The wonderful Christine Danek, who holds "Write the Next Line" posts on her blog, usually once a month, decided to take that idea and turn it into a blogfest. The first part of this is hers, mine follows after the *****. And please excuse the length. This was so much fun to write I got carried away.
3:00 am. Those numbers glowed green, staring at me, letting me know I wasn't sleeping. I couldn't. If I did, who knows what injury I would wake up with. Every night a dream would consume me, and when I woke, something on my body was cut, bruised, or almost broken.
I stared at the ceiling. The fan squeaked and wobbled, trying to produce air flow. It wasn't succeeding. I turned over, hugging my pillow. What's happening? Maybe I should see someone, but who? A doctor? Padded room for sure. Is there such a thing as a dream specialist?
A branch scratched the window. I turned over again. 5:00 am. Where did the last two hours go? Adrenaline pumped through my veins, accelerating my heart. My T-shirt was damp and clinging to my back. What happened? Did I dream, again?
Bang. Bang. Bang. I jumped up. Someone was at my door.
"Police, open up," said an angry masculine voice.
Police? Holy crap. What did the police want from me at five in the morning? I threw on my robe and padded down the hall to the front door. I opened it a crack to make sure it really was the police.
"Ma'am, we need to ask you some questions." I noticed the other officer shining his flashlight in my car.
"What is this about?" My sleep deprived mind and the adreneline rush from my dream made me snappish.
"Are you the owner of a light blue 1991 Honda Civic?" He asked, shining a flashlight in my face.
"As you can very well see. It's sitting in the driveway. What is this all about?"
"Ma'am, where were you between the hours of one and four this morning?" He took out a notepad and pen from his pocket, moving the flashlight to his upper arm. It didn't look like the easiest way to write and the breeze from the open doorway made my toes cold. The other officer clomped up the porch stairs.
"Look, officer," I looked at his name tag, "MacMillan, you just woke me from a sound sleep. I need some coffee. Why don't you come in and I'll try and answer your questions." I closed the door, swung the safety latch and opened it wide to allow them admittance.
Both officers followed me into the kitchen. I grabbed the coffee canister and measured, filled the pot with water and dumped it into the water reserve. I delayed as long as possible just to get my nerves to calm down. Finished, I turned to the cops standing in my kitchen.
"Now, what is this all about?" I folded my arms across my chest.
"Where were you between the hours of one and four this morning?" He repeated.
"Sleeping. In my bed." Where else would I be?
"And can anyone verify this?" MacMillan glanced at his partner.
"No. I live alone."
"And that's your car sitting in the driveway?" The other cop asked.
"Yes. Why? What is going on?"
"Does anyone else have access to your vehicle?"
"No, of course not. It's my car. I live alone. Look, what the hell is going on?"
The coffee maker gurgled its doneness and I automatically reached for a mug inside the cabinet.
"Ma'am, your car was seen leaving a location this morning and we believe it was used as the get-away vehicle for several unexplained deaths in our area."
I dropped the cup. "What?"
Officer MacMillan picked up the mug and handed it to me. "Why don't you make your coffee, sit down, and we'll see if we can't get this straightened out."
His politeness unnerved me. Unexplained deaths? What the hell did that mean? I poured my coffee, got milk out of the fridge, poured a splash, returned the milk, and sank slowly into my chair. I saw they both remained standing.
"Look, please sit down. I can't think straight with you looming over me."
MacMillan sat, but the other, Rodriquez, leaned against the counter near the dishwasher.
I took a sip of my coffee. Comforted, I asked, "Now, what's going on?"
"We believe your car was used as the get-away vehicle in several murders."
"Wait, you just said they were unexplained deaths, now they're murders? I don't understand."
Rodrigues flipped open his notepad. "Do you know Peter Kane, Jason Markowitz, Stephen Landing, or William Knowles?"
My heart stuck in my throat. Of course I knew them. I had dated them. I couldn't decide if I wanted to answer or ask for a lawyer.
"Ma'am, do you know any of these men?" Rodriguez asked again.
"Yes." I decided I would play along until it got sticky.
"When was the last time you saw any of them?"
Oh God, how do I know? The last one I saw was Billy, the night I found him with Nancy making out at the bar.
"Billy, William Knowles, was the last one I saw. Last Friday night at The Eagle Eye."
"You didn't see him tonight?" MacMillan asked.
"No, I didn't go out tonight. As a matter of fact, I didn't feel well so I went to bed early." The migraine that hit me around seven didn't even leave an out for watching tv.
"And what was the nature of your relationship with Mr. Knowles?" Rodriguez asked.
"I dated him until he dumped me last weekend for some blond bimbo named Nancy. I haven't seen him since."
"And when was the last time you saw any of the other men?"
"I don't know. They were all asshole's to me, excuse my language, so I just put them out of my mind. I don't generally see men again who treat me like shit."
MacMillan wrote something down in his pad. He looked up and asked, "Do you know any of the martial arts?"
"Do you know karate, or ju jitsu, anything like that? Do you box?"
"No, don't be silly. I'm a dental hygenist for God's sake. Why? What does karate have to do with anything?"
"Have you been in the service?"
"No. I graduated from Surry Community College in '93 and have been working for Dr. Henton ever since."
"Have you ever taken cooking classes?"
"Okay, what the heck do you want to know any of these things for? What does that have to do with my car?" A tingling sensation hit the back of my head. A memory, or was it a dream, entered my mind. Stephen laying on the ground with his throat slit. And then Jason on the floor of his apartment, his neck twisted at an odd angle. Me looking in the mirror at an ugly black eye. Oh God! Did I do those things? I looked up to see MacMillan staring at me.
"Are you okay?" He asked.
"How was Stephen killed?" I had to ask. I had to know.
"I'm sorry ma'am, I can't divulge that information."
"Please, tell me." I thought fast. "I loved him."
"His throat was slit."
"And the others?"
Rodriguez flipped his pad again. "Kane had his head bashed in with a baseball bat. Landing was electrocuted in the shower, and Knowles was beaten to death."
Another flash of a memory-dream flashed in my mind. Billy begging for mercy. Oh God! What had I done?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2011