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What Goes Around, Comes Around Part 2-5 - Purchasing a House

Max_Writer

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“What do you mean haunted, Mr. Dunne?†Miss Holland said.

 

“We saw the raid,†Dunne said. “Me and Phoebe. We saw the raid back in ’19. Yep. Yep. Yep. You should stay away. It’s a devil house. Devil house.â€

 

“Devil house?â€

 

“Yep. Yep. Yep.â€

 

“What do you mean by that?â€

 

“There was a cult out here! It was bunches of ‘em. They would have these ceremonies at midnight. Dark, moonless nights starting in 1919. That owner was foreign. He had white hair and eyes like ice. Never introduced himself, which I’m very grateful for.â€

 

“You said he was foreign?†Miss Holland asked.

 

“Did you, by chance, know his name?†Bryan asked.

 

“I said he never introduced himself!†Dunne said. “What’s a matter? Are you tired in the head, boy? How I get his name if he didn’t introduce himself? I’m Mr. Dunne, by the way.â€

 

“Mary-Jane,†Miss Holland said.

 

He shook her head. Phoebe rolled her eyes.

 

“John Dunne,†he said, taking McKeefe’s hand.

 

“John McKeefe,†he said.

 

“John Dunne.â€

 

“Armanno Bertelli.â€

 

“You’re a foreigner too. John Dunne.â€

 

“Tyler Bryan.â€

 

“It’s a simple name for a simple man!â€

 

He looked them over.

 

“There was an enormous explosion,†Dunne went on. Black rolled his eyes. “You know, I was an artilleryman during the Civil War. More powerful than anything I ever heard in my life. It was right after the raid started. Then there was this giant purplish fireball, shooting off into the sky.â€

 

“Yes, I’m sure they’re very interested−†Black started to say.

 

“Phoebe!†Dunne said. “Phoebe! She saw it.â€

 

“Yep,†Phoebe said with a nod.

 

“You know the purple lights can still be seen to dance in the upper floor windows every new moon,†Dunne said.

 

“Oh,†Miss Holland said.

 

“You shouldn’t buy this house!†Dunne said. “You folks shouldn’t buy this house!â€

 

“Mr. Dunne!†Black said sharply. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave if you’re going to be this way.â€

 

“They don’t want to buy this house!†Dunne said to him. “We gave the same warning to Professor Carlson. He seemed normal enough. But he said it was superstitious pish-posh. You know, around Charing Cross, there’s a fine line between superstition and common sense.â€

 

“Mr. Dunne. Please.â€

 

“All right, all right. I’m going. I’m going. Don’t get me arrested Mr. lawyer-man!â€

 

Black rolled his eyes again and Dunne and his wife took their leave, saying farewell to them all. Mr. Black closed the door behind them.

 

“I apologize,†he said to them. “There are some very superstitious people in this area. Rest assured, this house is sound, stable, it’s almost brand-new and it’s almost never been lived in. Forty-five hundred dollars is an excellent price.â€

 

“It is, but with the haunting …†Bertelli said. “… being laid on it …â€

 

“How about we just wait until you get that coat of paint on,†Miss Holland said.

 

“It will probably be several days,†Black said. “I could also lower the price to four thousand and you could take care of the painting yourself.â€

 

“I was about to address that myself,†Bertelli said.

 

“Four thousand,†Black said. “And the painting will NOT cost $500. We could go back to the office and I could write up the paperwork right now and give you the keys.â€

 

“Sounds good to me,†Bertelli said.

 

They shook hands.

 

“It’s just a verbal contract,†Black said, seeming relieved. “But it could hold up in a court of law.â€

 

“Oh no,†Bertelli said. “I have every intention of buying.â€

 

They drove back to town and found that Black already had the paperwork written up for the house. All he had to do was put their names on it. When he asked what name to put on the paperwork, Bertelli spoke up and said he was buying it. He wrote a check for $4,000, signed the paperwork, and owned the property.

 

“Good luck,†Black said. “I hope you enjoy it very much. I’m sure it would make a nice summer house.â€

 

I’m sure as Hell not living in it, Bertelli thought.

 

“None of you speak Arabic, do you?†Black suddenly said. “I can give you a job for a day.â€

 

“No,†Miss Holland said.

 

“Well, I do happen to know a person who is somewhat fluent in Arabic,†McKeefe said. “I don’t know exactly.â€

 

“All right,†Black said. “If he wants to earn a few bucks, send him by my office. And tell him … have him tell Dora he’s the Arabic speaker. Thanks, Mr. … Mac …â€

 

“Mr. McKeefe.â€

 

“McKeefe! That’s it. Thank you.â€

 

“It was good doing business with you,†Bertelli said.

