Detective Amanda Ellis Part 13 and conclusion.

Desert Secrets

by: pat winterburn

When the Wizard is at war with her self, it's not pretty. Weather patterns change causing floods, tornados and other disasters. I have decided to conclude this series with the knowledge that I truly love these characters and want to leave them happy and content. I will bring them back on occasion for Valentines or Christmas, for a reminder that love and friendship truly rock.


"Buzzzzz." A long arm reached out from under the covers of her warm and cozy bed and smacked the alarm on the digital clock. The now dyed brown hair lay against the red and grey hair of her lover. Amanda, still groggy, could hear the shower running and realized her teenage son, Kevin was up and getting ready for his last few days of high school. It seemed hard to believe he would be off to college soon following in the footsteps of his adopted mother, Dr. Sandra Wilson.

She took a moment to stare at the ceiling and wonder where these past twelve years had gone. All the years of mischief and mayhem that she and Mitchell had gotten into and all of the cases they had solved, her home life with Sandy and Kevin. To this day she still laughs at the candy red dune buggy sitting in the garage. Sandy had bought it, and the four of them had taken many trips out into the desert. To most people who live out in their area a dirt bike, ATV or dune buggy is common, but not for Sandy. This is a woman who drives nothing but a BMW and has for years. In fact she leases a new one every year much to the gratitude of the leasing manager. He sends her flowers with the car every September.

Amanda rolled over taking just one more minute to cuddle with the woman she loved more than life itself. Today was a very special day for Amanda. It was her 50th birthday and she was taking over as Captain of her police station.

Sandy felt Amanda's presence beside her and nudged her self awake. She kissed Amanda on the cheek and whispered "Happy Birthday Captain Ellis."

As Amanda came downstairs to put on the coffee she looked over to the sleeping form of Whiskey. She had been in their family for the past twelve years coming to them as a stray. The vet at the time wasn't sure of her exact age, but Amanda figured her to be at least fifteen years old. The dog was now almost deaf with her arthritis under control by medication, but Amanda knew that some day she would come down here and her loyal friend would be gone.

Whiskey raised her head, wagged her tail, got up and followed Amanda into the kitchen for her morning bowl of dog food. The old dog stretched and patiently waited while Amanda got her dish ready. She heard the vibration of Kevin jogging down the stairs and barked at him.

"Yes Whiskey, I know, no running down the stairs." Kevin laughed and gave his beloved dog a hug placing her food dish down for her.

"Happy birthday mom. How does it feel to be 50?" Kevin asked and then ducked out of Amanda's reach.

"Smart brat." Amanda laughed and poured coffee for herself, Sandy and Kevin.

The three of them sat at their breakfast nook each on their own bar stools looking out at the ocean. Amanda was grateful for these quiet mornings, and it seems as if the rest of her family did too. It was going to seem strange without Kevin with them in a few months, but time does change things.

Amanda was all too aware of that.


Amanda kissed Sandy and Kevin goodbye as they headed off to school and work. She didn't have to be into the station until 9am and sipped her third coffee for that morning. She was taking over as Captain today, and wanted to give retiring Captain Marty Anderson an hour in his office just to relish the memories and gather his final personal belongings in private. Why Marty had recommended her for Captain was beyond Amanda. What was worse was that Mitchell was now her second in command. The other officers and staff were already joking about coffee machines exploding, filing cabinets falling and generally the place going to Tartarus. But in reality, they knew Amanda's and Mitchell's records, and were proud to serve under them.

Amanda checked her watch, it was time to leave. She hugged Whiskey goodbye, told her to "guard the house", and left for her new day.

When she entered the station she was greeted by birthday wishes, balloons, and streamers. Coffee and cake were off to the side and Amanda was already blushing. She felt a familiar presence and looked over to see her best friend and partner, Lt. Detective Mitchell Blake, laughing and grinning at her. Amanda snarled at her and then winked. "You're in trouble already Blake and the day hasn't even started." Mitchell just shrugged her shoulders. "Yeah, so what else is new?"

As everyone said their goodbyes to Captain Anderson, he looked around for Amanda and found her waiting for him at the front desk. He walked over to her and shook her hand, then hugged her. "Good luck Ellis. Hopefully you never have to deal with someone like you." He laughed as she hugged him back, then his mouth dropped as she stood back and saluted him. A tear ran down his eye that he quickly wiped away, nodded in thanks and left.

The first thing Amanda and Mitchell did as they took the time to organize their new offices was pull up the venetian blinds on the windows that separated their two offices. They each had a soft tennis ball and when one of them wanted the others attention they simply bounced the ball against the window. Even after all these years of working together they would still stick their tongues out at each other and the session of name calling, "brat" and "bitch" never ceased either.

