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Mary Had A Little Lamb: Chapter Two

Updated on February 23, 2017

Some Thoughts

Well, if you survived Chapter One, and you chose to return for Chapter Two, then you really must like the dark side . . . so I welcome you.

As I mentioned last week, this story is inspired by the nursery rhyme, but it is also inspired by real life. Just last week two teenage girls were out walking along the railroad tracks and were murdered. Here one moment, gone the next, and that’s the exact distance between our normal lives and a life of horror . . . a moment!

So, with that cheery thought as your guide, I give you Bill and Dawn, police detectives, homicide, in search of the killer of young children in Olympia, Washington.

The view from the killing fields
The view from the killing fields | Source

NOTORIETY

The newspapers dubbed him “Houdini” because of his penchant for appearing, and disappearing, without a trace. The Olympian, our daily rag, saw their sales increase tenfold as citizens devoured every word printed about our latest Northwest serial killer:

Police continue to search for the killer known as “Houdini,” who claimed his latest victim one week ago today. His total is now three, according to sources, and those same sources tell The Olympian that police are, at this point, very short on clues and suspects. Mayor Bloomfield advised citizens to pay special attention to the whereabouts of their children, and to report suspicious behavior immediately.

I tossed the paper in the trash and turned to Dawn, who was pouring over transcripts of hotline phone calls.

“Anything of interest in those calls, partner?”

She looked at me and shook her head.

“Same old paranoid, delusional tripe we always see when a hotline is established. People are afraid, Bill, and that means seeing shadows where none exist. It’s only going to get worse until we catch this puke.”

She was right on about that. What she didn’t say . . . what she didn’t need to say . . . was that the city was going to go into full panic mode if another child was killed. Olympia, despite being the capital of the state, is a small town. If three small kids get killed in New York sure, there’s some concern, but not the type of full-fledged-white-knuckle-shit-your-pants chaos that Olympia was on the brink of experiencing.

“We’re not doing any good here, Dawn. Let’s go back down to the last scene and try to figure out how he dumped her without a trace.”

Houdini for Sure

His nickname was well-deserved. One week earlier Mary Burnett, by all accounts a radiant four-year old when alive, had been killed, her body dumped on muddy, tidal flats, twenty feet from solid ground. The killer had managed to somehow drop off the body without leaving a footprint or any other tangible indication of how he did it.

Ten minutes after checking out of the office, Dawn and I stood on the sidewalk looking out at those tidal flats. Inspiration was not our companion.

“I still don’t get it, Bill. You take one step on that shit and you’ll sink down a good foot, maybe more. So he does what, drops her gently from the sky using a drone? It’s humanly impossible to pull off this trick.”

“And yet he did it,” I told her, looking around at the surrounding area. The sidewalk we stood on was only elevated about five feet above the tidal flats. The road, like most of Olympia, was little-traveled in the wee hours before dawn. The nearest street lamp was a good fifty feet north of where we were standing. Four lanes of asphalt, another sidewalk, and then a slight hill separated the murder scene from the nearest homes. I estimated that distance at one-hundred yards, maybe slightly less. It was a good site to drop a body but still, it took a certain amount of balls to pull it off.

“What about the tides?” I asked her. “What kind of water are we looking at with high tide?”

“A maximum of two feet,” was her tired answer. “Even a flat-bottomed skiff would be scraping mud with two people in it.”

Dawn hugged herself and looked at me.

“This isn’t going to be a slam-dunk, is it? Let’s go talk to Mary’s parents again.”

A home of sadness
A home of sadness | Source

Into the Bosom of Sadness

The home where Mary Burnett had lived her four years of life was a faux-farmhouse on two acres of land out on Libby Road. In the bright sunlight it looked peaceful and inviting, two old cedars providing ample shade, chickens scratching the ground, a wraparound porch with lawn chairs overlooking a small duck pond. The house itself stood fifty yards off the road, a single driveway leading to it, no other access to the actual house. Mary had been tucked in bed at eight the night she went missing, tucked away in an upstairs bedroom, no other access to that bedroom other than a window which was locked the night of her disappearance. Mom had checked on her daughter at ten, found her missing, and called it in immediately. Somehow, in that two hour window, the killer had entered the home, gone upstairs, grabbed Mary, taken her outside, and driven off with her, all while mom and dad watched television downstairs in the living room.

There was a new Ford F-150 in the driveway next to a Mercedes C-Class. Mister Burnett, a corporate lawyer, came outside to greet us as Dawn shut down our car. We got out and shook hands with him. I let Dawn do the talking. My plan was to observe and categorize, silently toss around theories and scenarios while Dawn asked questions.

Mister Burnett was beaten down, plain and simple, as though the life force had been sucked out of him with Mary’s disappearance. His hair was unwashed, his clothes rumpled, and at ten in the morning I could smell beer coming from him as he talked.

