A bowl of water shimmered, the surface beginning to focus on a distant picture, like a camera on its desired capture. Red and blue lights flickered in the horizon. The elder brother's car pulled into the driveway of the winery just as the younger was being brought out of the main building of the property in handcuffs, accompanied by two police officers. Aiden's face was covered with the stain of tears, his shirt and arms covered in blood. Caleb barely put the vehicle into park before jumping out and running off to find out what was going on with his twin brother.
"What the hell is going on here?"Caleb questioned.
One of the officers spoke up.
"This is police business, who are you?"
"I happen to run this place, what is going on here. Aiden what is going on?"
Aiden looked up at his elder twin and said, "They think I killed her."
"Killed who? Serena?"
"No, Ariadne. She's dead, Caleb. She's in there in — there are only pieces. I swear I didn't do it, I swear!"
"Why would they think you did it?"
The police officers pushed Caleb out of their way so they could move to one of the squad cars, and they started guiding Aiden in that direction.
"Wait, damnit, why would they think you killed her?" Caleb yelled after them as his brother's head was shoved into the back seat of the police car.
The scrying water had begun to return to normal as a smile grew upon the witch's face. Snuffing the candles around the bowl, she laughed to herself in satisfaction.
Caleb walked into the large brick building that housed the main offices of the winery owned by his family and was greeted with a horrific scene of blood. His attention was immediately drawn to the body being bagged and ready to be transported. There was blood on the floor collecting in a pool, coagulated into a gelatinous ooze of jelly; spattered all over the walls, the main reception desk, the leather office chair behind it; a spray of reddish brown dots in varying sizes seemed to cover everything. He didn't realize that he had started to wander around in a daze while trying to absorb what he was seeing. A detective nearby took notice and strolled over.
"I'm guessing you're related to the accused," he said jokingly to the identical twin brother of the man just taken away for murder.
"Who in the fuck are you?" Caleb barked.
A flash of a police badge and a short introduction to Detective Gardner forced Caleb to apologize.
"It's all right son; can you answer some questions for me?"
"Yeah, I'll try," Caleb said, stuttering.
His eyes moved from one end of the room to the other, revisiting the thick, red splatter covered the walls and ceiling. Then he saw an axe being placed in plastic by one of the crime scene technicians. A lump rose in his throat and he had to cover his mouth and walk out of the room in order to keep from retching all over the place. Detective Gardner followed, offering up a handkerchief.
"How do you know its Ariadne if she was...you know...?"
"What do you mean by that, son?"
"My brother said she was...she was...just pieces."
"Not exactly; there were only pieces left, but enough to identify who it was."
Caleb covered his nose and mouth with the detective's starchy, white hanky and felt the gagging sensation again. The acrid sting of bile started to pitch in the back of his throat.
"I'm sorry about that son," Detective Gardner said as he put a hand on Caleb's shoulder. "Did you know your brother was having an affair with the victim?"
Caleb looked at the detective with confusion and said, "That's not possible, he has a girlfriend, he wouldn't do that."
"Son, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that...well, you know what I mean. We have evidence already found at the victim's home to indicate your brother had a motive to commit the crime."
"What do you mean what evidence?"
"I can't go into detail on that, procedure and all that. Why don't you follow them down to the station, and we're going to see if we can clear some of this up?" Gardner pointed over to two uniformed officers standing near a squad car and reviewing their notepads. He walked over to instruct them to take Caleb to the station as Caleb himself started towards his car.
Caleb had a million thoughts racing through his head. Okay, so perhaps his brother was capable of an affair, but not murder. What had happened here? How could there be so much blood? As if avoiding an obstacle in the road, Caleb swerved over to the side of the road, opened the door to his car and heaved the contents of his stomach onto the pavement.
It had begun only a few short months before they found the body. While Aiden had known Ariadne for many years, they had never really talked much beyond a few pleasantries. One random day's conversation had started out innocently enough; and then came the flirtation.
As much as he knew he shouldn't pursue it any further, he couldn't resist having that trophy. Perhaps it was simply the fact that he knew it was that proverbial forbidden fruit. Perhaps it was simply because she was the complete opposite of what he had already. Perhaps it was simply because she was willing. The reality was that it was a combination of all of the above.
