Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 32

Chapter 32

This was just great, here he was enjoying a nice evening alone with his dog and goldfish when some stupid good for nothing Sheriff had to stop by asking him questions about a couple who had been killed a few nights earlier. He was trying his hardest to get the stupid lug to leave but he insisted that the incident had occurred close by.

The Sheriff knew he was a wilderness man and so suspected that he might have heard something. This was just great, now his goldfish was going to really worry. He knew that he had to get the cop out of here before Goldie made a ruckus.

“Well if you think of anything that might be helpful feel free to give me a holler alright?”

He looked the man square in the eyes,

“Will do Sheriff.”

The cop got into his unit, closed the door drove off.

He knew old Goldie hated being interrupted during supper. He went back inside and could hear what sounded like screams coming from the bedroom. He looked at the goldfish bowl on the table and noticed that there was water spilled all over the place.

Goldie had managed to tip over his castle and knocked over the feeding dish. This was not good. You silly goldfish he thought to himself as he straightened up the mess. The fish was swimming around anxiously in his bowl.

He reached in and cornered the little guy, giving him a gentle rub on his sides.

“Now there, calm down Goldie it’s going to be okay, the Sheriff was just asking questions about those campers we met the other night that is all.” He could hear more sounds coming from the bedroom.

“Hmm, I must have left the TV on in there.”

He opened the door.

Molly’s heart sank as she saw the door open and there was her captor standing in the way. She began flailing about in her bed screaming at him to go away and leave her alone. This was the first time she was able to communicate with her abductor and she was going to make the most of it.

“Drake please, why are doing this to me?”

He said not a word, made no sound at all. He walked quietly over to where her feeding tube had been tossed aside and picked it up. He looked her up and down, assessing the pain she must have been in. He bent down by the night stand next to her bed and pulled out some sort of cream from the looks of it. He began rubbing her down with what felt like a muscle ointment.

Drake pulled up a chair and sat down next to Molly. He brushed the hair out of her eyes and wiped her tears from her cheek.

“Hush little goldfish, there is no reason to fret my darling.”

He picked up the feeding tube, wiped it off with a wet wipe he pulled out of his medical kit. She clenched her teeth; she was not going to let him put that thing back in her mouth.

“I was afraid you would do this someday.”

He reached down to put the tube back and she tightened her lips.

“Now Molly listen here, if you don’t get this feeding tube back into your throat you are going to die. I don’t have to tell you how damaged your body is, you were lucky to survive the wreck.”

She blinked her eyes and furrowed her brow. What the hell was he talking about? Had this man lost his mind?

“You probably don’t remember the accident do you?

You have been in a coma for going on two months now. I been taking care of you sweetheart.”

She shook her head, what was he talking about? She wasn’t falling for it. This was some sort of a trick.

“Please, tell me why are doing this to me? What did I ever do to you?”

“Oh sweetie, don’t cry,” he wiped her tears again.

“You were in a car accident almost two years ago. George was killed and I pulled you from the wreckage myself don’t you remember?”

Molly was confused, how could he think she was so stupid.

She shook her head and spit at him.

“You and George kidnapped me, why should I trust you?”

“Kidnapped? What are you talking about? You and George were in a car accident. I pulled you from the wreckage myself.”

Molly was getting dizzy now, the room was spinning. She could vaguely remember a car accident. What about the kidnapping, torture, or that video? Molly was getting a headache, his words felt like lies, yet somehow they tasted like truth. She wasn’t sure what to believe anymore.

“No,” she said her mind in a daze, her voice was begging to crack,

“that’s not what happened, you kidnapped me and have kept me here for some twisted reason putting me through all sorts of abuse. I can’t trust anything you are saying.”

Drake stood up from his chair, brushed the hair out of her eyes and gave her a gentle kiss on the cheek.

“My sweet darling, you have always been like a sister to me. The accident was a terrible shock for you that and the medication must have had you in some kind of delusional dream like trance while in your coma. It’s not uncommon for coma victims to dream up elaborate alternative realities to deal with their pain. You are safe here with me. Your body was badly broken in the wreck, George was killed and to protect you I brought you here and buried him myself. I fully intend to nurse you back to health and then get you back on your feet.”

There was something fishy about his story, but somehow she just couldn’t put her finger on it.

“Answer me this then, where are my clothes, why am I naked? And what are those bruises on my body?”

He took a deep breath, sat down and lit a cigarette. He took a deep puff and then told her,

“It was very bad wreck. Listen I don’t think you are quite ready to talk about it just yet. You have been in a coma for almost two months straight, this is the first time you been awake since the accident. Why don’t you get some sleep and we can talk about it in the morning. He reached for her feeding tube and she clinched her teeth, pulling her head away from him.

“Please don’t put that thing back in me. And if what you’re saying is true why can’t you untie me from this bed?”

He walked over and untied her bonds. He brought her a blanket and began to pull it over her when she screamed in pain.

