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The Spirit Box (4)

A.H. Mittelman

By Alex H Mittelman Published about a month ago Updated about a month ago 17 min read
Fred Byrne, Jr and The Spirit Box

Chapter 4: Murder on Main Street

I drove Emily to the station. I imagined she was in cuffs and going to prison the whole time.

I parked my car and barked at Emily to get out!

“So rude,” Emily said.

“Damn straight,” I replied and smiled.

We walked inside the station.

“Let’s go and talk to the…” I started to say before Chief came out of his office. His face was red and you could see steam coming out of his ears. The face he was making looked so angry it would make the toughest biker run for the hills or pee himself.

“Byrne! Get the hell in my office… NOW! And you, ingrate, wait in that chair,” Chief shouted and pointed at Emily.

I walked inside his office and the door seemed to slam itself shut. Chief’s anger seemed to be a telekinetic door-closing force. I shuddered.

“Yes, Chief?” I asked.

What the hell is that vile woman doing at my station? Unless you’re arresting her for something, I want her to get the hell out,” Chief said loudly.

“Well, here’s the thing. She’s trying to straighten out her…” I started to say.

I don’t care. That woman is vile and disgusting. Do you know how many times one of my officers has brought her in for a crime? Half the time her lawyer gets her off, too. It’s very annoying. One time she was so drunk, she threw up all over my uniform. Whatever viscous toxins her vomit contained wouldn’t come out, even after I took the uniform to the dry cleaners ten times. I had to burn the damn thing and get a new one. And after what she did to you, I’m shocked you’d want to help. Dump her back in the streets. Why are you trying to help that… that… disgrace of a human being? That beast?” Chief asked, shouting.

“Well, you got me there. I don’t know. I just feel… weird not helping her,” I said and shrugged. I couldn’t explain why I felt weird. It just somehow felt wrong leaving her to rot on some park bench. Even though a park bench was, by far, more then she deserved.

“Please don’t tell me you brought her here to take the secretary job. How do you know she won’t screw it up, given how badly she screwed up her life. Then screwed you over?” Chief said condescendingly.

I shrugged.

Fine. The job’s hers until she screws it up. She so much as sneezes on the wrong paperwork, and she’s fired. She makes a bigger mistake, I’m locking that whack job in a cell,” Chief shouted.

“You sure?” I asked.

Yes, I’m sure, damn it,” Chief shouted, made a fist and pounded his desk. He then started to grind his teeth and breathe heavily.

“Chief, you want want to take a breath before you have a heart attack,” I said.

Chief took a breath.

“I don’t have time to discuss this further. We have a case for you. There’s a corpse on Main Street with a shark bite taken out of it. The body was found just a few minutes from the aquarium. We’re hoping you could examine the murder scene, look for clues, then bring me a cup of coffee. When forensics ID’s the body, you find a suspect and interrogate him. Bring Yi. Go to the murder scene. Do your thing,” Chief said.

First, I found Emily.

“Hey, good news and bad news. Good news is I talked Chief into giving you the job. Bad news is, I talked Chief into giving you the job. He says if you so much as sneeze on the wrong paper work, you’re fired. He’s probably going to be on your ass all day. Don’t screw this up. If you get fired, I’m dropping you off at the shelter,” I said.

“Sadly, I understand,” Emily said.

I started to walk away when Emily shouted “Hey Fred,” and I turned around.

“Yah,” I said.

“Thanks,” Emily said and winked.

I made finger guns at her and said, “pew, pew, pew.”

Emily rolled her eyes.

I found Yi and we drove to the scene of the crime.

“Why would someone start to feed this guy to a shark, then after the shark starts to snack, throw the rest of the corpse here?” Yi said.

“To throw us off,” I said.

I walked around the body several times looking for anything the other officers might have missed.

“I don’t see anything helpful. Has anyone checked this man’s I.D.?” I asked.

“I did, sir. His name was Walter Charming. He was assistant manager at the aquarium, sir,” one of the officers on the scene said.

I grabbed the officer’s name tag to get a closer look at it.

