew she was right, and I felt a little silly for letting myself get discouraged. I didn’t realize that she had any property with her upon her arrest, and since I knew it now, my curiosity peaked! We both darted up to go search through her belongings.

I combed through her wallet while Sandra sifted through her purse. “Woah!” Sandra exclaimed.

“What?” I momentarily paused my search thinking that she had found something important to the case.

“Oh, nothing!” She blushed and put the object out of her sight. “Why do I always find the dirty stuff?”

I giggled, and then I told her, “Maybe forensics should examine it to see if anyone left behind some DNA.” She made a grossed out face, but then we both laughed. Seconds later, I echoed her previous sentiment, “Woah!”

She joked, “Oh good, I’m glad I’m not the only one to come across that kind of stuff!”

“Look!” I tried to show her what I discovered, but she averted her eyes. “No, it’s nothing provocative! Look!” She glanced over and saw that my wand had a business card suspended in the air. “I think I just found her boss!”

Sunshine Blogger Award & Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

Back in the beginning of May, Prutha Pimpalgaonkar nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger award, & I was in the process of moving to a new state, so I promised that I would get to it later. As I got into a new rhythm for my new home, I admittedly forgot to fulfill my obligations for this award! Recently, Bhagyashree nominated me the Vincent Ehindero Blogger award too, so I’m going to take care of them both at the same time, if you don’t mind 🙂 Thank you to you both for nominating me!


  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your blog post.

Prutha’s Questions:

1) Do you think that aliens exist? Yes, but probably not in the way that they get portrayed in the movies. I think there’s tons of planets beyond our scope that have yet to get discovered, and I’m sure some of them are capable of supporting life. Some may be very simple creatures, like insects, but who knows, Star Trek may not be as far off as we think!

2) Do you believe in ghosts and paranormal stuff? Not yet. I’m open minded, but I haven’t seen evidence of their existence yet. If they do, I’d like to know the science behind why they exist in this form.

3) What movie can you watch over and over and not get tired of? It’s a tie between Lilo & Stitch and Moana, which I’m actually watching right now! I love the stories, and right now I’m obsessed with Hawaii/the south Pacific. I really need to set a story there!

4) If could get a paid three-day break from the hustle and bustle of life, where would you spend your vacation? Hawaii. If you want to know why, see answer 3.

5) What “old person” things do you do? Besides Disney movies, I love to watch old game shows from the 70’s, 80’s, & 90’s. I love their simplicity & the way the celebrities/contestants interact! There’s just nothing like them on today!

6) What’s the funniest joke you know by heart? What’s a pirate’s favorite letter? You probably answered r but said it “arrr” like a pirate would. You would think a pirate’s favorite letter is r, but a pirate’s first love will always be the c! Get it, like the sea! Sorry, all I have memorized is dad jokes.

7) What’s the most ironic thing you have seen happen? In the 90s, my friends and I did a music video of Ironic by Alanis Morsette. This is way before TikTok and YouTube, mind you! I know this isn’t how you intended me to use irony, but isn’t that in itself irony?

8) What goal do you think humanity is not focused enough on achieving? Putting aside our differences to get stuff done.

9) What’s your favourite video game? Do apps count? My favorite is a toss up between a fashion game called Covet and the Bubble Witch Sagas.

10) What would you like to say to your younger self? I would tell my younger self to get treated for my mental health. I didn’t know that I had depression/anxiety until I was 21, and it would have made a huge difference in my relationships and career choices later on if I got help from the beginning. I’m a firm believer in erasing the stigma behind mental health, so I’m not ashamed to talk about it!

11) What is one thing that you love about yourself? I love my ambition/competitiveness. If I didn’t have strong goals that I pursued relentlessly, I wouldn’t have made it this far!

Bhagyashree’s Questions:

1) Is there a cheesy movie you secretly love to watch? I think I already confessed the answer to this in Prutha’s questions! I’m a Disney nerd!

2) What is the funniest thing you have seen a stranger do? I was sitting in a coffee house in one of the tables close to the cashier. The other table had two police officers sitting at it. Some guy sees that the baristas were busy, so he tried to steal some of the drinks and other food that they keep by the register. The police officers were right behind him! As soon as he turned around, he saw their smiling faces! So, he immediately dropped the pilfered items and ran out the door!

3) What would you choose; an act of chivalry with your favorite hero or a chance to read the personal diary of your most loved villain? I’d probably want to have an interaction with one of my favorite main characters, which would most likely be Stephen Knight from Amouraq since I’ve lived with him for half my life.

4) Which is the one thing (item) you never share with anyone? My diary. No one should see that!

5) What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you come across an amazing blog? When I find a blog that has some intriguing thoughts, I usually feel glad that I found a new source of mystery & discovery!

6) Which is your spirit comic character? The first thing that came to my mind is Bucky, a cat from a comic strip called Get Fuzzy. I’m not sure why though!

7) How would you describe your blogging journey so far in three words? Fun and growing!

My Nominees:

1) Gentleman Dave

2) Anjali , RBWF

3) Naomi Ngigi

4) frenchc1955

5) nadiiag

6) Tap ON (Tapan)

7) patientandkindlove

8) MiyoshiMessages from Spirit


10) Saniya

11) Ruchitha Dheshoju

I’m pretty sure I’m doing the tagging wrong, so if someone is kind enough to explain it, I would appreciate it! If I’m doing it right, then disregard this 🙂 I just hope everyone that I nominated sees this!

My Questions:

1) Where are you originally from, and how did you end up where you are now?

2) If you could be any animal for a day, what would you pick and why?

3) If you had to live in a setting created by Disney, which would you pick and why?

4) What song is stuck in your head right now?

5) What’s something you can see if you look outside your nearest window?

6) If you could learn a new skill instantly, what would you pick and why?

7) What would your life look like if you were working in your dream job?

8) What movie scene always makes you cry?

9) What do you do when you can’t sleep?

10) What’s a product from your childhood that you wish would come back today?

11) What’s something small that you achieved that you’re very proud of?

