By the time they arrived it was too late. Sheriff Hobbs rushed into the cabin to find Drake sitting on the floor covered in blood crying.
The woman’s remains were spread out all over the bedroom. Her torso had been nailed to the bed where she died. Her arms and legs had been brutally detached from her body.
The words “Molly Goldfish must DIE!” were written all over the walls in the victim’s own blood.
It was by far the most gruesome scene Sheriff Hobbs saw in his entire career. Even more grotesque than the woman who this same man shoved head first into the wood chipper previously.
As a law enforcement officer Hobbs always tried to find some satisfaction in closing a case. This one was different. He had the suspect in custody, but the lives this man destroyed over his obsession keep mounting.
Despite the graphic nature of the scene, Hobbs kept his composure as he sifted through the woman’s remains. The smell of rotting flesh and blood was beginning to blend into an odor Hobbs would never forget. It was one of those things he would bury under some Scotch later on at the local watering hole.
He had a man sitting in the back of his police vehicle with a shotgun pointed at his head. He had a woman who he helped escape from a mental health facility sitting outside with the daughter of the victim each trying to process the horrific reality they were discovering.
He knew he was going to have to answer for his actions during the investigation. He had no clue how he was going to explain all of this. He hoped the pursuit of justice and the need to catch a dangerous killer would justify the things he had done. There was no way of knowing how that would play out. For now he wanted to give that little girl some closure knowing the true fate of her now deceased mother.
The poor child, he thought. Here she spent the last several months mourning her mother and father’s deaths only to discover her mother’s death had been staged by a brutal cover up. Then track down her mother’s whereabouts only to discover her death was still a done deal. If it wasn’t for my oath to uphold the law, to dispense righteous justice, I would end that lunatic’s life right here, right now.
Out of the corner of his eye he noticed there was only one item in the entire bedroom that had not been bathed in the woman’s blood. It was a jewelry box resting on a wooden chair in the corner of the room. While he wasn’t exactly a detective, he knew that when something stood out it was important. He stepped carefully around the pools of blood on the floor as he made his way to the chair. He picked up the wooden box. Upon opening it he discovered there were three items inside. The first was a necklace with a locket in the shape of a goldfish at the end. Beneath that was a piece of paper neatly folded letter length. In the corner of the box was a single photograph of the woman and her ex-husband at the fair the night the two met. On the back were the words.
“George and Molly Goldfish falling in love- 1987.”
There was one word hand written on the piece of paper it read “Melody.”
He wasn’t sure if now was the right time to deliver it to the child or not. He felt like she had already been through enough. Despite his gut feeling, he unfolded the letter and read it to himself. As the words soaked into his eyes he knew this belong in the evidence locker for the trial. Yet, he decided it was best to let this one go.
Hobbs walked outside. He approach the young girl who’s mother’s remains was inside the house. Placing one hand on her shoulder he slipped the letter into her other hand. “Here.” he said. “Read it later.”
The girl tucked the letter into her pocket. She buried her tear-soaked face into the chest of Stephanie Taylor as she cried quietly.
Hobbs walked over to where his deputy was securely holding the prisoner. He tapped on the window to get the suspect’s attention. The man looked over casually with a smile of self-satisfaction forming on his face, relief visible on his brow.
The deputy raised his gun, pointing it at the man as the sheriff opened the door slowly.
“What can I do for you officer?” the man asked.
“I don’t get it. Was all this really necessary? You wanted that woman dead so badly why did you kill the waitress and stage it to fake her death when you and your brother had her in your custody. You could have ended this all then, why do any of this? Why torture her all this time? Why end it on this exact day? And in this manner? It makes no sense.”
“Officer. You are a man of law. A man such as you looks for a logical explanation for things. In all of your years as a lawman, have you ever found a reasonable, logical motivator for murder?” Drake asked.
“No, I don’t suppose it always makes sense. There’s always a motive though. You had the motive to kill her no doubts there. But why go through all this? Why kill all those campers and set them up to look like murder-suicides? It all seems overly complicated for what started off as a quest to kill one woman,” the sheriff said.
The man looked down at his feet. Then he looked back towards the house. “Officer, did you feed my goldfish?”
“There is a woman’s bloody body splattered all over your house. You really think I am concerned with your pet? I have way more important things to deal with.”
“Correct me if I am wrong but is cruelty to animals against the law? Is it wise for you to become a criminal in an attempt to apprehend a man you believe to be one? Tisk, tisk officer.”
He thought about it for a moment. He wasn’t sure what game the man was playing.
“Jake,” he said. “Why don’t you go inside and fetch Mr. Thompson’s goldfish.
“Yes sir,” the deputy said.
“I don’t know what game you are trying to pull here but it won’t work,” the sheriff said.
“No game. I just want to ensure my pet is properly fed that is all,” Drake said.
Too much time had been devoted to this maniac already. He wasn’t going to give him any more attention than he already deserved.
The deputy handed the sheriff the goldfish bowl.
“Here you go sheriff,” Jake said.
“So all you want is to ensure the fish is fed is that it?” the sheriff asked.
The man nodded.
The sheriff stuck his hand in the bowl. Grabbed the goldfish and shoved it into his mouth. He swallowed it whole.
His deputy immediately reacted handing the sheriff his canteen.
The sheriff took a drink of his deputy’s water.
“Tasty son of a bitch,” the sheriff said.
He waved to his deputy.
“Get this motherfucker out of my sight,” the sheriff said.
“With pleasure,” the deputy said. The sheriff slammed the door shut on the vehicle and watched it drive off with the suspect in tow.
He walked over to the women he had driven up here.
“Ladies,” he said. “It’s over. Why don’t I take you back into town and we can begin to put this mess behind us.”
Ashley stood up and slapped the officer. “This poor child lost her mother today show some respect,” she said.
“Its okay miss, he’s right, we should get out of here,” Melody said.
The sheriff left the crews to clean up the remains and gather evidence while he drove the women back to town.
Melody looked out the back window of the vehicle towards the cabin where her mother, Molly “Goldfish” Thompson had been killed.
She thought to herself. This was it, her mother’s final resting place, the goldfish on the mountain.