Chapter 25: A Horde Of Ghosts
I drove down the dead end street where Sheriff Deacon lived. I parked the car outside his house and saw he was sitting on the front porch waiting. His police issue pistol sat beside him within reach. I walked up the porch, my eyes never leaving his. My gun, now fully loaded, rested in its holster under my jacket. Maybe I should have shown up with guns blazing, but I’d acted rashly too much lately. This time I had to be sure. I stopped at the foot of the steps leading up to the porch. Deacon nodded in greeting and sighed. “It was the ring, wasn’t it? That’s what finally gave it away.”
“I killed an innocent man because of you.”
He shook his head. “You killed an innocent man because of yourself. You were like a cannon. A stick of dynamite ready to explode. I just gave you an outlet for all that anger.”
He shrugged. “Dexter was making my little baby girl unhappy. He was trying to get busy with her friend Summer. Imagine, a man his age..”
“And so when Dexter comes back, he gets even with you by hanging your daughter from a tree house.”
“What goes around comes around, I guess. Karma’s a bitch, they say.” He placed both his hands in his lap. “So, did you get him?”
“Yeah, I got him.”
“I knew you would. When I realized he’d come back from the dead for revenge, I tried everything I could to set you on him. I knew nobody else could take him out. You know, I used to think it was crazy, the word on the street that you could see ghosts, but I guess that worked in our favor, didn’t it?”
“Why kill Lacey, Deacon? What did she ever do to you, except turn to you when she needed someone? She didn’t deserve that.”
“Come on Cole, I needed a fall guy. Things were getting too close. It was only a matter of time before you found something to link me to the Kaleidoscope Killings. Dexter was my fall guy, but I needed someone to take him out before he could prove his innocence. You were already distraught over Lacey leaving you. With her dead, I knew that would send you blindly to wherever I pointed the evidence.” He grinned. “You didn’t let me down. You were the perfect killer.”
“You killed Lacey just so you could send me after your dupe?”
“It worked too, didn’t it?”
“You bastard. You are sick. It’s bad enough you were the real Kaleidoscope Killer. You killed all those innocent women. You went around with us as we investigated your own crimes. But worse still was the game you played with those who cared about you.”
“Cared about me? Who? Lacey? Come on man, I was just a replacement for you. Nobody ever gave a damn about me.”
“What about Carla? You put your own daughter in the middle of your game. You had me kill Dex. He killed her. He made her friend Summer jump to her death. He killed off everyone we knew on the force just to work his way back to us. My God, can’t you see the madness and murder you caused?”
“Yeah, cool, isn’t it?”
“I’m taking you in, Deacon. You have to pay for what you have done.”
“I pay, you pay, Cole. After all, YOU are the one who physically pulled the trigger and murdered an innocent man.”
He was right. If he went down, he would take me with him. It was down to just us two. And we were at a stalemate. “Give me your gun, Deacon.”
He laughed and picked it up. He turned it over in his hand and then pointed it at me. I stood my ground.
“Aren’t you going to draw on me, Cole?”
“No, I’m not. This isn’t gunfight at the OK corral.”
“Suit yourself. I can just shoot you where you are for trespassing. Who are they going to believe? The sheriff or a burnt out ex-cop with mental problems?”
“Hello Carla,” I said.
I held up my hand and waved. “I was wondering when you’d show up.”
He turned to look behind him. “What? Where is she?”
“She’s all around you.”
He looked from side to side, trying hard to catch a glimpse of her ghost.
“She’s not very happy either.”
He became frantic, spinning madly, trying to train his gun on something he couldn’t see.
“Oh, hi Summer, it’s good to see the real you finally.”
“What?!” He waved his arms madly as if a swarm of bees were flying around him.
“I see you brought your brother with you. Sorry about your house, man.”
“No!” Deacon screamed and fired off a shot. The bullet struck a porch railing. He fired another into the air as if they were above him. “Get away from me!”
I turned from him to look out to the road. “Here they come, Deacon. Everyone from the force. All the ones you caused to die with your little game.”
He raised the gun towards the road. Unfortunately, I was in the way. I threw myself to the ground as he fired off a shot and then he spun and ran inside the house. I knew he was heading for more ammunition.
I got up and took off after him. After all, no one else would. No one else was there. Not even ghosts.
I closed the front door behind me. “Deacon!” I pulled my gun slowly out of its holster. I walked down the hallway in search of the madman. “Come on out!” I heard a noise from upstairs, so I headed that way. “You up there, Deke?”
He appeared at the top of the stairs. His eyes were wild and frantic. “Did you bring them in with you?”