 

Black said he would send the paperwork to the courthouse and would mail Bertelli a copy of that.

 

Bryan took out his credentials.

 

“I was investigating the mysterious happenings here,†he said. “I’m a private investigator and I was wondering if I could get access to the coroner’s report. It seems to be connected to one of the cases I’m working on.â€

 

Black checked the credentials and then filled out the paperwork so that Bryan could see the paperwork on Carlson’s death.

 

* * *

 

They all left the office. Miss Holland took McKeefe aside.

 

“Mr. Dunne said that there were people dancing every new moon,†she said to him. “The fourth is a full moon. I think we should investigate what’s going on on the new moon in this house. We don’t have to let the proper owner know.â€

 

“Mr. Bertelli back there, I think he might have had an interest in stealing that book that I had,†McKeefe said.

 

She gasped. She looked at her datebook again and realized that the next new moon was not until the 19th.

 

“We should go anyway,†she said. “We should go. Do you know where the book is?â€

 

“Did you tell him anything about it?â€

 

“I was going to but I didn’t. I just said that it had knowledge.â€

 

“Did you tell him about your little experience?â€

 

“No.â€

 

“Good.â€

 

“We need to get that book back. He knows what kind of power it has.â€

 

“It might be something he tries to unlock.â€

 

“I know. Where do you think it is?â€

 

“I would guess he’s keeping it about his person so he could try using it. He might have it in his hotel. We just need to watch out for that Manfred fellow.â€

 

“Manfred?â€

 

“Bernardo.â€

 

He noted that his apartment had been locked and they must have broken in. She reiterated that they needed to get the book back.

 

* * *

 

Dr. Polichev visited with Mr. Tharrington Smith. He was a short, balding fellow who looked to be about 40 years old. She learned from him that Mr. Black handled all of Mr. Carlson’s affairs and referred her to Mr. Black.

 

“Dora!†he said. “Where’s Mr. Black?â€

 

“He just left,†Dora replied. “He’s selling the house.â€

 

Mr. Smith referred her to Dora to make an appointment with Mr. Black.

 

* * *

 

After Babydoll had finished with Silversmith, he thanked her for “polishing his whistle†as he put it. He was feeling more content than he had in a long time.

 

“You want to help me on this short errand?†he asked her.

 

“Okay,†she said.

 

“I’ve been thinking about my hobo friends and I’m still thinking about Jackie, whose body was never found,†he said. “I’m going to go get my shovels and if you would help me to just look around the spot where my buddy, Jackie, disappeared.â€

 

“Okay,†she said again. “Sure.â€

 

They got his equipment and headed off to the park. They spent the better part of the day in the secluded part of the park, digging around in the area where Jackie had disappeared. By the end of the day, they made an interesting find.

 

* * *

 

Lionel Hutz, Manfred Donald, and Penelope Luckey telephoned Marty Smith, who owned the warehouse where the police kept their evidence. He gave them the address of the warehouse and it turned out to be right across the street from the police station.

 

The warehouse was a single-story, functional wood structure with the roof twelve feet above the ground. A large, double door stood in the front facing the street. The windows were pretty high up and on the front of the building.

 

Marty Smith showed up.

 

“Okay, what’s your name?†he said to them. “I need to see some I.D.â€

 

Hutz showed him his driver’s license. He looked it over and then turned to Donald.

 

“You got stuff in the warehouse?†he asked.

 

“No,†Donald replied.

 

“What about you, ma’am,†he asked.

 

Miss Luckey shook her head.

 

“We’re just here with a friend,†she said.

 

“With him?†Smith asked. “This Hutz guy?â€

 

“Yeah.â€

 

He looked over Hutz’s drivers license, then opened up the warehouse doors and entered the place. They saw him looking through some bins just to the right of the door. He returned a minute or two later with Hutz’s shoes, his belt, and a few other personal possessions that had been in Hutz’s pockets when he’d been arrested. He brought the items out and read off them off a list as he handed them back to the man. He closed up the warehouse door and locked it.

 

“That’s it, right?†Smith asked Hutz. “You got everything on the list.â€

 

Hutz nodded.

 

Marty Smith left and the other three took a leisurely walk around the warehouse. There were more windows, but all of them were in easy view of anyone on the street or the surrounding buildings. However, there was one window on the north side, facing the park that was out of view of the police station. It was set with three bars and in a spot where it could not be easily observed from anywhere nearby.

