Just Before I'm Gone - One Death and a Disappearance

Written By KnighT, Thriller Story

A finger presses ‘Record’ on the tape recorder.

“Look, for the umpteenth time, Ma’am, why did you kill him?”

She doesn’t move.

He rubs his temple. “It’s been,” he looks at his watch, “six hours, thirty-five minutes we’ve been at this and God knows how much longer you intend to keep up this rigmarole, but whatever it is, Lady, I’m sick of this!”

“For the umpteenth time, Sir, I did not kill him.”

“So how do you bloody explain” he says, pointing as the screen to their left as it comes alive for the first time since she has been detained, “how there is a footage of you all over him in blood?”

Her chest heaves; her pupils dilate.

“Hallelujah! Someone seems ready to talk. 7 hours in, and this party is just getting started.”

“Look, it ain’t what it looks like, I–”

“Hahahaha. The heck it isn’t! You know you sound like the typical caught-in-the-act culprit, right? ‘Hey, Honey, it’s not what it looks like,’ or ‘Sweetie, I can explain; your eyes are playing cute tricks on you.’ Look, you gotta give me something better, woman–something, anything but that made-up line. I’m an investigator, not an idiot.”

She sighs, swallows spit, and makes to say something. She starts, but stops. She shrugs and goes ahead, anyway.

“My husband had been cheating. I made my findings and realized his mistress is pregnant with a child, a son, for him. I confront him about it. We get into a fight. He pulls a knife on me. In the struggle, I stab him. In self-defense, of course. That there,” gesturing at the playing footage, “is when the altercation took us from the kitchen to the living room, into the camera’s view…”

The sobs take over. He appears to take it in. It is the biggest chunk of information he had gotten out of her all night.

“You know, I always felt this was a crime of passion–”

“It is a crime of passion.”

“–but I realize it’s no accident.”

“Huh?”

“Don’t you dare play pretend with me, woman!”

She prefers to go mute, but the sobs have intentions of their own: snowballing into shrieks. He can only offer her Kleenex, not concern. He will not be taken in by tears.

“Why?”

She loses it.

“The heck you think is why! Maybe if you’ve ever been a woman–infertile and ignored by a man who would rather go sow his oats inside another fecund woman than be with me in the home he left me helpless and housewived in–just maybe you would have the tiniest comprehension of this.”

“That is what you want this to look like: An unpremeditated incident rather than a deliberate act–”

“How callous can you be to even think that I planned to–”

“–motivated by greed.”

“What?!”

“That you have this all planned out doesn’t mean no one else can connect those dots of your plot. Start talking!”

Another pause, but realizing she has no choice she goes on.

“Again, if you were ever a woman, you would know not just what it means but how it feels for another woman to be your husband’s favorite. What’s more, he would go to the insulting extent to will his fortune to her and the unborn heir in her belly. With all I have gone through for him, do you have the faintest idea how not merely insulting but downright unfair that is? Do you?”

“You seem to have forgotten who does the question asking in this room.”

She turns away to the other side of the wall, fuming.

“And why does that admission still not answer ‘Why’?”

“Have you ever bothered to ask ‘Why not’ huh? Bloody detectives all reading off of the same investigatory textbook, rote-questioning like brainless zombies. Ugh.”

He chuckles. She hisses,

“Quite a mouthful. Anyway, I needn’t ask that because we–or I, at least–am past the phase of why's and why nots. You’re–or I assume you should be–smarter than to think that’s all I know to ask. So, I’d be asking, ‘Where?’

She stirs in the chair.

“Where what? What’s all this, a series of adverb puns?”

“You don’t strike me as a woman who merely wants revenge. You’d rather obtain a reward. Your piece of the icing, not a ruining of the entire cake for no one else to eat. So, if the woman and child you were jealous of are alive and untouched and the husband you were intent on getting rid of in your rage is dead, what then do you gain? Isn’t that double loss for you?

“I bur–”

“And please, save me the ‘I buried him’ bullshit because we found only the murder knife but no body buried at that site.”

If she is able to conceal how unsettled she is, he cannot see it.

“You preferred being caught committing murder on camera and risking jail or, worse, a death sentence than pretending you were saving his life, when in fact that is what you were doing following the knife incident: Trying to keep him alive, although with what intent? To coerce a rewritten will out of him?”

She shoots him a look, liquid trepidation in her eyes.

“So, I will ask you for the very last time: Where. Is. He?”

Afresh, she bursts into a shriek.

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