There was just something about her that tempted him away from his monogamy, something he had to experience, and he wasn't sure if this opportunity would ever present itself again. Once Aiden had secured Ariadne's trust with empty promises and falsehoods, obtaining the actual prize was not too difficult. Aiden knew that not only would this end his relationship with his girlfriend, his family would be very much against it since anyone who was not a God fearing church go-ers like they were was considered "bad."
When it was clear he had bitten off more than he could chew, and the reality struck its lightning. He had created a situation he hadn't intended upon; he tried to abruptly end it; causing more issues than resolving them. Ariadne was furious beyond belief, not only because she had been betrayed and lied to, but because she had been used. Aiden tried his best to play the friend, but deep down he knew that all he really wanted was for these secret encouters to stay buried.
When he had not heard from Ariadne after a few months, he assumed that he was in the clear. Unfortunately for Aiden, his luck was short-lived, as she reappeared with a vengeance, and with information that would rip his entire world apart if it were to get out.
"Please, I beg you, don't do this," he pleaded.
"How dare you! After all you've done, you have the balls to ask me for something to protect your sorry ass? Fuck you!" Ariadne snapped back.
Putting his head in his hands, Aiden let out a huge sigh.
"Okay, okay, we'll talk about it."
"Oh, thank you master for your permission!"
"That's not what I meant, okay, I'm sorry."
"Sure, you're sorry now that you're the one who could be hurt by this. You never cared one fucking iota about me or how I felt. You just wanted to get laid, so I really don't give a shit how fucking sorry you are!" Her voice raised in more and more anger as she spoke.
"Look, I'm sorry I upset you, I didn't mean it that way. Can we sit down and talk about it, please?" Aiden asked as he paced the floor.
Ariadne crossed her arms and looked at Aiden suspiciously. After looking into his eyes for a few seconds, she could not ascertain his intentions (a problem which had always existed where he was concerned; his aura was like a mask) she decided to sit down in a nearby lounge chair; stiff and rigid like one does at a job interview. Aiden fell backwards into the couch behind him.
"So?"Ariadne asked. Aiden cleared his throat.
"This whole situation got way out of control, and I know you don't believe me, but I am sorry for that. This thing getting out is really not going to make anything better."
"This 'thing' — is that what it is to you?"
"You're putting words in my mouth."
"No, I'm repeating the shit flowing out of it. All you care about is protecting your happy little life. That's all you've ever cared about since you realized I actually believed and trusted all the shit you fed me. 'Oh please don't do this to me' well, what about me? I'm a person, not something you just use and toss away like a snotty Kleenex."
"I never said you were."
"Your actions sure as hell did. I'll take care of it myself, like I always do. You can go fuck yourself."
Ariadne stood up and stormed towards the door to the flat the twins shared together; ignoring Aiden's pleads for her to wait.
"I will not let you get away with this." Ariadne flung open the door and left the house, slamming it behind her. Aiden picked up the closest thing on the table to him and threw it at the door, letting out a groan of frustration as a small frame with a picture of Serena shattered against the wood.
Caleb walked into the room where they were holding his brother. Aiden looked like he had been through the ringer a few times; sweat covered his reddened face and he sat staring blankly into the wall. He didn't even look up when the door opened.
"Hey, Aiden, snap out of it."
As if commanded by a stage magician performing hypnosis, Aiden's eyes looked up at his brother, red and filled with tears.
"I didn't do this, I swear to you I didn't. I don't understand why anyone would do that to someone."
"I know that, but they say they have evidence that shows you had a motive, that you were seeing her on the side, what the hell is all that about?"Caleb inquired of his brother.
Aiden looked down; knowing he could not hide this from his brother, and explained to him that all of that was indeed true, but he did not murder her.
"I forgot my wallet at the winery, so I went back to get it, and when I got there, I saw all that blood, and the axe, and I picked it up to look at it. I've never seen that much real blood before, I thought it was a joke at first, and then I saw...I saw..." Aiden started to get choked up again, took a deep breath, "I couldn't believe it, I was in shock and I fell to my knees and nearly passed out, and that's how I got all this damn blood all over me. Then the cops showed up."
