Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Butterfly Dreams (32)

(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)-
Corpus Delicti

I suppose I could have refused to accompany the two FBI agents to the university, but under the circumstances I was in no position to resist. Besides, it would give me a chance to try to pick their brains and find out just what they knew.

I hadn't any more than settled into the back seat when Agent Ferrara declared, "Mr. Black, as uncomfortable as you might view our alliance, I think you'll agree that we can exchange information that will benefit both of us."

I forced a reluctant nod and responded, "Sure thing. Of course any information you give me will obviously be well within the parameters of national security."

Landers started the car and addressed my remark, "National security? Why do think there would be a threat to the nation's security?"

I squirmed a bit but countered, "Why then would the FBI be concerned about a certain young woman?"

"Don't be coy, Mr. Black," snapped Ferrara from the front passenger seat. "When corpses are seen walking about, I assure you the FBI isn't the only one concerned."

"Corpses?" I said with a dead pan glance. "Funny, but the two of you don't strike me as men who would believe in ghosts."

"Shall we cut to the chase, Mr. Black?" asserted Landers as his eyes in the rear view mirror met mine. "The three of us in this car know that Susan Parsons and Benjamin Bering were not buried in those coffins last year!"

Before I could respond Ferrara barked, "I don't suppose you could tell us whose bodies were in those graves?"

"What? What are you saying?" I stammered. Trying to quell the sickening feeling in my stomach I muttered, "Bodies? I ... I assumed those caskets were empty. I don't know anything about ..." I grew silent for a moment and leaned forward. "It was you? You dug up the graves?"

Landers glanced over his shoulder and replied, "Not exactly. We hired a couple of local crack-heads to do the manual labor. For a hundred bucks apiece, we could've had them dig all the way to China." As an after thought he added, "... and before you ask, we did not have authorization to exhume the bodies."

I grew tense with the sudden feeling of being a caged animal. "With the deceased apparently very much alive, you must have also expected the caskets to be empty." Something wasn't right I thought. I had to ask, "Why then did you dig up the graves?"

"We had no intentions of disturbing the graves. That was before we received an anonymous tip," Landers said before nodding at his partner.

As if on cue Ferrara addressed me, "A female caller, her voice obviously disguised, left a message on my personal voice mail. She said that it was imperative that we identify the remains in the graves of Ben Bering and Susan Parsons."

"Jesus Christ!" I yelped. "That woman knew that there were bodies in those coffins!"

"Can you say corpus delicti?" Landers averred. "I'd say that the two as of yet unidentified bodies are evidence of a possible double homicide." He peered into the rear view mirror and posed to me, "Wouldn't you?"

"Look, you're barking up the wrong tree if you think you can implicate me on murder charges," I growled.

"Relax, Mr. Black," Ferrara said, "we have no reason to suspect you of anything." He turned to face me and added a sarcastic barb, "... For now."

"You'll have to excuse Agent Ferrara. He can be a little pushy at times," said Landers. He glanced at his partner and chided, "I'm sure he knows that it is of no benefit for us to alienate you in any way."

"Yeah, I can be pushy," the man admitted with a grimace. "It's just that those bodies and the condition of them was most disturbing. It's how they died."

"What do you mean? How were you able to tell the cause of death just by looking at them in the coffins? How did they die?"

"You saw the body of that woman at the nursing home, Mr. Black," interjected Landers. "We made sure that we had access to the autopsy report."

"Good God!" I cried.

"The reliquiae in question were transported to our forensics lab in Washington. I don't hold much hope that they will be able to identify the victims in a reasonable amount of time. I'm certain however, that they will determine that the massive damages at the bases of their skulls were caused by internal trauma."

"Executed," I muttered, "they were executed."

There was a sudden jolt as Landers braked the car to a halt. "We're here," he announced. He shrugged and looked into my face, "Where do we find Miss Parsons and Professor Jordan? The Science Building?"

I felt a sudden twinge behind my eyes and shook my head. "No, too obvious." I closed my eyes for a moment. I opened them and rubbed my temples. "Yes, of course." I stepped out of the car and beckoned for them to follow.

"Where are we going?" Ferrara shouted after me.

"To a place where you'll be afraid once you have entered, my friends," I responded. We're going to the dark room ... le chambre noire!"

( To be continued ...

Le Chambre Noire )



Hale McKay said...

I've been under the weather since before the weekend. I hadn't been able to concentrate on the story at the all and haven't even been on the computer very much.

I don't know if I had a mild case of a flu or not, but my stomach and lower tract were affected.

Feeling better today and it was still a struggle to get this installment published.

Jack K. said...

Hope you get to feeling better very soon. I wonder if you fell victim to the salmonella?

Rest easy and get back to the story when you can.

The story is progressing nicely.

Anonymous said...

I hope you feel better soon but you should have just sent us a note letting us know you didn't feel well. No need to post when you need your rest, we will always be here!!

Sandee said...

Feel better soon. I hate being sick. It just messes up everything.

Okay, I want to know the identities of the two in the caskets. Weird, but every intriguing.

I think the next installment will give us more information as to who is behind all this. I'm hoping in any event.

Have a terrific day. :)

Hale McKay said...


I haven't had any eggs in quite a while, so I doubt (hopefully) that it isn't salmonella.

I think it's some kind of bug. The next day (and still present) I have had a sore throat.

Hale McKay said...


You're right about not needing to post when ill, but I hate not posting. Of course, when under the weather, I find it difficult to come up with anything.

Hale McKay said...


Thanks for the well wishes.

Ah ... the two bodies ... "who are they?" ... "how long have they been there?" ...

The answers will be forthcoming ...