I got to work, rushing to Wyla’s desk to share my vivid night terrors. “You have got to hear this!” Wyla got up from her seat and put her hand up to stop me from talking.

She said as she put on her jacket, “Save it until I get back in a few days. I’ve got a lead from my top brass to travel up to Wisconsin with the Beatle guys. We are leaving now.”

I was left feeling clueless and somewhat embarrassed to be pushed aside in such an abrupt way. All the weeks of my hard work compiling clues and facts to share with Wyla—and the generosity to bring her and the other agents in—caused me to feel like the odd man out.

I stormed into Mitch Gable’s office; no knock, no apology for my sudden intrusion. “Sarge, what the hell? Why wasn’t I included to go up north with them?”

He peeked over his black framed reading glasses. “I guess you deserve an explanation. Sit down, and don’t interrupt until I’m finished!

“Glenda, you have an amazing nose for evidence. You’re one of the best detectives here in the division, along with Charles. Both of you can get the victims to a place they trust, giving you details no matter how difficult. My dear, you are unraveling week by week. I had a conversation with your partner Luther this morning. He’s coming in from Algiers with Althea later this afternoon. I’ll give you the flight info. Meet them at the airport.” Gable talked to me in such a way that I could not argue.


Luther and Althea gave over smiles and shouts when they spied me coming toward them at the baggage claim. Luther said before I opened my mouth, “Follow us to the first exit for an Applebee’s off of I-465 East.”

No questions; I carefully followed a smooth transition to their destination on Allisonville Road. For the first time since Althea’s horrific attack, she took me by the arm and showed a gracious touch of well-being between us. I was a little bit suspicious of her changed behavior towards me, but part of me was delighted.

We took a booth in the back part of the restaurant where there was plenty of privacy. Althea, true to her condition, ordered a full course entrée, while Luther and I went light for the house salad.

“I’m all ears. How did the Barba woman give both of you the high hopes I see now?” I probed.

Athea shared first. “This trip was a great idea. Luana reassured me through this eerie séance that this creature was in no way interested in coming after me again.”

“Glenda, she went through a process of speaking to a spirit guide who came forth with information you had obtained about her father and what would bring her back to Anderson,” Luther interjected.

“You keep saying ‘her.’ Are you referring to Amora Rathbone?” I pressed.

“Luana kept referring to the aswang in the female gender during the entire time we talked to her.”

I leaned back, then shook my head. “Well, that blows the theory of Wyla saying the assailant is Amado Rathbone.”

“He is probably protecting her, as is Evan Rathbone and the butler. This family will do anything, lie over and over to protect her.”

“Don’t leave out what Luana is sending us in the mail, Luther,” Althea said as she began eating her grilled salmon.

“Oh, that’s what will help us bring her in. This jar of mandrake root and bull semen will leave her powerless. We’ve got to make sure she gets doused with it in the face. The hard part is stringing her up with those enormous wings. I don’t know; we can’t do this, just you and me,” Luther said.

I shouted in full-blown excitement, “Whoa, Luther! Sounds like you’re getting back into the case!”

“When we talked to Mitch on the phone, he told me about the agents going up to Milwaukee on a lead about a savage murder. Glenda, we can get the details from technology and continue on with the victim list,” Luther said, sounding like he had not been away at all.

“So, you know, without what’s on paper, that the lead of this murder could have Amora’s stamp of ghoulish behavior. I don’t have all the facts yet, but I feel the connection to our victim list,” I said, giving Luther my squinty-eye look.

“You should have been there. This small, brown Filipina lady took Althea and I into a spiritual intel where she was told about Amora’s next move. We were freaking out, but both of us had a total belief in what she was getting,” Luther said, staying on the breakthrough from the Algiers’ trip.


Wyla Stark and the other three agents walked into the Milwaukee Police Department, first landing at the front desk. Wyla flashed her badge at the tall, heavy-set black policewoman.

“Officer, we are FBI from the Chicago office, affiliated with Anderson PD in Indiana, station sergeant Mitch Gable. Could we speak with Detective Mason Doyle?”

The officer showed complete understanding. “By all means. Detective Doyle’s office is through here to the third door to the left. You can come on through,” she said, then pressed a button underneath the high counter.

The agent Wyla called John knocked on the open door, moaning, “We’re the FBI agents coming in from the Anderson PD.”

The large, bulky, blonde-headed detective got up from looking through a file. “Come on in. Grab a seat if there’s enough.”

