The Girl Who Killed Ted Doherty | By: Dallas Releford | | Category: Short Story - Mystery Bookmark and Share

The Girl Who Killed Ted Doherty

The Girl Who Killed Ted Doherty By: Dallas G. Releford If we fly south (on our wings of imagination) from Lexington, Kentucky along US Highway 27 letting our wings carry us over the beautiful countryside, we will eventually arrive at a small town named Hustonville. If your imagination can’t quite perk up enough to carry you along with us then just pretend that you are an Eagle, a very special Eagle; a magic Eagle that will take us where we want to go. Hold on and I might even join you if you promise not to fly too high. Heights make me dizzy Miss Lizzie. Let’s see what our sharp, Eagle eyes can see even in the darkness, because that’s where we will find most of the action that we are looking for. As we follow the highway below us, we see the old Dairy Bar at the top of the hill that has been there since the early fifties when crowds of school kids used to enjoy cold ice cream there on hot summer nights. On this cool autumn night however, we aren’t much interested in ice cream so we glide on letting our eyes focus on the long row of houses on both sides of the highway. Some are new but most are old structures and from their architectural design, we can deduct that several houses have been there since the Civil War. We aren’t interested in any of those houses though. We’re interested in one particular house, a place where our story really begins. As we continue our journey from high above the trees, houses and streetlights, we realize that the community has changed somewhat from when we lived here so many years ago in the sixties. The old Hustonville High School has been replaced by a modern building on College Street and it’s now an Elementary school for grades one through eight. Gone is the feed store across from the church but we’re pleased to see that Hafley’s General Store is still on Main Street. The only difference is that Mr. Hafley has passed on many years ago and his son is now the proud owner and general manager of the establishment. Before we find our specific house though we want to see what all the flashing lights are about at the house at the east end of town on US 150. We swoop down low being careful not to hit any power or telephone lines. That would be quite catastrophic on our part and we wouldn’t even be honored with flashing lights or a funeral. As an Eagle, we don’t get that kind of respect. There isn’t much of a future in being a fried Eagle hanging hopelessly from an electric power line. As we contemplate the cause of the lights, we can easily see a couple of local police cars but what really is interesting is the Kentucky State Police cruiser sitting in the gravel driveway behind the other cars. That must mean that something important has happened here. But what? We arrived just in time to see a body being carried out on a stretcher. As we circle the two story white frame house, we wonder what the cause of death was but before we can even guess, two more stretchers emerge followed by the police officers, some plainclothes cops and a couple of state cops. How do we know that the guys in the civilian clothes are cops? Well, who else would come out at this time of the night and who else would be allowed to accompany the other cops? We drop down lower and land silently on the porch roof. We want to remain inconspicuous. We don’t want to be seen. After all, we don’t want them to know that the Eagle has landed. Our keen ears can hear a field mouse moving through the green grass at a hundred feet away so we won’t have any trouble hearing their conversation. I’m tired of talking so lets sit here, rest awhile and listen to the conversation. Flying like an eagle is hard work and I’m going to rest when I can. “Terrible thing Simpson,” the man in the gray suit says as they all stop on the sidewalk to talk and compare notes. We are reminded of the huddle just before the last play at a Cincinnati Bengal’s football game. “Just imagine that the entire family, Old Pete Jacobs, his wife Sarah and their son Billy were all alive just a few hours ago.” “Yeah, it is pretty hard to believe but that’s what the coroner thinks. Of course, they won’t know for sure how long they’ve been dead until they can complete the autopsy,” The man said taking a little black notebook and a pen from his shirt pocket. At first, we think that he’s going to write in it but he only skims through the pages perhaps searching for some forgotten detail about the incident. “Autopsy hell!” Another man exclaims scratching his baldhead where a mass of think hair probably once existed. “There isn’t enough of them left to perform an autopsy on. Whoever did that slit their stomachs open, took out all their intestines and everything else. Why, they even removed the heart and lungs. There’s nothing left. Not only that but it looks like the incisions were made with a laser or a surgical knife.” “Quite right Mr. Conner,” Simpson said. “I guess I’m wondering why someone would do something like that.” “Who knows? Maybe they’re selling body parts?” Conner answered, “jotting something down in the little