The Riverside Killer
By Jonathan VanRy
Oh Susanna (Round 1 Winner Story by: Jonathan VanRy)
Susanna was practically skipping down the sidewalk in excitement, her stack of papers fluttering in her hand. What a demented, adorable girl.
“I already have the first murder scene planned out! I found this site- yaknow- that theorizes on how they happened?! They’ve got a real-live forensic analyst!”
I chuckled and did my best to keep up with her. Over the years, I’d grown fairly used to her little pet projects- no matter how random or straight-up meaningless they may be. This one, on the other hand, was on a whole other level.
Susanna, you see, had this nasty habit of getting obsessed- and I mean obsessed with something for about a month or two at a time. In the last couple of months, it had been platypuses. No joke. She was this close to getting a ticket to Australia to go study them in the wild. This month was serial killers.
“You know, nobody takes those sites seriously for a reason…” I told her, trying to dissuade her without causing any damage. She chuckled.
“Because they’re scared, Jim. They’re scared any human would stoop to levels like that.” There was an almost evil glint in her eye, highlighting the childish twinkle they usually displayed. I coughed, trying not to show that she was scaring me a little bit.
“The. Riverside. Killer.” she started dramatically, reading off of the hastily scrawled paper in front of her. “Dozens of murders committed under the noses of both police and populace- Do you like that tagline? I came up with it myself!”
I forced a chuckle and nodded, “It’s catchy… But Susanna, you do know it probably wasn’t one killer, right?” Susanna let out a long sigh and began to interject, but I continued, “It was a bunch of people who saw a way to hide a body and decided they’d keep up the pattern. There are some twisted people out there…”
“Yeah, there are twisted people!” she exploded. “Twisted people like The Riverside Killer!!”
She punched me in the shoulder, hard. I held it and let out a sarcastic cry in mock pain. I won’t lie, it did hurt a little bit, but Susanna didn’t need to know that.
“Even if there was a Riverside Killer… If. Wouldn’t getting this close to uncovering him get you in the river yourself?” I asked her, a last-ditch effort to discourage her from The Riverside Killer documentary… I could see a narrow alleyway jutting off of the street up ahead.
“The people need to hear the truth!” she cried out, placing her hands on her hips defiantly.
The alley was just a few steps ahead.
“What on earth was that?!” I yelled, pointing towards the alleyway.
“What?!” Susanna jumped.
“I think it was a cat!”
“Kitty cat!” Susanna took off running down the alleyway. Resigned to the inevitable, I followed behind her.
“Here kitty-kitty-kitty!” she called as she knelt to look for the nonexistent feline.
I stopped and stood over her.
She stood up and turned around.
So small, so fragile.
I felt the familiar stab at my right wrist.
“Too close…” I murmured.
Her face contorted as she saw the spike that had emerged from between the two bones of my forearm.
“The host must be protected,” I stated simply as I plunged it into her neck. She stared up at me, struggling to gasp in a breath.
As soon as her signature childish light died from her eyes, I absorbed the lifeless body into mine to feed. I would deposit it in the river later.
Another victim of The Riverside Killer.
I burst out of the door of the library, my arms loaded with books.
I managed my way home without much difficulty. I only nearly fell over a time or two. My phone ba-dinged in my pocket as I charged through the front door, startling me. I set the books on the kitchen table and checked the text.
“U will regret it,”
An Unknown Sender. I shrugged and tossed my phone to the side. It was writing time!
But it wasn’t writing time. I spent about an hour poring over a section on schizophrenia in Understanding the Human Psyche.
“The.” I scribbled onto the blank paper in front of me, leaving a period there to emphasize the dramatic effect.
“Riverside.” I could feel my head beginning to droop as I continued writing. It was already pretty late, almost 9:00 now. Bedtime… or almost bedtime…
“Killer.” I dramatically dotted the last period and let out a massive yawn. My head crashed onto the desk.
I woke up in a frizzy mess on my kitchen table, three new texts waiting on my phone. Two were from Unknown Sender,
“I will find you.”
