KOC The Ghost of Walter Gresham First Chapter

Warning: If you have not read the first book in the KOC series, read before purchasing this book. For those of you that have read book 1, Enjoy this sneak peak of book 2.

“Cloudy with a chance of rain”

I tucked the pictures back inside the letter, sealing the envelope tight with added pressure from my fingertips. I hoped this was all just a horrible nightmare, but it wasn’t; it was very real.

 I knew eventually I would have to tell Jake of the graphics within the pictures. Not telling him of the threats issued out to his fiancé and unborn child would not sit well with him, but he wouldn’t be receiving the information until after I became Mrs. Jake Lofton later that day.

            The aroma of the breakfast now leaves me nauseated and withdrawn as my mind is becoming enslaved, bonded by the horrific thoughts from my past. The images of a bloody body filled with bullet holes where staining my thoughts on my wedding day. The author of the ghost letter painted a different picture than the one I wanted to visualize.  

            I find myself standing on the edge of the porch gazing off into the horizon. Praying to God for strength, guidance, and protection like I’ve always done, the different hues of the sky reminds me of his promise. I conclude my moment in spirit and immediately wiped away my tears.   

The view of the scenery calmed my mind enough to stop the eye-liquid from accumulating as courage became my character. I knew I wasn’t alone. I had good people behind me, willing to protect; even kill for me.

I hoped the person responsible for this letter was ready for what was coming for them. He threatened my family, and he would soon pay for his actions. I had caught plenty of killers; it was my profession, and I wasn’t going to let this coward become my only defeat. Undefeated was I, and undefeated is what I planned on remaining.

            I finally was able to venture my way back to the breakfast Jake had prepared for me. Walking into the interior of our secluded North Georgia cabin, Jake greets me with a piece of southern-crisp bacon. Jake begs for me to finish the bacon before leaving the foyer, before joining the rest of the feast in the kitchen. 

The taste of the bacon was very refreshing, but the kiss was bitter due to Jake’s morning breath. I’d always hated that Jake didn’t brush his teeth until after breakfast, but I understood and respected the logic behind his reasoning.

I find settlement at the table where the food was steaming from its’ plated foundation. I would eat the breakfast along due to Jake’s need for a shower before the arrival of Rebecca and Frank.

Through all the events that went on between Rebecca and her husband; they stuck together and made it through to the other side. Now their relationship is in a better place; happier.

I was glad to see her forgive her husband, but I will never forget the events that his infidelity created. However, I would love to forget the other party that we were involved with, but the letter I received this morning proves not to be so simple. Timothy was still affecting me even though he was dead. Filled with bullets pumped into his flesh from my aim.

Jake and Frank had become close since my retirement from the profession, due to the frequency of visits that Rebecca had become acustom to. Frank would often tag alone, and the boys would quickly disappear into the basement; resurfacing later drunk and staggered.

Rebecca and I would talk about how work was going, and she would highlight how Ralph Massi was becoming a valuable part to the department. She often joked how the former officer had become a better detective than I was.

 One topic that we never discussed were the events that took place on the last day of my professional career. I never thought we would ever talk about those events, but the letter is bringing the ghost from the past into the present reality. We would have to talk about the events soon enough.

The horn of a familiar melody announces the arrival of Rebecca and Frank from Herkinsville. I start to rehearse the conversations that were not going to be had, and it was quite a few that was going to remain silent.  

A particular event that I wouldn’t be discussing with Becca would be the knowledge of her and Timothy messing around behind my back. She would be shocked to find out that I had stumbled upon the text messages in Timothy’s phone the night it all happened.

 Timothy was in the shower when his phone started to ring over-and-over again, and over-and-over again the name Rebecca appeared on his notifications. The message was very clear to the affair they had, but I never told Rebecca. I probably never would. Regardless of the events; Rebecca was loyal, and I knew this. Timothy took advantage of her during a time where she was vulnerable; took advantage of me during the same.

I greet Rebecca and her husband at the foot of the porch, and Rebecca greeted me with a wedding present wrapped in a newspaper.

