Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Girl Sleuth-Chapter 24

(To read from the beginning go Here.)

“What?” Anne twisted in his grip, trying to look into his eyes.

Handsome was having none of it. He shoved her into a chair, keeping the gun trained on her.

Anne held out her hands. “I didn’t kill Carol. She was one of my best friends.”

“Save it, Sister. Rick told me all about the kind of games you play.”

Was this some sort of nightmare Alice in Wonderland? Anne shook her head. How could she get to the bottom of this? More importantly how could she get him to stop waving that revolver around like it were no more dangerous than a fountain pen. She breathed a silent prayer. “I don’t know what—”

“Just give me the papers that you took from her. The real papers this time.”

“No.” Anne stiffened as the word burst from her. She couldn’t inhale. Couldn’t think. She had to find a way to show him he was mistaken.

His eyes widened and he stepped toward her again.

“Carol gave them to me because she was scared. She knew something awful was going to happen and she wanted me to figure it out.”

He shook his head wildly. “No. You’re lying.”

Anne tried to relax into the chair, but she couldn’t quite manage the semblance of unconcern. “It was your friend with the Van Dyke beard. Is that Rick? He must have suspected she was on to him, and was going to blow the gaff.”

Handsome raised his hands to cover his ears. His face screwed up into an ugly, red mask. At least the gun was no longer pointing at her.

The words continued to tumble from Anne, she had to reach him somehow. “What would I have to gain by getting those papers? Much less murdering for them.” Surely he would recognize the ring of truth? Or perhaps he didn’t want to know the truth. From the tormented expression on his face, perhaps the truth would hurt worse than believing a convenient lie.

“You’re part of Joe Gansky’s gang. They’ve been trying to horn in on our operation.” The conviction had fled his voice. Tears trickled down the sides of his cheeks. He looked deflated. Worn out. Defeated.

Anne shook her head. She reached a tentative hand toward him. “I think we both know that’s not true. Why would anyone have gone after Carol, she wasn’t supposed to know anything was she?”

He slumped into the seat opposite her. His hands still held the gun, but he gazed at it as if it had somehow attached itself to him when he wasn’t looking.

“You were Carol’s boyfriend?”

“Yeah. I just found out about her today. I—” His voice cracked. “Rick just told me she was murdered today. She was supposed to be at her parent’s in Ohio. How…” Bewilderment edged the words in a stark monotone.

Anne licked her lips and stood. He scarcely glanced up.

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