EDIT - Just fixed a typpo. Thank you,Haileyamandar! And I forgot to mention that this chapter is for Alora! There you go, girl. I hope you have more time so we can chat more often.
I couldn't sleep that night, as if I had gotten any decent sleep since Sam walked back into my life to add up the daily headaches. It was four in the morning when I was able to close my eyes and drift off for about an hour.
I woke up startled with the feeling of cold feminine fingers brushing my cheeks softly, slightly touching. I quickly grabbed her hands before she could run away again and opened my eyes to look straight into hers with the coldest feeling I could show her. But my reproving look didn't last long. I could clearly read in her face that she had been crying the whole night. She looked tired and she faced me at that moment trying to perform a cold stare as well, but all I could see in her eyes were sadness, hurt and betrayal.
She was sitting down on the bed next to me as if she was there with the only intention of telling me the truth, or part of it. I felt like I was the one who had to say the first words or she would never get the courage to start the argument herself.
"Didn't you get any sleep?" It was a rhetorical question. She was wearing the same clothes from the night before. She shook her head and looked at her lap, as if in shame. I let go of her right hand and she put it on her chest, on top of her necklace and closed it in a fist. "Where did you go last night?"
"I wandered around the castle." She said simply. "Danny, I'm sorry about last night, but… how much did you see?" She wasn't stupid. She never had been. She knew I was in the drawing room long before I cried out for Tucker.
"Enough to know you pushed your husband down the stairs and now he's haunting you for revenge." I said firmly and she closed her eyes as if she was feeling an intense moral pain. I was so disappointed at her. I wanted her to start screaming at me that it wasn't true and slap me senseless until I comprehended her innocence. I was desperate for a spontaneous reaction like the old Sam would have five years ago if I even dreamed of accusing her of such atrocity. I laughed dryly and ran my hand over my unruly hair "And here I was thinking you were the victim of this game."
"I'm not asking you to understand." She said quietly, holding back her emotions as if she could just swallow them and pretend they never were suffocating her. "I'm asking you if you're going to continue with the process of catching him."
There was the slap I was waiting for, but it came in a figurative way. I didn't expect her to say such thing and I was as stunned as I would be if she had just marked her five fingers on my cheek. Once again I was rudely reminded that I was a mere employee; that my job there was to catch the ghost I was paid for and not to be judging her innocent or guilty.
I was caught in between professional ethic and a moral dilemma the same way I was torn in seeing the little girl I had fake-out make-outs with and the cold bloodied murder that she was making me believe she was.
"Tell me about the necklace. Is he trapped in there the whole day?" I suddenly asked, but my pettiness wouldn't stop bugging me. "How did it happen?"
"The diamond in this necklace cost the life of three African children. As punishment for the trade the tribe's wizard cursed Alexander. He would be bound to spend eternity trapped inside the diamond with only half an hour of freedom each day. Alexander laughed at first, then he made this beautiful necklace and gave it to me." She explained quietly, but she held up the stone and I could see small cracks in it. "But lately he's been finding ways to send his message through the stone even when he's imprisoned."
I knew better than to ask her how it was possible was that he became a ghost trapped in a diamond. I had seen many weird things in my life to know that the ghost zone created the most different ghosts. It was the same as asking why Ember's hair was a blue flame or how Skulker got his high-tech suit. I've seen poltergeists and I've seen ghosts that looked exactly like they did when they were alive. I've seen ghosts that didn't know that they were dead and I've seen ghosts who refused to abandon the life they lead before departing.
"I don't understand how you would get involved with someone who promoted guerrillas in Africa to get cheap diamonds." I shook my head and tried to not look into her eyes. I tried very hard to ignore her reasons and I tried to not get hurt by her actions, but I couldn't. She had been my best friend, the first girl I really fell in love with and never stopped loving her. I lived years in hope that she'd get better and return to Amity Park and heal the wounds she had opened when she left.
I couldn't pretend to be just an employee anymore. She had been part of my life and I couldn't treat her as a mere client and it didn't matter how much she wanted to be treated as one.
