Five minutes after the shot was fired, Tammy decided to crack on with the investigation. She knew that she would be assigned to the case, and she was allowed to start investigating and interviewing people, so she decided to interview the obvious prime suspect: Rupert. Although there were many other potential murderers, Tammy wanted Rupert to explain how the window was open one minute and closed the next, and she also wanted him to describe the events of the shooting. Clearly, Rupert was in a state of shock, so Tammy thought it was best that she should leave him until later. For now, she would interview Imelda Stratton.
"So, Imelda", said Tammy, "can you please describe to me what you did and where you were when you heard the shot?"
"Well, darling", Imelda started, "I was outside, smoking yet another cigarette - it's been a tough day, as you will know".
"That's a start. Can you tell me what you did when you heard the shot?"
"Isn't it obvious? When I heard that awful noise, I quickly ran up to the door of number 4, and it was locked. I heard Rupert crying and shouting inside, so I decided to break in by smashing the door".
"So, can you tell me what happened when you got inside?"
"I was just getting to that. When I got inside, I managed to get in, I saw Rupert stood over the body. He was just stood there, motionless, just staring at Alesha. About ten seconds later, you came in, and you know the rest of the story".
"So, Rupert did nothing?"
"Did you see a gun anywhere?"
"So, I'd say it took you about twenty seconds to get inside".
"How did you know that?"
"Well, it took me about thirty seconds to get to the house, and deducting the ten second gap between you getting there and me getting there, that makes twenty".
"Well, I spent most of that time trying to get into the house!"
"You must be quite strong to break into that door, taking less than half a minute to get in!"
"Well, I managed. The door was quite weak".
"So, was anybody else around when you were smoking a cigarette?"
Imelda thought. "No. There was nobody".
"You didn't see anyone?"
"So, where were you looking whilst you were smoking this cigarette?"
Imelda gave Tammy a puzzled look. "Why do you have to know everything to the very last detail?"
"Forgive me, Imelda, but I need to know that you are telling the truth".
"Well, if you must know, I was looking at the valley in the distance - the place that this place is named after".
"Alright. So, do you think that Rupert did it?"
"I'd stake my life on it!"
"Did you see any way in which the murderer could have fled the scene?"
"Why? Do you think that Rupert didn't do it? Don't make me laugh!"
"In my opinion, if I had to answer honestly, at this moment in time, I'd say that Rupert did kill his wife, but I have to look at every single possibility, since I can think of at least seven - possibly eight, murderers of Alesha Christen other than Rupert".
"I got a bloody mouthful there - oh, I didn't mean to say 'bloody'", Imelda laughed.
"Did you see anything else or not?" cried an impatient Tammy.
"Yes. The window in the kitchen was wide open. Are you happy now?"
Tammy left the Stratton household for now, and before she got chance to speak to Rupert, she was interupted by Craig, looking into the house, where all of the police tape was.
"What the bloody Hell's happened here?" he asked Tammy.
"Well", started Tammy, "long story short, Alesha Christen has been shot dead, and you are one of the suspects".
"What!?" cried Craig.
"Which bit of that sentence are you shocked at? The fact that Alesha has been killed, or the fact that you are a suspect?"
"Both! Who do you think did it?"
"I'll be asking the quesitons from now on. Follow me, please", said Tammy, not looking forward to this next interview.
"So", said Danny, in Tammy's house, "why do you think that I killed Alesha?"
"I don't think that you killed Alesha", said Tammy, "I think that you might have killed him, since you had the motive, opportunity and possibly means, but I don't know you that well to judge whether you are capable or not of murder".
"So, can you just get this over with then? I've got more problems now".
"Let's start with the beginning of the night. Why were you sacked from your job?"
"How do you know that?"
"Why would you come back, except to get your job back?"
"Alright, Alesha sacked me because I headed out two minutes early. I can't believe it. What do you make of that, eh?"
"All I make of that is that Alesha is dead, and I might be facing her murderer".
"Well, know that you're not".
"If you want to prove yourself innocent, you'll have to talk to me and give me any information that you know".
"Fine. You want information? I'll give you some. When I went to leave tonight, when I got in the car, I saw someone standing outside number 4, looking in".
Tammy paused before speaking, "did you see who it was?"
"No, but here's the interesting part: they were dressed in exactly the same clothes as Rupert wore tonight".
"That yellow suit?"
"Yeah- isn't that a coincidence?"
"Was it a man or a woman?"