I unravel the newspaper to find that Rebecca had bought me a book from my favorite author. ‘The Open Cases of John Elizabeth’, was a book series by Judo Black that reminded me of my career as a homicide detective; fucked up ending and all.

The books would send John Elizabeth on a never-ending chase to catch a killer but would also introduce multiple open cases at the same time. The struggle of keeping up with the many details of the different cases would keep my mind sharp while away from the profession.

“This will give you something to do since you don’t play around with real killers anymore!” Rebecca smiles as she looks over my shoulder, noticing me admiring the gift. 

The joking manner of Rebecca makes me glad the she was once again back at my hip. Even though she would check in often, I was missing her daily presence. Having her here with me on my wedding day meant everything to me. She owned the special role of being my maid of honor, and she was excited that I had finally found love.

Rebecca would be extremely worried if she found out that a ghost letter had been issued to me with threats on my life, and at that moment I decide not to tell Rebecca of the haunting events from earlier that morning. 

Jake walks down the dual-sided staircase into the living room where I was keeping the Collin’s entertained. Jake and Frank shake hands with a greeting gesture, and Rebecca hugs Jake’s fit physique. This allows me to catch a glimpse of Becca’s ass that has been upgraded due to the hundreds of squats that she brags about doing daily.

Thunder begins to shake the walls of the cabin as I catch a glimpse of the clouds through the custom curtain wall windows of the home.

“It looks like it may rain Jake!” I inform Jake of the obvious, and he reminds us of the traditions of a wedding day; explaining how we’d be the first to defeat the statistics of the stereotype. I gazed back into Jake’s eyes as I nodded in agreement, knowing his words as truth.

Since retirement, I had gotten deeper into my religion; placing more faith in God. I didn’t fear anything anymore thanks to faith, and I damn sure didn’t fear this letter.

The bell starts to ring from the upper level of the home indicating that Jake’s mother was ready for some attention. I don’t know where she got the bell from, but Jake’s mother was very competent and capable of mobility. The bell was strictly for attention and laughs.

“Ma!” Jake smiles as he closes his eyes shaking his head in disbelief.

“My mother is a handful…” Jake warns, “…she acts like death is right around the corner, but I insisted that she’s younger than me and I’m the son!” Laughter fills the room after Jake concludes the introduction of his mother, and her head peeks over the stair-rail.

“I hope yawl aren’t laughing at me; I’ll come down there with my belt and whip all of you!” A smile is placed on the face of Magnolia Lofton as laughter continues to come from the living room. This makes the mouth turn up more on her face as she is loving the attention that she’s receiving from the level below.

“Jake, have you talked to Sanai about the…” Jake interrupts his mother mid-sentence as my eyes catch Jake.

“After the wedding Ma!” Jake informs his mother as his eyes are still focused on me.

“Jake, what is it?” I ask Jake as his mother begins to fade back out of viewing into her room.

“Do you remember that night back at the farm, and I told you that I was eventually going to return my mother back to her home in Herkinsville; well the time has come. I am closing the deal with the bank tomorrow morning!”

The words of Jake took me back to the time he came back to Herkinsville to represent the Martinez family, and how we reconnected at his old childhood home. I was excited that Jake had kept his promise to his mother, but I wasn’t eager about returning to Herkinsville with the past starting to resurface from the soils of the town.

            “So, does that mean that the Lofton’s…” Rebecca ends her inquiry with a fist pump that followed screams of excitement. Rebecca could not contain herself as she runs over to me, wrapping her arms around me tightly.

            My eyes catch a glimpse of Jake who is wearing the look of someone who just had their dinner spoiled. After all, his mother did just force the issue without giving him time to even marry me; which reminds me of the upcoming events.

            “Okay, let my neck go!” I start to loosen the grip of Rebecca’s hug as I inform her of the work that had to be done for the wedding. I had lady appointments, and Jake and Frank had a date with a set of clippers.

            The spectrum has finally zoomed into focus as a wedding had a scheduled start time. The mood and paste adjust accordingly as Jake and Frank collected their things in pursuit of the barber shop. Rebecca helps me finish the breakfast that Jake had prepared earlier that morning with insults for the chef.