I was going to tell her how important she had been to me and how much I wanted to drop the act and show her I was still by her side, but before I could even think of the right words to put it, she stood up from the bed and walked to the window. The bright fog outside made it impossible for us to see beyond the canal.
I watched her as her soft hands reached for the zipper behind her dress. I started panicking, but I didn't mutter a sound. Was she trying to seduce me? Was she trying to make me forget the horrible crime she committed by giving into her charms? I admit it was a very tempting idea. But she had other thoughts going through her mind.
The dress slowly slipped to the floor and she stepped out of it with her elegant high heeled shoes. I was starting to sweat and mentally begged her to leave the high heels on. She took off her hat and undid the loose knot her hair was tied in and let it cascade down her shoulders in beautiful curls revealing a length I had never seen her wear.
She was left wearing black panties, bra and mid-thigh pantyhose. She turned around to look at me and all the seducing atmosphere was gone as soon as I saw her eyes shining with tears. The bruises from the night before were still visible on her skin. I was reminded of how she had looked lying unconscious on my couch the day I saw her in Amity Park. She looked innocent, hurt and abandoned in pain.
And then she reached down and hooked her fingers on her panties and pulled them down. I tried to not let my eyes wander down, but I'm a guy and I couldn't help it. Before I could look at her treasure I found a scar in the shape of a star right below her belly, in the center of her pelvis, probably where her womb was. She saw me staring and put a hand on the scar, with her delicate manicured fingers hiding it.
"I was shot trying to protect the kid." She finally said and then she decided to start a digression so I would understand it better. "I started dating Alexander on UN camp while he was treating the sick people from a village that had been attacked. I naively believed he was there to save those people, I believed he was the ideal humanitarian man I was looking for my whole life."
I felt a pain in my chest when she said that. So I spent my entire teen hood saving American citizens from ghost attacks and it wasn't humanitarian enough to turn on her interest on me.
"And then our camp was attacked because we were healing the tribe considered under government protection. The rebels started shooting women and children, but they didn't touch anybody from UN. The leader stepped out to talk to Alexander. I saw three little brothers going after him saying their mom was dead, but Alexander ignored them. The leader gave him a small bag full of diamonds and said that if he wanted to keep getting those he'd have to stop helping the tribe. Alexander lowered his head and stepped away and I saw the leader holding his gun against the kids and I ran in front of them."
I knew the kids had died even if she had stepped in front of them. When she turned around to look out of the window I saw the same star scar on her back, meaning the bullet went in and out of her body, killing the kid anyway. I immediately understood why she was so affectionate towards Cole and all Venetian kids. She saw in every single one of them that kid she couldn't save with her own body.
"Alexander took me to Kenya in a helicopter and I could get some emergency treatment there. I remember waking up and seeing giraffes running in the savanna outside my window. Next he brought me to Italy... Turin. I… recovered there and Alexander proposed. He gave me this necklace as a wedding gift and told me to never take it off. Later, after we married, I found out this diamond was in between those he got from the leader before he killed the children. I took the necklace off for the first time in two years and Alexander got very mad. Then we started fighting and our relationship was never the same."
"It was when he started controlling everything you did, where you went and what you wore." I said quietly. She nodded and slipped her panties back on. Next was her dress and she tied her hair up once more.
"I need peace, Danny. I'm hoping you can give me that." She was about to leave my room when her necklace brightened up again. I saw her eyes widening in pure terror as two smoky hands came out of her necklace and wrapped themselves on my throat, trying to strangle me. "Danny! No!"
She screamed on top of her lungs as I fought to free myself from those hands. I went ghost and froze the smoky hands before I ran out of air and broke it away from my neck, making shattered ice fly in every direction.
She was on the floor, trembling and looking at me as if she had been about to witness my death.
"I'm sorry." She sobbed. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." She said repeatedly and I stepped towards her, not understanding why she was so terrified since I've been through worse. "I shouldn't have undressed. I should've known!"
