Behind BarsThe phone rang interrupting the muted dinner of the Carter’s. Allan’s glare burned into Marci’s as he picked up the cordless black phone.
“Hello? Allan Carter speaking.” Allan said.
Kenny’s voice responded hard as stone, “Hello, Allan. I need you to bring Marci to the department ASAP. There are some things…er…that we need to discuss face to face.”
“We’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” Allan dropped the phone on the table and Marci stiffened.
“He wants Marci at the department, now.” Marci detected a smirk forming on Allan’s face as he said it but it quickly vanished when he turned to her. “Marci, get in the car.”
Marci wanted to break down yet she managed to compose herself for the time being and said, “I need to get my boots.” Taking one last bite of chicken Marci raced upstairs and into Valerie’s room. Valerie’s present lay on her bed right where it was left three days ago.
If the blood on the pocketknife was indeed Valerie’s then Marci new who her killer was. She needed all the evidence she could get to prove herself innocent. Marci grabbed the gift. Sitting on the cheetah print comforter she pulled on Valerie’s black stiletto boots that went up to her knees and stuck the small notebook down the right side.
Allan called her name. Taking once last glance around the room Marci hoped she hadn’t forgotten any thing that could be evidence.
It was a nightmare getting down the stairs for her but she managed, barely. Marci tried to stand strong as she walked through the hallway to the door. Liam walked out of the bathroom intercepting her.
“Liam!” Marci whispered. “You need to come with us!”
“Why would I do that?” Liam showed a faint trace of amusement.
Marci ignored it and said, “You know Allan gave you the knife as a gift. You have to back me up! Please?”
Liam saw the look of desperation on his sister’s face and got a feeling that maybe she didn’t kill Valerie. He thought, why would she? “Fine.”
“Oh, thank you thank you thank you!” Marci hugged him.
“Okay, okay! What’s in it for me?” Liam asked.
Marci thought then smiled, “Pride.” Liam laughed despite the situation and they ran-more like walk for Marci and her stilettos-to the awaiting deathtrap more well known as Allan’s SUV.
When they neared it Allan rolled down the front window and said, “Liam can’t come.”
“Oh, yes he can.” Marci said stubbornly.
“No, he can’t. The police wanted only you and me not an accomplice.” Allan snapped.
Marci turned to Liam her eyes pleading for help. He smirked, “I’m coming.”
“That’s it, get in the car Marci! Your big brother doesn’t have to protect you!” Allan enraged.
“Follow us.” Marci’s voice was to quiet for Allan to hear. “The VW.”
Before Marci could get into the vehicle Allan pushed his door open and strode to her.
“What?” she grimaced.
“Just a precaution incase you are carrying a weapon.” Allan shoved her up against the side of the SUV. “Spread your legs apart. Arms too.”
“Is this necessary?” Marci scowled doing as he said.
“Yes, take off your sweatshirt and boots.” Allan sneered. Marci froze, what if he found Valerie’s present?
Formulating an idea, Marci obeyed first taking off the stiletto boot that didn’t contain the gift. Feigning that the boot was hard to remove Marci stumbled stamping the other one as hard as she could manage on the cement. Pain shot through her foot but to her luck the heel broke. Collapsing on the ground she hurled the first boot at Allan.
Marci snickered when it smacked him in the face quickly ripping off her sweatshirt and throwing it over his face blocking his vision. In one fluent motion she grabbed the small notebook sticking it in the waistband of her jeans. After pulling her shirt over it she took the other boot tossing it at him as well.
The whole time Liam was standing by the garage in a fit of laughter. Marci trudged into the SUV without a word, grinning to herself. Allan-his faced tinted an angry tomato shade of red-scrutinized her clothes sitting back in the driver’s seat thrusting the stilettos into Marci’s arms glowering down at her.
“Where is my sweatshirt?” Marci asked with skepticism. Allan’s scowl began to shift form converting into a direful smirk. His foot slammed the gas and the vehicle shot forward bobbing up as it ran an object over. Marci’s jaw dropped. She looked out the window to see a crumpled ball of blue cotton lying in the driveway; the remnants of her aéropostale brand sweatshirt.
“That was from forty dollars from my pocket! You-” The screeching of the tires muted the long list of curses she had begun shrieking at Allan.
Allan pulled into the parking lot of the Minneapolis Police Department with a smug look stretched across his face. Marci however was near tears, she new what was about to be told to them: Valerie’s blood was the blood on the pocketknife. Her last hope was that Liam would arrive to defend her.
“Let’s go.” Allan said seizing his cell phone from between the seats. Marci leaped out of the SUV praying that Kenny was there and still believed she was innocent. After securing his cell phone inside the pocket of his blue jeans Allan entered the department tailing Marci.