“Do you see now why you are uncovered? Your wounds will heal in time, but the bonds are to keep you steady, you are in a very critical condition Molly. I will untie you, and loosen your bonds, but I have to keep the waist strap or else you could suffer further injuries.”

With that he offered her a pain killer that must have included a sedative because she passed right out. Molly drifted back into her nightmare, no longer aware of what was, and wasn’t real.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 31

Chapter 31

There was a knock at the door. It startled Molly awake.

Her heart began racing as she realized they never had visitors. Her captor was a very private man. He was very protective of his prized possession. She could hear the sounds of her tormentor opening the front door.

Suddenly she became anxious, it was a long shot but she had to draw attention to her situation. She looked around, there was nothing she could reach to throw or knock over. She began struggling in her bindings. She thought if only she could make enough noise then surely whoever it was could come into the bedroom and find her. She could hear the front door close. Obviously they must have stepped outside. Her heart sank; this was the closest she had come to being discovered. Whatever was going on must be important.

She looked over to her side. Her feeding tube, if only there was a way she could get it out of her mouth maybe she could scream. Her hands were bound tightly to the bed. She could not move her arms at all. She could wiggle her toes but that only sent a sharp pain up her spine, she was reminded of how he spent the last few days sticking needles into the bottoms of her feet. All of the pain she had been suppressing suddenly and violently began bringing her back to reality.

She became desperate, one way or another she was going to make her presence known. She began coughing; maybe she could get the feeding tube out that way? She started to gag, it was no use. The damn thing was lodged in her throat there was no way she could just cough it up. As much as it hurt she tilted her head up as far as she could, if only she could wiggle that tube close enough to her thumbs maybe she could yank on it?

It was a few inches from the edge of her bed. She needed to get it to move closer to her hand. She tried to move her left hand, there was just enough room she could turn her wrist. It was going to be painful but she had to try. She took a deep breath, this was it, pushing back with her neck and up with her back she tried to lift her chest enough to move the tube. It shuffled on her chest and then settled into place. She tried to bend her knees, she needed more leverage.

There was that sharp pain again, this time she welcomed it as a reminder of her need to get this right.

She pulled a muscle in her hip, damn it this was a lot harder than she thought. Never before had Molly been determined to fight back. Previously she had accepted her fate and was anxiously awaiting death to relieve her misery. She felt a pain in her shoulder, that was it, he popped her shoulder out of place the last time.

This was going to be the most excruciating pain she ever felt. That’s not true, you gave birth remember. If you can handle that you can handle anything. Molly needed to get her resolve back. She took another deep breath, clinched her eyes shut and lifted her neck back pushing up with her back and bending her knees at the same time. She felt the pain pressing into her shoulder. She couldn’t hold out much longer, she could feel the tube moving across her chest, it fell into her thumbs.

Yes, I got it, now for the really hard part. Molly took a second to relax and catch her breath. She knew that tugging on that feeding tube was going to be unpleasant.

She wanted to make sure she did this just right.

Molly had managed to loosen some of her bindings. This was good she needed a little wiggle room. She clenched her fists as tightly onto that tube as she could. She was going to have to start tugging. She sat up as far as she could and began coughing and tugging at the same time.

There was a scratching sensation inside her throat; she could feel the tube moving. She wanted to gag more than anything. She had to cough back the reflex to vomit. There was so little strength in her hands, she felt as if she was going to lose her grip. Suddenly she could hear the sounds of a car door opening. She was running out of time, they were leaving.

This was it, now or never. She knew that her only chance of escape was to be discovered by an outsider. She was so broken and bruised there was no way she could get away on her own without help. All she needed was to get that damn tube out of her mouth so she could scream.

Her heart was really racing now, sweat was pouring down her face. She swallowed a mouthful of sweat and tears; she pretended it was a nice bowl of chicken soup. She flexed her muscles and yanked on that tub with all her might. It was inching up her throat slowly. Too slowly she thought, she had to move more quickly.

She started biting down on the tube with her teeth and tugging with her jaw. She needed as much extra leverage as she could muster. This was the most she had struggled for as long as she could remember. She could feel it getting closer; it was almost into her mouth. Once it was loose she could scream.

Success!

Molly was so relieved to finally have the feeding tube free she was overwhelmed with joy. She couldn’t savor that moment just yet; she pushed back even more years and began coughing. She had no voice, how could she screen if she had no voice!?

She knew why she had no voice, her throat was dry and she had just swallowed a mouthful of tears and sweat. It was going to be unpleasant but she needed to clear her throat. She began hacking up everything she could onto her chest.

She could feel it splashing onto her naked chest. She managed to get out a single sound.

“Help me,”

it came out as a whimper.

That wasn’t good enough she took a few deep breaths and tried again.

“HELP ME! PLEASE IF YOU CAN HEAR ME PLEASE HELP ME!”

It was no use, her voice was too weak. She began sobbing violently.



Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 30

Chapter 30

It was later that day the two men had been fishing for several hours. George was still in a state of denial about his brother being involved in the death of two of his childhood friends. After Jennifer moved away George kind of forgot about her. To find out that not only did she die so long ago, but that his brother had a hand in it, which was something George was not equipped to deal with. It made him re-think how badly he wanted to hurt his ex-wife. He hated his wife enough to make her suffer for all the pain she caused.

He just didn’t hate her enough to see her dead. He hated dealing with death it was his worst flaw. Drake told him how hard it was being responsible for the deaths of two such young people. He said that it was what drove him to become a doctor; he had to condition himself to think of death as natural in order to bury the guilt he felt. He then told George how on rare occasions he would let some young people die on purpose, even if he could have easily saved them. He said it helped him deal with the pain knowing that even good people could die young.

George was starting to question everything about his relationship with Drake. Looking back on it the two never really were that close, Drake was a lot closer to Daryl than George. In fact looking back on it George had always been the dreamer, the other two were the practical ones. This was the first time he had to face the idea that he had romanticized his past. George was afraid to speak up during Drakes confessions; he just let his brother pour out his soul while he sat there listening, fearful for his own life now.

By late afternoon the two men had barely caught two tiny little fish, hardly worth the trouble of preparing into a meal. Finally they decided to call it quits. They were walking back to the campsite when Drake said

“This is been such a peaceful experience hasn’t it George? Why don’t we set up camp for the night and sleep out here under the stars, closet to the water?”

George was feeling a little anxious to get back to town after hearing what his brother was really like. He didn’t think it would be safe for him to sleep out here alone in the dark with no witnesses.

“I don’t think so. I would feel more comfortable sleeping back in town in a nice motel.”

Drake looked over at his brother with a look of confusion.

“Are you serious? Man when we were kids you always liked sleeping outside. You were the only one of us who enjoyed camping out, it was the rest of us who liked sleeping in a nice bed.”

George knew he had to choose his words carefully at this point.

“Drake to be honest, we’re not kids anymore, maybe I grew up. My back is kind of sore, I haven’t been getting enough sleep as it is, I just think, for me at least, it would be best if I had nice comfortable bed to sleep in, that’s all.”

George could tell by the look on Drake’s face that he was a little suspicious but he didn’t press the matter.

“Alright then why don’t we save you a couple of bucks and head back to my cabin? It’s not too far from here.”

George knew he couldn’t say no to that without tipping him off so he reluctantly agreed.

“I guess that would be fine, do you have a spare bed?”

“Tell you what brother, I will let you sleep on my bed and I will take the couch how does that sound?”

He nodded in agreement and the two packed up their stuff, walked over to the pick-up truck

Drake had concealed in the woods, and drove up to his cabin on the mountain.



Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 29

Chapter 29

There was a pile of papers stacked up as tall as his computer monitor. Sheriff Hobbs was falling behind on his paper work. He poured a cup of coffee and sat down at his desk. He was having some trouble with this case.

The evidence all pointed to a jealous boyfriend finding out his girl was cheating on him, and in a fit of rage killed the girl, and then took his life when the reality of the situation sunk in. All the physical evidence pointed towards that same scenario. Still Hobbs had a gut feeling something else had happened that night. He worked for an under-funded agency and he knew that if this case got handed over to the feds it would be lost money for his department. Still he couldn’t let it go unresolved; he had to do some digging. In order to keep it local he had to rule it a murder-suicide. He knew that even with a preliminary finding if he dug anything up that proved otherwise it would be bad for his career.

Hobbs wasn’t exactly the greatest Sheriff of all time. He only got this job because he was rejected from working at a real precinct and this was the best job he could get. What made Hobbs such a lousy detective was he never could understand motive. He knew that if this was an open and shut case then everything was nice and neat. Sure there was the matter of those odd footprints that didn’t quite match up, but those could be explained any number of logical ways, couldn’t they?

Deep down inside he knew there was more to this case than what he put on the report. The problem was without any evidence, no motive, suspect, or manpower to conduct a proper investigation, there was a good chance it would be turned over to the Feds. If there was one thing he hated above all it was losing jurisdiction to a bunch of suits from DC.

If there was another party involved then who were they, what was their motive? Where was the evidence? A couple of footprints were not evidence that was coincidence at best. A local man kills his girlfriend, and then hangs himself that is a matter for local police.

But if there is a murder, perhaps even a serial killer then that is potentially a case for the FBI and that would bring in press attention. He also knew there was the tiny matter of the bruises on the boyfriend’s body. There was evidence that he had been struck in the head by some blunt object, they put it down on the report that is must have been from the woman’s skull as she struggled to get lose. Lying or even fudging on a police report was not something a good cop would ever do lightly.

Too bad Barnaby wasn’t exactly known for being a “good cop.” He knew deep down that the impact was not from a human skull, but he also knew that he could potentially have a motiveless murder and that was not something he wanted to deal with. Elklodge was a very small and quiet town. The couple that was found dead was from a small city two hours from Elklodge.

As much as he hated the idea of bringing the Feds into his territory, he hated the idea of an unsolved murder even more. He took out a small flask he kept hidden in his desk, made sure nobody was looking, and then poured some whiskey into his coffee.