It was an innocent declaration, but I immediately connected the dots. Alexander would punish her and whoever had contact with her when he thought the situation would have anything romantic. That French guy a couple of days before in San Marco's square had sentenced himself to death just by kissing her hand and the sergeant the day before, too. She had wrapped her arms around him knowing Alexander would get angry and kill him.
She was using her husband's wrath as a weapon when she needed it. That was very clever.
"Why don't you just take the diamond off and throw it in the ocean?" I suddenly asked. Her husband would never know what she did if he was lying on the bottom of the ocean.
"I can't." She said quietly, standing up on her weak knees and wiping the tears from her face.
"Why not?" I insisted and I was very careful to not touch her and have to fight another angry impulse from the imprisoned ghost.
"It won't come off. It's cursed."
And then she turned her back on me and disappeared out of the door. I wouldn't see her again until breakfast two hours later.
I was puzzled. I had never seen a human cursed before. Curses worked very well with ghosts, but it was very rare to see a human believing he or she had been cursed. I was highly suspicious that even after everything she told me she still was keeping something. She hadn't confirmed or denied the accusation that she had killed her husband.
I was growing tired of that game. It oddly felt like the missing pieces were the dots which she was manipulating the truth in order to keep Tucker and me by her side. Indeed, she made I sound like she had been the victim of the circumstances, she had married in a rush and her husband turned out to be a jerk, but she wasn't innocent if she used his wrath to take revenge on people she didn't like.
Deciding that it was better to tell Tucker what happened, I stepped out of my room in the cold corridor outside and marched straight to Tucker's room. He was missing all important and spooky events in that castle. It was time for him to be more present in our case.
If we caught Alexander's ghost that night I believed I'd be able to free Sam from her wife and widow responsibilities and I would take her back to Amity Park with me. Somehow I realized that Sam had been herself all along. In high school she would hit, curse and rebel against those who forced her to be someone she wasn't. She was terrified of the situation she was in so she didn't fight back impulsively.
By the time I woke Tucker up I was confused. The little boy inside me believed Sam was innocent and the professional ghost catcher repeated inside my head that I had seen that situation a dozen times and that she was guilty, she wasn't terrified of anything, she was purely controlling the investigation.
"Tucker, wake up. Sam just told me what happened to her in Africa. Wake up." I knew Tucker better than any therapist so I knew he wouldn't wake up right away. I was very patient and shook him for about two minutes before he started to stir.
"What the hell you want, man? It's early." Tucker mumbled, trying to hide his head on the pillow.
"We need to power up a generator so we will have electricity to catch the ghost tonight." I explained and Tucker sighed angrily, picking his glasses on the night table and sitting up to stare at me. "While we install it I'll tell you everything that happened this morning."
We needed to plug the generator to the fuses on the main panel so it would load quicker even if the house were out of power for some hours. I didn't ask for Sam's authorization, I simply traced back the wires until I found the panel on the second floor's corridor just outside the drawing room in the east wing.
"So indeed she was the victim of a controlling and violent husband." Tucker concluded after I told him the story. "I doubt she had the intention to kill him, though. Sam's the kind of girl who would contract a lawyer to deal with the situation."
I thought so, too, but the whole murder thing was bugging me a lot. If she really ended up killing him was it to defend herself?
We heard a crash inside one of the rooms and we immediately ran there to check. The noise came from the third door next to the drawing room where the library was. We found Cole sitting there holding a pile of books he had accidentally dropped.
"Cole, you should be more careful. You could have gotten hurt." Tucker said, picking his son up. I decided to not interfere. I picked up the books on the floor and put them on a stack. Absently I read the titles. They were all about pain medicine and treatments.
"Therapy for Spine Damage." I read out loud and Tucker walked closer to see what I was staring at. I remembered the star on her back that morning where the bullet had come off her body.
"What is it, Danny?" Tucker asked anxiously.
"I think Sam's in great pain even if she doesn't show it." I said rhetorically. "I think her spine was damaged by the bullet." It made sense to me and it also explained why there were so many morphine bottles inside her bathroom's cabinet.