“And I will kill you.”
Ooooh excellent movie reference.
The third text was from my bestie, Alan:
“U down to meet 4 the Cafe latr? 10 mabey”
I replied with a smile and thumbs up emoji. It was only 8 am.
I cracked my knuckles and pulled out my tablet, navigating to riversidekiller.info. Time to get some real writing done!
My phone pinged again, snapping me out of my murder-scene-writing flow. It was another text from Alan:
“U need to stop”
Before I could reply, he sent another text,
“Whoops wrong person”
I chuckled and set down my phone, but as I was about to set back to my writing, my phone ba-dinged. Unknown Sender again.
“U need to stop”
What a coincidence! That was just hilarious. It was the same thing Alan had sent me. Another text from Unknown Sender popped onto my screen.
“I know where u r”
That one sent chills down my spine. Spooky! I couldn’t wait to find out who it was.
Alan showed up right on time at 10 for our walk to the cafe. We seemed to be taking a different route today! It was like we’re on an adventure!
“Do you know who ‘Unknown Sender’ is?” I asked him on a whim.
“Er- I- What?” he replied, stumbling over his words.
“I dunno!” I shrugged off the idea with a smile and started reading the first page of my script to him.
We ended up arguing about The Riverside Killer. Sad. Alan didn’t even think he- or she- was real… Then suddenly, there was a kitten.
I didn’t see it, but Alan had apparently seen the little furball take off down the alleyway, so I sped after it.
I crouched down, looking under a dumpster for the tiny cat.
“Kitty-kitty-kitty!” I called out for it.
I heard Alan murmur behind me, followed by a disgusting gurgle. I turned to face him, feeling incredibly small as he stood over me.
I could see a spine that had shot out from between the two bones above Alan’s wrist. He took a swift step forward and drove it into my throat. I felt a burning spread from my neck outwards.
I gasped and took one last look into his silvery grey eyes. They were void of any emotion or empathy.
“The host must be protected.”
He told me bluntly as I became the latest victim of The Riverside Killer.
I held the paper in my trembling hand, ready to place it behind the loose baseboard in my best friend Susanna’s house. I had scrawled on it:
My name is Alan Jim Smith, and I am human, I swear.
If you are reading this, I know you may be thinking otherwise if you heard the news, but I reassure you I am 100% human being. Also, congratulations on finding this note. With Susanna dead, I didn’t think anybody would ever find our secret hiding spot.
I’ve done bad things. I don’t know how much the news will have actually heard about me by the time this is found. Perhaps nothing at all.
I confess that I am responsible for the killings. I have been infected, and I should have done what I am about to do sooner.
-The Riverside Killer
I grasped my head as I felt a sharp pain stab through it. The alien parasite in my brain wasn’t liking what I was doing at all, but I had fed it. I had fed it my best friend. So it remained complacent in my head. I replaced the loose baseboard and stood up, making sure it didn’t look disturbed.
“Jimmy?” I heard Susanna’s roommate call.
“Oh! Megan! Hello…”
Luckily she hadn’t peeked downstairs any sooner.
“Where’s Suzy?” she asked me.
“I don’t know…”
“What do you mean? Didn’t you two go to the cafe?”
“She- er- vanished. I was hoping she’d come back here…”
“Oh… She hasn’t,”
I said goodbye to Megan and then left. The gun I’d tucked into my waistband was pressing uncomfortably against my back. I was filled with dread, but I had to remember that was the alien talking… It wasn’t me, right?
I wandered through the woods around the river for a while.
Is this really what it’s come to? Is this really what you want?
I shook my head to clear the whispers away. The alien talking. I had to keep reminding myself it was the alien talking.
Finally, I reached the police tape. After a quick look around showed nobody, I pushed it up and ducked underneath it, bringing me to the riverbank.
