Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 50

Chapter 50

Hobbs knew this was wrong. In all his years of being a peace officer he had never let a convicted criminal tempt him into breaking the rules. He knew he was risking getting into serious trouble if it was learned he picked her up and didn’t immediately turn her in. He heard stories from older officers who they just knew something was wrong and did things that went against their best judgment He always resisted those urges. Oh sure he wasn’t a completely by the book sort of officer but he believed in the system. This woman had been prosecuted and convicted of a crime and if he couldn’t trust the court system to do its job properly then there was absolutely no justification for him to bother even doing his job at all.

Hobbs told Ashley he was going to show her the video to give her peace of mind. He figured since the woman was going to spend the rest of her life locked in a mental hospital with no chance of living a normal life the least he could do is be absolutely sure of the facts. He worked this case. He knew the forensics. He knew the evidence. He did the diligence. It was an open and shut case. The only missing piece of the puzzle was the missing daughter. Hobbs didn’t work that side. He helped with the murder-suicide and then gave the kidnapping over to the FBI. They were better equipped to handle that sort of thing.

As he drove towards the police station where the tape would be stored he tried see if he could get inside the mind of this woman. She was attractive enough and it was a fairly small town so he understood why more than one suitor would be calling on her for attention.

“I understand it’s kind of difficult for you but I want to talk about that night at the fair. The day George kissed Molly. You said he pretended to break up with you in front of her as a show but wrote you a note explaining it was just his parents pushing him to give her a chance and that he was going to ditch her and meet up with you, is that right?” Hobbs asked.

“I told you that yes,” Ashley said.

“Okay and after you saw him kissing her, after he gave her the goldfish he won, supposedly for you, you snuck of and slept with his brother is that correct?” Hobbs asked.

Annoyed Ashley replied, “yes.”

“Okay, and then you became pregnant with his kid, your parents shipped you off to live with your aunt and then sometime later your kid was murdered in the middle of the night by an African-American male who broke into your home?” Hobbs asked.

“Yes! What does this have to do with anything?” Ashley blurted.

“Calm down lady, I am just trying to piece all of this together. Now you claim when Drake showed up he took you aside and insisted on seeing his daughter.

You told him then that child was dead but he didn’t believe you and that is when he drugged you, assaulted your daughter, then killed your husband making it look like you had killed the husband and then he left, leaving behind no trace, no evidence and nobody else remembers him coming to the house. But you claim he told you his plan after drugging you to kidnap Molly and torture her for a time period before killing her on the anniversary of the night he slept with you. Does that about sum up the story you told me so far?” Hobbs asked.

Ashley grabbed her knees and began sobbing. She could tell the officer wasn’t buying her story and yet she knew every word of it was nothing but the truth.

“Yes,” she managed to mumble with a tear streaking down her cheek.

“Why would Drake want to hurt Molly? I can see why George resented her for pushing her way into his life and marrying him instead of you. I can see Drake becoming a mess after the death of his wife, whom you already stated he was thoroughly in love with. George had every motivation to murder Molly, he blamed her for your mess, he blamed her for his marriage falling apart and he even blamed her for bringing a daughter into this world he resented. ”

He added, “The story, from the facts I reviewed, is he blamed Molly for all of that, kidnapped her in a really bad state of mind, sold the girl to traffickers and then forced Molly into the wood chipper head first before eating a bullet, all on camera. Now I am trying to find the missing piece of the puzzle so please excuse me for prying but what on earth would Drake gain from any of this? What sort of issue would he have with Molly?

Everyone I talked to during the death investigation told me the three brothers didn’t get along well. Drake and George were estranged. Drake had contact with the famous football star but only barely. So what does Drake gain from all of this? What does he have to blame Molly for? In my book her actions got him to have sex with you. As far as I can tell you both agreed he wouldn’t have any contact with the child and he never did. So what does he gain from hurting Molly? It doesn’t make sense.” Hobbs said.

Hobbs knew there had to be a link otherwise Stephanie Taylor truly was mentally ill and he was going to have to make her face that reality sooner or later.

He pulled up to the station.

“You will need to stay here. Duck down and pull this blanket over you. Don’t move until I come back. We’ll get the tape and watch it at my hotel room,” Hobbs said.

She was handcuffed and shackled to the floor so he wasn’t worried she would leave. He just wanted to make sure nobody saw her in his vehicle before the right time.

He walked into the station and went to the clerk on duty.

“Hi there, Sheriff Barnaby Hobbs how are you doing this evening?” Hobbs said to the clerk at the desk.

“Good evening Sheriff, what can I do for you?” the clerk asked.

“I worked the Molly and George Thompson case a few years ago. The brother, Drake Thompson, is under investigation for a possibly related homicide and I need to check out some evidence from that previous case,” Hobbs said.

“Sure thing, just fill out this evidence request form identifying the items you need and we can have someone approve this first thing in the morning,” the clerk said.

“Listen, I appreciate you are doing your job, you know by the book. But as a one law enforcement professional to another, it would sure be helpful if I could just get the items I need tonight and I will return them before morning. See my case is kind of timely and the perpetrator well night flee if I tip him off so I would sure appreciate some inter department cooperation if you don’t mind,” Hobbs said.

“Well, I understand but I can’t really complete your request not without the proper filing fee,” the clerk said. He slipped a piece of paper to the sheriff with the number $200 written on it. Knowing full well each party was committing a crime in the process Hobbs decided to comply. He slipped two $100 bills into the envelop with the words evidence room on them. The clerk nodded in agreement.

“Right this way Sheriff, I’ll see to it you get exactly what you need,” the clerk said as he led Hobbs to the evidence room.

Hobbs knew exactly what he was looking for. While all he really needed was the tape he figured it would be a whole lot easier to check out the entire file instead. It was a plastic tub with a bunch of evidence item and the original reports he himself filed.

Hobbs took the things he needed back to his vehicle and began to drive towards the motel he was staying in.

“Alright Mrs. Taylor, I got everything we need from the investigation. Now I assure you things are as they seem but for your own peace of mind I am willing to do this. Now, I told the clerk I needed this stuff for my own investigation. I’ll do the due diligence to prove I am being thorough. If I don’t find anything that supports your claims, however, it’s back to the hospital got it?” Hobbs said assertively.

“I know you think I am insane or a criminal because the court said I was, but I am certain we will find something in there that proves Molly Goldfish did not die that night,” Ashley said.

Once they two arrived back at the motel Hobbs escorted Stephanie to the bed. He handed her the phone.

“It’s going to be a long night. Why don’t you order us some Chinese food and I’ll get the VCR hooked up,” Hobbs said.

Ashley placed the food order and then sat on the bed.

“I am warning you, this video is not pretty. It gets very gruesome so if you see anything that starts to get to be too much for you let me know right away and I will stop it. This is not a movie, the people you see are dead. These are their final moments of their lives. Are you absolutely sure you want to see this?” Hobbs said.

Ashley walked up to the VCR and pressed play. She sat back on the bed and looked the sheriff square in the eye.

“There is nothing on this tape I can’t handle,” she said.

Of course the picture quality was blurry with it being a VHS tape. The police knew it was recorded on an even lower quality video camera too. The department made a copy for the evidence locker while the original was sent off to forensics.

My name is George Thompson. Many years ago my parents forced me to give up the love of my life to become shackled to this selfish bitch, Molly Goldfish. I have sent my entire life trying to figure out what my purpose was. I discovered that through all the loss I have experienced I can no longer live this life. As you can see over there is my daughter, the hell spawn that was the result of this unholy marriage between me and that woman right there.

*the camera pans to a woman with a bag over her head. In the background two men drag the bound teenager into the next room out of sight*

“Today is the last day Molly Goldfish will breath on this earth. Today is the day I rid the world of her selfish ways. I, George Thompson, will be feeding her, heard first into that wood chipper while she screams her last screams. Once she is finished I will put this gun into my mouth and swallow a bullet that will end my own miserable existence. Then, only then will there be harmony in the world.

*He walked over to the woman who was tied up. He dragged her as she struggled to get loose up to the stool behind the device. He removed her bag from her head and with eyes wide as could be, tears running down the side of her face, the woman began to resist. The man grabbed her by her legs and pushed her, as he stated head first. A few minutes of blood splattering on the ground and it was done. George walked over to the camera and put the gun in his mouth.*

The police will find everything they need to wrap this up. Her blood, my body, this tape.