"It doesn't make sense, dude. If her spine was damaged exactly where you told me scar was then she probably wouldn't be able to walk again." Tucker said. He had taken some lessons in medicine a few years ago before dropping college to open the ghost hunting office with me. He probably knew what he was talking about so I chose to believe him. "I could look at the morphine bottles and see if the components were for light pain or extreme pain."
"Please, do that." I said. I had something else on my mind. As the generator powered up I was going to ask the only employee that had seen both Alexander and Sam together and didn't run away after his passing: the man that sailed the boats.
I found Sam cooking lunch in the kitchen and kindly asked her to call the poor man so I could pay a visit to the city. When she asked if I needed anything she could provide I said it was a bigger filter for the ghost portal. She couldn't disagree with that.
The man arrived about ten minutes later and I jumped on the gondola and asked him to sail away. Sam watched up from the dock and when we were far enough so she would hear us I decided to start asking questions.
"I'm sorry to have called you Mr…"
"Mr. Cavallera, as you know I'm trying to capture Mr. Schultz's ghost but in order to do that I need to know how he was in life." I said politely to make him trust me enough to answer my questions truthfully.
"He was a very good man, sir. He only looked out for Mrs. Schultz's happiness. Many people must have told you otherwise, but I assure you he loved her and helped her every single day of her life. She was his miracle. He'd never do any harm to her."
"I see." Obviously that Mr. Cavallera had a distorted version of the facts. What I had witnessed the night before was not the act of a caring husband. My hopes to get some answer from him went down the drain once more.
"He treated her wounds daily. The nurse that lived in the castle with them almost never touched her. He was the one tending her all the time. He was very sad when she stopped walking." Mr. Cavallera had tears on his eyes as he said that and I knew it was very important. So Sam had stopped walking once?
"Was it because of the shot?" I asked, but I tried not to show him how expectant I was to hear his answer.
"Oh yes. Poor girl. She walked normally for about ten months, but then she started limping and eventually she could only spend her days sitting on a wheel chair." He said and I was perplexed. She seemed to be walking normally to me. I couldn't spot a single problem on her. And those damn high heels were proof enough to me. "The cook told me Mr. Schultz knew that day would come and he didn't let her out of the castle anymore so anyone would see her in her fragile situation. He swore to cure her."
"And then what happened? How come she's walking now?"
"It's a mystery, sir. We know that one day she went to sleep and spent three weeks inside her room. Mr. Schultz would go in and out, sometimes very pale, sometimes angry and sometimes he cried. Nobody was allowed inside, he swore to kill whoever entered that room and disturbed his wife." Mr. Cavallera stopped pushing the boat and sat down in front of me. He picked a thermos full of eggnog and offered me some. I gladly accepted and sat there to hear what else he would tell me. The fog around us made it impossible to know where we were going.
"I believe the threat was what drove the employees away." I encouraged him to speak.
"Most of them, yes. The cook, the cleaner and nurse remained even through Mr. Schultz violent threats. They all loved Mrs. Schultz very much to leave her there with a panicking husband. The cook told me the three of them had begged him to take her to specialists that he couldn't cure her alone and when he refused they planned to break into the room while he was asleep and remove Mrs. Schultz to the nearest hospital." He gave out a dry laugh and looked around. The fog was slowly fading.
"Did they do it?"
"I don't know. I think they tried, but Mr. Schultz must have fired them once he found out because the three of them weren't anywhere to be seen the morning after." His face brightened after saying that and he looked up to the sky and made the sign of the cross. "The same day a miracle happened. Mrs. Schultz came out of the front door walking as if she had never had spine damage, asking me to sail her to the nearest police station. Mr. Schultz had really cured her while everybody doubted it, but at a high price. She came out frantically wanting the police because she had found him lying on the stairs."
"When did it happen?"
"Both Mrs. Schultz miracle recovery and her husband's death happened on the same day, exactly one year ago."
