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| Category: || Mystery and Crime Fiction |
Posted:|| September 29, 2019 Views: 287|
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Chapter 25 of the book What The Blind Girl Saw
"What The Blind Girl Saw #25"
by Sally Law
"Everyone has something to overcome. Whether it's a difficult person, adverse circumstances, or a disability, we must overcome it.
Today is a new day to start afresh, even if you failed miserably yesterday. My blindness must be overcome every day. I overcome it by writing."
Sally Law, Author, 'What The Blind Girl Saw' mysteries.
The sensationalized trial for the murder of my dear neighbor and uncle, Andre Dupree, had adjourned for lunch. After my attack in the ladies' washroom this morning, an early lunch recess was called for by Judge Hawthorn.
Security was immediately tightened around the courthouse and me. Nothing like this had ever happened in our small Louisiana township that anyone could recall. It had rocked everyone--especially my husband.
However, something good for the trial came out of the harrowing event. Both King and I had recalled the presence of my attacker as the same man near our property on the morning of Andre Dupree's murder. Possibly, an eyewitness to the crime had come into view.
I had had a close encounter with my attacker that was quite revelatory, and I was anxious to relay my story to anyone who would listen.
Patiently I waited as the EMTs and forensic technicians examined me, poking and prodding. I was doing pretty well, all things considered. Luckily, my attacker broke my fall when I fell backwards, landing on top of him.
The crowd eventually left, leaving me with the two men I trusted the most--my loving husband, Jackson, and Detective Mike Lembowsky.
"You look better than he does, Sal. My gawd, he looks like he tangled with a bobcat," said the detective in Jersey-ese.
"Basic self-defense training," I remarked. "His head was the only thing I could reach."
"Are you sure you're up for this, Sally? I see swelling on your neck."
"Yes, sir," I said. "Let me get this out while it's fresh in my mind."
I took a moment to clear my head and retraced my steps back to the courtroom exit. I recalled the specific details of my attacker: his raspy voice, his scent, and contemptuous comments as I began my statement.
"My first contact with my attacker was in the hall leading to the washrooms. He greeted me, but I didn't recognize him as a regular security guard from earlier in the day. His southern accent was fake, definitely French born," I said to Detective Lembowsky, as he scribbled. "I think he's around sixty and just a little taller than me at about six feet. He wears 'Memo Paris French Leather' cologne. It smells like a strong version of the popular 'English Leather' from the 70s. Do you know it?"
"English Leather? Oh, yeah."
"Anyway, if you remember, I smelled the same strong scent on the day of Andre's murder."
"That's right," said the detective. "You certainly have a heightened sense of smell."
"It's a blind thing," I replied. "When I'm close to a person, I sense things more deeply than a sighted person. My remaining senses are heightened, more acute in dangerous situations," I said.
"Okay, my blind consultant-to-be. What'd ya see?"
"I think he has a close association to Philippe Savard, and was promised a share in a rumored pink diamond said to be in Andre's estate. He questioned me about the pink diamond, calling Savard a liar. He pressed me for information, calling me a liar too. (There was a lot of pent up rage in those comments; typical of a left out partner.) Whoever he is, he could've been at the scene and witnessed Andre's murder. Maybe he was the lookout while Savard was burying the crowbar in our yard. King signaled to me that he recognized my attacker as soon as he had him pinned."
I paused to entertain the thought. A living eyewitness to Andre's murder. This was the one thing we were missing, although the state prosecutor had strong forensic evidence against Philippe Savard, and the letter from Charles Dupree. This could be the game changer.
"This is a Hail Mary pass with seconds to go in the game, Mike!" I boasted.
The kind detective was good at keeping me calm and focused. "Before we go for the touchdown, is there anything else that might help us identify him?"
"Yes, one last thing. He has sinus issues. I could hear a whistling sound every time he inhaled. I would check the local walk-in clinics with his description. He's probably had to see a doctor recently."
Detective Mike continued writing, but was unusually quiet. Finally, he set aside his notes and spoke.
"I can hardly wait to have you as my consultant--both you and King. Once we get Savard dealt with and secure justice for Andre, you just name the day."
"Flatter me over lunch, Detective. We're starved, and court will resume soon, You promised, remember? The food truck is parked out front and it smells divine." King barked in agreement.
"I was going to ask you all out to lunch or dinner, anyway. I had something important to discuss with you," said Detective Mike.
"Not again," I said. "Last time we did this, you dropped a bomb on me."
He leaned into Jackson and me and whispered, "Yes, and it's a pink diamond bomb."
Clayborne Moore drove his BMW like a crazy man all the way from Lafayette Courthouse to the County Jail, with Ashley Bishop riding petrified in the front seat. She threatened to call a cab for the return flight home.