Hobbs thought if it was a double homicide then he would have to cover his tracks to keep the investigation on the down low otherwise he would be facing the end of his career. On the other hand f it turned out to be a serial killer he was in for a potentially career saving investigation, not to mention he would be a hero. Either way he had to keep this one to himself.

He secretly hoped it was the double homicide and he could catch the son of a bitch. Deep down inside he had a gut feeling it was probably the latter and that he was going to be in over his head pretty soon. He filled in the line on the form that declared it a murder-suicide. He decided to just call it a crime of passion and leave it at that.



Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 28

Chapter 28

The two men sat there by the river with their fishing gear, drinking their beers quietly waiting for a bite. The air was beginning to cool down. You could hear subtle sounds of animals running through the woods. Drake had become one with nature these past couple of years. George was still curious what it was his brother wanted to tell him. It had been two hours and they hadn’t a single bite.

Up till now they had hardly spoken, which was really getting on his nerves. Drake picked up a beer, took a very tiny sip and then set it back down. He looked so strange to George he couldn’t hardly believe that was his brother sitting there.

A fly landed on Drake’s nose. He didn’t even acknowledge it he just went about his business. How on Earth could he sit there with a fly on his face? He acted like it didn’t even bother him. It was just kind of walking in circles.

George had never seen anything like it a fly on his face and he didn’t even budge. Drake picked up the last of his joint he had been smoking and took a long drag. The fly was still sitting on his nose. This was really going to drive George crazy. He wanted to say something, do something but what? How would his brother react if he smacked a fly on his face?

Drake kept going on about how much he was in tune to nature, how was he going to react if George disrupted a harmless, albeit annoying, fly?

“Do you remember when we were kids, you and Brandon used to play down by the creek past the old baseball diamond?” Drake said.

George was stunned, for the past two hours neither had said a word and to lead off with a story about his long dead childhood friend was kind of out of the blue.

He answered reluctantly,

“Uh sure, yeah we used to go down there with Ashley and skip rocks in the water. Brandon used to catch frogs and then show them to Ashley, she would get so grossed out.”

“Oh year, I remember the frogs, Brandon was kind of obsessed with those suckers wasn’t he?”

He let out a mild chuckle. George did not like where this was going. The one thing he didn’t handle very well was death, and here they were talking about his friend that had died so casually. He really hadn’t even thought of Brandon in several years, decades even. He never dealt with death, just kind of buried it underneath.

“Well there is something you don’t know about the day Brandon died.” George suddenly was listening very intently.

“I never told you this, but I was there that day he had his accident.”

He didn’t turn his head he just kept starring at the water.

“Now wait a minute, what are telling me?”

George had a feeling in his stomach like he never felt before. His entire world changed the day Brandon died; it was when he learned that you can’t count on others you have to take care of yourself. Looking back on his life George realized he was wrong all along, he never learned that lesson, if he had then why had he spent his entire life letting others make all the decisions for him?

Drake continued.

“I was there with Jennifer; we were all playing out by the tire swing in his back yard. He had a secret crush on Jennifer and well earlier that day she had made out with the two of us, tongue and all. She made a comment about how she was into dangerous boys.

He took that as a challenge to do something dangerous. He told us he knew where his dad was storing up the fireworks, and asked if we wanted to sneak a peek. He wasn’t just trying to impress the girl you see, he was always trying to look cool for the older kids. Since I was two whole grades above him he felt like if he impressed me I would tell the other kids he was cool. Being the son of fire chief and best friends with, well the biggest nerd of them all didn’t really help his reputation much.”

George wanted to be offended by that last statement; he was still enthralled by what he was learning about his old friend.

“He took us out back to where they were storing up everything for the big display. His plan was to set off just one of the bottle rockets.” Drake said.

He was going to prove how dangerous he was by holding it up and shooting it from his hands instead of putting it on the ground. He lit the fuse and just as it was about to take off he was stung by a bee and he dropped the rocket, it well shot into the wall of the barn and that was when the beam fall and started that fire.”

He continued.

Jenny and I panicked and we ran as fast as we could. She wanted to go back to make sure he was okay, I told her no we needed to get out of there and let the authorities take care of it, I had said his dad was the fire chief and he would know what to do.”

We both ran back to her house and up to her bedroom. When we saw the fire truck fly by a couple minutes later we lost it. She was so scared for Brandon and I was just worried about her safety. If anyone knew we were there then they would question us, I was an honor student and her mom was a Sunday school teacher.”

George sat there listening intently to the story his brother was telling him. Befuddle at the details that were emerging.

I told her we couldn’t let there be any trail leading us to the incident. So we went out her back yard and took a long walk into the woods. We stayed out all night, I kept telling her how everything was going to be okay and she had nothing to worry about.”

George was in total shock, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Surely his brother must be making this up, it was that stuff he was smoking it was making him hallucinate.

Drake sat there for a few moments, letting everything he had said sink in before he continued.

