Mr. Foster

We got the address of Foster and one Ms. Rhonda Flint. Not even doctor. We stopped at Ms. Flint’s office but she was with a client so we said we’d come back when she was free which would be around 6pm when she closed the door. Her receptionist was nice enough and once I explained I was willing to wait she shoved us out the door told us to come back. Michaela decided she would watch the woman’s actions from across the street in the jeep and I could go talk to Mr. Foster who was around the corner at the high school.

I was barely older than the kids who were passing me in the halls as I navigated my way to the office where I’d check in. Schools weren’t as safe as they used to be. Security was high, and I’d left my weapons in the Jeep anyway. Didn’t need one if things went south anyway.

The office was filled with adults and I was greeted with a smile. “I’m looking for Mr. Foster.” I showed my PI license. “I have a few questions about Ralph Wood as I understand it they were friends.”

The woman nodded. “Such a shame to lose Ralph. He was a good man, such hard luck.” She looked at a book on the counter. Then pushed it my direction. “If you wouldn’t mind signing in, then I can have Anna take you to Mr. Foster. He’s in the gym preparing for the pep rally I’m sure.”

I signed the book and a small girl who was sitting in the chairs behind me patted my knee. “Follow me.”

I did as instructed. “You must be Anna. I’m Nox.” I introduced myself.

“You don’t look much older than me. What do you want with Mr. Foster?”

“He was friends with Mr. Wood and I’d like to talk to him.”

“He’s a scumbag, why do you want to talk to him? He abused Ruby, touched her. I know other girls who said the same thing.”

“He ever touched you?” I asked.

She paled and I knew I had my answer but she shook her head fervently. “No. never.” But she knew she didn’t sound confident and looked down the hall, and didn’t meet my eyes when she pointed me in the direction of Mr. Foster. Things were slowly falling into place. I could only hope that ruby came after him next. This man needed to die a very unhappy death. Raping girls was just plain wrong – ghost or no. I might even kill him myself.

But I was pretty sure Michaela would frown upon it.

The man was scrawny and balding and looked very much like a hawk. He bellowed at some boys, “Put that bleacher there.” He pointed in the opposite direction the boys were going. They were a huge contrast to the man himself – big strapping young boys who could probably break me in half.

“Mr. Foster.” I said as I walked up to him. “I was hoping I could talk to you about Ralph Wood.”

He looked at me with a scowl. “I’m busy.”

“I realize that, I can come back at another time.” I said with a wry smile.

He sighed as he looked at me. “We can talk while I oversee the boys, I guess. Since you are here already.” He lead me to the bleachers and sat down. I sat down next to him. “It’s a shame Ralph is dead. He was a good friend.”

“Was he acting strange before he passed?” I asked. “Like saying things that weren’t quite believable?”

“You’ve been talking to Deb out in the fields haven’t you. They swore they heard Ruby in the yard playing at night. Scaring the dogs under the beds.” He looked out at the boys and hollered a few more instructions before he looked at me. “Course, nobody ever believed em. Ruby’s been dead six some odd years now. She’d be a good ole eighteen by now, probably more beautiful than she was when she passed.” The way his face changed into a leer at his memories told me more than I needed to know. This man had done horrible things to little Ruby Wood.

“You heard anything strange? Seen anything?” I asked.

He patted his lip with the tip of his finger. “Now that you mention it. I did hear some moaning in the trees the past few nights, but when I went out to see there was nothing there. But good ole Chappy, he’s my hound dog, he come scampering into the house all scared like.”

“How long have you been hearing these things?”

Foster shrugged, “Couple nights.”

“How did you and Mr. Wood know each other?”

“We’s been best friends since we was kids. Done everything together.”

I nodded. “Thanks for your time. I might be stop by your place sometimes, check out those noises if you don’t mind?” I asked.

“You some wild game or critter catcher?”

“No my partner does some stuff for the park rangers in Colorado. We might be able to do something about them.”

“Then I’ll be seeing you.” He offered me his hand and I took it with care. Shook politely and then head out to see if I could find Michaela. Hopefully she’d be where I left her, but there was no telling.