by Bruce Harris
Few people knew she was his ex. Their relationship worked out well for a while, like the first few swallows of a rich Alfredo sauce. Despite their creative efforts and numerous visits to several fertility specialists, she couldn’t conceive. Eventually, their relationship turned cold. A “he said–she said” argument ended it. Now, he watched her from behind a tree. Vulnerable. He couldn’t get a good look at the man with his arm on her shoulder, too dark. She giggled, and then fumbled with the keys before entering the home they once shared. He had to time it perfectly. He followed the lights, first the living room, and then the kitchen. She’d be making drinks, he figured. He waited, glanced up toward the bedroom. Still dark. She was always a slow drinker. No sound came from the house. He could only imagine the scene inside. In each other’s arms, a chess game with a known outcome. She no doubt thought she was in control, but he’d think otherwise. Checkmate. That’s why the timing was so critical.
He walked toward the house seconds after seeing the bedroom light illuminated. With a cutter, he removed a square of glass from the back door, reached inside and turned the key that had been left in the deadbolt lock. He knew the key would be there. It was always left there. He unlocked the door and made his way through her house. Two empty glasses sat on the marble table they had purchased together. What appeared to be an empty bottle of vodka kept the glasses company. He made his way up the stairs. The bedroom door was shut. He could hear them. He waited. “Timing,” he repeated to himself. Then, drawing on instinct from all of his years on the force, he kicked the door open and pointed his revolver.
“Police! Hands up! Move real slowly off the bed. I’ll kill you if you try anything stupid.”
The rope had already been applied to her neck. In another few seconds it would have been time to pick up the pieces. She got out of bed, dressed quickly, and shot him a hard glance.
“Just in time,” she said icily, rubbing her throat. She too pulled a badge from her purse and helped escort the man suspected of having killed four women over a five-month span. The following day the two undercover cops filed their reports.
“What’s this about, captain?” he asked.
The captain frowned. “You’re going to need a lawyer. A good one.” The captain slid paperwork toward him. “The second sheet is a medical report.”
His lips moved as he read. “Ha!” It wasn’t a laugh. “Rape? She’s crazy. I didn’t touch her! Is this some kind of a joke?”
The captain shook his head. “I don’t have to tell you rape is never a joke. The doctor extracted semen from her vagina. We’ll need a sample from you to compare. If it’s like you say, you have nothing to worry about.”
That’s when he remembered their basement freezer.
Bruce Harris is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type.