Caleb let out a large sigh, rubbed his forehead as if soothing a headache, and stood up.
"Where are you going?" Aiden asked.
"I am going to go talk to mom and dad about this. You're going to need a lawyer."
Caleb gave his brother a look of disappointment. He need not say that he was, Aiden knew simply by the connection they shared as twins. Aiden lowered his head and started to cry again.
"Why would you even think of trying to pay someone off? That's just stupid. They can trace that stuff, and now look what trouble it's gotten Aiden into."
Their mother looked at Caleb with discontentment and said, "Excuse me, but he did this to himself. We merely tried to clean up the mess he made, and then he went and made a bigger one of it."
"I know he's screwed up big time okay, he knows that, we need to get him a lawyer and deal with this now before it gets worse."
"And where do you suppose the money for this lawyer is going to come from — us?"
"You have got to be kidding me, you threw five hundred thousand dollars at someone you didn't even know to protect a secret, but you won't help your own son get out of jail?"
"Don't talk to me like that. I know you're upset, we're all upset, but have some respect for your elders, young man. We're not about to let him rot in jail, but we're also not about to let this become a field day for newspapers and local news hounds. Don't talk to anyone about this."
"Isn't that what got all of us into this mess?"
"Look, we will not have rumors and stories about that witch and your brother end up all over the place. We have the winery to think of!"
"Why do you care so much that she believed something different than we do? Does that really matter considering what else was at stake? Does it really matter now that the girl is dead?"
His mother gave him another disapproving look, then picked up her phone and started dialing.
Detective Gardner stepped out of the elevator on to the basement floor, the morgue. He wanted to see if the medical examiner had anything interesting to share. Pushing the doors to the main examination room, he saw that Charlie, his old chubby medical examiner friend, was already at work on the two parts of the body that were remaining, the victim's head, and the left index finger. Charlie was carefully examining the injuries on the neck of the head on a long, metal post-mortem table; a variety of different silver instruments on a tray next to it. Charlie looked up from his work, eyeballs peering over the top of his glasses.
"Hey, Jack, how's it going?"
"Oh, I've had better nights, Charlie. What can you tell me?"
"Welp, one interesting thing so far is that all the dismemberment happened post-mortem. The girl was already dead when she was hacked apart. How'd you manage to find this scene anyway?"
"The winery has cleaning people come in each evening, and they found the perp standing there covered in blood holding the axe in his hand, high tailed it out of there and called 911. But, if she was hacked up after she died I wonder if he was trying to cover up for someone. The boy doesn't strike me as the murderous type, and I've seen quite a few of these well off pretty boys who were in my day."
"I'm sure you have, old man; just like I've seen far too many foreign bodies where they don't belong, ha ha."
"And on that note, I think I'll be on my way and talk to this kid and wait for your report."
"See ya Jack," Charlie said as Detective Gardner turned to leave. Jack gave a wave over his head as he headed out of the morgue on his way back to the station to see what sense he could get out of Aiden.
Aiden sat holding his head in his handcuffed hands, elbows on the edge of the small wooden table in the interrogation room trying to make some sense out of what he had just seen. Who could have done this to her and why? She didn't deserve to be killed. Why do they think I did it? I know it didn't look good when the cleaners got there and all, but I didn't do it. I know I didn't. Did I? Could I have done it and not remembered it? No, there's no way.
In the middle of these thoughts, he heard the door to the room open. He looked up to see the plump older detective he saw earlier when he was being hauled away come into the room.
"I'm Detective Gardner son. Aiden, is it?" "Yes sir."
Jack took a seat across from Aiden, the chair squeaking with stress.
"Why don't you start from the beginning, son, and tell me how you ended up in that mess up there."
Aiden cleared his throat and used his shirt sleeves to wipe his forehead.
"Shouldn't I wait for my brother to get back with the lawyer?"
"If that is what you want, then you have the right to wait for them."
