by Flying Fox
The crime scene of the destroyed bus is investigated further.
Chapter 7: Secrets of Lies
State Road 9, between Foxvalley and Canon City, Colorado
May 28, 5:18 A.M.
The brilliant waxing crescent moon sank into the tall pine trees, hiding beneath the dark leaves, petrified by the sight on State Road 9. A blue haze filled the sky from the east. Along with the yellow glow of Denver in a thick mist over the eastern mountain ridge. The stars of the grey night sky dissipated in the incoming light of day. The songs of early birds rang through the mountain region. A red 70s style car sat dormant off to the side of the road. Glass laid shattered in pieces on the windshield. A human leg rested in a dent in the glossy red hood of the car. Dried blood crusted around the end of the leg that had been separated from the body.
The leg hadn’t even been sliced off, not a clean cut. Most of the evidence pointed towards the fact it had been pulled from the rest of the body. A single white tennis shoe covered over the foot of the disembodied leg. Three strips of scarlet red stained the shoe. The shattered glass beneath the leg stabbed sharp edges coated in blood. Behind the car, lying in the center of the street, a large flat tire rested on the asphalt of the road.
It laid, lonely, by itself in the headlights of a black Ford Taurus, sitting vacant up the road. Behind it the red and blue light of the patrol car flashed. The lights lit the forest around road in red and blue colors. On the opposite side the road, across from the bent up car sat a smashed-up hunk of metal. Another tire laid on the ground, separated from anything else. A stop sign leaned, detached from the hunk of metal, on the side. A dark scarlet red streak hung down the front of the red stop sign. It covered over the “O” of the white lettered word, “STOP”.
Along the top side of the hunk of flattened metal sat a row of glassless windows. Around the silver metal frames of the windows remained crusts of dried dark red blood. Underneath the row of windows it read on yellow paint in black letters, “Park County Community Schools”. Above where the stop sign should of been laid a couple lumps of skin. Bloodied and torn with slices of muscles hanging out into one of the smashed windows. One looked to be a disembodied arm with a red painted sleeve. Crushed, snapped bones Sliced out of the skin through slit, flattened skin. A puddle of dark red surrounded the arm. A few feet from the arm slumped a leg in a very similar condition, disembodied and crushed to a small lump of pulp. The skin almost flat with a small crushed bone inside. Blood and muscle escaped through rips in the skin, leaking down into open holes and cracks in the bus. A bloodied piece of jean pants covered the smashed leg. Dried red crusts surrounded the foot’s crushed shoe, it’s rubber sole completely ripped in half. It leaked blood, crushed skin, and string of muscle.
The bright blue LED gloom flashing from the forest behind the bus. They protruded from a flashlight. F.B.I. Agent David Budsworth hiked from the wooded forest. Light skimming across the forest floor in front of him. A black government issued flashlight held firmly in his hand. He stepped up to a tree on the side of the road. The remaining bent up pieces of the school bus remained beside them. Benjamin sat with his back up against the tree, looking forward, blankly. Budsworth sighed and sat down beside him. “Listen Ben, I apologize for what happened to your brother.” Budsworth sympathized with him. Ben didn't give any reply. Neither did he give any proof that he even heard Budsworth, or paid any attention. He continued staring into the darkness of the forest across the street as if he looked on into a mysterious void.
A tear streamed down from his eye. He reached up and wiped it away quickly. Budsworth followed his gaze across the street at the shadowed forest. He laid his back against the tree beside Ben. He reached into his front pocket and pulled out a small copper bullet. Ben’s gaze shifted toward it. The sharp, penetrating tip gleamed in the shine of a the headlights of Budsworth’s car. “What’s with the bullet?” Asked Ben. Budsworth looked back down at him for a quick moment, then looked back at the bullet in his hand.
“Four years ago. During a case.” Budsworth began to tell. “I always was specialized in disappearance cases. Except this time it was my sister. I vowed myself that I'd find her, and I vowed to my parents too. She was found a few days later dead I some guy’s basement. When I went to hunt him down he found me first. From there I realized just how dangerous my job could be. One of the rookie FBI agents appeared a the right time and shot him. This is the bullet he shot him with. That agent of Special FBI agent David Higgins. We became good friends and about a year later we became partners.”
Ben looked up from the bullet at him. “So what happened to agent Higgins? Why isn't he here with you?” Ben asked.