Thanks again for the nominations guys!

Crimes of the Fay, Chapter 10

“You found him?” I got a jolt of shock hearing that, and it took a while for me to absorb it. I hadn’t expected to hear this information so soon! Not only did I get my case back, but we had a major break in it! I felt a huge weight of relief fall off my shoulders because I got to continue doing the job I loved! Plus, I finally go some good news after such an emotionally exhausting day! I didn’t have to make plans to start over in Europe, and I thought maybe after a couple of paychecks, I could start to look for my own place!But I couldn’t think about that right then. Sandra said that she needed me in right away, which meant something drastic happened. I briefly wondered if something had happened to Ben, which would make separating from him easier but would make collecting money from him impossible! I thought that perhaps Reed Radley laid a major bombshell on them, but then I realized that she didn’t say that she found him alive! “Did he say anything? What happened?”

“I’ll tell you in the car,” Sandra responded. “I’m on my way to get you right now.”

It quickly occurred to me that she didn’t know my new address, so I swiftly informed her, “Oh, I don’t live there anymore! Come pick me up at Brigid’s Garden.” Sandra laughed as if I had told a joke, so I iterated, “No, I’m serious.”

I could sense the level of surprise she felt when I revealed that to her. “Oh! Okay… I’ll be there soon!”

I replied, “See you soon!” After she hung up, I packed up my wand and thought about what else I’d need to bring in for this encounter, but I had no idea where we were going. If she planned on taking me back to the police station, I wouldn’t need much. If we went anywhere else that required me to bring supplies, then I reasoned that I could go back in and get it. It then dawned on me that I didn’t have much of anything here. Most of my things were either in my department issued vehicle or at my old house. I fretted for a minute, but I recalled that she didn’t instruct me to bring anything out of the ordinary, so all I needed to worry about was sprinting out the door as soon as she arrived. At that point, I figured out that I hadn’t given her the space number of where I now lived, so I knew I should wait outside for her so she could find me faster. I grabbed my jacket and dashed towards the door.

I saw my mother and Wade in the kitchen, and I forgot that they had no idea why I’d have to rush out, so I hastily filled them in, “We had a major break in the case, I gotta go!”

“What’s the case about?” Wade inquired as he finished up the last of the ham, which shocked me that he was still going at it!

“It’s classified.” My rejoinder was true, but it also left me with a valid excuse to not linger too long.

Before I could step out the door, Wade stopped me by saying, “Oh, I bet you is after them bohunks! They’re always causing trouble! One time, back in Michigan, I was playing on my grand-pappy’s farm, and we-.”

I interrupted him, “I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s kind of an emergency, so I gotta go!” His expression seemed a little put off by my abruptness, but I really didn’t have time for one of his never-ending stories, so I darted out before he could say another word.

I didn’t see Sandra outside yet, but then again, I didn’t know exactly where she had started from. I decided to make my way to the front of the park so she could find me faster. Not long after I began walking, I noticed that Brigid’s Garden didn’t have street lights. Most of the neighbors had porch lights, but it didn’t do much to actually illuminate the ground. I deemed it prudent to turn on my flashlight, so I brought out my cellphone to use the app. Before I could click on it, I got a call from the Slygow county jail. Thinking it had something to do with Reed Radley, I answered it, “Hello?”

“Hey, Babe! It’s me!” Ben greeted me as casually as he could.

“Ben?” I got so thrown off by hearing his voice after expecting a call from work that I temporarily let it slip my mind that we had a lot of issues together. We were married for so long that it didn’t feel unnatural to him contact me, but after I recollected everything that happened, I seethed, “You’re not allowed to call me that anymore!”

Clearly, he didn’t expect such a hostile attitude from me. He paused for a second, and then he came up with, “Okay, so you’re mad!”

Paying no mind to any resident of the park who could possibly hear me, I shouted, “You’re damn right I’m mad! You almost put my whole case in jeopardy! And that wasn’t even the worst part! I found out what you did, you asshole!”

“I know you did! I was there when you caught me!” he remarked.

“No, I mean…” I almost divulged how I discovered that he drained out all of our money to pay for hookers, but then the location of his call came to my mind. “So, they’re charging you for prostitution?”

He confirmed, “Yeah, and I used my one phone call to talk to you. Listen, don’t come bail me out. I deserve to get punished for what I did!”

I knew he didn’t mean that. He didn’t think I had figured out his greatest offense to me, and considering that his call was being monitored by my former colleagues, I didn’t feel like revealing everything. In addition to that, I could see some headlights in the distance, and assuming that they were Sandra’s, I really didn’t have the time to explain why I decided to leave him. I did take a mental note to freeze our bank account to save what little we had left, and I decreed that since he stole most of our funds already that he didn’t deserve any of it. I knew he might need it to go home tomorrow, but I also knew he might drain the pittance we had left to have one more romp with a lady of the night. I figured that he deserved to walk home after what he did, and when he came to our empty house, I’d tell him the news then. I wouldn’t have that conversation under the circumstances! Especially since Sandra just pulled up! I simply advised him, “You have a disease! Get help!”

He questioned, “I do? Do you know what disease she gave me? Gonorrhea? I bet it’s gonorrhea!” I shook my head, and after I hung up, I took another mental note to get myself tested for things…

After I got into the car, Sandra commented, “Not afraid of being conspicuous, huh?”

“Huh?” I puzzled while I buckled my seat belt.

“Hey, I totally understand you going rogue in your situation, but I’m just surprised that you’re not more quiet about it,” she expressed as she starting driving.

I refuted that claim, “I’m not going rogue! I meant it when I said I live here now!” She had her eye on the navigation system, but her face showed that my statement stunned her, so I explained, “I had to move in with my mom and her husband. After I got home, I found out that Ben drained our bank account to the point where there’s almost nothing left! We were days away from being homeless just so he could feed his addiction to prostitutes!”