black book. I thought that he only wrote the names of his girlfriends in there. Shows you how dangerous supposition can be, doesn’t it? Well we can see that this conversation isn’t going anywhere so let’s move --- well, fly on, if you please. After all, we still haven’t found what we really have come here to see. We head south again toward Short Pike. That’s the place where I used to live as a kid but I’m not surprised to see that the old house is gone and in its place is a large grove of trees and bushes. Aha! At the top of the hill, we can see a brand new housing development. We can see several streets with all new houses, on both sides of those streets. We’re looking for 2245 Shady Acres Lane. I don’t know why they call it that. Even with our eagle eyes, we still can’t see a tree tall enough to give shade to an ant. Cut down the big trees and replace them with a few sickly ones seems to be what they always do. It’s enough to make an Eagle fly to the tallest Pine and stay there. We drop down lower so we can learn more about who lives at 2245, the house that is next to the last one at the end of the street. We can see by the name on the mailbox that Jan Evans lives here. From the large number of packing boxes and trash on the curb by the sidewalk, we can deduce that Jan has just recently moved in. We hope that the garbage collector will be around tomorrow to pick it up because it does something to the appearance of this tidy little neighborhood. As we glide by one of the downstairs windows, we can see Jan busily working at her computer. This is fine. At least we know that she is a busy person but to learn more about her, we have to extend our imaginations a little to allow us to pass unharmed and unnoticed, right through her glass window. That wasn’t too bad, now was it? Your imagination can take you a long way, if you aren’t afraid to go there. Jan is a small woman, perhaps five feet, two inches tall or something like that. Her long brown hair matches her brown eyes and gives her a look of presence. She’s somebody real and is not part of our imaginations because I don’t think that I could even imagine anyone as beautiful as she is. We don’t have to look too long before we discover that she is a writer. How do we know this? We know because a dozen or so of her thick novels occupies the top shelf of the only bookcase in her office. Jan is a horror writer and that gives a clue as to what she’s writing now. What would you say if we just sort of blend into her world and watch the events unfold? I think that our imaginations will surely allow us to do that. Jan’s mind pumps out the words as her fingers type them into the computer. She has been at it since eleven o’clock this morning because her agent, Mrs. Landers has told her that the publisher wants the book finished in four months. She had been lucky that she had already worked out the plot, with a few exceptions that she can easily figure out and she had already written nine chapters of the book. Now, how did I know that? Well, if you’re going to be an investigative reporter then you’re going to have to learn to use your powers of observation. I hope you read all the notes and papers on her desk as I did because you can learn a lot by being observant. Jan types in the last few lines of chapter eleven and decides to call it a day. After a shower, a quick dinner and a brief walk around the block for exercise (her usual exercise for the day) she will go to bed. The next day, she will arise and do it all over again. I don’t know how I knew that but it is just something that most writers do. They usually have a regular routine and Jan looks pretty tired. The clock radio awakens her at six o’clock in the morning but she just lies there listening to Ted Doherty the host of the Ted Doherty all night talk show. As on most nights, the subjects were ghosts, UFOs and the supernatural. She is really surprised that she hasn’t seen any of those things but that so many other people have seen plenty of them. She listens to the remainder of the Ted Doherty show as he is whisked aboard a flying saucer and propelled off to the ends of the galaxy before listening to the news. She listens to the news every morning before getting up and going about her daily business. It is part of her daily routine. THE STATE POLICE POST IN LONDON, KENTUCKY REPORTED YET ANOTHER IN A SERIES OF BIZARRE MURDERS IN HUSTONVILLE LAST NIGHT. THIS IS THE FOURTH MURDER THAT HAS OCCURRED IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS. STATE POLICE AREN’T RELEASING ANY DETAILS BUT RUMORS ARE THAT THE BODIES WERE MUTILATED LIKE THE OTHERS WERE. The newscast ends with a commercial from the Farmer’s Hardware store in Danville but by the time it ends, Jan is wide awake and ready to begin her day. She has heard about the murders and she shudders at the thought of someone committing such a horrible crime. What was their motivation for doing such a thing she wonders? What did anyone want with someone’s body parts? She is sure that the police were asking the same questions. With the terrible thoughts still on her mind, mutilated bodies, legs missing, hearts gone and sexual organs surgically removed, she