Naked Lady Dreams


by E. M. Lohr



There are weird things and there are really weird things. Dating a murderess is scandalous, but dating your wife’s murderess is even more scandalous. Jack’s life is changed forever when his wife and her lover are murdered while in the throes of passion. Then he begins to date the woman who committed the double murder. The oddity and novelty of his relationship makes for interesting interactions and even more interesting dreams. Dreams of a naked lady.



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Chapter 1



A flashing blue light was approaching rapidly in my rear view mirror. Instinctively, I looked down at my speedometer and noted that I was only slightly over the speed limit. Wondering what the deal was, I cautiously guided the car onto the shoulder of the road. Expecting the police car to pull in behind me, I was pleasantly surprised when it flew by instead. Smiling, I steered the car back onto the two-lane country road.

It was early evening and I was driving home from work a little later than usual. Even though I lived a few miles outside of a local town, I worked in the big city about twenty miles away. Daylight was fading fast in the crisp September air and the radio was playing a song by my favorite artist, Neil Diamond. As I sang along to Song Song Blue, a recent hit he had written and recorded, the scenery sped by unnoticed. There was still about five miles to go until I got to the house and the fatigue of the day was weighing heavy on my eyes.

Thinking of home reminded me that my wife undoubtedly had dinner waiting for me. She would probably be worried because I was late, although I had phoned her earlier to let her know that I had a late afternoon meeting to attend. When I had called her, all I had gotten was the answering machine. So I had left her a message, figuring she was indisposed or otherwise occupied.

Making the last turn off the main road onto a narrow paved lane before I would get to my driveway, I braked briefly as a couple of deer darted across the road ahead of me. Seeing them reminded me why we had chosen to live out in the countryside rather than in one of the many housing developments nearer to the city. Our house was situated on twenty wooded acres adjacent to a mixture of farm land and pastures. Both the wife and I enjoyed the quiet and solitude of being away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

It was only a short mile to the house now. Topping the low rise before the driveway, I saw a sea of flashing red and blue lights. There was an ambulance, several police cars, a fire rescue truck, and other cars I didn’t recognize parked in the driveway and on the front yard. What on earth was going on at my house? and other thoughts raced through my mind. Apprehensive and worried about the activity, I eased into the driveway and parked next to a police cruiser on the front lawn. Getting out of the car, I uneasily took in the chaotic scene and hurried anxiously towards the open front door. A uniformed policeman stepped out of the house, the lights from within casting a looming shadow over me as he met me at the bottom of the front steps.

“What’s going on, Officer?” I demanded tersely, trying to see around him into the house.

“Who are you?” he challenged, blocking my way and view into the house.

“Mr. Valtine,” I answered defensively. “I live here.”

“I’m sorry. I can’t let you in the house. I have to ask you to wait here for the detective,” he stated firmly, not moving out of the way.

“What’s going on?” I questioned in an agitated tone. “Is my wife alright?”

The policeman didn’t respond, but from the look on his face, I could tell things were not alright. After what seemed an eternity, but probably was only a minute or so, a man dressed in a grey suit came out the door and down the steps.

“Are you Mr. Valtine?” he asked me.

“Yes, I am,” I answered and demanded to know, “Is my wife okay? What is going on? Has there been a burglary or something? Why can’t I go into my own house?”

Sighing and not looking happy, the man took my arm and guided me over next to the car by the ambulance. In the fading light, I could tell he was very uncomfortable.

“I’m Detective Barns from homicide,” he stated and flashed a badge at me.

“Homicide? My wife. Is she okay?” I managed to ask, a little unnerved by the whole situation.

“There’s a dead woman in the house that we believe is your wife,” he stated flatly.

Seeing the disbelief on my face, he continued logically, “The wedding pictures on the dresser in the bedroom have both you and this woman in them.”

My wife. Dead. How could that be? My knees started to buckle as what he said sank in and I leaned on the car for support. A thousand questions burst into my head and I couldn’t concentrate enough to get any one of them out.