Sandra appeared to be astonished to learn that, but not as astonished as she got when she learned where I moved to. Once this revelation sunk in more, she disclosed, “Oh, well, that explains some of his behavior during questioning. He acted really nervous and fidgeted a lot, so I could tell he was hiding something. I honestly thought he played some part in the crime ’til we got the call about Reed.”

I almost forgot about him, and now that my train of thought got off my miserable marriage, I realized that we were heading in the opposite direction of the station. WE passed by the Roadkill Diner, and as far as I knew, nothing else had gotten built or placed in this general direction. Usually, the people who took this route intended to travel somewhere in West Virginia or Virginia, and I didn’t think we were leaving our jurisdiction because there’s protocols for that, which could only mean one thing. I joked, “I’m guessing we’re not meeting him at some remote cabin!”

Sandra parked the car along the edge of the forest before saying, “After seeing what I saw in his apartment, I wouldn’t agree to meet him in any kind of vacation destination! I’d be too afraid to touch anything!” I tittered a bit, but a part of me felt very curious about what she saw in there. I didn’t bring it up though. If she had seen anything relevant to the case, she wouldn’t have been so cagey about it! Besides, I didn’t feel comfortable speaking ill of the dead!

After walking down to a small river, we headed down to the bank where his body rested on a tarp. Scores of forensic investigators scoured the area, and a couple of police officers were questioning a man in fishing gear. One of the policemen came up to me with the intention of delivering their findings, but instead, he queried, “Do I know you from somewhere?”

“You should! I’m Shannon.” When I saw his blank stare, I grew a little irritated. “Officer Vidette! We worked together for, like, ten years!”

“Oh, yeah!” He flushed a little when recognized his error. “Sorry, you look different out of your uniform! I mean, in regular clothes!”

I really didn’t have a lot of patience after going through so much drama that day, so I snapped, “Tell me about my body!” He obviously misinterpreted what I conveyed to him, so I clarified, “The dead guy behind you!”

His blush deepened, and he hastily tried to get back on track, “Oh, yes! This man was fishing a little farther out when he saw a shadowy figure conjure the body and throw it in the river. When the witness got up to see what he threw, the shadowy figure disappeared.”

“Interesting…” I wrote all of this down before asking, “Where did the suspect’s footprints come from?”

“We didn’t find any footprints,” he briefed me.

Sandra and I looked up in surprise, and I echoed, “No footprints?”

The police officer shook his head. “Not even by the bank where they dumped the body! We searched all over, there’s none!”

“Wow! That means the footprints we saw in the other crime scene belonged to Reed and the killer’s accomplice.” I thought about it a little and then directed him, “Search the area between the two scenes to see if they left behind any clues.”

“Yes, ma’am!” he readily obliged, which I assumed he did to make up for our previous conversation. Once he did that, I suggested to Sandra, “Why don’t you talk to the witness while I see if forensics found anything.”

Sandra agreed, and as as she approached the fisherman, I went over to Reed’s body and stared at it curiously. It looked pretty pristine, so I hoped that the river hadn’t washed away anything pertinent. As one of the investigators came up to me, I commented, “Given his… unique… lifestyle, I’m surprised that he didn’t turn into a Fay!”

She nodded in agreement. “It certainly is a lot easier for us when they can get up and tell us what happened to them! It doesn’t look like we’ll get that luxury, but maybe this will speak volumes.” She held up a cellphone in an evidence bag.

My hopes surged ot see that this had been recovered! I pulled out my wand and had his cellphone float out of the bag. I used a spell to unlock it, and after I looked through it a bit, I thought out loud, “This phone definitely belonged to Reed Radley!” When I explored his contact history, I saw something that made me gasp, “Sandra!”

“Hold on one second,” she regarded to the witness before coming over to me. “What did you find?”

I answered her, “I know who was the last person to see Reed Radley alive!”

Crimes of the Fay, Chapter 9

So, it turned out I really had no other option. My dad would have gladly took me in if I could go to Spain, and while the country looked gorgeous and my stepmother’s family seemed really nice, I couldn’t give up my job! I know I was just a rookie detective, but I finally had the chance to fulfill my childhood dream! It gave me everything I had ever wanted in a career, well, except for the whole husband becoming a suspect in a missing person case thing. I supposed that if they didn’t clear him that I could have considered becoming a detective in Spain versus going back to petty crimes, but I really hoped it didn’t come to that! Besides, it wouldn’t solve my problem on where I could go right then. Most of my friends from high school had moved elsewhere, and I didn’t have a close relationship with the few that did stay, so asking them to let me live with them for a while would have been really awkward! I didn’t realize it until that moment, but I had become totally dependent on Ben for socialization! I really didn’t have much of a life outside of him, and I know that I’d have to something about that so it wouldn’t persist as an issue in the future! I considered renting a place temporarily, but I’d have to pay for it with a loan or credit, and I didn’t want to take on any extra payments until I knew how much it would cost to leave Ben. I figured I’d have to litigate him for the debt he incurred with the house, and I knew that could end up becoming a pricey divorce. I briefly contemplated living in my car as opposed to Brigid’s Garden. I know that sounds a bit insane to prefer that as opposed to having a roof over my head, but I reasoned that it would be like camping, I could go wherever I wanted and just sleep under the stars… I seriously almost requested to Wade to drive me to the police station so I could get my car and do exactly that, but I remembered how little I had in my bank. I couldn’t afford the gas to constantly go places in my car, I barely had enough to feed myself right then! So, I concluded that I didn’t have any other choice, I had to live there!

As we pulled into the familiar grounds, I reminded myself that it’d just be temporary. How temporary it would become still wasn’t clear, but I buoyed myself up with that fact. With all of the crime that happened there, I thought that maybe they could use someone in law enforcement around. When I considered the possibility that perhaps my presence there would make the citizens that live there safer, it really lifted my spirits!