“Good job, Officer… Balson,” I said.

“Thank you, sir,” the officer said.

I turned to Detective Yi and said, “Let’s go see if the aquarium has camera footage. That might show us what happened,” I said.

We went to the aquarium and asked for the head of security. We showed George, head of tactical security provisions and safety protocols, our badges. Then I asked to see the security footage starting from last night.

We were led into the feed room and shown the footage.

“Slow down, you’re getting close to the time of the murder. Between five to eight PM is the coroner’s approximation of death. Wait, play at regular speed. Thats Walter Charming standing over the shark tank. I see a hand pushing him in. Then the water turns red after one of the sharks takes a bite out of his ribs. Then the mystery hand drags the body out of the tank, and that’s it. Whose hand was that?” I asked.

“I don’t know. All I know is that Haruto and Walter were the only ones on duty last night. That doesn’t look like Haruto’s hand, but the again Haruto usually wears gloves. I’ll ask him if he saw anything,” George said.

“I’ll go with you,” I said. If this guy was guilty, I wasn’t going to give him a chance to escape.

We walked to Haruto.

“Haruto, this is Detectives Byrne and Yi. They have a few questions for you,” George said.

“Nice to meet you, Haruto,” I said and reached out to shake his hand. When he latched his hand to mine I examined it. It was a completely different color then the one on the camera.

“Is this about Walter?” Haruto asked. I nodded.

“I was on the opposite side of the aquarium for about an hour. When I went to his side of the aquarium, he was gone. I thought he clocked out early,” Haruto said.

“We’ll check the cameras to confirm. I’m sure you’re being honest, though,” I said. I waved at Yi and we walked back to the camera room.

“How come you didn’t grill him, Fred?” Yi asked.

“It wasn’t him. His hand was different then the one in the video,” I said.

“What now?” Yi asked.

“We have George call in all the employees and compare their hands to the one in the video. We find the matching hand, we find the killer. Then we use the matching hand as evidence to get a warrant, search the guys house and whatever we find in the house we use to put the shmuck in jail. Problem solved,” I said.

“Good to know,” Yi said.

“George, over here,” I shouted and waved George down.

“What’s the news? Was it Haruto?” George asked.

“No. We do suspect it was an employee, though. Could you do us a favor and call your employees over here. We’re going to compare their hands to the hand in the footage,” I said.

“Sure,” George, who was now sweating profusely, said. He was hiding his hands behind his back, and when he turned around, he made sure to keep his hands out of site.

“Let’s follow George,” I said.

“Yah, I noticed him sweating, too. And the hand thing was definitely suspicious,” Yi said.

I inhaled John.

“Should I inhale Bruce?” Yi asked.

“Wait, in case my hour runs out,” I said. We quickly and quietly followed George.

Instead of going to get the other employees, he got into his car.

I ran then jumped in front of his car as he was pulling out and smashed his hood. Then I ripped his hood off and slammed it into the street. Then I tore out a chunk of his engine and threw it all the way across the street. George stepped out of his car with his hands in the air.

“Holy shit. I surrender,” George said.

We dragged him to the security room to compare his hands to the footage hands, just to be safe. They were a match.

“Why’d you kill Walter, George?” I asked.

“You wouldn’t understand,” George said.

“I was supposed to be a hero. Walter stole a box from me that would have made me a hero. I was going to use the contents of the box to defend a very special lady,” George said.

“A box?” I asked.

“I knew you wouldn’t understand,” George said.

“Was it a spirit box?” I asked

“How do you know what a spirit box is?” George asked.

“What’s a spirit box?” One of the officers asked.

“Never mind that for now. George, tell me where your box is and I’ll keep it safe for you. Safe just in case you ever get out of prison. Who knows, maybe if you learn that murder is wrong while you’re in the clink, you can be a hero after all,” I said. George smiled deviously.

“It’s in the file cabinet behind you. Second drawer,” George said and continued to smile his evil smirk.

My plan was actually to keep it safe at my place. George wasn’t getting it back. I was digging around in the drawer and pulled it out.

