Rude Awakenings - Part Two
By: Tom Fowler

3.

On that cloudy morning, Ed thought he was in the middle of a terrible nightmare. One of those nightmares that frighten you to the very core of your being, but that, at some level of consciousness, whispers to you that it is only a dream. As Ed woke from a deep sleep, he saw what appeared to be a glove on his wife's hand. It was a white glove with a patch of red that didn't look quite like a glove should. Shaking grogginess from his eyes, he quickly realized it wasn't a glove at all. It was a bandage. A bandage wrapped neatly over what appeared to be Audrey's wrist. And it was certainly no dream.

Surrealistic was what Ed later described to Clyde Beauchamp, who again found himself in the Hayes home less than an hour after the call came, this time directly to the police station.

"That was a pretty good job you did with Mrs. Hayes," Beauchamp said, after Ed explained what happened after he awoke.

"Well, it kept her from going into total shock," Ed shrugged. "I hoped I never would have to use military training again after I got out, especially not in a situation like this." Ed's voice cracked, and Beauchamp quietly nodded. Holding her close and explaining softly what had happened had been a masterstroke, but was similar to what Ed had done many times with young GI's who had stepped on mines during the Asian war. Ed felt as if war of another sort had come to the Hayes home, and indeed one had. It seemed an undeclared war on his family with maiming, not death, as the goal of the perpetrator.

"Same as before," Ed told Beauchamp, "but this time I am absolutely certain of one thing: Audrey was in bed asleep when I came to bed, and her hands were folded across her chest."

Beauchamp, who had called for additional police to help with the quickly growing news media outside, noticed that Ed's voiced cracked slightly with that last statement, but ignored it. The scene in the house was eerily similar to what it had been only weeks before. It was the same medical team and police officers and the same family members in the house. This time, Allie was doing her best to console her mother, but fear and terror gripped both women.

"Sodium Pentothal again," the head medic declared. Ralph Starrett was a registered nurse of over 20 years and Beauchamp knew him well. If he said it was Pentothal, then Pentothal it was. It was what was used to drug both women, and Ed. Ed's excellent night's sleep was because of a mild dose of it. You could smell it on the sweat of his forehead and explained the slight nausea and grogginess that he couldn't shake off.

"I'd like to know how that character got upstairs to drug me before I heard him."

"I'd like to know that myself," Beauchamp replied.

Ed detected a tone in the officer's voice that he did not like. "What did you mean by that?" he asked, not too kindly.

"Just that," Beauchamp replied, evenly. "Take it easy, Mr. Hayes, I'm just thinking out loud."

"And I'm not certain I like what you're thinking."

At that moment, Ed realized that being a suspect in these terrible crimes would be added to his already heavy and heartbreaking burdens.

4.

"Think he's involved, Clyde?"

"Don't know. I don't really think so, but what else explains it?"

Jim Miller trusted his old friend's instincts better than Beauchamp himself did, but both men realized that, with this second maiming coming right on the heels of the first one, the case would now become political. No one wanted the Glenn police department to suffer what that police department in Colorado did a few years when that little girl was found murdered the day after Christmas, but everyone from the mayor on down in Glenn knew what was coming, what with media from as far away as Israel already arriving.

"It would help if we had something, anything to go on."

"No kidding," was Beauchamp's reply.

Miller would have taken that as sarcastic disrespect in anyone else. Instead, he asked, half pleadingly, "Nothing at all?"

"Nothing. The only noticeable difference in this second attack is the bandage on Mrs. Hayes’s wrist. It was much bloodier than the bandage on Allison's ankle. This sadist is playing it mighty close to the vest. The Hayes know of no one who would wish them this kind of harm, and there has been no contact, no message, from whoever's doing this."

"How did he get by our patrol cars?" Miller wanted to know. The Hayes neighborhood had been heavily patrolled with both marked and unmarked cars since the first incident.

5.