…For about three seconds. When we got out of the car, my heart nearly stopped! We were right next to Travis’s house! Wade and my mom were the new neighbors that he had talked about! It took me a while to realize that the nasty odor I detected had come from Wade! I cringed knowing that I’d have to get used to that smell, but I also felt a little uncomfortable knowing I’d live next to my initial crime scene! I wondered if the bike thief slash the creator of that threatening message would ever come back and figure out that the lead detective on his or her case moved into Brigid’s Garden! In that instance, I couldn’t count how many different ways that this situation was totally awkward! Maybe ten or eleven…

Number twelve popped up before I could reach the doorstep of my new house. Travis came out of his home and recognized me. “Hey! You’re that detective lady looking for my bike!”

I grimaced and sincerely hoped that not too many people heard that. I didn’t know what their general attitude was towards law enforcement, but most of the criminals and even the victims that I dealt with here didn’t seem too keen on having my presence around! I had hoped that they would get to know me as a person before they learned what I did for a living, but that was out of the water now! I hoped that they heard what a lame case I had and not feel threatened, and I also inwardly prayed that the suspect in my case didn’t hear that! If he or she had any suspicion that I might have been on to him or her, that could cause them to do something drastic! “Yes, that’s me!” I tried to sound as pleasant as I could towards him. His young age and close proximity to me made me want to maintain a cordial relationship with him.

“Have you found my bike yet?” he avidly asked me.

“Uh… The case is still open.” In the midst of all of the chaos in my assignment, I hadn’t thought much about the state of the kid’s bicycle, and I certainly couldn’t tell him the ugly truth! I just quickly excused myself and dashed inside.

When I came into the house, I immediately saw that the home opened up into a small kitchen with a dining table in it. The counters seemed a bit dingy, and I observed a lot of rustic knick-knacks strewed about. Wade had taken a cooked ham out of the outdated refrigerator, and after overlooking the state of their appliances, I suddenly felt incredibly hungry! I forgot that I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, and it comforted me a bit to get some food right then. “Oh, nice! A ham dinner!”

Wade grabbed a fork and knife out of one of the drawers, and he responded, “Oh, I love ham! What are you having?”

“Um…” A surge of disappointment coursed through me when I learned that he hadn’t intended on sharing, but then that thought got quickly replaced with disgust as he sat down at the table and began eating from the ham as if it were a meal for one!

“Don’t worry, I have some leftover pasta!” My mother reached into the fridge and put a large bowl into the microwave.

I didn’t mean to stare at Wade, but it just occurred to me that he had absolutely no teeth and still somehow managed to consume that ham quite easily! He interrupted my train of thought by inquiring, “So, what do you do for a living?”

After I broke out of my stupor of my previous concentration, I answered him, “Oh, I’m a detective for Slygow county.”

“A detective, huh?” Bits of food spat out as he talked. “You hunt them Bohunks?”

“I don’t know what that is, but no, we don’t hunt anything. We solve crimes.” I furrowed my brow trying to think of where I might have heard that term. I also tried not to sound too condescending, but it amazed me to find someone who didn’t know what a detective did!

As my mother split the pasta onto two plates, she clarified for him, “He means Eastern European people.”

I had no idea such a silly sounding word was used for such an ugly concept! “Oh, we don’t judge people on their ethnicity! And we certainly don’t hunt them! Well, we do track down criminals, but…” I didn’t do a good job of hiding my appall, and I hoped that I hadn’t offended him. I hated the racism, but I also really needed to a place to stay for a while…

Fortunately, he didn’t seem to have been listening to me. A couple of cats had come to the table and began begging for scraps. As he fed them bits of the ham, he chuckled, “Yeah, we’re both hunters, you and me! I started learning how to do it when I was a kid in Michigan…”

He began telling a rambling story that didn’t seem to go anywhere, and it didn’t seem like he planned on pausing long enough in order for me to reply back to him, which I felt fine with since I didn’t have the motivation to talk much anyways. That changed a bit when my mom handed me the pasta. I remembered the Roadkill Diner and noticed chunks of meat in the dish. As hungry as I had gotten, I didn’t think I could stomach any of the random creatures that Wade had “hunted” on the side of the road. I had no idea how I’d ask my mother what she put in our dinner since I couldn’t get a word in edgewise! To my relief, my mom leaned in and assured me, “It’s chicken, I swear!”

I laughed as the bit of tension that this worry had garnered me got released, and I then proceeded to try the food with more confidence. I was so hungry that I didn’t even care that the food was still a little cold! I ate like a ravenous wolf! Once I had gotten over my initial hunger, it suddenly came to me that I had eaten this dish before as a child! For a split second, the ill feelings of that memory made me want to stop eating, but then I reminded myself about the reality of my mother’s past. Addiction is a disease and not her fault, so I pushed aside my old feelings and let myself enjoy the nostalgia. As I continued my meal, I saw a couple more cats had come to the table and began begging from me. While I found it amusing that they were willing to accept food from a total stranger, I felt too famished to share anything! Just as I wondered how many cats they had there, I tuned into Wade’s conversation again. I felt a twinge of guilt for not paying attention, but luckily, he didn’t seem to have noticed!

My mom and I finished our meals around the same time, but Wade was still going at it with that ham! It repulsed me to watch a person go through an entire ham in a day, but I hoped that my face didn’t show what I really thought. So far, Wade seemed like an oblivious person, but I didn’t want to take any chances. I wanted to leave the table, but Wade kept on talking and I didn’t want to be rude. My mother cut him off as if it were pretty routine, “Wade! Wade! Wade! I think Shannon wants to see her room now.”

“Oh, okay! Go ahead!” Wade permitted with a mouthful of food.

“Come this way!” My mom invited me after she put our plates in the sink. I could see that six cats were in the room before we left, and I tried not to gag as I saw him let one eat right off of his fork!

We walked into a small living room that had enough furniture to make it quite cramped and hard to navigate. My mother informed me, “This is our living room! Feel free to use it, thought don’t sit in Wade’s chair!” I didn’t need to ask her what chair belonged to him- one of them had a huge sweat stain on it! My mom must have seen the grossed out look on my face because she whispered, “He only showers once a month.” I actually gagged a little at that, and my mother totally understood why. “I know, I know!” She led me to a small hallway, and then she explained, “Wade and my room is over here on the right, the bathroom is at the end of the hall, and here’s your room.”