*Suddenly he put the gun in his mouth, pulled the trigger and with eyes extended wide his lifeless body fell limp to the ground*

The sheriff looked at Ashley waiting for the outburst, the disbelief, anything. Nothing she just sat there soaking it up. Hobbs went to turn the tape off.

“Wait! Look right there! The camera moved. Who moved the camera?” Ashley asked.

Hobbs rewound the tape and watched it again. He didn’t see any movement.

“We found the tape recorded still recording when we arrived on scene. It barely had any battery left. There was nobody running the camera and no finger prints but his on it,” Hobbs said.

“I saw it move. Rewind it again, please,” she pleaded with him.

He complied. This time he watched it in slow motion going frame by frame. By god she was right! It was very subtle, too subtle to be obvious but it moved, like someone had bumped into it.

The audio goes quiet around that time. Ashley insisted you could hear someone behind the camera, probably tapping the mute button as they walked away. Now Hobbs wasn’t convinced that was enough to go on.

“Can we go back to the part where he removes the bag from over he face? I know it’s gruesome but I think you missed something,” Ashley said. said.

“I would rather not. I had to watch this tape a dozen times when it was new. I have no desire to go back and see it any more this was for you, now it is time to face reality,” Hobbs said.

“Please, do this and I will be done, I won’t ask anything else from you tonight,” Ashley said.

He rewound the tape to the part she requested. He paused the frame on her face. He had seen the fear in that woman’s eyes a dozen times as she came to terms with her fate.

Ashley stood up and walked over to the TV. She placed her hand on the screen over the woman’s face.

“That’s not Molly!” she said. “I know who it is. She used to work at the diner and went missing around the same time.”

“The waitress from the diner that went missing was found a few months later, she ran off to the Bahamas and died on a cruise ship of some virus down there. She didn’t tell her family she was leaving because she was seeing a man they didn’t approve of,” Hobbs said.

“No I’ve been in that diner a thousand times. We went to school together. She was a cheerleader in high school, she was one of Molly’s closest friends, then they drifted apart. But right after high school she had a nose job to look more like Molly. I swear to you that’s her,” Ashley said.

Hobbs wasn’t about to chase any more rabbits. But he decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.

“Okay, we’ll drive by the diner and check out her photo, they have it up on the memory wall,”

Hobbs said.

Processing my holiday feelings

I know I haven’t written anything in a couple of months. I have a good excuse between the holidays, starting a new job and finishing up my book, I just haven’t had time. I am facing a long weekend right now so I figured I had the time to write something up.

This holiday season has been a little wearing on me personally. I have faced near total rejection from my family. As a result I am spending all of the holidays alone. I will have discord calls with my girlfriend so that helps but I will still be completely alone.

That has taken a toll on me mentally and emotionally. Lately I declared starting last year I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore in the traditional sense. Instead, as a pagan, I decided to celebrate Yule instead. It’s mostly the same traditions so on the surface it won’t look that different. Mostly it means saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas but I should be doing that anyways. One thing that has changed is I won’t be spending Christmas, or Christmas Eve for that matter, in a church service trying to guilt me into giving money to their cult. Instead I will be spending the day with my girlfriend doing things we can both agree on.

This has been hard for me. Christmas was the one time of the year I always could count on my family to be there for me no matter what. It’s be disorienting having to learn to live on my own without support from my loved ones, if they even still love me that is. So much for unconditional love I guess. Anyways that’s a topic for another time. Right now I just wanna process my thoughts and feelings.

The holidays are a stressful time for a lot of people for different reasons. I don’t wanna get into all of that right here. Instead I wanna focus on what I have learned during this whole experience. Aside from not being able to count on family as I had previously believed, I learned that I can survive on my own. I have become a stronger person because of it. While I cried last year over my families rejection of me, this year I feel nothing special. I already mourned those relationships. You could say I severed those ties and have begun to heal from those wounds.

In another life I would have gotten excited to get money from my mom for Christmas. I would have used it on buying myself a toy or something special I could cherish. Maybe spend it on something frivolous like makeup or a video game. This year I spent it on food. I was grateful she sent me money but it felt like she was trying to buy me off instead of spending time with me. She lives 30 minutes away from me. We could have done something together. A movie, McDonalds, even just going to church together would have sufficed. Not this year. I got money I spent on junk food at the gas station. I treated myself to tasty but empty calories. That was my special Christmas gift this year, heartburn. That is what I have to show. I put my faith in family and they let me down.

I don’t cry woe is me. I have moved on. I just wanted to process these thoughts in a way that would allow me to reflect on what I have left rather than dwelling on what I lost. I have nothing more to say on this topic. I have said my peace. I feel fine now.

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

woman.

“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

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 48

Chapter 48

It was time. Ashley knew Molly only had a few short days to live. She wasn’t sure how Drake was going to end her life but she knew it was coming. Ashley had been fighting the doctors, the hypnotists and the therapists this whole time. In the back of her mind she knew her only chance of recovery was to escape this torture chamber and get her mind free from whatever it was they were using to mess with her.

She had been slowly finding ways to dispose of the medicines they gave her for suspicion the drugs were what was messing with her mind. She had successfully replicated the outward effects of the drugs enough to fool her captors into believing their plan was working. But she knew better. For the last couple of days Stephanie was completely clean and able to think clearly for the first time since her husband’s murder.

It was going to take everything she had to escape. She knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as walking out the front door. Not during the day shift anyways. There was a young pervert on the night shift that liked to get a little handsy with the female patients. He was a stereotypical drug user, covered in tattoos and piercings. He was just a janitor on the night shift but Ashley knew if she lured him into her bedroom with the promise of sex she could get his keys.

The trick was doing it without the security guards noticing. Ashley knew the big fat guy took his meal break at 2 am That was when janitor handsy snuck into her room to cop a feel. While on the drugs she was tied to the bed and there wasn’t much she could do. The only thing she knew was this was her shot. And so she waited for the clock to tick 2 am

Right on schedule the doorknob opened and old perv waltzed in as per usual. He cleared the trash cans and went around the room pretending to do his job just enough to avoid any suspicion from the cameras just in case. He walked over to Stephanie’s bed, slipped his hand under her blanket and began stroking her right breast as he always did.

Suddenly he jumped back as her eyes popped open. With a smile on her face she whispered to the perv.

“Hey big boy, how would you like to do more?” Ashley asked.

The guy let out a sleazy smile and nodded in agreement.

“Oh yeah baby what you got in mind?”

“If you untie me we can sneak off to the broom closet and have a little meal break of our own if you know what I mean,” she said as she licked her lips and winked at the man.

He threw the towel over his shoulder to ensure it landed on the camera and proceeded to untie the woman. Taking her by the hand the two snuck into the janitor’s closet. The guy was beginning to unfasten her clothes when she stabbed him in the neck with a sharp tool she snagged off the shelf while he was distract. He fell to his knees bleeding profusely out his neck. She stomped on his man parts for good measure as she removed the keys from his belt, along with the side arm he kept on his person out of habit.

Ashley knew she wasn’t going to have a lot of time. She also had no idea which key did what so she was scrambling to figure that out. She ran down the main hallway to the front door. She knew it was locked but this was her chance. She had to do anything to get out of her. As she fumbled through the keys looking for the right one she noticed a sign on the wall next to the door with a key code. She frantically entered the keys into the keypad and pressed the green button. The door opened and she ran outside as fast as her tired legs could carry her.

Ashley didn’t have any idea which car belonged to the man she surely killed but she knew she didn’t have time to figure that out. This was her shot at getting her life back and nothing was going to stand in her way. She saw her chance to get away as she ran into the trees hoping she could make her way to town. It was her best shot. She knew she had to stay off the highway as she was wearing the clothes of an escaped mental patient. She’d seen enough movies growing up that wasn’t a person people would be likely to help out in a pinch.

As Ashley made her way through the woods she was tripping and fumbling over her feet. She had no clue where she was going she just knew she had to get away from that place long enough to get her mind clear before she figured out what to do next.

Back at the clinic she left behind, Dan the security guard came back from his break. He sat at his desk and noticed the towel covering the security camera to the patients room. He knew Bob had fooled around with the patients from time to time so he didn’t immediately think anything of it. He waited a few minutes, listening to the audio feed to see if he could hear anything juicy going on.

