Short Story Sunday 267: Dead End (Part Five)

Short Story Sunday: Dead End | Creative Writing | Mystery Writing | Mystery Month | Mystery | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

“You think Richard doesn’t want a lawyer because then they’ll prove Beth innocent and Richard guilty?” Lilah asked. George nodded as a curt response.

Lilah turned away from George and watched Richard, Beth, and Barney in the interrogation room. Barney was patiently waiting for Beth to calm down enough so they could begin to get to the bottom of the situation. Beth was distraught and nearly hysterical. Richard comforted her by holding her in his arms and rubbing his back, though he wasn’t saying anything. He seemed shocked, numb almost. Lilah wondered if that was because he couldn’t believe what was happening or if he really was guilty of something.

“George,” Lilah said softly.

“Hm?”

“What do you think is going to happen?”

“I don’t know. I hope Barney is smart enough to figure this out himself though. I also hope Richard owns up to what he did.” George stated.

“You don’t really think Richard is a murderer, do you? I mean, he came to us looking for help. He seemed so nice and sweet. He seemed to really love his wife, why would he pin the blame on her?” Lilah questioned and then gasped. “Do you think Beth is in on it at all?”

“I don’t think so. She’s too scared to be involved. Those are real tears in there.” George explained.

Lilah grunted. “Well, how are we supposed to get to the bottom of this?”

“Barney needs to ask the right questions.”

“But we already kind of caught him.”

“Kind of doesn’t mean anything.” George countered.

Lilah rolled her eyes. She knew that well enough but it was still frustrating to her. It had been so long since they had a case and now, they finally had a client who was probably the bad guy. Not to mention they weren’t even investigating… the police were. She was beginning to get antsy on what to do – especially since her and George figured out something before Barney did.

“Beth, are you ready to begin?” Barney asked. “The sooner we figure this out, the sooner everything can get resolved.”

“The sooner she can go home.” George muttered.

“He can’t say that, what if she can’t go home? She might go to jail.” Lilah added.

“I think she needs a few more minutes, Officer Florence.” Richard said. “This isn’t an easy thing to deal with, you know.”

“Yes, I do know.” Barney replied. He narrowed his eyes at the gentleman but it was clear to Lilah he wasn’t sure what to make of Richard just yet.

George pushed a button the control panel. “Officer Florence, may we speak with you for a minute?”

Richard looked up at the ceiling at the voice and Beth stopped sobbing for just a moment. Barney raised an eyebrow at the mirror.

He stood up looking at Richard and Beth. “I’ll be back in five minutes and then I’m going to need statements from both of you.”

Barney entered the room throwing his hands up in the air. “What’s wrong?”

“Richard did it.” George said bluntly.

“Whatever happened to everyone is innocent until proven guilty?” Lilah asked. She couldn’t help but smirk. If she had blurted that out, George would have scolded her with the same phrase.

“We’re about to.” George replied.

Barney held up his hands shaking his head. “What are you talking about?”

“He knew about the body. When I mentioned there was a dead body in the trunk, he mentioned it was a male.” George stated.

“I know, I was there.” Barney replied. “And I taught you that.”

Lilah snorted.

“There’s just something off about him.” George said with a sigh. “I can’t put my finger on it, but I think he’s been playing us this whole time.”

“I agree,” Barney said. He looked at the couple through the mirror. Richard was starting to look annoyed as Beth bawled her eyes out on the table. “He just wants Beth to take the wrap for everything and get out of here so he can go home and live his life with a single shred of remorse.”

“Hey,” Lilah piped up, “who was the dead guy anyway? I don’t think anyone told us.”

“We don’t have an identity yet. We’re waiting for the autopsy. There was no ID on the guy and his face was too mangled to tell. His fingers were–”

“I get it,” Lilah held up a hand to stop him. She scrunched up her face in disgust.

“I think Richard killed the man and now is trying to pin the blame on his wife.” Barney continued. “We jut need to know who he killed, why, and why he’s trying to pin it on his wife.”

“Beth, will you shut up for a minute and let me tell you something? That cop is gonna be back at any minute.”

Barney, George, and Lilah paused their conversation and turned to the window.

“My, how our demeanor has changed.” George said.

“Does he know we can hear him?” Lilah asked in a whisper.

“Apparently not.” Barney responded and turned the volume up.

Beth sniffled and looked at her husband. “There was a man, Richard. He was trying to tell me to do something bad but I didn’t want to do it. I thought he was going to get to you so I ran away. I thought I could lose him but he found me. He called me while I was in the car. So, I tried to abandon the car but the police found me and now here we are.”

“Wow, she speaks fast.” Lilah muttered. Barney and George shushed her.

“Did you kill a man, Beth?” Richard bluntly asked.

Beth froze. “Why? Did someone die? Did I run someone over by accident?”

Richard rolled his eyes. “No. Did you murder someone?”

“No!”

“Keep your voice down.”

“Why would you ask such a thing?” Beth questioned appalled.

“There was a body in the trunk of your car. His name was Connor. Do you have any idea who that may be or why his body was in your car?” Richard said narrowing his eyes.

Lilah whacked George in the arm. “He knows the name!”

Barney snapped his fingers. “Got him.”

“Are you recording this?” George asked.

“Yep. Let’s see what else he has to say.”

“Connor Daniels? My co-worker?” Beth asked. “He’s dead? And he was in the trunk of my car…?”

Richard nodded. “He’s the one.”

“I have to get in there. Keep it rolling.” Barney said pointing to the controls.

George and Lilah remained silent though Lilah had a huge grin on her face. The truth always came out and it was a wonderful feeling to catch someone in a lie. This was all too easy though. Richard was doing all the work for them.

