Conundrum (Chapter 8 – The Mad Lover)

“Us; John and me. We loved her. He loved her more, that’s what he said. That’s why he preserved her. That’s what we do when we love someone. We preserve them as a symbol of our love.” Tommy sounded triggered. 

His eyes shined as he said about preserving them. Victoria, who stood there listening, said, “His thoughts are manipulated by John, John has put these things on his mind. Ask him what John had done to preserve me. Ask him!”

“Tommy, I know you loved your mother. I know you wouldn’t hurt her. I know you saw what John did to your mother. Tell me what did John do to Victoria?”

“Angelyn, my love. Trust me, I love you. I know you don’t understand but John, my dad, he loved my mom just like I love you. That day, I heard my mother’s scream and ran to their room. As I reached there I saw her laying on the floor with the blood oozing off from her head. John tried to put things right. He constantly said he loved her and he didn’t want her to die. I was confused, he said he loved her, yet he hurt her. When I asked him, he told me, he wants to preserve my mom as a symbol of their love. It made sense. She was slowly dying, I know. He brought some medicines and plugged them inside her head. The process went on for days until my mom looked the prettiest. One day, when I came to visit mom in the basement I saw her; with her perfect face on the perfect body. She looked amazing. Only that she wouldn’t talk. I asked John why she wouldn’t talk, and he explained everything to me. He said, ‘Love is to preserve Tommy. That means they stay young forever, beautiful. Victoria’s body lacked energy, so I gave her a new one. Like that she could be with us forever.’ That made so much sense to me. If all the pain was to make her stay with us, why would I stop him?” He stopped and pointed at the mannequins, “What can I say, I am a soul always searching someone to love. The lucky ones are already preserved. I loved them more than how much they loved me. They didn’t love me enough to preserve me. If only they asked.”

“John turned Tommy into a monster.” Cried Victoria.

“Are you doing this with John? Where is he?”

Tommy had a sly smile on his face. “Why would I tell you Angelyn? Good that you came here on your will. I can get rid of the detective. But you and me… We are forever.”

“I don’t think that’s gonna work ‘Arthur’. I am not Angelyn. I am her sister Cathy.”

“I didn’t know she has a “twin” sister. I… I did all the research.”

“You did the research wrong Tommy. You couldn’t find me because I am already dead. This body might belong to Angelyn but now it’s mine. She knows what you have done. All the fifteen girls you ‘preserved’ is here waiting for my permission to tear you apart.”

Tommy laughed out loud. “Yeah right! Tell me about it.”

Cathy pointed her fingers to a dusty mirror which was placed in the corner of the room, “If you don’t believe me, you are welcome to see for yourself.”

“Anything for your love.” He moved towards the mirror, which Angelyn pointed. He was shocked to see the spirits near the mannequins. He saw the anger in their eyes. That’s when he noticed Victoria beside Cathy. He turned around and couldn’t see her. He looked back at the mirror. In the mirror, he saw Victoria coming closer to him. He heard some whispers which he couldn’t understand. Victoria turned around and asked Cathy to go there. She held Cathy’s hand. This time Victoria’s voice was heard by Tommy crystal clear.

“My dear Tommy.” Called Victoria.

He stared into the mirror. Even the detective could hear Victoria now.

“I can hear her.”

“How is this even possible?” asked a frightened detective. Cathy just smiled. Victoria continued, “What you did is wrong Tommy. You should have never hurt these girls.”

Tommy’s face grew furious, “I loved them, I saved them from losing their beauty. I preserved them. I am a collector of love. You are wrong Mother and John was right! You are so ungrateful.”

Victoria couldn’t believe what he just said. Victoria realized that her little Tommy was not there anymore. He is beyond help now. “Tommy, all I wanted was you to be happy and what you are doing is not the right thing. Forgive me.” Victoria took her hands from Cathy’s. The detective saw other spirits led by Belle walking towards Cathy through the mirror. One by one, they disappeared. Cathy stood there with a smile on her face. “I am sorry Tommy. It is time for you to go.” 

