Thedoor opened easily into the small house as the Detective swung it open. The dawn’s light rushed through the door, meaning the Detective had to cover his eyes for a moment.Inside a man sat in a chair looked up to see him.
“Detective Hunt I presume,” the man said with a warm tone as he rose from the chair and came towards the Detective with his hand outstretched. The Detective kept his own hands firmly in his pockets as he nodded in return. “I see. Well I am Kit Jackson. Owner of,” he paused, “Why did you come? What has happened?”
“There has been a murder,” The Detective replied calmly.
The Detective turned his head slightly as he spoke, “A Naval Officer, Colonel Jefferson.”
“How?” Kit asked.
“Poison,” The Detective stated.
“Goodness.” Kit cried out as the Detective picked up a picture that was on show,
“Who is this?” The Detective inquired.
Kit gulped,“That’s my son.”
“Family business is it?” The Detective inquired.
“I’m sorry?” Kit relied confused,
“Renting this house?” The Detective showed Kit the picture as he asked. The photo was obviously taken outside the house. At first glance it looked like a wedding party with Kit and a boy, who was presumed to be his son, at the front wearing suits.
No, no.” Kit managed to say as he walked over and took the picture, laughing a little as he did so, “It use to be a hotel. We got visitors from around the world.” He looked up at the Detective, “Singapore is very unique you know.”
“What happened?” The Detective asked as Kit handed the picture back to him,
“There was a death.” Kit answered him, “And you know people, they get very superstitious.”
“So you lost business?”
“Not all of it. I still had people staying. But John came along and offered to rent it, at this stage I could hardly refuse.”
Kit watched him and slowly the Detective’s gaze changed, “I have to say for a normal man, the Colonel’s murder isn’t effecting you very much”
“Well, I didn’t know that man very well.” replied Kit.
“But you seem to know John quite well?” The Detective quizzed Kit.
“I wouldn’t say I knew him well, he only stayed at the hotel twice. But he found his wife here.”
“Yes, they met the morning they awoke in the same bed.”
“I bet that was a nice surprise.” The Detective said with a chuckle, “Did you keep in touch them?”
“Yes I did. I attended John and Norma’s wedding.”
“And did Major Robert Jones or Cleric Christopher Miles visit the hotel at all?”
“I’m not sure I should say.”
“I need not remind you Kit. That a man, a commanding officer in Her Majesties Royal Navy...”
“Alright.” Kit stopped the Detective, “Yes, I’m sorry, I do not wish to obstruct you in your murder inquiry. I have told you much of what happened when John was here anyway. Christopher visited us on many occasions, he would often walk silently and by himself around the grounds for hours on end. From what I understood he felt like he had a close connection to his God here.”
“You’re not a religious man Kit?” The Detective asked,
“No, I’m not.” Kit said quietly. The Detective noticed Kit was looking at the picture of his son. “Cheese and wine” Kit whispered, “Robert Jones came to all the cheese and wine nights, well when he could. I suppose he wanted some company. Majors in the army don’t get close personal relations as many of their associates often die. But I suppose that is one of the joys of being a high rank in the army,” Kit looked away.
“Your son,” The Detective spoke.
“Edward,” Kit pauses then looks up. He smiles as the Detective and Kit laughs a little before continuing, “There’s no hiding from you is there Detective? Edward Jackson, died 2 years ago.”
“So the death you said about?” The Detective asked.
Kit nodded, “He become sick, so fast, there was nothing we could do.”
“What was it?”
At Kit’s words the Detective raised his eyes and rested his hand on Kit’s shoulder, “I’m sorry,” The Detective said softly, “It is a horrible disease.”
“The business then took a fall, as you said. Initially we shut the hotel while attended Edward′s funeral and sorted out his affairs. When we reopened people came back but the atmosphere had fallen. When Edward died part of the hotel had died with him, physically and emotionally. There were no more cheese and wine nights, and whispers started to escalate that the hotel was haunted. From that point onwards there was nothing I could do, the Tigeress’ reputation crumbled before me and the staff left to other jobs.”
“The Tigeress?” The Detective asked.
“The hotel. That was its name.”
“The picture. Was it always just you and Edward?”
“Not always. But his mother died when he was just 19 years of age. She had died of lung cancer, something she had had for over 20 years. She loved him, very much, she often told him to love every breath he took and never to deny his life for what it was.”
“I’m so sorry...” The Detective started.
Kit abruptly stopped him, “No, no. I don’t want your sympathy.” Kit said coldly as he turned to look at him, “You are a surprisingly gentle man Detective and I hope this information may help you towards the truth you seek.”
The Detective only smiled, “As do I,” The Detective stood and went to walk out of the door.
Kit’s voice follow behind him in a warmer tone, “Go easy on them Detective. For I know sadness in a man’s eyes and there is no greater pain than waking in a jolted lovers′ dream.”