showers. She remembers a particular shower scene from a sixties movie and intently listens for the telltale sound of footsteps outside her shower stall. Jan survives the shower though, prepares her breakfast and afterwards takes the garbage out to the street. She keeps the garbage cans that she will set out once a week in the old shed out in the back of the house. The old shed is at the end of the long back yard but at least the cans are safe from the intrusions of raccoons and other predatory wild animals. As she walks back to the house after taking out the garbage, she almost hurries because she feels that someone is watching her. It sends chills down her spine and makes her wish that she was walking faster than she is but her feet just won’t move any faster no matter how hard she tries. She realizes that she is dressed only in her pajamas, bathrobe and house shoes and this makes her feel more vulnerable and embarrassed. “Looks like it’s going to be a nice day,” a male voice says from somewhere in the darkness. She looks all around her trying to find the source of the deep voice but doesn’t see anyone. “Who are you? Where are you?” She asks with a pang of fear making her heart beat faster. “Right here in front of you. I’m your neighbor Ted Doherty.” Jan is confused for a few minutes but Jan is a smart girl and pretty soon figures that the voice is coming from the other side of the privacy fence. “Ted Doherty? Are you the radio talk show host? How can that be? I was just listening to you on the radio a few minutes ago.” “Automation,” he replied. “I record it the night before in my home studio and send it down to the station on a DVD, complete with commercials and guests comments.” “Well, I’m really surprised,” Jan says. “My name is Jan --- Jan Evans and I’m glad that you’re my neighbor.” “Me too,” the voice says. “We’ll have to get together sometime Jan. Say what do you do for a living?” “I write,” she says wondering what he’s doing up so late in the morning. I’m wondering why he’s getting so personal with her the first time he meet’s her but I guess if she doesn’t mind then it’s none of my business. “I write horror novels,” she adds proudly. “Great, I like ghost stories, horror stories and things like that. I’ll have to read some of your books.” “Good,” Jan says as she begins to walk slowly toward the house. She’s getting chilled by the early morning air and wants to get away from the nosey neighbor but she wants to be kosher about it. “I’ll catch you later Mr. Doherty, I have some things to do before I start my day,” she replies not wanting to get too conversational with him since she has a lot of work to do this day. “Duty calls.” “Surely,” he says, “see you later Jan.” During the next week, Jan sees Doherty in the backyard several times but she can never get a real good look at him. Then on several occasions, she sees him in the backyard with an object that looks like a telescope. In fact, she is sure that was what it was, a telescope. She begins to wonder about when the man sleeps if he sleeps at all. She has seen him up all hours of the day and night. Before that week has ended, her curiosity gets the better of her and she decides that she wants to meet her mysterious neighbor. Her concern is just how to go about it. He has said that he wanted them to get together but she figures that if she waits for him to make the first move then that might not happen. Luckily, she doesn’t have to make the first move at all. She was doing research at the local library when they do eventually meet. “Imagine meeting you here,” he tells her as she browses through the horror section of the library looking to see how many of her books the library actually has on their shelves. The information in the computer has told her that there should be eleven books available but she can only find three. That tells where what she wants to know. She knows that the other books are checked out and that people are reading her books. “Yeah,” she responds looking around surprised to see him there. “I’m just doing a little research.” “Great,” he tells her. “I just came down to look at some of your books and maybe check out a couple to read.” “Well they have a few that aren’t checked out yet,” she says pointing at the shelves where they’re located. He selects one, leafs through it and puts it under his arm. He has selected, Remembering Forever that was her third book. “This will do for starters,” he says. “Would you like to go out to dinner tonight? Maybe you can tell me more about your books?” “Sure,” Jan says. “I would like that. I’m new in the neighborhood and I don’t know too many people around here. I’m getting tired talking to my computer all the time.” Doherty ignores her comment. “I’ll pick you up around seven o’clock,” he says confidently smiling. “Fine,” Jan says. “See you then.” Jan is bored stiff with Ted Doherty and the food at Sam’s Food Place doesn’t do much for her stomach either. She worries that her cholesterol level will shoot through the ceiling. Just about all of the conversation is about the murders and she is surprised that he suddenly has acquired an interest in her horror novels. She seriously wonders how