Dan decided he better go check on the young janitor to see if he was getting himself into some sort of trouble. On his way to the room he noticed the supply closet door was hanging open. He couldn’t hear any sounds coming from there so he decided to leave it alone and head to the room. To his shock he noticed the door was unlocked. He entered the room and discovered the girl was missing. Well he figured he had a hunch where she might be so he headed back down to that supply closet expecting, halfway hoping, to catch Bob in the middle of an unspeakable act with her.

When Dan opened the door he went into panic mode. Instantly the first thing he noticed that was out of place was a dead body lying on the floor. It was the stupid janitor, Bob, his throat had been cut and he was obviously dead based on the amount of blood spilled on the floor.

Realizing the patient must have escaped he walked back to his station as briskly as he could. Not wanting an incident Dan was hoping he could find the woman and return her to her bed before anyone noticed she had been gone. As for the dead body, he wasn’t sure what to do with that but he knew it was going to come back on him if he didn’t do something quick.

As he skimmed through the security footage hoping to find the girl hiding behind some furniture or in a cupboard his worst fear was realized, he had an escaped mental patient running loose. He knew there was no way to keep this from getting out unless he acted fast. He immediately picked up the phone to call his supervisor.

“What the hell do you want Dan, it’s 3 o’clock in the damn morning!” an angry voice said on the line.

“Um sir we have a problem. Bob is dead and patient 2306 has escaped,” Dan said.

“SHIT! What the hell is going on down there! You stupid son of a bitch! Alright don’t panic, call the police and tell them we have a situation but make sure you tell them she is dangerous and to use caution. For fucks sake get that patient back here pronto you hear me, on the damn double!” the voice yelled as the phone disconnected.

“This is going to be the end of my career,” Dan said to no one in particular.

Ashley was stumbling through the woods in her night gown. She knew if someone saw her they would either try to capture her or call the police. She knew she had to get to a safe place. The only place she could think of was to head towards the old farm house where George grew up. She knew nobody would look for her there and she also knew the house was currently abandoned. She knew she was short on time so she was trying to run as fast as she can, while constantly looking back over her shoulder to see if anyone was following her.

Suddenly she tripped and fell down into the ditch. She was picking herself up when a car flashed its lights in her direction. It must have seen her fumble as it began to slow down. Her heart was racing now. She was frantic not wanting to get caught. Then she noticed it was a cop. She began throwing rocks and sticks at the vehicle and took off running as fast as she could.

The officer flew out of the car and ran towards her. He caught up quick and tackled the woman to the ground. Stephanie twisted herself around in his arms and bit his nose. She began clawing began clawing and scratching at him, franticly trying to get loose. Tears filled her eyes and she started screaming,

“No! won’t go back you can’t make me go back! Please, let me go!” she said.

The officer restrained her and sat her down at the side of the road.

“Calm down lady, my name is Barnaby Hobbs, I’m the Elklodge County Sheriff and I’m not going to hurt you,” Hobbs said.

The woman was frantically crying now. She looked her captor over and realized he wasn’t a local cop. Something was off about him but she figured she had no choice but to trust him.

“Listen, sheriff, please you’ve got to help me. I know it looks bad but those people are doing terrible things to me. Please take me someplace safe where I can tell you my story, but we have to hurry if they find me they’re going to take me back to that awful place,” Ashley said.

Hobbs wasn’t sure what to make of this situation. It was clear she was wearing an outfit that identified her as a patient of Nely Bly mental health clinic. Yet something about her seemed a little strange. He wasn’t sure if he was prepared to pick up an escaped mental patient. He reached for his radio at his side to call for backup.

Ashley kicked his radio out of his hands.

“No don’t do that, please listen to me, they’re bad people! I am not crazy. I was framed. I am not crazy!” she said sobbing into her arms.

“Okay lady calm down. First of all why don’t you start by telling me your name,” Hobbs said.

“There isn’t time for this you stupid cop! He’s going to kill her!” Ashley said.

“Whoa wait a second, hold up, who is going to kill who?” Hobbs asked.

“We don’t have time for this, put me in your car and take me someplace safe please and I will tell you everything but we have to go quickly, they’re coming for me and I can’t go back it’s a bad place they do bad things to me.” Ashley said.

He looked over his shoulder towards his cruiser. He had a hunch he should just get her into the back of the vehicle and call the local authorities and let them deal with it. But, he was curious what she meant about someone going to kill someone.

“Okay listen, you tell me your name and get into the car and I will take you to town and we can sort this out then does that sound like a plan?” Hobbs said.

“Please, my name is Ashley, okay, and George is going to kill Molly Goldfish if we don’t hurry up!”

Hobbs perked up when he heard that name.

“What do you know about Molly Goldfish?” Hobbs asked as he grabbed the woman by her shoulders and got into her face.

“Everything. I know everything please, if you help me I will tell you everything.” she said.

Nodding in agreement the sheriff walked her to the front seat of the car.

“Get in, if you talk and aren’t dangerous then I will listen but if you try to escape I’ll put you out and take to the local police you got it lady.” Hobbs said forcefully.

“I’ll behave I promise but we have to hurry,” she said as she got into the vehicle.

Once on the road the sheriff turned to her and asked what she knew about Molly Goldfish.

“Officer, we might want to get to someplace secure with some coffee, because it’s a long story.”

Ashley said.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 47

Chapter 47

Sheriff Hobbs knew he had to open an investigation. While it was true Hank was trespassing on that man’s property and he did have a knife drawn, the sheriff wasn’t completely convinced it was justified self-defense. He knew it should really be up to a court to make that decision not him. However he also knew Hank had been poking around for weeks pestering that man. The sheriff had gone up there looking for clues when those two campers bodies turned up. Hambly wasn’t about to close the book on that so-called “murder-suicide” either. Something was just too fishy about the whole thing.

The whole time he lived in this quite little mountain town he never once had a single murder, not anything even close to a murder. It just wasn’t the type of thing you’d expect from these parts. Yet here he had what looked like three suspicious deaths in the span of a couple of weeks. As a lawman he knew not put much weight into coincidence. Still, his gut told him otherwise.

Something just wasn’t right.

But he had nothing to go on. The coroner said the campers were an open and shut case of murder-suicide. There was nothing to suggest otherwise. He even told Hank as much when the old hermit insisted on stirring up trouble. He knew better than to dismiss his gut. He needed evidence. He looked around that cabin, the whole property that day he went up there and questioned the former doctor. He didn’t find anything out of the ordinary then either. Nothing except for that stinking goldfish bowl the man kept on his stove for whatever reason.

There was a tap on his office door. It was his deputy Jake Smith.

“Sheriff, you said to bring you anything from the crime scene that was out of the ordinary,” Smith said.

The sheriff looked up, annoyed.

“Well, did you find anything or are you just wasting my time?” the sheriff said.

“Well we found this map the victim had tucked away in his sock,” Smith said as he handed the map to the sheriff.

“So what?” Hambly replied.

“Hank was a survivalist, he kept detailed maps of the area on him at all times. This isn’t nothing new.”

The deputy unfolded the map and pointed to the space they found the body.

“Right here, it shows the cabin he was talking. It reads in red letters, just below the X,

“Who is Molly Goldfish? I figured that might be a clue” Smith said.

Hobbs grabbed the map from is deputy and examined it for himself. Sure enough there were those words scribbled onto the map beneath the X crossing out the location they found Hank snooping around.

“Sheriff, what do you suppose it means?” Smith asked.

“I don’t know Jake, but I sure as hell intend to find out,” Hobbs said. He stuffed the map into his pocket and grabbed his keys.

“Where you heading sheriff?” Smith asked.

“I’m going to go check that town where we found the doctor’s dead brother and his ex-wife. Someone around that town might know something about this,” Hobbs said.

“But sheriff, what do you intend to learn? You didn’t even work that case.” Smith said.

“No, but I read up on it when the doctor first moved up to the cabin. It was such a bloody mess I always knew if it wasn’t Hank it would be some other nut poking around if they got wind of that story. Might be something worth looking into.”

The sheriff wasn’t a detective and he wasn’t sure what it meant but something in his gut told him to dig a little deeper into this. Considering the old doctor just blasted a man full of shotgun shells for trespassing, he wasn’t exactly in the mood to go back up that way. Not yet anyways. He knew he was going to question the doctor sooner or later but he thought this was a good time to hit the road and see where it takes him.