“We were so scared, we didn’t know what to expect. We decided to stay the night in the woods and just not tell anyone where we had been. We ended up sleeping together that night George. It was my first time, hers too.”

There is no way any of this is true.” George said. “Why are you making this stuff up?”

Drake continued his story ignoring his brothers interruption.

The next morning we heard about Brandon and it was like life just stopped. We thought for sure we was okay, we had no idea that the beam had blocked his path and that he was trapped in the barn. We just panicked and ran as fast as we could. Jenny didn’t even go to the funeral she was so devastated, in a way she felt responsible. The guilt was too much for her.

Drake leaned forward.

A few weeks went by and she came over to see me. She said they were moving, her parents discovered that she had gotten pregnant and at such a young age they didn’t want that news to get out. I kept in touch with her after she moved away.”

George spoke up softly, “So that is why she moved away suddenly. I always thought it was because she couldn’t stand losing the boy she had a crush on. I guess it must have been hard on her. I never did hear much about her after she left.

“Wait a second if she was pregnant did that mean you were…the father!?”

Drake finally looked at George out of the corner of his eye.

“George, please listen to me, this story is not going to be easy for you to hear. I couldn’t have that in my life. Jenny was too young, hell she was barely 12 George, it was too much for her. Her parents were religious so abortion was not an option. I did what had to be done. I told Jennifer that Brandon’s death was her fault and that he was in hell because of her. I said that if she didn’t atone for her sins, she was going to hell to be with him. I told her she had to sacrifice her child in order to save both of their souls. I meant it for her to get an abortion, she took it another way. That was when she broke into her mother’s medicine cabinet and swallowed every pill she could get her hands on.”

George sat there completely cold. He couldn’t believe what his brother was telling him. Not only was he responsible for the death of his best friend, he had also gotten a young girl pregnant, and then talked her into killing herself. Who was this man? He thought he had known his brother, the caring, and compassionate one who grew up to be a doctor for crying out loud. Drake just kept starring at the water, still wouldn’t turn to face his brother.

“I am at loss for words. I thought I knew you?” Drake narrowed his eyes into tiny slits, turned his head slowly, lowered his voice, and said

“You know nothing about me.” Drake said.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 27

Chapter 27

It was her destiny. Her life had been plotted even before she was born. When she was just a girl her dream was to grow up and travel the world. When she was a teenager she thought that she would go to college, and become a businesswoman. After all she studied real hard and always put work before play. Saying that life had treated her unfairly was an understatement. She barely remembered anything about her life before the incident. All she could piece together were fragments. When she heard rumors that a man had come to visit her, it made her heart ache.

Ashley was in a very delicate state of mind, she had only pieces of her memories to hold her together. Most of what she remembered was the night she murdered her husband. She knew it was justified; it had to be otherwise she would not have done it. She couldn’t remember why she did it, in fact she didn’t even remember much before being brought here. She knew she killed him; those images were very vivid in her mind. She couldn’t piece together why it had to happen, she just sort of felt like it was necessary.

Her doctors would come in, give her a shot and talk to her. All the while she would sit and doodle on a piece of paper. It was all she knew to keep it together. She didn’t quite understand the significance of it but she kept drawing the same picture over and over. It was a goldfish swimming in a plastic bag. It was the kind you win at a carnival. Ashley didn’t even remember ever going to a carnival; she had no idea why this image was engraved in her mind. It was all she thought about when she wasn’t reliving the terrible moment of ending the life of the man she thought she was in love with.

When she heard rumors that a man had come to visit her it made her heart ache. She never loved anyone like she loved her husband, and he was now dead by her own hands. The thought of knowing she was responsible for taking a life of a loved one was overwhelming for her. It made her sick to her stomach to think about it. She would suppress the images by picking up another piece of paper and making another drawing of that damn goldfish.

What the hell was so damn special about a goldfish? She never even owned any fish as far as she could remember. It was the strangest thing. She knew they never had any pets, her kids were allergic. Kids, she thought to herself, did I have kids? She had only vague memories of her life before the incident.

What little she did remember was mostly fuzzy images from her very early childhood. She could not for the life of her remember ever having a stupid goldfish. What was it that made her so obsessed with that image?

There was a knock at her door. Is it time again? Why don’t they leave me alone? A young woman doctor came into the room. She was accompanied by a pair of security guards. They were large, burly men surely there was no need for them to be present; she was such a petite woman she couldn’t possibly pose any danger to them.

No! I killed my husband. I took a human life. I am dangerous, I must be otherwise what am I even doing here? The two men stood beside the doctor who pulled out her chart, looked Stephanie over and then sat down beside her.

“Hello there Ashley, how are we feeling today?” the doctor said.

She didn’t respond.

“I have to check some of your signs and then I need to give you some medication, is that alright with you?”

She sat there starring at the drawing she had completed.