“What happened?” I finally managed to blurt out, the words gushing from my mouth. My brain couldn’t seem to formulate any other response.

“We don’t know exactly,” he replied patiently, watching me closely. “The best we can piece together right now is that we have two dead people in the house and one of them appears to be your wife. It looks like some kind of fight took place.”

I was feeling sick to my stomach, but suppressed the urge to throw-up.

“I need to take a statement from you,” he continued after a moment and then suggested, “Why don’t we take a ride down to the station.”

Numb and not knowing what else to say or do, I nodded and he opened the passenger door of the car and I sat down inside. The drive to the station was a blur. He tried to make small talk, but my thoughts were incoherent and I couldn’t focus them. Arriving at a public building, we got out and I followed him up some steps and into a lobby area. Unlocking and opening a side door, he stepped aside and I went in ahead of him.

“Have a seat in there,” he pointed to an open door just up the hallway.

Going into the room, I sat down in a hard wooden chair in front of a small desk and he came in behind me.

“Coffee?” he offered.

Shaking my head no, he proceeded to pour himself a cup from a pot in the corner of the room. Setting it on the desk, he seated himself and took out a yellow pad and pencil.

“I’m sorry, but I have to ask these questions,” he stated in an apologetic voice.

I was having trouble coming to terms with the situation and simply nodded my head.

“Was your wife having an affair?” he asked quietly.

“Not that I knew of,” I replied flatly.

“Did she work outside the house?”

“No.”

Before he could ask another question, the phone on the desk rang and he picked it up.

“This is Barns,” I heard him say.

“Uh huh, okay, thanks,” was the side of the conversation I could hear before he hung up the phone.

“That was my partner. He’s still at your house,” he shared. “He’s got an ID on the dead man. Does the name Matt House mean anything to you?”

Wracking my brain, I couldn’t find a connection in my memory and shook my head no. The events were catching up with me and, as I shifted in my chair, I almost fell out. Grabbing the corner of the desk, I steadied myself.

Sighing, he put down his pencil and said, “Listen, our investigation of this is going to keep your house tied up for the rest of the night. Do you have somewhere to spend the night other than a hotel?”

I didn’t have any close friends or relatives in the area and told him so.

“I see,” he muttered, more to himself than to me, and added, “Look, I’m not arresting you or charging you with anything tonight. But I would like you to spend the night here and we can do this in the morning.”

Having nowhere else to go and feeling a bit dazed and out of it, I nodded and he stood up and told me to come with him.

I followed him out of the office and down the hall to where several jail cells lined the wall. It reminded me in a strange way of the Mayberry jail on The Andy Griffith Show but with more cells. Indicating an open door to one of them with his hand, I went inside.

“I’m not going to lock the door,” he stated, swinging the barred door shut. “In the morning, we’ll know more and finish taking your statement.”

With that he was gone, leaving me standing in the middle of the cell. Looking around, I saw a toilet in the corner. Against the opposite wall was a single bunk bolted to the block wall. An old flat rumpled pillow was at one end and a pad and blanket was stacked in the center. The cell was old style; that is, it had iron bars across the front and over the one window in the back with solid block side walls. A single stark bare light bulb was glaring down on me from several feet overhead.

The events of the evening hit me like a ton of bricks and I collapsed on the bunk. Lying on the bunk and staring at the cracked plaster, I tried to focus on what I knew and not on what I felt. My wife was dead. Maybe murdered, maybe something else. And there was a dead man at my house. Who was this Matt House? Who had done it? Tossing and turning on the bunk with my tormented thoughts, I figured that I would never get to sleep. That was the last thought I had before passing out.

Voices and clanging of metal against metal woke me some time later. Looking across the cell and out the bars, I could see a woman being escorted down the hall between uniformed male and female officers.

“Put her in the end cell,” the male policeman instructed. “This is a suicide watch, so you’ll have to stay here until I can find someone to replace you.”

“Just my luck,” the female officer complained, not seeming at all happy with the assignment. “Don’t be all night getting someone. I have plans for tomorrow.”

