“Nobody liked them much,” the skinny teenager whispered to her friend. “But nobody expected this. I mean, they’re just kids, right?”
The two stood shivering in the rain on the sidewalk across from the children’s home. Yellow crime scene tape and cops were everywhere and the press had just started to arrive. Word travels fast in a small town, especially when there’s suspicious behavior in a prominent family. But the two teenagers had their own unique pipeline to the Coroner’s family. Their mother was the housekeeper for the prominent family and was being questioned by the police. And the story she hinted at was nothing short of bone chilling.
They isolated the housekeeper in a corner of the kitchen and made sure no one interrupted them as they asked their questions. The first one was the big one, “Were there problems between the kids and their parents?”
The housekeeper fidgeted with the towel in her hands as she answered, “Well, the kids didn’t have any friends. And they blamed their father for that.” She fussed with the towel, looked nervously at the detectives, and then added, “The other kids in the neighborhood called their Dad ‘The Ghoul’ and things like that. Nobody wanted anything to do with the kids. It was sad.”
“So, did the kids act out? Did you see any behavior that you thought was out of the ordinary?” the burly detective asked.
“Oh, no question! The daughter especially. She was cutting herself and stealing alcohol from her Dad’s liquor cabinet. And the boy, he was starting to wear makeup and to dye his hair. You know, stuff like that. Not normal,” the housekeeper related.
“And when did you come to work for the family?” was the next question.
“Oh, about twelve years ago when they first arrived in town. He had left his job as the Coroner for a small city upstate and got the job down here. The kids were just toddlers, really, when I first got the job,” she answered.
“Had you ever seen the children be violent before towards their parents?” the burly detective asked, stubbing out his cigarette.
Shaking her head and lowering it, the housekeeper reluctantly murmured, “No, never before. It was just after I saw something that I shouldn’t have seen that the kids attacked their parents.”
As she looked up at the two detectives, she sensed their excitement about her last statement as they stopped writing in their notebooks and leaned in closer, “So, you saw something unusual? Go on.”
“Uh, well I had to get some cleaning solution from the workshop. So, I went out the back door and walked back there, but I didn’t go in. The door was slightly open and I saw the parents standing over something on the table. And they were, like, chanting or something,” she said. “I got a bit closer and saw that they had a young child in a body bag. Obviously dead, you know, from the morgue where the father works. And they were chanting something over and over again.”
“Okay, now, are you sure there was a stiff on the table?”
“Could you remember what they were chanting?”
“Uh-huh. Something like, ‘Accept our offering, Osiris. Here lies Emily. Please let her cross over, let her cross over’. Yeah, that’s it, they were chanting that over and over until they saw me and then he slammed the door shut and I went right back into the house.”
“And about how long after that did the fight between the kids and the parents take place?”
“Oh, about twenty minutes, I’d say. The kids probably followed me out to the workshop and had seen what I saw. That’s my guess. Pissed ‘em off something terrible. They attacked their parents while they were still in the workshop!”
Just then, a third detective stuck his head into the kitchen and in a hushed voice said to the burly detective, “Joe, the EMT’s just told me they found something that they missed when they were treating the parents in the workshop.”
“Don’t tell me,” the burly cop answered, “It’s a child, a little girl, right?”
“Yeah, Joe, how’d you know? And here’s the weird part. The EMT’s tell me they’ve never seen anybody with a body temperature that low who was still alive.”