 

“We could saw that,†Hutz said, looking at the bars, which appeared to be affixed to the window frame which, like the rest of the structure, was wood.

 

“That’s totally breakable,†Donald said.

 

They discussed getting the keys from Marty or perhaps even sending Silversmith or Dr. Huxtable to get their items while others went to Marty’s house and looked for a spare set of keys. They discussed how best to break into the warehouse. Donald went to the general store and bought a crowbar.

 

* * *

 

Miss Holland and Mr. McKeefe discussed breaking into Bertelli’s hotel room. Then they went to their rooms at the hotel and got some things they might need, including McKeefe’s “tools.†They discussed how to best go about searching Bertelli’s room at the hotel.

 

* * *

 

They all met for lunch that day except for Miss Holland and Mr. McKeefe. Those present discussed what they’d all done individually: the purchase of Carlson’s house, digging in the park, locating the warehouse, Mr. Black needing someone to translate Arabic, and the like.

 

Dr. Polichev took a small medicine bottle out and poured a little into Silversmith’s lemonade. It was some of the moonshine that she’d taken from the man. He noticed her slip the liquid into the drink and took a sip. It tasted a lot like moonshine: corn liquor.

 

It’s delicious, he thought.

 

He drank it down and asked for more.

 

“That’s all the medicine I can give you right now,†she said. “Otherwise, your body might go into shock. This is enough to last you for a while.â€

 

“I’ve still got the shakes,†he noted.

 

* * *

 

Miss Luckey went to Mr. Black’s office. She told Dora that she was the one who could translate Arabic and Black saw her almost immediately. She was quite impressed by Mr. Black’s office. He was willing to pay her a $10 consulting fee to have her look at a letter in Arabic and translate it for him.

 

He handed over a piece of paper that was dated Feb. 27, 1921. Translated, it read:

 

 

Dear Professor Carlson,

 

I am writing concerning the volume by ibn Abbas that the University permitted you to

take back with you to America for further study. Our understanding was that you would

not be needing the volume for more than a couple of months, and would send it back via

insured post, to arrive here not later than February 1. To date we have not received the

volume.

 

Although the volume is not part of our library, the University of Alexandria is entrusted

with the preservation of antiquities discovered within our borders, regardless of by whom.

I am certain this is merely an oversight on your part, and that you will send the volume back

promptly.

 

Cordially,

Dr. Faisal Hamadi

Director, University Library

 

 

She wrote down the information, keeping a copy for herself. She took a copy of the letter in English to Mr. Black.

 

“Thank you,†he said.

 

He read it.

 

“I’m curious regarding the volume that he mentions,†she said as he read. “I wonder if you still have it in the effects from Mr. Carlson. I’d like to examine it.â€

 

“No,†Mr. Black said distractedly as he read. “I just sold the house. That was the last of the items. Volume? I suppose it could be in the house.â€

 

He continued reading the letter.

 

“There were no books,†he said. “There were no Arabic books.â€

 

He finished the translation and looked up.

 

“There were no books,†he said. Then he looked at her more closely. “Who are you? Oh yes, I just hired you.â€

 

He took out a ten-dollar bill and handed it to the woman, thanking her very much.

 

She left and went in search of Donald and Hutz.

 

* * *

 

Bertelli telephoned the local taxicab and got a ride out to the Dunne house. The farmhouse was obviously older than Carlson’s house and Mr. Dunne opened the door to his knock.

 

“Oh, hello!†the old farmer said. “You didn’t buy that house, did you?â€

 

“I’m actually your new neighbor,†Bertelli said.

 

“Oh! You shouldn’t have bought that house! It’s haunted! It’s a terrible place!â€

 

“Oh, I don’t plan on living there.â€

 

“You don’t want to go there.â€

 

He looked at Bertelli.

 

“You’re selling it?†he finally said.

 

“No, no, I actually plan on just using the land, temporarily,†Bertelli replied. “Possibly renovating the area. Making it actually livable.â€

 

“That land’s cursed! You’re never going to get nothing out of it.†He leaned back and called out. “Is he Phoebe?â€

 

“No,†came his wife’s voice from inside the house.

 

“Now, you were saying people like to go out there and dance and chant around midnight?†Bertelli said.

 

“There’s … there’s lights, I seen lights, there’s lights, purple lights you can see dancing in the upper floors every new moon. It’s hanted!â€

 

“But you could also look at it as free fireworks.â€

 

The man just looked at him like he was crazy.

