“It’ll be okay.” The officer’s voice was gentle and smooth. He reminded Jo of the way her mother would have spoken to her when she was younger. His narrow golden brown eyes bore into Jo as if to enforce to her that she was safe. Jo couldn’t help but laugh at herself to muffle down her fear as he stood up and walked to the small table in the corner that displayed a coffee pot and two glasses. Jo’s eyes drifted around the small room.
In the corner behind her, she spotted a small camera mounted on the wall. She stared for a moment unable to recognize her own face in the wall mirror. The girl moved as she moved but in no way did the girl in the mirror look like her. The girl was too weak, too timid, too scared. Jo shifted her attention to the officer and watched as he turned one of the mugs over and poured the hot black liquid into the cup. Jo held her breath as she noticed the shadow lingering in the top corner above the officer. Her eyes shifted from the shadow to the officer and back again. She didn’t have time to tell him no thank you before he came back over and handed her the cup filled with warm liquid. Instinct took over and she reached for the cup. She hated coffee but took it nonetheless. Her eyes shifted to the corner once more before turning her attention back to the officer who took the seat next her. His eyes were filled with questions he expected answers to, answers she didn’t have.
“Take your time.” The officer continued as his eyes anchored themselves to her own. Jo dropped her gaze first and stared at the steam rising from the small Styrofoam cup. The smell reminded her of something burning, the heat of the liquid warmed her hands. She stared at the liquid for a few moments longer before setting the cup down on the table in front of her.
“Just tell me what you remember Ms. Boleyn. Tell me what you saw. The smallest detail can help.”
“Call me Jo. Ms. Boleyn was my mom and she’s,” Jo didn’t finish her sentence she couldn’t bring herself to think of her mother right now. The officer nodded and leaned back in his chair giving her some space. They both stared at the coffee on the table for a moment. Jo didn’t realize she was gnawing on her lower lip until she tasted salt. She knew she bit too much skin off and her lip was bleeding but her nerves were shot. Being in the small confined room began to take its toll on her.
She sucked in a deep breath. The room smelled of burnt coffee and smoke. She noticed the square bulge in the officer’s shirt pocket. Jo had never smoked before and never really wanted to try but for some reason, perhaps it was because of the walls closing in that she began to feel the weight of the room and the pressure was building. She didn’t ask for one even though she knew he would probably give one to her should she ask. The shadow grew in the corner pulling the light into it. The florescent light above their heads flickered.
Jo tried to take her mind off of the strange shadow lingering in the corner and reached for the cup of coffee. The taste was revolting. No wonder why she hated coffee. It wasn’t sweet enough for her tastes. The black liquid though seemed to quell the fear within her so she took another sip. The officer refused to look away and Jo could feel his glare. She straightened in her chair as the walls inched closer towards them.
“It’s okay, you are not a suspect. We just,” he paused as the door creaked open allowing another officer into the room. He was thick the way a football player would look once retired. His shirt couldn’t contain his weight as his stomach rolled over the belt around his waist. The two exchanged looks causing the tension in the room escalated. Jo knew instantly the two men didn’t like each other.
It was bad enough with just the one officer, now with two there was no way she could remain silent. They would get whatever they wanted from her. Jo remembered a crime show she watched a few weeks ago. Maybe this was the good cop bad cop routine she saw. It certainly seemed like it at first. Setting the coffee back down on the table in front of her, she sucked in another breath to gather her thoughts.
“We will take whatever information we can get,” the fat man said as he moved the spare chair away from the table and sat down. “Maybe there was something you saw that we passed over. Start from the beginning if you would.”
Jo nod as she swallowed hard forcing the thick lump in her throat to go down. She gazes down into the black void of the coffee allowing the horrific images to come flooding back into her mind.
“Seth Evens” Jo began and noticed both officers quickly pulled out a notebook and scribbled the name down. She tried not to be distracted by them but couldn’t help but wonder if he did have something to do with all this.
“He called me yesterday around 10 am. I was unpacking the last of my boxes. I’ve only been here a few weeks and found his ad on one of those job listings on the internet. He told me the address of where I was supposed to clean and how to get in.”
“Did you meet up with him at all? Maybe to discuss the specifics of the job at all?” The officer asked stared at me with his sympathetic eyes.
“No,” she answered honest and truthful and now that all is said and done she was glad she didn’t. “We hung up and I finished unpacking. I went to bed and got up this morning ready to go. I loaded all my cleaning supplies into my truck and left. When I pulled up to the driveway, I noticed the lights for the walkway was still on. I didn’t think anything of it and unloaded my stuff.”
The fat man cleared his throat and Jo glanced at him. “What did you use to clean with?”