Marci stepped through the metal detector praying that there was no noticeable bulge in the back of her shirt and that the notebook didn’t contain any metal. She breathed a sigh of relief when the security didn’t say anything or seemed to even distinguish the subtle bulge in the back of her T-shirt. The metal detector remained silent also.
Allan dropped his cell phone onto the conveyer belt stepping through the detector. He retrieved it when it came out the other side. They walked to the front desk. The lady behind it gave a stunned gasp when she saw Marci.
“Valerie Carter’s killer!” The lady screamed. “Somebody get her in handcuffs immediately!”
“I didn’t kill Valerie!” Marci cried. Kenny came out from a steel door holding the handcuffs giving Marci a sad look.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered in her ear taking her wrists. He crossed her arms behind her back snapping the handcuffs onto each wrist. Kenny held the chain linking them with one hand and pressed the other to Marci’s back guiding her back through the steel door. Allan followed them into another windowless room.
Once the door was closed Kenny spoke, “The blood tests match up. Valerie’s blood was the blood on the pocketknife. Marci, you will have to set up a court date for your sentence but until then you are required to reside here in this jail.”
“May I say something?” Marci choked.
“No,” Allan said absolutely.
“Yes,” Kenny contradicted.
“I was framed. I spoke only the truth when I took the polygraph. I speak only the truth right now as I say; I did not kill my own sister.” Marci said forcefully. Kenny realized how persistent Marci was and that showed him how much strength she had.
“You should just admit you killed her! It would make it a whole lot easier for all of us!” Allan shouted spraying spit in Marci’s face. Kenny couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“I’ll never admit to killing Valerie! Why would I confess to something that I never did?” Marci’s voice broke turning icy.
“YOU ARE A MURDERER! Do the crime, do the time!” Allan screamed.
“Silence, Mr. Carter!” Kenny stormed. “Calm yourself before I ask you to leave! You are required to fill out the paperwork and I can ensure you it isn’t one or two pages.”
“I can ensure you this: Before I fill out any paperwork this, this killer needs to be put behind bars!” Allan was almost frothing at the mouth like a rabid animal.
Kenny hesitated. The paperwork had to have Allan’s signature on it. His lips turned down and he pressed a red button on a panel on top of the metal table. It made a buzzing sound that stung in Marci’s ears.
A minute passed in silence until a man came in holding a gun. Where is Liam, Marci thought.
“Marci Carter, come with me.” he said monotonically.
“Wait!” She shouted suddenly. “I know who killed Valerie!” Marci had planned to announce that when she had found evidence proving her theory but Liam hadn’t yet arrived. Allan’s face became guarded when Marci turned her scowl to him.
“Marci, please, don’t put the blame on others.” Kenny’s frown deepened.
“Allan Carter murdered Valerie and framed me by slipping the bloody pocketknife in my book!” Marci shrieked.
“That’s a lie-” Allan’s dark eyes had flames of fury dancing in them.
“I’m not finished.” Marci interrupted. Before she could continue the man grasping the gun took her wrists and forced her out of the room. Marci struggled against the man’s rough grip as he dragged her down a hall of cells. None of them held inmates.
The man stopped at the fifth cell down retrieving his keys and inserting them into the lock. The barred door creaked open revealing a small space with a cot, sink, and toilet. Oh yes, and a security camera.
“You guys aren’t big on privacy are you?” Marci crinkled her nose. “Or sanitation.” The sink was covered in what appeared to be rust. The cot looked like it was home to pack of rats. Several holes dotted the dull blue surface with wool seeping out.
Once Marci’s handcuffs were removed she was shoved into the cell. The door clanked shut behind the man. She was alone. Wishing she could disable the security camera Marci took the notebook out of her waistband flipping it open to the first page. In Allan’s messy handwriting it said:
Valerie, use it
Marci was half surprised it didn’t say: Use it if you can rise from the dead. Flipping through the pages Marci sat on her cot. Blank lines were all she found.
“Not even a spot of blood?” Marci threw the journal across the dirty cement floor. When it hit the wall the pages flipped to the back of the notebook exposing writing that Marci hadn’t discovered before.
“Writing!” Marci exclaimed dashing over to it.
Read Allan’s texts; you might uncover the truth.
“Marci?” A voice said.
Marci turned to the barred door. “Liam, you came!”
“It wasn’t easy-” he began.
“Not now! I found the evidence that might help me get out of this rat hole!” Marci smiled shoving the journal through the food slot.
“We just need Allan’s cell phone! I knew he killed her!” Tears blurred her vision. “Get Sergeant Kenny!” Marci breathed.