Barney entered the interrogation room again with a pad of paper and a pen. Richard and Beth watched him walk around the other side of the table. Before he could sit, Beth opened her mouth.

“I didn’t kill Connor, I swear. I have no idea how his body got into my trunk.”

“Thanks for giving us his name.” Barney said sitting down. He wrote something down on his pad of paper.

Beth’s jaw dropped. Lilah noticed Richard turning the other way covering a smirk.

“George!” she hit him in the arm again.

“I see him, Lilah. Barney’s got this.” George replied calmly.

“What do you mean…?” Beth asked softly.

“His face was so mangled we couldn’t identify him. We’re waiting on the autopsy report for a DNA test, but you just gave us the answer.” Barney explained clearly.

Beth leaned back in her chair. “But…”

“I thought you said you had no knowledge of the body?” Richard asked. He looked shocked and disappointed at his wife, who stared at him with sorrow in her eyes.

“The big dope. He just told her the answer two seconds ago. Does he really think she didn’t remember?” Lilah chuckled.

“Yes,” George nodded. “He’s making her head spin. Remember, she’s been on her own with nothing to her name for three days. She’s tired and confused. She’s in shock now and yet she trusts her husband. Richard is making it seem like she doesn’t know whether she’s coming or going and she’s going to start questioning herself.”

“How could you kill him?” Richard asked. He looked disgusted.

“I…” Beth shook her head. She looked down at the ground. “I don’t remember…”

“Do you think Richard knew where Beth was all this time? Do you think he screwed with her mind while she was away and pretended, he didn’t know where she was?” Lilah asked.

“Oh, yeah.” George answered. “Remember she said there was a man who wanted her to do something? She tried to run away from the voice? I bet you anything that was Richard.”

Lilah hugged herself. “George, this is weird…”

“I bet he found my business card in her car and panicked thinking she had come to us for help. He probably thought she explained everything to us and assumed we would catch him. So that’s why he came to us. When he said he was disappointed she came to us and not him? He was disappointed because it turned out she didn’t tell us anything and he almost ratted himself out.”

Lilah didn’t reply. She took in everything George had to said but she had no words. She was glad they had caught him and he was sloppy enough to give himself away, but what if he hadn’t?

Barney reached over the table and took Beth’s hand in his own. “There’s no need for you worry. You didn’t do anything.”

Beth stared at him in shock as did Richard.

Barney smiled at her. “We heard your husband tell you everything.”

“You were spying on us?!” Richard stood from the table.

Barney stared evenly at him. “So, why would you kill your wife’s co-worker?”

There was silence. Then Beth slowly rose from the table. “You still think I was having an affair with Connor, don’t you? After I told you I wasn’t, you didn’t believe me and you killed him for it? Then tried to blame me?”

Richard didn’t answer. He breathed heavily and turned the other way.

Barney stood from his chair and knocked on the door. Another officer poked his head in and Barney ordered him to put Richard in a different interrogation room. He did and Richard left willingly leaving Barney and Beth in the room together.

“I can’t believe this…” Beth said. She sat down putting a hand over her heart. “I feel terrible. The one and only innocent in this situation is dead.”

“The one and only innocent?” Barney repeated. He glanced at the mirror and Lilah shrugged even though she knew Barney couldn’t see her.

George chuckled. “I knew it.”

“What?” Lilah asked.

“She’s not all innocent in this. Whenever she mentions the affair, she mentions Connor.” George stated.

“So, she lied?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

Lilah sighed. This whole situation was making her head spin and she had no idea what else George had figured out.

“Please, explain.” Barney prompted.

“Yes, please so.” Lilah added though she looked at George who just pointed to Beth through the mirror.

“Richard was smothering me so I was having an affair. But I didn’t lie to him.” Beth explained. “He never asked if I was having an affair. He always asked if I was having an affair for Connor. I told him no and left it at that. It was never lie and I didn’t think he wouldn’t believe me and kill Connor because of it.”

Barney rubbed the back of his neck. “Yes, I supposed that’s an interesting loop hole… so, you were having an affair with a co-worker? Richard just picked the wrong guy.”

Beth nodded. “Richard picked the wrong guy, yes, but my boyfriend isn’t a co-worker. He’s Connor’s brother. They live together so I assume Richard got them mixed up.”

Lilah threw her hands up in the air. “I give up… this family is messed up.”

George, on the other hand, threw his head back and laughed.

“I don’t see what’s so funny.” Lilah scoffed. “An innocent man was brutally murdered, our client was the killer, we’ve wasted an entire day, and we’re not going to get pad for it.”

George drew in a deep breath. “I know. I don’t mean to laugh. But I honestly didn’t think these people could be any more messed up.”

Lilah snorted. “Well, wait until Connor’s brother hears about all this…”

“I imagine he already knows.” George said.

Barney entered the room again leaving Beth behind. “We’re going to hold her for a little while longer until we get the full story.”

“What do you mean Connor’s brother knows?” Lilah asked.

“What are you guys talking about?” Barney wondered.

“Barney,” George turned to him with a slight smile, “I know we couldn’t get an ID, but what was the coroner’s estimate on the time of death?”

“She said the body had been like that for a few days.” Barney stated.

“And no one reported Connor missing? Not his brother? The man he lives with?”

Barney let out an exasperated sigh. “I’ll go put out a call to bring him in…” he turned and left the room.

George wiped his hands together and smiled at Lilah. “My job here is done.”

“Wow,” Lilah said in disbelief. “Poor Connor really was the one and only innocent in this case. Why would his brother be in on it?”

George shrugged. “Eh, that’s Barney’s problem now.”

Lilah sighed. “What a day… burgers?”

George nodded. “Burgers.”

Words: 2,276

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