            My mind starts to ponder if I should reconsider telling Rebecca about the ghost letter, but doing-so before I told Jake would be a bad idea. Rebecca notices me engaged in deep thought from the silent gaze towards the bacon that I was playing with instead of consuming.

            “What’s on your mind Sanai?” Rebecca is still focused on her food as she is eating; never looking up from the feast.

            “Nothing…” I lie, “…I’m just overwhelmed and very excited about getting married!” Rebecca starts to smile as she finally looks up from the food and catches my line of vision. Her eyes begin to tear up, but she wipes them quickly while she expresses how proud of me she is.

            “I’m proud of you too…” Magnolia yells from her room upstairs. “…I always knew you and Jake would make a nice couple! I remember the days you and him would sneak from the yard down to that old barn. Andy didn’t like it, but I always told him that he would be sleeping in that barn if he’d cause harm to you and Jake; the hatred in that man’s heart was something foul, but only his. I loved you from the first time that I saw you; thought you were very beautiful with your brownish hue that complimented your pupils.  Jake would ask me about love, and that was what I taught him. Love has no rules; no limits, no color; Love is automatic!”

            I immediately look over at my mother-in-law who is now smiling over the stair-rail; peeking down into the kitchen. I couldn’t believe that she knew about the events that took place in her family’s barn. This brought me back to the baby that Jake and I once had. I wondered if Magnolia knew about the loss of her first grandchild shortly after she lost her husband. She probably would be tickled pink to know the baby in my stomach was also brought about from barn foolery. 

            Just as I am starting to revisit the past of Jake and I; I catch a glimpse of a vehicle approaching the home at a steady paste. I draw closer to the entrance of the home with Becca and Magnolia trailing in equal curiosity. The anxiety of the moment is ended when Magnolia recognizes the driver as being her favorite niece.

            Violet Lofton’s beautiful frame steps outside of the vehicle with her long brunette hair complimenting her brunette eyes. She motions for her husband to assist with the child from the back seat as Violet grabs a baby bag from the trunk of the vehicle, but the child that steps from around the car is far from being a baby.

Viola Crawford was a beautiful offspring of Violet and the handsome, darker man that is now carrying his daughter on his back as the family proceeds toward the entrance of the home.

            “Put her down Matt; she’s going to be spoiled rotten if you continue to baby her the way that you do!” Violet warns.

            Matthew Crawford swings his daughter from his back to land her on the platform of the porch. Matthew begins to straighten Viola’s hair with the tips of his fingers. The overjoyed smile on his face turned sour as soon as his ass is slapped from his passing wife. Matthew stiffens as he grabs for his backside turning around to the surprise of Violet.

            Matthew’s face changes as his eyes catch Magnolia’s arms, welcoming him into a hug. She greets him and then introduces me as the bride-to-be for the evening events. The smell of his cologne is loud but is pleasant to my nostrils. Violet’s fragrance matches the atmosphere, but with a fruitier aroma than her husband’s. The line of hugs continue until Rebecca completes the final greeting of them into the house. 

            The conversation between everyone in the house has now taken a focus on marriage. Violet is now asking me a series of questions that reminds me of my days of many interrogations. She knew of my old profession, and we found ourselves laughing at the friendly portrait she was painting in this moment.

            The model-worthy mother of one was making it her business to make sure that I was ready for marriage, and I ensured her that in-fact I was. Jake was someone who I had loved for a long time, and letting him get away again was not an option.

            The sound of a cellular phone ringing sends everyone’s hands into a pat-down in search of their own device. Matthew flings his phone from his back pocket, but fails to catch the phone that fumbles in his hands like a greased ice sickle.

Gravity violently pulls the phone to earth, exposing the battery and a cracked screen. Matthew reassembles his phone and powered on to return the call to whoever had inquired. Matthew’s words would soon send me from calm and inviting to nervous and withdrawn.

            “Oscar!” Matthew proceeds to leave the room to the front yard to have a more private conversation.

            I find myself taking a few steps back until the kitchen island forces me to rest. I quickly find a seat to rest my now spinning head. The letter, Oscar, Matthew, and Timothy are all running through my head at this point.

