Frightening images flashed, tugging at my perception of what was real and what wasn’t. Flights of terror so unnerving that they defied my highest threshold of imagination. I saw a giant, skeletal flying apparatus on either side of my peripheral vision, resembling what I had learned in middle school biology class as the wings of a bat. I was held in a state between unconsciousness and a slight realization of my reality I had always known.

In my dreamlike mind, I actually felt the hardness of asphalt on my back and head. The creature I remembered to have made myself a decoy to opened its mouth. It showed such methodical precision, signaling my time on Earth was coming to an end. I felt like sobbing, weeping profusely, riddled with the very same agony all those other victims experienced when their flesh was being slowly ripped apart.

I thrashed around, screaming inside. I found out soon that I was screaming out loud. In between screams, I heard a familiar voice saying my name several times.

“Glenda, Glenda, Glenda, please stop. It’s Grandpa Pete. You’re safe now. I’m with you in a hospital room at St. Vincent’s.”

I opened my eyes, trying to lift my body up from my present safe asylum of fresh hospital pillows and linen. Two strong, square hands gently placed me back down onto the fluffy mound of pillows. I began to know, it was Grandpa Pete.

“What am I doing here? Last time I knew, I was talking to fat Faraday.”

“My girl, Faraday was the one who called the ambulance from the detective division. You were all torn up and fainted like a stone onto the floor in front of his desk,” Grandpa Pete said.

I threw off the top sheet and blanket off. I suddenly felt a jolt of pain in my shoulders, then turned to my left and noticed the feeling of constant pain all along my left side. “Oh, God, do I ever hurt!”

“You were in surgery for three hours. They had to suture your jagged skin from so many gashes on your shoulders and your left side. Luther told me you volunteered to be the decoy,” Pete said, fighting back tears.

I was starting to feel my brain remember what happened. “Yeah, she was out to tear me apart for what she said, I interrupted her feeding season. I do remember now. George shot the third application into her neck.”

“Glenda, you keep saying her. Are you referring to the woman under custody? She is one strange thing; won’t talk only to shout someone kept beating her.”

“Pete, she is Amora Rathbone in full manifestation of that vile creature who attacked all those women, and then savagely killed Romeo Blanco, Katie Fisher, and then her own father Ethan Rathbone! It was what you heard about when you were stationed in the Philippines.”

Grandpa Pete sat down at my side. He patted my hand several times to calm me down. “Listen to me. Mitch called me yesterday while you were in and out of consciousness after surgery. I’ve decided to come out of retirement to represent you and Luther.”

I pointed to the water pitcher sitting on the bed tray. I guzzled down half of the filled glass. I still had tremendous pain. “I’ve got to have something for the pain so I can process what you have told me!”

Grandpa Pete picked up the remote hanging from the right side of the bed. He hit the button for the nurse. Didn’t take long; the nurse assigned to my room showed up at my door. I struggled to lift up; she came to my side. “Let’s get you comfortable. Now, what’s going on?”

“I’m hurting like a son of a bitch!” I said, then cowered when I realized I shouted an obscenity in the presence of Grandpa Pete.

The nurse looked at my grandfather. “I will be right back with some pain medicine. It’s been over ten hours.”

I stared at my grandfather. “Wyla took it upon herself to beat the back of the creature several times with a bat. We had all been told by some holy woman that this would force the chick out of the cursed one to break it.”

“Meaning to break the curse. Did that happen?”

“It sure did. This strange looking duckling with inklings of dragon like wings and feet came out. Wyla burned it up with her lighter,” I said in a calmer frame of mind.

“This is sure a fantastical account. Mitch had told me she changed into the clothes brought to her in the interrogation room. There were bruises across her back discovered by Luther and Wyla. That fact stopped any questioning. The only words she uttered were ones of wanting to see her father,” Grandpa Pete told me.

At that moment, the nurse brought in a small white cup of two Percosets. I swallowed down fast. “Thank you so much, nurse. I apologize for yelling at you.”

She nodded and smiled back. “I will leave you to your visitor. Don’t be long; you need as much rest as possible.”

Waiting until the nurse disappeared. I got back to Grandpa Pete. “I take it Luther and I will have brutality charges leveled at us, as well as the FBI agents.” He said nothing, only nodding.