Hobbs didn’t waste any time. He figured if he was going to get to the bottom of this he was going to need to get on top of things right away.

“Jake, I’m going out of town for a few days. I want you to watch the show while I am gone, make sure nothing gets too out of hand would ya?” Hobbs told his deputy.

“You got it boss. I’ll hold down the fort you do what you gotta do.” Smith said.

Hobbs grabbed the things he needed from the office including the map with the mysterious words on it and got into his truck. He wasn’t going to go undercover but he knew he was going to be out of jurisdiction.

He figured it would be better to get a good night’s sleep in order to hit the road fresh, but he couldn’t get any sleep with his pal Hank lying dead in a morgue.

After driving several hours, Sheriff Hobbs pulled into a diner off the side of the road. He had been here years ago helping out with another investigation that had similarities to the one he was currently working. He didn’t think the two were related but his gut told him it was a good place to start. After all, this was the town the doctor he was suspicious of grew up in. If there was going to be any clues to this mystery this was as good of a place as any to start.

Hobbs walked into the diner and took a seat at the counter. An older man, over weight and balding came up in a dirty apron to take his order.

“What can I you for copper?” the man asked wiping his nose on his apron.

“Give me whatever lunch special you got and a cup of coffee to start.” Hobbs replied.

As a seasoned officer Hobbs had been in his fair share of dives. He also knew it was these types of earthy establishments one could do the best fishing in a small town.

After a few minutes the man returned with a plate of food and a cup of coffee as requested. There wasn’t any wait staff which caught the officers attention. It was a slow time of day, but he felt compelled to bring it up.

“You run this place yourself or do you have any wait staff?” Hobbs asked the man.

“Oh well we had a couple waitress’s go missing not too long ago and since then the young ladies around town are too scared to work here. I do okay running it with my wife and I taking turns doing the cooking and my boy washes the dishes.

Looking around the sheriff thought it would be as good a time to ask about the good doctor.

He pulled out a photo of him.

“Speaking of dangerous, have you ever seen this man?” the sheriff handed the guy the photo.

He looked it up and down nodding his head and mumbling to himself.

“Mmm hmm yes sir I know Doctor Thompson. My sister lost her life on his operating table. Good man, lousy doctor I’d say. He had a track record of losing patients, especially girls. It was like since his wife died he couldn’t concentrate on saving the girls I guess.”

The sheriff, picking up on that hint he followed up his line of questioning.

“You say his wife died do you. What was that like? Was she well known in the community?”

The man looked at the officer as if to sum him up. Deciding he could trust the lawman for now he answered his question.

“She sure was. Served on all the council’s and committees around town. The whole town was hurt by her loss. Not near as much as the doc’s brother though, old George did though. I hear George took it harder than anyone else. In fact if you ask me I’d swear the two had to been having some sort of affair the way he handled her death. Lord knows how much he hated his own wife, Molly.”

Remembering the clue, Molly Goldfish, the sheriff’s eyes perked up.

“What can you tell me about her, the wife, Molly was it?” the sheriff asked.

“Oh gosh what is there to say about old Moll Goldfish, that’s what the girls around town called her. She was one of those women that was sweet on the surface but a real vixen underneath you know a hard ass bitch the way George told it,” the man said.

Suddenly Hobbs knew he was on the right track. He asked the man if he knew more about the nickname.

He told him the story about how George ditched Ashley Taylor to take Molly to the fair. He won a goldfish for the girl he was going to sneak off with and meet up once he got rid of Molly, but Molly was too possessive of George and kept the prize, and her man, for herself.

The sheriff left the diner knowing he had to find this Molly woman with her name being on that map. How would old Hank have come across that name Hobbs thought? Time to find out.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 46

Chapter 46

Hank was crawling around the woods as carefully as he could not to get noticed. He knew better than to be sneaking around during the day but he knew the man was out of the house during the day and it was his chance to get into the cabin for himself and see just what the creep was hiding.

Hank had set up camp a few miles from the cabin. He wanted it to look like he was out hunting or hiking in case he was caught. He threw his sleeping bag on the ground then set up a fire pit for cooking.

Hank is a survivalist. He could stay out in the wilderness with just his pocket knife for days and be okay. He didn’t want to make a big deal out of this. His plan was to lay low. He took just enough supplies to make it look like another one of his treks into the wild.

He liked being out in the wilderness. It gave him a sense of peace. It wasn’t from the quiet or tranquility, it was being out of the watchful eye of ‘big brother’ that gave him a sense of relief. He pulled out a personal pouch of coffee beans and set up his old fashioned fire-powered coffee maker.

“This is all I need right here, a cup of Joe, some trees and the critters crawling around. No spies, no satellites stealing my brainwaves and no government computers downloading my thoughts into that super highway the people don’t know about,” Hank said to himself.

He brought a couple of cans of beans and some potted meat just in case. He didn’t have time to figure that out today. He set up the camp as a decoy. He had to get into that house. Hank began his trek through the woods early He knew the man went out hunting or fishing early and didn’t come back until late in the evening.

I don’t know what this fool is up to but if the sheriff ain’t man enough to look into it then it’s up to me to be a model citizen. Stupid sheriff works for that lousy no good Government anyhow. This guy was hiding something. All my years hiding from the feds has taught me one thing it’s how to spot a paranoid person who had something to hide. I am determined to get the bottom of this mystery.

Hank was walking through the woods in the general direction of his suspect. He was doing his best to stay of hiking trails. He knew these woods better than anyone in the area. He was certain of that.

As he was walking Hank began humming the words to his favorite song. It was the fight song from his high school. He loved remembering all the poor saps he want to school with. It gave him a sense of satisfaction knowing he was able to cut himself free from the government’s stranglehold while his peers went off to be brain-washed by the man.

It was a ten mile trip to the outskirts of the property that housed the cabin he was looking for. Hank was covered in soot and leaves. He wanted to blend in with his surroundings as best as possible. Pushing a branch out of his way he could see the cabin off in the distance. He was getting closer. Hank left early in the morning. He wanted to make sure he had as much opportunity to snoop around inside the house as he could. He had scoped out the guy before. He knew what his routine was. Hank was counting on the man being like all other people, creatures of habit.

When Hank arrived at the fence he ducked down. He noticed something unusual. He spotted the man coming out of the back door pushing a woman in a wheel chair. The woman looked battered and bruised real bad. This was exactly what Hank was looking for, proof the man was up to something. Now, Hank figured he had to get closer to see if he could figure out who the woman is and what he was doing to her.

Fortunately Hank brought his long range hearing device and his binoculars. He decided to hold off checking out the house. He was going to see how close he could get to the couple. He needed to know what the two were up to. He followed the two from a distance, keeping low and out of sight.

This guy is clearly up to something. I don’t know who that woman is but I haven’t seen her before.

Hank situated himself a good distance back wedge himself inside a bush and a tree covered in foliage. He figured it was good cover. He pointed his listening device towards the couple. He wasn’t too interested in whatever the woman had to say, from the looks of it she wasn’t likely to do a whole lot of talking anyways.

At first he wasn’t get much, a few muffled words here and there. Then he pushed a branch out of his way and got a clearer shot. Headphones turned up, tape recorded set to recording Hank pulled out his binoculars to see what his subject was doing.

Hank heard something that caught his and he immediately checked to make sure his recorder was recording.

“I had already gotten a taste for death after Brandon died and then I talked Jennifer into killing herself. That power of knowing I could decide whether a person lives or dies, it changed me, consumed me. I went to medical school so I could become a doctor, not to save lies but to savor in the lives I would lose. Sometimes I would slip up, on purpose, and let a patient died. I always made sure it looked like we did all we could.”

Hank sat there listening to the two talk, watching them for the rest of the day. Fortunately he was a survivalist. He dug around in the dirt, picked up a couple rocks, pushed a log out of the way and hit the jackpot, a host of critters to nibble on while he waited.

Hank snacked on all the bugs his appetite could handle while he continued recording until the two went back into the house. He knew it! This motherfucker was a murderer and Hank had all the proof he needed. Hank didn’t even consider taking his evidence to the sheriff, no sir it was up to him to confront this monster and put an end to his killing spree. Hank would be a hero, and he would get the credit without letting the lousy government get involved at all. It was perfect.