They had an excellent working relationship and the station was running smoothly. Mitchell couldn't have been happier until the day she felt a damp cold chill in her office. At first she passed it off as the air conditioning going wonkers, but since it only happened occasionally she would forget. Then she started noticing as time progressed that each time it happened she would see Amanda talking to someone. Only she began to realize there was no one there.

Mitchell had known about Amanda's abilities to see ghosts ever since they had worked on Cheryl Wilson's cold case over a decade ago. Amanda had even talked to her about the Jennifer Cassidy case where it had all began, and all the ghosts who had visited her over the years. Mitchell believed it was the reason their case solving ratio was higher than any other detective team and the feather in their cap for their promotions. But this was different. Eerie and creepy, and Mitchell was glad when the feeling past. She tossed the tennis ball at the window to get Amanda's attention. Amanda, startled, looked over at Mitchell who motioned for her to pick up her phone.

"Who the hell were you talking to and why did the temperature drop to sub zero in my office again?" Mitchell asked.

Amanda hesitated. "I'll have maintenance check the air conditioning controls in your office, and I wasn't talking to anyone."

Amanda hung up the phone leaving a question mark on Mitchell's face. I'm a detective, Mitchell thought to her self, and more than that, I know when you're avoiding answering me Amanda Ellis.

Amanda sat back in her chair and quietly gathered her thoughts. She knew this would happen one day. Funny Mitchell hadn't caught her sooner. Amanda realized that Mitchell would soon figure out about the ghostly visitations, but was surprised as to why Mitchell's office was feeling the effects of the cold. Perhaps it was who the spectre was she thought. I know I'll be damned to hell for this forever, but why should Mitchell suffer. In the year since it had happened, she had never told a soul. Deb had come close to guessing one night, but if she did suspect she never said a word, and obviously not to Mitchell. Sandy knew in her heart, but Amanda had never to this day confirmed or denied the truth. Some truths are better laid to rest for eternity, and this was one of them.

It was months later and Mitchell was sitting quietly going over the schedule of officers for the next week when it happened. She felt the cold; deep and chilling to the bone. She looked over to see Amanda scowling at someone. She could read her lips. "How's Hell Carolyn, is my place there still waiting for me?"

The realization hit Mitchell with a wave of nausea, and she almost threw up right there. There had only been one Carolyn that she knew of, and that was Dr. Carolyn Witherspoon who had gone missing and was never found since her release from prison one year ago.

Sandy had gone nuts when she had heard that Carolyn was being released from the psychiatric prison. It had been bad enough that Carolyn didn't even have to stand trial, back then. Her family lawyers had cut a deal with the District Attorney's office, and Carolyn had been committed. She had only served ten years for the brutal rape and murder of that one poor woman, and for the rape of Sandy. Mitchell cringed as she thought back to those months when Sandy almost lost her own sanity. She had been terrified that Carolyn was going to come after her again, or worse come after Amanda or Kevin. She had hired security for herself and Kevin, but even that didn't help. Sandy couldn't sleep; she couldn't concentrate at work and was on the verge of a break down when Carolyn simply disappeared. Vanished into thin air, and had not been seen or heard from since. It was now beginning to make sense as to what had happened. Amanda would never allow anyone to hurt her family or friends, and maybe Deb had been right after all.


Dr. Carolyn Witherspoon laughed to herself as she exited the prison. It had taken ten years to finally convince those morons that she was cured and could be a model citizen once again. Although she would never be able to legally practice medicine again she had kept up her knowledge while in prison with the help of her family and, of course, the internet. There were always people looking for someone like her with her special skills and knowledge. It was a minor annoyance that she had to report to her parole officer everyday, but that left her nights free to search for prey. She had still retained her looks and body while in prison, and had even discovered new and inventive ways of having fun there as well.

Her thoughts momentarily shifted to Sandra. There would be time my love. I'm sure you will wait for me.

Amanda couldn't take it any longer. Sandy was losing it, and she couldn't stand by and watch the woman she loved die inside. She had planned it from the very first phone conversation when Sandy had told her that Carolyn was coming to San Diego from New York. The desert was indeed a big place. Now Amanda just had to decide when and where, and hope she had the guts to go through with it. She looked at Sandy who was curled up in her arms. Another nightmare; the tear streaked face, the dark circles under her eyes. Amanda's own eyes darkened as she realized what she had to do.