The Allison Hayes case had been investigated as thoroughly as such a case could be in only two months’ time. The drain pipes had been removed and inspected for hair, blood, and bone. Carpet and wall samples were taken from Allie's room and sent to the FBI lab in Washington, as were the mattress and sheet of her bed. So far, nothing had been found and Beauchamp was not confident there would be.

Outside the house, the yard was inspected for loose sod and the garden and shrub areas dug up and replaced. "It was," Beauchamp commented, "as if Miss Hayes was maimed somewhere else. But, as she pointed out, she came home and went to bed. Nothing out of the ordinary."

So now, with a second maiming to investigate, Beauchamp considered that possibly these crimes were committed outside the home. That the family, particularly the light sleeping Ed, had been drugged was now an established fact. The question was, HOW had they been drugged and WHEN? The sadist must have been aware that everyone in the house was heavily drugged, else he never would have been able to enter the home and remove Allie. Then, two months later, her mother Audrey, and return them after his sickening work was complete.

Even though Ed Hayes was still officially under suspicion, Beauchamp and Miller agreed that, bizarre and unlikely as it seemed, an intruder drugging the family, then kidnapping and returning the victims in the early morning hours was the most logical explanation. "But," Miller asked, one morning over coffee, less than a week after the second crime against the Hayes family, "If it happened this way, then there are new questions to answer. If it wasn't Ed, who does the Hayes know that would be capable of such professional and sadistic acts? How did this person escape police and media scrutiny when committing the second crime? How did he get the better of the still formidable former army ranger Ed a second time?”

These were questions Clyde Beauchamp had asked himself over and over, but he did not say this to his boss. Instead, he said, "No one knows. Two major crimes committed against the same family and we still know nothing." Frustration was beginning to crack the veteran detective's tough veneer.

The men finished their coffee in silence. The break in the case would not come until Ed Hayes himself was attacked less than a week later.

The identity of the guilty person and the reason for the ghastly crimes would stun a morbidly interested public.

6.

Beauchamp admired the courage and spunk of the Hayes women. They lived in constant terror and fear of a third visit from their tormentor, but they were holding up as well as could be expected. It helped that chief of police John Hammer had placed a 24– hour guard around all members of the Hayes family.

Indeed, Hammer had bluntly ordered "no further harm come to any member of the Hayes family until the case is solved." Because of this, it was all the more shocking that a third attack was made on Ed Hayes himself in the early morning hours of April 1, April Fool’s Day. However, Ed was ready, ready with a heavy heart, because earlier in the evening he had noticed the attacker slipping a powder into his customary before bed nightcap. (Later it would be determined that the powder was crushed up sleeping pills). That's how I was shot with Pentothal. I was already drugged with sleep medication, he lamented. That's probably why I wasn't more aware of what was going on the night Allie was attacked. As he smiled and hid his emotions from the person fixing his drink, he felt ill and wanted to break down and sob. Of course, he did not, and that self–control would help end the case in a few short hours).

Had he not been aware of the maniac's attempt to drug him and not swallowed the doctored highball, he never would have reacted in time to save himself. As it was, he barely was able to subdue the attacker in his and Audrey's darkened bedroom and put an end to the madness.

"Allie always uses mouthwash before going to bed, and Audrey always has a glass of milk. Toni usually has a half a can of cola before retiring. I suppose being creatures of habit was almost the death of us all," Ed would groan to Lieutenant Miller, during a lengthy interview at the police station the next day.

"I thought it may be you," Beauchamp said, evenly.

"Yeah, I know. You weren't too subtle."

"Sorry. Sorry it worked out like it did."

"Yeah."

"I knew it just about had to be a family member, but I was surprised to learn how the … evidence was disposed of." Beauchamp hated to have to be so blunt with the heartbroken Ed, for he had suffered through the guilty one's confession earlier, having viewed it through a one–way mirror.

"Yeah." Ed grimaced. That was about all he seemed capable of saying.

Miller said, "With the house being watched like it was, it was virtually impossible for anyone to leave and come back." In a subdued voice, he nervously continued, "we didn't expect to find that the hand and ankle were fed to your dog, (The Hayes owned a four–year–old male German shepherd), and that the bones were crushed and mixed with the fireplace ashes. Pretty smart; brilliant, really."