someone who intelligently entertains hundreds of people on a popular radio show can be so boring. Actually, I’ve thought he was boring all along but I’m just an observer so I probably should keep my opinions to myself. After all, I’m only here trying to find out more details about the murders and I already know what Ted Doherty wants. Jan finishes the next chapter of her book the next day and decides to store some of the boxes that contains various items that she won’t need for awhile but can’t bring herself to throw away, into one of the storage sheds in the back of the house. The first shed surprises her when she finds that it is full of old tires, an old refrigerator and various other garbage. She is angry that the real estate agent hadn’t told her about it and even angrier with herself because she hadn’t checked it out before she bought the property. There had only been one previous owner and Jan figures that he had been the guilty party that had left the junk in the building. She knows that the house had only been built three years ago and wonders how anyone could have accumulated so much in so little time. Frustrated, she decides to check out the third shed. What she finds there isn’t junk but she probably would feel better if it was junk. Jan opens the door and is surprised to see an electric power line running from a pole behind the house to the small building. Her thought is that someone has used it as a workshop. Even before she opens the old door, she smells something that makes her sick but she reasons that some small animal has crawled under the shed and died. She finds a light switch and turns it on. The odor is almost unbearable now as she stands there holding her nose closed with her fingers. What she now sees there on the floor and on the workbench looks like something you might find in a morgue. Hundreds of large green flies are having a field day with the decaying body parts. A severed child’s leg with a Nike Tennis shoe lies in one corner of the building covered with flies and maggots. What she thinks might be a human heart is on the table next to a mass of rotting flesh that resembles the intestines of some poor creature that is no longer in this world. Other body parts too gruesome for even a writer to describe are scattered all over the place. It all looks vaguely familiar to her in some strange way. She has painted such pictures many times in the pages of her books but her imagination has never been as realistic as this is. Jan wants to scream but something from the bottom of her stomach, something acidic, clings to her throat and prevents it from happening. Stunned, she hurries out of the “shed of nightmares” just before she looses all of the contents of her stomach in the backyard. Back in the house, she doesn’t know what to do. A little Pepto-Bismol helps to settle her stomach but nothing can settle her nerves, not after what she has seen in her shed. Jan knows that she will have to call the police but she dreads doing that because she knows that there won’t be any way to avoid all their probing, pressing questions and blank stares. Worst of all, she dreads the onslaught of the press. She wonders what that will do to her writing career. WRITER DISCOVERS MUTILATED, ROTTEN BODY PARTS IN HER SHED! The newspaper headlines flashes before her eyes and she tries to wipe it out of her mind but it just hangs there taunting her. She can only imagine the fun the press will have with her. She can see tomorrow’s headlines before they are even written. The police arrive in about half-an-hour after she calls them. The Coroner comes and somehow the press finds out. Jan is relieved that the police won’t let the press on the property and the police won’t release any information about what has happened. Jan knows the press. After all, she’s a writer and it’s her job to know such things. She knows they’re like bloodhounds; they won’t give up until they find the source of the scent even when it’s in her backyard. The police stop just short of accusing her of the crime. She understands the technique though and is ready for them. Jan knows they have to pursue every possibility so she isn’t too surprised by their questions. The big question they had for her was; who put the body parts there? She sits quietly as they ask other questions that she is unable to answer. Were they there when you moved in? Didn’t you check the building before you bought it? Why not? Why wasn’t the building locked? Have you seen anyone else back there that didn’t belong there? How many horror books did you say you wrote Miss Evans? There are many more questions but Jan doesn’t know any more about the matter than the police do. By the time the police have gone back to the police station, her mind is numb and she is seeing little question marks floating in front of her eyes along with the maggots. She begins to wonder about some of the things the police had been concerned about. Why wasn’t the building locked? She reasons that it wasn’t locked because there wasn’t anything valuable in it. At least there wasn’t anything valuable in there until someone put the body parts in there, she thinks. Jan tries to work on the book and tells