Trinity Island – Chapter 23

February 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm (Trinity Island)

Sarah parked her car in her mother’s driveway and headed for the front door. Several newspapers were stacked on top of one another on the welcome mat and the mailbox was stuffed full of flyers and other junk mail. Sarah didn’t know her mother’s routine well enough to determine if this was normal behaviour. She knocked on the door and waited for the sound of movement from the other side. When no one came, she peered in the front window.

The TV was off and the remnants of her breakfast were sitting on a tray on the coffee table. Sarah tried the front door, surprised when it opened. Stepping inside, the room was musty, as though it had been closed off for days. Sarah inspected the coffee service on the tray and saw that the milk in the creamer had gone off.

Calling out to her mother, Sarah walked through the living room and into the kitchen. The house was small, with three tiny bedrooms, one bathroom, the kitchen, and the living room. The kitchen had enough room for a round table and a few chairs. The house had been her mother’s parents’ place before they’d died. When Sarah’s mother had moved them back to Trinity after their dad died, they’d shoved her and Marty into one of the rooms and her older brother Paul had slept on the couch. Sarah had left for school while her grandparents were still alive. They’d died while she was gone.

A quick check through the house didn’t turn up her mother. Sarah knew that her mother had practically turned into a hermit and barely left the house. In fact, Sarah couldn’t think of the last time she’d seen her mother in town. Her groceries were delivered to her twice a week. One of the neighbours saw to the yard work.

And Marty took care of all of her banking.

She stood in the kitchen looking out over the back yard and the shed at the edge of the forest, thinking about her brother. Their mother had always been straight with them about Sarah’s real father. Had she twisted that knowledge later, once Sarah had left? Marty would have still been young and impressionable. Had she made him hate Reginald Wallis and all that he’d created?

Would Reginald Wallis be the final target, once Marty had rid the world of his offspring? Did that mean he would eventually come for her?

A flicker of movement caught her eye and she stared out the window to the shed. Could her mother be puttering around in the shed? Did she do any gardening work? Sarah exited the house through the back door and crossed the yard to the shed’s entrance. Before she stepped inside, she could hear the grunting and the whispering. She couldn’t make out the words, but they chilled her nonetheless.

Pulling her phone from her purse, she dialled Mac’s number and waited for it to connect before peering around the edge of the shed. Marty had his back to her and, on the table, was Claire. Sarah stifled a gasp and ducked out of sight. She whispered her location to Mac and told him to hurry.

“You wait for me, Sarah, you hear me? Don’t you approach him!”

Sarah whispered an apology before hanging up. She couldn’t wait for Mac, because Marty was hurting Claire. She’d just have to distract her brother long enough for Mac and Galen to arrive. Stepping back into the doorway, she saw that Marty had moved away from the table. She couldn’t see him, but she had a clear view of Claire. The woman had tears running down her face, but her eyes were wide with fright. She was gesturing with her head, but Sarah didn’t understand what she was saying.

The shadows shifted and suddenly Marty stood right beside her. Sarah jumped back, but Marty grabbed her by the hair and yanked her into the shed. Dragging her across the floor, he slammed her into the side of the table. Sarah winced as the steel dug into her hip. She stood tall, facing him without fear.

“This is wrong Marty. You have to let her go.”

Marty howled, the cry both anger and agony. He balled up his fist and punched Sarah in the face. She twisted with the blow, crying out in surprise and pain. Panting, she stared down into Claire’s frightened eyes. Sarah brought her hands up and managed to remove the binding tying the gag down. She removed the wad of cloth from Claire’s mouth and then carefully turned around to face her brother, hiding Claire’s face with her back.

“Why, Marty?” she asked. She looked in his eyes and saw the madness there. How had she never seen it before?

“It’s my duty to help these women along the path, Sarah,” Marty replied, his voice eerily calm.

Sarah nodded. “Yes, I can see why you might think that. Mother trained you well, didn’t she? Just like an obedient little puppy.” She watched as his eyes narrowed, but he didn’t come at her again.