I sat down on a stone bench overlooking the rushing waters. So many bodies. So many people. All right here in this river. I was surprised that there weren’t any officers or anything around. They probably weren’t expecting me until night though. It didn’t really matter though. The police didn’t know that the parasite granted me invisibility when the moon was out.
I looked around one last time to make sure there was nobody, and then released poor Susanna’s body. It flopped onto the ground in front of me. So pale. It had been drained of most of its nutrients by the alien inside me.
It was another power the parasite had granted me. I could absorb corpses into my own body and hold them as long as I wanted, waiting for a moonlit night to deposit them into the river. I had no idea how it worked.
I sighed and cradled Susanna in my arms. She was the last straw. No more.
This ended tonight.
I pushed her gently out into the waters and grabbed the gun from my waistband.
I held the gun against my head, my hand trembling.
I felt a twinge run through my arm as it flung itself, hurling the gun away from my head.
“We are taking control.”
I heard myself talking, but I could no longer move.
“The host must be protected.”
The End of Alan Jim.
My name is Officer Miller, and I’ll be the first to say again that I never expected something of this magnitude to happen in Riverside. Ever.
We had a serial killer. An honest-to-goodness serial killer. In our little town of Riverside. The media had dubbed him “The Riverside Killer.” Just in case we needed to make it any more obvious that nothing like this had ever happened here before.
I was put on an overnight shift, guarding the riverbank. Bodies would just show up there at night. They didn’t come from anywhere. Each one was stabbed right through the neck with some sort of stake, and would always appear to have been dead for quite some time before found.
Every story was the same. They’d hear a slight splash, and then they’d shine their flashlight out into the river. A body just… appeared.
Any sort of test we’d run on it would just prove that it’d been dead for days.
This had been going on for five months. The killer didn’t seem to stick to any sort of solid schedule, just a body dropped off every one or two weeks. So we would post an officer every night. And every night it happened their story was the same. Tonight, I’d been put on Riverside Killer watch.
I heard a sound behind me and turned quickly. There were a couple of bushes rustling.
I checked the river. Nothing.
I turned my flashlight to the bushes and slowly approached them.
A tap on my shoulder scared the living daylights out of me. I spun around.
“P- p- please…”
There was a man behind me, fairly short and skinny. Maybe in his late 20s. He was pale. So pale.
“Shoot me…” he whispered.
“Now, son-” I began to say, but was interrupted by him yelling out,
“Now, you need to calm yourself down,” I told him calmly.
The man turned and lurched away from me a few steps. He turned around again to face me.
“Please…” I could hear him whisper, “I barely have control…”
I aimed my flashlight and gun at him, “Put your hands on your head and kneel down.” I told him sternly yet calmly. “You’re sick, I’m here to help.”
“Then help… me…” I could barely hear him now, I made it out by reading his lips. A disgusting gurgle seemed to be released from his body.
Something had stuck itself out of his arm. Some sort of spike or something. It just appeared… Just like the corpses.
“I said put your hands on your head!” I told him, my voice getting shakier. I took my attention off of him for a split second to radio for backup.
The man let out a cry and charged towards me, aiming the spike directly at my neck. I shot him in the chest just before he could reach me and sidestepped, barely getting out of his way.
The man fell on all fours and began to gasp for breath.
“Thank you…” he whispered faintly and then collapsed.
I turned back to check the river, still nothing. So I investigated the body.
I could see the small exit wound in his back.
I rolled him over. His mouth lolled open. I softly shut his eyes and began to stand up.
But suddenly, some sort of vile sludge shot out of the man’s mouth. It launched into my face, forcing its way into my mouth and down my throat.
I knelt down, choking for a few seconds.
“Foolish humans…” I heard myself whisper, but I was no longer in control.
I opened my eyes, squinting in the dappled sunlight that pierced the canopy of maple leaves. An unintentional groan escaped my mouth as I tried to respond.
“Jeezums, Steve! You’re alive!”
I nodded, sending pain shooting from my head down my neck.
“Now just stay still, stay still.”