“The reason I was a week late getting here is because we were recovering from our last case. I was learning to walk again in a hospital and they prepared Higgins for his burial.” Budsworth answered. He stuffed the copper bullet back into his jean pocket. “On our last case I was shot. When Higgins came around the corner in killed the man who shot me. This time he was a little late, unfortunately. He shot and killed Higgins. I was in the hospital for five days, unconscious. Then I attended Higgin’s funeral. My boss was the one who convinced me to come work on this case.”
“I’m sorry,” Ben said, looked down to the forest floor. “About what happened to your partner.”
“Yeah, Higgins was a great men.” Budsworth repeated the words that had came from Alex’s mouth a few days ago. The headlights of a car coming from the south shined down the street. Budsworth stood up from the tree, and stepped up to the side of the road. A light blue Mini Cooper came to a rolling stop in front of him. It pulled into the grass beside the road. The driver’s side door swung open. A stick snapped from behind Budsworth. He twirled around to see Henderson trudging up behind him through the denseness of the forest.
A taller women stood up out of the car. Her long, sandy blonde hair stretched down into a ponytail at the back of her head. Her stunning hazel eyes sparkled in the headlights of Budsworth’s car. She buried a hand into the pocket of her skinny black dress pants, held up by a black leather belt. She stood on a pair of black high heel shoes. A black unbuttoned sweater settled over her purple button-up shirt, covering her magnificent figure. Her amazing smiling lips shined of vibrant pink lipstick. She stood sturdy, her chest sticking out. Henderson brushed by Budsworth and held out his hand to shake her’s, She lowered her hand into his and shook it firmly.
“Oh Agent Budsworth, this is Haylee Leeway. She's the town veterinarian and wildlife biologist.” Henderson explained, “Mrs. Leeway this is FBI agent Budsworth. He’s here to look into the disappearances of the Johnsons and Deputy Mills.”
Her gaze shifted over Budsworth. Her lips parted, showing a beautiful and stunning smile. She stepped up to him, her eyes reflecting the red and blue light flashing from Henderson’s patrol car. She held out her hand for Budsworth to shake. He hesitated for a moment. Too busy staring into her beautiful eyes. He finally held out his hand, hardly able to keep his face from lightening up. He wanted to look serious, but for some reason he found it too hard when he stared her into the eyes. He shook her hand, firmly. His heart felt like it could bust out of his chest.
She gave him another stunning smile before walking off. Budsworth sighed and closed his eyes. Haylee stepped up to the hunk of metal behind them. “What happened here?” She asked. Then she saw the letters, “Park County Community Schools.” “Oh my gosh.”
“Yeah, it’s bad. We don't know what did it, or who.” Henderson said stepping up behind her. She saw movement coming from a tree in the forest. Ben leaned against a tall pine tree beside the road.
“What’s he doing out here?” Asked Haylee, pointing at him. Henderson glanced at Ben then back at her.
“Ben’s here because his brother was out with the rest of the football players last night.” Henderson explained, “We found the bottom half of him down the hill.”
“Dear gosh,” Her eyes wetted, filled with sorrow. She rushed up to him and grabbed ahold of his arms. “Are you alright?” She asked.
“Besides my brother being dead, and half his body gone, I guess so.” Ben mumbled under his breath. Haylee glanced back at Henderson. Her eyes were clouded with worry.
“Do you mind if I take him home?” She asked. Henderson shook his head. Of course he didn't care. He didn't want to bring Ben in the first place. “Okay common Ben I’ll drop you off by home.” She started returning to her car, but Ben remained stationary for a few moments. “Common Ben,” she ordered, open the passenger side door or him.
“Hang on a second,” Ben announced. He stepped up to Budsworth, pulling a tennis ball from his pocket. He handed it to Budsworth.
“What’s with the Tennis ball?” He asked, looking down at it. On the side it read in permanent marker, “Kevin Karmin” in cursive black sharpie. It must've belonged to his brother at some point, but why give it to him?
“My brother gave it to me. When I was eight he’d take me to the park and we’d play tennis. When he started to play football that's when he gave me this tennis ball.” Ben explained. Budsworth looked back down at the tennis ball, shocked. Why would he give him something so special, something so sentimental? It was like the bullet he had to remind him of how strong his bond was with Higgins and him. Why would he want him to take it?
“Are you sure?” Asked Budsworth.
“Yeah, I can’t keep it. There's no way I can handle having it on me. It may have sentimental value, but that’s why I want you to have it. It’s important to me someone take it who’d use it. Hey, in that way when all this is done you'll have something to remember you of our quaint little hamlet.” Ben explained. Budsworth nodded in acknowledgment. He lifted the ball in front of Ben.
