Authors: Tonya Kappes
“I just might have someone in mind for her.” I smiled and sent out a simple wish into the cool breeze as it swept past my nose. “Aww,” I whispered. “Orin is asleep.”
“I must go.” Gerald scurried. “I have to take advantage of sleep myself when he is slumbering.”
I waved him off and ran between the police station and Ever After books to go back to the pumpkin patch and give Patty Potter a piece of my mind.
But I was too late. There was a crowd gathered in a circle around the middle of the pumpkin patch where Colton Lance and one of the Potters were in an all-out fist fight.
“I told you never to show up here or I was going to kill you!” Colton’s arm lifted and came crashing down on Patty’s or Patch’s face—I didn’t know who for sure as it was so hard to tell them apart.
The Potter twin knocked Colton with the butt of his hand, sending Colton midair. Blood dripping from both men’s lips.
Faith was taking pictures of the fight and writing notes.
“Stop taking my picture!” the Potter screamed at her.
“Smile.” Faith laughed and took another one just as he pointed at her. “This is going to make the front page of the
Whispering Falls Gazette
“Patty!” Patch pushed his way through the crowd. “Stop this now!”
Ophelia had a tiff with Patty and now Colton? My eyes narrowed as my gut signaled a war waging between the two families. The grey clouds that clashed with the starry black universe blotted out the perfect fall night sky, putting a shadow over the festivities.
“If you print that or any of those other pictures, you will regret you ever saw me!” Patty yelled at Faith before Oscar ran in between the two men and put his hands between them to stop the fight.
“What other pictures?” I asked her, trying to take her aside and out of the way.
“I came by last night to get some shots while the full moon was out. It made a beautiful scape that I knew I could put in the new gallery. At first I thought he was Patch because they look so much alike, but when he told me it wasn’t open and I was trespassing, he kinda went berserk.” She pushed back her blond hair and watched as Oscar tried to calm the two men down.
“Berserk how?” My face contorted.
“He demand that I hand over my camera and I told him no. He said that I couldn’t print the photos and I didn’t have permission. He even tried to reach for it, but I took off. He spit out some sort of idle threats but I didn’t bother turning around to listen to him.” She shrugged. “I was going to tell Patch about it tonight but it seems he has his hands full.”
We looked over at Patch as he whispered something in Patty’s ear while Oscar dispersed the crowd but kept Colton next to him for safe keeping. Patch led Patty back to his house in the new development, signaling the rest of the celebration was over. Even the teenagers went home, not sticking around to light our way back up the hill as Oscar, Mr. Prince Charming and I headed home.
Both of us were too tired to even talk about what had happened. Oscar just said that he’d feared when he heard the new development, which meant more citizens, had come to the village, the crime rate would go up like every other place in our great land.
We both tossed and turned fitfully and just as it seemed like we were both asleep, the fiery glow of Madame Torres woke me up. It wasn’t like I was in a deep sleep because after last night’s events at the pumpkin patch, it was hard to even fall asleep.
“Juuunnne,” Madame Torres’s voice rose with the red waves that curled deep inside her ball. “You must wake. You must seek. You must defend.”
I rolled over and looked at my crystal ball through sleepy eyes. Mr. Prince Charming sat next to her and batted the charm bracelet I’d taken off before bed.
“Juuuunnnneeee,” Madame Torres just sounded plain creepy. I sat up in bed, pushed my bangs back and looked at her. “You must wake. You must seek. You must defend.”
“What does that mean?” I asked, rousing Oscar out of his slumber.
He sat up.
“What’s going on?” he asked. “It’s four in the morning,” he said in his sleepy voice. He lifted his arms in the air, stretched and yawned.
The faint sound of an ambulance drifted up the hill and into our cottage. Oscar and I looked at each other.
“Karimas,” both of us said in unison, knowing exactly what that meant.
We jumped out of bed and quickly got our clothes on.
“Where are the sisters going?” I asked Madame Torres. The red sea in her glass formed a red pumpkin with a voodoo doll etched in it. “Patch,” I gulped hoping the newest member of our village hadn’t already met his untimely death.