"I guess there's no reason to, I didn't do this. I could never do anything even remotely like that to another living thing, a cat, a dog, let alone a person. I walked in there into that mess, I did not do it."
"So let me ask you this then, if you didn't do it, do you have any idea who would want her dead - anyone who knew about the big secret, perhaps?"
Aiden's eyes changed to surprise, "How did you find out about that?"
"Son, I'm a detective, it's my job. I also know that your mother tried to pay her a whole lot of money to disappear, which seems to have itself disappeared out of the account it was put into. I'm going to ask you again, do you know anyone who would want her dead?"
"No, I really...I have no idea."
"Do you think your brother could have set you up?"
Anger rose in Aiden's voice, "Don't you dare think he could do this either, there's no way!"
"Relax, son, I have to ask you these hard questions," Detective Gardner said.
"I'm sorry, it's just, there's no way he could do this either."
The door to the room opened behind Detective Gardner, and a man in a three piece Versace suit walked in with a leather briefcase that likely cost more than Gardner made in a month; followed by the twin brother, Caleb.
"Shut your mouth now, Aiden," the suit said.
"This is your attorney," Caleb interjected.
"This conversation is over now, detective."
"Yeah, I know the drill. I hope to talk to you again soon, son."
Gardner walked out of the interrogation room and let out a deep, thoughtful sigh. His gut told him that neither one of these boys did this. His gut was telling him something wasn't quite right, but he couldn't put his finger on it quite yet. He walked over to his desk to grab his coffee cup – it was going to be a very long night.
"Is there anything else you want to tell me?" the suit with a law degree asked.
"I've told you all I know and it's all the truth," replied Aiden adamantly.
"Okay. Well, they'll hold you here until you're arraigned tomorrow morning at ten; so just remember what I told you."
"I have to stay in here all night?"
"That's how getting arrested and 'due process' works. I'll see you tomorrow morning," the attorney said as he got up and gathered his briefcase to leave.
Caleb and the suit walked out of the room, and in walked a uniformed officer to take him to his cell for the night.
Serena arrived at the house the twins shared to have dinner with them, having no idea what transpired. She walked into the house and found Caleb alone in the dark crying on the sofa in the living room.
"Hey, what's wrong, what happened? Where's Aiden?" she asked.
"You need to sit down," Caleb answered in a sniffled voice.
"You're scaring me. Oh my god, you didn't tell him did you?!"
"No, and be quiet about that. It never happened, remember? He's in jail, that's what's fucking wrong!"
"What do you mean he's in jail, oh my god what is going on?"
"Please, just sit down."
Serena sat down next to Caleb on the couch and stared at him, trying to brace herself for whatever she was about to hear.
"You remember Ariadne, right?"
"Yeah, I think so. She was that quiet and strange goth girl, wasn't she?
"Yes, that's her."
Serena looked at him puzzled, "Did something bad happen to her?"
"She's dead, and the police arrested Aiden for her murder."
As if being shocked by an electric volt, Serena stood up straight and her eyes went wild.
"WHAT? Please tell me what's going on!" she plead with tears in her eyes.
Caleb stood up and hugged Serena and guided her to sit back down on the couch and told her what he knew, minus the fact that his brother slept with the person he's being accused of killing. He was going to leave it to his brother to confess his own sins.
"He's going to be arraigned tomorrow morning, we can go there together and you can talk to him then, okay."
Serena just looked at him in disbelief, then lowered her face and cried on his shoulder.
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
"It's over for me anyway. This way it will at least have meaning."
"It's not too late to change your mind. Have no doubts in your heart, because there will be no turning back."
"I know. I won't change my mind."
The witches headed out together to set their plan in motion.
The medical examiner finished his report. The cause of death was unknown due to the missing parts of the body, but the decapitation had taken place post mortem, likely in an attempt to hide evidence. Fingerprint on the one finger found matches the victim. Tool marks from wounds match the axe found on the scene at preliminary examination, but those would have to be sent off to another lab to confirm that. In the end, the manner of death was determined to be a homicide.
The judge remanded Aiden to jail with no bail despite the best attempts of his hired Versace suit; stating that the heinous nature of the crime scene and the means of his family also made him a flight risk.