“I’ll make sure nothing happens to it.” He smiled. Ben nodded and headed toward Haylee’s Mini Cooper. Both doors of the front seats slammed closed and the engine rumbled on. The headlights blinded down the road. They watched as the Mini Cooper pulled out onto state road 9. It disappeared down the road past the Foxvalley welcome sign. “Nice lady,” Budsworth told Henderson.
“I saw the way you looked at her. She's a lot more to you than just a ‘nice lady.’” Henderson joked. Budsworth gave off a bit of a smile. The darkness made it a bit difficult to search for more clues as to what happened. Henderson's gaze soon shifted from Budsworth to something in the distance behind him. Budsworth followed his gaze. Beside the flattened bus behind him, lying on the ground, rolled a spherical shape. A red puddle formed around the bottom of it. Henderson stepped past him, brushing shoulders with him.
He knelt down and picked up the spherical shape. Black hair arose from the top of the bodiless head. Crusted, dried blood coated the clean cut of the neck. Budsworth stepped up behind Henderson. His eyes still glued to the disembodied head below. Henderson looked up at him. “Did you know him?” Budsworth asked.
“Yeah, Richie Hartford. Good kid, one of the best football players in Foxvalley.” Henderson answered, his gaze slumping back down at the bodiless head before him. Budsworth flicked on his flashlight and rolled the beam of light over the forest floor. He stepped closer in. Fallen twigs and branches snapped under his feet as he continued on through the dense overgrowth.
A hoot owl hooted in the darkness. Budsworth continued to search around. A foul stench came to his senses. He couldn't smell anything else but the reek of death. Budsworth shined his flashlight onto a nearby tree the smell derived from. The beam revealed a vibrant scarlet red stain slashed down the bottom trunk of the tree. A drop of blood dripped onto the top rim of Budsworth’s flashlight. He raised the beam of light up towards the tree where the blood dripped from. A bloody red shirt hung from a branch high up on the tree. A ripped jersey with the white numbers 27 glowed in the flashlight’s beam. The top edge where the name should of been was missing, torn from existence. Replaced by a dark red stain around the edges.
Budsworth let out a slight groan and removed his black overcoat. His white, ripped button-up shirt shone bright in the moonlight. Crisp dry blood glued to the cut in his arm.. Budsworth placed the butt of the flashlight in his mouth, and grabbed ahold of a loose piece of bark on the tree. He grabbed another one above it and hoisted himself up. One of the loose pieces of bark snapped under his weight. He tumbled back onto the forest floor, landing on his back. Air forces itself out of his lungs as his back slammed against the roots of the tree. When he regained a gasp of air he arose from the leaf covered, forest floor and tried it again. He lifted his arm in another attempt to grab another loose piece of bark, this time one that could hopefully support his weight. A stick stepped behind him. He looked back from the bark of the trunk for only a second.
Henderson stepped up behind him, shining his flashlight up the tree. “Uh agent Budsworth, what are you doing?” He asked, an eye brow raided. Budsworth, with a inaudible mumble, shined the beam of his flashlight up at the bloodied shirt and jersey hanging from a high branch of the tree. He lifted himself up and grabbed ahold of another pair of loose pieces of bark. He hoisted himself up again and grabbed onto one of the branches. After lifting the rest of his body out on the high branch he scooted out toward the shirt. Once he got within reaching distance he snatched it from the tree branch. A piece of the branch through one of the shirt sleeves snapped, and it flew into another, darker part of the woods.
The sound of the branch snapping echoed throughout the valley. Budsworth climbed back down the tree, the bloody shirt with the jersey over his shoulder. He hopped off the bottom part of the trunk of the tree, slamming his legs down into the grassy forest floor. Wiping off a sea of precipitation from his face, Budsworth removed the bloodied shirt from over his shoulders. He knelt down beside the tree, and picked up his black suit overcoat. “So what now?” Asked Henderson. Budsworth glanced back him for a quick moment before replacing his overcoat back over his arms.
“I need to get blood sampled from both those legs and that arm on the bus. Then I want to get a blood sample and anything else I could get from that half of a body down there,” Budsworth answered. Henderson gave him a worried look. His eyebrows bent up and eyes widened, filled with of worry.
“Are you going to be able to handle that?” Henderson asked, “I saw what you left behind. Are you okay?”
