by jason gusmann
visuals by rhoda penmarq
Chapter Two: A Disturbing Scene
Hap Dixon peers through the eyepiece of Yardley Shaw’s telescope and looks up at the stars.
Oh, boy! says Hap.
There must be dozens of them up there.
Yardley gently takes the telescope from Hap and repositions it.
Sometimes if you look closer to the horizon you can see some of the more nearby planets, like Venus or Mars, he says brightly.
When Hap looks through the eyepiece again he sees a window across the street on the second floor of the Reilly’s house.
He is just about to tell Yardley that the positioning is wrong but in the window Hap can see Mr. Reilly and Mrs. Reilly moving back and forth within the frame.
Mr. Reilly holds Mrs. Reilly’s hair and has his other arm around her waist.
Hap cannot hear due to the distance but Mrs. Reilly appears to be in pain and her mouth is open as if she is screaming.
Mr. Reilly pushes Mrs. Reilly down out of the line of sight and smiles.
Then Mr. Reilly follows her down, also out of range.
Hap takes his eye from the telescope and looks at Yardley.
Oh no! exclaims Hap.
This looks like a murder!
Let me see! exclaims Yardley.
He squinches his face up and puts his eye to the eyepiece.
After a moment Yardley moves back and looks at Hap.
I don’t see anything!
Hap grabs the telescope and looks again.
The light is off in the Reillys’ window and the shades have been drawn.
Hap looks at Yardley and says, But I saw them!
I saw him killing her!
Yardley reaches over and begins to compress the telescope.
I better take this in, Hap.
It’s getting late!
As Hap walks Bodie home he says, I don’t think Yardley believed me, Bodie.
But you believe me, right, boy?
Bodie barks once.
When Hap and Bodie get home, Dad is waiting for them in his robe and pajamas.
Dad has become cross.
Hap, it’s late!
Get to bed this instant!
Hap looks downcast and nods, Okay, Dad.
Bodie follows Hap up the stairs.
Aunt Cindy is nowhere to be seen but her black high-heeled shoes remain lying on the orange rug.
Hap puts on his pajamas and gets under the covers.
Bodie jumps up onto the end of the bed.
I’m sure I saw Mr. Reilly murdering Mrs. Reilly, Bodie! Hap whispers with conviction.
Bodie whines sadly.
But how can I go about proving it?
Suddenly, a high-pitched pinging sound comes from upstairs.
Oh boy! Hap enthuses.
The shortwave set!
Hap looks over at Bodie, concerned.
But what if Dad catches me?
I’ll never solve this mystery if I don’t find more clues!
I’ll just be very quiet and go up to the attic!
Bodie lies down, his head pointed away from Hap.
Oh, I’ll be careful, boy!
Don’t worry so much.
Hap takes the flashlight off the wooden table upon which all of his detecting equipment lies and tiptoes out of his bedroom.
The attic is dark and brown.
Hap kneels down in front of the shortwave radio by the window.
He depresses the button on the microphone base and says quietly, This is HDWXY 1, over.
There is an immediate response.
The high-pitched pinging sound returns, and it is followed by a man with a low voice. The man says, WHISKEY HOTEL ECHO ROMEO ECHO DELTA OSCAR
Hap uses the pad and pen he keeps by the shortwave set and writes down the first letter of every word in the transmission. The high-pitched pinging sound repeats, and then the man with the low voice repeats everything he said the first time. Then the high-pitched pinging sound transmits again, and then there is silence.
Hap looks down at the pad and reads the lengthy completed message.
It says, WHERE DO THEY PUT THE EMPTY ANGELS HAP WHERE DO THEY HIDE THE BROKEN VESSEL
Oh boy! exclaims Hap.
This is the strangest clue I’ve ever seen!