My mind raced with fighting uncertainties invading my stress threshold. Questions of “what if” almost brought me to a tempting bout of screaming. A situation on the I-69 approaching the Binford Avenue sign into downtown Indianapolis caused me to actually act out what was going on inside my head, “What the hell!”

Luther had to decrease his speed to 25 miles per hour as the five o’clock traffic compounded to an eventual halt. “We’re not going anywhere for a while. I’m coming up with the idea: Amora decided to get out of Indiana. She’s got thousands of dollars at her fingertips,” Luther said, trying to cater to my reasonable side.

I felt strongly before she might leave the state; she definitely had unfinished business to tend to with Wesley. From going over and over in my mind the details we received from the environmental worker, not only did she realize the usefulness of her power to control people, but her recall of those who could bring a full guilty verdict rested on the person of Wesley Thornton.


Almost two hours later, we drove up the pristine drive to the gate intercom. Luther pressed it. A familiar voice rang out, “Who goes there?” Luther looked over at me, “See, he sounds alive to me.”

“Wesley, it’s Detective Charles.” In two minutes, the gate opened.

I looked at Luther as we waited at the front door, “Well, can’t help being crazed. This has been one damn thing after another today!”

Right from opening the heavy double doors and letting us into the grand foyer, I could tell Wesley was not his cool-as-a-cucumber self. I spoke up, “Wesley, you look a bit harried, all out of sorts.”

“I’ve been busy preparing a difficult gourmet dinner with Forrest Baines, Master Ethan’s lawyer. We had some legal matters to discuss. Come into the kitchen. You can visit while I clean it up,” Wesley said, then turned around before we got into the kitchen. “Do you two care for an espresso?”

Luther chimed in with enthusiasm, “We would be crazy to turn down your espresso.”

We sat down at the kitchen’s small, square table. Wesley prepared the espresso, then busied himself by cleaning up the dinner mess and filling up the dishwasher with dirty dishes and pots and pans.

I began a lengthy discussion to prompt any rise of emotion from our busy butler, “I was racked with worry the whole time we had to wait for the traffic jam to clear. To me, it took hours and a day. You didn’t get an unpleasant visit from our escaped criminal?”

He would not meet my stare, then seemed cavalier in giving me a response. “She didn’t show up here. As we ate our dinner, Forrest was told about her escape. He was pleased with the food, but couldn’t get out of here fast enough.”

He didn’t miss a beat as he poured the espresso into two demitasse cups and handed one to me and one to Luther. Luther noticed his bandaged hand. “What happened to your hand?”

“Oh, I was in such a hurry to prepare dinner, I slipped with the knife as I was cutting up the chicken livers,” Wesley said, acting like the injured hand was nothing. He looked over at my face to see I was not buying the story. He changed the subject and asked me a question, “Detective McMahan, while your prisoner was in custody, did Amora know her father was dead?”

“No, I wanted to tell her when seeing her after I got out of the hospital. My questions for her turned in another direction. She got hostile when I introduced any knowledge of the legend of the aswang,” I said, taking the demitasse cup to my lips.

Luther asked Wesley, “Where do you think she is going to land?”

“You know, I’ve had this thought all day. She could be going overseas to the Philippines to look for her mother. I know she is confused, but I believe she will realize her father is gone. Luana Barba, in a conversation over the phone, related to me those that had lost the chick by being beaten as your group had done. Slowly, thoughts and images come back of what she had turned into.”

We finished our espresso. I felt Wesley was hiding something, but held off on drilling him. Luther possessed that goofy look of “we are good here, let’s move on.” We said our goodbyes and thanked him for his hospitality.

The sky gave its evening display of the brightness of the sun meeting the horizon line with the commencing of dark blue and purple showing night closing in. My instincts kept nagging me as we made our way back to Anderson.

“You know, Luther, things in that house seemed odd. When we all walked through the dining room to get to the grand foyer, I spotted a pinkish large spot on the carpet close to the chair at the head of the table in the dining room. His coloring looked real flushed, like he had been moving a piano or something like dead weight.”

“Glenda, I know you are super excited about being reinstated. Don’t make something out of nothing. That spot on the dining room carpet could be anything,” Luther said, attempting to downplay my hunches.

The night brought with it a weariness and a desire to go back to Grandpa Pete’s, curl up on his living room sectional, and read. We had to check in with our sergeant. Coming up with nothing, I dreaded his ugly temper, shooting rays of utter disappointment our way.

Our sergeant was at the open door to his office. When he spotted us, he yelled, “Get over here, now!”

We filed in, both of us knowing Mitch Gable demanded clear-cut answers, not excuses. He sat down, turning his swivel chair in the direction we saw his profile. “Well, what do you have for me?”

Luther was brave enough to give him a summary. “We questioned the environmental worker who Amora accosted. She told us Amora threatened her to the point she thought she would lose her life.”

“Here we go, some more supernatural crap!”

I spoke up, “Sarge, from what we learned from the worker then discovered at the Rathbone estate, Amora is getting some of her witchlike powers back. She will not shapeshift ever again. Putting it in a nutshell, Wesley Thornton wasn’t much help. Luther and I came to the conclusion she has made arrangements to get out of Indiana and go off to where her mother lives in the Philippines.”

Gable jumped out of his chair. “So, not only have we lost a dangerous criminal, but she has moved on to parts unknown overseas! Do you two know how this department will look when the press gets wind of her missing?”

He held his head down for a few minutes, then looked at me. “Glenda, do you believe Thornton?”

“No, Sarge, not a word. He’s hiding something.”

“And Luther, what say you?”

“So much is up in the air. Wesley did mention her mother. I can get on the computer and start searching for Divinia Rathbone,” Luther said.

“Tell you what, the both of you. Go to your respective homes and get adequate rest. For now, this case is closed, no prisoner, no trial,” the sergeant said in a calming tone.

“Sarge, give us more time! I know we can find more if we go back to the Rathbone estate,” I pleaded.

“Glenda, you are going to have to do that on your own time. We have to show this community that it’s business as usual. I’ll see you both back here on Monday morning,” Mitch Gable said, giving me an expression that I better not push.


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
  23. Chapter 23: I Have to See Her
  24. Chapter 24: A Funeral
  25. Chapter 25: Unaware
  26. Chapter 26: Synchronized Surprise