Sitting in his jail cell in his orange jumpsuit, Aiden stared blankly at the wall when he heard the door to the cell open.
"You have a visitor," the corrections officer announced.
Aiden was led down to the visitation room in handcuffs. Sitting on the other side of the table was his girlfriend, Serena, in tears, holding a wad of tissues in her hand. as was policy in the jail, Aiden sat down at the table across from Serena and put his hands flat on top of it.
"I've been to your house; I know what they arrested you for. Now I want to know why they think it was you to where you have to stay in this hell hole."
"I don't think this is the place to talk about it."
"Well, we don't exactly have any place else we can talk now can we?"
"Don't honey me. You slept with that girl that was killed, didn't you? That's why they think it was you."
"Please, don't do this here."
Serena merely looked at Aiden as if to say, 'must I repeat myself?' Then tears filled her eyes, "Almost a year, Aiden. Why? I don't understand why! I thought you were happy with me, and now I find out that you've gone and fucked someone else — and to top it off you're in jail for killing who you fucked." By the time she was finished with her small tirade, Serena was near hysterical in a crying rage. Aiden merely looked down at the table, silent.
"Fine," Serena said standing up and grabbing her purse. "I'll find out what I want to from your parents."
Serena turned around and started to walk away, Aiden tried to follow her, but was quickly stopped by one of the corrections officers. The whole truth was going to come out now, and suddenly jail didn't seem like such a bad place to be.
"Why didn't you tell me this earlier? This makes a whole lot more sense now. No wonder you tried to pay her off. What were you thinking?" Caleb asked his father.
"Do you really think we thought it would get this far? We just wanted the problem to go away, not get worse."
"You thought paying her off to go away would be better than dealing with the problem? This goes against everything you've ever taught us about being honest and helping people, and you go and do something like this?"
"Watch your tongue with me!"
"Oh, get off it already. You're telling me that you willingly let mom bribe someone to go away and you want me to respect you? Whatever!"
Caleb turned his back to his father and started to walk out of the room when Serena turned the corner. She had been crying, eyes red and strained from the tears and she was holding a wad of tissue to her nose.
"So it is true then?" she asked, sniffling.
The look on Caleb's face answered her question. His father merely looked at the floor.
"Come on, Serena, let's get you home," Caleb said, walking towards her.
"Don't touch me, okay, just tell me what the hell is going on. I heard you say something about paying her off? Why?" Serena asked looking past Caleb to their father.
"It doesn't matter now," their father said.
"Dad, shut up. I'll deal with this. Serena, please, let's sit down and I'll tell you okay?"
"You will tell me the entire truth?"
Caleb looked in the direction of his father, and said, "Now that I know it, yes."
"I've always wanted to be with you."
"So why we are such a big secret then?"
"Things are only as complicated as you make them; and frankly that phrase usually means you just don't want to deal with it. "
Aiden looked down for a moment, and then looked into Ariadne's eyes.
"I don't want things to be complicated with us. I want us to enjoy being together, but you know why this has to be the way it is between us."
Before Ariadne could protest further, Aiden pulled her closer and pressed his lips to her mouth, then forced his tongue to meet hers. She lost her will to argue, and submitted.
"It's about time, you sleep like the dead," Ariadne quipped as she walked through the cell door and approached Aiden.
"I'm still asleep; wake up now...wake up, wake up!"
"Oh, you're awake. But I'm also not really here either. This is what we call astral projection in my trade."
"Not real, not real," Aiden chanted to himself, rubbing his eyes once more.
"Who the hell are you talking to?" another voice from outside the cell asked.
Ariadne's smile widened. "Yes, please do tell him who it is."
A guard was standing at Aiden's cell door with an irritated look on his face. It was obvious the guard was not seeing the image of Ariadne or he would have said something.
"I was just dreaming I guess," Aiden replied. The guard merely gave him a strange look and went about his business.
Looking around as if a child about to steal some candy in a store, Aiden lowered his voice slightly, hand half covering his surprised expression, and whispered, "I saw the...I saw you dead; how the fuck can you be here now?"