They passed my cell and went into the one next to mine. I could hear the woman prisoner sobbing as her cell door was closed and locked. The male left and the female officer sat down at a small desk across from our cells. Looking bored, she flipped through an old magazine that was lying there.

The woman in the cell stopped crying and it was quiet for a while. Just as I was drifting off to sleep again, I heard her say in a shaky voice, “They deserved to die.”

“Honey,” the guard chastised kindly, “It’s not in your best interest to be talking to me about it. Remember the part about what you say can be used against you.”

“I don’t care,” the female prisoner went on defiantly. “The bitch was fucking my husband. She just got in the way. Not that she didn’t deserve to die, too. But I hadn’t intended to kill her.”

“Look,” the guard lectured sternly, “You need to keep this to yourself. If someone asks me if you said anything, I gotta tell them what you said. Besides, you have company in the next cell and I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear about it.”

“I don’t give a shit if the whole damn world hears me,” the woman exclaimed loudly. “Matt House was a bastard and the woman he was fucking was a bitch.”

Matt House. That was the name of the man the detective said they had found dead with my wife. I was suddenly very interested in what this woman had to say. Sitting up on the edge of the bunk, I listened for more but was greeted with silence.

“Who are you?” I called out to her after a moment.

“Stella House. What’s it to you?” she replied belligerently.

“Who was the woman you killed?” I asked, fearing the answer, but wanting to know never the less.

“I didn’t know her name,” came the reply. “She was fucking my Matt and I figured it didn’t matter what her god damn name was. Who in the hell are you?”

The guard, who had been listening to us, stood up and walked over to the cells where she could be seen by both of us. Glaring at us, she told us in no uncertain terms to be quiet. Satisfied with our silence, she sat back down and picked up her magazine again.

My curiosity was peaked, but I didn’t want to piss off the guard. Lying back down, I absorbed what I had just heard. It sounded like my wife’s murderer was in the cell next to me. It also sounded like my wife had been sleeping around behind my back. I was torn between the grief of losing a loved one and the feelings of betrayal from her adultery.

As I lay there awash with emotion, I heard squeaking noises from outside the cell and noticed the guard squirming around in her chair. Her relief was nowhere in sight and I was betting she needed to use the bathroom. Sure enough, after a few more minutes of squirming, the guard apparently decided she couldn’t wait any longer, got up, and walked down the hall and out the door. Looking for the bathroom was my guess.

“Hey,” I called out to the woman in the other cell.

“What do you want,” the woman demanded sharply.

“I want to know about what you did,” I answered.

“You heard me. I killed my husband and the bitch he was fucking,” she declared in a matter-of-fact voice. “I caught them screwing this afternoon and shot both of them.”

I didn’t say anything as I let my emotions absorb what she shared. She had just confirmed what my mind had feared.

“Was the woman about five-foot-five, slender, with mousey brown hair?” I asked, describing my now dead wife.

“Yeah, that sounds about like her,” came the terse reply. “I hadn’t ever seen her before, but when I followed that cheating husband of mine today, I found them in bed together.”

I wanted to see what this woman looked like, so I pushed open my cell door and walked over and stood in front of her cell. Through the bars, I could see an arrangement similar to what I had next door. Sitting on the bunk was a woman who looked like she had been ridden hard and put up wet. Her long hair was uncombed and messy and tears from earlier had left tracks on her dirty cheeks as they had washed down her face. She was a slender built woman similar in size to my wife.

“What are you looking at?” she demanded. “And how did you get out of your cell?”

“I think you killed my wife this afternoon,” I stated flatly.

My statement caused her to look at me sharply. Our eyes met and I could see the pain in hers. Breaking off, she looked at the floor in front of her feet.

“I’m sorry about your wife,” she offered softly. “But I bet you didn’t know that she was fucking my husband.”

“No,” I agreed flatly, “I didn’t know. If I had, I probably would be locked in the cell instead of you. I’m not saying what you did was right, just that I think I understand why you did it.”

