24 Beckenridge Drive – Five

The following afternoon the Mitchells were summoned to the police station. Erin Frasier had been released from the hospital late that morning and had instantly been invited to the police station for questioning on her kidnapping. Liz, Larry, Marian, and Brad all arrived only moments after Erin. She was pleasantly surprised to see Larry. He quickly introduced her to the rest of the family and she seemed to like them right away. She looked a good deal better than she had in hospital, since she had changed her clothes and had been able to tidy up a bit. As they were “talking” (Erin still hadn’t “regained” her voice and had to use sign language) a man dressed in an ocher suit came up to them.

“Hi,” he said, extending his hand to Erin, “I’m Detective Gorse. The inspector is waiting for you.” The detective took them down the halls to a small conference room and let them in. Two people were seated at the table, one was a stoop-shouldered gentleman in his mid or late forties dressed in a faded blue business suit, and the other one was a red-haired woman, about the same size as Erin, with the same looks, but older. She raced across the room to take her daughter in her arms, for she was Erin’s mother. A rapid exchange in sign language developed and the two looked ecstatic.

“Please have a seat,” the stoop-shouldered man said. Erin caught Larry’s eye. Sit next to me, please, she signed quickly. Larry nodded and complied. Marian sat next to him, Brad next to her and Liz on the end. Detective Gorse sat down to the right of the stoop-shouldered man, one seat away from Mrs. Frasier.

“All right,” the stoop-shouldered man said, straightening slightly and adjusting his black reading glasses. “I’m Inspector Crowell, you know Detective Gorse.” He nodded to his assistant. “Now, I’d like to take your statements on the case concerning Miss Connor’ kidnapping.” Liz flashed a questioning look at Larry, who kept his mouth shut. “We were able to get the surveillance video from the hospital. Unfortunately for us there is no sound, since you chose to communicate in sign language...”

Not chose, had to, Erin signed quickly.

“What was that?” the inspector asked. Larry translated quickly. “I guess we’ll have you function as the interpreter then young man,” Inspector Crowell said with a half-smile. He cleared his throat. “Can anyone else read sign language?” he asked.

Marian timidly raised her hand.

“All right, we’ll view the video, let’s get to work.” The video rolled. It showed Erin from a rather awkward angle, giving a clear view of her hands. I look terrible! she signed to Larry. He left it untranslated.

The video continued, with Marian and Larry translating it alternately. When it finally ended Detective Gorse turned to Erin. “Do you have anything to add to that account?” he asked.

I don’t think so, she signed. Marian translated.

“Okay,” he said, turning to the Mitchells, “tell us how you found her.” They recounted the story quickly. Finally the inspector nodded.

“Would you be willing to pick your captor out of a photo lineup?” he asked Erin. She nodded. “Let’s do it,” he said and shoved several pictures over to her. She stared at each of them carefully.

Where’s the man in the wheelchair? she asked. Larry translated.

“What?” the inspector asked. Erin looked at Larry for a moment.

I’ve found the lady here, she signed, pushing the picture towards the police officers.

Detective Gorse turned the picture over. “Annalise Lundin, widowed, 25 Beckenridge Drive, Druin, ME.” Larry turned cold. Erin continued sorting through the pictures, chancing upon a drawing. She stared at it, then showed it to Larry. He shivered, the hair on his neck rising again: he was looking at a picture of the ghost!

“Mr. Mitchell, could I have the picture please?” The inspector stood and leaned over the table. Larry handed him the drawing. He turned it over and began reading. “Horatio Druin, widowed, 25 Beckenridge Drive, Druin, ME.”

“No!” Marian whispered. The inspector fixed her with a sharp look. “You know these people?” he asked.

“They’re our neighbors,” Liz answered for her daughter.

“Well, you’re lucky your daughter is alive, Mrs. Mitchell,” the detective said. “Mr. Druin has been accused of ritualistic murder, especially of teenage girls.” Larry noticed all the women at the table pale slightly. Detective Gorse leaned back, “No one has ever escaped, but now we have a witness,” he said smiling at Erin, who was looking a bit sickly.

How were they killed? she inquired.

“Various ways,” the detective answered after Larry translated. “Most by knife wounds or asphyxiation. All were found in or on the premises of your residence, Mrs. Mitchell. We found out that you had just moved there, so we did not suspect you.” He looked back to Erin. “You were lucky they found you when they did, Miss Frasier.”

Not lucky, protected, she signed. Marian translated.

“Whatever,” the inspector said waving a hand. “Thank you for your time, ladies and gentlemen.” With that he dismissed them.