herself that she can’t let the situation get her down. She attempts to finish the next chapter but tired, exhausted and disturbed, she finally decides to turn in early. One of her throbbing headaches is back again. It’s the kind of headache she gets when she’s under a lot of stress and we know that she’s got plenty of that. She finally finds the small, white pills that the doctor prescribed for her. She wonders how something so small can carry such a large punch. The pill takes effect immediately and she falls to sleep but awakens about three o’clock in the morning in a cold sweat. Unable to sleep, she decides to listen to her neighbor, Mr. Ted Doherty mesmerize his helpless victims with his onslaught of strange happenings. She decides that she isn’t going to become addicted by his nonsense but there isn’t much to listen to at three o’clock in the morning. “And now folks, just in case you joined us late, we’re discussing strange people, both past and present and we continue to give you an exclusive coverage of the murder spree that has pulverized our fair community and baffled our great law enforcement officials. Maybe you haven’t heard the latest but here it is straight from the mouth of the one who knows, the one with all the answers and the one who always gives you informative information and that is yours truly, Ted Doherty.” There is a break for a commercial and Jan is glad because she’s tired of hearing Ted Doherty brag about himself. She wonders just what information the “Big One” could have that she, a first hand observer of a mad man’s insanity did not already know. She only has three minutes before she finds out. “Well folks, we’re back but what I’m about to tell you is well worth the wait. It may be a shock to you. It may terrify you. If just want to put your head in the sand then I will understand. One thing I can guarantee is that you will never walk your lousy dog alone again. That I promise folks. After you learn about the latest of these vicious murders, you won’t even sleep without making sure that your house is completely locked up.” Jan turns over in her comfortable bed not wanting to miss what Doherty has to say that is so important. “Here it is and it only happened today which means that we are the only news source that can tell you what you are about to hear. According to our most reliable sources, a local woman, a very well known writer of horror novels, nonetheless, was surprised to find all or most of the missing body parts in a shed behind her house. Police aren’t releasing any information. Well gosh folks, I wonder why they are so quiet about this?” Jan is angry. Did the press find out? Did the police release the information or leak it somehow? Was Ted Doherty listening to the conversation all along? Did he have her house bugged somehow? “Our snooper troopers found out that the writer said that the body parts had been there for several weeks. Golly folks --- I mean, I wonder how she knew that? I read several of her novels and this seems to be right up her alley or maybe right in her shed, so to speak.” Jan is furious but wide-awake by the time he has deliberately and practically accused her of all people, of the crime. Then the thought comes to her tired, agonized mind. Where did he get all of his information? He wasn’t there when the police were called. The building wasn’t visible from his yard or his house. How did he know the body parts were there and what she had told the police? Another thing bothers Jan. Doherty has told her that he always records the show the day before it is aired and sends it to the station on that day. How could he have recorded it the same day of the incident and still have sent it to the station in time for it to be played that same night? Then she thinks of the interest that he has shown in her books. At the time, she thought that interest in her books was just a doorway for him to gain entrance to her world but now she wonders if it wasn’t for some other purpose. She knows that Ted Doherty has as much or more knowledge of the incident than she has. Is he the serial killer that haunts her dreams, the one that compelled her to write the novel about him that she was writing now and is he the one she fears the most? Is he just trying to throw suspicion on her so that the police won’t suspect him? She doesn’t know the answer to any of these questions of course but she does know that she has the terrible headache back again. Let’s leave Jan to her thoughts for a little while and let our imaginations carry us aloft where the Eagles soar and the puffy clouds remind us of a summer day at the Carnival and cotton candy. We flap our imaginary wings hard because we want to catch an event that is just developing. We have to hurry because it has already started. I never like arriving late; it makes me feel like I’ve missed something. Oh, there it is. We got here just in time. See what being prompt can do for you. Down there below us is a wide, long field. There is a barbwire fence all along this field of dark green foliage that we correctly guess is soybeans. That is not our main point of interest here though. No, we’re attracted to those flashing lights