(Our story continues…if it’s your first time here, please go back to the July 16th post, in the Archives section, They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), to crack open chapter one of this crime novel.  Up to speed?  Then follow below. Thanks for dropping in.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xxxii ) continues…
     Terrance and Becker met with the Captain and Mrs. Elaine Bradford just outside the viewing room. Brief introductions were made and they entered. This area’s ambiance was diametric to the atmosphere of the space occupied by Doctor Newsome and the lifeless body. Indirect sconce lighting gave warm illumination off the beige- cream paint, the walls decorated with oil originals depicting forests of solitude and moonlit ocean waves. Footsteps and voices were tempered by the burnt umber carpeting. Molasses- hued leather sofas and club chairs offered comfort to the anguished.
    Peace and ice. Serenity and reality. Hope and despair. Heaven and hell. The spectral opposites, separated by a quarter- inch of glass and closed drapes.
     As the Captain described the process, preparing Mrs. Bradford on what to expect, Becker analyzed. Five foot- seven, late twenties. Athletic body. Feather- cut blond hair framing the high cheekbone face. Designer quality clothing. With the right makeup, under different circumstances, definitely a trophy wife, he thought. But today, Becker observed a face pale and gaunt, with dark semi- circles under the eyes. This face told the story of the last few days being a roller- coaster ride of worry, anger, anguish, and apprehension. Her moves were cautious, fearful of what was to come next. She held her clutch- purse tightly, arms criss- crossed against her chest.
     Biting her lower lip, Elaine took small, deliberate steps toward the window. The Captain stood on her right side, Becker and Terrance directly behind the pair. She could see a faint reflection of her face floating the a haze of darkness, like an image in a crystal ball. Mirror, mirror, a voice inside her whispered. Flashing fragments of her brief life with Owen, jumbled like a kaleidoscope, raced through her mind. Her chest tightened and needles poked at the pit of her stomach.
     She turned her head to face the Captain. She forced a deep breath, holding it, and gave Berry a short jerky up- and- down nod, then turned back to the window. Let this be a mistake, she prayed.
     Eric heard the rapping on the glass and pulled back the curtain. He stood frozen, watching the young woman shriek NO!, cover her face with both hands and sob violently. Eric saw her shoulders heave and her body becoming spasmodic. Her knees buckled, but he witnessed Mason and Marshall catch her before she fell. He saw them assist her to one of the club chairs as he slung the curtain over the window, then ran into Autopsy to get a cup of water and tissues for the now- confirmed widow. Years of work in Forensic Science had not calloused Eric to humanity. But, on these occasions, it was so much simpler dealing with the dead, Eric thought.
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