Secrets Can't Be Killed

Submitted into Contest #42 in response to: Write a story that ends with the narrator revealing a secret.... view prompt

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Mystery

"Hey, Luna. Did you know they've almost solved every case from like the past 15 years?"


My eyes widen as I look up from my desk, "Oh?"


"Yeah. Apparently that new detective they hired, what's his name? Brent, maybe? Brent Matthewman? I haven't really talked to him yet so I don't know. But, according to Smith, Matthewman has 'something to prove' so he's been trying to solve every cold case. The only ones left are the Kelly murders and the one quote unquote 'serial murderer' from a few years back. The one where it just kinda stopped randomly."


"Oh. That's nice." I go back to writing up the reports on my desk. Adam continues to go on and on about the cold cases being solved. I try not to listen because they make my skin crawl. For more than one reason.


I knew who he was talking about. Except his name is Brad Nichols. I have no idea where Adam got 'Brent Matthewman'. But, he is correct. He has many things to prove. His dad was a big shot in the big city that's about an hour from here. He solved every case that was ever handed to him. Except the ones in our town, because he just never really had time for it. Since the ones in the big city seemed more important since there were more people pushing him to find the culprits since there were more people to be scared and needed to be protected. It always made me angry how no one really seemed to care about our safety. I mean, our town is small enough for us to really only need about 5 police officers and about 2 detectives, but still. We're still important, too.

But, he also has things to prove because he was only on the force for about a year before his old man pulled some strings with the mayor to have him promoted to detective so they could work the same beat together and so Brad could be 'higher up' than his police academy buddies. There's a rumor going around the cells that his dad paid off the directors of the academy so he got straight A's, all the time. I wouldn't know. I haven't talked to him yet. I hope I never have to. Male detectives always make me uncomfortable. They try to use their "superiority" over me to get me to take my uniform off. They're not even really higher ranking than us, they just get about $4,000 more a year than us. Which, if you're really adding it up, isn't much more than us. I'm just waiting for this guy to get his rocks off so he'll leave to be his dad's puppet and I might get the promotion. The female inmates tell me he's attractive but that doesn't matter. It shouldn't matter to anyone else.


"Hey, here comes Daddy's Boy now," Adam whispers to me across our desks. I groan internally.


He walks in, hair gelled and oiled so badly that I know if you let a cigarette that he would burst into flames. He has on a white button up and suspenders, like this is a 1990's cop drama. He even has the untied but tied red tie hanging under his collar. I try my best not to roll my eyes at him. His Rolex watch makes me want to vomit. What's a rich boy like him doing here anyway?


"Go back to your Dad's wallet, pretty boy," I think.


He opens his mouth. I want to tune him out immediately but I, unfortunately, wasn't born with that talent like Adam. He says, "Where's the other evidence locker?"


Adam and I both chuckle at him. He really doesn't realize where he is, does he? Adam stands and puts his thumbs in his belt. He pretends to have some dip in his lower lip. He puts on the thickest and worst hillbilly accent I've ever heard as he says, "I'm uh, I'm sorry there, sir. We don't got no fancy second evidence hoodicky. See, we just got the one. Ya know, with us bein' so stupid. We just couldn't keep up with so much stuff. I can barely keep track of uh- whatchamacallit? Oh, right. My truck in the back."


I can't help but burst into laughter. I blush when I look over at Nichols' face. "S-sorry, sir. It was just really funny." I clear my throat and hold my hand out for a handshake. "I'm Luna Luther. I don't think we've had the pleasure of meeting yet."


He looks me up and down with one of the coldest look on his face. He takes my hand and almost crushes my hand. "Hello. I am Brad Nichols. I am-"


"The latest detective, yeah, we know. It's a small town, remember? No one can keep secrets for too long." Adam says as he sits on his desk.


"I'm sorry, sir. Adam can be a little out of line sometimes." I quickly let go of his hand. "But, he isn't correct. Which happens quite a lot, actually. Secrets can be kept for many years without anyone knowing anything. It just depends on who you tell."


"Oh. Is that true, Mrs. Luther?" He raises an eyebrow at me.


"It's Ms.. Ms. Luther. I've not married yet."


"Really? At your age?" Brad keeps his eyebrow raised at me.


I can feel the rage boil in me but I have to keep it in me. I don't want any trouble with someone who can say one thing to his dad and I'm on my butt. I put on a fake smile and nod, "'Fraid not, sir. I've been married to my job for the past 20 years."


He gives me a weird look and it takes everything I have to not wrap my hands around his neck. He nods and says, "Alright, ma'am. Well, you're gonna join me on this whole 'serial killer' case. Because I'd rather have you over the royal pain over there. I've exhausted all the other help."


My body suddenly wants to freeze. I don't want to go. I really don't. There's a feeling in my stomach that is screaming at me not to go. I can't pinpoint as to why. I nod and agree, for whatever notion. I guess so I don't get fired or demoted. We get into his government car and start to drive. He won't really explain where we're going or why. I don't want to push it too far or make either of us mad. I sit and pull at the dry skin on my thumbs. "I really need to start to use lotion," I think as I chew on them.