again. They always mean something, don’t they? Well let’s see, there are four State of Kentucky Police cruisers and several (who cares how many) local cop cars. Let’s zoom down and see what they’re saying but first be sure you take note of the red Corvette that has gone through the barbwire fence and is now neatly parked parallel to the road right there in the middle of the soybean field. “Head’s been completely removed and it looks like we have another murder on our hands,” one of the state men tells the local sheriff. “Who did you say the Corvette is registered to?” “I didn’t say,” the state man says, “but it’s registered to Ted Doherty, the radio talk show personality.” “Any identification on the body?” “Yes, plenty. We’ll fingerprint him when we do the autopsy but we’re quite sure that it’s him.” “Is that everything you need to tell me?” “Only other thing is that we found a lady’s purse in the car. She may have just been out with him last night and forgot her purse but we still want to talk to her.” Well, I don’t know about you but I think the conversation is getting a little “dry” so let’s move things up several hours and follow two Kentucky State Police cars as they pull up in front of the home of Jan Evans. There are lots of flashing lights at the house next door and we don’t have to wonder why they’re at the home of the areas most popular radio personality. Let’s listen as the sheriff talks to the state boys. They’re already out of their cars and seem interested in the house at 2245 Shady Tree Lane. “I know I’d seen that woman somewhere before,” the sheriff says trying to impress the state boys. “Shall we go in and get this over with sheriff?” The sheriff nods his head and starts up the sidewalk with the rest of the lawmen following not too far behind him. “Yes sir, I knew there was something about her but I just couldn’t put my finger on it,” the sheriff says almost in a whisper as they near the front door. We notice two men in white lab coats and white pants following the little procession of law enforcement officers. We suppose they are emergency medical technicians and pay them little attention. Their purpose for being here isn’t clear yet but we figure that it will be clear very shortly. For now, we pay them little attention, if any. They knock on the front door several times but there isn’t any response from the young lady inside. The sheriff tries the doorknob. He pulls his hand away from it suddenly and looks at it. Something liquid, red and sticky is on his hand and on the doorknob. One of the state boys gets wise. He pulls his carefully folded handkerchief out of his pocket, wraps it around the knob and opens the door. We zoom through the open door before anyone else has a chance to see us do it. We use our powerful imaginations and our expertise in observation to search the entire house in less than a heartbeat. We hear a television playing loudly in the living room and manage to arrive there just a split second before the cops get there. A gruesome, unbelievable, dastardly sight awaits us. There on the couch in front of the television sits a beautiful woman with the bloody head of Ted Doherty in her lap. She stares straight ahead as if she doesn’t have a care in the world. We can only wonder if she isn’t in some other world. The cops first stare at the head in her lap and then gaze dumbfounded at the beautiful girl as if they don’t believe what they see. “Poor girl,” one of the state men says, “to think that she wrote all those books and then went crazy.” “Yeah and then she killed those folks and wrote about it.” He picked up another stack of papers from the desk by her computer. “It looks like she was planning more murders too. Now it seems that she’s writing about murders that haven’t even been committed yet.” One of the local cops picks up the first chapter of her latest book and his eyes get wide as he skims through the clean white pages. “She has written about all the murders that have been committed in this area and I bet that if we check her other books out that we’ll find that they match murders in other places where she’s lived. This is amazing,” he commented as he read the tenth chapter of the book. “She started writing about killing Doherty but didn’t finish it,” he said putting the papers back down by the computer. Well, let’s leave Jan in her own little world now because she’s safe there. Nobody can bother her again where she’s going or who knows, maybe she’s already there. It won’t take you long to figure out what else will happen in her life and you already know that she’s killed enough people to write eleven massive novels. Before we go, there’s one more thing that I’m curious about though. Let’s take a quick look at the van that the two EMTs were driving. I want to see what’s written on the side of that van before we leave. As we glide out through the big window in the living room and leave all the misery and suffering behind, the white van with the lettering on the side comes into view. On the side of the van is written: GLENVIEW CENTER FOR MENTAL DISORDERS. Sometimes a few words are worth a thousand pictures. The End
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