Hank, survivalist, hunter, enemy of the state and now he was set to be a hero coming to the rescue of a damsel in distress. Life was giving him a second chance and he wasn’t about to throw it away.

There was just one problem. Hank only brought his hunting knife with him and a pocket knife he kept in his boot. His other weapons were back at the camp in his backpack. He left them buried in a hole covered with leaves at the campsite. He was going to have to trek back down to the campsite, grab his gear and head back up to the house

Hank knew what he had to do. He quietly backed out of sight of the man and his captive. In the back of his mind he knew this was the right thing to do. He quickly dismissed the idea of calling the sheriff.

There is no chance in hell I am going to trust anyone who wears a badge to do the right thing. For all I know the sheriff is in on whatever it is and that’s why he wouldn’t properly investigate. Damn the man is what I always say.

It took Hank an easy 2 hours to get back to camp. He had to go slow, laying low so not to get noticed. By the time he got back to camp it was mid-day. At that point it was a little too hot for him to make his way back up the hill. He decided he would wait until dark to head back up once it was cooler. He pulled out squirrel he caught earlier in the day out of his trap. He broke its neck and began cleaning it before he cooked it for lunch. He sat there on a tree stump eating his cooked wild squirrel and a can of beans.

This was the way Hank enjoyed life. No government. No technology. No people. He enjoyed being isolated in the woods. Despite everything he lost, he finally felt as if his life was fulfilled. He had meaning. He had a purpose now. He was going to take out that man, free the girl and then retire to a quiet life as a hero.

As he finished his meal he had an image from a distant memory flash in his mind. It was that time he took his own kids out hunting. For a brief moment he let himself remember the life he lost. Just as suddenly as the thought crept into his mind he chased it off with a swig of whiskey from his flask.

Oh no you don’t. I put that life behind me.

Hank drank until he passed out.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 45

Chapter 45

Two days earlier

Molly was lying in bed trying to figure out what the hell she could do to get out of this mess. She had no clue how long she bad been in that bed or even how much longer he planned on keeping her there. All she knew was the days bled together and her heart was beginning to ache. She knew her death was approaching shortly. She recognized the date on the clock radio by her bed. It woke her up every morning to AM news radio. She listened to the sounds of the morning show hosts talk about things she couldn’t even picture in her own mind anymore. He would come in, turn the radio off and walk out the door without so much as a single word. That is, unless it was one of those days he was cutting her, burning her or something else.

The clock radio kept good time but she knew her days were numbered. He kept talking about how her life was going to end the day his daughter was conceived. Despite the state she was in, Drake had no problem telling Molly every dirty little secret he kept in that twisted mind of his.

She began wiggling her toes and fingers. She had full mobility in all her digits now. She could twist and turn, but it still caused her tremendous pain to do so.

Molly was started to take stock of everything she could see in the room. She knew getting her hands on a weapon or tool to remove her shackles was going to be a long shot. But she was still trying. Just then the door opened. It was the monster. She closed her eyes as she always did whenever he was in the room. She knew it was in her best interest to not even look into his face. Suddenly something different took place. He walked over and unlocked her legs. She began to sweat. This isn’t right, he never visits her in the morning.

He walked over to the head of the bed and unlocked her arms. This was unusual. Now she knew better than to be hopeful. Her heart began racing. Something was going on. She was more scared now than she had ever been in her entire life. What was he up to?

He sat her up on the bed. He placed a hand on her shoulder.

“You got nothing to fear, sis. We’re going to get some breakfast, that is all,” he said.

She wasn’t in the mood for asking questions. She felt a shiver moving up and down her spine. She knew something terrible was approaching. She had no clue what it might be.

He took out a key and opened the draw on the nightstand. He pulled out some clothes. Underwear, a dress and some socks.

“Let me help you get dressed, sis. No need to worry. It’s going to be a good day today,” he said.

After he dressed her he placed her in a wheel chair he kept on the other side of the nightstand. He rolled her into the kitchen. There, sitting on the table was a plate of bacon and eggs with hash browns on the side.

He poured her a cup of orange juice.

“Would you like a cup of coffee, sis?” he asked.

Molly wasn’t sure what was going on. In the entire time she had been here he had never acted this way. She knew something was fishy about it, she just didn’t know how to react without setting him off.

“No thank you,” she said. “I am fine.”

“Good, eat. Enjoy,” he said.

Molly had been eating out of a hospital feeding tube sustaining her body on God-knows-what for so long she wasn’t even sure she could handle solid food. She picked up the fork and went after the eggs first.

She was certain it wasn’t poison. He wouldn’t go through all this trouble. Instead of worry too much about what might come next, Molly decided for once she was going to live in the moment and make the best of the situation. No sense in stressing over something she can’t change anyways, she thought.

She began eating the food.

“Would you like the TV on or the radio?” Drake asked.

She listened to the radio every morning as the alarm woke her up. She figured since the only TV she had seen since she got here was the horrible video of her abduction. She certainly had no desire to see that video ever again.

She looked towards the counter in the direction of the little TV set he kept in the kitchen.

“TV, I guess,” Molly whispered.

She could tell her voice wasn’t fully ready to return. Her throat was giving her trouble with every bite she swallowed. Still, it was nice to have hot food going into her stomach for a change. For a brief second she forgot where she was and the horrors she had faced for however long it had been.

He turned the TV on and as to be expected there was the Price is Right. That same old familiar game show she vividly remembered watching over the course of her life. A tear began to form in her eye. She knew she was going to lose control, but she wanted to fight it so badly.

“Hey sis, I know we haven’t had the greatest relationship since my brother died. But, I was thinking maybe today, just today, we could relive old times. What do you say?” Drake asked.

Molly was in full blown tears at this point. She had no clue why he was casually calling her sis. Or why he was referencing his brother’s death like it was an accident or something knowing full well he murdered his own brother.

“I know, you get emotional on Sundays. It’s okay though. I figured we would go for a walk out back and sit in the garden. We could smell the flowers, listen to the birds singing songs in the trees, then maybe, if you were up for it, we could have a nice little picnic right there in the woods behind my cabin. What do you say sis, you up for it?” Drake said.

It was the tone in his voice that made her crying even more impossible to turn off at this point. He was acting like he had never laid a hand on her. Never used her for his own pleasure. Hadn’t sold her daughter to Mexican smugglers. She had no clue what was going through his mind. But she couldn’t stop crying. She knew it was only a matter of time before her crying set him off.

He handed her a box of tissues and wiped her eyes clear.

“I know, sis, it’s hard for you. Missing your husband and daughter. I get it. I lost everything too. But that’s why I wanted to give you today. One last, nice day before the sun goes down on both of us. What do you say? I’m not asking you to forgive me or anything frivolous like that. All I am asking is you have one day of peace to see if you can find your smile before we go to the ever after. You up for it?” he asked.

Molly snatched the box of tissues out of his hands and dried her eyes. If this was going to keep him placated long enough to plot her actual escape she was going to have to go along with his plan, at least for today.

“Alright, Drake, I will play your game and go on this picnic with you. I have only one request. You called me sis, so why don’t, just today, you act like a brother and keep your damn hands off me, deal?” she said.

He nodded in agreement.

“Today is all about you sis. Shall we?” he said as he motioned towards the door.

He then proceeded to push her wheelchair through the kitchen, the laundry room and heading out the backdoor. He pushed her through the winding path surrounded by trees until they came to a small pond. It had flowers all around it. There were birds singing in the trees just as he claimed. Now, it was a little cool for her liking but she wasn’t going to complain.

He took a blanket and spread it down on the ground. He placed the picnic basket off to the side in a patch of flowers. Then he slowly helped Molly out of the wheelchair and onto the blanket. Despite herself she thought briefly, this is nice. She knew she was going to have to soak up as much of the nice day as she could because in her heart she knew it was only temporary.

“Drake, can I ask you a personal question,” Molly said.

It was the first time she had taken the time to address him since that night her life ended.

“Sure sis, you can ask me anything you want. Just don’t ask about Melody. I don’t want to talk about that, okay,” Drake said.

She nodded. Molly poured herself a cup of tea from the basket and took a sip.

“What every happened between George and Ashley Taylor? I know he was talking about her the night he died. I never thought to ask because, well frankly you scare the hell out of me,” she said.