“Thanks,” she said after a moment, looking back at me again.

An awkward silence followed as I stared numbly at her. Not knowing what else to say, I went back into my cell and pulled the door shut behind me. Sitting back down on the bunk, I tried to gather my thoughts and wits back together. Just then the female guard came back up the hallway. She looked at me and glanced into the other cell before sitting back down at the desk. I was glad that she hadn’t overheard our conversation.

Lying back down, thoughts of the evening played in my head until I passed out. Morning came and I awoke, dazed and confused. Outside the cell there was a different female guard than when I had gone back to sleep. Standing and stretching, I looked at the toilet in the corner and then at the guard. She had a direct view to it. Deciding that I would prefer a place with more privacy, I pushed the cell door open and started to step out. The guard looked up in surprise.

“Where do you think you’re going?” she demanded as she stood to meet me at the door.

“To find a private bathroom,” I responded unconcerned.

“I don’t know why you’re not locked in,” she stated, “But you’re not going anywhere.”

I looked at her sharply and then realized that she didn’t know who I was or why I was there. Before I could explain, the door at the end of the hall opened and the detective came in. Seeing us standing there in a confrontational manner, he hurried towards us.

“It’s okay, officer,” he intervened. “He’s not a prisoner.”

Looking confused but reassured by the detective, she backed away and I stepped out of the cell.

“Bathroom?” I asked the detective.

Beckoning me to follow, he led me out of the cell area and pointed to a door that had ‘Men’ posted on it. Going in, I did my business. Looking in the mirror, I saw that I needed to shave. Settling for a quick face wash and combing of my dark hair instead, I stepped back out into the hallway. The detective was waiting and led me to the same office that we had sat in the evening before.

“Coffee?” he offered.

“Please,” I replied, wanting something to help settle my nerves.

He poured two cups from the pot in the corner and sat one down in front of me and the other on the desk. Sitting down, he produced a pen and pad and then looked across the desk at me. Taking the chair across from him, I sipped the coffee. It was hot and bitter and burned the tip of my tongue.

“Sleep well?” the detective asked politely.

“As well as could be expected, I guess,” I answered noncommittally.

An awkward silence followed as we sat sipping our coffee. After several moments, I broke the stillness and asked softly, “So what can you tell me about my wife’s death?”

“First,” he began after setting his coffee down, “Let me tell you what we know now. Yesterday afternoon, your wife had a visitor. This Matt House I asked you about last night. Apparently his wife, Stella House, followed him and caught him and your wife in a compromising situation in the upstairs bedroom. Best we can tell is that she was aiming at her husband and your wife got in the way. After killing them both, she dropped the gun and fled. We found out about the shootings from a call we got from her mother. Our officers investigated and found the mess at your house. We arrested Mrs. House at her mother’s last night.”

I absorbed what he shared and then asked, “So what do you need from me?”

“I guess nothing at this point,” the detective replied. “We have the suspect, the murder weapon, and the motive. And none of it seems to be connected to you. But I will need you to formally ID your wife.”

I cringed at the thought of having to look at what remained of the woman I loved, but nodded my head in understanding.

“The city morgue is next door, if you’re up for it right now,” he stated slowly, not looking anymore enthused than I felt about.

Following him out of the building and into the one next door, we waited for someone to respond to a buzzer on the wall next to a large wooden door. After a moment, it opened and a middle aged man in a stained lab coat let us in. The smell was the first thing that hit me. It was a combination of rubbing alcohol, formaldehyde, and a smell I had never encountered before. Barely controlling the urge to throw-up, I took in the room. There were a couple of long flat silver metal tables in the middle with large round lights above them. Jars with unidentifiable stuff were on a shelf and a large sink commanded one end of the room. Along one metal clad wall were several small doors in a row with large handles. The room was cold and felt of death.

The detective told the man what we wanted and he led us over to one of the small doors in the wall. Yanking the silver handle, the door opened and he pulled out a long metal drawer with a sheet covered body on it. The toes of the body were sticking out from under the sheet with a tag tied to one of the big ones. Reading the tag, he moved to the head of the body and grabbed the end of the sheet. He started to pull it back and I felt ill in anticipation of what was to come.