“Eureka! Here it is,” I said. I started to turn around and ask who was inside but George head butted my face and as the box was falling, it opened up and George inhaled the spirit.

George’s teeth grew longer and his arms turned to fins. He broke the cuffs and ran to the shark tank and dove in.

“Wait, he has a shark spirit? Spirits can cross into different species?” Yi asked.

I shrugged.

“I guess so,” I responded.

“What the hell just happened? How did that guy turn into a shark?” Officer Balson asked.

“You must have been hallucinating from whatever powder George released from the box. You better go outside and call a medic,” I said.

“Sure thing, boss,” Balson said. Balson put his hand on his head, mumbled something, then walked outside while continuing to mumble to himself.

“Yi, I think that button on the wall over there might seal the tank,” I said.

“I’ll check it out,” Yi said and walked over to the button. I grabbed George out of the water, punched him in his ugly shark face, then accidentally threw him back into the tank.

Yi smiled as he pressed the button and George tried to shout a muffled “nnnnooo,” as the top of the tank closed over him.

“You know, we should leave him here. I think he makes a nice addition to the shark exibit,” I said. Yi smiled and shrugged and we walked out of the aquarium, George shouting to let him out the whole time.

“All I hear is bubbles coming out of that guys mouth,” Yi said and smiled.

“If anyone asks, George escaped and we’re still looking for him,” I said.

Yi smiled and shrugged. We told the aquarium staff waiting outside for answers we were done looking around. They turned off the aquarium lights and went home.

Yi and I drove back to the station where Emily was giving everybody a reading.

“Really? You’re using Ann at the station?” I asked Emily.

Emily grabbed my shirt and pulled my left ear to her lips.

“Sshhh, I’m doing good work here. Can’t you keep one little secret for me?” Emily asked. Then she gently pushed me away and patted me on the shoulder.

“Ugh. Fine, I guess so,” I said.

“These are some good guys here. They pay some good money to get a good reading. And that’s exactly what I’m giving ‘em,” Emily said. I rolled my eyes and walked away.

I saw Chief waiting in line to get a reading from Emily.

“Good God, Chief. Not you too…” I said.

“What, she’s good at readings. At least she’s not selling drugs… anymore,” Chief said.

“But she’s supposed to be doing secretary work,” I said.

“She is… when she’s not doing readings,” Chief said.

“Yah, I guess. I just think this is crap,” I mumbled.

“What was that?” Chief asked.

“Nothing,” I said, walked to my office and slammed the door shut.

Yi walked in a minute later.

“Let me take some of that paper work off your hands, Fred,” Yi said and smiled.

“Sure,” I said, sighed and handed him a stack.

“Don’t worry, Fred. I didn’t get a reading. I know she’s a scam artist,” Yi said.

“Do you want a reading, Detective Yi?” I asked.

“That’d be great, Fred! Can I?” Yi asked. I sighed.

“Go ahead. Just make it quick,” I said.

“Wow! Thanks Fred,” Yi said. He left and took the paper work to his office. I felt betrayed by my own partner.

After filling out all the forms for the day I looked out my window and saw Chief pointing a very well dressed lady to my office.

“Crap, what now?” I mumbled. She knocked on my door and I waved at her to come in.

“Please, have a seat. How can I help you?” I asked.

“Are you Detective Fred Byrne?” She asked.

“Yes,” I said and nodded.

“My name is Sandy Charming. My husband Walter was recently murdered, and I know you’re looking for his killer, George,” Sandy said.

“That’s correct,” I said.

“I’d like to explain. My husband Walter had recently started new medication which had changed his behavior and made him more and more aggressive. One day, he had snapped and hit me. I didn’t know what to do. This wasn’t the Walter I knew. This wasn’t the Walter I married. I confided in my friend George and asked him for advice. He said he’d take care of it, and I thought he meant he’d talk to Walter, scare him a little and make sure it never happened again. I didn’t think George meant murder. That being said, I think George was trying to defend me, and I’m hoping that’s a mitigating circumstance,” Sandy said.