“Anything new, detectives?” he asked.

“No, Mister Burnett, we’re sorry, these things take time,” Dawn told him. “We’re sorry to invade your space once again, but we wanted to walk through the house one more time. Maybe we’ll see something this time we missed before. Would that be all right, Mister Burnett?”

Grief Becomes a Physical Presence

The man of the house led us into the kitchen where his wife sat at the table, a cup of coffee before her, a bottle of vodka next to her cup. She barely resembled the woman we had met seven days earlier. Angie Burnett had once been a model for T. J. Maxx and The Gap. She had once been a respected dentist. She had once been quite active in the Arts in Olympia, serving on several advisory boards.

All of that was gone. Only a shell remained.

Her gaze was vacant as she looked at us.

“Mrs. Burnett,” Dawn said. “We’ll be as quick as possible. We are so sorry to disturb you again.”

“Do either of you have children, detectives?” she asked us. We both shook our heads. “Good, then. Don’t do it. The cost is too much. Mary was our only child. We had planned on having three but, well, I don’t think so now.”

She looked out the kitchen window. I’m not sure she even knew we were there.

“What did I do wrong? How did I allow this to happen? My baby counted on me and now she’s dead, and nothing can bring her back, no one can make it all go away, here one moment, gone the next, poof, the blink of an eye, Mary, Mary, quite contrary, pretty maids all in a row and that lamb, always the lamb, following along, stinky animals, sheep, why would any little girl want to be around such a smelly animal? Do you know?” she asked Dawn, then turned to me. “Do you know?”

The final resting place of the victims
The final resting place of the victims | Source

Absolutely Nothing

An hour later we were once again in our department issue Ford Explorer, staring at the farm house.

“We have ugly jobs,” Dawn said. “No wonder cops eat their guns. Mrs. Burnett may not make it back, you know?”

“Don’t take this the wrong way, hon, but at this moment I can’t worry about Angie Burnett. We have to stop this bastard but first, we have to figure out how the hell he did this. To get upstairs he had to have walked right by the living room to the stairs, then carry a child down those stairs and right by the living room again, all the while two loving and protective parents were in that living room watching television. He then takes the child somewhere else, strangles her, abuses her post mortem, and leaves her body in an impossible-to-reach location downtown.

“How can a human being do what he’s done so far?”

I’m convinced . . . no, I hold out hope . . . that there is a special kind of hell for child-killers, some place where Cerberus feeds constantly on the screaming carcasses of the guilty.

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 months ago from New York, New York

      Definitely agree with that last line and no matter how old I get will never understand anyone who could do harm to a child at all. But still enjoying this latest short story here and thanks for sharing with us, Bill. Happy Thursday now!!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 months ago from Mesa, AZ

      More and more intriguing. While the story is sad and scary, I find myself getting more involved to see what Bill and Dawn will do.

      I have to say those videos were terrifying. Like watching a train wreck, I couldn't stop watching even though I wanted to!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 4 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill, your masterful touch is all over this gripping story. I need to follow this to its conclusion and hope that Bill and Dawn capture the killer before he takes many more young lives. Good work.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, John! Definitely not an uplifting story, but one that demanded I tell it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, I could only watch part of those videos. Those guys are just too scary for me. :) I may write this stuff well but I sure don't like the real thing.

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, if they put me in charge of hell, that's what will happen to everyone who harms a child. That's what I love about being a writer...I can make my desires come true! :)

      Happy Thursday, my friend.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      I said I wouldn't be here, but darn it Bill, you've pulled me in. I have to know what happened and how. If you have this one figured out you're a heck of a lot smarter than me. (Actually, you are anyhow, but that's beside the point).

      By the way, I didn't watch the videos--there are some places I just don't want to know about.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I'm waiting for my muse to tell me how this murder was done, so no chance I'm smarter than you. Thanks for reading. I know you didn't want to, so I appreciate it. As for the videos, I would only watch about two minutes of that sickness and then I gave up on it.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a story that grips the heart, and you tell it so well. Your description of the mother was so visual, I could almost smell the vodka. I live close to the Indiana line where the two girls were murdered. It's on the news nonstop. The way you've outlined the spot where the body was found is a mystery that bugs me. How could that have happened? I know we'll find out, but until I do, It'll be on my mind.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Ruby! Those two girls in your area...horrible tragedy! That sort of thing, in real life, sickens me....that youth...that innocence..touched by evil.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 4 months ago

      Great story. I had wondered about the boat and now you have removed that line of enquiry! Poor parents. How they keep going I do not know.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Awesome. I love murder mysteries. And this one is a good one. Tough stuff.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Eric! I'll try to keep you guessing. It's hard to do with you bright ones. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That would be too easy, RoadMonkey, an insult to your intelligence. I want you guessing a bit before we get down to the real answer. :) Thanks for following along.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 4 months ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Larry! I'm kind of curious how this will play out.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 months ago from Dubai

