Sunday, December 22, 8:05pm
Moody tired to ignore the noise outside. Since Morris’s death, she’d rarely left the house. Instead of the freedom she thought she’d have with the gory passing of her father, the crazy Morris fans that had flocked to Rubicon in macabre tribute constantly reminded her of his death. The incarceration of her brother for their father’s death should have set her free, but Moody was imprisoned by the ghoulish nuts creeping on the street at all hours of the day and night.
She’d replaced the curtains throughout the house with heavier ones. A new top line security system was in place and, after she’d been accosted by a vampire wannabe as she was putting out the trash one evening, she’d hired a security guard to sit in the driveway at night.
He lasted three days before he quit. When he told her why, she’d laughed. The make-believe groupies had gotten to him. He said he’d pulled a back muscle from repeatedly jumping in his seat with the constant barrage of painted faces popping up alongside his car’s window. Moody read between the lines. He was a wuss despite his baldhead, mean eyes and tattooed arms and neck.
Growing up, Moody had been through more hellish nights and days with real Sinclair demons than this security guard had seen in his measly three days. She had no sympathy for him and told him so. She’d even suggested he exchange his uniform for a twirly dress, pink bow and patent leather shoes.
Crazy people surrounded her house, but now she would be the one to earn the reputation as a crazy old lady. She wanted to leave.
It would be fairly easy. Someone would buy Morris’s house at a premium just because of its evil previous owner. She would have no trouble selling. She’d even talked to that agent, Nancy, who hung around Rubicon. Of course, after talking to Nancy, Moody decided not to list the house with her. Among other reasons, the avarice in the agent’s eyes somehow reminded Moody of Morris.
Money wasn’t a problem anymore. The estate was divided three ways, but since no one had seen or heard from her younger brother in decades, Moody figured his share of the estate was also hers.
Where would she go when she truly freed herself from the shackles of Rubicon Ranch? This was the question she asked herself almost hourly during her waking time. There were so many places to choose. But, before she could make any changes in her life, she needed to change her appearance.
She’d already started. Her long dark hair was cropped above her ears and tinted a soft strawberry blonde. The no-nonsense black glasses had been replaced with a funky pair of pastel pink ones. She wore earrings now and she’d swept the bland clothes out of her closet and replaced them with skinny jeans and fitted tops.
A passing glance and Moody could pass for a normal person. Looking closer, like she did in the mirror every morning, and a damned Sinclair stared back. She’d never be able to fully escape her heritage. Morris and others were making sure of that.
Something bumped against the front door and Satan barked. She’d adopted the German Shepherd shortly after Morris’s funeral when a crowd of Morris morons followed her home. Satan was very protective of his mistress and Moody had plenty of personal space around her the rare times she left the house.
He was a good dog, but ugly as sin. Instead of the typical German Shepherd face, Satan’s face looked like it had been pushed in and then pulled back out partway. His face looked like the face of a lovechild between Ernest Borgnine and a giraffe.
No matter. She adored the dog. He fit right in. She had surprised herself with how much she cared. She certainly didn’t care this much about any person, living or dead. His unconditional devotion was all she needed.
The noise outside grew louder and the brief sound of a siren made Satan growl. Moody peeked out the window and saw people milling around down the street. An ambulance slowly wound its way through the crowd with its light off.
She needed to see. Grabbing a cap and jacket, she commanded the dog to stay as she went out the backdoor. Creeping across backyards had become an art for Moody over the past months. She was adept at night crawling.
Keeping close to the last house before an opening, she nonchalantly joined the growing crowd on the street. With her hand on the taser in her pocket, she felt safe but no one paid attention to her. Too bad. It had been a week or so since she’d tasered a groupie who had gotten too close to her. Not that it mattered. Morris’s diehard fans were immune to pain. Some even seemed to like it.
Moody turned to see where everyone was staring and saw a police photographer taking pictures of a figure under a giant Santa decoration. How fitting for this place, Moody thought. A typical Rubicon Ranch gift—death.
In the light of the camera flash, she recognized Nancy Garcetti. The real estate agent looked as cold as she had in life. Moody stared at the clever handiwork of a realtor assassin. Out in the open and trampled by the crowds, what evidence was left to uncover the killer? Since the police department had been inept at running the Morris fans out of Rubicon Ranch, how in the world would they solve this crime?
Moody smiled as she thought of Sheriff Bryan interviewing the plastic Santa. Of course, with his wife in town, the sheriff was being kept on a tight leash. One of the deputies would probably end up taking the Christmas decorations downtown for a talk. The bulbs and wreaths would have to come in, too, as material witnesses.
Moody sighed. Sinclairs didn’t have feelings like normal people. Moody knew this and her smile faded. No matter what she did, no matter what she had to do, no matter what candy coating she put on, she would never fit in with the rest of the world.
She’d visited Jake regularly and, though she detested her brother, he was all that was left. Only he knew what it was like to be a Sinclair. There was no one else she could talk to. Well, the groupies, but they were worshippers, not compatriots.
“Morris did it,” she heard someone whisper behind her.
“Yeah, he did. Looks like something he’d do,” another voice answered.
“Dead don’t stop Morris,” the first voice said with a laugh.
“All he’d need is an arm and hand. Is that one of the pieces still missing?”
Seriously, these people were complete and utter morons. Sinclairs were special, but not that special.
However, wouldn’t it be something if this murder could be pinned on Morris? Although he’d been identified, Morris had been an anomaly during his lifetime. What if he really could come back? His books suggested it was possible.
Maybe she’d talk to one of the deputies. Probably Midget. She didn’t care for the other one. Midget would have to hear her out.
What if one of the fans was so obsessed with Morris that he or she made a ritualistic sacrifice to bring Morris back to life? The only flaw was why had the body been here and not in Moody’s front yard? Even thinking about bringing these theories to the police was making her want to laugh. After the coldness following Morris’s death, she’d lost the little respect she had for the area’s police department.
Thinking of that, she realized she had enough money to buy her own police force. Maybe she would. Or, maybe she’d sink a fortune into Sheriff Bryan’s competition in the next election. Someone Moody could control.
Walking back to her house, Moody thought about how upside down it would be if she could get someone elected who would always be on her side. Smiling again, she thought about how much fun this new interest of hers could be. Politics. Who would have thought?
Slipping back across backyards, Moody saw a devilish face pop up from the ground. She had long since stopped jumping at the sights of the Morris loonies. Instead, she pulled out the taser and in one swift move, sent the idiot flying.
Tasing was a lot like the final throes of a violent death. It was fun. Moody knew she should be worried about herself, but she didn’t care.
She was, after all, a child of the monstrous Morris Sinclair. Death and the facades of death were part of her family. Morris would have been proud.