Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part II)

Sheila backed away from the edge of her balcony the moment after the detective peered inside the hole then drug his head up and sideways to give her a sideways glare. She backed up into the sliding glass door. An electric current sapped her nerves. Why did he glare at her? How did he see her up here? Her chest labored as she took in each breath. She hadn’t done anything wrong, so why was she so nervous? Wait. Why indeed? She sighed and forced herself to relax then turned around, opened the door and slipped inside.

The display on the digital clock on her bedside table read 10:23 am. It was Saturday. To her Saturdays were relax, read, and fun days. Spying her kindle on her dressing table, she snatched it up and strolled out into the hall an down the stairs. A loud knock on the front door jolted her to a stop. Her heart began its pounding in her chest once more.

“Open up,” yelled a male voice on the other side of the front door.

Sheila inhaled another deep breath, let it out slow, and proceeded the rest of the way down the steps. “Coming,” she called back in as calm a voice as she could muster. She reached the bottom step, sauntered over to the entryway, and opened the door. It was the same plainclothes detective she viewed from her bedroom balcony. “Can I help you?” she asked.

“I’m Detective Jameson. Are you Sheila Baye?” asked the detective in a tone that could snap an alligator to attention.

“Y-yes. What’s the problem?”

“Can we go inside, ma’am?”


Once they were inside and the door was closed, Detective Jameson asked, “Ms. Baye, do you have a twin?”

Sheila shook her head with a quick jolt. “Excuse me?”

“I asked, do you…..”

“I heard what you said. No, I don’t.”

The detective leaned from one foot to the other and massaged his chin with his thumb and forefinger.

“What?” asked Sheila. “Does this have anything to do with what’s going on next door?”

Detective Jameson didn’t speak right away. Instead he rested both hands on his hip and eyed Sheila as though trying to decide something. Then, “Do you know the people next door?”

“Kind of but not really,” said Sheila.

“What do you mean?”

“Well just that we don’t normally talk to each other, like carry on a conversation or anything. Beyond the niceties of being polite, that is. You know, like, ‘Hi, how are you.’ That sort of thing.”

“Have you ever been over there or go inside the house?”

“No.” A brief pause hung in the air for a full minute. Then, “Detective, what’s this about?
When I was up on my balcony a little bit ago, I saw two people digging. What did they find, a body? I couldn’t see everything from my vantage point.”

“Where were you the last two days?”

“Am I a suspect?”

“Just trying to rule you out.”

“I was in Chicago at a writer’s conference. I just got home late last night,” replied Sheila. “Here,” she walked over to a small table propped against the wall, grabbed her used plane ticket, and handed it over to him.

“Can anyone verify you were there?”

“Another author went with me. His name is Taren Wilks. Now, you want to fill me in on what this is all about? If I’m being accused of something, then I need to call my lawyer.”

Detective Jameson winced then eyed her once more. “Ms. Baye, it’s…I’m not so sure…what I mean is…never mind. Come with me. There’s something you need to see.”

Sheila followed the detective out the front door and over to the house next door. They entered the front door and found two officers in the front living room searching. The detective continued through the rest of the house and out the back door with Sheila following close behind.

They stopped at the far left corner of the backyard. The detective turned and faced her. Sheila craned her neck to look over his shoulder, but he moved to block her.

“Before you look at what I am about to show you, I want you to keep in mind that it’s going to look disturbing.”

“Of course, it will. Dead bodies are supposed to be disturbing.”

The detective didn’t respond and gazed at the ground instead.

“It is a dead body…right?” asked Sheila.

“Yes, yes it is.” He moved out of her way.

Sheila stared down at the body in the hole and gasped.

(To Be Continued)


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