It was my partner, Officer Judd. He was standing over me. I closed my eyes again and sighed.
“You better not have botched this up…” he said as I let myself drift out of consciousness.
I felt myself being placed carefully in a stretcher, it held my head uncomfortably.
I woke up to Officer Judd waiting by the hospital bed.
“Hey there buddy…” he said warmly, “How are you doing?”
I groaned and chuckled, “Just peachy.”
“That bad, huh? Now, don’t go thinking about it too hard, but do you remember anything from two nights ago?”
“Two nights ago?”
“When you hit your head on that rock.”
“Oh… I- I was on Riverside Killer watch. Right?”
“And I heard something…”
I tried to think of what had happened next, but it was all fuzzy.
“It’s alright Steve, just take it easy.” Officer Judd interrupted, “You were attacked by some guy. He wasn’t lookin’ too right in the head. He lost his friend to the killer. About a month ago.”
I drew in a sharp gasp, “I didn’t kill him… Did I?”
“Now Steve, It was self-defense.”
“I killed him…” I could feel myself beginning to sob.
“Yes, Steve. But you need to realize that you were attacked.”
“I don’t even remember it! And nobody was there! How can we know?”
“Body placement. He rushed at you and you shot him. After that, you walked over to him and checked him. He must’ve kicked you or something ‘cuz you fell over backwards. Guy must’ve had quite a pair of legs on him…”
I let out a long, deep sigh, finally allowing myself to breathe, “Self-defense…”
“Yes. You may even remember it right after some treatment. Rest easy, man.” He turned to leave.
“Wait, Judd,” I called out to him as he was about to walk out of the door.
“Yeah?” Officer Judd turned to face me.
“Does he have family?”
“None in the area. We’ve taken care of contacting them. And no, they won’t know who you are.”
“I want them to know.”
“I want them to know!” I said, sitting up in bed. I could feel sharp pain stabbing at my neck and down my back from my head. I felt like I wasn’t even saying the words coming out of my mouth. I was drifting. Like I was unconscious, but still speaking.
“I’ll ask you about it later… Rest. Now.”
I lay back down in the bed slowly and began to whisper, “Sorry for the intrusion, you are not adequate.”
“What?” I cried out. “What’s happening!?”
I began to whisper again. “We have control, but you are an inadequate host. We are in search of humans in relation to the one designated Alan Jim Smith.”
“What’s happening to me!?”
Officer Judd came running back into my room, “Jeezums, Steve! You alright?”
“I- Yeah… I just got a- er- a sharp pain- Yeah, down my neck.”
“Alright. Just rest. Rest, alright? I’ll go get a doctor.”
“You don’t have to-” but he was already out the door. I let out a sigh.
“What are you?” I whispered to myself, hoping that nobody was in earshot.
“We are-” I began to whisper, but got cut off by Officer Judd rushing back into the room, a doctor in tow.
I never did get the rest of my explanation. Whatever had wormed its way into my brain was apparently going to remain nameless. It had been a month. A whole month since I became a murderer…
“Not a murderer…” I whispered to myself. It was self-defense. Self-defense. If only I could just remember what had happened. Then I would be a little at peace with it all. But instead I was just filled with doubt.
“If it wasn’t self-defense…” I began to whisper, but I stopped myself. I didn’t need to go down that road. Again. Just like I had for the past month.
I sighed and drained my can of beer. I’d need to come to terms with this if I was going to be cleared for duty again.
My psych eval was scheduled for tomorrow morning. I probably shouldn’t be drinking if I wanted to go through it hangover-free. But it was only 6:00pm. I’ll be fine.
I woke up stuck to the kitchen table. My head was pounding. The recycling bin was overflowing with cans from last night. Beer and soda. So many cans…
I checked the clock, 9:00am, and took a quick trip to the bathroom. I still had an hour before my evaluation to shower and get ready.
I hurried out the front door, slamming into a young woman who appeared to have been about to knock. I apologized and quickly helped her to her feet, then turned to leave the apartment building.