How come nobody had told me that Sam had had spine damage? I couldn't understand why any newspaper in town told the story on her point of view. It was as if nobody knew she had ever been sick. They just saw her walking around elegantly and immediately envied her luck.
I thanked Mr. Cavallera and returned to the castle to find Tucker. On the dinning room I passed by Sam feeding Cole. I smiled at them quickly and climbed up the stairs as calmly as my heart allowed between fast beats urging me to run as quick as possible. The answer was just a few clues away and I needed to share it.
Tucker was sitting inside the drawing room in front of table, looking oddly pale and with several bottles of medicine and books in front of him. He was holding a paper in front of his eyes when I walked in.
"Shush, close the door, quick." He said and I closed the door obediently. "Is she still busy with Cole?" He asked and I nodded.
"What's going on?" I asked, sitting down by his side.
"It's odd and I'm afraid this is one of the things she's hiding from us." Tucker said, handling me the paper. It was her Will; the oneI had seen the night before but wasn't able to read. It was dated one year before, exactly one week before Mr. Schultz died.
I, Samantha Jane Manson, a resident Venice, Italy, natural of Amity Park, United Stated of America, being in sound mind during all my twenty two years of age do hereby make and declare my last will and testament.
I'm currently married to Alexander Allen Schultz who will be referred to herein as my spouse. I currently have no children and any children that may be declared as mine must be through the process of adoption with my own signature and agreement.
Article One: I hereby name and declare my spouse to administer my state and lands I've acquired in Kenya under the protected area to grow animals feared of extinction. The state may not be sold unless its abandoned and risks to ruin. In this case the state must be donated only for environmental institutions signing a term of responsibility to preserve the species.
Article Two: I hereby donate all my clothing and jewelry to the UN with the only purpose of using it to send more supplies and aid to the families in Ethiopia.
Article Three: I name and declare Danny Fenton and Tucker Foley to administer my property located at 12th Gloom Street, Amity Park, and I declare that they have claim on everything inside the property.
Article Four: I direct my spouse spend my personal finances on my burial and payment of funerary debts including casket, burial marker and funerary services. My spouse is also authorized to invite and gift any honorary clergymen if he judges necessary and also to pay for travel expenses of my friends Danny Fenton and Tucker Foley and their family members to attend my funeral.
Final Article: I also declare that the castle I live in Venice isn't shared by matrimonial arrangements and it belongs only to my spouse.
The following was her signature and the Will's Testator's.
"She wrote this before Mr. Schultz died." I said to myself and Tucker, being very close to me was able to hear it.
"And she seemed to love him and not detest him as everyone said." Tucker added. "And she also seemed to believe she would die before him."
I was a little out of my mind after reading her Will. I was wondering why she would leave her house in Amity Park for us and why she wanted us to attend her funeral so badly. She was a morbid person since I've met her, but I never thought she would get to the point of writing a Will so young. Maybe she had planned suicide when she was confined to that wheel chair, if the story was true.
"I just heard from Mr. Cavallera that she was very sick a few weeks before Mr. Schultz died." I explained. I had a horrible headache at that time. "We must search in every room in this castle. We must look for a wheel chair."
"It won't be easy to search all rooms." Tucker sighed, standing up. "Some doors are locked and she keeps the key in her pocket."
"I'll just have to go ghost then. Keep an eye open for secret passages as well." I told him and immediately I knew I wasn't after the ghost anymore. I wanted to know how sick my Sam really was and if she was still in danger. I forgot about the murder, I forgot about her odd behavior. All I wanted to know was if she was suffering and if I could help her.
"Danny, wait. There's one more thing." Tucker said. "If she was ever sick she was cured at least one year ago. The morphine bottles have all expired several months ago."
"I heard it was a miracle. But I don't believe in miracles. I want the truth."
Ok, I just realized that writting a mystery is much more dificult than I thought. You readers are very clever and would figure it all out very quickly if I just wrote one line wrong. I hope it was worth the wait! The next will come shortly. Thanks for reading and don't forget to review! By the way... 4 chapters and 101 reviews?! Wow! I'm flattered people! Thank you!