When my room got revealed, I hadn’t expected to see it look so cute! While the bed took up most of the space, it had cozy-looking blankets and a couple of fluffy pillows that made it quite inviting. The wooden nightstand had an antique feel to it, and a couple of old-fashioned pictures hung on the wall, giving it an aura of a classic home. It even smelled better in here too! Clearly, she had put a lot of effort into making me feel welcomed! I turned to her and commented, “I love it!”

“Oh good!” She seemed relieved to get my approval. “I had to use magic to clean it up. It’s been kinda hard to conjure anything since I got off that stuff, but I had to do it! This used to be the cats’ room, so you can imagine how messy it got! Oh, they might still think that this room belongs to them, so I hope you don’t mind if they sneak their way in sometimes.”

“Oh, I don’t mind! I like cats!” I reassured her.

I wanted to ask her how many cats she had accumulated, but before I could, my mom said, “I better get started on the dishes. If you need anything, let me know!”

I reacted genially, “I will!” She gave me a warm smile as she exited the area.

Once she left, I drew out my wand and made some of my clothes and necessities appear. I thought about what else from the house that I’d like to save, but other than a small dresser, I really didn’t have a lot of space to put anything else. The rest of the house looked pretty full too. That’s when it clicked for me, I’d have to give up a lot of my stuff! I’m not very materialistic, but the thought of giving it all up really depressed me! In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d get heartbroken over a vacuum cleaner, some pans, or even the trash can, but it actually crushed me to get rid of it all! I know all of those things could get replaced, but I had no idea when I’d get to do that! It consoled me a little to think I could sell it all and pay off some of the debt that my husband left us or pay for the divorce, but I didn’t like how fast I had to give it all up! Just this morning, I woke up as a married woman with an exciting and growing career, and in a matter of hours, I lost it all! All of it! Even the dish towels! I sunk onto the bed and teared up!

All of a sudden, my cellphone rang, and my heart leapt to see that it had been Sandra calling me! I hoped that my voice didn’t give away the fact that I was crying, and I crossed my fingers that she had some good news for me! “Hello?”

Sandra immediately reported, “Ben was cleared, and we need you to come in right away! We found Reed Radley!”

Crimes of the Fay, Chapter 8

It surprised me that she wanted to meet in such a remote location! The Roadkill Diner’s address registered as a piece of land off of a two lane highway, and I had to use a ride sharing app to get there since no buses ran that way. To my dismay, my driver was super chatty, but to my relief, he did most of the talking. I had a hard enough time explaining it on the phone earlier, so I definitely didn’t have the endurance to do it again for a total stranger! We passed by a lot of forest, and for a moment, I wondered if she had set me up for failure. If she had, I didn’t know what I would have done! With my idiot, soon-to-be ex husband depleting our funds to the point where we were about to lose our house, I had no extra money to go much further than this! Actually, I didn’t even really have the money for this ride, but I didn’t have the energy to attempt to magick myself there, so I had no choice! I wish I had gotten my car back from the station now, but oh well! Just when my driver wanted to give up on finding my destination, we finally found it! The Roadkill Diner appeared to have been a trailer that got converted into a restaurant. It rested on a small dirt lot, and it sort of smelled a little dank. I could tell my driver found it odd that I picked this spot to go, but he didn’t say anything other than to wish me luck on my endeavor. I thanked him as he pulled away with a skeptical expression, but that didn’t faze me. I just hoped she had a very good reason for wanting to meet me here out of all places!

I went inside, and the long and narrow room was lined with nearly antiquated booths and tables. The center had a small counter with a kitchen behind it, but I didn’t see a cook. No one else occupied the space, so when I saw a woman with short, poofy, blonde hair, I knew it had to be her. For years, I had only spoken to her in brief conversations on social media, so I had seen what she looked like now, but without seeing her in person, I somehow got thrown off by her appearance. She used to have a thin frame from a youthful vitality, but now it seemed like she was more malnourished than anything. Her make up got applied darker and heavier than it used to, and her clothes were old and faded. Maybe I expected her looks to mirror the characteristics that I remembered from my childhood, but it caught me off guard to see her like that! Her gaze stayed on the nervous fidgeting she did with her hands on the table in front of her, so I got her attention by saying, “Hello, Mom!”

She darted her head up, and she gave me a weak smile as she greeted me, “Shannon! It’s good to see you!” Given what just happened and my less than warm history with her, I couldn’t return her sentiments. She got up and gave me a hug, and I just couldn’t bear to hug her back. She didnt’ seem to care though. “How are you?” I couldn’t believe she had the audacity to ask me that after I told her everything that happened to me! When she caught a glimpse of my face, she realized her inept error. “Oh, right! I’m so sorry! Come, sit down!”

I followed her to the booth she had sat at, and it felt a little strange to not get approached by any wait staff, so I remarked, “Well, we’ll sure get a lot of privacy here!”

She giggle a little at my quip. “My husband, Wade, owns this place. You’ll meet him later. He’s out hunting right now. You know, he doesn’t buy any of the meat we serve here, he catches everything himself!”

“You don’t say!” I tried to hide my grimace by staring out the window, but as I viewed the road ahead, I couldn’t help but speculate if the name of the restaurant had gotten dubbed Roadkill for a reason. I changed the subject by asking her, “Is he okay with me coming to live with you temporarily?”

“Oh, yes!” my mother answered chirpily. “It was his idea to offer our place to you if you ever needed it! I’m sorry you gotta move out of your house, but I am excited to live with you again!”

I raised my eyebrows at her when she said that. “Really? You didn’t seem so excited to have me around before!”

She inquired, “What are you talking about?”

“You gave me up without a fight!” I tried not to get too argumentative with her since she was doing me a favor, but I had to get this off my chest before anything else happened. “I wanted some distance anyways, so it’s okay, but I never understood why you didn’t want me. Quite frankly, I can’t believe you want me around now! I-!”