Oscar and I made it in record time to where the Karimas had driven right through the pumpkin patch, not leaving one poor pumpkin intact. The moon had been covered by dark clouds, leaving the Karimas to use their other senses.
“I smell it, sister.” Constance Karima had her nose lifted in the air sniffing.
“I smell it too, sister,” Patience Karima repeated her twin.
Oscar and I sat back and let them do their thing. They were the owners of Two Sisters and a Funeral. They were ghost whisperers and could smell death. Sometimes before it even came, which I had hoped was the case this time.
Their noses jiggled up and down underneath the wire-rimmed glasses perched on their noses. Their black thick-soled shoes shuffled through the thick vines as they stepped over the pumpkins the tires of their ambulance had spared. The only sound was the rustle of their house dresses with each step they took.
I started to follow them quietly before I broke the silence screaming as I fell to the ground just as the clouds parted from the big full moon and I noticed I was face-to-face with a very dead man.
Patch Potter hadn’t met his untimely demise. Patty Potter had, the dried blood on his lip told me it was him.
“I told you I smelled something.” Constance Karima scratched the depths of her curly grey hair and looked down at the large orange pumpkin with a dead Patty draped over it. “It’s a rotten something and I don’t mean the pumpkin either.”
“Sister is good at pickin’ out the bad dead from the good dead.” Patience rubbed her hands together.
“We sure do love a fresh one.” Constance rubbed her hands together and licked her lips.
“Fresh one,” Patience mimicked Constance.
The twins lifted their heads. Their green eyes sparkled with delight at the sight in front of them.
“And I wonder who got him,” Constance’s eyes grazed the citizens that’d gathered since we’d arrived.
“Do you know how he died?” I asked and watched as Oscar and the sisters inspected the body.
“It’s hard telling. But I do know it was a homicide.” Constance wiggled her eyes. “My favorite kind of autopsy because they are like puzzles.”
“Sister and I love puzzles.” Patience bent down and pointed to something sticking out of his side. “Lookie here.”
Oscar bent down. He tilted his head side-to-side and inspected what Patience had pointed to. He halted as though he was in shock. He stood back, turning to the crowd as if he were specifically looking for something or someone.
“Can you go get a sheet and the church cart?” Oscar asked the sisters. His voice held an edge that I hadn’t heard in a very long time. At least not since he’d found out that his uncle Jordan was the one who had killed his parents.
The sisters didn’t say anything or ask any questions. They did what Oscar had asked them to do.
“Are you okay?” I asked, even though I knew he wasn’t.
“I’m afraid he’s been murdered. And whoever did it used him as a pin cushion.” Oscar’s voice drifted into a hushed whisper. There was fear deep in his blue eyes.
“What?” I looked down at Patty and noticed he was stuck in the side with several wands.
I gulped remembering the fight he and Colton just had.
The wheels on the church cart squealed as the Karima sisters pushed it through the pumpkin patch. They proceeded to pick him up and place him on the cart under a sheet.
“Umm. . .” Patience drew her hands up to her mouth. She gasped, panting in terror before she had to look away.
“Oscar.” Constance pointed to the pumpkin Patty’s body had been draped over. Not only did the pumpkin have needles stuck in all over it, there was a doll that seemed to have the same markings on its body as Patty had.
A voodoo doll.
Oscar sucked in a deep breath. His eyes slid up to mine. A wave of panic rioted within me. We hadn’t seen anything like this in Whispering Falls since before we let the Dark-Siders join the community.
, Gerald Regiula walked up and cleared his throat. In a loud voice, he stated, “I want everyone to know that I was against the new development and the new shops.”
“Not now, Gerald.” Oscar put the palm of his hand up to Gerald’s chest to stop him from continuing on. “You can state your concerns at the village meeting tonight.”
The sisters rolled the cart along the vines and Patty’s body bopped and hopped right along with them. I tried to take my eyes off of the wands that were sticking out from underneath the sheet because I knew there were only two people who carried wands, Oscar and Colton. Oscar had been with me all night and had no reason to kill Patty, but Colton was another story. He had a wand and a very public fight with Patty. Though I couldn’t forget Patty was found dead in his brother’s pumpkin patch where they’d also had a very big fight. If I recalled correctly, I’d overhead Patch say
over my dead body
The sisters hit a bigger bump, sending Patty’s hand flying out from underneath the sheet.
