Stephenie Meyer owns the Twilight Characters. I finally figured out my password so I'll be loading the rest of my stories. I hope you enjoy this new one. I appreciate your comments….but it takes me weeks to get the nerve to read them….Sorry!
We arrived as a group to the front of the old abandoned mansion north of Chicago. The Masen family tragically lost their lives here twenty years earlier and the murders had never been solved. Alice Brandon was a well-respected psychic and had assisted in solving several murder mysteries. I was coming along because I had been assigned by my editor. I pretended to have complete faith in the paranormal, but in reality I wasn't even sure it existed.
Dr. Jasper Whitlock was a well-known psychologist and fiancé of Alice Brandon. If he believed in her it gave me a bit more faith. Her business partner was Rosalie Hale. She came from a prominent family and rejected them for the love of a lowly police officer. She lives with Emmett McCarty, he adores her. She doesn't really need a job, but helps Alice more for entertainment than anything else.
We all got out of the van and walked toward the house. Emmett opened a folder and said, "There used to be a large security gate. It was removed and checked for prints. Nothing aside from the usual was found."
"Usual?" I asked, making everyone turn to look at me.
"Um…yeah, prints from the family and the grounds keeper. He arrived early and always opened the gate first."
"Was he a suspect?" I asked. I realized it was a stupid question when Emmett chuckled.
"No, he had an airtight alibi, he wasn't in the country at the time of the murders," he explained to me.
I nodded and promised to keep quiet as much as possible. Emmett produced a key and we all filed into the foyer. The home was massive and the marble floors made it feel like a mausoleum. I gawked at the space, but Alice closed her eyes and held her hands up toward the ceiling.
"There was a lot of love here," she said softly. I moved to the side of the room and glanced around for spiders. I wasn't afraid of ghosts, but spiders would send me running.
Rosalie walked into a sitting room and smiled before saying, "I only feel good energy here."
I wasn't sure what they were talking about. It felt big and vacant to me. We all went to various spots in the room and remained silent. Alice finally let her head fall back and she whispered, "You're safe with us. We mean you no harm."
I didn't know how we could possibly harm dead people, but whatever. I saw a photograph on the mantle and picked up the silver frame. The woman, Elizabeth, was beautiful. Her husband looked like a kind, loving man. My eyes were drawn to the boy, Edward, killed at only twelve years old. He seemed a bit pale for a boy who had everything he could ever want.
Alice interrupted my thoughts when she said, "This was unexpected. They had no idea anyone wanted to kill them."
Jasper caught me smiling and raised his eyebrows to question me. I could feel my face redden and I tried to explain. "I was just thinking most murders are unexpected. I mean, if you think you've been targeted you would do something to stop it, wouldn't you?"
Alice gave me a frustrated shake of her head and said, "No, it is more than that. They knew the killer; they just didn't think there was anything….unusual….about the person."
I still didn't get it, but I managed to remain quiet. We all walked into a large kitchen and Alice sighed loudly. "Nothing dark happened here. All the energy is positive."
We followed her to the stairs and she looked up at the massive marble incline before taking a deep breath and attempting to climb. Rose stopped halfway up and shook her hands as if ridding herself of some unforeseen attachment. "This is so horrible," she said.
"What?" I asked.
"The residual fear and terror, it is almost suffocating."
I looked at the others and then at the top of the staircase. The upstairs was situated like a large square with an open banister looking down on the first floor. The master suite was on one side and the other rooms were on the other. Emmett held up the paper again and said, "The parents were killed in their beds, the boy was found in the attic."
The group headed to the master suite but I felt compelled toward Edward's room. I opened the door to find a window broken and the room covered in dust. I pulled out my little notebook and wrote down to ask Emmett if the window was broken during the murder or afterward. I walked over to the far side of the room and saw awards and accolades from piano concerts. It was then I realized what seemed weird. I glanced around the room and didn't see anything that looked like a young boy lived there. Even all the pictures were of him with other adults.
I walked out of the room and stood at the railing facing the master suite. On one end there was the stairs heading to the front door, and on the other end was a narrow staircase heading to the attic, guarded by a sliding door. What made him run to the attic and not toward freedom? Or was he already in the attic? I went straight to the attic stairs and looked up at the tight space leading to a door. I walked upward and tried to prepare myself for what I would see.
The door opened with a loud creaking sound and I realized if he had come in here to hide the noise would have given him away. I peeked through the door and saw a room filled with narrow tunnels running through large pieces of furniture covered with sheets. I wrote in my notebook to ask Emmett about the sheets and when they were put there.
It would be a perfect room to hide in and I got an image of the young boy tucked beneath something with his heart pounding wildly. The words tumbled from my mouth before I gave it a moment's thought, "I'm so sorry, Edward."