“It could be. You’d have to discuss that with George’s lawyer, if he’s ever found. I’m sure any decent lawyer can work that into his defense,” I said.

“Well, here’s the thing, Detective Byrne. I know you locked George in the shark tank after he turned himself into that shark thing using his magical box,” Sandy said.

“Damn it. How did you find out about the spirit box?” I asked.

“George told me about it a long time ago. A strange man in a mysterious van sold it to him. I went to the aquarium and had one of the employees let me in. It was after hours but they all know me there. George swam to the tanks window and explained everything. He had to repeat a few things, he was hard to understand underwater, but I got the jist of what he was saying. If you let him out, I’ll make sure he turns himself in. I’ll let him know he has a defense,” Sandy said.

“I’ll let him out, but I’m going to have to keep him at the station. I’m sorry Sandy, but I don’t trust you. We just met,” I said.

“That’s understandable. Thank you for letting him out,” Sandy said and started to walk away.

“Oh, one last thing. I could use some help getting the shark spirit out of him and back into the box. Spirits are not supposed to stay in the body for more then an hour. They get too strong and can choose to stay,” I said.

“I’ll get some fish for the shark spirit. Sharks love fish. We’ll lure the shark out with fish,” Sandy said, then left. I figured I’d deal with George the shark man tomorrow.

At eleven PM, I got a call. There had been a break in at the aquarium. A shark was missing.

“Damn it, Sandy,” I mumbled.

I got Yi and a few other officers to come with me. We rushed down to the aquarium to ask questions.

“We know Sandy took the shark. Where would she have taken it?” I asked one of the employees.

“It’s a shark, so either she’s selling it to a sushi chef or releasing it into the ocean depending on wether or not she’s a shark lover,” the guy said.

Considering the shark was also her best friend George, it was probably the ocean. We rushed down to the beach to see if we could find Sandy. We drove up the sand until I saw Sandy on a speed boat.

I got a megaphone from my trunk.

“Sandy, bring George back to the aquarium. We have to get the shark spirit into the box,” I shouted through the megaphone.

Sandy yelled back but she was hard to hear. It sounded like she said “I’m setting George free.”

Sandy then pushed a shark into the ocean.

“Crap,” I said.

“What now?” Yi asked.

“Now we wait for Sandy to return to the beach and arrest her for theft. That shark was aquarium property,” I said.

“I don’t think she’s planning on returning,” Yi said. Sandy took off on her speed boat.

“She’ll run out of gas eventually. Let’s get in the car and follow her boat. Wait, Never mind. She’s already out of gas,” I said. Her boat stalled.

We called the coast guard and had them bring her back to land. I put Sandy in cuffs and walked her to the backseat of my car. Yi and I went to the front.

“We know that wasn’t really George. George was only half shark,” I said.

“You’ll never find the real George,” Sandy shouted.

“Did you hide him at your house in an aquarium you had specially made for him?” I asked.

“No,” Sandy said.

“Yi, let’s get a warrant to search Sandy’s house,” I said.

“Crap. Fine he’s at my house,” Sandy said through gritted teeth.

“Well, George might get a reduced sentence for defending you. But now you’re going to jail too,” I said. Sandy started to cry.

“Don’t worry, Sandy. Your heart was in the right place. I’ll tell the prosecutor to go easy on you,” I said. This didn’t help Sandy’s crying.

We got back to the station and I popped Sandy into a cell. We called a judge, got a warrant, went to Sandy’s house and knocked the door in.

We found the aquarium but the glass was broken and it was empty.

“George, you still here?” I shouted. I took out my spirit box and was about to inhale John when George came out of nowhere and pushed me over.

I inhaled John while laying on the ground and heard George leave the house. By the time I got to the door George was long gone.

“Where’d he go, Fred?” Detective Yi asked.

“No clue. Let’s drive around a little and see if we can find him. If not we’ll put his picture in the news, get an APB,” I said. I sneezed John back into the box and we got in the car.

We were driving for fifteen minutes before we saw him.