      A gripping story, wonder how they are going to track him down.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, I'll let you know as soon as my muse speaks to me. Thanks for always being here.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      This is most gripping indeed. Good for some shivers and scares. I love stories like these that just lead you on and you want to know more. I will go to the first part right away.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Rasma! We all enjoy a good scare, don't we? :) I appreciate you!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 4 months ago

      Wow, Bill, this is starting to sound supernatural, but coming from you, I'm sure it will have a logical conclusion. I plan to follow through to the very end. Well done so far!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks MizB! I wouldn't have so much faith in me if I were you. I'm not sure how I'm going to resolve this one. LOL

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      One would hope that your last line is true. I can't begin to imagine the grief of a mother in such a situation. Unbearable.

      I've been going through possibilities as to how the body got on the sands. An inflatable boat, then deflated and drawn back by rope? That's all I could come up with!

      I hope we're going to get at least another chapter, bill.

      Have a high-thermal Thursday!

      Ann

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      You tear at our emotions in the crime story as intensely as you do in the love story. Good all the way!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, as soon as I figure out how the perp did it I'll let you all know. LOL Seriously, I'm waiting for my muse to speak to me. Until then it will remain a mystery to us all.

      Wishing you a Temptingly Terrific Thursday!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I will try to always live up to that high praise. Thank you!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      What a tragedy about those two teenage girls, Bill. I think of my granddaughter who is four years old, and I worry. The world has never been a safe place, but now, dangers seems to lurk around so many corners and footpaths.

      There's nothing worse than losing a child. Nothing. My heart went out to Angie and her husband. There's something to that nursery rhyme that seems to echo the impossibility of how Mary was taken, and how she was left on the mudflat. We are cheering Bill and Dawn on. I know it's the Christian thing to forgive, but I hope "the hound of Hades" will soon be fed.

      This is an absorbing, won't-let-go story, Bill.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 months ago from USA

      Excellent job, Bill. You do have me and perplexed. You're on a roll with this one!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! I hope I can keep it up. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Genna! I agree, of course, about the loss of a child. I can think of nothing worse. I guess a writer can't help but inject his or her own views on life...at least this writer can't.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 4 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting, Bill. I am very much excited to know what clues they may pounce upon and how do they trace the killer. But, I have to wait till you unfold these things. So, eagerly looking for the next episode.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a dark story with a very intriguing mystery. The explanation for the mystery should be interesting! I wish incidents like the one you describe didn't happen in real life.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, it happens far too-often in the States and it is tragically sad. Thankfully this is just a story. :) Thanks for joining along.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Venkatachari M....it should be an interesting journey.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 months ago from United Kingdom

      This tale has really sucked me in. How did he manage to get past the parents? I'll be thinking about this for the rest of the day. Damn, you're good, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thanks, Zulma. Oddly, setting the stage for a story comes easily for me. I struggle more with the next step, developing the story...but I'll plow forward and figure it all out.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 months ago from United Kingdom

      Really?! Me, too. I get a well-developed intro and, sometimes, I already know how it's going to end. It's the stuff in between that's a little hazy. You should throw that out there via the mailbag and see if this is a common thing. I wonder how many out there do the same thing but are too embarrassed to say so thinking they should have the story in place before they start writing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Truth, Zulma! I rarely know what a story is going to look like when I start out. On a rare occasion I'll know the ending, but usually I'm working it out as I move forward with the chapters. My muse usually shows up about halfway to the ending. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 4 months ago from london

      More intrigue. You'd find him, Bill. They always make a mistake sooner or later. Keep going!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      They do for sure, Manatita, and usually an extremely stupid mistake at that. :)

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 4 months ago from Nibiru

      I like these story...mystery, gruesome and gory.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 months ago from Texas

      Bill, this is one of those stories that rips out you heart and leaves the parents empty inside without tears to wash away the grief. I could have been one of those little girls if my grandfather were not so vigilant.

      I love the mysteries but do not like the murder of children.

      Blessings my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I understand completely, Shyron! I appreciate you stopping by and would understand if you stopped right here.

      blessings always

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is all that, Clive, and I'm glad you are enjoying it. Thanks my friend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 months ago from United Kingdom

      I enjoy true crime books and documentaries and it seems the reason the culprit is eventually caught is because he/she is sloppy with small details. Tsk, Tsk, amateurs. lol

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      So true, Zulma! It usually is plain stupidity that gets them caught in the end...a speeding ticket, a brake light out, that sort of thing. Thank God they are stupid or we'd have serious issues. :)

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I've got some partial theories. I agree with the officer, forget the parents for now. Get that guy. Waiting expectantly for part three.