“Hold on Doc,” the detective interrupted, holding up his hand. Turning to me, he explained, “She took a gunshot to the head and isn’t a pretty sight. Is there any other way you could be sure she was your wife? A birthmark, a scar, or something like that?”

Pulling myself together, I remembered that she actually had a tattoo on her right hip. It was a red rose on a short stem with two green leaves. I told the them about it and the doctor let the sheet go next to the head and moved down the body to the right hip. Pulling the cover back, we all could see the rose as I had described it. I stared at it and emotions beyond pain and loss flowed over me.

The detective nodded his head at the doctor and stated, “That’s good enough for me. I’ll put it in my report and you can release the body.”

The doctor covered the body back up, pushed it back into the wall, and closed the door. Not knowing what else to do, I stood there incoherent until the detective guided me out the building, back to his office next door, and into the chair across from his desk. My coffee was still on the corner of his desk and a drink of the bitter liquid helped to steady my frayed nerves.

“Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Valtine. I have everything I need now to finish my paperwork. If you want, you can make arrangements for your wife’s funeral. And we are finished collecting evidence at your house, so you can return to it anytime you want. If you have any questions about anything, just call or come see me. Here’s my business card,” the detective told me in a professional manner, handing it to me.

“Thanks,” I mumbled, putting his card in my wallet. “I guess I can get a cab to take me home.”

“If you want, I can have an officer give you a ride home,” the detective offered.

Declining his offer, I stood and after hesitating, reached across the desk and shook his hand. He showed me to the lobby and I walked out into the bright sunshine of the morning. Not really knowing what to do, I went to the pay phone booth next to the building and called the office. After getting my boss on the line, I told him briefly of yesterday’s events. As I related the story, I was almost overcome with raw emotion. It was starting to really hit me. My wife was dead. Somehow, I got through the phone call and, hearing him say to take whatever time I needed, hung up.

Next, I called my wife’s sister, who lived on the other side of town. She was at work and I was able to catch up with her there. Telling her was not easy, but she took it as well as could be expected. She agreed to pass the word on to her mother and the rest of their family. Thanking her, I told her as soon as I knew the funeral arrangements, I would call back.

Standing in the phone booth, I leaned against the dirty glass of the wall and regained my composure. Seeing a phone book on the small shelf under the phone, I opened it and looked up a number for one of the city’s two funeral homes. Digging another coin out of my pocket, I put it in the phone and dialed the number.

I explained my situation to the funeral director and he suggested I come over and see him. Hanging up the phone, I started walking up the street. Chrystalville was not a large city, its population only around thirty thousand souls. So finding the funeral home was easy and the walk was not far. And it gave me a chance to clear my head.

The funeral home was a converted southern-style structure with a curved driveway and white-columned front. Going in the front door into a parlor-like arrangement, I met Mr. James, the director. He escorted me to a side office and offered a chair. Sitting down, I waited for him to be seated and then poured out my story to him. After listening patiently with a sympathetic ear, he suggested several options and I chose one.

He would take care of collecting my wife from the city, arranging for flowers, and posting the funeral notice in the local paper. My wife would be buried in a closed coffin. The visitation would be in two days, Saturday, and the burial service on Sunday afternoon. He told me the cost and I promised to bring him a check tomorrow. Signing some papers and forms finished our business and he saw me to the door. Departing the gloomy atmosphere of the funeral home, I stepped back out into the brightness of the sunshine and felt a little better for having that unpleasant chore behind me.

Walking back towards the center of town, I thought I had better go to the bank and transfer some money out of savings into the checking account to cover the expenses. Going by one of the town’s diners, my stomach started to growl. Remembering the last time I had eaten was yesterday at lunch, I put the bank on hold and went in and ordered some breakfast. The waitress looked at me funny, but didn’t say anything. Guess I was looking pretty rough with my wrinkled suit and scruffy face. The service was fast and I was eating in no time. Finishing without really tasting the food, I paid the check and left a generous tip. Stepping back out into the morning, I felt almost human again.