            “Sanai, are you okay? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost!” Rebecca ask as she is searching the kitchen for more offerings of bacon.

            “Yes, I’m fine…” I lie, “… I just got a little dizzy, but nothing a little fresh air won’t cure!”

I stand up out of the seat with intentions to investigate who exactly just stepped into my home. I walk over to the stove to reveal the hidden bacon Rebecca was searching for, and calmly walk out of the back door.

Once out of sight of Rebecca, I began my journey around the side of the house; hoping not to be discovered by Matthew who is now approximately 20-yards from the bush that I hid behind.

The large width of the tree often made Matthew disappear whenever he would move slightly left, but his conversation was like a college freshman’s first day on campus; easy to make out.

“No, I’m here now… Yah, she’s here as well… Are you sure you want to do this Oscar…”, his conversation continues as I am now freaking out about the words that I am hearing.

My mind starts to wonder could Matthew be involved, could this truly be the Oscar out to seek revenge for his brother. Just as my mind starts to put the pieces together in my head, I am startled by Becca placing her hand on my back.

            The jerking action caused Rebecca and I to violently collide with the side paneling of the house. The loud interaction causes Matthew to look back toward our direction, making him walk more in the opposite of my listening ears. Rebecca’s dirty mind misinterpreted the situation, and I couldn’t be any more reassured from the words she said next.

            “Owe, you got the hots for Matthew! He’s married you slut!” Laughter fills the bush that we hid behind, but we quickly watched our tone and Matthew fade closer to the road; far away from the house.

            “He is pretty hot!” Rebecca announces.

To play off the reality of the situation; I submit to her point-of-view and confirmed her hunch. Rebecca convinced me to depart from the bush to a safer courtyard view of Matthew before Violet caught us lusting after her husband.

            The view from the patio didn’t include Matthew at all. Instead, the illustrated portrait of the sky revealed rain. The flash of lightning was followed by thunder; 5-seconds later; informing how the storm was 5-miles away. My wedding was still 7-hours away. This lawn would be filled with friends, family, and strangers; all here to see me!

I wondered in this moment if he’d show up; Oscar being he. Would he watch me, would he kill me, or would he just let me be in that moment? The fact that I spoke of he without a face to match made tears scream loudly from my eyes, but the falling rain fooled any onlookers.

Just like the lightning and thunder combination that was just observed to be miles away, but instead is immediately raining over my head; foolery. So did the thunder vibrating the walls of the drugstore that day; foolery.

Fooled twice, but I wouldn’t be fooled again. Fool me 3-times; well I’ll just let J. Cole educate you on the rest. I was ready for whatever he brought. I killed once before, and I wouldn’t have a problem doing it again.

            Matthew is walking into the front of the house as Rebecca and I enter the house from the back. We lock eyes briefly as we both start to walk toward the entertainment in the living room. It seemed as if everything was in slow-motion as we raced toward being noticed by the others. Matthew was the first to reach the living room.

            “Violet I’m about to head out to meet a friend who stays around here! I’ll be back shortly!” He walks over to Violet, planting a kiss on her lips and finally hugs his daughter.
            The moment encourages me to dig deeper into the investigation of Matthew. I am rambling for the right words to say before he leaves.

            “How far does he stay from here? Your friend?” I ask Matthew in curiosity, hoping he would be kind enough to share the information.

            “I would say about 10-miles north of here! Good ole Oscar, we go way back!” Matthew informs.

            Something inside of me became bold, energetic; fight or flight; and sent me in search of an envelope. I slid the invitation into the constraints of the paper.

            “Give him this, I would love for him to come!” The look given to Matthew was a look that almost challenged he and Oscar at the same time. Involuntarily, my energy forced me to turn from handing Matthew the wedding invitation to making myself busy with upstairs activities. I walk up the stairs as Matthew confirms that he will deliver the message; those exact words.

            Jake and Frank return from the barber shop just as Matthew is on his way out the door, but not before Frank and Matthew being introduced to each other.

