Chapter Four

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Shards had embedded themselves in her. Blood dripped onto the wooden floor, mingling in with the spilled moonshine. 

My hands grew sweaty, a lump formed in my throat and no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn't go down. The only thing to pull me out of my horrific daze was a phone ringing in the other room. I rushed into there, anything to get away from the corpse. My hands were barely steady as I gripped onto the transmitter's stick, and put the receiver to my ear.

"Hel..Hello...?" 

"Andrew! How're you holding up?" 

"Russell?"

"Yes Andy, it's me. Now, how're you holding up?" The demon asked.

It took me a while to register those words. Nothing seemed to want to go through. "The woman, she's dead..." 

"Did you check her pulse, Mr. Smith?" 

"I..." 

"Jeez, weren't you a bull yourself, Bobby? Don't make assumptions. Check her pulse, then get back to me. I'll call you in three minutes. Get to it." He hung up. I stood there for a minute with the receiver in my hand before carelessly throwing it back down. I rushed to her side and  pushed her so that she was lying on her back.

Rather than her pulse, I put my head to her chest. A faint beat. The rhythm of my own heart sped up a bit.

How could I be so stupid? Did I not learn anything back when I was training? 

Sure enough, as Russell had promised, the ring of the phone came again. I scrambled up to my feet and answered it. 

"Well?" 

"She's not dead," I said with relief. "She's just knocked out, but she fell on glass. She's got glass all in her skin around the chest and shoulders. One even in her cheek. I don't know what to do." 

"What'd she drink?" 

"Demon moonshine. I..." I looked at the door momentarily before saying, "I think it's yours." 

The end was quiet. 

"Hello?" 

"Alright Bobby, here's what I want you to do; I want you to take that bottle and hide it somewhere for the time being. Then, I want you to clean up the mess. Remove any traces of that drink from the area. Next, I want you to trash the place. Pull out drawers, mess up papers and vases, anything that makes it look like a forced entry. After you're done with that, I want you to call the police. When they get there, here's your story: You're a friend of the dame, she called you over, you went to her house, and you found her like this. Then, and this part's important, right after you call the police, I want you to call this name: EDgecomb-5 6453. Repeat it to me."

"EDgecomb-5 6453." 

"Again." 

"EDgecomb-5 6453."

"The man who's gonna pick up is John Coover, a close associate of yours—well, Smith's. Usually you call him when things get in a jam. He's the one to smooth things over with the bulls. Just tell him you've got yourself into a mess." 

"Is...Is there anything else I need to know?" 

"No, just keep calm, and continue doing what I sent you there to do."  

The line went silent.

~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

"Tell us again, Smith. You're saying you found her like this?" 

"Y-Yeah, I found her like that. The door was open, li...like someone tried to come in or something. She was all bloodied with glass sticking out of her. I don't know what happened." 

I was telling that story for the fifth time the cops had been there. And I tell you, it was hard to lie, especially when I was staring in the eye of my former boss. He had that same untrustworthy look on his face when he thought a person in front of him was lying to him. I tried my best not to shake too much to further his suspicion of me and hoped that he'd pass my sweaty palms and apparent lack of color as disbelief and shock. 

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