Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 49

Chapter 49

Start from the beginning. That was the words Barnaby Hobbs would quickly regret. As he sat there listening to this woman who had just escaped a mental health facility recant her tale he was shaking his head in disbelief. He had heard old Hank spin some yarns that brought in conspiracy theories about the government, the CIA and his claims about being in the witness protection program. Never had Sheriff Hobbs heard a story as involved as this.

The more she talked the less he was inclined to believe her. It didn’t make sense, it felt too convoluted. Her tale about how this man became a murder, stalking her and her family over the years because she ended up giving birth to his child. It didn’t make sense. There was all the stuff about how he drugged her and framed her for her own husbands murder. She had no idea what became of her other children, she told Hobbs. She was in a panic to get her story told.

Hobbs was trying his best to unpack everything she was saying. If her words were true then the doctor who shot Frank was in fact more than a murderer, he might very well be a serial killer. Hobbs wasn’t sure how it all fit together. Of course, Stephanie only had bits and pieces. Plus, by her own testimony the drugs interfered with her cognitive abilities. Hobbs had another issue at hand, if he didn’t turn her over to the authorities he could be considered an accessory to her escape. As an officer of the law the last thing he wanted was to help a convicted murder avoid justice.

He knew if he turned her over he wasn’t going to get the answers he wanted. But he also knew he had no choice. It was her word against theirs. A convicted murder, pleads insanity and gets committed to a mental health clinic then escapes and claims she was framed, it was not the kind of story he was going to buy without serious, tangible proof.

Hobbs still had a few remaining questions he wanted answered before he made his next move.

“I am trying to understand but you have to see things from my perspective,” Hobbs told the


“If this man is obsessed with hurting you and he had you locked up as part of his plan, what logical reason does he have for kidnapping Molly and killing her? It doesn’t make sense.”

Hobbs wasn’t ready to tell the woman he had seen the evidence video himself of her Molly’s husband George shoving her head first into that wood chipper. He didn’t quite think her fragile psyche could handle such a revelation at this point. He was biding his time while he gathered enough information to decide how to proceed. He was certain she believed her story but that wasn’t enough for him.

“I don’t know why Drake would go through all this trouble. I know George wanted her dead. I also know Drake murdered my husband, drugged me and raped my daughter in front of my while making it look like it was her dad. He drugged her too by the way. I tried to convince the courts that was what happened but they kept saying there wasn’t any physical evidence.” Ashley said.

Evidence was the key. As far as he could gather her claim was Drake, not George, plotted to kidnap Molly and take her to his mountain cabin where he could torture her for some unknown reason. This was based on her claims he told his plan to her while he was drugging her.

Sometime after he killed her husband but before raping the daughter. But why? What did Drake have to gain from all this? If Drake was the serial killer going around killing campers making it look like murder-suicide or even accidental deaths, which would fit the MO Hobbs was investigating, that still doesn’t fit with all these more elaborate claims of a bigger ring of murders. Still, knowing how sick people can be was enough for Hobbs to at least listen to the woman, for now.

“If you take me to my daughter I can tell her I am okay and know she is safe. Then I will

surrender to the authorities and plead my case. I just need to make sure my girl is okay.”

Hobbs wasn’t about to interfere with a court ordered dismissal of rights. He had looked into that much of her story and discovered she was denied all visitation of the children, especially the daughter. Hobbs might be willing to bend the rules to solve a string of murders, but he wasn’t about to endanger that child’s life if it turned out Ashley was the killer she was accused of being.

“I am sorry ma’am, I can’t do that. Why don’t you see if you can answer a few more of my questions first and then I’ll decide what to do with you.” Hobbs said.

“We don’t have much time! He is going to kill Molly this weekend. Don’t you see, it’s the 20th anniversary of the night we hooked up at the fair. It all comes down to this.” Ashley said.

Hobbs let out a deep sigh. He was going to have to risk it.

“Lady, I don’t know how to break it to you but your girl, Molly, is already dead,” Hobbs said. “Her ex-husband George shoved her head first into a wood chipper right before he blew his brains out with a revolver. Now I understand you’ve been through a lot and you have some resentment towards that family, especially the brother who you admit to having an affair with and carry his child. But I assure you this Molly woman is already dead.”

Ashley began shaking her head in disbelief. She knew what Drake’s plan was. He described it to her in detail. There was no way George got to her first. She knew this when George came to visit that he was helping his brother out.

“No, you are wrong, Drake told me what his plan was. How he was going to take Molly on the mountain and torture her for exactly five years and murder her in a very gruesome manner on the anniversary of that fair. He made it very clear that was his plan and he even said he was going to use me to get George in on the plan. I am telling you something is wrong.” she said.

Hobbs didn’t know much more of this insanity he was going to put up with.

“Listen lady, I get that you’ve been through a lot and I sympathize but frankly, not only are you an escaped convict, but you killed an innocent man in that escape. Now I’ve been very patient as I sit here and let you tell your wild stories but you’re going to have to face reality, which I am sad to say, means you’re not well and need to get back to the hospital,” Hobbs said.

“I don’t know how but I promise you Molly is not dead. Drake is keeping her alive for his special occasion I bet my life on it. How do you know she died? He could have faked her death,” Ashley said.

Hobbs buried his face in his hands. Letting out a deep sigh once more he placed his hand on the woman’s shoulder.

“No, I am afraid not. I watched the video myself. George most certainly murdered Molly Thompson, I promise you that. There is nothing else to say on that matter,” Hobbs said.

Ashley broke down into tears. In her heart she knew he was wrong. He had to be wrong. Nothing else made any sense.

“You said you saw it, there is a video tape?” Ashley asked.

“Yes, police evidence. I saw it when I was in town investigating a murder-suicide. I was called in because of the heinousness of the crime the city police needed our help,” Hobbs said.

“What was a local sheriff up north doing down here helping out city cops?” Ashley asked this time with her own disbelief.

“I wasn’t a sheriff then. I used to be a U.S. Marshal. I was called in on the murder-suicide because it took place on federal land. The other case, involving George Thompson and his ex-wife Molly was in the same area so I was called in to assist. We did forensics, we ran ballistic I I can safely say we knew for certain that was Molly in the video,” Hobbs said.

“Are you sure? I mean no offense but I’ve dealt with sloppy police before. They didn’t exactly do a very thorough job on my own case. Please, can we watch the tape? For my own peace of mind? If you are right then I will willingly return to the hospital resolved to my fate knowing my mind is not well. I need to see the tape, please,” Ashley begged.

Knowing he was already in it this deep Hobbs knew better than to comply. But, at this point he didn’t see the harm in showing her the tape for her own peace of mind.

“Okay, I will show you the tape and then I am turning you over to the local cops, got it,” Hobbs said sternly.

She nodded. Hobbs was beginning to wonder what was so special about this woman that it would drive two different men to commit murder over her? He figured there had to be something because here he was under her spell giving her exactly what she was asking despite his better judgment

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Stephanie Bri

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