I made Grandpa Pete happy by coming to stay in my old room temporarily. Besides, both Luther and I were put on suspension until a full investigation and hearing took place. My grandfather preened his lawyer feathers by getting Luther and myself suspension with pay.

The morning sunlight hit me in the face, forcing me to move around in my bed. I looked around the room and my eyes focused on Grace sitting in a rocking chair, looking to be knitting. She caught my startled stare. “Well, good morning, Glenda. I’m waiting for you to muster up some consciousness so I can put some ointment on your wounds.”

As she approached, I balked back with a scowl on my face and plenty of bad will towards her. “I’m not some infant with diaper rash. Don’t approach me with that A&D tube!”

“Sweetie, the skin around your wounds has become painfully tight. To be able to move around without pain, this ointment will help,” Grace said, undeterred by my growling.

The only part of her nursing that felt uncomfortable was when she lifted off the myriad of bandages. The soft movement of the thick, greasy ointment did take away the stinging. Soon, I felt like moving around enough to get out of bed.

“I hate to admit it, but you are absolutely right,” I said, giving off a sigh of relief.

“I’m going downstairs to prepare breakfast. Come on to the kitchen when you get decent,” she said, walking towards my bedroom door.

“Grace, before you go, why are you doing this?”

She turned around and smiled at me. “You and your partner rid this community of a vile killer. No matter how strange your account sounds, I believe you.”

I was again taken by surprise by someone I did not particularly approve of. She would have been the last person I would expect to be in my corner. “Thanks, Grace, for the words and the A&D application.”

Getting cleaned up and dressed went rather slow. The skin around my wounds pulled some whenever I moved. The steps going downstairs proved to be the real challenge; with each downward step, my left side sang with stiffness and stabbing, prickly soreness.

I walked into the kitchen, finding a welcome surprise. Luther sat at the kitchen table across from Grandpa Pete, with most of the top surface covered in file folders and scattered papers.

“Well, this looks like the place to be,” I said, showing a cheeriness that was usually not my nature.

Grace brought me a cup of coffee; my first sip pleasantly surprised me. She knew how I took it; two sugars and plenty of half ‘n’ half. Luther pulled out a file folder underneath a mound of my grandfather’s printed papers.

He handed me a file folder. “I’ve been waiting for you to enter the land of the living again.”

Drinking my heavenly cup of coffee, I read a report from Ava Mead from the APD Forensics Division. A twinge of excitement hit me as my eyes rested on this statement. “Bone pieces analyzed came from a young duckling fetus, gestation 22 weeks with nondescript structure density. DNA testing shows the victim, Glenda McMahan, was maimed by a large animal where the surface of digits defined a claw configuration.”

“Luther, did Althea have the same kind of results?” I asked, my mind coming back to a detective’s analytical mode of curiosity.

“Yes, indeed. Not totally similar; you had different wounds. The results bear the same message. I’m sure your grandfather will agree with me that this type of confirmation can be used in the trial of Amora Rathbone.”

“Pete, can you use this on the brutality charges?” I asked.

“Not directly, only in the explanation of the pursuing of a suspect with the unique characteristics of beastly shapeshifting abilities.”

“The way Amora is acting in custody, it will be difficult to get any kind of information out of her on the attacks and the killings. When she does speak, she repeats over and over that she was beaten before being brought in,” Luther said, showing frustration with his crinkled-up skin between his eyebrows.

I put down my cup and sat up straight. I said in a loud commanding tone, “I want to see her!” I folded my arms, studying Luther’s expression, then looked over at Grandpa Pete.

Grace announced breakfast to be served in the living room. We ate the scrambled eggs, blueberry scones, and bacon in silence until I got a delayed reaction to my loud request.

“I can get you permission to see her at the proper venue if you promise not to threaten her,” Grandpa Pete stressed.

“I can do that. I will do you one better. I want you, Luther, and Mitch Gable to watch us from the double-sided glass in the Special Units room at the division,” I told him.


In only three days, I was informed by Grandpa Pete I was to be given access to interview Amora. The day of the visitation was to be on the Friday of the same week I got permission. To myself, I named the day “Bloody Friday”. My anticipation was on high alert of how I would siphon the details from her to confirm our team’s outrageous method of capture.

I took long walks each day in the neighborhood with the family’s Great Dane, Lola. My mobility was improving. The neighborhood scenery of palatial homes and rolling, manicured lawns gave me the ability to come up with a strategy I had not in mind when I requested this; introduce how she grew up, her parents, including her estranged mother.

The day came. I chose not to wear my usual detective attire of a black suit with a white top or dress shirt. I arrived at the detective division wearing jeans and a flowered blouse.

Officer Faraday manned the front desk. “Wow! You sure look better than the last time we spoke.”