"Clayborne, I'm going to tell Lana how you drove. I've clawed the dashboard of your new Beemer, I'm afraid."
"Sorry. I'm so boiling mad, I could throttle Philippe Savard. You know, he poisoned me when we were out at lunch on the first day of the trial! I bet when we arrive in his jail cell, we'll see where he hides his homegrown mold. My God, I thought I was going to make Lana a widow, and Tracy--fatherless."
"I'm sorry, Clayborne. I had no idea he did that to you. It doesn't surprise me though. I don't know what to do about all of this. Not really. I've only stayed with Savard because I knew you'd been so ill. Leaving when a team member is down, isn't good--you know?"
"You're cut from good cloth, Miss Bishop."
"Thanks, Boss. Now, take a deep breath, and let's see what we can do with Philippe Savard today. I brought all the necessary paperwork to reduce his charge--that is, if he admits he did it. After that, your attempted murder charge will be thrown into his pot of misery. And don't forget, France is waiting to extradite him for the murder of a business associate. Whether he does or doesn't cooperate, he'll at least be in prison for the remainder of his life, Clay. This thought helps me sleep at night."
"We've got to get him to confess, Ash--we simply must."
"He could say no," Ashley commented. "You know we can't force him."
"I have it on good authority, Philippe Savard has paid off a juror, and I'm pretty sure I know which one."
"Juror number six," they said in unison.
Route d'espoir, near the cave hideout, Strasbourg, France. May 23, 1944~
"The name of the road was a good one," thought Andre Dupree as he made the turn. Route d'espoir or Hope Road, led to a better, more narrow route to the cave. There was also a better chance this poorly kept road would have less military travel and no German checkpoints for about fifteen miles.
After that, the pass from Hope Road to the cave through the German-occupied countryside was uncertain, with potential dangers of every kind. David's body was still in the truck bed, covered with nothing more than a burlap sack.
Andre knew he was risking the safety of both Maman and himself, which prompted him to stop as soon as he sighted an acceptable area about five minutes in.
The moonlight shone on an easement, and Andre came to a stop underneath a cluster of trees near a lake. Maman stirred, and tried to sit up and help him. She immediately laid back down again, trembling with chills.
"Maman, rest please," said Andre. "I will bury David as quickly as possible and get you to the cave." Maman had no strength left to argue.
Andre slid David from the truck bed, pulling him by his trench coat. It was blood-soaked, prompting him to hurry. Wild animals were all around. He saw the little glowing eyes of foxes as they scurried about.
He dragged him to the lake area, pausing for a moment to pray, and thanking God for the life of David von Gil. Andre knelt down and kissed his forehead. "Adieu, my dearest friend."
Closing his eyes, he remembered the last time he saw David, driving away from the cave, waving his tweed cap. That would be Andre's favorite memory to hold forever.
He waded David into the water until he disappeared into the murky blackness.
The road between Strasbourg and Colmar, France. May 23, 1944~
Leo Fermier pulled into Colmar just in time for his scheduled dairy delivery at St. Paul's Hospital. After that, he would stop and enjoy a shaded picnic with his fellow travelers, Hava von Gil, and her little boy.
He sighted some obliging shade and sent Hava and little Andre in the general direction he thought would be best for their lunch. Leo headed further on down the street to make his delivery. "This won't take but a few minutes," said Leo.
"No worries," said Hava, as she waved.
A street vendor caught her eye, and she ventured across to purchase some fruit. She was beginning to feel shaky as she was about five months pregnant.
Hava contemplated telling Leo more about herself as soon as she knew he could be trusted. So far, she felt like she could. She saw many qualities she admired already in Leo, and she would need a friend if she was to get to Hungary where David's only brother lived.
By Jewish custom, she would seek out a husband among David's brothers to continue their family name. He had one living brother, Ariel, supposedly unmarried, and living in Hungary as of 1942. He was her last option, as many of her family members had been killed by Hitler's hand in both the extermination camps and prison. Her father-in-law was beaten to death on the streets in Berlin by the Gestapo, simply for wearing his prayer shawl; and her mother-in-law had been sent to some sort of work camp. She remained hopeful, and knew this arrangement is what David would want for her.
Hava found some fruit, and also a lovely handmade quilt, paying generously from her coin purse. The vendor noticed her wealth and beauty, and followed her with his eyes.
Hava returned to the picnic lunch and spread out cheese, milk, and fresh grapes on the colorful quilt.
Leo saw them sitting down and waved. He wasn't smiling though, and looked concerned. "Hava, we must eat quickly, and then go. The hospital is under quarantine," Leo said, keeping a safe distance.
"What is it?" Hava asked.
"Rheumatic fever. It's strep throat that can go into the bloodstream and kill very quickly."
"You sound like a doctor."
"I am, or was, a medic and officer in the French Resistance."
To be continued . . . .
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