Now we're back to Stan and Ollie. As you'll recall from two weeks ago, they found the country road and the creek, where they found Egbert and Pastor Will Robinson - and Consuelo. See what happens in today's episode! Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to! Enjoy!
Stan and Ollie #22
While Ollie and I can see and hear Consuelo quite clearly—well, relatively speaking, as she’s a rapidly diminishing wisp of her former self—we’re the only ones.
But to hear her cry of “I remember” is heartening, to say the least. Now we can solve the mystery, go find her body, let her fiancé have closure, and return home.
That means going back to the diner. To cooking and cleaning and putting up with Xylina. To long days and long nights. And doesn’t that sound like a little bit of heaven, ‘cause it means keeping Ollie safe with me and getting away from here. And that’s so worth it.
But first things first. We need to get Egbert out of the water. His baptism can wait, surely. We’re about to hand him the answer to what ails him on a silver platter. The sinister minister can just excuse him for a few moments. Maybe more.
I can lend Egbert my glasses so he can see and hear her. I just need to hang on to Ollie. No problem there.
Pastor Robinson doesn’t seem particularly pleased to see us, I can’t help but notice. No time to worry about that now.
“Go on to her and I’ll get Egbert.” After what happened last time Ollie was close to the man in black, I’m taking no chances on a repeat performance.
I motion toward the ghost, who flickers at the edge of the water, like a dying red light bulb. Ollie nods, and glances toward the pair in the water. His brow furrows unsurely, but he does as I request, and I step into the shallow water. It’s colder than I expected, but I don’t let that deter me. I can get warm later.
“Come on.” I beckon to Egbert. “There’s something we have to show you. Something important.”
“But I’m being baptized,” he protests. The minister presses down on Egbert’s shoulders and he kneels in the flowing creek.
“You’re interrupting,” Robinson chides me. “This is a private moment, if you don’t mind.”
Not exactly what you call cooperative. I glance toward Ollie, who’s reached Consuelo. Looks like he’s managed to calm her; her wail has diminished, luckily.
“It’s very important, Egbert,” I repeat. “It’s about Consuelo.” He starts to rise, but the minister holds him in place.
“Consuelo is not your concern,” Robinson insists.
“Well, maybe she wasn’t before, but she is now.” I barely manage to check my temper. We’re wasting time. Whoever said a spoonful of sugar paves the way didn’t know what they were talking about.
“Stan!” Ollie’s voice is sharp. My hackles rise as I turn toward him, instantly on my guard.
“Don’t move!” He splashes into the creek. My sense of danger grows greater with every step he takes.
Disregarding his instructions, I wade in his direction, intercepting his path. I reach Egbert and the pastor. The latter has his arm about Egbert’s neck. Funny position for a baptism.
“Pastor Robinson, I know what you did.” Ollie’s voice rises in anger. The pastor seems unconcerned, while Egbert looks more than a little confused.
“Did he...?” Damn, I didn’t see that coming.
“He killed Consuelo. He drowned her.”
“Me? Kill someone?” Robinson scoffs. “I’m a man of God. I would never—”
“What’s going on?” Egbert demands to know. I watch him attempt to rise, his efforts hamstrung by the arm about his neck.
“Stay where you are,” the pastor warns him in a steely voice. “We have unfinished business here.”
“Let him go,” Ollie demands. “Consuelo told me what you did.”
“Consuelo?” he sneers. “That’s not possible. Consuelo is—” He breaks off sharply, as if he’s said too much.
“Is what?” Egbert’s pain-filled voice cracks.
“Stan, the glasses,” Ollie urges. I pull them off and hand them to Egbert. The pastor makes a grab for me, but I reach for my weapon and point it at him.
“Let go of him,” I instruct him. Looking less than pleased, he eases his grip on Egbert, and Ollie pulls him out of harm’s way. I keep one eye on Robinson, one on Ollie. I don’t like how close he is, but at the moment it can’t be helped.
Ollie points toward the shore. “Put the glasses on, Egbert,” he pleads and the distraught man obeys. I move toward Ollie, careful to keep the gun trained on the pastor.
“Consuelo is dead,” Ollie says softly. “She told me you’re the one who did it. Lured her here on a pretext of baptizing her, and then you drowned her.”
“Big words,” Robinson sneers. “But where is your proof? You claim she’s dead, and that you’ve talked to her? That will hardly hold up in a court of law—”
“Consuelo,” Egbert moans and all turn toward him. His gaze is directed toward the grass. I touch Ollie’s arm with my free hand so I can see. Consuelo is indeed there, holding her arms toward Egbert plaintively.
A wave of pity washes over me. If that was Ollie... Damn.
“She’s really... really... dead?” A sob is wrenched from his throat, and he falls to his knees in the water again with a splash. Robinson is quick to seize the opportunity. He puts Egbert in a chokehold, using him as a shield between himself and my weapon. I take a chance on hitting Egbert if I fire and I know it.
“Why?” Egbert wails. “Why? I love Consuelo, she loves me... we’re getting married.”
“Why do you want to come between them?” Ollie asks, anger in his voice. “Why would you do such a terrible thing? She trusted you!”
“The Lord works in mysterious ways,” the pastor retorts. “And sometimes his methods aren’t pretty. I have my own interests to look out for, and my daughter’s.”
His daughter? What?
“Who’s that?” I ask confused.
It’s Egbert that supplies the answer.
“Emmy,” he replies, his gaze fixed on the fading spirit.
Emmy? You mean... “Bodean Fairchild’s girlfriend?”
to be continued
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