Til Death Do Us Part
Rayna had forgotten what it was like to sit on the front porch—savoring a cup of roasted coffee while a cool, gentle breeze caressed her face. Evenings were even better because she could see the stars twinkling like diamonds in the night. Having a busy schedule teaching and creating lesson plans, Rayna hadn’t had the time before.
The day had started like any other day. A beautiful fall day with mild temperatures and clear blue skies without any clouds to mar the blue sea. Rayna had returned from a pleasant day of shopping. She had gone to the 22nd Street Antique Mall to do some early Christmas shopping. She discovered the perfect porcelain doll that would fit into Katie’s doll collection. Her daughter-in-law loved collecting Victorian porcelain dolls. Once Rayna got home, she climbed up the attic ladder and hid the toy behind some boxes.
Climbing back down, she walked into the kitchen to brew a pot of coffee. Opening the cupboard, she reached up for a mug -before jumping at the loud crash behind her. Startled, Rayna turned around only to see nothing. No broken glass, no damage of any kind… nothing. Her heart was still racing as she pulled the mug out before reaching for the pot.
Above her, she heard a loud thud. Something hit the floor hard enough for Rayna to feel the vibrations downstairs. “What the Hell is going on?” Setting her coffee down, Rayna climbed up the stairs and opened the hatch. She stuck her head through the opening to see nothing. Okay! She was losing her mind. Too many weird things were going on. Shaken, she grabbed her coffee and walked outside. Sitting in the swing, Rayna tried to make sense of what was happening. She didn’t believe in the paranormal or the supernatural, but this wasn’t typical.
Nothing physical had occurred – only noises. Maybe she was hallucinating? Rayna had been out in the field as an EMT for years. Recently promoted to teaching, writing lesson plans were a little more complicated than she had thought. She loved teaching, but it was hard getting used to writing the lessons. Adjusting to a new schedule while still making time for her family had been the hardest.
These noises Rayna was hearing could be stress manifesting? Sipping her coffee swinging, she thought about her options. Up to this point, it had only been noises, nothing physical. Finishing her coffee, she went back inside and put the mug in the sink. She was going to treat today as nothing major and go about her usual business.
That plan had worked too for a single day. Rayna’s husband, Ed, was out of town at a business meeting, and she had the house to herself. She was cooking spaghetti and planned on enjoying a bottle of Merlot with it. A door slammed in the back of the house, causing her to drop the container. It shattered onto the tiled floor, and the brilliant crimson liquid spread across the floor. The wine staining the off-white tile Rayna had loved when she first bought it.
Rayna grabbed a couple of towels and tried to wipe up the mess before the wine did even more damage to the tile. Afterward, she went to investigate the noise. It had been the master bedroom door. Unusual because past events had been noises, not physical. This time the door had shut itself. Rayna had closed it, right? No! She never closed doors. It had been a running joke between her and Ed that she didn’t like closed doors. Walking back into the hall, she looked at the doors to the other rooms. They were all closed! She didn’t close doors. She ran a hand through her hair as questions raced through her mind – she never closed doors. Rayna had claustrophobia – nothing major, but she left the doors open to keep that open feeling. Seeing all the doors closed, sent a chill up her spine.
Was she going crazy? That was the only explanation that made sense—that or something paranormal. Is her house haunted? Thinking back to when everything started – reminded her of the doll upstairs in the attic. Was the doll haunted? So, she had two theories thus far. Rayna was crazy, or she owned a haunted doll. Yeppers, she was losing it. Another thud came from upstairs, hard enough for Rayna to feel downstairs.
Now what? She was afraid to look overhead because she didn’t want to see that it was ‘nothing.’ again. Yet, she had to know. Rayna climbed back up those stairs and poked her head through the door to see boxes had fallen to the floor. This was new. Now there was proof that Rayna didn’t imagine things, right?
The buzzing from her cell phone in her jean pants pocket distracted her from the present bizarre situation. Rayna pressed the talk button. It was Brett Johnson from where Ed worked – now what?
“Hi, Brett, what’s going on?”
“Rayna, where’s Ed? He’s late for the meeting, is he alright?” he sounded concerned and rushed at the same time.
Shocked, she asked. “What do you mean, where is Ed?” Confused because she had driven Ed to the airport and saw him to security before she went back home. Scared, she told him, “I drove him to the airport myself, Brett. Are you saying he didn’t make it?”
“No, Rayna, he didn’t. Let me check the hotel and see if he at least checked in, and I will call you back, okay?”