“Yes... I'm fine,” answered Budsworth, annoyance in his voice. He rolled his eyes and bent down to pick up the bloodied shirt again. He felt the sharp ping of guilt slice through his chest. He lied, in no way was he fine, and he knew it. He didn’t know what was wrong, just that it wasn’t normal.
“Budsworth you puked blood, and more than that. I think it'd be a good idea if you go to the clinic when we’re finished here,” Henderson announced.
“Fine,” Budsworth muttered, brushing past him. He hiked back out towards the road. The darkness began to escape the sky as the sun began its take over. The stars in the sky dissipated, heading to a twelve hour sleep. The shadows of the forest grew wider, conquering the forest floor under its darkness. Budsworth emerged from the forest, beside the road. Precipitation dripped from his head like the running air conditioner of a car. Fog filled the atmosphere, putting the Foxvalley welcome sign into a white mist. Budsworth continued down the side of the street a few feet past the bus. He stopped and pulled out a cotton swab from one of the inner side pockets of his overcoat. From a pocket on the opposite side of his suit he retracted a small glass tube with a black cap. He reached over the bus, and swept up a dab of blood belonging to both the leg and the arm. Blood from both the arm and leg were mixed together from being in such close proximity. Then he twisted the cap off the tube and plopped in the cotton swab. He retightened the cap, then restored it in his overcoat to be examined later when he'd get to the clinic.
He glared down the road. Budsworth rushed across the street, pulling a separate tube and cotton swab from his overcoat. He took a swab of the blood from the disembodied leg resting on the car’s bent hood. When he finished he, too, stored it away in the same pocket he placed the last one. He made another frantic rush across the street. He headed for the place he last seen the bottom half of Ben’s brother. It still laid down there in a puddle of dried blood. Blood covered inners and guts hung out of the top. The belt of the pants the legs wore was painted a dark scarlet red. Budsworth climbed down the side of the mountain toward the half of a dead body. He pulled another cotton swab and tube from his overcoat. He stopped the moment he saw the familiar slimy saliva he had found at the Johnson’s farm. “Hey Henderson! Come here I think I may have found something.” Budsworth announced from the overgrowth.
Henderson appeared a few moments later through a dense bush. His light brown pants were covered in thorns. Blood tricked from some of them. Burs glued them self’s to the shoelaces of his leather boots. “What is it?” Asked Henderson. He knelt down in front of the body before them. Budsworth pointed at the saliva substance.
“That was the stuff I found at the Johnson’s farm. It was all over the dead pieces of the animals. I gave it to Doctor Reynard, but she told me it wasn't even human so she couldn't even do any tests on it.” Budsworth answered, pulling another tube and cotton swab from his overcoat.
“Well, I’d be damned,” Sheriff Henderson said.
May 28, 6:42 A.M.
The light blue Mini Cooper pulled into the driveway of a large white shingled house. Blue shingles lined up, side-by-side of each other along the roof. A brick chimney stabbed out of the top of the roof, in the far corner of the building. A walkway led from the driveway up to a screen door, that led into a screen room. Transparent, black screens guarded the way into the sunroom, darkening the sunlight into the room. The driver’s side door of the Mini Cooper opened. Haylee stepped out, she dropped Ben off at his his house no more than twenty minutes ago. A few minutes later she grabbed a few groceries from the “Pizza Between Park and Fremont.” She reached back in and popped the trunk. Bags of groceries flooded the truck from corner to corner.
Haylee slammed the driver’s side door behind her, and stepped around to the back of her car and raised the popped trunk up. She reached in and crowded her arms with four large plastic bags. She slammed the trunk close and lumbered into the sunroom of the house. A outdoor porch light hung from the wall beside the front door. She rested the four bags down under the porch light. They laid down across a light brown carpet floor. Haylee reached into her pant pocket and retracted a set of keys. She flipped, frantically through them until she found the right one. An unsettling feeling overwhelmed her. It felt as if a couple eyes stalked her from the darkness of the woods. She turned and looked back at the forest behind her.
She saw nothing but the shadows of the trees inhabiting the intimidating woods behind her. Haylee shifted her gaze back at the front door. She chose the correct key and shoved it into the keyhole. A stick snapped from the forest floor behind her. He glimpsed back at the darkening woods behind her. Still, nothing watched her back, not that she could see anyways. She twisted the key in the door, and pushed it open. Haylee gathered back up all the bags beside, about to head back inside. She stopped as soon as she heard the snap of a stick. Her gaze stared back into the forest behind her, surveying the landscape for anybody.
