Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chapter 16 - “Package for a Ghost”


by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Copyright 2011 Kevin Paul Shaw Broden)

Chapter 16 - “Package for a Ghost”

The heavy knocking at the door came again.

“It's the police!” Margaret panicked.

Donald Randolf agreed with his wife, that knock was very similar to the hard pounding that came when the police arrived the other evening when the Masked Ghost had first arrived invaded their lives. But there was no accompanying announcement.

He didn’t speak, but gestured for her to remain at the table as he cautiously approached the door.

“Hello?” Donald spoke, but received no response.

Slowly he unlocked the door and opened it a few inches, but could see no one. Then he opened it wider and looked both directions down the hall, but again none could be seen. It was completely silent, no sound of footsteps or doors closing.

Stepping out, his foot kicked something. There was a large stuffed enveloped on the floor.

Checking once more that no one was around; he picked up the package and turned it over but found nothing writing on it. No name, no address. He brought it in and locked the door behind him.

“Who was it?” Margaret asked as her husband returned to the table.

He didn’t answer, but opened the enveloped and briefly looked inside, then let the contents slide out on to the table. It was a pile of typed pages as well as newspaper clippings, and a few photographs.

Donald lifted the first of the sheet from the pile, “It’s a police report.”

“It’s a report about you…” Margaret said looking at another page, “I mean the Masked Ghost.”

They sat down at the table and read through the police report of the incident of the evening before.

It was clear that the police were hunting for the masked vigilante.

He is to be considered armed and dangerous, and he has now added murder to his long list of crimes against the city of New York.

She looked at a gruesome crime scene photo of the body lying on the office floor with accounting papers fallen around it.

“You… you didn’t…?”

“Of course I didn’t kill anyone. How can you even ask that,” he was harsher than he needed to be. Guilt was beating in his ears knowing that as the Masked Ghost he had waited outside that office, while a man was being tortured to death inside. “Remember, I told you there was someone else in there. He attacked me before making his escape.”

Margaret continued looking at the photograph. It was horrific, but she couldn’t tear her eyes away. “Do you think Adrian ever killed as the Masked Ghost?”

“Certainly not,” Donald said, taking the photo from his wife and shoving it back into the envelope where it couldn’t be seen. He wasn’t as certain as he claimed, it was clear they really didn’t know Adrian Brown at all and had no clue as to what he had or had not done as the Masked Ghost. He had weapons, and knew how to use them. Had he used them, was he planning on using them? They would never know.

Putting those thoughts aside, he read further into the notes. This page was about the victim. Sidney Shoelle, the owner of Shoelle investments. Unmarried. He’s run the company for the last five years. It then provided a list of clients, and ‘known associates’. The police had made a note on this sheet to indicate that the Masked Ghost was most likely looking to remove some of the competition in the criminal businesses in town.

“That hardly seems likely,” Margaret said over Donald’s shoulder.

“True, a one man army attempting to take over underworld of New York? Doesn’t make much sense, no matter what the Masked Ghost has done.”

Donald read through the list of names, then again.

“Hold this,” he handed her the list and ran out of the room.

A moment later he came back in.

“It’s a good thing I’m not the Masked Ghost and we’re not going to continue this madness. Because we can’t keep storing all this stuff, this incriminating evidence, in our closet.”

Donald said that while carrying a box into the dining room and put it on the table alongside the envelope. He shuffled through several papers they had brought back from Adrian’s apartment. It was what they thought might be important and what they could be able to carry that night. Even with Cabbie’s help, they didn’t intend to bring all of his crime fighting paraphernalia back to the penthouse. It wouldn’t be safe.

“Here!” He said pulling out a page of notes and descriptions.

“What? What did you find?”

“Adrian, or his Masked Ghost persona, had collected a list of his own of people that were connected, however minutely, with the company he was certain was involved in Sheila’s death.”

“Yes, I know. We’re still trying to work out his filing system.”

“Well this list from the police has many of the same names on it.”

“Somehow I don’t find that surprising,” his wife said. This whole sleuthing was really getting exciting to her, except when she had to think about the deaths involved, especially of her brother, “The Masked Ghost had already made the connection to the investment company--”

“Oh, God, no, not him!” Donald said in shock, and then suddenly gathered up all the police report and adjoining papers and shoved them back into the envelope.

“What? Who? What did you find?”

He then dropped the envelop into the box with all the other belongs of the Masked Ghost, then closed the lid. His hands felt dirty.

“No more of this,” he said aloud, “I was right. We can’t have anything more to do with the Masked Ghost.”

Margaret could see her husband was upset but also determined. But if he wasn’t going to put on the mask, then who would seek justice for her brother?

“What are we going to do now?” She finally asked after he had sunk down into a chair.

“We? Well, for starters, you’re going to go visit your mother.”


“You already said that you would, Maggie. You’re mother needs you. Now more than ever, and your father needs you too.”

She was silent for a moment. Margaret wanted to do something to help find her brother’s killer, but Donald was right, she needed to be strong and supportive of the family first.

“Okay, I’ll go visit Mummy and Daddy, but what are you going to do?”

“I’m…” Donald gave a final thought to it, “I’m going to visit an old friend.”