*This is the last chapter of Sinister Attachments: A Paranormal Psychological Thriller (Rancor, #1)
Ethel looked around the room until she noticed Maggie sitting and waiting. She sat in front of the glass and picked up the phone to the side of the window, Maggie did the same. “How are you doing in here, Maggie?”
Maggie shrugged. “They think I’m crazy.”
“I know you’re not crazy and I’ll keep in communication with that Detective Becker. Even though he has to follow the rules, I sense that he knows there is something else happening. I’m on your side, Maggie, and I think the detective can help you.”
Maggie looked down at the table. “I don’t know how. The knife was found in my apartment.”
“It was found there; you weren’t caught using it red-handed.” Ethel looked at Maggie’s messy hair and drooping shoulders. She lowered her voice and said, “I’m working spells of protection for you, but the blackness that’s attached to you is powerful. Just do not give up. The more upset you are, the more you fuel it . . . And them. Stay positive.”
Maggie’s eyes were moist with tears. “Thank you, Ethel, you’re a good friend. But I’m not having much luck staying positive, especially when I may be convicted of murder.”
“You’re innocent, Maggie, and the truth will come out.”
“Even if the truth was to come out, Debbie and Bruce will do whatever they can to make me look guilty. It’s hopeless.”
Ethel changed the subject to something more pleasant, even though no matter what topic she chose, it would be depressing to a person trapped in a jail cell. A new recipe she was going to try, the flat tire she had repaired, and the sales at Lenny’s grocery would make a prisoner jealous.
The buzzer sounded.
“I guess my time’s up.” Ethel leaned toward the glass. “I’ll be back for the next visitation day. And don’t worry about your stuff, I’ve got it stored in my spare room. Is there anything you need me to do?”
Maggie shook her head. “Keep working on getting Debbie, Bruce, and Susie away from me . . . and that dark thing in the monk’s robe.” She paused, and then said, “Sometimes I see them here in the jail. They’re making fun of me and saying things to the guards. Can people hear them? I mean, the guards and detectives, do you think their subconscious minds somehow hear the lies about me?”
“Depends,” Ethel said, with a voice that scratched more than usual. “Most people have no ability to hear them and no matter what Debbie and Bruce may say in their ears, it goes unheard and unacted upon. But sad to say, some weak individuals can hear, at least a little bit, and be influenced by the voices in their heads. Other people who hear them take it for what it is, spirit talk. They either ignore it or go into professions such as mine and use their sixth sense to communicate with spirits.” Ethel forced a smile. “But don’t you worry, I’ll figure out a way to cast the evil spirits from your life.”
She hung up and followed the rest of the visitors out of the room and down the stairs to the waiting area.
Maggie stayed seated. There was one more visitor to see. Minutes later the next group of people came through the door and into the room. Then she saw Jess walking toward her. Maggie wanted to call the guard over and refuse the visit, but she was curious to know why Jess was visiting and what she had to say.
Jess picked up the phone. “Hi, Maggie, how’s it going?”
Maggie did not answer. How do you think it’s going? She looked at Jess’s happy face and jewel neckline blouse. The gold tassel necklace and matching bracelet looked expensive.
“Cat got you tongue?” Jess looked at the flat link chain bracelet and back to Maggie. “I know what you’re thinking, Is it real gold? The answer is yes it is. And I’m sorry to hear that my sunglasses, the ones you borrowed, were found in your superintendent’s apartment. I had nothing to do with that. I don’t know how they got there . . . Unless you went off the deep end and killed the man while you were wearing them, and they fell off your pretty face while he fought you as you hacked him to death. Too bad my name was engraved on them, and a witness saw you wearing them.”
Maggie could not take the insults or Jess’s need to flash her jewelry any longer. There was no way Jess made enough money working as a waitress at Flashers to afford anything but costume jewelry. Did she sell Cory’s grandmother’s jewelry? “Where’d you get the money for that?”
“Maggie, I’m really sorry things turned out this way. You’re my best friend, always have been. Things got a little crazy this last year. I needed money and Cory needed . . . Well, you know what he needed. I’m sorry for all that. I hope you can forgive me.”
Never, she thought. Then she saw Debbie and Bruce standing behind Jess. Had they been visiting her and talking to her, too? Was she one of the weak people that Ethel was talking about that could be influenced by their lies? Maybe it was not all Jess’s fault, but she still did what she did by her own free will. “You didn’t answer my question. Where’d you get the money to buy the jewelry?”
