P.S.I. Part III -- Without Betsy . . .And Others

Chapter 10 -- Alone With a Madwoman

Chapter 1 -- Stomping, Snorting Buck
Chapter 2 -- Pele or Meowzie?
Chapter 3 -- "High Tide"
Chapter 4 -- Three Phone Calls
Chapter 5 -- The Fire Pole
Chapter 6 -- "She's Got You Spoiled, Doesn't She?"
Chapter 7 -- Heartbreak Hotel
Chapter 8 -- Kentucky Christmas
Chapter 9 -- Betsy's Estate
Chapter 10 -- Alone With a Madwoman
Chapter 11 -- "Why, Ettie, why?"
Chapter 12 -- Three Starbursts
Chapter 13 -- Weep No More, My Lady
Chapter 14 -- 'Betsy's Revenge'
Chapter 15 -- The Geoff Papers
Chapter 16 -- The "Wedding Portrait"
Chapter 17 -- Silence Requested

One sunny day soon afterward, as Mike was bringing in groceries, he had left both the truck door and the front door of the house open.  While he was returning to the vehicle--but was still in the foyer--a gust of wind closed the truck door, causing a flash of light to track across the entry arch of the living room.
The flash reminded him of Betsy's spirit, and his own spirits plummeted.  He missed her terribly.  Barely able to get the groceries put away, he sat against the den windows and looked out over the ocean.  He felt no need to go to any kind of park, and chased away any thoughts of meeting up with Christine Coe, again.  Perhaps "High Tide" needed to be renamed, "The Shell," since he was born under the sign of water. 

A sense of foreboding washed over him.  The sensation was so strong it shook him out of his doldrums.  Something was about to happen--he could feel it.

On his way into work the next morning, Mike saw a Corvette Stingray--the exact model Brin had had in the dream.  Now his rare good night's sleep seemed in vain.  He had to keep telling himself it was just a dream, but it wouldn't work.

Mike might have been the quietest man in the station, but Cap had been working with him long enough to know when he was upset.  The captain invited his engineer into the office and showed him a chair.
"You know we've been working together for quite some time," Cap started, leaning back and putting his hands behind his head.
Mike nodded.
"I should hope that if something is eating at you, you'd let me know about it.  Especially since we now have a common bond."
Mike felt he would lose composure if he tried talking, so he nodded, again.  He didn't know where to start, and said so.
"Why don't you come over to my place tomorrow evening for dinner, and we can discuss it?  You can also see just how Ettie's acting."
They arranged a time and got back to work.

The next evening, as Ettie was carrying out her work dutifully, Mike thought perhaps simple marriage counseling would be in order.  That is, until she poured table salt on her hands over the sink, and started scrubbing dishes, like she was using regular dishwashing detergent.  He tried to think of how to tell Cap that they should take her on to Rampart, but the casserole she later placed in front of them smelled sooo good.  He was reminded of just how hungry he really was.  Cap asked the blessing; asked Mike for his plate; then spooned out a portion for him.  Cap in turn served his wife, then himself.   Ettie's homemade lemonade had already been served.

Cap's spouse didn't make much conversation.  She was more like an eating statue.  She was dressed in her trademark beehive hairdo, horn-rimmed glasses, and retro 50's clothing.  He looked at her hands--they were very red and seemed overly chapped.  Considering the immediate Stanley family history, discussing the dream seemed overtly inappropriate.  Mike instead lavished praises upon the meal--not that he was lying about it--but he wanted to see how Ettie reacted.

Before he got his answer, the room started looking weird.  Mike grabbed the table to stay steady.  He saw Ettie whisper something to Hank, who glared at him, then mumbled something.  Mike saw stars as Cap squarely landed a punch between his eyes.

Mike woke up in the Intensive Care Unit at Rampart -- again.  He thought his head would explode, with his stomach not far behind.
Nurse Sharon Walters looked down at him.  "Looks like I'm going to have to get mean with you."
Mike tried raising an eyebrow, but encountered only pain.
"You keep coming in here!  What are we to do with you?"
He wondered how he got there.  Sharon read his face.
"What happened between you and Cap?" she asked softly.
He couldn't remember anything.
"You were lucky," she continued.  "Whatever he did to your head didn't open your old injury."
His stomach turned as he remembered the near six months he spent in Rampart after being t-boned by a truck while driving the engine.  He and Marco both received a miraculous healing through the intercession of his murdered fiance.

After Mike was moved to a regular room, the police paid him a visit.
"No, I'm not pressing charges!" Mike insisted.  "Just let him go!"  He went on to explain what was happening at Cap's house.
The cops seemed perplexed, but honored Mike's request that Cap not be charged with anything.  Mike wanted to sleep so desperately, but the nurses wouldn't let him.  Johnny, Roy, and some other paramedics volunteered to sit with him to make sure he didn't go to sleep when he didn't need to.

A few nights later, after bedtime at the Hank Stanley house, something made Cap wake up, and he did so just in time to see Ettie bring a meat cleaver down toward his shoulder.  A searing pain went through his arm, as he thought, I'm about to be dismembered, and he ran from the bed and the house.

The night was cold, and he hadn't had a chance to grab his bathrobe.  He sought refuge under a bush behind a neighbor's house, and could feel the blood oozing through the fingers of his left hand.

He heard Ettie call him with slurred speech.  Had she been drinking?  Sounds of furniture being either overturned or destroyed shattered the stillness.  The neighborhood was unusually quiet.  Were all of the neighbors on vacation or something?

Cap tried to get his breathing under control so he wouldn't give himself away should she come outside.  He heard the backdoor screen squeak.
Speak of the devil. . .
The moon reflected off the meat cleaver's blade.
"Haaaank!" she called as she looked around the yard.
Would she pick up on his location because of the moon shining through the bush onto him?   Too late to move now.
Go back in, Cap willed.  Please, just go back in the house.  Go back in the house!
Oh, no.  She was turned his direction.  He tried to hold his breath.
Whack!  She cut a corner off the wooden bannister.

Just go back in the house, pleeease!
Whack!  She cut the rail in half, then went back into the house.
Cap released his breath, then ran around the back of the neighbor's house.  He daren't knock on the immediate next door neighbor's door.  He took a chance standing out on the sidewalk, but he had to see who was home.  And, oh, man, did his shoulder hurt!
He banged on the door of the one house that was lit, praying someone would be home.   A young mother shrieked when she saw him, and pulled him inside.  She put a blanket around his shoulders and called the police and fire departments for him.

"Put your knife on the ground!" the deputy commanded from behind his patrol car door.  Ettie seemed clueless, and acted as if she wasn't surrounded by sheriff's deputies with their handguns and rifles trained on her.  She weavered as if drunk, and continued to call her husband's name with slurred speech. 

A sheriff's deputy who greatly resembled Hank Stanley took his place next to the deputy with the bullhorn.  When Ettie saw the first man, her eyes grew wild; she started brandishing her weapon; and ran toward him screaming.  She fell face-first in a hail of gunfire, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Answers, please. . .