Tom and I brought her in. She was a feeble woman of 59.
I offered her a cigarette, she graciously accepted and with shaking hands, still caked with mud, she grasped for it right before the interview began. I turned the recorder on.
Tom lit one up himself. “Delores, do you know why you’re here?”
“I’m afraid I do.” Without making eye contact, she nodded yes. The smile across her lips looked pained. “You caught me.” She held up her hands, revealing broken fingernails.
“But, why Dolores?”
She looked at me solemnly, and I think that fierceness in her eyes will follow me in my dreams forever. “They’ve been calling me.”
Tom and I exchanged a glance, both of us befuddled. “Who has been calling you? Has someone been phoning you and asking you to dig them up?”
She chuckled. “No, I wish it were that simple.” With a finger entirely missing a nail, bloodied and bruised, she tapped it on the photographs we had strewn across the table.
“THEY have been calling me.”
I looked down at the very familiar faces. Emma Gatton, Jeffery Cassidy, Alicia Stevens, Patrice Holloway, and- well. The list went on.
Tom was getting heated. He held up George Murphy’s photograph. “You’re telling me, Georgie called you before he died and said, hey Delores, scare all the town folk and dig me up after I die?”
“No. He called me from the beyond.” Delores looked to me with pleading eyes to believe her.
Tom laughed. “Is there good cell reception from the beyond?”
“No,” she said exasperatedly. She took her finger and pointed to her temple. “Through here.”
Tom’s cackle turned into a roar. Mental illness or not, Delores didn’t deserve to be treated like this.
“Tell me," I began, “tell me why do they call you?”
She turned to me and in the voice of an instructor I once knew, she stated, “They’re not happy. Justice has not been served.
Homicide being ruled as an accident is a common mistake, and I think they understand that. But they yearn for justice like the sunflower yearns for the sun.
” She took a drag off the cigarette and whispered, “They want you to look harder.”
A cold chill washed over my body.
The thing is, the dug up bodies were always dropped off somewhere we would eventually find them and, well,
two of them so far there were new things found after an additional examination to see what the body thief had done to the body.
We never found anything done to them post-mortem, but for two of them the autopsy had shown us something new.
“Do you believe this shit?” Tom snickered as he turned to me.
Delores put her cigarette out and exhaled the last bit of smoke. “Tom, your wife has been calling. She never ran off. She’s under the rose bushes behind your home, and honey, she wants out.”