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   Chapter 11 No.11

My Sister's Keeper By Bill Benners Characters: 7744

Updated: 2018-05-28 11:01

WHEN I OPENED THE DOOR, Sam slapped a search warrant into my hand and walked in without invitation. As a photographer followed, a knot tightened in my gut. There are times when you draw the line and dare someone to cross it, and times when you open wide and take the drill. This was a root canal without Novocain. Staten went immediately to dusting the den for fingerprints. Lizard Lips headed for the kitchen and the photographer stuck out his hand to shake.

"I've always wanted to meet you, Mr. Baimbridge. Danny Butler." He carried a fairly inexpensive digital camera with a Metz strobe. I forced the warrant into the pocket with the panties and shook his hand. "I really hope to have my own studio some day, " he said, "and do the kind of work you do."

"Don't wait too long to get started, " I said, my voice flat. "Dreams have a way of slipping away."

"Yeah, I've been thinking about that." He looked uncomfortable as if waiting for my permission to start. I closed the door and left him standing there. He raised his camera to his eye, aimed it at something in the room, focused, and fired. The drilling began.

I couldn't stand around and watch while they picked through my life. I had nothing to hide. It just looked so insignificant in their hands. Like the piece of driftwood on the mantle over the fireplace that I'd picked up on the beach the one time Jewell and I made love. To them, it was just a stick. I rinsed a glass and poured a drink with the intention of stepping out on the deck.

"You don't have to say anything if you don't want to, " Jones said sitting at the counter.

"Good. My attorney told me not to, " I said replacing the cap on the bottle. "I don't know anything else anyway." I pulled the warrant out of my back pocket and flung it on the counter. As I did, the panties fell to the floor. I lifted my glass and turned.

"You dropped your handkerchief, " Sam noted flipping through his notepad.

Looking down, I saw the panties lying on the floor. With heat flushing my face, I scooped them up and stuffed them back in my pocket. "Thanks."

"Could I see the shoes you were wearing Sunday night?" he asked nonchalantly.

"I…don't have them, Sam."

His eyes raised, then he set his elbows on the counter. "You don't have them?"

"I didn't have them on when I awoke o

drink. "Yes."

Lizard Lips worked his way to the den and began examining the items on the coffee table.

"And where was she?" Jones asked.

I took in a breath and expelled it. "She was lying on top of me."

"She was on top of you?"

A smile passed over the photographer's face. I chugged the scotch and swallowed. "Yes."

"Are you sure it wasn't the other way around?"

I turned to the sink and filled the glass with cold tap water. "She was on top of me." I drained the glass and filled it again.

"And that was around nine-thirty?"

"I guess."

"Did you notice anything unusual while you were there?"

"Unusual?" I sipped the water. "There was nothing normal about anything that night, Sam. Even her cat had one blue eye and one brown one. What did you do with the cat?"

"We haven't seen the cat."

"It was tan and black—longhaired."

Lizard Lips lifted a pillow on the couch and looked under it. The panties in my back pocket felt like a rock. As he lifted another pillow, I ripped a paper towel off the dispenser and wiped my face.

"Sam, " Lizard Lips called.

My stomach tightened. Sam stepped into the den where the two of them gazed at something under a pillow. I finished the water in the glass and set the glass on the counter.

"Richard, would you step over here?" Jones asked.

I wiped my face again, dropped the towel, and crossed to the den. Right there under the pillow on the couch was the black metal flashlight I'd taken to Ashleigh's.

And on the material under it was a long red smear.

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