Monday 19 October 2015
Houses held ghosts. That was something that Lonnie knew as fact. His maternal grandmother had spoken those words to him when he was a boy, and he’d never understood it, not really, until Sally died. Now, here he was in the marital home, thirty-eight years since he’d last seen Sally vibrant and alive. He’d never thought of her as being alive when he’d seen her in the hospital after the birth of their daughter. No, there she was just a shell that used to hold the woman he’d loved since school. But this house, now, it was home to too many ghosts.
He’d wandered the halls of the house following the ghosts, trying to find his way, trying to decide whether or not to face Beth, and more than once he’d almost been caught by her own wanderings. She was all grown up, and showed flashes of her mother as she too paced the halls. A little investigating, and Lonnie had discovered that she had been raised well, looked after, cared for, and loved, and had followed in the footsteps of her adoptive father, a headstrong, successful police detective. Lonnie was proud of her, something he doubted that she could ever be of him.
‘I never got a chance to be a father to you.’ His words echoed down the hall.
* * * * *
Unshackled from the cuffs, Lonnie was free to hold his baby girl in his arms. Rockwell stood over him, ensuring that Lonnie wasn’t able to make a run for freedom with his newborn.
‘Relax, Rockwell,’ Lonnie said without taking his eyes off his baby, ‘I told you that I’m not going anywhere while Sally’s still here.’
‘I trust you about as far as I can throw you, Corwin, and that ain’t very far at all.’ Rockwell dragged the room’s second chair over next to Lonnie. He dropped his sizable ass down, and stretched his legs out in front of him, effectively blocking Lonnie’s path to the door.
Wise to the sheriff’s tactics but choosing to ignore them, Lonnie kissed the baby’s forehead.
‘Isn’t she beautiful?’
Rockwell looked over at the child, and shrugged his shoulders. ‘Every new parent asks that about their kid . . .’ He glanced again at the baby. ‘I suppose she is kinda cute. Not like you, Corwin.’
‘This little girl, Rockwell, this little girl is going to be my world. I will live and die for her. I will do anything and everything I can to protect her, and no one will stand in my way.’
‘Is that meant to be some kinda threat, Lonnie? Because, y’know, if it is . . .’
‘No threat, Rockwell, just a promise to my girl that I will love her, and watch over her until I die. She’ll want for nothing.’
‘What’s so funny, sheriff?’
‘What’s funny is that you think you’re gonna be in this kid’s life, Corwin. You beat the shit outta your wife, put her in hospital, and you think that you’re walking away from that? The judge will put you away forever, and your kid will go into foster care ‘cause you haven’t got any family that will step up, and take care of her for you.’
For a moment, Lonnie considered returning the baby to her cot, and decking Rockwell, but decided that that was probably what Rockwell wanted. It would have given him an excuse to haul Lonnie away again. He held fast to his daughter, gently rocking her in his arms as she slept.
‘I told you before, Rockwell, you need to see Bart Price about that. I didn’t lay a finger on Sally. I got home, and as I came into the kitchen I saw Sally on the floor, and Price running out the back door. He did that to my Sally. Find Price.’
* * * * *
Price drove around the block for a fifth time. The police cars were still at Veronica Paulson’s place, and Beth Corwin was hovering around out the front.
‘Fucking Corwin family. If it’s not that dipshit Lonnie, it’s his fucking kid. Ruined my life. Can’t fucking shake ‘em. Time to put an end to the Corwins, one way or another.’
. . . To be continued . . .