Public Service…new writing, unedited, incomplete…

Wynette Robbins sat with her hands pressed against the side of her head and rocked back and forth. “No, no, no, no,” she muttered under breath. “This can’t happen again.” She cried and kept rocking.

She ran her fingers across the top of her scalp and grimaced. Wynette sniffled and wiped at the wet tears on her cheeks.

The bowl of wolfsbane sat at her feet, and Wynette felt a sense of calm wash over her. She licked her lips and ran her tongue over her top lip and smiled.

I considered what the guard had said. Rankin had suggested the perpetrator had multiple personalities, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

“Chloe is Wynette, Wynette is Chloe…two people sharing one head space.”

It was enough to drive me nuts, and to top it all off, she was out somewhere unsupervised and out of control. Rain began to fall, big drops that crashed into the windshield and detonated across the span of it. I flipped on the wipers and listened to the rhythmic pulse as they cleared the screen.

“So, what now?”

“I don’t know, Rankin. We interview Sasha, and maybe make trip to Biloxi. It depends on what’s in this email the guard is sending us.”

“Do you really think he has information to share? Even if he does, the school probably had him sign a non-disclosure agreement.”

“Yeah, and any information he releases has the chance of being admissible.”

Frustration set up shop within me. I wanted to beat my head against the steering wheel. Every step of the way in this case one thing after another had hindered us from making further progress.

Sasha was our only hope now. If she would even help us, and if she chose not to, I couldn’t blame her. No one wanted to turn against their sibling, or so I would imagine. I didn’t have a sibling, so I could only assume.

“Do you have any siblings, Rankin?”

He frowned at me and nodded yes. “Yeah, I have two brothers. Why?”

“I don’t know, man. I don’t have a sibling. Would you turn on your brothers if they had murdered people?”

Rankin didn’t answer for a long while, and we rode in silence. He looked out the windshield, at the symphony of rain smashing into the windshield and the dance of the wipers as it slapped the rain away.

“Probably not,” he finally said. “Otherwise, what’s the whole point of family?”

Rikki Smith, aka Tia Mathers, received a call from Scott Walters late in the afternoon. She answered on the third ring.

“Hello,” she said, intentionally keeping her voice low and demure. “This is Rikki Smith.”

“Ms. Smith, this is Deputy Chief Scott Walters. Are you available for an interview?”

“Yes sir, I am available.”

“Good, that’s good. Do you know where my office is located?”

“Yes sir, it was on the application.”

“Okay, be here in the morning at 0900, and we will go from there.”

“Yes sir. I look forward to seeing you then.”

“As do I.”

Walters ended the call and smiled. Soon, he’d have a new target for his rage. She sounded weak and unsure of herself. It would take no time for him to break her in, and if she got mouthy or became an issue, he’d give her the same treatment he gave Cissy Robideux.

The more I thought about this case, the more I thought of my past. Dark, murky thoughts of my remembrances flooded in my mind, and I thought of my years in therapy. I kept those days hidden, locked away in the furthest cockles of my heart. My true self locked in some dark closet, chained to the wall, starved and ignored. His once loud cries now nothing more than weakened gasps of who I once was.

Even my wife had no idea how deep the rabbit hole of my past was. I kept everything tucked away, and this case threatened to reveal my misdeeds and weaknesses.

Rankin and I had arrived at the precinct about half an hour ago. He got out and went inside, but I hadn’t found the courage to leave the car yet. The passenger door opened, and Lilly plopped down in the empty seat.

She took my hand and held it, and my bottom lip trembled. Lilly didn’t say anything to me, nor did she try to analyze my thoughts or past. She sat with me and waited for me to open up to her.

“Wynette is Chloe. Chloe is Wynette. Two women sharing one head space.”

“I know, babe. Sasha told us.”

My heart ached in my chest, and I sobbed. Lilly pulled me to her, and I buried my face in her soft neck. “It’s okay,” Lilly whispered to me, “you’re safe with me. We will find Wynette, or Chloe, and we will get her help.”

We sat in the car until my tears ceased. I wiped at my eyes with the back of my hands, my eyes red from crying.

“Where’s Sasha?”

“She’s upstairs with Manson. We waited for you guys to get back before we went any further.”

“Okay then, let’s go see what she has to say.”

Christy, the student who helped us at the agricultural center, sat in the public computer lab and made changes to her resume. Dr. Robbins had come down on her with a vengeance once the detectives had left.

“I’ll ruin you, you sullen wench,” Robbins had yelled at her.

Christy had no idea what she had done, or what line she had crossed. She had shirked away from the scathing retort, but Robbins wasn’t done.

“You’re fired! Get out of my center before something evil happens to you!”

Christy wasted no time leaving. She ran out of the building and raced home. Days had passed since the incident, and she had time to look at it from several different angles. Dr. Wynette Robbins always treated students with patience and kindness, but when angered, she acted like an unhinged lunatic.

Almost as if she was two different people.

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