What was she doing here? I want you to go away. Did I just say that out loud? No, what is wrong with me why can’t I speak did I lose my voice? Am I mute? Did I suffer any physical damage during the, oh God did he fight back? The doctor ran the usual tests, stabbed a needle into her arm and proceeded to write down something on her charts.

It was the same old routine, they would enter the room, give her a speech about what progress she was making, give her a shot and then the two men would leave and it would be just the two of them, Ashley and the Doctor.

Who was this doctor anyways? Why won’t she answer my questions? Damn, I know she can’t read minds. Hey doc, why can’t I talk!? Please God what is wrong with me, why can’t I remember anything? What happened to my children, wait did I have children? What kind of a mother was I if I can’t even remember having kids? Damn you goldfish I hate you, I hate you! It was at that moment that Ashley remembered why she drew the images of the goldfish, she hated the goldfish and she would draw the pictures and then rip them to shreds. It was how she dealt with her pain. Was that why she hated her husband, because he never gave her any children? Did the goldfish represent kids? It was the type of pet you have when you are a kid that much she knew. She still couldn’t make out why she hated this abstract concept.

Her doctor was telling her about the man who came to visit; she said he was asking about her. The doctor was talking about how much he must have really cared for her. Who the hell was she talking about? The only man I ever loved is DEAD. I killed him.

“I killed him.”

The doctor dropped her pen. It was the first time she had heard her voice, felt words form in her throat.

“I…killed…him?”

The doctor looked up excitedly at Ashley and made a motion towards her. She pulled back.

“Don’t touch me!” She yelled, she actually yelled.

“Oh my God, Ashley are you okay, I didn’t mean to startle you dear, it’s okay I am not here to hurt you.” the doctor said.

“I killed him. I killed him. I killed him. I killed him.”

She just kept repeating it over and over. Finally she slammed her fist on the table and raised her voice

“I. Killed. HIM!”

She said that last part with her teeth gritted. And suddenly it all came back to her, her daughters, the boys, her sons she had sons. And then there it was buried deep underneath it all, the fuzziest of the fuzzy memories. She could barely make it out but she managed to utter a shocking revelation that worried her doctor.

“Molly Goldfish is a dish. Molly Goldfish is a bitch. If I could have me just one wish, it would be Molly in a ditch.”

She began chanting it over and over. It was the chant her and her girlfriends made up in high school because Molly had a reputation of stealing boyfriends away. She stole my boyfriend away. She then broke down into tears.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 26

Chapter 26

It was later that day; Drake had talked George into going up on the mountain to this old hiking trail Drake rather fond of. George didn’t mind the hiking trail all that much; he didn’t care for the damn mosquitoes. The two had been walking for a good while before Drake came to a nice clearing in the trees where there was a fallen down tree stump and fire put that had already been prepared.

Drake sat down on the log and began fiddling with a match and shortly after he had a camp fire going. It wasn’t all that late and the temperature hadn’t really dropped quite enough to justify a fire, however George wasn’t much of an outdoors man so he didn’t question his brother he just sat down on the log next to his brother.

“Keeps the mosquitoes away,” Drake said as he motioned towards the fire. George nodded in agreement.

The two men sat in silence just soaking up their closeness to nature. Drake was especially relaxed out here in the wild. George was a little tense and Drake handed him a small join, George had been off the pot for a good six months now so he was a little reluctant to take the hit, but his brother held it out inviting him, so he partook. It was a funny feeling he chocked for a few seconds and then handed it back, that was not pot, what the hell was it?

“It’s an old Native American herb; it’s not a mind altering substance it’s just supposed to help you become one with nature.”

This was not the Drake that George knew, and it was beginning to worry him. The two men sat and smoked the, whatever it was, and after a few minutes George was beginning to feel sick to his stomach.

“How about we set up down by the river and see if we can catch ourselves a couple of fish for supper, what do you say?”

George replied, “I can’t say no to that.”

Drake walked over to a fallen log where he had apparently been keeping his fishing gear and gathered up his fishing supplies. He turned to George with a very dry smile and said,

“George, I am so glad you came up here to see me. I have so much to tell you.”

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 25

Chapter 25

George was sitting in a coffee shop across the street from the bus station. He had finally gotten in touch with his estranged brother Drake who had agreed to meet him all of a sudden. George knew that if Drake was interested in talking to him then he was going to have to take this opportunity to get right with his brother. He hadn’t even spoken to him since that night in the hospital. He tried to call him a few times but was always cut off.

He wasn’t comfortable with where his brother had chosen to relocate. All their lives they lived in big towns, it was just their way of life. Drake had been a surgeon and a damn good one at that. He was very wealthy, and respected member of the medical community.

For him to walk away because of his wife’s death was a big blow to everyone. It was not like Drake. Drake was the guy who lived up to his responsibilities. He did what he was told to do. He lived the life his parents had chosen for him, just as George and Daryl had done.

George sat there waiting for his brother to walk through that door, sit down and tell him everything that he was sorry and they would have a few drinks at the bar then life would finally start to get back to normal. He was taken aback by this terrible stench that had arisen from this homeless man who was standing next to his table. He was not fond of bums so he pretended not to notice him for fear that the guy would ask him for some money.