"Don't forget what I told you, your poor, dear, stupid boy – you don't cross a witch; especially not one as powerful as I am. Enjoy what's left of your life, I know I will. Thank your parents for me, will you? All the money sure will come in handy for the future."
Before he could respond, the image of Ariadne before him faded away, and he was left half confused as to if he really did just experience what just happened.
"This is it, are you ready?"
"Yes, my sister. I enter the circle freely and ask that you send me to the afterlife. Spare me the pain that will come with this cancerous flesh growing in my body."
Ariadne kissed her sister on the forehead and told her that she loved her. Walking around behind her, Ariadne grabbed the athame holstered on the belt inside her long black robe. Taking the knife in her left hand, she whispered in her sister's ear, "Your death will have great meaning. Close your eyes, it will be quick."
Athena closed her eyes. Ariadne took a deep breath, and started to bring the athame down into Athena's leg, but stopped halfway and started crying.
"I can't do this, I can't kill you," Ariadne said through her tears.
"But you have to; not only for me, but for yourself. You must set me free, and help yourself. If I have to I will make you angry at me," Athena said looking up into her sister's eyes.
"Please, don't, I can't do this," Ariadne pleaded.
"Come on you gutless bitch, do what you have to do!"
"You are not going to wimp out on me now, we've come too far, do you understand me? DO IT!"
"RELEASE ME!" Athena exclaimed grabbing on to Ariadne's hand holding the athame.
"STOP IT!" Ariadne yelled, pulling her arm back.
"You are not going to back out, now release me and take care of what needs to be done you *whore*!" Athena knew that word would piss her sister off more than anything else she could call her at that moment.
Ariadne plunged the athame into Athena's thigh, straight into her femoral artery and twisted the knife hard. Blood poured out from the tear in her thigh. Athena quickly lost consciousness and turned a ghastly shade of white; and Ariadne cradled her in her arms while she bled out, tears flowing from her cheeks not only from her sister's death, but at it her being at her own hands, despite the good that would come from it.
Ariadne sat there for what felt to her like hours, and then completed the gruesome work that needed to be done.
Blood had already begun to thicken and coagulate in puddles where it had squirted free from the artery in Athena's leg.
"In this night, I call upon the ancient power; help me in this time, in this hour. My sister lays before me dead, make her look like someone else until I can chop off her head," Ariadne chanted holding her hands over Athena's white face, calling a glamour in to place to make the deed easier.
Her face became a stranger's, unfamiliar and unknown; allowing Ariadne to complete her task. She put the athame in to her bag, and took out a wood axe. Holding the axe above her head, she brought it down swift and hard into her sister's neck, blood and gore splattered all over the office as she severed the base of the skull. Next was Athena's forefinger, which was the only finger the two on which they both had the same fingerprint.
The bloody work complete, Ariadne put her sister's body, minus the head and the finger, into a body bag obtained earlier for the job. Using what little power she had left in her body, she took her sister's remains to her car and went back inside the building to finish setting the scene.
"The work is done, my deed complete; make myself and what I wear clean and neat. My sister's face now returns to norm; show now its true form."
Ariadne watched as her sister's face returned, the ghostly visage looking peaceful.
"I love you, my sister. Your death will indeed have great purpose," Ariadne said as she kissed her sister's severed forehead, and quickly turned to leave, her clothing, shoes and skin clearing of all evidence as she walked out the door.
Ariadne cried furiously as she drove her sister's body to a remote wooded location they had often gone to together to practice their craft. They had already prepared a wood pile for the funeral pyre together the day before. Crickets chirping and tress rustling in the gentle breeze was all that could be heard. The only light was coming from the bright beautiful full moon in the sky. Ariadne took Athena's body out of her trunk, placed her upon the funerary fireplace, then fell to her knees and cried again.
After what seemed like hours, Ariadne finally stood up and lit the gasoline treated wood. Watching the fire burn the body, Ariadne put her hand on her own stomach and rubbed it as if easing a bellyache.
"If you're a girl, I know what your name will be."
All writings contained within these pages are the work and property of Kristen A. Rae. These writings are not to be distributed, repurposed, edited or otherwise used without express permission.