She hated lying to Sandy, but asked Deb to stay with her this one weekend. Mitchell had been sent away on a refresher course and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. "I'm sorry hon, but I have to work tonight on this case. Since Mitchell is away I need to keep caught up until she gets back." Sandy seemed to understand, and since Deb and Kevin were both there for the weekend, she felt somewhat safe.

Amanda dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, nothing colourful, nothing to draw attention to her self, if that was possible. She had been sitting out in a rented van in front of Carolyn's apartment waiting for her. As predicted Carolyn left her home, and headed for a leather bar downtown. Amanda snarled as she knew this bitch hadn't changed one bit. Still looking for prey; well tonight, Amanda thought, I am the one who will be the predator.

Amanda was in the back of the bar watching Carolyn in action when she finally got her chance. Carolyn left the floor and headed for the washroom. Amanda quickly closed in with the cotton cloth in her hand that was laced with ether. She pushed Carolyn through the door and wrapped the cloth around her face until she felt Carolyn's body go limp. Amanda had this all planned out as she knew this was the bar where Carolyn hung out. She still had contacts on the streets, and with a little persuasion, they made good informants. She shoved her body through the window that led into the back alley. Amanda then quickly left the bar and walked around back to where her vehicle was waiting. She picked up Carolyn's unconscious body, tossed her into the back, and replaced the ether cloth over her face. She covered the body with a blanket, and headed out to the desert. She drove to the exact spot she had found a few years ago when Sandy and she had been out with the dune buggy. She had mentally marked the area and knew some day she would be back here and why.

The digging had taken a long time. The sand bags she had placed around the area helped to keep the sand from caving in, as well as plastic to shore up the sides. She dug as deep as she could, and then dragged Carolyn's body out of the van. She momentarily thought of burying Carolyn alive, but couldn't. Was it conscience or the fear that Carolyn might claw her way out and return? Amanda apologized to God, praying that he understood her reasoning and would know that she did it for love. She would condemn her soul to Hell in order to allow Sandy the beauty of Heaven. That's how much she loved her wife.

Amanda pulled out a gun from the back of her jeans. She had "acquired" it from the evidence room at the station. Another crime to add to her list of many. She held the gun down close to Carolyn's head, pulled the trigger and watched as the body jerked then moved no more. She rolled Carolyn's body into her final grave and covered her over. Amanda prayed that Lucifer was pleased with his acquisition and that when she herself arrived he would show some mercy on her own soul.

When Amanda had returned home, Sandy was relieved to see her. "I can't help but worry Amanda. What would I ever do without you?"

Amanda took Sandy into her arms. "You can stop worrying now Sandy; she will never bother us again."

"But Amanda, you don't understand, she's relentless." Sandy started to cry.

"Sandy, look at me." Amanda raised Sandy's eyes to meet with her own. "Carolyn will never bother us ever again."

Sandy stood for a moment looking into Amanda's eyes. She had seen that look before in her lover's eyes. It took her a minute to think, and then it hit her. The day when Mitchell had been shot and Amanda had asked her not to save the shooter. Sandy nodded her head in acceptance realizing what Amanda had done. She felt sick to her stomach, and then it passed as Amanda held her and soothed her soul. It wasn't right, but Sandy didn't care. Her family was safe, and may God help her, but Carolyn deserved what she got. Whatever Amanda's justice had been.


Amanda sat back in her chair. She felt the ghostly presence in her office, and looked up to find Carolyn's dead lifeless eyes glaring at her. "How are things in Hell today Carolyn?" She told the ghost to "fuck off" she'd have her chance in a few years time. She then felt another presence and looked over at Mitchell. She could tell Mitchell knew what was going on and sighed. This wasn't supposed to happen she thought. Mitchell was never to find out. She raised her arm and beckoned her friend to come over. Might as well get this over with Amanda thought.

Mitchell got up and walked into Amanda's office closing the door behind her. She moved the chair closer to her friend and sat down. This truly sucks, Mitchell thought. What am I going to do? She was, after all, a police detective, a lieutenant and second in command of the station. She knew that Amanda was going to confess to Carolyn's murder. Was she going to arrest her best friend, or turn a blind eye, knowing why Amanda had done it? She sat there waiting for Amanda to talk.

The outer office couldn't help but notice that their Captain and Lt. had been talking a long time without any laughter, or tossing of paper clips at one another. They had come to enjoy the two women's leadership, and felt the uneasiness in the atmosphere. They all patiently waited hoping nothing bad had happened.

When Amanda had finished her confession to Mitchell, she waited to see what her friend would do. Mitchell just sat there; she never said one word the whole time Amanda had been talking. Amanda realized that she was losing the respect and love that had been between them for all these years. Finally Amanda laid her badge and gun out on her desk. "I'm sorry Mitchell. I never wanted for you to find out, and now we both have to live with this. Might as well get it over with and arrest me. I know you're hurting, but it's the right thing to do.