            “Where are you running off to? You just got here!” Jake jokes with Matthew. Matthew informs Jake that he’s going to visit a friend as he catches another glimpse of me from the upstairs platform.

            “Y’all are welcome to join me if you want! Oscar would love to meet the groom of the wedding he’d be attending!” Matthew explains as he gazes upstairs until our eyes lock. Noticing the sly smile on Matthew’s face; I ask my next question.

            “How do you know he will come?” I ask.

            “Trust me, he wouldn’t miss it!” Matthew concludes as he waives the invitation at me as the trio starts out the door.

            The fact that Jake was going to visit my potential stalker was making me uneasy and regretful that Jake had returned when he did. If something did go down between them, Jake and Frank would have a fighting chance. I began to make myself busy with preparing for the wedding, but my rambling mind encouraged me to text Jake.

            ‘Be careful Jake!’ I sent in a message as soon as I could.

 Jake later replied with heart emojis, and then followed up with a, ‘Why So Serious’ with a picture of the Joker holding an Uzi. He knew that Batman was my favorite. Well not Batman, but the villains within the storyline. That’s until Black Panther came alone and stole my heart, but Jake didn’t know it yet due to him missing the movie.

 I wanted to tell Jake the truth, but instead; I sent wedding bell emojis.

As I am finding myself engaged with conversation with the ladies back at the house, Jake calls me to check-in. He informs me that they have just arrived at Lake Haney. The lake was where Oscar stayed, a nice 2-acre lot is where the cabin rested.

“Maybe you can take me to see it sometime!” I encourage Jake with intentions to investigate Oscar’s positioning.

“Are you sure you’re okay Sanai? You’re never worried about me; ever!” Jake’s concern is confirmed through his questioning, but I insist it was the wedding.

“Well calm down little lady, I don’t want you stressing out the baby!” Jake’s words are calming to my mind knowing that I had life inside of me. Jake proceeds to end the conversation to rejoin the cluster of men on the other end of the spectrum. 

The time is getting closer to 12 noon, and the wedding would be scheduled for 5pm.  I was feeling the tugs from Rebecca and Violet as both pampered me with attention to my hair and makeup. I would not be seeing Jake until the wedding began.

I was relieved to know that Jake was safe when I heard them return to the house around 2pm. Their voices faded from the living room at a steady paste as they retreated toward the opposite wing of the house. The photographers showed around 2:30, and the guest around 3:45. The rain had stopped around 3:20, and the lawn was dry around 4:00 due to Jake flying the helicopter over the area to dry. Only an hour before I became Mrs. Lofton, and my stomach was full of butterflies; for all the right reasons this time.

My bridal party has just started to get dressed as I am stepping out of the tub from soaking. I notice my body in the mirror and admire the life inside of me. I hug my belly with increased admiration as knocks from the bridal party encourage me to join them. I clothe my nude with my gown. Tears are in the eyes of all the ladies as I step into the room filled with anticipation.

Rebecca is standing with my bouquet in her hands; a mixture of purple, lavender, and white flowers. Her smile stands out over the departing party from the room. The door shuts behind the last girl, and Rebecca and I are the only one’s left in the room. She hugs me tight around my neck, telling me how much she loves me as a tear falls down my back.

“Let’s not keep him waiting!” Rebecca reminds me of the man that awaits at the end of the runway that she would fix my trailing gown. I smile as we both walk down the stairs of the cabin, heading for the backyard where the wedding would take place.

            Ed Sheeran and Beyonce’s “Perfect Duet” was the song that best suited the situation. The words told the story of me and Jake perfectly. I wouldn’t give him up this time. I would forever dance in the dark with Jake in my arms; listening to our favorite song. I noticed Jake singing alone to the song as Ed reminds me how I looked perfect tonight.

Beyonce reminded me how we were kids when we fell, and now we had kids of our own, seeing the future in his eyes, as the music fades away due to me now being in front of Jake and the pastor.

The words of the pastor were often drowned out from the excitement between Jake and I. We often missed important cues, and really made a silly fool of ourselves with the vows; still being a serious situation; we got through it, and it was amazing.