“I was an addict!” she interrupted me. When she saw my shocked reaction, she gave me more details, “I guess your father never told you. Well, you remember that car accident I got into when you were a baby?” I nodded, so she continued, “Well, my back got real messed up, so the doctor prescribed me pain medication. After my injuries healed, I still took the pills. Eventually, the doctors stopped prescribing them, so I had to get them from the street, which got expensive. Your father and I didn’t make that much money, so I did a lot of awful things to get the money for it! Your father had no idea what was going on ’til he caught me with Damon. He offered me some of his pills if I’d sleep with him, so I… Well, you know how the rest of that goes! On some level, I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I also knew that I wouldn’t stop either, so I gave up custody of you to protect you from me.”

It took me a minute to absorb what she had just revealed. I spent a lot of years hating her for abandoning us, and never in my life did I picture her doing it for an unselfish reason! The truth really hurt my heart, and I now pitied my mom for what she went through! “Oh, Mom! Why didn’t you just go to rehab?”

She scoffed slightly, “Rehab is for rich people! When poor people get an addiction, they’re only treatment is to keep landing themselves in jail ’til they overdose! Luckily, Wade got me off those things! He’s real tough on me, but I guess I kind of need that, you know?” She flinched slightly as she said that. I wanted to find a way to carefully find out her motive for doing so, but she spotted something outside the window and brought it to my attention, “Oh, look! There’s Wade!”

Most people have a type, so I expected to see someone with features like my dad. It caught me off guard to see somebody so drastically different! My father was more on the thin side, but this guy had to weigh at least three hundred and sixty pounds! My mom’s ex always kept his hair neat and his clothes well kept, but Wade’s hair looked very scraggly and his clothes didn’t match. Color-wise, they made sense, but he wore garments that wouldn’t normally go together. He had on a drab green polo shirt (which didn’t quite cover his belly), black gym shorts, and gray house slippers! I watched as he hobbled across the street towards a vulture with a fresh kill, and he growled, “Get away from that! That’s mine!” He brought out his wand to fight the bird, but the buzzard easily evaded his advances. My dad had more of an interest in intellectual pursuits, and clearly he and Wade had nothing in common!

It struck me as odd that my mom, out of all of the men that she could have chosen, married a guy like that, but I chose not to divulge my initial impressions of Wade. My mom did agree to do me a huge favor, and she mentioned that he did get her off drugs, so I considered that I may have rushed to judgment about him. So, I decided to bring something else about him up, “I think I detected a southern accent. Is he from Virginia or West Virginia? Kentucky perhaps?”

“He’s from Michigan, actually,” my mom told me.

“Michigan?” I puzzled. “Where’d that accent come from?” She shrugged, and while I felt it was weird to hear a southern accent from a Michigander, I decided to let it go. I got myself off his analysis when my phone suddenly rang from a notification. My hopes surged thinking that Sandra had messaged me to say that they cleared Ben and that I could go back to my case, and it crushed me to see that it come from my bank and that they were just letting me know that my account had reach under fifty dollars after that I ride I took. My mother could tell that the text upset me, so I filled her in, “It’s just my bank reminding me that my stupid husband depleted our account!” I shook my head and added, “I still can’t believe he did that! As if cheating on me weren’t bad enough, he screwed us financially just so he could sleep with prostitutes! Look at this!”

I opened my bank account app and let her look at all of the cash withdrawals that he did, and after she studied it a bit, she handed my phone back to me and concluded, “He sounds like an addict! That’s the sort of thing that I would’ve done!”

Whatever response I had expected from her, it wasn’t that! “A sex addiction? I thought celebrities just made that up to get more attention from the tabloids!”

“One of the only good things that came from my experience is that I can recognize an addict when I see one! It doesn’t seem like you have enough to send him somewhere to get help for it, so when he gets out of jail, he’ll just keep doing it! And since he’s out of money, he’ll start doing drastic things just to get enough cash to keep it up!” she stated as a matter of factly. “You did the right thing by leaving him! He’s on the road to get himself killed, and from the sounds of it, he’ll end up as one of the Fay Folks!”

“Especially since that’s who he’s been hiring to feed his addiction!” I bitterly muttered.

My mother shook her head sadly. “I don’t know why anyone would seek them out! I’m doing my best to avoid them, to avoid becoming one!”

I reassured her, “You’re not gonna become a Fay!”

“I did a lot of bad stuff in my life!” my mom disagreed with me. “If you’ve seen my police record, that’s not even half of it! I have a lot to make up for if I wanna get into Heaven! I do everything I can to help Wade, but that doesn’t feel like enough! I’m glad that your father retired to another country because it gave me the chance to do something nice for you! It’s probably still not enough, but it’s a start!”

“Oh, Mom! I…!” I didn’t know where to begin. She gave me so much information to mull over about her past, and yet it seemed as though we barely scratched the surface. I wanted to make her feel better about her efforts to get into Heaven, but I still didn’t have a full grasp about her normal routine. If she truly had been trying to do good things now, then her past shouldn’t have mattered anymore. I also felt a little uncomfortable to provide comfort to my mother, especially since our relationship had been rocky up until right then. Furthermore, I had so much to talk about when it came to Ben, and I pondered if shifting her focus to something else would help take her mind off of her woes. Certainly, a kind ear towards her daughter would make her feel better about her after life! I had no idea what route would work best for this situation though!

Before I could decide which one of us needed alleviation first, Wade barged in unceremoniously! He held up a dead squirrel and proudly proclaimed, “Look, Hon! More stock for the diner!”

He plopped the carcass on the table in front of us, and the smell grew overwhelming! I tried not to vomit on it since he mentioned that it would get used for their restaurant, and that thought only increased my nausea! Luckily, my mom picked it up and brought it to the kitchen. She timidly queried, “Should I start closing procedures now?”

“Yeah, go ahead!” he permitted.

