the u-town murder case (conclusion)

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After Pat left, I sat down beside Jan. "You know there was one hole in what you said. If Charlotte went home to kill Leo, then the whole 'she went home because she was afraid not to' argument falls apart."

She nodded, slumping down on the sofa, looking drained. "That's why I brought out one point before the other. I had to get Pat to admit to what Leo is really like, and that was the only way to do it. Besides, if she went home to kill him, rather than out of fear, then why did she want to kill him in the first place? It's still the only answer."

I also knew that there hadn't been time to run any tests, on blood or fingerprints or knives or anything else, but I didn't mention that.

She closed her eyes, her head leaning back on the cushion. I took her hand, and she squeezed it.

"I never told you this," I said after a moment, "but my sister used to live with a guy who beat her. On Saturday nights, when he'd had too much to drink, he'd come home and knock her around.

"She never told me, not until years later, long after she had left him. She told our mother, and our mother convinced her to leave, helped her to see that she could. And that took some time. But she didn't tell me, she knew what my reaction would have been."

She looked at me, knowing what I was going to say next.

"I would have killed him," I said.

She put her arms around me and we kissed, and I could feel the tears fall from her eyes to my cheeks, and maybe some the other way, too.

That's what it's like when you're married to a detective. You sometimes have moments like this on blood-splattered sofas in murder rooms.

At dinner that night, Vicki was very quiet, but she sat beside Pat and even served her, and held her hand while they ate, which was very unusual.

The End

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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