She sniffed and wiped her nose with the back of her hand. “I need to get my phone charger. I won’t be long.”
The elevator bounced to a stop on the second floor. Then, when the cab decided it was ready, the door rumbled open. Maggie and Ethel stepped out.
“I’ll be right back.” Maggie walked across the hall to her apartment, avoiding the temptation to look at Bruce and Debbie’s doors. When she got to hers, she noticed it was unlocked. Not surprising because of the speed at which her and Ethel had left the apartment yesterday.
Maggie left the door open and walked inside while Ethel stood in the hall. She went into her bedroom and unplugged the phone charger from the wall. She looked around. There were still lots of things she wanted to take with her, so she opened her big rolling suitcase and began taking the remaining clothes from the closet and dresser draws. Then she went to the bathroom and began collecting things that would not fit into her backpack yesterday. She pushed the shower curtain aside and took the wet shampoo and conditioner bottles out. She would need to dry them off before putting them into her suitcase. I will just put them in the laundry basket, she thought as she walked out of the bathroom.
The basket was still sitting next to the bathroom door. When she dropped the bottles onto the dirty towels, she heard a dull clunk, there was something hard underneath them. However, nothing hard should be in the laundry basket. For a moment, she thought it was her video camera, but she had taken it yesterday, and besides, she never hid it in the laundry basket.
Maggie bent over and slowly pushed a towel and the bottles to the side. She screamed. Not an ordinary scream of help me, but a cry of anguish; of I cannot take this anymore. She backed up to the wall and began hyperventilating.
Detective Becker ran into the room while Ethel waited outside. He followed Maggie’s eyes to the laundry basket. There, once hidden in the pile of dirty laundry, was a bloody knife. He put gloves on and inspected the curved blade, stained with blood.
“Is this yours, Ms. McGee?” He looked at her with suspicion.
Maggie stopped screaming, but she was still shaking uncontrollably. She could not stop the movements or even speak.
Two other police officers came into the room with hands resting on their sidearms.
“I think we found the weapon. It’s a karambit and is designed for slashing.” The detective stood and looked at Maggie. He asked again, “Is this knife yours?”
Maggie shook her head. “No, I’ve never seen it before.” Movement behind the detective caught her attention; it was Bruce and Debbie. “Go away, leave me alone.”
“Ms. McGee, I’m not leaving.”
“Not you, them,” she said, pointing toward Bruce and Debbie. Part of her mind knew she was making things worse by talking about people no one, other than Ethel, could see.
Debbie walked in front of the detective and spoke directly to him. “Detective, it’s Maggie’s weapon. She did it. She killed our beloved superintendent, Mr. Carl Zimmerman.” She pretended to pout and then she turned and looked at Maggie. “What are you going to do, Maggie, kill him, too? Go ahead, grab the knife and hack him, hack him to death. Do it now you witch, you murderous whore. Kill him.”
Maggie stood there, her limbs moving as if she was having a seizure. She looked at the knife and then at the detective who was not taking his eyes off her. “No, I’m not going to kill. I’m not.”
The two officers approached Maggie and handcuffed her and began reading the Miranda warning, “You have the right to remain silent. If you do say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to a lawyer present during any question. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire. Do you understand these rights?”
Maggie was preoccupied with Debbie and Bruce’s laughter and taunting. She could not stop crying as she repeated, “Leave me alone; just leave me alone.” She would have begun banging her head against the wall to stop the thoughts, stop the visions, but an officer was gripping her handcuffed arm.
Detective Becker approached her. “Maggie, they are going to take you to the police station. There are people there who can help you.”
“Why are you being so nice to her, Detective?” One officer asked as the other took Maggie out of the apartment. “She’s the perp; it’s plain as day.”
Detective Becker ignored him. “Bag the evidence and search the apartment.”
Maggie’s brain had taken a leave of absence from its duty of rational thought. She was acting insane as she passed Ethel, not even acknowledging her words of getting to the bottom of this.
Ethel went to the apartment door. “Detective Becker, I need to speak with you.”
“In the hallway, please.” He watched as the officers took Maggie down the staircase and then looked at Ethel and the tears of black mascara streaming down her face. “I know this may sound crazy, but Maggie did not kill Mr. Zimmerman. It’s this place, the spirits in this place. I know you don’t believe me, but could you at least consider the possibility?”
As officers began investigating Maggie’s apartment, he said. “I’ll look at all the evidence, ma’am.”
Ethel watched as officers strung more yellow barrier tape, blocking all the upper levels of the building. An officer helped Ethel to the elevator. When she reached the lobby, she looked through the window and saw a squad car drive away, with Maggie inside.