Mandi just stared, not knowing what to say. But Sky went over and slapped her hard. “Say something!” she demanded. “Sky, come here,” I said softly. She did so. I brought out an envelope and dropped something in front of Mandi. “This is a copy of the birth certificate you showed us,” I said to Mandi. “Yes, that is right,” she said with trembling in her voice. I dropped another paper in front of her.
“This is a copy of your real birth certificate,” I said, “strange that the two do not match. Apparently you are 20 years old, not 17. It is time to come clean Mandi. Or we go, right now.” “Noooo!” she said plaintively, “please, do not leave me here with Alonzo, he will kill me if you leave, please, I need help!” “What is he holding over you Mandi?” I asked, “you are a very wealthy young woman, you do not need to worry about him.”
She did not say anything right away. “He, he has things that would ruin me if news got out,” she said, still trembling. I took a photo out and dropped it in front of her. That certainly got her eyes open wide. “H, how did you get that?” she asked looking up at me, her face covered with tears. “Never mind,” I said, “there are more here, worse than that one. Is that what he is holding over you?”
“Yes,” she said quietly, “and more. I am not wealthy either. Alonzo made me sign everything over to him and he gave all the property to his girlfriend. They plan on taking over all the drug trade in this area, plus other things, like that.” She pointed at the photo. “With all my money they planned on hiring what Alonzo said would be a small army and if the guy that owns this area would not sell out, then Alonzo would take it by force.”
“That is dangerous business,” I said, “Alonzo and his girlfriend do not understand what they are getting into. What is the name of his girlfriend?” “He never would tell me,” she said, sobbing “but he said Betty one day, just no last name. But she is from Canada and was part of a big gang there that got busted by a PI.” Muffin and MC raised their ears. Meow,meow.=That gang Annelie from. “Are you listening Annelie?” I asked. “Yep, her name is Betty Foster,” she said, “she was number 3 in the organization and one of those who got away.”
“Hmm, that is interesting,” I said, “can you find out who controls things in this area?” “I can try, no guarantees though,” she said. “Well, get at it then,” I said, “that would be very helpful information.” “Okay, I am on it, Steve,” she said. “I know these photos are bad,” I said to Mandi, “but are they worth killing someone?” She put her head down and began crying again. “The night that David was killed,” she began, “Alonzo and my oldest sister were here.
David and I got into a big argument, and I yelled that I would kill him. I would not, I loved David. I know you probably do not believe that now, but it is true. Later at the top of the stairs, Alonzo shot David, then pushed him down the stairs. He then paid those two cops and the coroner to say it was accidental, which they did. But the coroner changed his mind and told Alonzo he was going to the city to tell the police. So, Alonzo had one of his men force him off the road.
Then that same man killed the witness. But Alonzo said he would tell the police that I arranged it all, and my sister would back him up too, she hates me, always has.” “She is telling the truth about her sister,” said Angel, “according to our info, her sister does hate Mandi, because Mandi is beautiful, and she is not.” “Well, we are getting somewhere finally Mandi,” I said, “you can tell the truth when you want to.” “Does that mean you will stay?” she asked quietly.
I looked at her for a minute. “Yes, we will stay, for now,” I said, “but I will need your cooperation and willingness to keep telling the truth. If you lie again, I will hand you over to the police and let them sort things out. And I mean real police, not the one in town here. Do you know where Alonzo does his forgery work?” “I have no idea,” she said frowning, “Alonzo would never tell me something like that.” “I will believe that for now,” I said, “I figure it must be somewhere in this castle.”
To Be Continued.
©2022 Steve McLeod.