We pull up to an old building. One that I know in my head but there's too many vines and other plants covering up things for me to remember. He leads me to the back through the gate. I ask him if we have a warrant for this. He tells me it was abandoned by the last owner after the father died of a heart attack in the house. Then, it hit me. This was my childhood home. Things come rushing back and I look at him in shock. I pray to whatever God is out there that he doesn't know, too.


He looks back at me as he steps over fallen branches. "Didn't you have an adopted sibling?"


"Y-yeah. Her name was-"


"Virginia. Did you ever know her original name?"


"No, sir. I didn't. My parents never found it important to tell me, so I didn't think much of it."


"Where is she now?"


"She died at a very young age. Around 4 years old. They think she accidentally choked herself with a jump rope when she was left in the backyard alone."


He stops under the tree. My heart stops. He says to me, "Who is they?"


"My parents. They didn't want to make a big deal of it all, so they didn't have an autopsy. They just wanted a quiet funeral."


He looks directly under his feet, "Really? Sounds sketchy." He places his hands on his hips.


I shrug, "I was only nine, so I didn't question my parents. Especially not my father."


"Why? Did he get mad easy?"


I nod. "Yes, he did."


"Did he ever harm you or your sister?" He tilts his head.


I wave my hands and shake my head, "No! He never hurt me. He-"


"Then, who did he hurt?"


"I don't know what you mean, sir."


"Well, we found something. Something awful. We found a thumb on the path, less than half a mile from your house. It matched the DNA from one of the older victims we found. Of the serial case." He leans against the tree and I want to cry. "There was blood on the thumb, Luna. It was dried and old. Not very much of it. But, we were able to get a familial match."


I can feel my heart sink down into my stomach. I want to vomit.


"It was your family, Luna." He looks at me and walks slowly to me. Suddenly, I'm scared for a different reason. "Luna. What happened?"


I fall to my knees on a pile of leaves. I start to cry, heavily. "He... He didn't mean to hurt those people. I know he didn't. He just... He would get so angry and he didn't want to hurt us. I was always getting in trouble and Virginia was so annoying."


He squats next to me, "Tell me about Virginia, Luna."


"My dad... He came home. He was bloody. There was... So much... He had something in his arms. It was a baby girl. He'd wrapped her in his jacket. She had blood splattered on her face. My mom took her from him and started to ask him questions. He had... This look. A look I had only seen in horror films. He said he'd gotten into a bad car accident. That, the parents died and that the baby had no one else because she only had her parents." I start to shake. "He... I believed him and thought the world of him. Then, when I was about 7, I saw this news story about these two people. A mother and father that were brutally murdered and their baby stolen. It was the 70's, so DNA and everything else wasn't even near what it is today. They never found the killer."


"What else about your dad, Luna?"


"I thought, no. That's not my dad. He's a hero. But she was three, and her looks were coming in." I cry harder and fall onto his chest. "She looked just like them. She had the mom's hair, the dad's nose. She looked like their kid. And, he started being even nicer to us the more they started to cover the story because of it being the three year anniversary and they had no idea. Then, a month later, I woke up to get some milk. I heard some things in the back, so I got a flashlight and walked out back. I saw my dad. He had that horrible look again. He smelled like death."


He holds me to his chest in comfort, brushing my hair. My entire body trembles. "It was like a worse version of when Cindy Loo Who was sent back to bed by the Grinch. He told me that he'd just hit a deer on the way home and felt the need to bury it. It was deer blood. He helped me warm up the milk and sent me off to bed. I knew better. I knew it. I didn't say anything." My breath feels like fire. "It kept getting worse and worse. Soon, it was twice a month. Three times. Four times. Then, one day, I hear Virginia scream. We all ran out to her. She'd found a hand. She was trying to dig a hole to China. You know, like kids want to do. She dug up a hand!" I start to scream, unable to breathe as the memories I'd tried to repress come back up. "She was a child! Stolen and then found a hand!"


I become so weak that I have to put my full weight on him. My tears stain his shirt. He tries to say comforting things, but he can't. No one can comfort me now. He looks down at me with kind, soft eyes. Ones I didn't think were possible from a man like him. "Luna, I know this is hard. I know this is a horrible things to talk about and for me to push. But, what happened to your sister after that?"


My voice is quiet and I can't move. "Dad got her. He'd lied about the hand and said it was a leftover Halloween decoration. He picked it up. Like it was nothing. He put it in the shed. He told Virginia they had to run some errand together. She went with him. He came back, Virginia didn't. He told so many different stories before he made up the lie of she accidentally choked herself somehow. He told me he was taking me to the path. He threw a bag and we looked at birds. The next morning, he was dead."


"He died by a heart attack?"


I shrug and breathe out as hard as I can, the tears burning on my face. "I don't know. That's what Mom told me, but to be completely honest with you. I wouldn't be surprised if she killed him when he was asleep or something." I'm so weak that I can''t even stand. Nichols doesn't make me get up. It's dark before I can bring myself to walk past the house. I have to cover my eyes with my hair.


With the serial killer and Kelly murder wrapped up at once, everyone thought that Brad would go back to the big shot police department. Instead, he stepped down as a detective and became an officer. We became close as he understood me better than anyone else. Especially the reason why I became a cop. He closed the cases as unsolvable. I was correct after all. Secrets can be kept for some time, if you tell the right people.

May 19, 2020 08:38

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