Marty couldn’t make up his mind what he wanted to do. He knew that Sarah had the demons in her, but he also knew that she was his sister and that she’d always been nice to him. He didn’t want to hurt her, but the hunger wanted her blood. He stepped closer, waiting to see the fear in her eyes. The hunger fed on fear. It would take over and make the decision for Marty.

But she didn’t show him fear. She had courage and strength and she didn’t cower away from him. The hunger wanted her anyway. Part of him couldn’t bear the thought of hurting his sister, so he knew that he’d have to make it quick. Stepping in, he slashed the knife down towards her.

Sarah moved in closer, rather than trying to get away from him. She shoved her fingers into the wound in his belly. Twisting her hand, she stretched and pulled at the torn flesh. Marty shrieked in agony, his knife hand jerking forward in self-defence. The blade caught Sarah just above her left breast and it streaked across her chest, exiting her flesh at her right shoulder.

Sarah stumbled away, one hand to her chest trying to ease the burning pain. Blood seeped from the long gash, covering her shirt and dripping to the floor. Leaning against the bench along the side wall, Sarah felt behind her for something to use as a weapon. A quick glance over her shoulder showed her all the tools of his despicable trade. Grabbing a hammer, she launched herself at him just as Marty regained his composure and turned to her.

Striking at his raised arm with the blunt end, pain reverberated through her chest, robbing her of breath. She staggered backward, slamming her back against the bench. She’d had no strength behind the hammer strike; Marty hadn’t even dropped the knife. When Marty came for her again, she turned for the door and ran. Knowing she wouldn’t make it to the house before he was on her, she turned for the forest and hoped to lose him among the trees.

The second she entered the trees she changed direction, ducking behind an overgrown blackberry bramble. Heading deeper into the woods, Sarah checked behind her, but she couldn’t see Marty. She could hear him thrashing about and cursing, so she knew he hadn’t returned to the shed and Claire.

“You can’t hide from me, Sarah,” Marty called out. His stomach protested each lift of his legs as he stepped over fallen trees and rocks. He was weakening from blood loss, but refused to let Sarah get away from him. She wouldn’t travel the path, he’d decided, not after the way she’d turned on him. But she still carried the demons in her and he would have to fix that.

Sarah heard his words coming from her left. He was closer than she’d thought. Her chest was burning and the wound was still bleeding. She couldn’t swing her arms to build up speed. It pulled the skin too far causing fire to rip through her. The pain throbbed in her head. She swallowed down the nausea and focused on putting one foot in front of the other.

She hadn’t gone far, maybe a hundred yards or so, when a sound from behind her had her whipping around in fright. Marty stepped from behind a tree. She realized that she’d headed straight for him. Stepping backwards, she tripped over a raised section of earth, falling to the ground.

“Say hello to mother,” Marty said, gesturing to the newly turned earth.

Sarah stared at the grave in horror. She scrambled across it, to the far side.

“She lied to me, Sarah. All my life, she told me you were evil, because of him.” Marty leaned against a tree, sweating from the exertion and from the pain. “Every one of his little bastards was evil. That’s what she told me.”

Sarah didn’t know how to respond to that, so she remained silent.

“What she failed to mention,” he continued, “was that I, too, was one of his little bastards.”

Sarah’s mouth dropped open in shock. She’d never suspected it. Her mother had only ever ridiculed her, never her precious baby, Marty. “Why are you doing this then?”

“That’s easy, Sarah. I got to like it.” Stepping away from the tree, he brought his right hand forward, the knife clutched tightly in his grasp.

Sarah scrambled further away, until she backed against the base of a tree. Marty stepped over the burial mound and raised the knife.

“Drop it!” Galen called out.

Marty’s head swivelled in Galen’s direction, his nostrils flaring in anger. Galen stood twenty feet away, his gun raised, his aim as steady as a rock. Marty ignored him and stared down at his sister. She huddled against the tree, her shoulders trembling and her breathing ragged. Blood had drenched her shirtfront. The hunger inside him enjoyed the fear he saw in her eyes. He stepped closer, the knife raised in the air.