“Thanks, Frank. I want to really show my gratitude for your quick thinking. At that time, I was such a mess and not thinking.”

“Sergeant Gable gave me the heads up on the prisoner’s visitation today. They took her back ten minutes ago. See you later, Glenda,” Frank said, with a smile.

Mitch Gable and Luther met me at the door. Mitch said to me, “Your grandfather is on the other side of the glass. She is yours for the next hour.”

I walked in, seeing a small brown-skinned woman sitting at the six-foot rectangular table. She seemed so docile, so frail, holding still, dressed in inmate orange, with her mass of black hair pulled back with a black tie.

I sat down across from her in order to look straight into her eyes with every one of my questions and every one of her answers. She kept her down, gazing at her handcuffed wrists. “Amora, do you remember me?”

This question caused her to look up. She stared at me, then spoke, “Your face comes back. It’s difficult because you are wearing different kind of clothes today.”

“Well, I wanted to make you feel more comfortable. That is why I wore something casual.”

“No, you lie. You and your partner have been suspended because you beat me!”

“Amora, we will get back to that. Could you indulge me with some questions about your family?” I changed the subject, struggling to keep my composure staying in a peaceful calm nature.

She nodded.

“That day you first saw me at the Rathbone Estate, I talked about Amado.”

“Amado!” She wiggled in her chair, looking down at her wrists again. She looked up and smiled in a sinister manner. “Yes, Amado was my imaginary friend when I was a young girl.”

“Why did you have this friend?”

“I was lonely being an only child,” she said, her expression changing to one of sadness.

“Why were you so lonely?”

“My mother left when I was 13.”

“Why did she leave?”

“My mother could not stand me because I told her the attack on our housekeeper was done by Amado.”

“Is your mother from the Philippines?”

“Yes, she used to tell me stories of how beautiful her home was on the island of Panay.”

“Did she tell you any other stories about her homeland?”

“Yes, but I don’t want to tell you! They are very dark stories. One time after I had eaten a balut and threw up, she wept uncontrollably. I was eight at the time, I think,” she said, sounding like a child.

“Were you sick for a long time?”

“No, I only got sick once, then begged my mother to play with me.”

“Did Amado come up again as you grew up?”

“When I became a teenager during the really hot nights, and a full moon. I would concentrate very hard and made myself be Amado.”

“What do you mean by making yourself be Amado?”

“I would get so depressed that a horrible burning took over my mind and body. I would become him and then something else. In the mornings, I would wake up feeling so much better.”

I got up. I took off my jeans and got close to where Amora was seated. Automatically, she turned to face me. I spoke very carefully, pointing to the left side of my body, “These wounds on my left side came from a winged creature with long claws, instead of fingers like you and I have. Do you know what this creature is called?”

She started to shake her head. Her breathing became very shallow. She jumped off her chair and ran to a corner of the room. She pointed at me with her bound hands, “Aswang did that! My mother told me about aswang. You lie again, you tricked me! I didn’t want to tell you! Get me out of here!”

While she was cowering and shouting in the corner, Luther came into the room. He came close to Amora and talked to her like she was a little girl. He was able to get her quieted down. After he took her out of the room, I put my jeans back on.

Mitch Gable and Grandpa Pete came into the room. From looking at the sergeant’s face with his blue eyes bulging, I realized I screwed up. “I thought turning her attention to the creature would break her on refusing to own up to all those victims,” I went on the defensive.

Mitch bellowed, “Well, you did that! You broke her into hysterics and more brutality in her mind. She won’t talk to you again. You are a threat to her now.”

“Sarge, I went too far, too fast. I’m sorry.”

“Well, you did get her to speak about Amado and her mother. That was something,” my grandfather said, coming to my defense.


One night at dinner, I heard a very revealing account about Amora. Grandpa Pete told me over my favorite dish, beef stroganoff. “Amora was taken to the Stress Ward at Community Hospital. She was screaming in the middle of the night. Her roommate tried to calm her down. She attacked the roommate by tearing off some of her hair and scratching her face, leaving pretty deep gashes on her forehead and cheeks.”

“Do you want me to give you my thoughts?” I asked.

“That’s why I brought it up.”

“She is slowly recalling the horrible things she’s done since adolescence. The display of my wounds cracked open recurring images. She is slowly knowing it to be true, but instinctively fights against it.”

Grace voiced a question that made sense, “What can be done now? There has been an arraignment by a public defender, but no trial on the docket as yet.”

As I laid in bed that night, I went over my “Bloody Friday” visit. I was so sure showing her my wounds was the right thing to do. When I was in the hospital, Wyla and Luther told me she did not have the usual interrogation because of the discovery of bruises over most of her upper back. It did not enter my head when all of us had her in our grasp that this case would be so upside down.


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
  21. Chapter 21: The Upside-Down of it All
  22. Chapter 22: Two Ways to Fight