Wyla popped her head into the door opening. “Can I join in?”

Grandpa Pete kissed me on the forehead. “I’ll let you ladies talk. I’ll be back tomorrow, my girl.”

Wyla waltzed in, carrying a plant arrangement. She placed it on the movable bed tray. “I figured you could use this at your apartment when you mend all the way.”

I nodded, then didn’t waste any time by opening up to our recent dilemma. “Pete told me about the pending charges leveled at us. Where are you going from here?”

She shrugged her shoulders and walked over to the double windows, a few paces from my bed. “John, George, Paul and myself have been given orders to report back to the Chicago office. We will go through some half-baked hearing. If we all land with our badges taken away, I’m considering joining the boys in Paris.”

“What’s in Paris?” I asked, not expecting that kind of an answer.

She turned around to face me. She came over to the right side of my bed. “George has this contact in the city of savage murders taking place from the Paris underground.” She leaned in with a look of excitement. “Details point to another tik-tik; this one has a yen for human flesh.”

“I would think you would rest some and go to an exotic island somewhere in the Caribbean.”

“My young detective, I’ve enjoyed every minute. But what you need to do is get your head around our recent truth. None of us will ever be normal again. What we have seen and especially the bizarre thing we saw the other night at the park will not leave our memories.” Wyla tapped me on my hand. “Besides, you might have some glimmer of hope that you and Luther could get a jump on this closed-mouthed suspect. He has a report from forensics. Ava Mead did tests on three samples of DNA, two I provided and the one this ER sent to them.”

Wyla got up and made her way to the open door. I shouted at her, “Now wait! Can’t you tell me the results? I’ll go crazy laying here wondering.”

“Trust me, Luther wants to be the bearer of good tidings.” She waved, giving over to a low-pitched giggle.

What a bomb to leave me with. I laid there, my eyes getting weary. Then the nurse came bouncing into the room. She checked my vitals. “Looks good. The doctor will be in any minute to check underneath the bandages.”

As she made her way for her exit, a tall, slightly balding man in a white doctor’s long jacket came close to my left side. His large, round, deep brown eyes were warm and made me feel comforted with his easy bedside manner. He spoke with a slight accent.

“Detective, I’m Dr. Jetty. I was the surgeon who stitched up your shoulders and most of your left side. It took quite a long time. You were very torn up, but we got you through it. Let me take a look.”

He gently lifted off the gaze-like bandages. I felt a twinge of prickliness; no stabbing pains. He talked softly as his gloved hands examined the exposed areas affected by my savage attack. “When I first came to you in the ER, you fought hard against me doing anything until I extracted some blood-riddled loose skin for DNA. I’ve got to say I was impressed by your reserve for pain. I obeyed your bidding.”

“Did I sound hysterical or somewhat reasonable?”

“Your reasoning mind was sharp enough for me to take you seriously. I took the sample before we put you under. You detectives married to your jobs almost as much as us doctors,” he said, showing amusement under his breath.

He turned to the nurse who walked back into the room, carrying a small tray. “Ms. Fadeley, she’s all yours.”

“Detective McMahan, before I leave. I can say, you are healing very well. I urge you not to return to work after being discharged. You’re still not out of the woods where infections are concerned,” he said, nodding then swiftly left the room.

Strange how the details of knowing the DNA was taken as I instructed, then Wyla confirming it. I did feel some relief, I did not meet the same end as Katie Fisher or Ethan Rathbone. I laid there as the nurse cleaned my many wounds and placed fresh bandages, harboring impending doom to the outcome of my job and any detriment to my reputation.

I thought to myself, Is this how a soldier feels when going through a bloody battle? I can validate the definition of going through a type of a war, a war of the ancients that still is true today. A war of good against evil, with my war wounds to prove it. The sweet expression of the young brunette nurse looked into my eyes, reassuring me. I would be alive another day.


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
  13. Chapter 13: Trip to Milwaukee
  14. Chapter 14: Enough Killing
  15. Chapter 15: A Parking Lot Visitation
  16. Chapter 16: The Restaurant
  17. Chapter 17: Late-Night Work
  18. Chapter 18: Grandpa Pete
  19. Chapter 19: A Group is Formed
  20. Chapter 20: Rendezvous with Evil