As the song starts to play and we start to walk, my eyes start to scan the crowd. Even though I was smiling and crying from the exciting moment, I still wondered if he was amongst us. It really didn’t matter if he was there or not. I had invited him just so he could see my guns; hell more important than that was the conclusion that I was walking out as Mrs. Jake Lofton; hoped he really cringed at my happiness.

            The crowd has found their way back into the basement of the house where food was being served as we took pictures with the members of the wedding.

The party starts to retreat to the feast once their individual sessions are done. Before we know it Jake and I are left alone with the photographer, taking the last of the wedding pictures.

            The photographer takes the final snaps and races up the hill to set up his equipment for the first dance. This leaves Jake and I completely alone. Conversation was light as we walked our way up the yard toward the waiting crowd.

            Holding hands in disbelief at what just happen, Jake wipes tears from his eyes. I decided to wear mine until we come to a stop due to an usher signaling the DJ of our arrival.

            “Ladies and Gentleman, now introducing; Mr. and Mrs. Jake Lofton!” The DJ introduces us to a room filled with applauding hands, smiling faces, and rice being thrown from all directions.

            Jake and I make it to the center of the floor, and I notice my favorite two artists on the stage. The sounds of Kem and Kenny G “Without You” were playing as Jake and I held each other, dancing slowly. Tears would chase the sounds coming from Kem’s voice and would intensify with the sounds of the horn Kenny G played. With every cord of the piano; our bodies moved in unison.

            The crowd applauds at the conclusion of the song. Jake and I proceed to take our seat at the table where the wedding party joined us. The image would remind you of the last supper with Jake and I in the middle.

            We concluded our feast by cutting into the cake and smearing it all over each other’s face. Laughter, drinking, and dancing starts to fill the atmosphere as we begin to mingle with the crowd. Hugs, kisses, and positive wishes are being placed upon us when Rebecca taps me on the shoulder with her new partner.

Ralph Massi had lost a bunch of weight and looked very good. He placed his hand around Rebecca but moves it quickly once he notices Frank giving him the evil eye. It was good seeing all the people who had showed for my wedding. A good support system was something that I had always had back in Herkinsville, and I knew moving back to the city, that support would continue.

Jake and I are just finishing the biker shuffle and had started sipping wine when Matthew taps me on the shoulder.

            “Sanai, meet Oscar!” Matthew reminds me of the invitation that I had sent out earlier, but I begin to choke on the wine that I had begun to swallow.

            An old white man reaches his hand out to me in an introduction manner. I am shocked as I expected Oscar to be younger, black, and ready to seek revenge for the death of his brother. I was relieved to know that Matthew was not associated with the Oscar that is the ghost of Walter Gresham, but that only meant that I was wrong about my suspicion of him.

            Oscar Gresham was still out there, or better yet; could he be here? I didn’t know, and neither did I care at this point. I was surrounded by nothing but friends and family. If he wanted to kill me now he could. I was vulnerable and safe simultaneously, but I don’t think he would try anything tonight. If he was here; he was welcomed. I wanted him to see my support system, and how much I was loved. I knew this would piss him off more. I would find him, but I wouldn’t spend the time nor energy to invest in that tonight.

The celebration lasted for about another hour after Jake and I left for a helicopter ride over the lit-up city of Atlanta. The view below was very attractive as I looked out over the city. I couldn’t believe that I had finally married the man of my dreams. I had known Jake before all the degrees and money that he obtained. I’m glad that he was the same Jake that I had always known. Loving, caring, and full of life.

            The helicopter ride allowed time for the conversation about the new path that we would take back to Herkinsville in the morning. Jake apologized for the way that I found out about the move, but I couldn’t be mad at the impatience of his mother. The inability to hold information intensified as you got older according to Jake.

            I was excited about Jake keeping his promise to his mother. She deserved it. She had raised Jake all by herself after the death of his father, and she had done a wonderful job doing so. I was glad to witness this goal come true, but I had to make Jake aware of the past; now.

            I turned my head to look out of the side of the window as we started to journey our way back to the mountains. I was rehearsing how I would tell Jake of Timothy. All strategies seemed to be filled with lies so I started the best way that I knew how; with the truth.

