Ring of Lies

 
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     Detective Hallowell reached into his coat pocket and withdrew a plastic evidence bag. Condensation beaded the surface and made the contents appear fuzzy, but Ivy would have recognized the tie-dye patterned paper even before he turned it over to expose the fat black letters filled with white stars that spelled out Cosmic Café. 
     The detective held it up in front of her and asked, “This yours?” 
     Ivy licked her lips and nodded, remaining silent. From years on the road with her Aunt Fey, she’d learned never to offer any information not specifically requested. 
     The detective stared at her for a long minute, not bothering to hide his speculation. He cleared his throat then slipped the bag back into his pocket. “Thought so. I know these things are all over town but this one has the name Ivy scrawled on the bottom with an address over on Gwinnet.”
     Ivy sucked in a breath. “My … my name is Ivy and I live on Gwinnet.” Her stomach churned. Someone involved in a crime had her name and address. She swallowed hard and forced her voice not to tremble. “What is going on?”
     Detective Hallowell held his hand out toward his partner. “We pulled a body out of the river this morning. She had this flyer in her pocket.” Without warning, he thrust a picture under Ivy’s nose. “Do you recognize this woman?”
     Ivy gasped and sank into a chair. She raised a shaking hand to her mouth and stared at the photo. Her breath came in short pants and pinpoints of light filled her eyes. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out. 
     “Ivy!” Tina leaped from her chair and tried to push Ivy’s head between her knees. “Breathe girl, breathe!” Tina slapped the photo away from Ivy’s face. “For God’s sake man, put that away!”
     “Ma’am, I’m sorry to distress you but I need to know who this woman is.”
     “Leave her alone! It’s obvious she knows the poor woman- “
     “No …, no, Tina, it’s all right.” Ivy pulled away from Tina and dragged a shaking hand through her hair. “I, I know who she …” Her voice broke on a sob and tears spilled down her cheeks unheeded. She wrapped her arms around her midsection and rocked in the chair as the truth sank in. It couldn’t be true; she didn’t even live in Savannah. 
     “Ma’am?” Detective Hallowell prodded. 
     Ivy looked at the detectives and struggled to rein in her emotions long enough to whisper, “That …, that’s my Aunt Fey.”

 

Spanish Moss & Savannah Specters

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Ray Henderson accepted his beer from the bartender and rolled his eyes at the tour guide’s spiel. What kind of moron bought that load of bull shit? He smirked as his gaze fell on Chrissie’s enthralled face. Apparently, morons like his wife, and, judging by the enthusiastic crowd, she wasn’t alone in her obsession with all things paranormal.

Ray shook his head. He was surrounded by a bunch of losers. What a great way to spend Halloween. He tuned out the tour guide and examined the bar. With its rough brick walls and scarred floors, the Crescent River Brewing Company delivered on the historic and slightly creepy atmosphere conducive to ghost tours. He took a sip of beer and grimaced. Too bad they couldn’t claim the same with their microbrews; though in fairness he hated even the regular stuff so one imbued with the essence of rosemary was probably not destined to change his opinion.

Chrissie caught his gaze and grinned, her face glowing with happiness. So much for trying to convince her that the tour was lame, and they should go home. It was going to be a long night. Ray sighed and looked around for an empty seat. Judging by the capacity crowd, he was the only one who felt the beer left a lot to be desired and ghost hunting was a crock of crap. The joint was a sea of crazy costumes. The raucous crowd seemed to have been celebrating all day; in hindsight, taking a haunted pub tour on Halloween night was not such a great idea.

Ray shoved his way through the throng as a woman dressed like a happy hooker vacated a bar stool. He planted himself in front of the big screen and tried to tune out the bat shit crazy chatter of the ghost obsessed group.