I could tell his gut prevented him from sitting in the booth, so he lowered himself into a seat by the counter. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me that he didn’t assist her with this task since he owned the restaurant, and I also found it peculiar that she didn’t do any of it with magic. I bit my tongue and had a sneaking suspicion that I’d have to do that a lot during my stay! I wanted to properly introduce myself to Wade, but he seemed too distracted by recovering from his jaunt in the woods, so instead, I just lightly conversed, “Closing early, huh? I guess we won’t have to share the bathroom with customers then, huh?”

“Oh, we don’t live here!” my mother corrected me as she worked. “We just bought a new place not far from here!”

It was hard for me to imagine this diner getting busy enough to afford a house! I didn’t mention that, of course. To my surprise, she finished a lot quicker than I expected! Or at least, I felt she had went fast. Wade remarked, “It’s about time, slow poke!” He then proceeded to amble his way off his chair and scuttle out of the restaurant. I let it go as we followed him out the door.

We all piled into a beat up SUV, and since no one had been speaking to each other, I tried to squash the awkwardness of it all by asking, “So, where’s this new house at?”

My mother answered, “Oh, it’s in this lovely park called Brigid’s Garden!” Brigid’s Garden! I had to verify that I heard that correctly. You know how many cases I had that involved that area, so you can imagine how I felt to hear that! As we drove off, I tried desperately to think of any other option other than that! I couldn’t live there, so I wracked my brain trying to think of how to get out of this situation!

Crimes of the Fay, Chapter 7

“Ben?” I expected to catch someone in the act, but not someone I knew! A small part of me still held on to the faint hope that maybe I saw the back of someone else’s head humping that prostitute, but when his head swiveled around, I couldn’t deny it anymore! My heart wrenched to see my confidante and oldest friend betray me like that, especially with a Fay! I dreamed about fighting their evil regime since I was a kid, and he went behind my back and slept with one! It hardly felt real! My mind still hadn’t accepted it fully. A part of me wanted to scream and shout, but I still felt too shocked to move!

“Oh… hey!” Ben clearly felt stunned too. Obviously, he didn’t expect to get caught, and he couldn’t think of what else to say. He seemed frightened enough that his whole body froze mid-air. For a moment, the two of us just stared blankly at each other. I could see his brain reeling, and he finally broke the silence by fibbing, “This isn’t what it looks like! She’s just a friend, and we’re just hugging!”

That blatant lie flipped a switch on inside of me, and suddenly I completely understood why my dad went ballistic and really tore after Damon! My mother got caught red handed, and she didn’t even have the decency to show some honesty about it! Ben did the same exact thing, and I hated him even more for making me recall such a vividly horrific day for me! I growled, “You’re still inside her right now!”

The prostitute spoke up, “Yeah, you can get out any time, you know!”

Ben pulled himself out of her and zipped up his pants before he faced me again. His limp stance and lack of eye contact let me know he feared my response, and he should have! I gripped my wand tightly, feeling totally justified in using excessive force against him, but I also realized that I was holding on to my badge too. I worked too hard for me to lose it over this, so I loosened my hold and just let out a big sigh. He seemed a little relieved, but my ire over the situation still hadn’t lifted. I bellowed, “Why? Why would you do this to me?”

“Honestly, I didn’t think you’d care!” Ben told me. I raised my eyebrows in disbelief, so he quickly followed with, “You have your own life now, and every day you go your way while I go mine. You don’t talk to me anymore, and for all I knew, you found yourself a side piece! Even if you didn’t, I thought you just didn’t need me anymore. Other people did though! These Fay live a cursed life, and they can’t find work anywhere else, so I figured they gotta eat too, right? I mean, I thought if you were out there with your own life, I’d go find a life of my own too. You don’t need me anymore, but they do!”

“So, you’re punishing me for being successful?” I shrieked. “I have nights and weekends free, but you avoided spending time with me! We could’ve still had a life together no matter what I did for a job, but you didn’t even try to make things work!”

Ben argued, “Why would I try? You didn’t fight very hard to keep me in your life! I distanced myself from you, and you just let me go! It’s like you didn’t even care that I was gone! You got this new job now, so it’s like you didn’t want me in this part of your life!”

That stung a little! I hadn’t really thought about it before, but when he gave me the chance to live independently, I did so without a lot of fuss. A surge of guilt began to roll through me right then. “I guess I didn’t, but I thought that’s what you wanted! I always enjoyed our talks, but you acted like you didn’t care about what was happening in my day in my new role, so I thought…” I caught a glimpse of the prostitute, and my anger swelled up again. “Hey! Don’t pin this on me! Our marriage had problems, but this wasn’t the right way to handle it!”

“Fine I was wrong! But it’s all out in the open now, so what do you wanna do?” Ben challenged.

“I… You…!” I had so many conflicting thoughts running around in my head, and they all seemed to mix together strongly enough that it blocked me from picking a single one. I ultimately felt as though he was in the wrong, but I kept going over my actions throughout our marriage, and I wondered if I could have done more to prevent this from happening. Neither of us communicated our needs to each other properly, and for the first time, we were doing exactly that! It felt kind of good, and I wondered if we could move past this…

The prostitute gingerly brought up, “So, you two don’t have an open marriage?”

I snapped, “No! I would never have agreed to that!”

“Oh man!” she groaned. “I keep messing up! I’m never gonna get into Heaven! If I wasn’t already doomed from…”

“For what?” Sandra curiously inquired. The prostitute’s lips tightened, and she didn’t say another word about it.

For a minute, I forgot that Sandra was even there! In that instance, I remembered why we went into the alley in the first place, and I sharply asked Ben, “Where did you find her? Did you get her number from Reed Radley?”

Ben seemed a little irritated when I mentioned that name, and he answered my question with another question, “Did he rat on me? Oh, I’ll kill him!”

“Bad choice of words, my friend!” Sandra pointed out to him. “He’s missing.”

“Oh no!” His face fell completely. “I had nothing to do with that! I haven’t heard from him in a couple of weeks, but I didn’t know he was missing!”

As a couple of police officers arrived, Sandra advised him, “I suggest you stop talking ’til you get a lawyer.”

