Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chapter 20 – “Help For A Ghost”


by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

Chapter 20 – “Help For A Ghost”

Margaret Raymond stepped off the train after visiting with her parents. Donald wasn’t waiting for her at the station; she hadn’t expected that he would be. She knew he had been busy all day; whether it was for an assignment at work which she had told her parents about, or off visiting an old friend which is what he had told her, or investigating her brother’s murder. She was certain that the later was what he was doing and it both terrified and gave her great hope.

Desperate to talk with her husband, she road the subway to bring her closer to home. If what her father had said was truth, Sheila’s family may have been financially part of the corruption of the city’s construction industry.

This was something Donald and she would need to talk about before doing anything else.

The sun was just setting as Margaret reached the apartment. Just before turning into the building she noticed a now too familiar taxi parked across the street. Cabbie nodded and she could see his grim expression.

Margaret’s face went pale as fear ran down her back. She rushed into the building and into the elevator needing to reach the penthouse as soon as possible.

“Good evening Mrs. Raymond.”

“Oh, hello, Willy.” The boy who ran elevator briefly startled Margaret. His family was very poor, and standing in a metal box going up and down paid him a couple of dollars each day. He’d get a few tips from the tenants of the building. Willy didn’t have to ask where she wanted to go, and pulled cage door closed, and the little box moved upward towards the penthouse.

He liked to chat, especially with the ladies of the building. But Margaret was in no mood, and if she didn’t know better she would have though he was slowing the lift down. But it was just her being anxious to see Donald, to know that he was okay.

Once the little bell chimed and the gate opened, Margaret dashed for her apartment. Only half way there did she think to shout back, “Thank you, Willy.”

Margaret struggled at getting the key in the door, but once inside she started shouting.

“Donald? Don, are you home?”

No answer.

She ran from room to room. No one was there.

He was still out with his friend; she tried to convince herself, but knew that wasn’t true. Cabbie was parked outside, not taking fares, which meant the Masked Ghost had ordered him to look after her. But her brother was dead, so that meant…

She rushed to the bedroom knowing what she would find, or rather what she would not find.

The old suitcase lay open upon the bed.

The costume of The Masked Ghost was nowhere to be found.

“Don.” She whispered to no one.

She looked further about and found the box with all her brother’s notes spread out on the table. Lying right on top was a sheet of paper with an inked line circling an address.

“Damn you Donald, what are you doing?”

She paced back and forth for a moment, then stormed out the apartment.

Margaret ran to the elevator, but before pressing the button, knew she didn’t want to talk with Willy about why she had run in and out so quickly. Turning she headed for the stairs. It would take a longer, but she had to get downstairs.

It was a good thing she regularly ran between the stores, because she was winded by the time she burst out the front doors of the apartment building. She was nearly hit by a car while darting across the street.

“Take me to the police!” Margaret shouted at Cabbie as she hopped into the taxi with a slam of the door.

The car pulled away from the curb and made its way down the road. Margaret sat back and folded her arms, “not the local station. The precinct near my brother’s apartment, I’m certain you know the way.”

+ + +

“I’ll wait here,” Cabbie said as he parked the taxi out front the police station.

“No! You’re coming with me,” Margaret ordered. He hesitated, but followed.

Inside, approaching the Desk Sergeant, Margaret tried to hold some degree of decorum. “I would like to speak with Detective Monroe, please.”

The Desk Sergeant eyed the beautiful young woman and then suspiciously looked over at Cabbie. His kind don’t come in here with out cuffs on.

“What’s this about miss?”

“It’s Mrs.! You may tell Detective Monroe that I’m here about my brother’s murder.”

That got his attention and turned to another officer, “Get Johnny-Boy out here.”

The officer headed into the back of the station with no effort to get there anytime soon.

After several minutes passed, Margaret became impatient.

“Will someone hurry up and help me,” she spoke loud enough for the entire station to here, “that vigilante The Masked Ghost killed my brother and you’re all sitting around like lazy bums!”

That startled them, and shocked Cabbie.

The Desk Sergeant leaned in towards her with threatening eyes, “what do you know of The Masked Ghost?”

Margaret did her best to maintain eye contact with the man and show no fear, but knew it wouldn’t last.

“That’s enough out of you O’Brien,” came a voice that broke the tension, “what good are you scaring witnesses, and distraught family members?”

They turned to find Detective Monroe strolling up to the front of the station.