I walked through the maze of sheets and my eyes were drawn to a back corner where brown splatters covered the wall. I closed my eyes and tried to find the courage to draw closer. I wanted Alice to solve this case. I wanted retribution for the young boy who was axed to death as he tried to hide. I moved forward and had to grab onto something when I saw the dark stain on the floor. How could humans be so cruel to each other?
The others came into the room and I turned and held my hand up so they could see me. Jasper walked my way, but Alice stayed with her eyes closed and her palms raised. He looked at the stain and then at my face. "Are you doing okay?" I nodded, not wanting to give myself away by speaking. He glanced around the room and then said, "This place must have been familiar to him. He must have spent time in this room to instinctually run here."
"Maybe the other way was blocked," I added. "Maybe there was more than one killer."
"Maybe," he said softly, but I could tell he didn't believe my deductions.
Alice called to us and asked everyone to come back to the kitchen. We all obeyed and when we sat around the table she pulled out her own notebook. "Okay, the doors were still locked when the piano teacher arrived, so whoever did this locked them when leaving. So, they either had their own key, or were let in, possibly by the boy."
"Edward," I said, not wanting him to be called simply, the boy.
"I doubt he would open the door to someone wielding a large ax," Emmett said as he shook his head.
Jasper opened his briefcase and pulled out some files. "Okay," he began, "there was a live in housekeeper, Victoria. She was on a date and slept over the night of the murders."
"How convenient," I mumbled.
"She wouldn't be strong enough to hack completely through a neck," Emmett said, as if talking about the weather. I cringed and looked back at Jasper.
"Then there was the tutor, James. It happened on a Saturday so he wasn't here either. The grounds keeper, Laurent, was in France, and the music teacher, Aro, had been invited to brunch."
"Did Edward have friends?" I asked, "Kids from the neighborhood he played with?"
Emmett shook his head, "He was some piano protégée and home schooled. He performed all over the world."
"He was twelve," I said in shock, and they all nodded.
"He wasn't unhappy," Alice said, staring off again. "He wasn't exactly happy either. I think he was content with his life."
I crossed my arms in disagreement and said begrudgedly, "You shouldn't be content at twelve, you should be happy."
Her eyes moved to mine and I saw her jaw tighten. "He was loved completely by doting parents. He wasn't abused in any way. Everyone loved Mr. Masen. He was filthy rich but practiced law just to help people. His wife was described as an angel and during the investigation they couldn't find one person to say anything negative about them."
"Every family has secrets," I said, even my own with my police chief father and school teacher mother. My parents desperately wanted a son and ended up with only one child, a daughter. They were never cruel to me, but I could see it in my father's face every time he went fishing or hunting and I refused to go along.
"His business dealings were all clean," Emmett said.
"This killing was personal," Jasper said, finally adding some reason to the conversation. "You don't chop people to death with an ax if you don't have rage directed toward them."
"Or chase down a child," I added.
Alice shook her head again and said, "No, he wasn't chased. He hid and was found. I feel his fear as the killer grew closer. It grew slowly instead of a sudden burst."
Rosalie closed her eyes and said, "I don't think he knew who killed him."
"Why?" I asked.
"It is just the impression I get from the energy here."
This was where I differed from the others in the group. I couldn't assume these things to be facts since there was no proof of what they were saying. I got out of my chair and began wandering around the house further. I finally looked inside the master suite to see a stripped bed stained in brown. I looked behind me and realized the bed was in clear view from Edward's door. If the master door was open he would have been able to see what was happening to his parents, but why run to the attic instead of for help?
I went back to the sheet covered attic and walked in a different direction this time. I wasn't sure if I was imagining it or not, but I felt a sense of peace on this side of the room. There was a calmness that wasn't present by the blood stain.
My hand reached out and looked under a sheet to see a gorgeous oak armoire. I lifted a second sheet and saw a statue of a woman pouring water. The things were beautiful and shouldn't be hidden away in the horribleness of this attic.
Against the wall I noticed something shaped like a large standing mirror. I walked over and swept the cloth away to reveal an oval six foot mirror with cracked glass. I caught the reflection of something and looked behind me to see what it was. All I could see was white sheets. I turned back to the mirror and saw a face slowly come into view. The familiar eyes looked right at me and then widened as if seeing me too.
I dropped the sheet and screamed loudly as I tried to run from the room. I bumped into furniture and knocked over something as my screams pierced the room. Emmett and Jasper ran upstairs first, quickly followed by Alice and Rose. I grabbed onto someone's arm, not focused enough to know whose it was and cried, "It's Edward, in the mirror, it's him."