    • jo miller profile image

      jo miller 4 months ago from Tennessee

      I knew you were hooked. Now we're trying to figure it out before you do. Good luck.

    • simplehappylife profile image

      sannwi 4 months ago

      nice follow up...looking forward to the next one :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you SA! I'm writing the next one today, so we'll both find out together.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I suspect you will figure out before I do. LOL I'm winging it.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, your partial theories are probably better than mine right now. Let's see where we go from here because I don't have an ending yet.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 4 months ago from Florida

      It's such an intriguing mystery, Bill. It reminds me of the Jon Benet Ramsey case a little. How in the world does someone enter and kill a little girl, and even, in the Ramsey case, leave her dead body in the home?

      That would be the hardest part for me. If I was in the house and a pervert somehow made it in and took my child. I felt the mother's pain. It's a nightmare scenario!!

      As a parent, and knowing what goes on in the world; listening to different horror stories of crazy killers of children, you can't help but let your mind go off to the "what if" that was my child? It brings a sick feel to my stomach just thinking about it now.

      Yesterday, while out with my son at Gamestop, I thought about it. I was in there letting him pick a new game, because he did well at completing a yearly test that he has to take, and there was this man who was just standing in there. He came in after us, but he wasn't really looking around. He just stood close to the door and kind of swayed back and forth. My son was nearby playing one of those game systems they have set up, and I was in the middle at the register trying to pay. The guy was so slow. I kept watching to make sure Parker was safe. I finally told Parker to come beside me, and weirdly the man walked out and down the strip. My point is, you just never know. This man was probably innocent and killing time, but how do you know? You have to be so aware these days.

      This is a good story for several reasons. It's a mystery, which is always exciting to read, but it is also informative in ways. If it finds a way into a parent's path who may not think so much about these things, maybe it will change their perspectives enough to realize that they need to stay alert when it comes to their children.

      I'll be back!! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Missy, thank you! I don't particularly like the subject matter, but I do think it's an important topic. We can't pretend this stuff doesn't happen, and any parent who denies its existence is a fool. There is evil out there and we need to be vigilante at all times as a parent and just as a human being. Heck of a way to live, eh?

      Thank you so much for being you!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      "I’m convinced . . . no, I hold out hope . . . that there is a special kind of hell for child-killers, some place where Cerberus feeds constantly on the screaming carcasses of the guilty."

      I'm convinced as well, dear Bill. Divine retribution is the only way I can stomach the thought of the multiple traumas caused by a serial child killer.

      I'm gaining confidence in the detective skills of Bill and Dawn - a wonderfully balanced duo.

      Will catch up with Chapter 3 soon. Love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, I probably shouldn't say this, but I find solace in the fact that hardened criminals hate child molesters and killers as much as we do, and that in prison, these animals find old-style justice. This is just too horrible a crime to be treated humanely in the justice system.

      Thanks, love, and hugs coming your way

      bill

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 4 months ago

      It is a sad situation , but interesting thinking :) I like detective stories :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Detective mysteries have always been my favorite, Sparrow. Thank you so much.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Awesome, I'm say here, trying to think of ways the killer could have got in, and I've got no clue!

      Great writing.

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Maybe it is magic, Lawrence. LOL I'm so glad you are enjoying the story. I think it's time to add some clarity, don't you? :)

      blessings and thanks

      bill

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I can't even imagine how the Burnetts feel. A parent never pictures their children dying, especially so young and violently. I think I'd lose my mind and find an evil in myself I didn't know exists. I think you know what I mean.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I do know what you mean, Sha! I hesitated even writing this story when the idea came to me, so repugnant the subject matter was.

      Thank you for sticking with me despite the horrible nature of the crimes.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 3 months ago from Texas

      Wow, I can't imagine this getting much darker. . .and yet I dare to venture into further chapters. These detectives must be dealing with a totally demented demon.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Demented for sure, Shannon! It will be nice when they finally get what they deserve. Thanks my friend.

    • Lisawilliamsj profile image

      Lisa Williams 3 months ago

      Wow! I love this! It is beautifully written. The words really grab you, take hold, and leave you wanting more!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well thank you very much, Lisa! I'm so happy you like it, despite it's dark nature.

    • Lisawilliamsj profile image

      Lisa Williams 3 months ago

      The dark nature of the story is one of the most intriguing parts. I love the characters, the tension, and the subtext. It really leaves me wanting more!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Lisa. Well it gets darker, so hang on. :)

    • profile image

      Lea Tartanian 2 months ago

      Wow Bill !!! Now I am returning to finish your other 'noose' book. This is excellent and scary!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lea. This one is a dark one for sure...and it will get darker.

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