Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chapter 3 – “Family for a Ghost”


by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

Chapter 3 – “Family for a Ghost”

“No, It can’t be,” Margaret shook her head violently.

A masked man had broken into to her home only to die on the floor before her. Margaret struggled to be strong and call the police, and maybe she would have remained strong if her husband hadn’t removed the dead man’s mask.

“It can’t be,” she repeated, now a whisper, as she looked down up on the face of Adrian, her own brother.

“But it is,” her husband said somberly and stood up from the side of the body. Donald took hold of his wife and pulled her to the far side of the room. They held onto each other afraid that if one let go the other would fall. Both were crying.

After several minutes past by in silence Margaret finally spoke.

“What… what happened to him?” Her face remained buried against her husband’s chest.

“I don’t know, but it looks like he was shot at least twice.”

She slowly lifted her head, and they looked across the room at the lifeless body.

“Who would have done such a thing to Adrian?”

“Maybe he upset someone with one of his magazine articles.” Donald said just to say anything. What he was thinking bothered him far more.

Adrian was supposed to have dinner with them, but he was running late. Something the ‘Masked Ghost’ had been involved in may have delayed him. It must have been something unexpected and struck him on the way here. From the way he was bleeding out, it couldn’t have happened too far away or he would never have made it to their building, let alone somehow climb the outer wall to reach the balcony. It must have taken all his strength and last breath to get to them. That meant Adrian’s killer might still be close by. Donald couldn’t tell his wife that.

Margaret pulled away from her husband and ran back to her brother’s lifeless form. Getting down on her knees she wanted to wrap her arms around him. She reached out to grab Adrian’s arm when she brushed the edge of his over coat. It slipped to the side and fell to the floor with a heavy THUD.

“What was that?”

“I… I don’t know,” she answered and pulled her hand away.

Donald came around the other side of his wife and lifted the edge the coat. Something in the pocket gave it extra weight. He reached inside and withdrew what he already knew would be there.

“What’s Adrian doing with a gun,” Margaret gasped looking at the ugly weapon.

Her husband just looked at her, the answer was terribly obvious. He opened the coat further and found another gun strapped in a holster on the other side of the body.

“But why,” Margaret asked as she picked up the dark red mask, “Why would Adrian put on this horrible get up? What would make him do such terrible things?”

“I don’t know,” he answered, “Your brother was always a little odd.”

“Don’t say that about him!” She shouted in tears at her husband.

“Sorry, you’re right. That was rude, but Adrian always did have his head in the clouds. As you said, as a writer, he’s always been imaginative. Whenever we talked he always seemed not to be paying any attention to me.”

Margaret wanted to defend her brother’s honor, but didn’t know how to defend someone who did what he clearly had been doing. She didn’t know him as well as she thought.

“He thought you were boring.” She said matter-of-factly.


“After we first met, Adrian thought you were a very boring man. Then after he got to know you he became completely supportive of my love for you.”

Donald dropped his head, feeling guilty.

“A few months ago he came to me and asked to see if you’d be interested in having him do a story about you.”

“A story about me, why? I’m nobody.”

“He said he wanted to interview you about what it was like working on the top floors of the construction of the Empire State Building. What it was like walking on those thin iron beams thousands of feet in the air.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I thought you’d say no. You always seem like you want to put that part of your life behind you, and keep it separate from our marriage and working for my father.”

“That was never my intention. Adrian could have come to me anytime he wanted.”

“I'm sorry,” she said. “Maybe you were right. Adrian was always full of wild ideas and wilder stories. It’s just that I thought he was finally grounding himself when he met that nice girl Sheila – Oh!”

“Oh, what?”

“Could it be…? Adrian took it extremely hard when Sheila died last year. You don’t suppose that—“

Margaret’s thoughts were harshly interrupted when a heavy knocking came to the door of their penthouse apartment.

“Open up! This is the police. Let us in, now!”

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