“He’s heading to the aquarium,” I said.

“Here’s an idea. Pretend we don’t see him and beat him to the aquarium. We’ll arrest him there,” Yi said.

“Great idea,” I said and continued driving past him.

We parked behind the aquarium so he wouldn’t see our car and we went inside, hid behind a wall and waited for George. I inhaled John again just incase George put up a fight. Yi inhaled Bruce.

George burst in the door like a shark thrashing through water.

Yi and I rolled out from behind the wall and yelled “freeze.

The entire aquarium staff was pointing guns at us.

“You freeze, detectives,” Haruto said. We were outgunned and dropped our weapons. George smiled.

“Haruto, you too? I thought we were friends?” I asked and pretended to cry.

“Nobody has to get hurt. We just ask that you leave,” Haruto said.

“Ok. We’re leaving,” I said and we started to back away.

When Yi backed into a wall, he back flipped off the wall and landed behind Haruto. He landed his fist in Harutos back and threw Haruto at half the aquarium staff, knocking them over. While the other half of the staff turned to point their guns at Yi, John and I charged and knocked them out. We grabbed their guns off the floor.

“You’re all under arrest,” I shouted.

“You pigs forgot about me,” George shouted. I turned and George charged me. I slammed my fist into his face and knocked out half his shark teeth. His body went flying through the shark tank glass. The glass shattered and flooded the aquarium.

“Shit,” George said. The aquarium staff was soaked in water.

“We’ll give you guys some towels and dry clothes once we take you down to the station,” I said.

I called for backup, I couldn’t fit them all in my car. We loaded them in our vehicles, then we began driving them to prison.

George was in the back seat of my car. I sneezed John back into his box, then before driving to the station myself, I searched George’s clothing for his spirit box and found it.

“I have a collection of these that were used by evil scientists at my apartment. Would you mind sneezing your shark back into your box so I can add it to my collection. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it nice and safe for you, you can have your shark box back when they let you out in twenty five years. Well, that’s if you don’t get life,” I said.

“I can’t. My shark doesn’t want to leave,” George said.

“Don’t worry, I have an idea,” I said. I went to the grocery store and bought a raw fish. I put the fish in the spirit box and showed it to George. George’s shark came out of his body, dived into the box and started eating the fish. I quickly closed the box and locked the shark back in.

“Damn it,” were George’s last words until after I put him in his cell.

“I’ll be out soon. I’ve got a good lawyer,” George shouted.

“Good luck with that,” I said and smiled. Then I walked away.

“Hey Yi, want to grab a beer at the Blue Mercury? I could box a few rounds in the ring while you drink,” I said.

“What about Emily? Isn’t she staying with you?” Yi asked.

“Eh, I’ll come back after the fight and pick her up… if I remember,” I said.

“And if you don’t?” Yi asked.

I shrugged.

“She can enjoy a nice cement block in one of our fanciest cells while giving her new room mate a reading and I’ll come back to get her in the morning… after she enjoys a nice cold prison shower. Now come on, let’s get a drink,” I said and smiled.

“Sure,” Yi said and shrugged. We went to the car and I drove us to the bar.

Copyright © 10/12/2023 by A.H. Mittelman. All rights reserved

Young AdultthrillerShort StoryPsychologicalMysteryHorrorFantasyAdventure

About the Creator

Alex H Mittelman

I love writing and just finished my first novel. Writing since I was nine. I’m on the autism spectrum but that doesn’t stop me! If you like my stories, click the heart, leave a comment. Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CQZVM6WJ

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Comments (4)

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Hilarious - a new secretary giving readings when not busy at the PD. Nice episode!! 😍.

  • L.C. Schäferabout a month ago

    Great continuation, can't wait for the next!

  • Esala Gunathilakeabout a month ago

    Well done on your story.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Whoaaaa, Yi's backflip was super impressive! And I didn't know that the spirits could be animals as well. That's so cool! Also, why were all the aquatic staff on George's side?

Alex H Mittelman Written by Alex H Mittelman

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