With one flick of her fingers, Tommy, the detective, and Cathy were outside the mansion. Tommy stood there surprised. With another flick, he was tied. He fell to the ground and hit his head hard. The detective watched everything in surprise and shock. Tommy couldn’t understand what was happening. Suddenly a huge smoke surrounded him. Cathy stood outside the smoke with the detective. After some time, they could hear a loud shriek. They could feel trees outside the mansion shaking wildly in the loud howling wind. They knew revenge had been taken, and he deserved that. They could hear the cries of the spirits mixed with the shrilling noise. It all went silent after few minutes, and the smoke slowly disappeared. When the smoke was gone entirely, the detective shouted, “Where is Tommy?” He was missing. Signs of torture and blood were seen, which lead them further to the backyard of the mansion. They saw drag marks from the place Cathy brought them to the backyard. The detective and Cathy followed the drag marks, “I thought you said, the spirits couldn’t hurt humans.”

“I know but when Angelyn gave me the power over her body, she also made me a medium for other spirits to communicate. As I already said, the adult spirits cannot possess anyone. But my spirit has possessed a body and the body can act as a hotspot where their torture and aggression works. If you are asking me how I could teleported us outside, I am not pretty sure. I guess when the spirits became one it gave me powers to do it. I merely listened to them.”

“Are the spirits gone?”

“I guess so.” Cathy stopped walking and said, “Do you think that’s a cottage?” The detective nodded. “The drag marks lead us till the footsteps of that cottage.”

They suddenly ran inside the building; the door was already open. There they found Tommy’s body. His face was beyond recognition; he had no clothes on his body and had scratch marks all over his body. There were chunks of flesh that were removed from his body.

“I think it is time for us to report the crime.”

The detective shook his head and picked up his phone from his pants pocket. He went outside for a moment. Cathy moved further inside the cottage; as she walked through the floor, she noticed some noise difference. She moved the carpet, “A hidden basement!” She exclaimed. She pushed the rug entirely and pulled the doorknob. The detective was back, “What did you find there?”

“I am not quite sure.”

As she opened the door, a pungent smell hit their noses.

“What is it?” They covered their nose with a handkerchief. Cathy found a ladder to move down to see the basement. Both went down the ladder; she placed her hands on the wall and searched for a switch to turn on the lights, and finally, she found a switch and pressed her hands on them. As she turned around, she saw many half-covered coffins with their headless body. Beside them stood two mannequins covered with some decorated clothes. She couldn’t handle the stench, yet, she moved forward and pulled down the drape. She recognized the woman, “Victoria!”

She slowly pulled the other drape. The drape fell from her hands, “It’s a man!” exclaimed Cathy. She remembered what Tommy said; she repeated them, “They didn’t love me enough to preserve me.”

“What?” asked an astonished detective.

“Tommy, he preserved John. Remember, when he said, the girls didn’t love him enough to preserve him? He loved John so much that he preserved him. John was his first victim detective!” They stared into John’s face.

By then, other cops had come to the mansion. They found a photograph of Victoria and John with young Tommy in his Mansion basement where Cathy found Victoria’s spirit. Kiara’s audio, which she made using Lingraphica, was used as evidence to charge Arthur with the crimes. The mannequins and Kiara’s mutilated body were strong evidence, for they had his DNA on them. The headless corpses of the girls were appropriately buried after attaching them with their perfect faces. Tommy’s data was collected from St. Luke’s mental asylum, which proved his mental instability. The cottage also had a considerable mass of drugs in the storage area along with some mannequins—the drugs matched the sample found in the dead body of the murdered girls. Finally, the horror was over.

The detective found Cathy sitting on the front porch of Tommy’s mansion.

“Congrats, you proved your sister’s innocence.”

Cathy smiled, “Thank you for trusting me.” But there was some sadness on her face. 

“What is bothering you?”

“I… I thought I could see the light once I save her. I freed Kelly and other girls, yet, I am here. “

The detective sat beside her helplessly. Suddenly he stood up and said, “Come with me.”

Cathy was surprised, “Where?”

“Just come with me.” She listened to him and followed him. He ran and got into his car and asked Cathy to join him. She silently obeyed whatever he said. The car moved to a nearby place that looked familiar. He parked the car and asked Cathy to get down.

“Why are we here?” Asked Cathy curiously. It was the place where her dad met with the accident. 

“Maybe your father has answers.” 

That’s when she remembered, all this time she didn’t try to communicate with him. She closed her eyes and tried to remember how her father used to look like. When she opened her eyes, there he was, smiling regretfully in front of her,

“Hi Cathy!”

(To be continued…)

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