“It’s the funniest thing. Remember that lottery ticket you bought at Lenny’s a while back? It must have fallen out of your purse when I drove you home after you got sloshed that night at your house. When I found it, I decided to scrape it off and see if it was a winner. You’re not going to believe this, but it was; five-thousand-dollars a week for life.”
“That’s my money, not yours.” Maggie felt anger growing inside her. Ethel had warned her not to give the spirits and the dark entity negative energy to feed on, but she could not help it.
She saw the dark hooded entity standing in the far corner, next to a guard. Debbie and Bruce came up to the window, one on either side of Jess.
Debbie looked at Maggie. “You lose, Margaret. There is no way you can win against us. I once had an ampule of your blood that I needed to finish the spell, but you kind of blew it all to pieces.” Debbie looked toward the hooded figure and then back to Maggie. “I’m sure you see him, but Bruce and I still need to give a piece of you to it so that the spell can be completed, and Bruce and I can live in ecstasy forever.”
Bruce put his hand on top of Jess’s head like a crab bloodsucker and looked at Maggie. “Somehow you keep climbing out of the quicksand we lay in front of you, like a rat that can wiggle its way through the tiniest crevice. I have to hand it to you, Maggie, you are quite resilient. It’s not so easy to destroy you, and believe me, we’ve tried.”
“But not this time,” Debbie said, touching Jess’s shoulder, causing her to twitch. “Our friend, over there in the black robe, needs you to live in absolute anguish for the rest of your physical life so that he can feed off you. In exchange, it’ll give us what we want . . . Deal?”
No frickin’ deal.
Bruce and Debbie began talking in Jess’s ears, each repeating vile and filthy words. Kill yourself. Kill yourself. You’re a whore and a thief. Go home now and drown your sorrows in alcohol and pills. Do it now.
Jess began to wring her hands as if she could sense spirits were planting thoughts into her head. She looked at Maggie’s horrified face. “What’s wrong, Maggie?”
Maggie began to hyperventilate. “Jess, don’t listen to the voices in your head. They’re telling you lies. They’re trying to get you to do . . . bad things.”
“I’ve got to go.” Jess stood abruptly, causing the plastic chair to tip over.
Maggie began screaming, a desperate attempt to save Jess. “They’re following you. Don’t listen to them. Don’t do it, Jess. Don’t do what they say.” She began pounding on the glass, trying to break through as she continued to scream.
The guards approached Maggie and grabbed hold of her. “You’re going to the hole.”
Maggie lost it. She fought the guards and screamed all the way to a holding cell. Its large windows made it easy for guards to observe violent inmates. They tied her to the chair and closed the door. Frothy drool ran down her chin. The guards left, and she was alone in the room. Almost alone. The dark hooded entity was waiting for her. It approached her, enveloped her like a robed vampire, and began feeding on her. The more she fought the restraints and tried to escape, the darker the entity became. She felt her soul weakening and her mind breaking. She could think no more, she had to escape, but there was no escape. It was as if she was being raped and she had to separate her mind from her body to survive it. She was defeated.
The guards watched Maggie from the guardroom and on the monitors. They watched as her screaming subsided, replaced by her body twitching and her head moving side to side. “What’s wrong with her? She’s acting like she’s having a seizure. We’d better get the nurse down here.”
By the time the nurse arrived Maggie was limp, her head bent back with an open mouth, and her wide open eyes stared at the ceiling. A guard escorted the nurse into Maggie’s cell. With a gloved hand, he felt for a pulse on the side of her neck, listened to her heart, and examined her pupils. “Ms. McGee, my name’s Brent, I’m a nurse. Can you hear me?”
Maggie began mumbling nonsensical words, at least to everyone in the room. In a childlike voice, she rambled. “It’s feeding on me. Where is the necklace? The teddy bear’s neck is twisted. Where is Becker?”
“We need to get her to the emergency room and then when she’s stable, transfer her to Port Glenn Psychiatric Hospital. Call an ambulance. I’ll notify Doctor Aditya Suharto.”
While the guard released Maggie from the restraints, the nurse looked around the room.
“What are you looking for, Brent?” The guard asked, watching his eyes dart about the cell.
“I don’t know,” he said, putting the stethoscope back around his neck. “A chill suddenly came over me. I guess it was nothing.” He looked at Maggie. “Did she say the name, Becker?”
“Yeah, I think it was Becker. I wonder if she was thinking about Detective Becker, he’s the one following her case.”
The paramedics arrived and took Maggie away. Her conscious mind was locked in a rusty steel box in the back of her cranium, not to be opened until it was safe to come out. Maggie had lost the battle.
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