Again, nothing appeared. Haylee shrugged. It must’ve been some animal, she thought, stepping up into her house. The door slid closed behind her. She locked it behind her. Her heartbeat skipped as the sound of another stick snapped, echoing throughout the mountain range. The walls of the room she stood in shined of reflective white paint. Carpet, the same color as the sunroom carpet, stretched the entire stretch of the living room and hallway beyond it. Haylee carried the plastic bags down a hallway toward an archway to the left. She stepped through it into a kitchen. The same whiten wallpaper paint that lit the living room filled the kitchen walls, but the floor was different. Glossy, black tiles flooded the Kitchen floor instead of the light brown carpet of the living room and hallway. Counters stretched around the room. A charcoal color painted the countertops, similar to the color of the kitchen floor tiles. The bottom cabinets of the counters shined the same shade of white as the walls around the entirety of the house.
A couple more counters sat in the center of the room. A sink sat in the center of the counters. Hanging above them was a couple pots and pans along with a ceiling lamp hanging down from the ceiling. Haylee stepped in and placed the bags on top the counter. The sound of a creaking door caught her attention. Her heart rate sped up. It pumped repeatedly, only increasing in speed. She reached across the sink and pulled a knife from a wooden knife rack to the side of the silver colored sink.
Haylee slowly took a few baby steps towards the archway into the hallway. Her breath sped up. Her eyes wide, full of terror. She held the knife to her chest like a little girl who’d hold a teddy bear she’d adored all her life. The floor outside the room creeped under the weight of the intruder’s feet. She peaked around the side of the archway at the front door. There stood a man. His skin of a red Native American color. He stared he down with black soulless eyes. “Hello Miss Leeway, I think we have something very important to speak about,” he announced, stepping up closer to her. On his face smiled a crooked grin.
“M... Mr. Hackshaw, what… what are you doing here?” She asked. Terror filled her body. Hackshaw motioned toward the dining room table.
“Let us sit. I have something to speak to you with,” He repeated. She gave him a slight nod, and stepped into the dining room with. A yellow shaded ceiling light hung from a copper handle hanging from the ceiling. She pulled out one of the four chairs surrounding an oval-shaped dining table. An uneasy feeling settled over her. She stared at the glass, water-filled, vase in the center of the table, attempting to not make eye contact. A withering dead rose bent over the rim of the vase. Hackshaw brushed passed her and sat down in the seat across from her. He placed a older, yellowed newspaper on the table beside him. He crossed his arms and looked her in the eyes. “I know you've seen the FBI agent.” He stated. She gave a small unreassuring nod, afraid of where this conservation was going. “I need you to do me a favor. Don't tell him anything.”
“Why not?” She asked, lying her back against the chair behind her. She crossed her arms, her eyes, burning in anger. Did this asshole really just stepped in my house to tell me what to do? She thought, he had no right to even attempt to tell me what to do.
“Trust me, you have no idea who he really is.” Hackshaw answered very vaguely. He pushed the newspaper toward her. Haylee looked down at it. On the front page, it dated, October 22, 1958. Under the the date it read in bold black ink. “Death of man and girlfriend puts town into the dark” to the left under the heading she could see an old black and white photo. A couple FBI agent stood overlooking a tarp-covered body lying over the ground. Yellow Police tape stretched behind them. Prevented a crowd from getting through. In the center of a crowd of people, stranded behind the tape she could see a familiar man. She could see his black coat and blue jean pants. His hair style appeared very similar to that of Budsworth’s. In fact he looked exactly like Budsworth, even in the face. “That man standing there who you're staring at, is Darren Alen Holland. I knew him when he used to live here. We played poker with Steven’s grandfather, Kaleb Queens.” Hackshaw explained, “Darrel disappeared the day directly after the FBI supposedly apprehended the real killer.”
“How can that be?”
“Easy, he's neither what or who you think he is. He’s anything but normal.” Hackshaw explained, stealing the newspaper back from her. He folded it up and stuffed it in the back pocket of his jeans. he fit his hands together on the table. “I'm going to need you to keep this to us. Don't tell any of the towns people, none of this to the sheriff, definitely don't tell Budsworth. We need to keep this a secret, our little secret,” Hackshaw ordered, a slay smile stretching across his face.
“Well, what if I don't keep your secret?” Haylee asked. The Native American reached his hand into his brown leather vest. When he removed his hand, it came out with a silver revolver in his hand. The handle was white, engraved with the figure of a wolf.
“If you don't keep our secret I’ll find out, and let’s just say, you won’t be having a very good day...”