“Just normal cleaning chemicals. 409, Lysol, Windex, my rags and my vacuum. I also grabbed my water as I don’t like to use my client’s cups or steal a bottle of water. I locked my car up and headed straight for the garage door. Mr. Evans told me that the lock box was bolted to the side and that the combination was 12, 24, 21, 42. The lock box popped open and I pulled out the key. Took my stuff to the front door and opened it with the key.
I remember when I first stepped in I thought the house smelled a little funny. Like a litter box hadn’t been changed for a while. The air had a thick stench to it like trash hadn’t been taken out for a while. I figured I was there to clean so I thought I would come across it eventually and throw it out.
Once I dragged my cleaning supplies inside I started by checking out the different rooms to see if there was any laundry that needed to be done. Usually, I strip the beds first to get the laundry going while I clean that way everything is done on time. So, I went into the first room. There was a lovely lamp stand in the corner I admired. And the canopy over the bed reminded me of something I would have seen in the movie “The Princess Bride” when Buttercup found Wesley on the bed after she thought he was dead and he couldn’t move.”
The Princess Bride was such a great movie. Jo drifted off as bits of the film played in her mind. She sat up quickly realizing how easily she became distracted. Jo glanced over at the officers. She could tell that wasn’t of any use to them but still, they told her to tell them everything. Maybe she should warn them of the shadow in the corner of the room too? Jo shook the thought from her mind and smile at them before she continues.
“I began pulling the sheets off the bed. Once they were in a pile on the floor, I went into the bathroom to check if any towels were needed to be washed. I pulled the towels out and checked to see what needed to be restocked in the bathroom. Toilet paper, soap you know that kind of thing. I made a mental note and gathered the laundry in my arms and headed out of that room.
I struggled to keep all the stuff together in my arms and thought it might be easier to find the laundry room first and get this load started before I went to the other rooms. So I went over to the kitchen where usually you would find the laundry room. When I opened the door, the strong odor overwhelmed me. I buried my head into the sheets to stop the assault on my nose. When I peeked up over the sheets, I saw the splatter marks on the wall. I just thought it was red paint the owner used to decorate. I thought it was an artistic expression.” Jo stopped as she tried to control the heavy sobs building in her chest.
“It’s okay,” the officer on the table scooted down and dragged the metal chair from the other side of the table next to Jo. “take your time.” He glanced over his shoulder at the other officer. Jo could feel her lips cracking as she fought the tears swelling in her eyes.
“I glanced at the wall to the bed and realized that the red paint had been spilled across the bed too. It wasn’t until the sheets dropped from my arms did I see the body… Oh my god that poor woman!” The tears burst forth like a tsunami overwhelming a small village. Jo sucked in air as she recalled the designs carved into the woman’s arms and legs.
“Her hand. I saw her hand first peeking out from behind the bed. I took a step closer and that’s when I saw her arm. At first, I thought it was one of those real life dolls, but then it hit me when I noticed there were deep cuts like someone took a cookie cutter and tried to dig out chunks of her flesh. I dropped the laundry and screamed. I ran out and called the police. I,” Jo began to stutter. “I never went back in.”
“Can you recall anything about the pattern or shape of the symbols you saw?” Jo glanced at the officer and shook her head.
“I have never seen anything like them before, but I remember they were sharp lines with circles at each point in various angles.”
“Are you certain you never saw them before?” The officer leaned in closer to Jo. She wiped the tears from her cheeks and just stared at the steam rising from her black coffee.
“Please, this could help us,” the officer urged. Jo remained silent staring off at the white steam against the dark bare wall. The officer straightened up.
“Officer Gladman, a word please?” The officer next to Jo scooted back from the table and rose. Jo could hear his footsteps bounce off the walls in the small room as the fat officer pulled open the door. Jo prayed they wouldn’t leave, but they did. She stared at the corner of the room anticipating the shadow to shift closer to her and engulf her in its darkness. The heaviness of being alone began to crush her as she watched the shadow grow darker as it sucked the light from around it like a black hole. She shifted her eyes to the steam rising from her cup as her ears strained to listen to the officers just outside the door to distract her from the growing shadow.
“Jeff, something has got her spooked. Give me just 10 minutes alone. This could be the break we are looking for.”
“She is full of it. You can’t trust a dame. Especially that one.”
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There is a darkness that is brewing in the shadows. An evil that is determined to snuff out the light. There are those bound to protect and those destined to serve. When a dead body turns up with mysterious markings on it, Detective Ryan Daniels is put on the case. His only witness, Jo, a young girl who has just as many questions as he does. Together they must solve the riddle behind the markings and save not only themselves from the killer, but all of humanity. Fallen is a supernatural thriller that explores the secrets hidden in the shadows and the hearts of mankind.