“You do look awfully white, Jake. Let’s go, then. Maybe we can do some prodding around in the enclosed back yard.
I stumbled on the top step and he grabbed my arm keeping me from going headfirst down. “Oops, there, fella; let me help you down. You won’t do much detecting with a broken neck!”
We made our way down and out through the kitchen. The enclosed back yard was large and fenced in with a six foot wooden fence. There were boards missing, and some loose, but it was still quite private from prying eyes. It took a few minutes for me to become steady again, and I looked around while I was regaining my equilibrium. I noticed a spot where the ground was slightly sunken, and it looked as if some small animal had been digging there. Possibly a small dog.
I walked closer, and saw something white, like a rounded stone partly buried in the earth.
“Look, Tim,” I said, pointing.
He came over and we both moved closer. “That is not a stone!” I exclaimed. “It looks like the top of a skull.”
“It does,” Tim agreed. “Hang on a minute.” He turned and hurried back into the house, returning quickly carrying the bag we had left in the kitchen. Kneeling by the disrupted area, he took a trowel from the bag and slowly and carefully, he began clearing the earth from around the skull. I knelt opposite him, took another trowel and started digging where the body should be. We dug for about ten minutes before he stopped.
“It’s a dog,” he said.
I looked at the cleared bones and agreed. “Poor little Mitzi,” I said. “She was Dora’s dog.” I continued to dig, as I had felt something metallic. Once cleared, it confirmed my identification. It was Mitzi’s dog tag, lying amid the crumbled remains of the collar. I picked it up and put it in my pocket. We recovered the bones and too a piece of concrete from the path to put over it. There would be evidence of how Mitzi had died somewhere in the bones, so we wanted to preserve it from further depredation. And there should be a microchip, too, further identification, and giving information on her health at the time of her death. From what I had seen of the skull, the cause of death was painfully obvious. Someone had given her a vicious blow on the head.
Cleaning and replacing the trowels, we decided to go back in and finish our investigation. The only place left was the basement, so down we went. The feeling of evil grew and grew, until I could hardly force myself to go on. The main part was all concrete, floors and walls, and was almost entirely empty. A few broken crates were all that were there, except for the furnace, water heater and laundry tubs.
The other part was smaller, but still a good size, with a dirt floor. It was filled almost to the ceiling with crates, chairs, cabinets and all manner of castoffs. The evil aura was strengthening, reaching out for us, but we pressed on. I was certain now that we had found its source. We began pulling things out, crates, chairs, whatever, and tossing them away to the other side. In a couple of hours of hard, concentrated work, we managed to get about half of the floor cleared.
Tim had borrowed ground penetrating radar from an archaeologist friend, so he went up and brought it from the car. He started at one end of the cleared space and walked back and forth over the dirt. The first two passes gave signs of bones. A half hour later, we had concrete evidence that at least three bodies were buried there. Tim pushed the button for a printout of the radar screen, folded it, and put it in his pocket.
“Ok, now we can go to the police Commissioner. He wasn’t around when they disappeared, so he won’t try to cover up the cover up.”
All this time the evil aura had been growing, and I was tense and trembling. “Good!” I said, and headed for the stairs, almost running. I couldn’t get away from that terrible feeling fast enough.
Tim glanced at me, and stared in shock. “Jake! What’ happened to you? Your hair has gone pure white, and you look a good ten years or more older!”
“It’s the evil, Tim! The evil! It’s grasping at me, trying to keep me here. It wants my life!” I struggled for the stairs. Tim grabbed my arm and pulled me with him.
“Yes, Jake, I feel it too, but you are its, main object. Come on, we can make it! It is not going to win again! We’ve beaten you, Uncle Charlie!”
Together we made it to the stairs and started up. The evil followed us up, grasping at our heels, trying to flow over us. We got to the top and through the door, and it tried to follow. I could almost see the bubble of evil bulging through the doorway. We stumbled as fast as we could go, out the front door and down the steps. There we stopped and looked back. The police would have to retrieve the GPR, there was no way we could go back down there again.
I turned to say something of the sort to Tim, and stopped, as shocked at his appearance as he had been at mine. His hair was snow white, and his face was white and showing wrinkles that had not been there before. His eyes were as haunted as I was sure mine were. We stood staring at one another for a minute or so, still shaking. Finally, I said “I’m so sorry Tim. I had no idea how evil it was, or what it would do to you.”
“Not to worry, Jake, I’m glad I could be with you and help. We have solved the Patterson case. With what we have, from the papers, and Dad’s notes we know for certain who did it.” He looked up at the hose again. “But once they have been given decent burial, that house has to come down!”
“Absolutely, Tim, and I will see that it does!”
Sighing, and feeling that we had really accomplished something big, we went back to the car and headed for the police station.