“No,” I said. “Nobody’s out there.”
“They are. The ghosts.”
“No, they’re not.”
“Where did they go?”
“They were never there, Deacon.”
He looked at me curiously.
“How’s it feel to be played?” I asked.
“You son of a bitch.” He raised his gun to fire, but I drew mine faster. Blam! My gun discharged and the railing beside him exploded in splinters.
“You always were a terrible shot,” he cackled and prepared to fire.
“Hi Lacey,” I suddenly said. “Where you been, honey?”
He threw back his head and laughed. “Oh that’s good, Cole. Trying the ‘ghosts all around you’ routine again. It won’t work twice.”
I grinned. “She is behind you. Just like you crept up behind her in a dark alley.”
“I’m not falling for it.”
“Suit yourself.” I turned away from him. “Go ahead, Lace. He’s all yours.” I turned and started walking back towards the front door.
“Stop!” he shouted. I heard the hammer click back on his pistol. I looked back just in time to see her behind him. She whispered something in his ear and he screamed, spinning around in alarm. He fired the gun and the bullet went through her and hit the wall. His eyes went wild in fear. Somehow he could see her. Maybe whatever she had whispered had given him this ability, or perhaps she was using all the energy available to make herself visible to him. Either way, he knew this was her, and not some kind of trick. And this made him afraid.
“You can’t hurt me this time, monster,” she said.
“No, get away!” he screamed. He aimed for her face and pulled the trigger. Again, the round went through through her, this time shattering a glass picture frame on the wall. Ironically, it was a picture of Deacon himself. Undeterred, he prepared to fire off another shot.
Lacey shoved her hands against his chest, except they went through him, never making physical contact. Still, it was enough to make him react and step backwards. His back pressed against the railing on the landing. There was nowhere to go. He looked to his right at the staircase. Should he try to run? No, in his mind, because he could see her, she was flesh and blood and he would kill her again. With a shout of rage, he pulled the trigger again and it clicked on an empty chamber.
“Karma IS a bitch,” she snarled and leapt at him, arms outstretched for his throat. Her hands and body passed through him until she was hovering in the air in that space beyond the railing. He however, in his need to get away, had flipped over it. He did not hover long, but for a split second it seemed he hung there suspended, as if death itself was savoring the moment. And then he plummeted to the floor below. She followed him down, slowly descending like some dark angel there to administer punishment to the wicked.
He tried crawling away, but he couldn’t move. One leg was twisted underneath him and I knew it was broken. It was possible he’d broken his spine also in the fall from the second floor landing, for he just lay there, trying to will his body to move, yet finding himself helpless.
Lacey touched the ground and leaned over him. “You deserve far worse than I could ever do to you, Deacon. I could drive you mad for the rest of your life, but that just wouldn’t do.”
I stood where I was, watching her lean in close to him. A look of terror was on his face and he shook his head from side to side as if she were a bad dream he was trying to wake up from.
“I am done with you..” she spat in his face. She stepped over him and walked towards me.
I could hear his sigh of relief, see that look of fright leave him. Then Lacey stopped and turned back to him. She pointed to the staircase.
“..But they aren’t.”
I looked up on the landing and it was full of spirits. A horde of ghosts, all the victims of the Kaleidoscope Killer. All the women he had brutally raped and slain. In their mouths, his calling cards still rested, colored glass from a kaleidoscope toy he had shoved in their throats. In unison they all reached up and removed the brightly colored pieces, spitting them out into their open hands. Then they silently marched down the stairs in single file towards him.
All that came out of him was a whimper when the first ghost woman touched him. I saw him shimmer for a brief second and realized what was happening. Just as Lacey had pulled me onto the spiritual plane temporarily, so they were doing to him.
He tried to protest, to say something, but it was too late.
The ghost took the kaleidoscope glass and shoved it in his open mouth. He struggled but she pinned his arms down as another one of his victims stepped forward. She shoved her handful of glass into his mouth as well and then took her place holding him down.
He squirmed and twisted as much as he could, but there was no escape. They came in a line, each taking their turn giving back to him what he’d given to them. He choked and gagged as the colored pieces were shoved farther down his throat.
I couldn’t watch anymore. I closed my eyes. I heard Lacey whisper. “We should go, Cole.”
I couldn’t have agreed more. I opened my eyes, and the last I saw of Deacon was his body underneath all the phantom victims as they piled on top of him to administer their own brand of karmic justice.
I turned from the scene and went out the front door, closing it behind me. Let hell deal with Deacon now.
“Advocate For The Dead ” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.