There was a long pause. Molly began to feel really uncomfortable just now. She was starting to regret asking that question. As he looked deep into her soul she could feel a twinge of fear creeping up her spine.

He was breathing heavily. Deep breaths, in and out. His nostrils would flare with each breath. Molly was too afraid to move. She couldn’t bring herself to asking anything else. She just sat there as he looked at her. She couldn’t even begin to question what must be going through his mind right now. After what felt like forever, she finally decided to do the only thing that came to her, she slowly began to sip her tea.

“Molly, I brought you out here to have a nice day,” Drake said. “I don’t want to spoil it by talking about things we can’t change. You need to be patient, sis. The time will come when I give you my last remaining secrets. For now, let’s just try to have a nice picnic.

“Drake, you keep calling me sis, you said I could ask you anything. I want to know. What is the deal with her,” Molly said.

“The only thing you need to know about Ashley is this,” Drake said. “The night you and George went on your date, that night at the fair, I hooked up with Ashley. She was in tears over seeing the two of you kiss. She practically threw herself at me. Unlike my virgin of a brother, well, I wasn’t going to let an opportunity to screw Ashley Taylor go to waste.”

The smirk that crept on his face was a look Molly had seen before. She turned her gaze away from his. It was the face he made every time he, had his way with her. Here he was admitting to her about sleeping with the woman her husband couldn’t let go of and now he was looking at her with lust.

“Molly, Molly Goldfish. You don’t have anything to worry about,” Drake said. “You see Ashley can’t h urt you any more. She can’t hurt either of us anymore. Can we try to have a nice day now?”

Molly rubbed her wrists. They were sore from being tied up. She looked down at the ground.

“I’m not that worried about what she can do to me, how much worse can it get?” Molly said. “I just want to know what kind of affect she had on the men in my life, isn’t that fair? I mean, everything that you or George have done to me keeps going back to her,.”

She knew she couldn’t make it worse. If she was going to die on the same day he fucked that bitch, she at least deserved to know what was so special about Ashley Taylor, what kind of hold did she have on the men in her life. It was something Molly was determined to figure out, she believed she had a right to know, all things considered.

Drake placed his hand on her knee gently. He told her he would tell her exactly what she wanted, as long as she was willing to face the consequences.

“If you really must know, Ashely’s story is wrapped up with yours after all,” Drake said.

As Drake began to tell the story to Molly, she finally began to realize exactly how much danger she was really in.

I took sweet Ashley under those bleachers that night my little brother was off running around with that whore, Molly Goldfish. Ashley knew George had won that goldfish for her and Molly stole it, along with her man, the same night. I slide my baby maker into her that night. She ended up pregnant right away too.

Fortunately for me she ended up sleeping with that loser football player she would end up marrying just a few days later. She told me she was going to make him think it was his, convince him she remained faithful the entire time and let the two raise the kid together. Her parents weren’t having any of that. They took the kid and sent her off to live with her aunt or something.

I had already gotten a taste for death after Brandon died and then I talked Jennifer into killing herself. That power of knowing I could decide whether a person lives or dies, it changed me, consumed me. I went to medical school so I could become a doctor, not to save lies but to savor in the lives I would lose. Sometimes I would slip up, on purpose, and let a patient die. I always made sure it looked like we did all we could.

It was the first time I operated on a thirteen-year-old girl. She came in for a fairly routine operation. As I held her life in my hands I made a decision. I accidentally dropped the instrument I was cutting her up with, it fell into her wound, I made sure I wiggled it just right getting it out she was guaranteed to bleed to death. I let out crocodile tears and I beat on her chest trying to “save her live” as I hid the joy it gave me as I felt her life slip through my fingers.

I tracked down the little whore that sprung from my loins. It was just after college. I took a field trip across the country to visit all the states. I made a little detour in Ohio where she was staying.

The child that I fathered in a night of pure lust. I sneeked into her house. I was wearing a mask and a dark hoodie. I had on these red gloves. I went into her bedroom while she was sleeping. During the course of my struggle with her I wrapped my hands tightly around her neck and strangled the life out of that poor girl. I took a gun, busted into the master bedroom and shot her aunt, uncle and their sleeping kid all in the chest while they were sleeping. I grabbed a few valuables, mostly jewelry and I fled the scene.

I went to a liquor store around the way and sold the items to a thief in a back alley. He was African-American. I gave him the gloves and hoodie and asked him if he wanted a blow job. I blew him to get his DNA, went back to the crime scene and left his stuff on her genitals. I had to make sure he was seen wearing the same hoodie and gloves, with those items in his possession and his DNA on her body. It was perfect. He took the fall while I got away with it clean as a whistle.

A few years later I ran into Ashley and her new family. One night I drugged her with this stuff hypnotists use to distort memories. I raped her daughter while she was tied to a chair, helpless, watching. I used the drug to convince her she had watched her husband commit the act and stabbed him to death when she broke free. In reality I stabbed the shit out of him right in front of her. Then I handed her the knife before I cut her loose. Once the cops showed up she was in a hysterical state. She had no idea what had happened. The kid, well she was unconscious so she didn’t know.

Today, she is locked up in a mental health clinic for a crime she didn’t commit. Here I am, with the source of my brother’s pain before me. I told George before I shot him and made it look like he shot himself on camera, I was going to torture you and then kill you. I made a promise to my dying brother because he hated you more than anything in this world.

On the operating table I have facilitated the deaths of 12 different women. I only “lose” women and girls. Outside of the doctor role. I have taken 36 lives with my own hands. You will be 37. Yours will be the perfect murder. I will be tying up all the loose ends of my past while I ensure my brothers last wish is carried out. As for you sweetheart, your death is not going to be short, or painless. It will be agonizing. You will be begging me for death before I give it to you. Until then, enjoy the rest of today. This will be the last chance you ever feel the sun shining down on your face.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 44

Chapter 44

It wasn’t looking good. Sheriff Hobbs shook his head in disgust. The paramedics were zipping poor Frank’s remains up in the body bag. He knew most folks around town would be please old Hank got what he had coming to him. Still, it is his job to find out what took place.

He walked over to the rugged, middle-aged man sitting quietly on a log, clutching his shotgun still smoking from the blast.

“Howdy friend. Mind if I get that from you, police evidence you know.” Hobbs said.

He reached for the gun and the man pulled it back, hugging it even tighter.

“Hey now, listen you’re going to get it back, so long as your story checks out. I just need to catalog it for police evidence. Hand it over Mr. Thompson,” the Sheriff said firmly.

The man looked down at the ground. Without saying a word he slowly handed the shotgun over to Sheriff Hobbs. Hobbs looked the gun over before handing it to a deputy for processing.

He sat down on the tree stump across from the man. He looked him over carefully before he spoke.

“Mr. Thompson. I know you’ve just been through a shock. It’s not easy taking a human life. But, as a lawman It’s my job to ensure justice is served and for me to do that I need to ask you a few questions. If you don’t mind I’d like for you to take a ride with me to the office. Would you please join me?” Hobbs said.

The man didn’t budge. He didn’t speak. He reached over to place his hand on the man’s shoulder, who quickly slapped it away.

“Don’t touch me,” the man asserted.

“Take it easy, Mr. Thompson. You shot, and killed a man. I need to ask you a few questions. In order to do that, we need to go for a ride,” Hobbs said.

“We can talk right here. No need to go anywhere. He walked onto my property carrying a load of weapons, I warned him get off my land or else, he made a move towards his weapon, I shot him. Bang. Dead. End of story. Self-defense,” Drake said.

“Listen, I am sure you think that and that very may well be the case.” Hobbs said “However I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t thorough you know. I mean I was just up here a few weeks ago remember. I think it would be best if we went into town. If your story checks out and I have no reason to hold you, you get released end of story. But I’d sure feel a whole lot more comfortable I was getting to the truth if we did this at the county jail.

To that end I am only going to politely ask you one last time to stand up and accompany me before I have to place you in the handcuffs.”

Suddenly Drake stood up and shoved a finger right in Hobbs’s face.

“Don’t you threaten me, sheriff. A man came onto my property, clad in camouflage, armed to the damn teethe. I have signs all over the place warning people to stay the hell out or else.

