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Strange Case of Theresa Carr
Strange Case of Theresa Carr
I introduced myself as Detective Carr, and I was investigating the murder of my own wife. The psychic led me down the hallway into a furnished workroom, and seated me in a chair, opposite her. She began talking even before I had a chance to sit down.
“Your child is missing, am I right?”
My heart did a pint-sized somersault, and I nodded. She could’ve read that in the daily newspaper or the wonders of technology.
“Someone close to you has recently passed away.”
I didn’t respond.
“It’s your wife.”
“Yes,” I said, and I felt a pang of sorrow skewer me. My rheumy eyes brimmed with tears and almost slipped past my wet tear ducts. I had to get a hold of myself or else I wouldn’t be able to find my wife. She was dead because when someone is missing for over forty eight hours with blood spatter left on the kitchen floor (along with the remnants of an umbilical cord) that’s what you automatically assume; being in the homicide business taught you to prepare for the worst.
I tried not to cry in front of this podgy woman—this psychic with frizzy, brunette hair that reached her shoulders. She wore hoop rings and a cross necklace. Her lips were plum colored. Her eyelashes were smothered with black ringlets, and, behind the thick shade of mascara, green eyes illuminated. They smoldered and seemed to bore in your soul.
I don’t believe in inner souls, mind you, but the way she looked had me believing. A chilly draft sprung the hair up at the end of my follicles. I still don’t know how Rita Shannon figured out my wife was pregnant. It was six months ago since she last saw her.
“Is she dead?” I asked, again, to confirm what my gut already told me.
“I feel her vibrations,” the psychic said, eyes closed, lashes fluttering. “She’s here.”
The more questions I asked, the more freezing the air became. What if my wife was alive, I thought. What if she was still alive and she was being forcibly held against her will, while I was chasing around shadows, placing false hopes on a clairvoyant?
She could still be alive, for all I knew, waiting to be rescued. But here I was meddling with the occult, the paranormal.
But what choice did I have?
All the leads went to nowhere land, clues hitting dead ends. I knew Rita for the longest time now and occasionally met her to solve cold cases or to revive an investigation. This was the first time I contacted her at her own home. I was exposed to her elements, and there was no turning back.
“She’s in this room.”
“In this room?” I swallowed thickly and whispered, “Is she saying anything?”
“Wait, she’s gesturing. Outside. She’s frantic. She knows where the child is.”
“Does she know who took him?” I asked, leaning over the desk between us, the slow tick of the overhead clock chiseling away my patience in flimsy slices.
“Yes.” Psychic Rita said. “She says it’s someone close.”
“Does she know who?”
“She’s not saying. She’s getting fainter. She’s going away. She’s gone.” Rita opened her eyes, and smiled, flashing white teeth. “Glen, I know it’s too much for you to bear, but don’t you think it’s best if you let the people looking for your wife and child to search for them and let them do their job.”
“But she’s my wife, Rita.”
She folded her hands in front of the oak wood desk. “I know that. We were close too.”
“Does she know?”
“Does she know what, Glen?”
“Does she know who killed her?”
Rita blinked uncomfortably. “Why do you think she’s dead?”
“You’re telling me she’s not?”
There was only silence.
“Where is she?” I asked, desperate now. “Show me where she is, Rita. If you can sense her, then you can locate my son also.”
She became very quiet.
“I want you to show me where she is, Rita. Draw me a map.” I fetched a pen and paper off her desk and set them in front of her. “Help me find her body.”
She sighed and picked up the ballpoint. “I can’t say for certain you’ll find her here,” she said, as she squiggled a crude drawing of a lake, an intersection, and a mound of what looked like a dumpsite, eyes closed. “But I see she is buried somewhere to the right of here.” She marked an X near the hillside.
“When have you ever been wrong?” I uttered my thoughts aloud. “You opened the case of the missing girl, Rachel, wide open. Don’t you remember that?”
“Very much so,” she said. “But that was a fluke.”
“That was not a fluke. You found her. You told the lead investigator exactly where to look, and they found her.”
“You should try there, then. I sense her presence in that place.”
“Okay.” I said, shoulders sagging.
“Is there anything more I can do for you?” she asked, touching my hand.
“No,” I got up out of my seat. “If I need anything, I’ll let you know and contact you.”
“Please do keep in touch. Again, my condolences, I know it’s hard—you two were a great couple. If you ever find her, I’ll visit you both to show my respect.”
“Thank you,” I said, but her words were lost on me. What did she mean by visiting us both? It would be a long time before I’d talk to her again.
I searched everywhere for my wife. I called for her in the woods. I dug trenches, uncovered hills, dredged the ponds. I scoured the area the psychic showed me, but perhaps what she said was right. Maybe it was a fluke.
For the past few weeks, sleep came badly like my waning appetite. The dreams were worse. Nightmares that had settled down days ago, flared up again. I shook in my bed, grinding my teeth unruly. I was awake in bed and heard noises outside the living room window. I drifted down the corridor, wondering what was scratching at the glass— something faint and pattering like a creature whining to be let in. I observed a silhouette move behind the sheer curtains. I approached the window and looked out, trying not to scream. I saw the face of a woman peering back at me, ghastly white and pale. A cold hand seized my heart.
And she was gone.
Fifteen years had passed when I received a phone call from a psychotic stranger.
“I’m your son,” he said.
“No, you are not my son.”
“Meet me at the gravesite.”
“What gravesite?” I asked, heart thudding crazily.
“The Oakmont Memorial Park Cemetery.”
The resting place was only several miles from here so I went. It was a short drive. I saw him right away, a teenage boy who looked alarmingly similar to me—the same eyes, nose, and the shape of his forehead. He was my boy.
“Who are you?” I asked with horrified disbelief.
“I just wanted to see who you were and how you’re doing. I’m your son.”
“You’re not my son.” My mind was racing. “My son is dead. He’s supposed to be dead.”
“My mother adopted me as a baby. She told me you were my biological father. She left a will.”
The murderer—the murderer of my wife—it was a woman? And, she was still alive?
“How’d you find me?” My mind turned.
“She gave me the address and number to your home. She passed away a month ago. She told me to contact you after she died.”
“Tell me, boy, who was your mother? What was her name?”
“Mister, are you sure you’re my Dad?”
“What’s her goddamn name, Son?!”
Then he said something that stunned and frightened me to the core.
“It’s there,” he said, ruefully, pointing. “You’re standing on her gravesite.”
I looked down slowly at the marker. On the tombstone, I saw the name Rita Shannon etched on the marble slate. It read herein lays a beloved mother and daughter, in loving memory 1967 – 2013.