The 5 Stages of Grief

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Chapter 15, A.D.A. Blantyre-Tattershall

She looked to him continually after starting the interrogation, looking for some clue in regard to the direction she should take, willing to step back if he gave the slightest indication – but nothing. Just a reassuring smile and the occasional wink to indicate she was doing a good job and to keep going. It was liberating not having to think about bruising his ego, upstaging him or forcing him to walk in her shadow. All terms she’d heard repeatedly from the men throughout her life and none more often than her ex. It was a relief to find her mind and spirit un-tethered. That for the briefest of moments she’d almost forgotten she was grilling a merciless killer, who at best was a sick minded psychopath because any other alternative kept her awake at nights.

Chloe turned from the lunatic seated in front of her and glanced towards her wonderful man. Did I just think that? She blushed a little. He winked, nodding his head to indicate she should continue, follow her instincts. Confirming once again that he was not like the others, that he could lead or follow and was willing to do whichever was right for the situation. Damn, she thought – would I be so thoughtless? She put the notion aside, at least for the moment as there were more pressing issues before her. She continued, “So you see, we have the other body, the one you hid to use as your bargaining chip, I expect. I’m so sorry to be the bearer of the bad news. And as much as I’ve enjoyed our little chit-chats, I see no reason to continue with the charade as it diminishes the respect that should be given the decea—”

“There are more.”

“What?” Chloe froze, stopped mid-stride. “More what? More dead? More killings?” She felt her soul plummet. She was hoping, no, praying they’d seen the worst of it.

He cut her thoughts short, was quick to add, “Not by me! I didn’t kill anybody else.” He looked like a frightened child unwilling to take the blame but knowing too well he was just as guilty by being there, by knowing.

She looked at him, puzzled. “If not you, who then? And how do you know about it?” Quick, straightforward questions and though he’d caught her off guard, she hoped she’d recovered quick enough to keep the upper hand. You had to stay in control of situations like these or you lost your power. It was as simple as that.

“The others – Dr. Reichmann’s other patients – some of them anyway. I stole his notebook, it’s all in there.” He was frightened, uncomfortable, fidgeting around, wringing his hands – the body always told so much more than the words if you were willing to listen. She looked over to the corner again, Walter nodded her to continue. He hadn’t missed a thing.

“Where is this notebook?” she asked.

He smiled. It made her shiver. “I have it. It’s safe.”

“How do we know you’re not just lying? Trying to put yourself in a better bargaining position? Tell us where it is. That way, we can take a look at it. We’ll tell you if it has any value towards your case.” It was a long shot, she knew she was stretching it.

So did he.

She watched him compose himself from frightened to utterly confident in the matter of seconds, it almost unnerved her. “You think I’m some idiot to be toyed with Miss Tattershall? Or is it Blantyre? I haven’t quite figured that out yet.” He grinned at her, moistened his lips. “No matter, one will suffice as well as the other, providing you know who you are that is?” He gave her a wink then smiled, one creeping her out as much as the next. The once small man seeming to have grown six feet in mere moments, taking control as if snatching it from the hand of an infant. She’d delivered a decent enough serve but instead of a nice, easy return, he’d smashed it down her throat with twice the power and she had nothing to come back with. She couldn’t even see the ball let alone strike it.

It was the Doctor, Walter, her humble knight who answered. Only this time he came with lance tilted and at full gallop. “You’d best be careful what you wish for – Marcus is it? In my experience, and I am more than qualified to speak upon this subject, you have my word, crazy people – I mean truly crazy people – don’t typically try to bargain their way into a hospital deal. Is that what you’re doing Marcus?”

With her back turned so she faced him and not the other, she mouthed thank you, holding on to the table edge for support. It must have been luck that she was facing away as she would not have wanted the accused to have seen her face when he replied.

“Who said anything about being crazy?”

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