“Officer Miller…” the young woman said, bringing me to a halt. “Wait.”
“Yes?” I turned and faced her. She looked familiar. I couldn’t place her though.
“My name is Madison Smith…” she told me.
Alan Jim’s sister. She looked just like him. Of course. I watched her hand shift something behind her back. I’d nearly forgotten that I’d managed to convince Officer Judd to make my identity public…
“Now, ma’am, I need you to show me your ha- ” I coughed, then heard myself whisper, “Adequate…” but I hadn’t meant to.
“I’m sorry…” Madison said sympathetically, revealing a crowbar she’d had stashed behind her back.
I took a step back, but was overcome by something in my brain. I rushed towards her.
She swung the crowbar, which I wasn’t expecting in my frenzied charge. It connected with my stomach, sending me into the wall. I grunted and turned back to face her.
“COME AND GET ME, YOU SLIMY IDIOT!” she cried out and readied her crowbar like a baseball bat.
I felt something in my throat, crawling towards my mouth like vomit. I tried to hold it back, but a black mass launched itself out of my mouth and straight towards Madison’s face.
The crowbar connected with the black mass, sending it flying into the wall and breaking through the first layer of drywall.
I scrambled to my feet, coughing hard.
The black mass shot itself off the wall and towards Madison again. She deflected the speeding thing and it fell to the floor. She knelt down and began to beat it with the crowbar.
“Go!” she ordered me, and I went. I turned and ran down the stairwell of the apartment building, leaving behind the gruesome scene.
I radioed for backup, telling them I’d been attacked by… something.
They arrived within minutes. We rushed up to my apartment on the third floor. The only evidence of the scuffle in the hallway was the hole in the drywall and a dark stain on the floor where Madison had beaten the heck out of that creature.
Second place story
By Stephen O'Pry
Just a few weeks had passed since Daisy and Peter’s mother passed away from natural causes. They were always close with their mother and their father had already passed away just two years ago. It was always bittersweet coming back to their childhood home, but this time would be the last time. Since both Peter and Daisy had moved away, they had their own families, but they had to agree on what to do with the estate left behind, neither could afford the mortgage still left on the old rustic Victorian home. But neither were ready to say goodbye to the last memories they shared together.
Peter had to leave behind his family in New York to come home and help clear out the remaining belongings while Daisy’s Husband was coming in the morning with the hauling truck. The two siblings started boxing up all of their parent’s belongings, their mother held on to several clothes of their father’s The back room was filled with trinkets and crafts she done throughout the years, since the children moved out. Peter’s old room was filled with all the stuff they left behind when they went to college and started their new chapters in life.
“Hey look sis, some old VHS tapes, should we toss them or what? Do they even make VCRs anymore?” Peter announced as he dug through boxes to see what their contents were. “I’m sure ma has one, what are they? Old blockbusters?” Daisy yelled across the house. “Actually… Looks like some old home movies. Maybe I’ll just sit them off to the side and watch them when we have some down time,” Peter struggled with moving the boxes to the side and continued to work on packing all of their old jerseys from their high school sporting events, baby clothes, and pictures.
After most of the junk was bagged up to be thrown away and the majority of the keepsakes were boxed up and ready for Daisy’s husband Dan to arrive with the truck, the siblings ordered pizza and talked about their current lives, how much they missed their parents, and the good old days. After reminiscing, they decided to crack open the closest box of videos and hooked up the VCR to the old box TV. Most of the first videos were when they went to an amusement park, tee ball games, and even a middle school dance, with their mother narrating the whole time or cheering her children on in their games.
They finally came across a video where they could tell they were around one and two years old at Christmas opening gifts, but this Christmas was different than all the other ones, another child was present. “Is that cousin Mikey?” Daisy leaned in closer, squinting at the child resembling Peter more than herself. “Nancy, wave at the camera!” Her mother squealed as the boyish looking child waved with excitement. “Nancy?” Peter and Daisy perked up at the same time, just as the VCR began eating the tape. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Peter shouted as fought with stopping the tape. “Who is Nancy? I don’t remember a Nancy when we grew up, do you?” Daisy asked as she pushed her brother out of the way and worked her magic to eject the tape with out causing further damage.