Last time I checked this is America and I have a God-given right to shoot any damn fool too stupid to heed that warning. I felt threatened. I live up here, alone, because people out there make me feel unsafe. I live here, alone with my dog and my goldfish. I don’t have to be afraid of people walking onto my property. They don’t heed the warning they eat buckshot. End of story.

Now kindly catalog my shotgun, and write up your report so I can get my gun back. Now, kindly, get the fuck off my land!,” Drake shouted in the officer’s face.

Hobbs didn’t want to make a scene. He felt bad for poor Hank but at the end of the day, the law was on Thompson’s side in this case. Not wanting to risk making things worse Hobbs decided he’d get back to town.

“Hey sheriff, when the hell can I get my gun back?” Drake asked.

“I’ll mail it to you,” Hobbs said.

Drake Thompson sat on the fallen log as he watched the vehicles leave his land, one by one. He waited a good twenty minutes before heading back inside. He wasn’t going to be able to get his gun back but he had other, more pressing matters.

He walked inside and set his hat down on the table. He walked over and fed Goldie.

“Pretty soon, it’ll be back to just the three of us, Goldie,” Drake said.

He walked over to the fridge and pulled out a beer. There were only seven bottles laying at the bottom of the fridge. He was going to have to make another trip into town pretty soon. He cracked open the bottle, sat down at the kitchen table and began sipping the stress of the night away.

He looked at the calendar. Circle in red marker was June 15th. It was the date Drake Thompson impregnated Ashley Taylor, the stupid girl his brother had dumped earlier in the day for Molly. Drake sat there at the kitchen table thinking back on the night he took Stephanie under the bleachers by the side of the rodeo pit. It wasn’t his first time by a long shot. Drake had been getting around town.

He never even had eyes for little Ashley, to be honest. She was kind of cute but more so in that girl-next-door way. He was more into the girls with long legs, full chests and attitude to match.

Someone more like his own wife. He took another sip. He knew seven beers wasn’t going to be enough to push her memory out of his mind. He was going to have to settle for the next best thing. His uncle once told him the only way to get over a woman was to get under another one as fast as you could.

He didn’t make a habit of forcing himself upon Molly. He put her through enough with the torture. Plus, he was a murderer, not a rapist. Still, he wasn’t going to let memories of the woman that he lost enter his mind tonight. If the booze wasn’t going to keep her out of his head, he was going to have to settle for reminding her she used to be a woman.

Drake finished his beer and stumbled over to the fridge. He grabbed two more beers and walked into the bedroom where he had Molly tied up. It was going to be one of those night’s she was going to remember. It’s not like she had too many nights left, Molly’s life was going to end the same day his daughter’s life began. He opened the door, walked over to the bed and tugged on Molly’s foot. She opened her eyes wide as he began getting undressed.

“Hey babe, we got some memories to bury, you and me,” he said as he closed the door.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 43

Chapter 43

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Day in and day out Ashley lay in her bed watching the hands of the clock on her wall race each other up the face of the clock. The skinny hand raced around the fat one in such a tremendous hurry.

She sat there picturing the fat hand as a turtle and the skinny one was the bunny rabbit from that children’s story. She watched the little bunny race around the clock faster and faster each day. Then the old man in the middle would tell her it was time to sleep when he chimed nine times.

Every day the people came and dragged her to the little room with the clueless doctor. Everyday she would sit and listen to the doctor tell her stories. They were mostly lies from the way she could figure it.

Ashley knew she didn’t lay a hand on her innocent husband. She knew because there was a man in her dreams who told her he killed her husband. Every time she went to tell the doctor it was the bad man, his face would appear, finger above his lips hushing her to silence. He visited her every night in her dreams. The first time she opened her mouth and words came out it was his words in her voice, screaming she killed him, and Molly Goldfish was next.

The door to her bedroom opened slowly. The men came in and untied her from her bed. They sat her in the chair with the wheels and strapped her in. Then pushed her down the hall. Ashley knew it wasn’t time for breakfast, she had eggs three long races ago. She also knew it wasn’t time for the doctor, they already had their session. Something was wrong. She thought back to the other day when George had come to see her. He didn’t remember a thing about him but she knew his name, somehow. It was written in his face, she could see it if she squinted her eyes. But, she couldn’t remember him.

The rolled her into a different room. She hated this room. It was the one with the bad man and the couch. He would make her lay down on the couch, used some kind of magic to make her dream and force her to remember things she had forgotten, or was trying to forget. She called him the evil wizard because he used his magic spell to force her to remember the pain she didn’t want to remember.

The men in the white pants put her on the couch and left as they always did. The man came in and said the same words he always said. Ashley tried to fight it. She didn’t know how he was able to get power over her but she drifted into her nightmare every single time he showed up.

She would try to force him out of her mind. Puppies. Think about puppies, Ash. Think about how your puppy Benjamin used to catch fish by the lake. Fish. Gold fish. Like the Goldfish on Ferris wheel. Molly Goldfish…

NO. Stop. If you think of her he wins. Think of something else. Trees. The changing colors of the fall leaves after school. Think of the school dance where you had your first kiss, Jake Hampton. Remember hold old Jake. He was into you since 5th grade. All he wanted was a sweat, innocent little kiss.

Oh, sneaky Ashley gave unsuspecting Jake more than he bargained for. Not her flower, she saved that for…Drake Thompson. No! Stop. If you remember Drake you will let the bad man win. Forget about Drake. He was a bad boy. Yes he was. His hand went right up our skirt, remember. He found our flower and carefully caressed it away from us. He was gentle, but firm. He was so firm. He was…

Ashley knew she was losing. She was drifting asleep. Into her nightmare she went.

Ashley was sitting on her bed reading a letter George had written her. He explained how his parents were forcing him to take Molly Hampton to the fall fair instead of her. His letter explained how he didn’t even like Molly and was going to ditch her first thing. She read the letter with tears of hope in her eyes. He had stopped by moments early to break up with her and tell her it was over. Before he handed her the letter, he kissed her on the cheek and said, read it after I leave, please.

Ashley knew Molly was going to try to steal her man away. She was going to sneak off to that fair and meet up with him like he promised her. The letter said to wait by the Ferris Wheel. He was going to get Molly a cotton candy and tell her to wait by the bathrooms while he ran an errand for his brother. He was then supposed to sneak off and meet her behind the rodeo bleachers. She couldn’t wait to see the look on smug old Molly Hampton’s face. She wanted to send her back to her parents. It was because of Molly stealing her man she tried to seduce Molly’s cousin in the first place. No. Ashley. Stay on point. The voice of the bad man crept into her dream.

Ashley remembered tucking the letter under her pillow for safe keeping. It was going to be her good luck charm she figured. She got dressed and dashed towards the county fair in hopes of meeting up with her boyfriend, George Thompson. She didn’t have plans giving him her flower but she was certainly looking forward to taking the next step, French kissing. She had only ever French kissed that one camp counselor last summer. She only did it because he was cute and played that song her wrote her on his guitar. It was such a pretty song.

Ashley ran as fast as she could to meet her lover. It was too late. When she got there she saw Molly Hampton putting her hands around George’s shoulders, kissing him right smack on the lips and he wasn’t even fighting back. The nerve! She was so distraught she ran off as fast as she could. That is when she ran into George’s older brother Drake. He had been moping around the place since his girlfriend Jennifer moved away. Nobody really knew what happened as her parents had good jobs in town.

Ashley’s memories get fuzzy here. The rest of the night is a blur of the two rolling around under the rodeo bleachers, his hand going up her skirt, her lips kissing his earlobe. She felt him firmly, but gently, remove her flower at his own pleasure. She couldn’t even remember her own name, let alone if they used proper protection. In that moment she could feel his soul borrowing into hers as his love sword borrowed into her. She couldn’t believe it. Here she was making love to the brother of the boy she had been in love with. A whirlwind of guilt, love, pain and pleasure rushed through her body.

Ashley didn’t have words for the ecstasy she experienced that night as he had his way with her. Afterward she lay on the grass, feeling his love seed crawl into her egg and make a baby girl. Unlike Jennifer before her, Stephanie didn’t run off to have an abortion or whatever it was. She gave birth to the baby girl. She didn’t tell kids in school it was hers. She took a trip to Europe to live with her Aunt Lizzy in Copenhagen. Not a word of it was true. She did stay with her aunt while she had the baby but they were in Virginia nowhere near Europe. She returned with a new cousin who had been taken by the state following her mother’s drug arrest or some such lie the family told people.