I watched the man I knew for over a decade get cuffed and escorted to a squad car, and I had to remind myself that this was real. It sort of felt like I walked into a dream and I’d wake up in the morning to go about my normal day. I could hardly believe that tomorrow morning I’d wake up into a completely new reality! Everything changed so fast, and I honestly didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, Sandra did. She walked up to me and put a sympathetic hand on my shoulder. “I’m so sorry!” I didn’t react at all, so she went on, “Since your husband is a suspect in the case, you’ll have to stay off of it until we can clear him.”

My eyes grew wide as I digested her blunt news. “I can’t go back to the case?”

“Only if he turns out to be guilty,” Sandra assured me. “As soon as we can prove that he had nothing to do with Reed Radley’s disappearance, you can come back on. If he played any kind of part in this though…”

“He’s not guilty!” My first instinct had been to defend him, but I reminded myself that he was a different person now. Up until a few minutes ago, I didn’t ever think that he’d have the audacity to sleep with another woman, so I couldn’t say whether or not he had the character to do anything else heinous. Right then, it occurred to me that he had just taken my home life away, and now he might have taken my case away too! I craved for an assignment like this for so long, and now, in a manner of minutes, I realized that I could lose that too! Tears formed in my eyes, and I couldn’t stop them from flowing!

Sandra immediately scooped me up and gave me a hug. “Come on, let me take you home.” I didn’t know what else to do, so I just followed her to the car.

As she drove me home, we sat in silence, I just stared absentmindedly out the window. I still didn’t know how to feel- relieved for knowing the truth, sad because my husband cheated, scared about my future, or something else… I had no idea where to go from this point except to wait by my phone and pray that he didn’t get mixed up in that ordeal so I could go back to my case. After a long while, Sandra finally broke the quiet by telling me, “This is still your case, you know! I’ll watch over it for you and ask Ben some questions, but as soon as we can show there’s no conflict of interest, I’m handing the reins back over to you.”

“Thank you,” I mumbled. I truly did feel grateful for her not trying to take over my case, but the pain of the incident still plagued me.

“At least since he’ll be spending some time in jail, you can figure what you wanna do on your own,” Sandra tried to cheer me up a bit.

I confessed to her, “I have no idea how to feel right now! At first, I just wanted to kill him! But now… I’m glad I know the truth, but the truth hurts! And what do I do with this knowledge? Do we see a counselor and make this work? Do I even wanna make this work? Should I ask for…?” I couldn’t say the D word yet. It was such a huge step, and I didn’t feel ready to go down that road. It’s funny how my instincts were perfectly fine with potentially murdering him, but they wouldn’t let me say divorce! If I did decide on that route, I had no idea where I’d go from here, literally! Outside of my work, he was my whole world, so I had no clue where I would go if I did decide to leave.

As we arrived at my house, it almost disgusted me how ordinary it looked. With all of the ugliness that went down, I felt like it should look more broken down with an eerie glow like a haunted estate! The sky’s sunny hue and the chirping birds would all have normally comforted me, but it just annoyed me at the moment. I used to love this wholesomeness, but now it seemed like a lie to me! My home no longer bore a source of comfort for me! Sandra offered me the keys to the car, and I had totally forgotten about that! I didn’t want to deal with anything else right then, so I directed her, “Just take it. I can’t work on my case for a while, so I don’t want a police issued vehicle to remind me of that! Who knows when I can use it again! I’m just gonna leave my personal car at the station too, I don’t care!”

“I’ll pick you up when you’re back on the case in the next day or two!” She smiled at me encouragingly, but I didn’t share her optimism, but I think she understood why I couldn’t return her gesture. “I better go back to the station to question Ben. Are you gonna be okay?”

“I’ll be fine!” I didn’t totally believe the words I just uttered, but I didn’t want her to feel obligated to take care of me.

She kindly regarded me, “I know we haven’t known each other for long, but if you need someone to talk to, feel free to give me a call!”

I didn’t respond to that right away. It was one of the nicest things anyone had ever said to me, but I didn’t know enough about how I felt to share my emotions with anyone else! I simply got out of the car and gruffly expressed, “Thanks!”

She waved goodbye and watched me walk up to the front porch. It felt so odd to go back to this place knowing what I knew. As I entered, I felt as though I were walking into the home of a stranger! A concept that made me deeply uneasy since I didn’t have a warrant, and I had to keep reminding myself that I lived there to get that notion out of my head! Nothing about my house had changed, but I still walked around and examined everything as if it did. I didn’t know why I did that except that a part of me thought that if I studied the area, I’d get some clue what to do next. I briefly wondered if I did decide to take on the title of single again if I’d stay here or if I’d find a new place. I considered giving him everything and hightailing it out of there, but that deepened my sadness! I didn’t want to give up any of my things! I worked so hard to get them! My whole life was there, and that made me think that maybe I should stay. If I did stay though, I didn’t know if I wanted to share my things with Ben anymore, and I pondered if I still wanted him to stay around too…

The mail came in through the slot in the front door, and I picked it up out of sheer curiosity. Ben took care of sorting the mail since he had more free time, and since I didn’t know when or if he would ever come back, I felt duty bound to sift through it. I saw a letter from our mortgage company, and it occurred to me now that I would have to take care of the finances. I always let him handle the bills for the same reason I let him handle our mail, but things were different now. I felt a little guilty about it since he could go home as soon as that night, and I thought about leaving it for a while, but then I noticed the envelope had a stamp that read: Final Notice. It became apparent that opening it was urgent, and I opened it without hesitancy. After I did, my heart plummeted! I discovered that Ben had fell behind on the mortgage payments! I knew we both made enough to cover all of our expenses, so I didn’t understand how that could happen! I deemed it prudent to take a look at our bank accounts, and my jaw actually dropped to see our savings had been depleted! Plus, our checking account was low from a bunch of cash withdrawals! It made me queasy to know we were actually on the verge of becoming homeless just so he could see those prostitutes! At that moment, what I needed to do became quite clear! I had to suck up my ill feelings and make a very uncomfortable phone call…