Daisy meticulously worked on fixing the tape as Peter, the older of the two of the siblings paced back and forth, trying to remember who Nancy was. Once Daisy managed to repair the tape, she put it back in the VCR, but the tape wouldn’t play, rewind, or even fast forward. “Are you sure it’s plugged in?” Peter rushed over to check everything he could think of. “Yeah, it’s just an old busted VCR, maybe Dan can swing by and get a new one no his way,” Daisy pulled out her cell phone and dialed her husband. She explained the reason for her request, despite his protests he reluctantly went to a store to buy one.
Unfortunately they no longer carried any in stock and informed him, only one store in the area carried any of the archaic machines at all, but it was closed until Monday. “Well crud… I guess we will have to wait to finish the tape,” Daisy huffed at the news. “Well I have to catch my flight back to New York tomorrow night, I have a big case on Tuesday I have to finish preparing for. You’re better with all this technical stuff anyway, why don’t you take all the tapes home and dig deeper, maybe there are some clues in some other tapes. I may can do a little digging from the legal system stand point… But we don’t know who Nancy is or if she even goes by Nancy,” Peter pat his sister on her shoulder.
They continued to box up all the clutter and nearly had everything ready by the time Dan pulled in with the truck. With the three of them working on loading everything, they had a handful of boxes left to load in the morning. The new owner of the house swung by to check out the process they were making. After he left an old familiar face peeked in the door. “Pete, Daisy, boy have y’all grown!” Mr. Robinson exclaimed with arms outstretched. The old timer was their neighbor since Peter and Daisy’s parents first moved in.
“It’s a crying shame your mom passed… I know when your dad passed it tore her up real bad. It didn’t help that you two moved away, but your mom was so ecstatic when you were able to at least call. I know you are some high end lawyer Pete, how’s the business going Daisy?” He broke away from his embraces with the siblings. “Well… I…” Daisy started as Dan walked in the room with two cups of coffee. “Ah, the infamous Mr. Robinson I presume, these two always gave you trouble in their teenage years,” Dan chuckled. “Naw, these two weren’t that bad. But that fella they hung around… Now he was trouble,” Mr. Robinson reached his shaky hand out and had a surprisingly strong grip, to where Dan even winced.
“Hey Mr. Robinson, do you remember another little girl who was around, when we were real young. A Nancy, we found an old tape and she was in it,” Peter broke in. “Oh… Is that so. Well your mama never told you?” Mr. Robinson scratched his head. Both siblings perked up at the possibility of new information. “No sir, we don’t even remember her being around,” Peter shook his head and put his hands on his hips. “Well Nancy was my first wife, most beautiful woman in the world… But don’t let know I said that…” Mr. Robinson trailed off incoherently. “Uncle Rob, there you are. A woman younger than Peter and Daisy walked in.
“Ah, Nancy we were just talking about you dear, tell are new neighbors hello,” Mr. Robinson gave the young woman an obviously awkward embrace. “I’m sorry, Uncle Robert has dementia, I hope he didn’t scare any of you. I’m not Nancy… Who ever that is, my name is Patty,” she offered a hand as the group went around introducing themselves. After discussing Mr. Robinson’s situation and their own, Patty said goodbye to the siblings and Dan, as Mr. Robinson wandered out into the yard. “So, we are back to where we started,” Peter mumbled.
“I sure thought he knew what he was talking about there for a minute. Well hopefully your high brow connections can help with the case of the missing girl,” Dan chuckled. “I do have a big case coming up, but my connections aren’t really that high up on the ladder. It will still take some digging. I only work at a firm that handles insurance claims and fraud, but I do know some people who may can help. If only we had a social security number or an actual last name…” Peter shook his head before looking at the time and scurrying off to finish his part of the loading.