“Drop the knife, Marty!” Galen yelled again. He’d taken three steps closer.

Marty ignored him, keeping his eyes on Sarah. “You should be with mother, Sarah. You can’t travel the path, but I’ll help you destroy the demons inside you.” Marty rushed forward, his eyes on Sarah the entire time. He spotted a movement to his right and jerked his knife hand in that direction at the last second. Mac burst from the bushes and barrelled into Marty, taking them both over the burial mound, closer to Galen.

Marty attempted to swing the knife around, but Mac was stronger than him. He easily blocked the swing, driving his fist into Marty’s belly. Marty howled in agony as the fire ants burned through his stomach. Mac punched him a second time, then brought his fist into Marty’s face. Bones cracked as Mac pummelled him, his worry for Sarah driving him to inflict as much damage as he could.

“Mac, he’s out,” Galen said. Galen had to repeat himself before Mac calmed down enough to see that Galen was right. Marty was unconscious, his nose bleeding and his lip split. One eye was already starting to swell. Mac immediately left him for Sarah, who still leaned against the tree.

Galen pulled handcuffs from his pocket, binding Marty’s hands together in front of him. Once he felt certain that Marty was secured, he asked Sarah about Claire.

“She’s in the shed behind my mother’s house. He bound her to the table.”

Galen left Marty with Mac and Sarah. Mac had already called the other searchers and knew that several were on their way and could assist with hauling Marty out of the woods. Galen sprinted through the trees towards the back of the Miller property. As he got closer he could hear Claire calling out for help. He yelled her name as he exited the woods and rounded the shed.

The minute she saw him, Claire collapsed back onto the table. Galen cupped her face, his eyes concerned about the amount of blood she’d lost. Seeing that she was mostly unhurt, he unbuckled the straps pinning her to the table. Marty had made several small slices in her thighs and along her arms. None of the cuts were more than a few millimetres deep, but several still seeped blood.

Galen made her stay on the table until the paramedics arrived. He explained what had happened in the woods and ensured her that Sarah was safe with Mac. Ten minutes later the other searchers brought Marty into the shed, dropping him on the floor near the entrance. Mac carried Sarah in his arms. She’d insisted that she had enough energy to walk, but he’d ignored her protests.

Dr. Eberly greeted them at the hospital, examining Sarah’s long gash and the multiple smaller gashes on Claire. He deemed both as less urgent than the stabbing wound Marty had received. He took Marty into surgery to repair the damage, leaving the two ladies in the capable hands of his nurses and an intern. Galen remained in the room with Marty while Eberly patched him up. He’d removed the cuffs so the hospital personnel could see to his care easier.

By the time Eberly had Marty moved to recovery and Galen had him cuffed, hand and foot, to the bed, Claire and Sarah were resting comfortably. They’d both received medication to numb the pain from the numerous sutures each had received. Mac remained with Sarah while Galen found both of his parents in Claire’s room. Claire’s face was bruised; the punch that had knocked her out had produced a black eye and a small abrasion on her right cheekbone. The rest of the damage was hidden by the hospital bedding.

“What will happen to Marty?” Mrs. T asked.

“He’ll be moved to Vancouver where he’ll undergo psychiatric evaluation to see if he’s fit to stand trial. Then he’ll either go to jail to await his court date or he’ll be committed to an institution.” Galen kissed Claire’s hand. He couldn’t stop touching her, making sure that she was alright.

“Seems too good for him,” Paddy said. His face was bruised and swollen, and he had a number of aches from the beating he’d taken, but he’d refused to remain in bed when he’d learned that Claire had been brought in. Mrs. T had wheeled him down the hall to Claire’s room to keep him from trying to get there on his own and getting hurt in the process.

