(A sequel to The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray.)
They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-The Mind of the Matter
Within an hour the hallways of the nursing home were alive with the frenetic activity of uniformed and plain-clothed officers from the surrounding precincts. Sergeant Brock O'Day was in his element as he interacted with his fellow officers of the law.
Elsewhere the State Police and Highway Department were busy trying to clean up the series of accidents that had strangled rush hour traffic on the Southeast Express into and out of Boston. That those accidents were in any way connected to the murder of a nurse and the abduction of a patient at the nursing home was a thought shared by only Michelle and myself.
While the welfare of Rosie Gates was foremost on our minds, it was understandable that we would be focusing our attention on her abductors as well. As far as the world was concerned, Benjamin Bering and Susan Parsons were dead. Yet, their images captured by a security camera, they could be seen shepherding Rosie from her room and into a hallway.
We had taken up temporary residence in the visitor's lounge which was located on the south wing of the nursing home. Removed from the police activity we were both lost within our own thoughts. I was staring at a cup of coffee from a vending machine contemplating whether or not I dared to take another sip of the bitter contents. Michelle, her arms folded across her chest stood looking out a large window overlooking the parking lot.
David shuffled into the lounge and with trepidation addressed us, "The two of you, you're really you
, aren't you? That wasn't you on the tape. You know what I mean. Oh hell," he sputtered, "I don't know what I mean."
I lifted a finger to my lips and whispered, "David, I think you'll you agree that we should discuss that ... ah ... delicate matter in a more private setting ... later."
Nodding in agreement he collapsed into one of the plush armchairs and began to play around with his PDA. He looked up and said, "I overheard some of the cops talking. There are no distinguishable fingerprints, there are no witnesses, and the Feds took the security tape. Their investigation is going nowhere."
Michelle turned to him and said, "I was unable to save your transmission on my laptop. I don't suppose you ..."
He winked and patted his chest. "Yes, I was able to copy it onto a disc."
I patted him on the shoulder and said, "Good man. For now, I think we should keep that fact to ourselves."
"Keep what to yourselves?" Brock O'Day's voice boomed from the doorway.
"Uh ... nothing concrete, Brock. It was just a theory we were discussing. That's all," I replied.
Obviously having suspected our prescience regarding the events of the day Brock asserted, "You suspected this, didn't you? You knew ... all of this was going to happen."
"Sergeant," Michelle interjected, "We knew, we all
knew they would be back."
"We didn't foresee," I chimed in, "that they would come after Rosie."
He studied our faces for a moment, perhaps to read if there were any signs of deceit, before speaking. "By they
, I presume you didn't foresee Ben and Susan coming back from the dead."
"That's what I meant about keeping certain facts to ourselves." I waved my arm indicating those present and added, "The four of us are the only ones to have seen that video footage. That tape is now in the hands of the Feds."
He nodded in resignation, "You're right, of course. I would look rather foolish if I submitted a report stating that the kidnappers were ... uh ... ghosts!"
He slipped passed me and made his way to the vending machine. As he fumbled in his pocket for change I held the cup in my hand aloft and warned, "I wouldn't if I were you ... unless to happen to have a craving for motor oil."
Michelle approached him and whispered, "Brock, can I ask a favor of you?"
He eyed her suspiciously before replying, "Should I be afraid to ask what that favor might be?"
A sheepish grin formed on her lips, "Well, I was wondering if that, with your connections, that you might be able to obtain a copy of the impending autopsy report of the victim in the basement."
"Yeah, but besides the cause and time of death, why would you want to see a copy?" he asked.
"I see where Michelle's going with this," I interjected. "It would be interesting to know if the coroner finds any unusual ... uh ... markings on the body of the deceased."
He gasped, "My God! You're talking about a god damned butterfly tattoo!"
Two hours later in the private confines of our downtown apartment, Michelle and I hovered over David's back as he loaded a disc into the computer. In a matter of moments we were staring at the captured images of three figures as they moved through the hallway of the nursing home.
"I can't believe it," Michelle exclaimed. "She's not being dragged. They're holding onto her arms, but she's walking under her own power."
"I was thinking the same thing. For someone who was supposed to be paralyzed from the neck down, she certainly is displaying significant mobility," David said.
I took a deep breath and exhaled with a low whistle, "There was nothing wrong with her mind, but was it strong enough to overcome paralysis? Hmmm ... the mind of the matter ..."
"You're right, Michael," my wife mused. "I think it's safe to say that there was more than one mind at work here."
"That man and woman look like us, or rather, look like our former bodies," I said in resignation to David. "You are part of only a handful who know that we
are Ben Bering and Susan Parsons."
Realizing the scope of the recent events his eyes widened and he stammered, "...And ... and Rosie is one of those who know... and they took her! The Feds now have her."
"David, let's not jump to conclusions," Michelle asserted calmly. "We don't know
that it was the Feds who took Rosie."
"What?" he said in confusion. "They took the security tapes. Isn't it obvious to you that they were removing the evidence of their involvement?"
I cleared my throat and interjected, "Or
, they are as much baffled by what occurred at the nursing home as we are!"
To keep his arms from flailing about he jammed his hands into his pants pockets. It was obvious in his silence that his mind was wrestling with my supposition that there were other players involved.
"There's something else for us to think about," Michelle said. "We saw Ben's and Susan's bodies lying at rest in the funeral home. We saw them being interred at the cemetery. We were there."
On cue I completed her thoughts, "From the funeral home, to the cemetery and into the ground, those coffins were sealed. I'm afraid we have to asks ourselves ... just who or what were in those caskets?"
( To be continued Friday 2/26 with ...
Exhumation Point! )