The smelly, raggedy man sat down across from George. His stomach turned inside out at the smell coming from this man.

“I am sorry sir, you can’t sit there I am waiting for someone and that seat is taken so move along.”

“George it’s me Drake.”

George looked up to see a hairy face with long shaggy hair looking down at him. His clothes were rags, his face was dirty and the awful smell was unbearable, but he looked into those eyes and it hit him, it was his brother!

“My God man what the hell happened to you?” George asked. “I mean, sorry man it’s been too long. Holy shit how you doing?”

The words were barely out of his mouth before the two were together in a brotherly embrace. It had been far too long. Emotions were running high but the two were grown men, they sat down, George ordered a coffee for his brother.

“Wow man it has been too long hasn’t it.” Drake reluctantly took a slow sip from his cup,

“aw there it is. I haven’t had a cup of coffee in year’s man.”

George sat in bewilderment at what had become of his once respectable brother.

He was thinking to himself about how this was not his brother. This man sitting before him looked vaguely like Drake but there was something off about him, something George couldn’t quite put his finger on. George wasn’t even sure how to proceed; it was obvious that Drake had changed, but he wasn’t sure what to make of it just yet.

“It’s been so long Drake; I was begging to worry about you. I know I left that night kind of in hurry but I just thought…”

Drake cut him off just then,

“Hey don’t worry about it man it wasn’t you, it wasn’t anybody else it was just me. I needed to get away for a while, you know to find myself.” Drake said.

George wasn’t sure how to respond, it was a relief to hear his brother wasn’t mad at him but he still had a feeling something wasn’t quite right.

“Hey waitress, can we get a couple of pieces of pie over here.”

The waitress nodded in agreement.

It had been just a few moments later when the young woman had brought them their pie. Just then a couple of police officers walked in and sat down at the counter across from where the two men had been sitting.

The waitress walked up to one of the men,

“Howdy Sheriff, be right with you boy.”

Drake’s attention went straight to the officers from the moment they entered the diner. He had stopped listening to his brother and was intently focusing on what the police were discussing. He could only make out a few fragments, terrible shame, poor kids, foul play, no suspects, possible double homicide. He began to get nervous and suddenly he turned to his brother and stood up,

Hey George how about we go for a little walk shall we?” Drake said. “I’m more of an outdoor person these days I need to be close to nature in order to think straight.”

George looked over at the police sitting at the counter. He noticed how tense Drake had become since they entered the premises and had suspected there might be something Drake was hiding from his brother.

“Sure brother, whatever makes you comfortable. Let me take care of this real quick and I will meet you out front okay?”

He put the money on the table and walked out the door where he brother was pacing back and forth.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 24

Chapter Twenty Four

Sheriff Hobbs was on the scene along with two of his best deputies. Bob was found hanging from a tree nearby, Cindy’s bloody cell phone was laid down at his feet smashed against a rock. Cindy was stabbed and beaten to death.

“Alright what do we know so far boys?” the Sheriff asked.

“Well there appears to be signs of a struggle near the water,” Deputy Johnson said. “From the looks of it the woman was dragged out of the water kicking and flailing her arms about. The killer stabbed her in the chest first, puncturing her left lung, then her body began to go limp and he began to stab her, from our count about twenty-seven times. He then tossed her naked, lifeless body here, at this log, and then went back to the camp site, grabbed her cell phone and with her blood on his hands.”

The Sheriff picked up the cell phone with his gloved hands, read the text messages and shook his head.

It was a sad ordeal; here was a young couple in love whose lives were cut short because of a single drunken mistake.

The deputy went on.

After he killed the girl he must have realized what he done as he sent off a single text from her phone saying

“I’m sorry, please forgive me” to the number in the conversation.

“Alright then find out who was the recipient of those messages and get them in for questioning.” Hobbs said.

This was going to be a long day he thought to himself. His deputy continued to describe the crime that had taken place.

“Apparently stricken with grief he then tied a rope up there to that branch, climbed up to this spot, presumably with the girl’s cell phone in his hands, and fell to his death, dropping the phone beneath his body.”

They were still gathering up evidence when one of the deputies noticed something strange. “Sheriff sir, the young man appears to have a head injury to the back of the skull; it looks like someone hit him with a blunt instrument.”

The Hobbs went over to investigate. Sure enough it did look as though he had been struck by something.

“Are there any signs he have hit his head on that fallen tree over there where we found the girl? It’s possible she might have pushed him back during the struggle.”

The cops continued their investigation. The Sheriff was not buying into it, all signs pointed to a jealous boyfriend killing his girlfriend in a fit of rage and then taking his own life in a bout of remorse. There was certainly physical evidence that suggested that was in fact the case. Still the Sheriff had a gut instinct telling him there was more to this case than that.

