REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST
by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)
Chapter 15 – “A Ghost Rejected”
“Tell me again,” Margaret giggled, “how you flew off the building.” She leaned forward and kissed her husband’s chest.
“I didn’t… fly…Told you… that… a dozen times… already,” Donald Randolf moaned beneath her.
“Tell me anyway,” she sighed and cuddled down into his arms.
They had spent the night and long into the morning in bed. The excitement of the evening before had built up adrenalin in them both and they found ways to burn it off until sleep finally took hold.
Later they pulled themselves out of bed and showered together. It wasn’t just animal lust, neither wanted to let the other go in fear they wouldn’t come back.
Finally, as Margaret prepared a small brunch, Donald called in to work.
“I won’t be coming in today, Betty,” he told his secretary.
“Thought as much, sir. Mr. Brown isn’t in either. He stayed home with his wife. So sorry to hear about what happened to their son.”
“Ya. Margaret’s pretty shaken up about her brother as well. Am sorry if I’m leaving you with a lot of work.”
“Don’t mention it, sir. I completely understand.”
“I’ll make certain you’re paid for any extra hours,” Donald hated it when people were used; they deserved to be paid for the work they did. He wasn’t certain his father-in-law saw it the same way, but Donald was going to make anyone that worked for him got paid right.
After returning the phone to its cradle Donald joined his wife at the table.
“You should call your parents, I’m sure your mother could use the support right now.”
“I was thinking about going out to see them,” Margaret replied as she spread a helping of marmalade on her toast, “but I don’t want to leave you.”
He didn’t need to respond to that as he reached for the bacon, Donald understood all to well what she meant and felt the same way.
After they had eaten a few bites, Donald let out a heavy sigh and rolled his head feeling the tightness in his neck crunch. Noticing he was aching, Margaret got up behind him and began massaging his shoulders.
“You had quite a work out last night,” she said as she worked at his tense muscles.
“I am never doing that again,” he said sternly.
“Well I certainly enjoyed what doing it with you,” Margaret giggled with a mischievous smile, “I hope you’re not quitting on me.”
Donald mumbled something into his coffee. His wife sometimes came off with the most inappropriate jokes, but he loved her anyway.
The massage felt good, but after a few minutes, he reached up and brushed her hands away. She knew that meant he wanted to be serious and so sat down across from him again. He was finally going to tell her the decision he had come to hours earlier, before getting so pleasantly distracted.
“I can’t go out there again. I won’t put that mask on ever again.”
She reached over and squeezed his hand lovingly.
“I nearly died out there,” he looked her in the face, “if not that fall. And let’s face it that was a fall, only Adrian’s coat saved me. If not that than it might have been one of a dozen gunshots. I’m not a criminal, why are the police shooting at me?”
“But you weren’t killed,” she tried to reassure him.
“What about the next time? Or the next? All I could think about was you being left alone if I died.”
“Oh, honey,” she reached to hug him, but he pulled away.
“What was I thinking putting on that damn mask?”
They were silent for moment. Margaret felt hurt after he pulled away. She didn’t know how to response until finally she just spoke.
“You did it for me. Because you knew I wanted you too.”
He looked at her slightly confused.
“The whole time you were out there in the darkness I was terrified, imagining all sorts of horrific things happening to you.”
“Exactly, I can’t have you worried like that again. I love you!”
“Oh, darling, I love you too. Now listen to me. Even though scared, I am also very proud of you going out there looking for clues to what happened to Adrian. You’re out there being my hero.”
“I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to be your husband. I don’t want to be the Masked Ghost!”
“No one said you had to be.”
“Cabby sure thinks I do. Calls me boss as if he’s been following my orders all along. He showed up and got me away from the police at the last minute, but I never called him.”
Margaret gave an understanding nod, “he did that yesterday for me too. I wasn’t surprised, but there he was outside the restaurant waiting on us as if he knew we’d need a ride to Adrian’s apartment.
“He says he goes where the Masked Ghost needs him,” Donald said and thought for a moment. Cabby hadn’t once talked about working for Adrian; it was always the Masked Ghost. It was the same when he put mask on as well. “What did Adrian do for the man to make him so loyal?”
“We have no idea how many people Adrian has helped as the Masked Ghost,” Margaret had similar thoughts, “all this time helping others and getting no closer to solving Sheila’s death. The very reason he put on the mask. The Masked Ghost must be a hero to many.”
“I thought you hated hearing about the terrible vigilante on the streets.”
“That’s before I understood what he was trying to do. Before I knew all the good he was doing,” Margaret paused and looked down somberly, “before I knew it was Adrian.”
“Right. The Masked Ghost was Adrian and it got him killed. If I put the mask back on then the Masked Ghost will kill me too, or worse, it’ll kill you. I can’t have that.”
“But we need to find out what happened to Adrian, and we can’t forget Sheila either. He would want us to solve her murder.”
“That’s what the police are for,” he said feeling angry. He didn’t like that feeling, especially towards his wife.
“You said that there’s a good chance that the police are involved in this.”
“They’re certainly intent on hunting down the Masked Ghost. I don’t want to be hunted. But they can investigate the murders.”
“I’m beginning to think that only the Masked Ghost can do that.”
“Well, I am not the Masked Ghost!”
Their heated discussion fell into silence.
A moment later they both jumped at the sound of a heavy hammering knock at the door.
To be continued…