A Short Story for your Sunday Morning reading pleasure!
© Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour
Karen groped around in the room. Someone had rearranged her furniture––why? She moved further into the space, heading for her kitchen. Damn! Where had this wall come from?
A rustling sound permeated the silence. Karen’s head turned to the left, toward where her bedroom should be. She reached out and touched the wall, it would guide her.
“Who’s there?” she called out nervously.
Something was rubbing around her legs, something soft. She reached down, and her fingertips dug into feline fur. But she didn’t have a cat!
Karen heard the rain start as it began pummeling against the windows. A louder, tapping sound joined the raindrops. What could be making that noise?––she didn’t have trees close to her windows.
She continued to follow the wall, her heart thumping on overdrive. A doorway opened to her probing fingers. She stepped inside. Cold ceramic tiles greeted her socked feet. This was not her bedroom!
What was that smell––such an overpowering stench? As Karen dared further into what seemed to be the bathroom, her ears picked up a dripping sound. She stepped gingerly forward; her feet collided with something damp. Karen bent down, and her fingers touched what seemed to be a wet towel, but it wasn’t just water, it felt sticky! She touched her finger to her tongue––blood?
The dripping … the tapping … the rubbing feline … the floor … the changed landscape of the apartment … Karen continued moving forward, caution thrown aside. Her toes touched the edge of the bathtub. It was solid, unlike her old-fashioned claw-foot tub. The dripping sound was thunderous now. Karen reached where she assumed a faucet would be. Her hand brushed across something that reminded her of bloody, matted hair, as hers had been on the day a bullet had grazed her head, the day she’d lost her sight.
Karen began to back away from what she suspected may be in the tub. The feline let out a yowl as Karen tripped over it. She was falling on the slippery floor … down … down … no more sound…
* * *
“Do you think she did it?” A voice punctured Karen’s groggy awakening.
“Her prints are all over the apartment, on the water faucet, too. Looks like she smashed the victim’s head against it pretty hard––guy bled out in the water.”
“Yeah, I don’t understand why she left the water dripping, though.”
Who were these people? A two-way radio crackled. Then a hoarse voice, one she recognized––Captain Johnston. “Sergeant Mallon, what’s the status there?”
“Well, it’s not a surprise the perp didn’t come out of his apartment, he’s dead! I’d say he’s been floatin’ in the tub for at least a couple of days. Found Karen at the scene; think she might have done it.”
“You’re kidding, I hope.”
“Well, Captain, she does have the training and, even if she is blind, she might have pulled this off if she caught him by surprise.”
Karen’s heart began to race. What were these guys talking about? Who was dead? Why was he being referred to as a perp? Why did they think she killed him?
“Well, old Sam Maloney, you finally got what was coming to you, eh?” A new voice.
Fear raced through Karen’s waking body––Sam Maloney! He was the guy who had shot her––the powerful drug lord––the man she and the team had spent a whole year staking out, waiting for him to slip up. The man she had wished, a thousand times, she could kill.
Someone was touching her shoulder. “Karen, we have to take you in for questioning.”
Karen recognized the voice. James. He’d been on a stakeout with her; he’d been at the hospital with her; he’d heard her say how she wanted Maloney dead.
“James?” Karen reached out and touched the face that was close to her. It felt like he hadn’t shaved for a week.
James leaned in closer. Karen smelled the cigarette smoke on his breath, a touch of stale whiskey. “Don’t say anything Karen. I won’t give you up. Did an admirable job, though; Maloney’s had this coming for a long time!”
“I didn’t do this!” Karen protested. She pushed herself into a sitting position. James hooked his arm around her and helped her to stand. “I won’t cuff you Karen, but I do have to read you your rights … you have the right to…”
“No,” Karen groaned.
“Remain silent; you have the right to…”
“No!” she yelled, pulling away and bumping into the doorway. “I didn’t do this!”
“Calm down,” James ordered.
Karen felt nausea rising in her throat; she felt that she was going to pass out again.
“Cuff her James,” the voice who had been referred to as Sergeant Mallon commanded. “Can’t take a chance on her escaping.”
It was at that point she remembered … as Mallon passed by … she recognized his scent … just like Mallory’s … a crooked cop … Mallon … Maloney … what was the connection … oh God … I couldn’t have … down … down … doomed … dark silence … I shouldn’t have … it was all coming back … he deserved it, though, … and it had been so easy … should have seen the evil grin on his face … but then, he had slipped … no jury would convict a blind woman…