Friday, June 15, 2018

It Symbolizes the End

Back at the station the Sheriff asked Mike to come into his office. He wanted to tell him what he had learned from his visit with Pearce.

Mike quickly added, "So the lady in the purple gown gave Santos an envelope, maybe containing the poison. Then he put it in Colleen's dessert making sure he served it."

"But who was wearing a purple dress?"

"I don't remember a purple gown. What about asking Reeza? She was there."

"Sure she there, but only on the edge of the lawn. Oh, we can ask, but she is incapable of giving a clear answer. I'm not up for her mumbo jumbo right now.

"Wait," Mike said, as if a light had gone on in his head. "Belva McCord was wearing a purple dress.

"You sure?"

"Remember, I spoke with her after Colleen's death. At the time I didn't recognize who she was. She never turned her face to look at me.  She was very upset. Later Sam told me who she was."

"You sure you don't remember another purple dress?" He paused. "Could she have been putting on?"

"No, she was distraught. She was crying so hard when I walked up that she was shaking. I don't think you can fake that."

"But she never looked at you?"

"No, but Sam knew who she was."

The Sheriff was quiet. Then he remembered the cards. "Reeza said there was 'deceit'. That could be her pain over Culler's second life. Maybe she felt he had deceived her."

Mike added slowly, "And, 'pain' when he left. She felt abandoned."

The Sheriff added, "And what could be more "revengeful" than death?"

Mike added, "Well, I would think eternal pain and suffering would be revenge. But death is very efficient."

"Pain, deceit, revenge, death . . ."

"'Regret'? Maybe at the time I approached her she was despondent due to regret."

"And, 'change in feelings', could that be her regret after it was done? Remember she was wearing a purple dress.  That fits with what Cajo said he saw."

"So the poison was in the dessert."

The Sheriff shook his head. "Belva, that really surprises me. I thought she had moved on."

"Should we call Cordelia?"

"Not yet. Let's just go pay Belva a visit."

"In Mobile?

"You know another place?"

They walked into the front office. The Sheriff told Mary Lou they were going to Mobile - but shared nothing else. Along the way, Mike and the Sheriff talked about current cases they were working on. To add some levity to the conversation, the Sheriff also shared with Mike the events with the Bean Counter.

They arrived at Belva's house. A car was in the drive. However there was no response when they knocked on the door. 

Mike said, "I'll walk around the house see if anything is amiss." He made his way down the left side, looking into each window. As he reached the last window on that side of the house, something caught his eye. He looked closer. He yelled, "Sheriff, we need to get into the house - the back room to your left."

From the tone of Mike's voice the Sheriff didn't hesitate to take a iron fern stand, that was sitting on the front porch, and crash in into the door. He reached in and unlocked the door. His first thought was, 'Thank God, they don't make doors like they used to.'

By this time Mike was on his heels. Sheriff opened the door to the back room. "Dear God."

Belva's still body was hanging from the closet door. Mike pulled out a knife and cut the scarf that was around her neck. The Sheriff slowly pulled her down and lay her on the floor. He felt her pulse. "She still has a pulse. Call 911."

In no time the Mobile City Police and Rescue Squad arrived. The EMT's hurried, as the Sheriff led them to the back room. They asked a few questions, as they tried to revive her. But they were not successful. One EMT looked at the Sheriff, "For someone to still have a pulse after hanging themselves, you were almost here in time to save her."

The Policeman walked up and introduced himself to the Sheriff and
Mike. "You found her?"

"Yes sir." Sheriff explained why they were there and how they found her.

"I don't think she tried to kill herself. How did she get high enough to reach the door frame? There would have been a stool or chair. And there wasn't. My guess is we are talking about murder." The Policeman asked a few questions. "Do you know her next of kin?"

Mike spoke up, "She has a sister and an aunt. I can get their contact numbers for you."

"I'd appreciate that. I always like to gauge their initial reaction and I can get some information." The policeman made some notes. "Any idea who would do this?"

"No, not all. But there are a lot of moving parts here."

"Didn't she learn lately, that her husband had a 'limp wrist'? Wonder what happened to him?"

Mike spoke first, "She was killed Monday evening - poisoned, cyanide. That is why we need to know if there is any cyanide is found."

"So she and her husband, whoever, were killed within the same week?"

"Looks like it."

"How did you put all these pieces together?"

The Sheriff smiled, "It was in the cards."

Not understanding the Sheriff's comment, the policeman asked,"Do you have any suspects in his, I mean her death?"

The Sheriff told him what they had learned from different sources.

"So who was the boy that someone saw take something from Ms. Cantrell?"

"Santos Garcia, but so far we do not know where he is." The Sheriff reached in his pocket and pulled out the piece of paper Pearce had given him. He handed it to the Policeman. "This is everything I know about him. Santos worked for Pearce Phinigan, back in Gallagher. But he has not been seen since Monday evening."

The Policeman took the paper, read it, and looked up. "I'll put out an APB on him. We need to know what he knows."

They spoke for a minute or 2. The Sheriff and Mike went back to their car. On the wind shield, under a wiper was a note. The Sheriff picked it up. He looked at Mike, "Seriously? A tarot card?"

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