Ed sighed, "Yeah, brilliant. I can't believe my life has come to this." Miller and Beauchamp knew they were dealing with a defeated, heartbroken man.

"That's why the towels were the only things recovered, along with the saw and scalpel." Beauchamp quickly added, painfully aware that his boss was being uncharacteristically insensitive.

"When I saw the scalpel in her hand, you cannot understand the shock."

"No, we can't," Beauchamp admitted, "but I never would have guessed it was her."

"Neither would I," sighed Ed, "I cannot for the life of me understand how or why she did it."

"Painkillers and mental instability can cause a person to do much," added Miller, still painfully awkward with Ed Hayes.

"I figured it was Toni," Ed offered, in a dull voice.

"Me too," said Beauchamp.

"Yeah," Ed offered once more, "but why? WHY? I thought I knew her!"

Softly, and in a much more thoughtful tone, Lieutenant Miller said, "You heard her tell Sgt. Beauchamp and the others this morning that she had witnessed her aunt assaulted and maimed by an intruder years ago."

"Yeah, but I never knew. Why didn't she tell me?"

For the first time, Ed Hayes broke down and wept.

EPILOGUE

Six months later, Ed sat over breakfast and took stock of the situation. Toni had immersed herself in teenage things, everything from pep club to chess club. He worried that she was overdoing it and over–compensating for the horror of the previous spring. Still, she had that Hayes determination and would make it, although with emotional scars that she would carry for the rest of her life. She was the youngest and least damaged of the Hayes clan. For reasons he could not explain to himself, he was grateful that it had not been her to deal the family so much misery.

Ed worried that Allie was repressing her emotions. She, like her younger sister, had thrown herself into school and rehabilitation, becoming an obvious overachiever. But, there was nothing he could do about how she reacted. He saw trouble down the road for her but, she too, possessed the Hayes mental toughness and Ed felt that she would live a successful life, although one lived on a rocky emotional road. If nothing else, Allie would will herself to health and happiness, he mused.

Audrey responded well to physical therapy. Although Allie was now walking and doing everything she ever did on her artificial foot, Audrey had not quite yet mastered her new hand, but she would. She is two months behind her daughter in rehab, he reminded himself. He worried the most about her. Audrey possessed no Hayes blood and was the most fragile of the three women in his life. Still, Audrey had not slipped into total mental illness as was initially feared, and Ed hoped that she would not.

As for Ed, he would never again sleep well, and for understandable reasons could not bear the thought of sleeping pills or his once customary nightcap.

Until his death some years later, rare was the night that he could get the image of his kind and loving wife out of his mind. The image of the crazed Audrey, eyes shining and teeth bared, with the upraised needle of sodium Pentothal stolen from the family dentist silhouetted against the moonlight streaming into their bedroom window, aimed straight for his neck, would haunt him for the rest of his days. (The scalpel in her left hand had gashed his wrist, and for weeks the photo of his wound and the accompanying story was the hottest tabloid topic). He found the surgical saw and several clean towels only a couple of feet away, on a TV tray.

Ed always had to fight back tears when dining alone in the morning. Mornings used to be he and his wife's favorite time together. Audrey was brilliant, in a very demented way, he would reflect, sadly. Bloody towels had been found in a large safe deposit box at Audrey's bank. He and Beauchamp supposed that was where Audrey kept the bloody saw and scalpel when not in use, but Audrey wasn't saying. Beauchamp had recently told him that the instruments had been stolen from a surgical ward at the local hospital almost five years ago.

Planned this for at least five years. Ed still had trouble comprehending the fact that he never really knew his deeply disturbed wife at all.

Thinking again of Allie and her 21st birthday coming up, part of him wished her mother could be with them, but it would be a long time, if ever, that she would be allowed outside the walls of the court–ordered mental health facility.

And, thinking once more of his younger daughter, he was grateful that he had found his wife's terrible secret out when he did.

THE END

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