The heavy, impatient pounding on the door to our darkened room at the Ocean’s End Bed & Breakfast startled me awake. I peeked an eye open to check on my two sisters. Mags was sitting upright on her bed rubbing the sleep from her eyes while Shelby seemed to be sleeping. Following Shelby’s lead, I pretended to be asleep too so Mags would answer the door. We knew Mags’ shoot from the hip personality would get rid of the intruder quickly, whereas Shelby was timid. And me? Well, the jury was still out on that one.
My sisters and I were here in Cape May, New Jersey to attend our 10th year high school reunion. After graduation, we’d moved to Arizona to attend the Arizona State University and this was the first time we’d returned.
The pounding continued more forcefully until Mags threw her legs over the side of the bed and stood, then angrily padded toward the door, grumbling all the way. “I’m coming, for God’s sake,” she growled.
From the dim nightlight, I could see her lean in toward the peephole. Stepping back, she spewed out a few colorful adjectives.
“It’s Sissy Post, so Katie and Shelby you can stop pretending you’re asleep and get out of bed. I’m not dealing with this woman on my own.”
I slowly rolled over, wondering why Sissy was camped out at our door in the wee hours of the morning.
Sissy was a former classmate who’d been voted most likely to annoy, Class of 2009. It’s funny how you remember things like that, but Sissy was, as they say, unforgettable. And truth be told, it was highly unlikely things had changed much since we last saw her. Mags swiftly opened the door.
“What?” she said with irritation.
“There’s a dead body in my closet and my jewelry’s gone,” shot out of Sissy’s mouth like a dart—so quickly, I almost choked on the saliva in my mouth. As though on autopilot, Shelby and I jumped out of bed.
“Did you check for a pulse?” Shelby asked in a croaky voice. She’s a nurse practitioner.
“No,” Sissy said with indignance and flipped on the overhead light as she pushed past Mags. “I wasn’t about to touch no dead body.”
I immediately shielded my eyes from the brightness and waited for them to adjust. In spite of the temporary blindness, I was in full sleuth mode and the questions rolled off my tongue. “Then how do you know the person is dead?”
“Because I saw blood on her dress, and she didn’t budge when I kicked her foot. . . that’s how.” Sissy shook her head, the blond curls under the hideous turban she was wearing swayed with the movement. “She’s deader than a pail of rocks,” she said then paused briefly looking at each of us independently. “You guys don’t look like the triplets I remember–especially that one,” she nodded toward Mags, who marched to her own drum, much to mom’s chagrin. Mags’ inked arms and partially shaved head with the remaining hair dyed in hues of aqua and black, she was quite a sight. No doubt, she would send the over-sixty crowd of Cape May off the deep end, for fear she’d been dropped off by a spaceship.