He hated that feeling, as a police officer he knew you can’t always trust your instincts, there has to be facts, evidence, things have to add up. What he hated about the murder-suicide thing was it was too neat, and crimes were rarely neat. Still he was hoping he was wrong and the investigation would turn up that it was in fact simple case of jealousy.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 23

Chapter 23

It was a quiet and cloudless summer night, the stars were in full view. It was the perfect time of year for camping; the cool mountain air had driven away the summer heat from earlier. There was a tall cedar tree standing up in the center of the camp site they had chosen. There wasn’t much out here except a red pick-up truck with a camp shell on the back, a sleeping bag thrown on the ground and a few camp site cooking utensils. They didn’t even bother pitching the tent as the stars in the sky were too beautiful to waste.

The campers were Bob Myers and his girlfriend Cindy Epstein, they had been dating for two years and this was the anniversary of their first date. This was the very same camp site they got together at when they first met. It was a special night for the couple as Bob just got a promotion at his job and was now confident enough to ask Cindy to be his bride. Bob wasn’t much of a camper himself. Cindy on the other hand was a mountain girl, having been raised in the wilderness; she loved nothing more than to be outdoors close to nature.

Cindy had been keeping a secret from Bob. She had a little too much fun at her office party celebrating her boss’s birthday and ended up sleeping with one of her co-workers. It had just happened couple of weeks ago and she already was showing signs of being pregnant. She had been putting pressure on Bob’s friends to talk him into proposing to her, thinking if they got married she could say it was his and avoid an awkward conversation.

She felt terrible about what she was doing to him, but he was in love and she made a mistake she didn’t know how to deal with. That was the whole reason she planned the camping trip to where they met, she figured if she got him in a really romantic mood and dropped hints at how ready she was to settle down and start a family, he would surely take notice.

Things so far had been going according to plan, they had a romantic evening under the stars, and he pulled out a cheap looking diamond ring and asked her to marry him. Of course she had to accept and they had the most romantic time of their lives. Not wanting to harm the unborn baby she was very careful not to drink too much tonight.

This left Bob with the task of consuming her share of the bottle of wine that he brought to celebrate. Being a light drinker was one trait she admired about her man and so it didn’t come as much of a surprise that he would pass out from the booze. She felt a little bad but she was just friendly enough in her part that she knew it would make it up to him. But the guilt was eating at her and she was having trouble sleeping.

Being raised as a mountain girl Cindy knew how to get around in these woods. She had no problem navigating her way down to the stream they had chosen to camp near. All she wanted was to take a nice little dip in the cool water to see if she could wash her worries away.

Cindy was not even sure if she really was ready to get married, but she damn sure wasn’t ready to break Bob’s heart by telling him she cheated and was going to have another man’s child instead of his. It wasn’t like she was against marriage, but her parents were the only couple she knew who stayed together for any significant length of time and even they were separated at the moment. Cindy looked around to make sure nobody was looking, quietly removed her clothing and dove into the water.

Bob had been lying quietly in bed, waiting for Cindy to get up. He watched her walked away out of the corner of his eye and as soon as she was gone he got up, went to her bag and dug out her cell phone. He had heard a rumor from one of his friends that was dating one of her friends that she had cheated on him.

He didn’t believe it, he didn’t want to believe it but there was no denying it. The problem was Bob loved Cindy, had ever since the first time he laid eyes on her. He also knew she didn’t want to get married or have kids until after college so for her to be putting the pressure on him now all of a sudden, that meant something had changed. He scrolled down the list of text messages and there it was.

Bob wasn’t exactly reading this for the first time; he got the other half from his friend who was dating the recipient of those text messages. It was a known fact Bob was a jealous guy but he was in love with Cindy, he wanted to tell her he knew and that he was okay with it he understood it was a mistake and he could forgive her. But he wanted her to confess it to him.

He didn’t like having to pretend like he didn’t know anything when it was killing him inside. Still he did love her and that all that mattered. He knew why she was going down to the river, it was her think whenever she felt guilty or stressed she would take a swim in the cold water, she said it cleansed her or something. He never understood her mountain girl ways, he was from the city after all but he was in love and love blinds you.

He thought he was going to have to win her heart; he would go down there, dive into the water and surprise her. Then he would tell her how he already knew but he didn’t care he loved her and that love was all that mattered. Problem was he was a jealous guy and it was still eating at him. Could he really live with this? He decided to put that aside for now and focus on winning his girlfriend, no fiance’s, heart back so they could get married and be happy together.

He was making his way down to the river when he noticed something unusual, he could not hear the sounds of her slashing in the water. He came to a bush where she had hanged her clothes on and knew he was at the stop where she must have dove in. His gaze turned to the water and his eyes widened in horror, her bloody body was lying there on a tree trunk that had fallen down.

He ran over to her as fast as he could, it looked like she must have fallen and hit her head or something, oh God he thought that is too much blood, Cindy be okay please be okay. Just as he got to where she was his heart stopped, she had not fallen, there was a knife sticking out of her leg and she had been cut up all to hell. He turned and suddenly a shovel hit him in the head.

It would be three days before the police would find the crime scene.