Innocent

April 10, 2009
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Until the day I die. That’s what he told me. I never knew he’d die so soon…

Sitting on a kitchen chair, next to the front door of a large, white, Victorian home,

clutching the millionth tissue I’ve used in my fist, I watch the detective approach me.

“Ms. Riley?” He says. I nod, focusing less on him and more on a suddenly intriguing

floorboard. “We’re going to need you to go downtown with us.”

I roll my eyes, ready to begin sobbing again. “You think I did this?”

“I never said that, Ms. Riley, but you are a suspect I’m afraid.” My eyes focus on his

lips as he talks, then the long brown coat he’s wearing. Is this a trademark fashion?

Detective’s in long, brown, coats; with strong voices and the influence of a cold heart,

giving you the feeling they don’t understand what your going through.

“Detective..” I begin, realizing I don’t know his name.

Luckily for me, he fills that in, “Matthews..”

I give him an I’m-Not-In-The-Mood smile in response and continue, “Detective

Matthews, I’m really not in the mood to head downtown with you, just to be questioned

and suspected for something I didn’t do. I loved Rob, I wouldn’t have done this.”


“I’m sorry, Ms. Riley, but the victim-”


“Rob.” I cut him off, “His name was Robert.”


He nods, mildly sympathetic. “Ok, Robert was brutally murdered. It looks like a crime

with connections- not some random murder. We have to take you in, it’s the rule. And we

gotta take this by the book, alright?”


“How did he die…” I ask. My voice was stern and stubborn. I wasn’t going anywhere

with anyone until I got to the bottom of this…

*


I remember it perfectly, I was supposed to come to his house for dinner. I had bought

a new black dress for this and everything. I was aware I was a little early, but I didn’t

think it would matter that much. With my jacket clutched tightly around my body, I

approached his front door. When I knocked, I heard a crash, like a vase falling off an end

table. I figured I must’ve startled him, causing him to knock the vase off.


“Robert?” I said after a moment. No response.


I reached into my purse and pulled out my spare key to his house, put it in the lock,

and twisted the doorknob…

*


“Ms. Riley?” Detective Matthews says, causing me to leap unwillingly back into

reality.


“I’m sorry…got kind of lost in thought.” I say and finish, “You were saying?”


“He was bound and gagged, then beaten to death.” Matthews replies.


“What with?” I ask, curiously.


“A baseball bat, they left it behind.” Matthews replies. He doesn’t look phased by any

of this.


I continue my interrogation, “When was the time of death? Was it around when I got

here, or was it before?”


Matthews sighs “Ms. Riley, I really don’t understand why you want to know all

this…”



“Because, Detective, I want to know who really killed Robert and not watch you mess

around with trying to rule me out as a suspect. I want answers. Now.” My tone is cold,

now. As cold as he’s acting. I’m mad, and he better know it. I want Robert’s killer found.


After a long pause, he replied, “We haven’t figured out the exact time yet, but we

think it was when you arrived. Everything was left in a hurry, papers rummaged

through…”


That last statement intrigues me. “Papers were searched through? Was anything else?”


“Um…Some boxes,” Matthews says and catches on to what I’m hinting at. “What did

Robert do for a living?”


I smiled, “He was a lawyer, Detective Matthews. He has more enemies than you do,

almost.”


“So, someone who was recently in court with him, more than likely?” Matthews

calculated.


I nod. “Too rushed, too unplanned, not to be.”


“Ms. Riley, was there a car anywhere nearby when you arrived? One you don’t

typically see?”


I’m thinking back, remembering with all I can. “I got out of my car, looked around…I

didn’t see any strange cars.” Then it hit me, Mr. Ferguson next door, “Mr. Ferguson, his

neighbor, he was sitting outside with a phone when I got out.”


“So?”


“So, Robert had his wife put in jail a while back. He didn’t give me details, but Mr.

Ferguson wasn’t too happy about it.” I say.


“So, you think it was a hired hit? Or someone looking for dirt?” Matthews had a good

point. Would it be wrong to suspect Mrs. Hibbins, the kindly old neighbor lady?



“I don’t really know what I’m getting at, Detective Matthews, but I’m giving you some

suspects who might have done it other than me. I didn’t. I wouldn’t.” Just then, Matthews

smiles at me. It isn’t cold, it’s understanding.


“Ok, Ms. Riley. I believe you.” I can see his eyes are focused on mine, which are

framed by long, dark, blonde hair. I smile back. “Who else might have done this?”


I shrug. “Like I said, he is- was- a lawyer. He put a lot of people away because he was

good at his job…”


“What kind of files and paper work would he have in his home?” Matthews asks. I

pause and think for a moment.


“Basic info for cases, I think.”


“Current cases, most likely?” Matthews hints. I jump to my feet.


“That’s it! One of his current cases! Someone must have known he had to prosecute

on their case!” I say. I know my blue eyes are shimmering with delight, when moments

ago they were brimmed with tears.


“Has he mentioned any cases he’s working on?” Matthews questions. Shaking my

head, I honestly don’t recall. Had he told me? Maybe he had… “Are you sure?”


“I…I don’t know. He may have, he’s done so many.” I say, falling back to where I was

sitting on the kitchen chair. My eyes now focus on the vase-


Wait -- where’s the vase?!


“Excuse me, Detective- did you guys clean up the vase?” I ask, pointing to where the

vase had fallen.


“What?” Matthews responds, shaking his head. “There wasn’t a broken vase when I


got here…” As he says this, I focus on the word POLICE, walking away from me. A

jacket, they’re on a jacket. Whoever is wearing that jacket is walking away really fast,

tugging their cap down…


“There! That’s the killer! Matthews!” I scream, pointing. The person my index finger

is outstretched toward breaks into a run, but not before an outside officer tackles him.

Matthews looks stunned, then we both run outside.


The officer turns the suspect back around towards us, removing the ball cap. I smile.


“I remember now. He did tell me- A murder case…” As I say this, they remove the

files from her jacket. “Cynthia McAdams…Wanted for allegedly beating her husband to

death.” The officer hands the files to Detective Matthews. “I hate to tell you this, Cynthia,

but you’re not going to last too long in court after you’ve beaten a second man to death.”


Matthews closes the files and nods at the officer, “It checks out. Take her in.”


Cynthia struggles in the officers arms, like she’s trying to lash out at me, her curly

blonde hair bouncing. “You’re next! You hear me!” Her screams turn to mad laughter.

“I’ll get out! You’ll see!”


“I think the gloves on her hands may keep you from finding finger prints, but you’ll

almost surely find a hair. Dye jobs shed- a lot.” I laugh. Matthews smiles.


“You did good, kid.” Matthews looks curious. “How’d you know that she was even

here?”


“Because, Detective, she never left. I knew that without realizing it.” I say, sighing.

“A vase busted when I knocked. When the ‘crew’ gets here, its gone. Then I notice a

nervous looking person walking away from here as quickly as she can. It was obvious, I

just needed to plug in the pieces first.”


“I’m proud. You should consider joining the force.”


I nod, smiling. “Yeah, I think I might, too. For Rob, and all…”





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