Despite knowing she had made a living, breathing little girl with Drake, she refused to tell him it was his kid. She knew it would only bring him heartache. She married her husband, the football jock she dated from that point on and never looked back. That was until the day Drake showed up, out of the blue, to meet his daughter.

Ashley couldn’t remember anything more from there. She began screaming on top of her lungs until the men in the white pants took her back to her room, tied her back to her bed and put the drugs in her mouth.

She lay in the bed watching the little bunny rabbit racing the big, fat turtle around the face of the old man. She did that until it was time to close her eyes and go to sleep.

Goldfish on the Mountain Chapter 42

Chapter 42

It was a Sunday afternoon. Molly was sitting in the garden in her backyard with her daughter. She was explaining to Melody how her father was trying to get back into her life. Melody didn’t understand because after the divorce George walked away from his family. Still, Molly wasn’t going to keep her daughter away from her own father. Not if she wanted to see him.

“Mother, I know you can’t forgive him but I want you to come with us. You two don’t have to say a word to each other. I just want you to be there, for me.” Melody said.

Laying there in her bed in excruciating pain, holding back tears of what her daughter must be going through, Molly wished she could have been wiser. She should have suspected if George was trying to get back into his daughter’s life, there must have been a reason. Molly couldn’t believe she fell for it.

George knocked on the door. He invited Melody, and her mother, to accompany him on a father-daughter farewell date.

“You look absolutely stunning princess,” George said as Melody opened the door for her estranged father.

Here was a man who had walked out of her life several years ago now suddenly complimenting her, talking to her like he just came home from a work retreat or something, normal.

“Yeah, say’s who?” Melody asked. She was open to meeting her dad but she wasn’t in the mood for being overly friendly.

“I know, you have every right to hate me. I am not going to spend this day blaming your mother for what went wrong, or even apologizing for my errors. All I want is to spend one last day with my little girl before I move on with my life. You see, I met another woman and I am moving to California to start a new life. Before I head out I wanted closure, I, frankly, wanted to give you and your mother closure that is. The evening’s on my, my treat for the two of you putting up with my bullshit this whole time, sound fair princess?” he asked as he bowed his head towards her politely.

Molly had been standing off to the side, listening to the disgusting man she once pretended to love pull the wool over her baby’s eyes. If it wasn’t for her undying love for her kid, and respect for the young lady she was becoming, Molly would have tossed that son-of-a-bitch out on his ass right then and there. Looking back on how things transpired, Molly kicked herself daily for not making that happen.

The evening went off to a slow start. He took them to the carnival of all things. Knowing how their relationship got started, Molly surely didn’t think it was appropriate to say their goodbye’s in such a setting. Still, despite the gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of her stomach churning at the venom he spewed forth from his mouth, she carried on for her little girl.

Melody was about to finish high school and told her dad how she was glad he was leaving her behind. She said he could move on knowing full well she was going to be better off. As true as it sounded in her ears, she was surprised to hear George actually agree with her on this point.

It was sometime after the Ferris wheel that Molly began to notice George had been growing more distant throughout the night. Sitting atop the ride overlooking the view of the park, Molly had a flashback herself to that night she first began mistaking her feelings for him as love. She always knew their marriage was a sham.

Deep down that is, but she still told herself all these years she had looked deep into his eyes that night, above the fairgrounds, clutching that baggie containing the goldfish he “won her” in some contest. She looked deep into his distant eyes that night so long ago. Her heart stirring. She knew now it most certainly wasn’t love, not what her current understanding of what love was supposed to be.

However, she knew, at the time, he was the man she wanted to devote her time pursuing. She had to, he wasn’t willing to get over that Stephanie bitch. Molly never spent much time with her as she began taking George as her mate, knowing she would rather not associate with his ex-girlfriend for oh so many reason.

Somehow, sitting there all those years later, in a different park with her daughter, she saw something different in his eyes that night. If only she could have known what was going to happen next, she could have done something.

Melody was walking ahead of her mother with George walking by her side. They were eating their corn dogs he bought them. Melody knew she wasn’t going to see her dad again. Considering it had been so long since the last time he had been in her life, it really didn’t seem to bother her much.

“It’s getting late, George. We need to say you’re goodbyes and we need to get home,” Molly said.

He stopped in his tracks. Grabbed her by the shoulder and looked her square in the face, in the most serious tone he ever said.

“I know, love, I have one more surprise and then the night will be over. I will be out of your life, forever. Deal?” he said.

Molly wanted to brush his hands off her shoulder and push him away, but in the interest of not making a scene, and maybe, she thought, some sense of lingering feelings from long ago, she let him hold her gaze longer than she felt comfortable doing.

“Mom, please be nice. I am having fun and he’s moving away can we please just have tonight be a nice night?” Melody said.

George leaned in to kiss Molly, which she stopped with her hands.

“Um, what do you think you are doing? You want a nice night fine, but don’t try anything funny like that again got it Mr.?”

Molly said as she took a step back from her ex-husband who was beginning to really make her uncomfortable.

“I just got caught up in the moment can’t a man kiss his wife goodbye one last time?” he said as he made a really sad face.

“I would rather not, thank you very much. It would only further complicate things. Now, let’s get to this surprise so we can get on with our lives, shall we?” Molly said.

George nodded. He walked the women back to his car. He drove them down an old dirt road. Molly had never gone this way before, she had no clue what was down here.

“Where are you taking us?” Molly asked.

“Just a little further and everything will be right in the world. I promise. You know Melody always wanted us to buy her a horse, well I paid a guy to let us ride a stallion in the stables but we have to do it after midnight. We’re almost there.” George said.

Melody looked back at her mother with a puzzled look on her face.

“Um, George, not that I don’t appreciate this but when did I ever say I wanted a horse?” Melody asked.

“Oh, who the hell knows, I assume you must have it’s something all little girls want. Isn’t it the gesture that matters not the details?

I mean, sorry I didn’t mean it to sound like that I just, went to a lot of trouble to arrange this because I figured it would be a good way for you to remember me by. I guess I wasn’t really aware if you would be that into it anyways. We both know I was a lousy father, let’s not spoil it by making that your last memory of me.” George said.

The car pulled up to a ranch house way out in the country completely surrounded by woods. Molly was beginning to get really nervous. She had to calm herself down as she kept reminding herself nothing bad had happened yet.

Well, aside from that almost kiss. She knew in the back of her mind she was going to relive that moment for the rest of her life. As she lay there in what was sure to be her death bed she began to realize, that might not be too far off.

The car stopped behind the stables. The three got out and walked over to where the horses were kept. A stable boy had the horse primed and ready for her riding. He helped Melody up onto the horse and she rode around the grounds while Molly stood there, quietly by her ex-husbands side. More than a few minutes went before he spoke. He placed his hand on her shoulder and whispered into her ear,

“Tonight is the last night you will ever see me, rejoice in knowing that soon all will be right in the world, Molly Goldfish.”

Molly’s eyes widened as he called her by the nickname she knew other girls whom she wasn’t well liked would refer to her as. She turned her head to say something when someone from behind stabbed her in the shoulder with a needle. She could see men rushing the horse, yanking her daughters limp body down as she fell to the ground and blacked out.

By the time Molly had woken up she knew her life was essentially over. She was tied to a chair. Her arms and legs were bound. She wasn’t entirely sure where they were. She could hear men speaking what sounded like Spanish in the other room. It was very dark. All she could see before her was a single couch her chair was facing. She noticed she was gagged as well. She sat there with every terrifying though of what was happening to her daughter take place before her very eyes. It wasn’t long before she had an answer to her worst nightmare.

Three men dragged her baby into the room, twisting and turning as she struggled to get loose. Molly began flinching herself as she could only image what was about to take place.

Molly refused to replay this next part in her mind. She had to watch it happen, live while her husband videotaped the whole ordeal. Her little girl screaming in agony as these strangers violated her repeatedly while her mother watched helplessly.

Molly pushed the tears back from her eyes. She watched it happen over and over as Drake would constantly put the tape on and replay it for her. She could still hear her child’s cries for her mother to help her, for her father to rot in hell. For her abductors to die slow, horrible deaths. Then they drugged her, dragged her out of the room and paid George before he turned the camera to Molly.

“Your turn, bitch.”