“You won’t have to, Kacy.” Dino said reassuringly, the idea of ghosts bothered him, too. “Let’s leave that to the experts, shall we?”
They walked back to their cars, driving home in silence. Dino pulled into the garage just before they did.
“Come in the main house, we’ll have some dinner.”
Deacon and Kacy walked slowly to the door, with Deacon leaning heavily on her and his cane. The last few days had taken their toll on him. He felt worse, instead of better. Maybe he had taken too much aspirin without enough in his stomach. Kacy looked nearly as bad as he felt, although hers was emotional pain, not physical.
Dino bustled around the kitchen, gathering ingredients, mixing and pouring. By the time he was done, three elegant mushroom omelets adorned the table. Glasses of chilled sparkling white grape juice completed the meal.
“Sit, eat.” He waved them toward the table in the breakfast nook.
They ate in relative silence, taking a few moments to compliment the chef. Each one was lost in private thought.
Deacon broke the silence first. “Dino, why would someone want to drive us away from the theater?”
Dino set his napkin down carefully by his plate before answering. “You know, I just can’t figure it out. I’ve got no clue why anyone would want to hurt me. It doesn’t make sense. I’ve driven some hard business deals, but I can’t imagine that would prompt anyone to do this.”
“What if it’s not you,” Kacy said pointedly.
“What do you mean?” Dino’s brow furrowed.
“What if it’s something about the theater itself. Maybe an old grudge, or someone they loved died there. What about the electrician who was killed, maybe his family?”
“I thought of that, and did some checking. He left no family. He wasn’t a young man, unmarried, no kids, parents dead, only child. That wouldn’t explain what happened before the closing.”
“Could someone have hated your uncle enough to destroy his reputation?” Deacon didn’t know anything about Dino’s family. He was brainstorming, grasping at straws.
“Uncle Charlie?” Dino laughed. “I doubt it. He was the quietest, nicest old man you’d ever hope to meet. Kind, gentle, hell—he was a priest. I hope he’d not made anyone mad enough to do that! He got the place from his sister’s estate, when she died years ago. I doubt anyone hated her either, she was a great philanthropist.”
“In any case, there is something about that building or that plot of land, or you that’s making it a very popular place for accidents,” Kacy added. “I took it upon myself to do a wee bit of digging, and found some interesting facts out. Do you know how many so called accidents occurred between 1988, when Uncle Charlie inherited the place, and now?”
The two men shook their heads.
“Seven. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’ve been around movie sets and worked professional theaters for the last eighteen years, and you know how many fatal accidents those places had, all together?”
The men mutely shook their heads.
“None.” She did not include Pete’s death, that was something understood as a taboo subject, and she hadn’t been working that film.
“It’s bizarre to have a small, insignificant place like this draw so much attention. When your Aunt Sophie owned it, there were accidents then, too. Prior to that, before it even came into your family, going back to its opening. However, in those years prior to 1988, there were less than five accidents total in over forty years, and none of them fatal.”
The men sat in stunned silence. Neither of them knew how to respond to this pronouncement. It did little to solidify a motive, but it did a lot to prove, to them at least, that these accidents were anything but.
“Who would stand to benefit, if the old place burned down?”
Dino reddened. “Me, I guess. I don’t need the money, but there are folks who might want to believe I do. When a business burns down, they usually suspect the owner, especially when it’s arson. Not like the old place is insured for much, only about a hundred thousand. The property alone, is worth several million, since it’s sitting right along the beach. I’ve had offers to buy the old place, so they can tear it down, but it meant a lot to my aunt and uncle. I’d rather not do that. I spent some great times there as a kid.”
The other two looked at him strangely.
“I’m a sentimental guy, what can I say? Why, I got my first kiss in the wings of that old place, when I was fifteen and later I….” He blushed deeply, recalling a very private moment in the backstage area after everyone else had gone home. “Anyway….” he broke off abruptly letting them fill in the gap.
“A good possibility is the land itself. If the theater burned down, what would you do? Would you develop the land?” Kacy asked him.
Dino thought a moment, then responded softly, thoughtfully.
©2021 Dellani Oakes