Was it, Mitchell thought? She was so torn inside with her sense of duty and love for this woman. She had known Sandy's pain. She had sat and talked with her many times about the rape, and how it had taken months after wards for Amanda and Sandy to make love again. She had held Sandy, cried with her, and even swore vengeance on Carolyn herself if ever given the chance. So now here she sits with this dilemma and at a loss. What should she do?

Amanda sat quietly as she watched her friend battling within herself.

Finally Mitchell sighed. "How come you never give me a chance to do these things? I wanted so badly to beat the hell out of that bastard that hurt Kevin, but oh no, you had to do it all. Now you tell me you killed that bitch that hurt Sandy, and again, you didn't share."

Amanda smirked. "Better only one of us goes to Hell, Mitchell. I would never do that to you. You're my friend and I love you."

Mitchell nodded. "I love you too, Amanda, but do you not realize that no matter where you go in life or death, Sandy will follow you, and so will I? Of course there's Deb who will likely follow us as well not wanting to be left out of the party." Both women smiled at that thought.

Mitchell got up taking Amanda's hand. She lifted her friend into a hug and then released her. She looked at Amanda with dead certain eyes. "Where you go Amanda Ellis, we will follow you."

Mitchell then turned, left Amanda's office and went back to her own.

The staff breathed a sigh of relief and went about their business.

Amanda went home that night feeling a little lighter in the shoulders than she had for a long time. When Kevin had gone to bed she and Sandy sat quietly on the couch and Amanda told her about the conversation. Sandy sat and listened not surprised at Mitchell finding out, or her reaction. When Amanda had finally finished talking Sandy took her into her arms, kissed her and held her tightly.

"What you did wasn't right Amanda, but I thank you for loving me that much and for doing it. We would have never been able to live in peace for the rest of our lives knowing Carolyn was out there." The tears started to fall and Amanda caught each and every one of them. "But Mitchell is right; I will follow you into the depths of Hell itself in order to spend eternity with you. For where you go Amanda, I go, and if Carolyn is there waiting for us, then we will kick her ass together. Even if we have to do it for eternity, I don't care.

Mitchell and Deb sat together in their own beach house talking and staring out at the night and listening to the ocean. They had talked about Amanda's confession, and Mitchell needed to hear from Deb that she had done the right thing. She knew if anyone ever found out it would be the end of both of their careers and jail time together. Deb had already known in her own heart what had happened that night. It hadn't taken her long to figure out why Amanda was so intent on her staying with Sandy that weekend. She had briefly mentioned her feelings to Mitchell, but for whatever reason, Mitchell assured her that Amanda would never do something like that. She knew Mitchell was either lying to her or was in denial, but figured some day the truth would work its way out. So it had today, and she knew Mitchell was waiting for an answer. What could she say? "You did what your heart told you to do, Mitchell. It's all any of us would have done."

Mitchell hugged and kissed her. "If it had been you Deb, I would have done the same thing."

Deb nodded in agreement. "Only the Fates will ever know what's in store for the four of us, Mitchell. Should make for an incredible ending to our lives."

Mitchell agreed.

As each of the two couples went to bed that evening, they prayed for each others' souls, and thanked whoever was responsible for this wonderful gift they had been given, called friendship.

The next morning Amanda is sitting in her office, and notices Mitchell through the glass scratching her ear. With an evil grin on her face, she lightly bounces the tennis ball at the partition and startles her Lieutenant. Mitchell pokes herself in the ear and starts calling Amanda every name she can think of, much to the delight of the office who has witnessed this encounter. Amanda sits there, one eyebrow cocked and waits. Mitchell abruptly stops her barrage of name calling and realizes she has been calling her Captain a "bitch" and "you just wait until we get home." She laughs, gets up, and comes into Amanda's office.

"I sound like your wife." Mitchell says.

"Thankfully, you're not." Amanda responds.

The phone rings, interrupting they're conversation.

It's Sandy and Deb, they are at the coffee shop and want Amanda and Mitchell to join them. As the four women are relaxing, enjoying the conversation, Amanda notices a picture hanging up on the wall. It is a shot of some dune buggies, racing out in the desert.

Amanda realizes her own secret of the desert, and knows someday Hades will lay claim to her soul. But for now she is content in the knowledge, that she is loved and needed, by her friends and family.

It's the one thing she can live with.

As for Dr. Carolyn Witherspoon; her ghost was never seen again.

The end.

Thank you everyone for this incredible ride.

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