After the truck was nearly filled, Peter had to rush off to the airport to begin his trek home. After Daisy said her good byes to her brother, her and Dan finished the rest of the packing just as the new owner knocked on the door frame. “Well it looks like you got this place cleared out, don’t worry if you forgot anything I’ll sell it back to you fairly cheap,” the middle aged woman cackled. “No I’m just kidding, but I am tearing this old place down, so if there is anything left behind that looks important I’ll get the real estate agent to contact you,” she added as she took a stroll around the home.
“You sure you don’t want any of the furniture sweetie? I’m just going to have to sell it or have it hauled off to the dump,” she stated as she played in her brown hair with grays peeking our behind her ears. “No, we don’t have any room at our place and Pete lives pretty far away and has everything he needs,” Daisy replied before guzzling a whole bottle of water. Dan loaded into the driver’s seat of the truck as the new owner checked to make sure all the doors were locked behind them.
“So you didn’t tell Pete?” Dan quipped after a fifteen minute trip of silence. “Look Dan, it’s none of his business or anyone’s about us getting a divorce. He’s my brother and I love him and I thank you for helping out this weekend, but I am still quite hurt and broken to the whole situation, it’s a little late to talk about it, so I prefer silence please,” Daisy stared out of the window as Dan respected her wishes, until his phone rang. “Hey babe, now is not a good time… How about I call once we get back in town and you can pick me up,” he answered with Daisy glaring at him.
“Sorry, I told her to not bother us during this weekend. I know I messed up, but I still love you, you know that right?” Dan broke tried to break the silence. “Come on Daisy, you know things were going south when I lost my job. I wasn’t feeling like a man and I could tell I was already disappointing you. I needed something to make me feel like a man again and Annette was just at the right place at the wrong time. I understand you can’t forgive me, but can’t we just be able to talk? I mean I did help you during your time of need,” he continued.
“Listen jerk, I was in just as bad of a place as you, but I didn’t go cheat on you. At least you have somewhere to go to since we lost our home, on top of that I lost my mother. Just because you felt dissatisfied with yourself, didn’t mean I thought less of you, until you went with that… Watch out!” Daisy screamed as a garbage truck slammed into the side of the truck.
Peter landed safely at the airport and immediately checked his phone for any messages. His boss left a message making sure he was coming in on Monday. His wife left a message along with his daughters, wishing him a safe flight. An unknown number left an urgent message, “Hello Peter Hanson, this is Dr. Johnson at the St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital, I have some grave news, you’re sister was in a bad wreck and listed you as an emergency contact. We need to operate immediately, she is in critical condition and in need of few transplants, fortunately for her we have a donor who just passed away yesterday, who is an exact match. If you could return this call immediately, we need you to fill out some paperwork if you haven’t left the state yet.”
Peter immediately called the number back and was patched in to the proper line where a nurse answered. “I’m already back in New York, is my sister alright? Why couldn’t Dan fill out the paper work?” Peter answered in response. “Mr. Ferris unfortunately did not survive the wreck and your sister is in the ICU but with out the transplants needed she will not make it, I can get approval over the phone after getting your personal information, but we really would need you in person to sign some paperwork and I’m sure you would want to be by your sister’s side when she comes out of surgery,” the nurse replied.
After Peter hung up the phone he contacted his wife Rachel and explained to her the situation, after calling her he contacted his boss while he worked on booking a flight back to his home town. As soon as he arrived at the hospital he went straight to the ICU in the small town’s hospital. Daisy was still unconscious, but was in a more stable condition after the lung, liver, and kidney transplants. “Mr. Hanson, your sister is stable, but of course we will have to keep a close eye on her. Of course her body could still reject the organs, but I don’t think we will have an issue since the donor was nearly a perfect match. I’m not allowed to tell you the identity of the donor, but it’s pretty rare to have such a match from someone outside of family,” Dr. Johnson announced as he entered the waiting room.