“You wanted to see me Mrs. Raymond,” he gave her the most pleasant of smile, and then glanced briefly over at Cabbie.

“Yes, indeed. Though I’m not certain your fellow officers are all that helpful.”

“Ignore them, I do. Let’s go find an office we can chat in with more privacy.” The other officers watched him escort her into a small side office. If it wasn’t for the foreign cab driver, some of them thought, it almost looked like the detective was looking for a place to enjoy some quiet time with the pretty young woman. Several of them would like to.

Once the door was closed, Monroe offered Margaret a seat but she refused.

“Now, Mrs. Raymond, why don’t you calm down and tell me what’s troubling you?”

“It’s about my brother.”

“Well, the police haven’t gotten very far into the investigation of his murder—“

“And you know why!” Margaret said holding her voice down so not to be heard by those who were obviously listening outside the door.

“Excuse me?”

“You know exactly why the police haven’t found his murderer, and won’t. Because you’re covering up facts of the case.”

Monroe glanced over at Cabbie with concern.

“Yes, look at your brother conspirator.”


“You’ve both been in this from the beginning. Knowing the truth of what happened to my brother. Knowing full well that my brother is… was the Masked Ghost.”

“Mrs. Raymond, keep your voice down.” Cabbie said, trying not to show his own fear.

“I’m trying to remain calm, but I won’t be able to until you explain what’s going on here. What did my brother get involved in that made him put on that stupid mask?”

The detective sighed and sat down in one of the chairs, his bright face had dulled, “Please sit down Mrs. Raymond.”

She didn’t want to, but did so as she knew he was about to tell her something important. Cabbie remained standing, guarding the door.

“Your brother put on that stupid mask, as you call it, and became the Masked Ghost because he knew of no other way to solve the murder.”

“You mean Sheila Brewster’s death?”

“That’s correct, but it became far greater than just one accident or murder.”

“The Masked Ghost would go places the police could not, or would not,” Cabbie said looking down at Monroe. There wasn’t a lot of trust between these two men who held such a great secret together.

“After he began investigating the crime, he soon came across other crimes in this city that only The Masked Ghost could solve and make right. Other people that needed help.” Monroe continued the story, “Over the last year the Masked Ghost has become more than just a way for him to express his obsession over his lost love. A lot of use have been helped, saved, or changed for the better by what The Masked Ghost has done.”

Margaret looked at these two men, both could take care of themselves in a fight, and realized that some how her brother had saved them from something far worse.

“He became a symbol of hope, became the people’s protector. This city needs the Masked Ghost.”

“Well, who’s protecting him? The Masked Ghost got my brother killed! What hope is there now?”

“We’re very sorry for your loss,” It was a line the police officer quoted out of habit and immediately knew it was the wrong thing to say.

“Are you going to tell me the same thing when my husband ends up dead?”

They looked at her in silence.

“You both knew what my brother was doing, and did not hesitate to encourage Donald to put the mask on.” She paused for a moment, “it was one of you that left the envelope of police reports at our door.”

Monroe shifted in his seat and gave himself away, then finally spoke; “Adrian knew he was not going to live to see the conclusion of the one case that meant everything to him.”

Margaret gasped at the thought her brother knew he was heading for his own death that night he appeared out of the storm. But what did that have to do with Donald?

“He knew,” Cabbie said, “he knew that he had begun something far greater than himself and that others would have to continue after he was gone. The Masked Ghost would have to live, no matter what happened to Adrian Brown.”

She looked at them as realization struck her, “Adrian wanted Donald to put on the mask? To become the Masked Ghost?”

“You’re bother was very wise and always chose rightly.” Cabbie said, with deeper meaning than she understood.

“Well he was wrong this time!” Margaret leapt to her feet, knocking the chair over.

“My husband is out there and the Masked Ghost is going to get him killed!!”

She looked down at Detective Monroe with anger, “What are you going to do to protect him? Will the police save my husband while they’re hunting a masked vigilante?” She already knew the answer.

There was a long pause.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Raymond,” said Monroe, “as a police officer there is nothing I can do to help him.”

Margaret fought back tears as she looked from the detective to the taxi cab driver.

“Well, if you won’t do anything, I will.”

“Come along,” she pulled Cabbie out of the room and through the station filled with confused police officers, “I need to gather my brother’s belongings.”

To Be Continued…

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