 

“Where you from?†he finally asked.

 

“I was born and raised in Providence,†Bertelli replied.

 

“You look kinda like a wop,†Dunne said.

 

“You could say that.â€

 

“So, how can I help you Mr. … what did you say your name was?â€

 

“Armanno Bertelli.â€

 

“Mr. Bertelli, how can I help ya?â€

 

“Oh, I was just going to say hi to my new neighbors …â€

 

“Hello. I think you’re gonna regret buying that house.â€

 

“Well, we can see that in the future. We’ll find out.â€

 

“Well, good luck. I wouldn’t purchase that place. It’s cursed. That big old purple exploding thing …â€

 

“So, all you’ve seen is purple explosions?â€

 

“There was a purple … there was a cult! They was having rituals at midnight and chanting!â€

 

“How many would you say?â€

 

“I don’t know! A dozen, maybe? Them fellas was … and that fella in charge was creepy. I didn’t like him at all.â€

 

“I’ll watch out for trespassers.â€

 

“You shoot ‘em! But, they’re gone. They all died. They all burned up when the police shot ‘em up and explosions and the house burned down!â€

 

“I thought you said they’d still been doing that?â€

 

Dunne was at a loss for words for a moment.

 

“Thank you for the worry,†Bertelli said.

 

“All right, well …†Dunne replied.

 

“Hopefully I don’t die so we can be friends.â€

 

“I hope so too! All righty. Well, good luck.â€

 

Bertelli took the taxi back to his property and looked around the grounds a little without entering the house. He examined the lightning-struck tree and the grounds. The purple coloration seemed to be part of the dirt out there. It was the same in the basement.

 

He spent a few hours scouring the place, looking in every corner and crevice. Everything seemed sound. He returned to town before nightfall.

 

* * *

 

Dr. Polichev and Bryan went back to Nashua by train. They went to the office of the coroner of Hillsboro County: Farley Fenstermocker. He looked over the paperwork they’d gotten from Mr. Black. He noted that it all seemed to be in order and handed them a case file.

 

The death of Hardy Carlson was listed as traumatic amputation of both legs at the hip. Death occurred from loss of blood and the case was listed as an apparent homicide that remained under investigation. There were no photographs with the paperwork. Bryan noted the case number.

 

At one point, Bryan checked to see if the deaths they learned about corresponded with the new or full moon but the dates didn’t match up in a way that made them seem connected.

 

* * *

 

Miss Holland and Mr. McKeefe purchased 100 feet of hemp rope at the hardware store. Figuring Bertelli was out and about, investigating the town and the murder, they returned to the Charing Cross Inn. McKeefe had his rucksack. They went up to the second-floor hallway where Bertelli’s room was located. The hallway was empty. One of the doors was open and, as they passed, they saw that a woman was cleaning the room within.

 

Miss Holland found a spot at the top of the stairs where she could keep watch on both the stairwell and the hallway. Meanwhile, McKeefe went to Bertelli’s room, took out the appropriate lock pick, and got to work on the door. It took longer that he expected.

 

Miss Holland looked up the hall nervously.

 

After he’d been working on the lock for five minutes without luck, he got very nervous. The maid sounded like she was finishing up in the room she was working in and he felt like he’d pressed his luck quite a bit working on the lock for that long.

 

The maid finished up as McKeefe left the door. She went to the next door and knocked. When there was no answer, she took out her passkey and opened up the door. She started to clean the room.

 

McKeefe stopped where Miss Holland stood and told her he would try Bertelli’s room again. He walked back down the hallway and set to work on the door again, finally getting it opened. He opened the door and Miss Holland walked down the room towards him. He waved her off.

 

“Maybe you should keep watch,†he whispered at her.

 

“All right,†she hissed back.

 

She rolled her eyes and went back to her place while McKeefe entered Bertelli’s room and closed the door behind him. He was going to lock the door but realized the lock was one that needed a key on either side to unlock it.

 

The room was fairly dark as the curtains had been closed. As his eyes adjusted, he saw that the room was messy. On one side were several suitcases and he could see a toilet kit in the small bathroom.

 

McKeefe rifled through the luggage, being as careful as he could. He found no sign of the large book that he and Miss Holland had found in the terrible laboratory near the Woonsocket house. He found a couple dozen shotgun shells in one of the inner pockets of one of the suitcases and some cash in another. He also checked under the bed and under the mattress but found nothing.

 

* * *


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