“You mean to tell me the donor was actually a family member?” Peter asked. “Well Pete… You are a lawyer so you know just as well as anyone else… What I’m about to tell you is fairly illegal, but I have been around your mother and father for years and they both done great things with the community. But before they became the great people who raised you and volunteered at the homeless shelter, they hit an all time low. I delivered all the kids back in the day, not so many these days, but the donor was your older sister, Nancy. I know you were too young to remember her and I figured your parents would have told you the truth. They couldn’t afford all of you kids and made the difficult decision to put her up for adoption,” Dr. Johnson added.
“Why only Nancy? Why not all of us?” Peter asked. “Well… She was the oldest and your mom had a difficult time, I guess it was just the easiest way with out losing all of you. Your mom tried to reach out to her and they even met in person once, but it didn’t go so well. Nancy resented your mother and probably felt like she was thrown away. She had a good family and didn’t want to have anything to do with any of you, unfortunately she passed away the day before yesterday. I can’t tell you anymore about her, since I don’t know anymore and also, I’ve already told you too much as is. I’m sorry Peter,” Dr. Johnson gave Peter a pat on the back.
After the doctor had to go to an emergency, Peter decided he should start working while he had down time before he could even visit Daisy. His work was limited to sending emails back and forth and digging through files within the emails. After working tirelessly, he decided to see if he could find Nancy’s obituary and piece together anymore clues of their older sister. He discovered her last name was Davenport, never been married, no children, and was actually worth nearly one million dollars when she passed away.
The obituary included mentions of cousins, aunts, and uncles, revealing her murder was a homicide. He dug deeper into the local news website to reveal the murder suspect was still on the loose and the description of the presumable murderer matched Dan’s description, down to the scar he had on his left forearm. Nancy’s social media page was public and more personal details. Among the most recent posts, Jillian had a haunting image of a sketch of the murderer and another news article explaining the murder took place during a botched robbery, with an unknown female suspect.
This news worried Peter, was his sister a thief? He nervously waited for the nurse to inform him his sister was able to see him. When she came out adrenaline washed away any exhaustion he was previously experiencing. He asked how she was feeling and about what happened. She described the accident to the best of her recollection and chuckled when she stated she couldn’t feel much of anything.
“Dan didn’t make it…” Peter began to tell his sister as she looked away without any signs of emotion. “You had to have surgery to save your life… Sis, you had to have some transplants and apparently Nancy was killed the other day in a robbery… She saved your life,” Peter exhaled loudly. “Nancy… How do you know?” Daisy weakly asked.
“Well… Dr. Johnson delivered all three of us and told me as much information as he could… With out breaking the law too severely and then I connected the rest of dots,” Peter stated before telling Daisy the rest of the information he uncovered. But before he revealed his suspicions of Dan being Nancy’s murderer and her possibly being an accomplice in the robbery, he asked “I need you to tell me the truth sis… Did you and Dan rob her the other day?”
“No, I would never… Dan and I were getting a divorce… He got mixed with some bad people when he lost his job, then he cheated on me…” She nearly fell asleep as she relayed the incidents leading to their divorce. Peter told his sister to get some rest and gave her a peck on the forehead before leaving the room. He then relayed the information to the local police department, which resulted in Dan’s new girlfriend being arrested and confessing to the crime.
After Daisy was released she continued to believe Nancy was with her in spirit. Even though they never met each other in person, she felt as though they were connected in more ways than just her sister’s organs. After moving in with Peter to recover, Nancy stayed in New York, but decided to go visit Nancy’s adopted family. Only one cousin was willing to meet, but they hit it off really well, Benjamin admitted Daisy reminded him a lot of Nancy.
After convincing the rest of the family to meet her as well, Peter joined and despite feeling a little tension they invited the siblings to the next family reunion. They learned all about Nancy’s life and how it was much better than their own in ways, with only regretting never meeting Nancy before her untimely death. They visited her grave, where an uncanny breeze blowing, Peter and Daisy both felt their sister’s present.