Arriving at the bank, I went in and told the teller what I wanted to do. She looked up my accounts and then told me that she couldn’t transfer any money out of the savings account because there was no money in it.

“There should be over $10,000 in it,” I protested.

“According to our records,” she stated professionally, “your wife withdrew all of it yesterday morning.”

“What about the checking account?” I asked, baffled by her answer. “What’s the balance?”

Looking at the account information, she replied, “$480.05.”

Embarrassed, I thanked her and left the bank. So, my wife had cleaned the savings account out yesterday. What was she going to do with it? Maybe what had she done with it was a better question. The detective hadn’t said anything about finding money at the house. And I was sure he would have, being that it was a large sum.

One of the city cabs was going by and I flagged it down. Giving him my address, I tried to relax in the back seat, but everything was flooding into my mind. Everything from the death of my wife, to meeting her murderer, to funeral arrangements, to where the money was, kept me tense and the cab pulled into my driveway before I realized it. I paid the man, got out, and watched as he drove away.

My car was still in the front yard, but all the other vehicles were gone. Only their tire tracks remained in the grass to remind me that they had been there. The front door was closed but not locked, probably from the police being there. Going in, I looked over the first floor and nothing seemed to be out of place. Going upstairs and down the hall to the master bedroom, I slowly pushed the door open and went in. The room was a mess, especially the bed. There was blood all over the sheets, the spread, and the mattress. The carpet at the foot of the bed had a large circular red stain on it, too. A bit overwhelmed by the sight of where my wife’s life was ended, I quickly left the room.

Although I was exhausted, I wasn’t sleepy. And there was the matter of where the money could be that my wife had taken from our savings account. I looked throughout the house for anything unusual or out of place and found nothing. Going into the garage, I saw my wife’s car was parked in its usual spot. She had always insisted on having the bay next to the kitchen door. Looking into the front and rear windows of the four door sedan, I didn’t see anything on the seats or floor boards. Fishing my set of keys out of my pocket, I opened the trunk. Two suitcases were lying next to each other. One I recognized as hers, but the other one was unfamiliar to me.

Opening her suitcase, I found a large envelope with the money and withdrawal receipt, dated yesterday, under her clothes. Turning to the other suitcase, I opened it and found it filled with men’s clothes. And under the clothes was an envelope with money in it. It also had a withdrawal slip from a bank. The slip stated that $5000 was withdrawn yesterday and there on the slip was the name, Matt House.

Sitting down on the bumper, I contemplated what I had just found. From the looks of things, my wife and this Matt House had planned on going off somewhere together. Putting the pieces together, I realized that if Stella had not followed her husband here, my wife and her husband would have been long gone when I got home from work. And looking at the envelopes with the money in them, I added thieves to the names I had been thinking of for them. I guess they couldn’t resist doing each other one more time before hitting the road. That had cost them their lives as Stella had arrived and caught them in the act.

Feelings of betrayal washed over me. We had been married for a little over three years and I thought everything was going well with us. What a stooge I’d been. She obviously had been planning on leaving me for some time. And had a lover on the side for who knows how long. I guess it didn’t matter if she had been cheating on me for a day or six months. The result was the same. I felt used. She must have been a cold bitch to be doing me on a regular basis and this other guy, too. Then I wondered if he was only one of a long line she had been seeing.

I don’t know how long I sat there, but my butt was getting numb. Standing up, I took the envelopes with the money out of the suitcases, closed them, and then the car trunk. Going back inside, I put the envelopes on the kitchen counter and got a beer out of the fridge. If ever there was a time I needed a drink, it was now. Downing it in several swallows, I tossed the bottle into the trash and went into the living room. Lying down on the couch, I tried to get a grasp on my runaway emotions. Finally, the emotional toll and not sleeping well the night before shut my brain down and I slept.




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