Do Not Cross!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: The Imaginarium
A story written for the fantastic cover provided by Booksie's very own Markie Bee. https://www.booksie.com/users/markie-bee-223538

Submitted: November 04, 2018

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Submitted: November 04, 2018

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Do Not Cross!

Gerald Thomas was the first to arrive outside the old manor. The crime scene tapes were everywhere. What had happened here? And when? He only lived across the street and it was not like him to miss anything, let alone something of this magnitude.

Crossing the street again, and summoning his wife Paula, they both made their way to the tape.

Are you sure you didn’t see anyone putting this tape up?” he asked her. When she shook her head in response, Gerald continued, “It’s strange that neither of us heard any disturbance.”

Paula did not dare to disagree; it would have had to have been a very loud disturbance to have drowned out her husband’s rumbling snores. “I didn’t know anyone lived here,” she said, more for something to say than for any other reason.

They don’t.” Gerald was adamant about that. After all, if anyone did, he’d know about it. “But that doesn’t stop them. Probably some doped up kids or a wino or something.”

Paula thought about the ‘or something’ and shuddered. The idea of living so close to a crime, especially if it was a murder, was one she found to be very upsetting.

It didn’t take long for more people to gather. There was the neighbours, Cynthia and Doug; young Kaylee taking Loopy for a walk; then there was the Ryan family, all seven of them.

They all agreed that they had both seen and heard nothing during the previous night. Not one person had seen a police car, heard a siren, even though there must have been several there. It was a big house so surely it would have taken more than one person to tape the place off.

Speculations abounded. None of them seemed to involve local residents, although one of the Ryan lads put forward Keith Walters name. Young Mr Walters was the school bully, and no doubt that was what brought him to mind. Worth considering, but looking at that big mansion it was hard to believe he’d have had the guts himself to go inside. Keith, in common with bullies in general, was really a bit of a coward.

The gathered crowd were starting to get impatient. After all, if something had happened on their doorstep, did they not have the right to know. They started shuffling around, trying to get some kind of glimpse inside but the windows, although uncovered for the most part, gave no sight of what was behind them at all.

You’d think they’d have turned up by now, wouldn’t you,” remarked Doug to Gerald.

You would. I’m half tempted, you know, to go and have a little peek myself. Only if I can find a way in, of course. I wouldn’t want to tamper with a crime scene.” Gerald turned to the others. “You all stay here. Doug and I are just going to have a quick look around.”

Doug looked a bit taken aback, he’d never volunteered to do any such thing, but Gerald was one of those people you just never argued with. He turned to Cynthia, shrugged, then stooped under the tape. Both he and Gerald would be in big trouble should the police turn up now but there was no sound of approaching vehicles so he followed the other man as he disappeared around the back of the building.

Ah,” said Gerald, “I thought as much. Look!”

There was no problem for them gaining entrance as the back door stood open. It was in a bad state; woodworm had clearly been feasting on it, not to mention the damp warping and twisting.

Both men found themselves in a very badly illuminated kitchen. There were plates left waiting to be washed up, pans used and left on the cooker, but none of this was recent judging by the mould. There was a dusty old knife block on the counter but all the knives were present. No sign of any crime in that room.

The two men walked carefully through the room to the hallway and Gerald opened the door that lead in to it. Too late, he remembered that he should not have touched the door handle. He took a tissue from his pocket and wiped off his prints, removing any others in the process.

All the downstairs rooms seemed to be empty, so far as the two men could see at least. There was no sign that anyone had been using the place for drinking or for drugs, but perhaps it was a bit too early to write that off. Surely, if they’d gone as far as breaking their way inside they would have wanted the extra comfort of a bed.

I’m going upstairs,” Gerald announced. “Are you coming up or staying down.”

Doug declined, the truth being that he rather dreaded what they would find should a crime have been committed in one of the bedrooms. “I’ll have a better look down here, I think,” he said.

The stairs looked as though they had seen better days. For a moment Gerald hesitated, worried that they might give way underneath him. Should he bother? Then again, if he didn’t he was going to look like he was scared, to Doug, and that would simply not do. Besides, the house had been standing for years and were more than likely to be there for many more.

If he should find something, Gerald reassured himself, he need not have a detailed look, just a quick glance so he could report back. Half way up the stairs, there was a creak. Was it coming form the stairs? The ceiling? It sounded more like a door closing but Doug wouldn’t have gone without him, would he.

Upstairs the doors were closed. Gerald opened one to find nothing unusual, then moved on towards another. He paused, hand on the door knob. It sounded like there was a scuffle going on downstairs now, a grunting, a thud. His mind had to be running away with him.

Feeling increasingly nervous, Gerald forced himself to open the door. Again there was nothing unusual but he decided to head over to the window, see if the police had arrived. No sign of a police car yet but the crowd was still there, minus Kaylee who had probably been pulled away by Loopy. A couple of the younger Ryans’ had gone too. Paula and Cynthia were involved in a conversation that was interesting enough that his wife did not even notice his wave.

Three more rooms to go, but there was something wrong, a feeling that had not been there before. Gerald decided he’d had enough of looking, let the police finish the investigating. He’d find Doug and the two of them would head out of the house, make like they had never been inside.

When he reached the bottom stair Gerald called out, “Doug, come on. Let’s go, shall we.”

There was no response. Had Doug really done it, gone and left him? He’d not been with Cynthia a minute ago.

As he made his way towards the back door, Gerald found his eyes being drawn to one of the rooms they had looked in before. That chair had not been tipped on its side then. And there was a smell, that hadn’t been there before too; kind of metallic, he recognised it as the smell of blood.

There! A foot poked out from in front of the sofa. He recognised the shoe, the trouser leg. The man laying on the ground had to be Doug. Torn now, Gerald couldn’t decide what the best thing for him to do was. Should he go and check on his neighbour, see if there was anything he could do to help him, or would it be better to get out, phone for help? Why had he suggested they come in and look around? It was a stupid idea, a foolhardy one.

Backing towards the door, Gerald was taken by surprise when the knife plunged its way from his back straight out through his front. He’d been stabbed! He tried to turn to look at his assailant, tried to shout out for help, but found he was unable to do either. His sight was rapidly diminishing.

She stood over him for a moment, letting him see who had brought about his death. He’d not have expected it, not from a student of his who was failing badly, all because she had scorned his advances. She gave him a wave as she made her way through the back entrance and disappeared out of sight.

The sirens were just audible in the distance. Too late to prevent the crime, the police would at least have been saved the job of sealing off the crime scene, for she had already done that when she had gone about setting up her trap.



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