Wyla took one seat in front of the detective’s desk while John sat beside her. The other two agents stood to the right of where Detective Doyle was seated. Detective Doyle began the conversation, “Well, the victim had been in the woods for a few days, so any face ID was impossible. The body was a bloody hamburger mess. The only thing I recognized were his fancy Italian shoes.”

“Funny you would notice the shoes after the body was such a mess. Why did that stick out to you?” Wyla began the questions.

“Well, Agent, this gives me an idea the man was well-to-do. When we get a lead like that, the brand and what stores carry them will lead us to the identification. There was no wallet or any other kind of way to ID him except for what we we’ll find out with the autopsy,” Detective Doyle said.

“Well, I guess our next step to go to where the autopsy is,” Wyla said, getting up from her chair.

“All of you can squeeze into my SUV out back in the department parking lot.”

Forensics had the victim laid out in the basement of Milwaukee General. The group came as the director of forensics had begun the procedure. Agent Wyla looked over at the agent she called “Paul.” He was noticeably gagging as he looked at the torn up body of the victim.

“The liver and the pancreas were completely devoured. Strange; the victim’s genitals are void of any blood, with an inkling of complete engorged tissues deflated from some kind of strong suction,” the director explained as he took a probe to point out the precise location. The agent Wyla called “George” wrote down every word in his iPhone.

“Paul, looks like you’ve seen and heard enough,” Wyla said. She thought to herself, I can take the condition of the victim, but if Paul pukes in front of me, I will lose my breakfast. She turned to Detective Doyle. “Where are his shoes?”

The director spoke up. “Agent, I have bagged them. You can have a look; they are over there. I must insist all of you wear gloves as you examine them.”

All four agents walked over to a white marbled counter to the right of the double stainless steel sinks. Wyla carefully pulled out the shoes, caked with dried dirt and dead insects. Her reference point of Italian-brand men’s shoes was zero. John came forward, showing by his alarmed face that he knew the brand.

“Wow! I haven’t seen these kind of shoes since I was in Rome two years ago. These are a pair of Alessandro Demesure leather Oxfords. This man was either well off or they were a gift. They run a little over $2,000!”

“George, put your iPhone to work and find out any stores that carry the brand,” Wyla suggested, turning behind her.

Waiting for George’s search, Wyla stepped out of the autopsy room to use her cell phone. “Hey, Glen, you’re not still pissed at me?”

I made an audible huff over the connection, then said, “Well, you caught me off guard. I had something to show you. Well, I guess I’m cool. What’s up?”

“Well, the victim this time is a male. Seems to be some sort of individual who buys $2,000 Italian dress shoes. He was really a mess. If this is the same suspect we’ve been pursuing, they changed their MO by devouring inner organs,” Wyla told me.

“Remember, Althea had part of her liver torn into and devoured. Seems to me this assailant is either trying to trick us or she is getting more violent,” I said, bringing forth a decisive turn to the case.

I thought of a question, “Hey, Wyla, could you tell the color and texture of the man’s hair?”

“How astute of you despite not having seen the condition of the body. At first glance, the hair was matted up, with dirt and dried leaves mixed with black-looking blood. With gloved fingers, I felt around. The hair was wavy, coarse, and dark brown.”

“How about the torn clothing that was left on his body?” I asked.

“You’re scaring me with this Sherlock Holmes line of deductions. The leftover clothes have been bagged. We will give them a solid study. I’ll get back. Later,” Wyla said, then clicked off.

I think with my last question, Wyla was confused about why I would ask such detailed probing about what the victim was wearing. These last few weeks working with her, I realized she prefers to come up with her own conclusions on the details of our ongoing pursuit. I might have tugged at her being uncomfortable with my new self-reliant probes, ones identified to her as an oversight in detection.

Spending a relaxing evening in my apartment that night after I spoke to Wyla, I realized the knowledge Luther was back in full regalia of his infamous investigative prowess gave me the opportunity to sleep sound for the first time in weeks. Before my heavy lids blinked for the last time, I knew Luther would jump on the chance to travel up north to Downers Grove.


For all installments from The Islands Tell of It, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Chapter 1: The First Victim
  2. Chapter 2: Four Months Before October
  3. Chapter 3: Bobber’s Café
  4. Chapter 4: Heat Wave
  5. Chapter 5: Deep-End Dining
  6. Chapter 6: Rathbone Estate
  7. Chapter 7: Althea’s Run
  8. Chapter 8: Emergency Interrupts
  9. Chapter 9: Girls Talk Turkey
  10. Chapter 10: There Came a Lull
  11. Chapter 11: Dangerous Mind
  12. Chapter 12: Luana Barba