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The Devil's Crucifix - part 2


Part two of two.

After finding out that his mother had indeed promised all her money to David in her will, the Jury found Paul-the-Vicar guilty of all charges.  He’s got a life sentence for man-slaughter, as well as burning down the church and it didn’t help that he pleaded non-guilty.  The guys in special ops traced the petrol from the fire back to his car, and there were no witnesses to prove otherwise.  They had sentenced him before they even had a chance to disprove his alibi.

“Well done.”  Lewis smiled to me over the table.  We’re sitting in a café, celebrating our solved case with a couple of cappuccinos and a flapjack.  Yup, it’s a grand life we detectives lead.

“What for?”  I ask.  It was always weird when Lewis congratulated me on anything; he was the one who normally got all the answers - not to mention the praise.

“You solved the case!”  He raises his stained mug and nods in my direction.  I only look up from staring at my hands when his phone starts beeping annoyingly.  Lewis flips it open and looks at the screen.  His face slowly falls from a grin to a frown.

“Damn.”  He mutters.   He looks up at me.  “We were wrong.”  He says, disappointedly.  “Paul-the-Vicar’s alibi has come back.  It’s real.  We got the wrong guy.”

“We can’t have!  Who else could it be?”   I ask urgently.

Three seconds pass:  One.  Two.  Three.

We both get there at the same time.

 “The wife!”

 

* * * *

 

It’s two hours after our simultaneous brainwave in the café, and Lewis and I are standing in the cold of the Vicarage doorway.   I glance at Lewis next to me.  He’s jumping up and down on the spot, rubbing his bare hands together.  He insisted I wore his gloves, even though I told him I wasn’t cold.  I was really, but I was never going to admit it.

The door eventually opens, and a small, distant-looking woman appears from behind it.  “Yes?”  She asks, raising her eyebrows enquiringly.

“Hello, I’m Lewis Parker and this is my colleague, Erin Black.”  He sticks out his hand, and then lowers it again slowly when she ignores it.  He continues as if it didn’t happen.  “We’re Private Detectives, here about the unfortunate incident which took place last week.  Can we come in?  Thanks.”  He doesn’t wait for a reply, and strides in without a second glance.  I follow close behind, with just a fleeting look behind me on the way.

Inside the house, we go into the living room.

“Sit.”  Mrs Blake barks, gesturing to the old-fashioned furniture reluctantly.

I perch myself on the edge of the sofa, and cough loudly and deliberately.  Lewis stops comically, legs still hanging in the air, about to be flung over the side of the armchair.  He swivels round to face forward, puts his feet firmly on the floor, and grins guiltily at me.  I raise one eyebrow and turn to the widow standing in the doorway.

“Mrs Blake,” I start, putting on my most ‘detective-y’ voice.  “My colleague and I believe that your husband is innocent and were wondering if you knew anything about the occurrences of the night in question.”

“I’ve already given a statement to the police.”  She said in defiance.  They all say that.  It’s about the only thing those swanky cop TV shows get right.  Well, apart from the response:

 “We’re not the police.”

The woman sighed and shook her head, but began.  “Twelve days ago, my late husband’s brother came down from Yorkshire to visit.  His children were staying with his mother, and all the while he couldn’t stop gloating about the money she was going to leave him.  I could see how upset my husband was getting over it – he thought that we should get some of the inheritance.  Though,” she paused, her head slightly tilted to one side.  “I know he never him dead.  They were flesh and blood after all.”

There was something in the way she said it.  I swallow.  “So he didn’t kill David?  And, if he didn’t kill him, then…”  I look sideways at Lewis.  He’s still staring at the widow but seems to sense me staring at him.  He nods.

“Who killed the Vicar, Mrs Blake?”  He asks quietly.

“Oh, I did.” She answers pleasantly.  It would have been easier if she looked guilty.  She doesn’t – she doesn’t even blink.  She just stares past us both, eyes glazed.  I doubt she even knows what she just owned up to, but it makes my heart feel very heavy. 

Lewis asks the - the murderer -  for a glass of water, and turns to face me as she potters off to the kitchen, humming quietly.  He shakes his head in slight disbelief and stands up.  He pulls on his coat and places his hat on his head.  “I think it’s time to get Paul-the-Vicar out of prison, don’t you?”

 

* * * *

In the end, we did prove that Mrs Blake was guilty and her husband was released.  It wasn’t that hard really – she readily admitted it.  It turns out she has some sort of mental disability, which no-one but Paul knew about.  His record has been wiped clean, and he’s moved away from here – away from the bad memories.

I fall into bed after another long day of Lewis rambling, and smile.  “It’ll all start again tomorrow,” I sigh.  “Though, if I’m honest, I can’t wait!”  I rest my head on the pillow; close my eyes peacefully, and, sure enough:

 

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.

 

 

Whack.

 


~ By Effy x

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