My eyes popped open as they focused on the dried chocolate and cream filling on his fingers. I flinched and struggled with the uncertainty that’d risen deep in my gut.
Colton and Patch were definitely the obvious choices on who could have played a hand in Patty’s death. But. . .I glanced over the crowd and stopped when my eyes met Faith Mortimer’s.
She stared back at me. Her eyes closed, as if she were guarding a secret.
Hear ye, hear ye! This is a special announcement from your Village President Petunia Shrubwood: It’s unfortunate that Patty Potter has died such an untimely death while visiting his brother, Patch Potter. It’s an isolated incident and there is no need to panic. The Whispering Falls Police Department has everything under control and our village is very safe.
We have decided to move our council meeting to lunchtime. For all the new citizens, our council meetings take place at The Gathering Rock that sits up on the hill behind A Charming Cure. Please be there around noon as June Heal will be holding a smudge ceremony to start us off.
On the agenda, we will be discussing All Hallows’ Eve, the new development, as well as introducing the owners of the new shops. After the meeting, Amethyst Plum, proprietor of Full Moon Treesort will be hosting a reception for all the new citizens of Whispering Falls. Please join us for food and spirits.
Also in today’s news,
Faith’s voice whispered into the air the remaining news items. Finally ending with,
Whispering Falls Gazette
is brought to you by Patch’s Pumpkins. Come visit today and pick out the perfect pumpkin for your All Hallows’ Eve celebration. Enjoy a hayride with your family and stop at the caramel apple stand.
The shock of finding Patty had worn off by the time Oscar had finished investigating the scene. He’d bagged the voodoo doll so he could run some prints on it and see if there were any other clues or fibers. He’d also told the Karima sisters to put a rush on the autopsy and make sure not to touch any of the wands.
“This isn’t good.” Oscar shook his head on our way back up to the cottage. “I’m going to change into my uniform and make a quick call to Colton before I head out to see Patch.”
“I’m going with you.” I glanced over my shoulder and looked down the hill back over Whispering Falls.
Strange and haunting leaves blew through the street and curled around Eloise. She eased down the street swinging the incense back and forth in the light of the breaking sunrise. Her mouth opened and closed as she chanted good intentions over the billowing smoke. She stopped in front of A Charming Cure and did an extra swing. The chains clinked on the way down next to her leg as she swooped it back into the air.
Mr. Prince Charming darted in front of us.
“June, I don’t think you need to get involved.” Oscar never wanted to put me in danger.
“You and I both know that you are going to need an extra set of hands since,” I gulped, “Colton. . .” I couldn’t stand to finish the sentence.
“I wonder why he was so angry at Patty?” Oscar unlocked our door and we walked in to get the keys to the Green Machine. I waited while Oscar headed to the bedroom to change into his uniform.
“Well.” I bit my lip. As much as I didn’t want to give Colton a motive, I knew I had to tell Oscar. As he got ready, I told him what I had done while everyone was enjoying the pumpkin patch. “Last night when we were at the pumpkin patch, I decided to walk around while everyone was having a good time and. . .” My mouth dropped.
“What?” Oscar asked. He grabbed the keys off the counter and stood at the door.
“We need to go see Patch.” I scurried past him and out the door. Mr. Prince Charming ran next to me.
“June, you aren’t going.” Oscar planted himself in between me and the car.
“Listen, I think there are more people than just Colton who had a reason to kill Patty.” I put my hands on my hips and tilted my head. “And if you want to know who, then you are going to have to include me because these people are my friends too.”
Oscar searched my face as if he was reaching into my thoughts.
He stepped to the side and I sat down in the driver’s seat. Mr. Prince Charming jumped in and climbed up on the dashboard while Oscar got into the passenger side.
“Tell me what you know.” Oscar draped his arm over the back of the seat as I drove the Green Machine down the hill and toward the new development.