Galen didn’t respond, but he had to agree. All of the damage that Marty had inflicted on the women he’d killed, not to mention all of the people he’d hurt that day, reduced the amount of sympathy Galen had for him to nothing. Canada didn’t have the death penalty; Marty may not ever be free again, but he’d still be alive. It was more than the women he’d killed would ever have again. Galen tried to let the fact that Marty was caught and wouldn’t hurt anyone again be enough.

***

Galen spent the next week working with Victoria and Vancouver on the remaining missing women, only to have a resident confess to knowing where two of them were. He’d come to the island knowing that ten women had gone missing. One had turned up in Vancouver and five, not including Megan Price, who had been taken after Galen had arrived on the island, had turned up in the marina. That left four unaccounted for. The girl had seen the story that the paper had done on all of the women and figured that Galen needed to know.

She’d admitted to helping her friends leave the island to start over in Vancouver. They were lesbians and both of their families didn’t approve. One of the dad’s had gotten violent about it and that’s when the girls had decided it was time to leave. She gave Galen their contact information and he had called them to confirm the story.

That still left him with two women on the missing list. Since he’d had only two weeks left on Trinity before Victoria expected him to be back to work, he’d put in for his vacation time. His commanding officer suspected that Galen would retire and the RCMP would lose his experience if the vacation request wasn’t approved and he was forced to return to Victoria, so he granted the request.

Claire had put in a formal request for a three-man police force, through the foundation, and the RCMP was considering their proposal. The RCMP hadn’t said how long it would take to process their request, but Galen knew they wouldn’t sit on it long. With the Foundation offering to pay for their own police force, it would free up RCMP resources for other areas. Galen would simply wait them out.

***

Galen took Claire’s hand as they walked down the boardwalk towards his ma’s shop. Claire’s wounds were healing nicely. She’d had a few nightmares directly after the attack, but he’d talked her through them and they seemed to be lessening in frequency and intensity. He knew that she would never completely forget what had happened, but he hoped that the fear would dissipate.

His ma had called earlier that morning to announce that the mayor’s wife, Rebecca, had given birth to a healthy baby girl she named Megan. His ma had also said that Rebecca had filed for divorce from her husband and intended to remain on the island.

“She may even run for mayor next term,” Mrs. T had claimed.

Claire thought that was a wonderful idea. The island could use a responsible person in the position. She pushed the door open to Mrs. T’s bakery, heading straight for the hazelnut cookies. Galen accepted the cannoli his ma handed him with a nod of thanks.

“How’s Sarah?” she asked.

Claire said how Sarah had taken a few days off from work to recover and to organize her mother’s estate. Everything had been left to Marty. Marty’s house was still being held by the RCMP. Nothing had been found in it that would tie him to the missing girls, but evidence found on the bodies, semen and several hair samples, would solidify the Crown’s case against him.

“She’s back at work today though,” Claire said. “We’re going to head over there for some coffee.”

Mrs. T put a box together for Sarah, a gift from the bakery. She handed it to her son and patted his cheek. “I’m glad you’re here to stay.” She hugged Claire. “I’m glad you’re willing to put up with my boy.”

Galen snorted. He tucked the box under his arm and headed for the door. Staring out the window to the people wandering along the boardwalk, he did a double-take. “Ma, is that a geisha?” he asked, stepping closer to the window to see better.

“Yeah, that’s Professor Chu.”

Galen looked back at her in disbelief. “Professor Kenny Chu?”

“Yes,” she said. “He’s just come out.”

Claire stared out the window and down the street, following Professor Chu’s progress. Several people stopped to stare and others just waved and called out their hello’s. She’d been to Professor Chu’s place on the little island several times as a kid. The school often did tours of his greenhouses. He’d retired from teaching botany at UBC, but always had time for the young students of Trinity Elementary.

“He’s just come out,” Galen repeated. “As a geisha?”

“Yes,” Mrs. T said.

“What does that even mean?” he asked.

She shrugged and went back to her pastry.

Claire smiled. Trinity Island had no shortage of the strange, but now they had a little less of the deadly.

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