            After telling Jake the history that I had with Timothy in Herkinsville; he asked me for the reasoning behind bringing him up on our wedding night.

            “His brother is seeking revenge…” I pause as the words are getting harder as the story starts to get more serious.

            “Revenge for what?” Jake ask as he is paying attention to our location on the radar.

            “… I killed Timothy, and his brother has made threats to kill me and everything that I love!” I pull the letter from my purse to provide evidence of the claims being real.

            Jake is silent for a moment and balls up the letter. Jake asked why I killed him, and I explain the entire story. He promises that he will find Oscar, ensuring me that I wouldn’t have nothing to worry about. This was one man, and Jake was not worried about threats even though he would take them very seriously.

            Jake pulls his phone from his pocket to place a call as I begin to check my phone. Rebecca has just text me to make sure we were okay. I confirmed, explaining how we were 15-minutes from the cabin. She explains how she would be sleep soon. Everyone would be departing from the cabin in the morning, and ironically; we would all be heading towards the same destination; Herkinsville.

            The phone call between Jake and this unknown individual was one that ordered a search party for the whereabouts of Oscar Gresham.

Jake looks at me and smile as he points my attention to the radar. We were flying over Lake Haney. I looked out the window, and indeed; the view was beautiful. Jake didn’t go into great detail over the phone about the place, but here it was in plain sight. Every acre lit-up in what seemed to be just for me on this night. I admire out the window until I can no longer view the beautiful scene.

            The helicopter finally lands on the landing pad back at the cabin. Jake ensures me that I had nothing to worry about from the ghost letter sent to me earlier. I believed him; I trusted his word.

            We walk into the quiet house, but the silence is interrupted with Magnolia welcoming us back home.

            “Now, I can finally go to sleep!” Magnolia reminds us of the way she was always with Jake; protective. I knew she would make a wonderful grandmother, and I couldn’t wait for baby Lofton to arrive.

            The bed was awaiting us. Jake falls on the bed first in exhaustion, and I follow his lead. Jake reaches on the side of the bed and turns the lights off. He quickly falls asleep, but I find myself laying on his chest with a little uncertainty. I knew Jake told me that everything would be alright, but what if he was wrong. I shut my eyes tighter wanting to sleep instead of think. After a while, it worked, and I had fallen asleep comfortably in his arms.

            We wake up the next morning to sounds of rain, police sirens racing past the residence, and Jake’s phone ringing repeatedly. Jake answers the phone calmly, but quickly changes his mood as he springs from the bed to put on clothes that are more suitable for the situation.

            “What’s going on Jake?” I ask as I am starting to spring from the bed myself.

            “They’ve just found a body at Lake Haney… It’s Oscar!” His words make my eyes explode with anticipation, but he informs me how it was, “Oscar White!”

Oscar White was the guy Matthew introduced us to yesterday during the wedding!” The guy who just had warmly greeted my husband and I shortly after meeting us was now; dead.

I proceed to put on clothing to go with Jake to the scene, but the clothing that I scrambled for couldn’t hide the guilt that I wore.

We race downstairs to find Matthew sitting at the kitchen island drinking coffee as he wonders throughout the newspaper; Oddly. His attention remains focused into the black and whites of the paper as we past. Wondering if he knew of the events that just took place with his friend, I look back into the house to find him smiling at me as Jake is shutting the door, eliminating him from my view. I start back for the house reaching for the door knob. I freeze as I’m reconsidering the thought, but I head for the car behind Jake instead.

The scene reminds me so much of my past profession. The rain, the caution tape, the dead body, and clues that were being washed away. I’m glad that I didn’t have to solve this case, but the first piece of evidence that I find forces me to reconsider my previous thought.

The ghost letter that Jake had balled-up and abandoned in the helicopter, has now been plucked from the shirt pocket of the victim. I open the letter and Jake snatches the letter from my hands to crumble it up in frustration. On the stomach of Oscar White was a message made specifically for my eyes only.

The wording confirms the attendance of Oscar Gresham at my wedding yesterday. Carved on the belly of the victim, ‘Wrong Oscar!’ 

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