"I think it was a man, but it might have been a woman, but I didn't see any...you know".
"So, it was probably a man?"
"Was anybody else there at the time?"
"There was nobody else there. Do you think it was them?"
"It might have been. Anyway, what was the relationship between Rupert and Alesha like? You knew them both best".
"Well, they were pretty much the perfect couple. Alesha had her strops, almost every day, but Rupert always stood up for her and he did his best not to cause an argument with her".
"Did they have any arguments?"
"I never heard them row properly".
Tammy thought that was very strange, since she had seen Rupert arguing with someone, presumably Alesha, that night.
"Thank you, Craig", she said, "that will be all for now".
"Well, I'll tell you what - if I'd killed her, I'd have been a stupid person, because then I would have definitely lost my job, wouldn't I?"
"Oh", remembered Tammy, "one more thing. Why did you come back so late?"
"Because I wanted to get it over with. It would have been playing on my mind tonight in bed. I'll not get to sleep tonight, anyway, not after what's happened".
Craig left the house, and it was now time for Tammy to talk to Rupert.
"So", started Tammy, ready to catch Rupert out, "can you tell me your version of events just before the shot?"
"Well", said Rupert, "just before the shot, I have to admit that Alesha and I were having a little row".
"I saw that", replied Tammy, shocked that Rupert would tell the truth, "so what was the argument about?"
"I can't really remember - I think it was about Craig, or some of it. A lot of it was about little things. I was surprised, actually, because that was the first row that we'd ever had!"
"So, did you kill your wife?"
"What? No! I'm still in shock about it now!" cried Rupert, showing Tammy his shaking hand.
"Alright", said Tammy, "so, the next question - where were you when the shot was fired?"
"I was in my - our - bedroom, preparing to go to bed".
"And what did you do when you heard the shot?"
"Almost immediately, I ran into the living room. I was so shocked...I..." Rupert stopped talking, and put his head in his hands.
"Did you see anybody else there at the time?"
Rupert shook his head.
"So, you just stood there, staring at Alesha?"
"One more question, Rupert - was the window that the killer could have escaped from open before the shooting?"
Rupert nodded, "but only slightly, and the killer could not have come in, you see, because it's one of those windows that stops moving any further after about two inches, unless you flip the switch at the top".
"I know what you mean. I have them myself. So, the murderer could not have entered that way?"
"The murderer could not have entered any way, unless Alesha let them in through the door!"
"Was the door locked?"
"All doors and windows were locked - I'm a bit of a safety freak".
"So, the only way that this intruder could have got in was if Alesha opened the door to them?"
"Yes. It's the only possible way!"
"So, that makes things even more complicated..."
"Oh, nothing. I'm just talking to myself. So, there is one more question that had slipped my mind".
"Well, what is it?"
"Where is your yellow suit?"
"It's in my bedroom. I took it off and changed just before the murderer came and killed my Alesha!"
"Can you get it for me?"
Rupert entered his bedroom, and searched through his wardrobe. His yellow suit had vanished.
"OK, Rupert", said Tammy, "I now need you to tell me everybody who had the chance to enter your house between your moving here and tonight".
"Well, I suppose anybody could have managed to sneak in. Alesha and I were very busy the other day when we were unpacking".
"Alright. I am getting closer, believe it or not".
"Is there anything I can do to help?"
When Rupert said that, a gun dropped out of the wardrobe.
"It's been in there for ages", said Rupert, not appearing nervous in the slightest way.
"I might need to take that for evidence".
"Why? You don't think I killed her, do you?"
"I don't know, and that could be the murder weapon. I'm not going to arrest you - yet - but I need to take that gun".
Rupert handed the gun to Tammy without hesitation or fuss.
On leaving the house, Oliver Stratton called out to Tammy, "do you need to interrogate me?"
"Why? Have you got any information on the case?"
"No. I don't know anything about that night".
"Well, I don't need to talk to you, then", replied Tammy, excited to go home.
When she arrived home, after taking the gun to the police station, Tammy said, "what a case this is going to be!"
"Have you got more suspects than usual?" asked Danny.
"I've had more, but there are lots of people who could have commited the murder: Imelda or Oliver Stratton, John, Eva or Harry Gardiner, Danny, Vera, possibly Anna, although there is no proof of a motive, and not to forget, Rupert, of course".
"So, one of those nine people is the murderer?"
"I am almost certain of it!"
© Copyright 2017 declan mckimm. All rights reserved.
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