Rayna heard the concern in Brett’s voice. This wasn’t like Ed, and if he never made it to the hotel, where was he and was he alright? Sudden sounds from the kitchen pulled her attention away from Ed missing. The noise sounded like dishes were being thrown, and Rayna went to investigate. She entered the room to see all the cupboard doors open with plates and cups shattered. These events turned from noises to destruction in a single day. One good thing, at least, she wasn’t crazy.
Her phone started buzzing. She looked at the ID, and it was Brett. Pressing talk, she said. “Have you found Ed?”
There was total silence.
“Brett? Are you there? Did you find Ed? Brett?” She started to panic.
“I’m here, Rayna, but I’m sorry to say that Ed never checked in.”
Frightened, she said, “what do you mean. He never checked in. The hotel is telling you he isn’t there?”
Once again, there was more silence. “Rayna, he didn’t check into his hotel, and the airport is also saying he never made his flight.”
Her gut-churning, she whispered. “That’s impossible. I drove Ed to the airport myself and watched him go through the security gate. How could he not make his flight?”
Brett replied. “I’m not sure what happened to Ed once he got to the airport, but I’m telling you he never made his flight. If I were you, I would call the police and file a missing person’s report.”
Reeling from Brett’s news, she went back to the kitchen. She thought to clean up the mess before calling the police; it would distract her. Stunned, she froze in the doorway. There was no mess anymore? Pressing her knuckles hard against her temple. Rayna tried to reign in her swirling thoughts, “What the fuck was going on?” Backing away from the doorway, she slowly made her way back to the porch and sat in the swing. She pulled her phone out. With shaky fingers, Rayna punched in the number to the Tucson Police Department.
Trembling, she managed to stutter out the words they wanted to hear to fill out the police report. They stated they would send an officer out to take her statement and pick up a picture of Ed so they could send it around.
Still swinging and enjoying the wind’s soft whispers as they touched her face. Rayna tried to stop the swirling crazy thoughts. To stay calm and rational while ignoring the sounds of destruction coming from inside the house. She sipped her still-warm coffee, resisting the urge to go back into the house. Knowing how things were in the past—she knew there wouldn’t be any damage. So, she stayed on the porch and waited another thirty minutes for the police to arrive.
Officer Ben Ramirez, according to his name tag, met her on the porch. Writing down in a notepad, everything that happened the day Rayna drove Ed to the airport. Afterward, he asked if she had a recent picture for him to take with him. Replying she did, they both entered the house and froze. The house looked as if a war had taken place. Every single piece of furniture destroyed and ripped apart – lying in pieces scattered everywhere.
Confused, Rayna looked at the Officer, and he had a look of complete shock on his face.
Rayna asked, “Officer Ramirez, do you see what I see? Is all of the furniture destroyed?” She saw the Officer’s body stiffen up. Saw the friendliness flow out of his face. Saw his chocolate eyes narrow and look intense. Rayna’s instincts told her that Officer Ramirez thought the destruction was her fault. Yet, what could she tell him that wouldn’t sound crazy?
Officer Ramirez stated, “Mrs. Sinclair, I need you to stay here while I check out the rest of the house, please.”
Numb with shock, Rayna could only nod. There had been no damage at any other time, just noise. And now when the police arrive, there’s complete devastation to her home. It seemed forever, but she knew it had only been a few minutes before Officer Ramirez finished his search. His eyes looked dead, and she felt her stomach flutter—something was wrong.
Officer Ramirez walked up to her and said, “I need you to turn around and place your hands behind your back. You are under arrest, Mrs. Sinclair, for murder.”
Rayna could hear Officer Ramirez reading her rights. His voice, sounding like it came through a tunnel. His voice was vague and distant. She couldn’t get her mind around that someone was dead in the house and that she was the suspect. Rayna kept repeating to Officer Ramirez, “What?”
“Do you understand your rights as I have given them to you?” stated Officer Ramirez, still continuing with the Miranda.
Numb, Rayna could only nod; she understood.
Officer Ramirez continued, “I’m going to walk you back out to the porch, so we don’t contaminate the crime scene. You will sit in the swing until I can get the CSI out here, do you understand?”
Rayna nodded, yes. What the Hell was going on? Rayna’s mind swirled as he sat her down in the swing. She overheard the Officer telling the person on the phone call. He was telling them there were two bodies in the master bedroom. That they appeared to have been dead for a few days. Officer Ramirez thought one of them might be her missing husband, while the other was an unknown woman.
Rayna had a sudden flash of insight, which told her – Lisa Roberts, Ed’s secretary! But why was Lisa in their bedroom and lying on their bed?
Because you killed her, Rayna!
Startled, Rayna looked up and saw Ed – except that he was dead, plus she could see through him. “You’re not real,” Rayna said, trying to convince herself it was true.
You killed me too, but now I can be by your side till death do us part, sweetheart—yours!
Rayna then screamed!