Saturday, 16 December 2017

The Brand Of Cain Episode 15

Back in the interrogation room, the power supply had been interrupted and the ceiling fan had stopped its noisy oscillation. People still suffer the effect of poor power supply in the country––even in some envied cities.
Abigail sat opposite the detective and Daniel also took his seat, his eyes never left the woman’s face for a moment. He noticed something odd about Abigail; she had changed since she had been shown the note found under the Bible. Her cheerfulness had vanished and she had been looking more serious ever since.
Detective Lot cleared his voice before speaking, “I’m rather going to be like those forms you fill for passports.”
“I know.” Abigail replied.
“Right, now let’s start with this––” he shifted his heavy body in the seat. “How long have you been married to the late Mr. Martins?”
“Three years.”
“Any child between the two of you?” he asked, and swatted at a fly that was crawling up his sleeves. He missed the fly that came back to crawl over his head, sneering at him.
“None.” She answered her questions with more directness and precision without any further explanation, this brevity and new brusque tone worried Daniel.
The detective nodded.
“It means that the only person who legally benefits from his death is you. Is that right, madam?”
Abigail paused before replying, “I’m not his lawyer, call Mr. Kish and ask him.”
“I’ll do that, but since he has no living relation, his inheritance automatically comes to you. He might have died intestate. Don’t you agree with me, Mrs. Martins?”
She did not reply.
The detective continued, “Now, one more question, Mrs. Martins.”
“Call me Abigail, please.”
“Just call me Abigail.”
“Okay, I want to get something straight. Can you tell us all what you know about Mr. Martins’ death?”
“All what I know,” she said thoughtfully, “I don’t think I understand what you mean.”
“When was the last time you saw your husband alive?”
“On the night of the seventh of this month.”
“Lemme see,” she lapsed into memory, “At about quarter past ten.”
“Quarter past ten.”
“No, not quarter past ten,” claimed Abigail, she licked her lips and continued, “I think I saw him at about three in the morning of the eighth. That was the next day, Saturday.”
A facile lie––Lot thought, and such a silly lie. The silly way one says the first thing that comes into one’s head instead of just taking a minute or two to think. He knew that sometimes when people lied they first licked their lips to lubricate their falsehood.
“Three in the morning of the next day,” the detective frowned, “what was he doing at that time?”
“I don’t know what, but I know I saw him.”
“Are you sure of what you’re saying, madam?”
“How do you mean?”
“According to what I found out, it is utterly impossible for your husband to still be living at that time you mentioned.”
Daniel was alert. What is going on here? At that moment, he was already turning his head from the detective to the lady as the Q & A progressed––like an ardent fan at a tennis match. A gear in his own head kept shifting and engaging every now and then.
“Abigail, are you sure you’re not mincing words?”
“I’m not a fool, detective. I know what I’m talking about and I know what I saw.” Abigail said, “On the night of the seventh at exactly fifteen minutes past ten, I know the exact time because that was the time I switched on the television to watch Hacienda; the late night Mexican soap opera, Cain asked me not to lock the door, he said he was going out with Richard and that may take him some time before returning.”
“Did you ask him where they were going?”
“He said he and Rich wanted to pay a friend a visit.”
“Pay a visit to a friend in the night?”
“So said he,” Abigail replied, “It was about three that I saw him again in the room. He might have been there earlier, I saw him when I opened my eyes before I slept off again.”
“Are you sure it’s not a dream?”
“Excuse me!”
“Forgive me,” the detective said simply. He brought out the note he received from the gatekeeper and gave it to Abigail, “can you please carefully look at the writing on that paper and tell me if you recognize who wrote it.”
Abigail looked at the writing on the paper without any reaction.
“Who wrote this?” she demanded.
“You’re throwing back my question, madam.”
She looked at the writing again and shook her head, “I have no idea whose writing it is but it might have been written by Cain himself.”
“You amaze me, madam. You said you don’t know the writing, yet you said it might have been written by your husband.”
“In the morning, call my lawyer. MC,” Abigail read. “Who could possess these initials in here but Cain?”
“That’s intelligent, madam.”
“Where’s the intelligence in it? Does one need intelligence to know that the tortoise possesses a rough shell?”
“I want you to be specific, madam. Is the writing on this note your husband’s?”
“I don’t think so.”
“And you say your husband was still alive at around three that night?”
“Yes, he was.”
“If the doctor is right, then it means that your husband could not be with you at the time you said you saw him last, it’s absolutely impossible.”
“Doctor Adam said Mr. Martins’ death occurred not later than twelve midnight.”
Abigail was silent at first before speaking; she was thinking back, thinking back so very hard.
“Then the doctor is wrong.” She said, then she asked, “Detective, does it not seem like you are shinning a light in corners better left in gloom?”
“Pardon me, Madam. I don’t seem to get the meaning of what you said.”
She shrugged, “Anyway, it’s your job you’re doing. I shouldn’t blame you.”
Detective Lot sensed that the woman was hiding something very important but he didn’t know what it was or how he could make her spill it out. He stood up.
“Thank you very much, madam. You’ve been a great help. I’ll call on you if I need you again.”
After Abigail’s departure, Daniel who had been quiet throughout the questionings and answerings spoke:
“Detective Lot, I’m in love.”
Lot cast a sharp look at him and said, “You have a funny amorous personality, is it true love or merely gonadal twinges on your part?”
Daniel was wide-eyed, “Oh my God! I can’t believe you just said that, tell me you didn’t say it.”
Lot shook his head, “No, that woman is not for you.”
Daniel was frustrated, “Why on earth not? Is it because she is a widow? After all, sooner or later, someone is going to sweep her off her feet and carry her down the aisle. What is wrong if I’m that lucky man?”
“I know how it feels to love; it’s the best feeling in the world. But take this from me, young man, that lady is not for you. I’ll advise you to stop all your risible attempts to make her notice you.”
“Will you be kind enough to give me a reason why I can’t be her man?”
“I have no reason. But be warned, though––her honey may be sweet but she may likewise be a queen bee with a sting.”
“What an advice!”
“Why don’t you go into the room where you have everybody present and declare your avowal of love, and if you can’t do that then will you forget your love story for now and let’s face the issue on ground? We have two different notes here, and we haven’t really confirmed who wrote them. What do you think about these notes, Daniel?”
Daniel collected the two notes and read them again, “The notes were no doubt written by two different people, that’s what I think.”
“There’s nothing to explain. These handwritings are absolutely different,” he cursorily compared the two samples of handwriting. “Here, it seemed like
amatuer and professional experts alike would pretty certainly adjudge the writings sparsely different. The first note contains a very bad and lousy writing. Before one can read, one will have to decipher it. The ‘t’ looks like ‘y’, and the ‘y’ looks like ‘7’. But the other writing is a well-written one, it’s very hard linking the two writings to one person.”
“That means one was written by Cain and the other by X. which do you think was written by the deceased?”
“The second note, of course.”
“Any reason for saying that?”
“The wife really confirmed the second note but she was doubtful about who wrote the first.”
“So, you believed what the woman said? She has really formatted your hard disk and put virus in it.”
“Why won’t I believe her? Do you think she won’t understand her own husband’s writing?”
“I suspect that woman of chicanery. I think she’s a pathological liar, like those people who lie when they don’t even have to. They can tell lie even when they know that their listeners are aware of the truth. As if they have an aversion to the truth about anything, no matter how benign––Mrs. Martins might fall under this category of people.”
“God! Everybody is a liar to you detectives, isn’t it?”
“That woman is hiding something––she’s hiding something very important. Did you not see the weirdness in the second note you and your love claimed to have been written by the deceased? It was apparent that the couple did not love each other when the husband was alive, then how come he wrote a note to his hated-wife stating his love at the eleventh hour?”
“We never know how much we love our spouses until we were about to lose our lives, don’t you know that? Even nasty people fall in love.”
Lot smile, “You are more intelligent than I thought of you.” He continued, “But the fact still remains that the woman is guilty of something.”
“You’re already suspecting that innocent woman, I can’t believe this.”
“Innocent you say? What makes her innocent? Is it because she is pretty? My friend, beauty is dangerous. And for all it’s worth, I personally find her
beauty quite beguiling.”
Daniel looked at the detective with annoyance, “So, what are you insinuating now? That she killed her own husband?”
“Nihil desperandum.”
“What are you saying again, sir? A Hail Mary?”
“It means ‘maybe’.”
“Jesus! What are you becoming, Detective Latino?”
“What of it?” the detective demanded sharply, “You continue to be sentimentally unbelievable! I have seen mothers who murdered their little children for the sake of the insurance money. Are you just hearing of a wife killing her husband? Did you even read about the politician who was stabbed to death by his wife?”
Daniel was agape; he could no longer fathom what the crazy detective was trying to theorize. He broke into a cold sweat.
“You saw her cry when she saw her husband’s corpse. Those tears were not fake, were they?”
“No, they weren’t. She really did cry for Cain.”
“Then?” He stared at Lot, waiting for elucidation.
“Her cry was of pity, not of grief. You remember what she said? I feel sorry for him. She didn’t cry because she won’t see her husband again, she did cry because she felt pity that his life had to end in such a brutal way. Take this from me, she was really glad that her husband died.”
“Be careful of accusing the wrong person, sir. That woman is innocent, I know she’s innocent. Maybe she hid her sadness behind an air of insouciance.”
Lot shrugged, “Maybe she is. But let’s think for once that she’s guilty.”
“What are you saying, sir?”
“Just let us look at the possibility that she planned the murder of her own husband.”
“That’s absurd!”
“She might not have killed him directly; she might have connived with someone to help her murder her husband. Most women don’t murder with guns, they can’t stand the loud bang from it, they instead use knives; quiet, penetrating and deep.”
“She’s innocent.” Daniel said gently.
“She may be and she may not be, but she’s my prime suspect in this case.”
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing.”
“I’m not expecting you to believe it yet. I need only one evidence to nail them with––just an evidence.”
“Which evidence?”
“The murder weapon. Please call in our next guest.”
“Someone I think is the accomplice.”
“The accomplice?”
“Yes, call in the lawyer.”


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