Tim Wallace entered the room. It had a beige motif which included everything from a chair, the wallpaper to a worn and creaky table and a moth eaten sofa. On the sofa sat, a slender woman with a green t-shirt and blue jeans. Her blonde hair was almost limp and her blue eyes were almost dull to a point that they looked cobalt. She exhaled the smoke from a lit cigarette that dangled in her hand.
“Good evening, Ms. Edwards. Are you ready?” The woman shook her head as she extinguished her cigarette. Tim placed a black tape recorder on the wobbling table. The recorder clicked as he pressed a button.
“Tuesday, June 15, 2004. Interview with Ms. Christine Edwards.” Tim nodded toward Christine to begin talking. Her lipstick was nearly gone from her thin lips at she wet them.
“My name is Christine Harrison Edwards. I give Timothy Wallace permission to tell my story to the world.” She smiled to young reporter as she leaned back, looking toward the black and white clock that hung on the wall above him.
“The day was July 13, 1998. I lived with my aunt, Mrs. Tina Thompson, at 435 Hopkins Road. I was 18 years old. Sam Edwards and I were involved for two years¼“
Christine Harrison stood on the front porch of her aunt’s cerulean one story house. Her blonde hair hung off her shoulder in a low ponytail. Sam Edwards, her boyfriend, stood in front of her, holding her slender hands.
“Christine! Come in here now!” A voice shouted from house.
“She shouldn’t treat you like that.” Sam said as he looked into Christine’s shimmering blue eyes.
“She is my aunt, Sammy.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I have lived here for six years now. I think I can handle it.”
“I’m just worried about you.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll see you later.” The two kissed quickly. Sam walked toward his gray Monte Carlo as Christine looked on. Christine walked quickly inside and straight into the foam green Formica kitchen. There standing by the counter was an older woman. Her brown hair was limp and beginning to gray. Wrinkles began to form on her face but she still looked young. She wore an oversize pull over and tight jeans with a cigarette she held by her hip.
“What did I tell you?” She said after a puff of a lit cigarette.
“I was coming back to do the dishes.” Christine said starting the water and pouring dish washing soap into the porcelain sink.
“When I tell you something, you do it immediately. Not when you damn feel like it!” The older woman said extinguishing her cigarette. “I also told you to cut these tomatoes.”
“Do you want me to do them now?” Christine held the same condensing voice her aunt gave her in their arguments.
“Yes, I want you to do them now.” She said mockingly. Christine dried her hands and picked up a large steel knife and began to slice the delicate tomatoes.
“You better get your mind out of all of this romance crap and on to your housework. This place is a dump and it smells like a pig sty. I don’t know how you use to live but in this house, I live clean.” Christine continued to cut the ripe tomatoes as anger grew inside of her.Just stay calm. Just stay calm.
“Watch how you cut them damn tomatoes. You don’t know how to do nothing, do you? I have to¼.” Christine couldn’t stay calm any longer. She lifted the steel utensil into the air and with a swish of air, plunged it into the chest of her aunt. She quickly pulled it out, with rage in her eyes. The older woman stood, a horrid look on her face, as she held her chest. Christine watched as her aunt fell to the floor with a thud. Christine began to breathe heavily until she realized what she had done. She released the knife from her grip and let it fall to the floor. No sound was uttered in the surreal scene.
“Christine, I forgot to tell you¼“ Sam walked in to find the ghastly scene as blood pooled on the floor. Christine looked up to see a puzzled look upon his face.
“I didn’t mean to do it.” She whispered. Sam crossed over the corpse, trying his best not to step in the blood. He embraced her, waiting for the tears to pour. Not a drop came forth.
“It’s okay. It’s okay. Let’s think.” Sam pulled her away from his chest to see her blank expression. “Tell me, where do you keep the towels and do you have any gloves?” Christine pointed to a drawer near the sink.
“What are you about to do?” Christine said covering her mouth in horror. Sam removed yellow washing gloves and slipped them on. He then removed a towel and began to wipe the handle of the knife. Christine watched his curious movements with her feet planted firmly from the body.
“Is she left or right handed?”
“What?” Christine said removing her hand.
“Left or right?”
“Left-handed.” Sam placed the knife in Tina’s left hand with the blade parallel with her legs. He squeezed her fingers around the handle and release.
“Why did you do that?”
“So it looks like a suicide.” He said removing the gloves and holding them tight in his hand with the towel.
“Come on.” The two of them hurried off to Sam’s apartment to wait to hear from the police.
Christine sat in the cold metal chair in the dark, gray room. Across a stainless steel table sat two men. A tall but portly man, Detective Moreau, stood in the corner in a light blue button down shirt with navy blue slacks with his partner, Detective Brown, a thin, agitated man in a lavender shirt and mauve slacks. He sat in a similar chair with folders scattered over the table.
“Good evening, Miss Harrison. I am sorry that we have to call you here on such a terrible occasion. You do know why you are here?”
“Yes sir. It is just a terrible thing. Do you know how she died?”
“Suicide. That is what the forensics found so far.” The wide waist man said still standing in the dark corner.
“Suicide? But why.... She would never have committed suicide. She loved life. She was a wonderful person, you know. She took me in when my mother was sent to the insane asylum. She was my only family.”
“That is why we wanted to talk to you. Did you see any signs of depression in her? Did she take anti-depressants at all?”
“No, not that I know of. She was always busy. She always said if work isn't done right, she will have to do it herself.” Christine looked into Detective Brown’s brown dewy eyes.
“Well, thank you. Is there any other information you will like to tell us?”
“No, I just want her to rest in peace.” Christine stood and proceeded to walk back to the lobby where Sam sat waiting.
“Heart-breaking isn't it?” Detective Brown said standing and walking to the open doorway to watch the couple walk away.
“Yea, if you like bedtime stories.”
“What?” He said turning to his partner as he walked up beside him.
“Isn't funny how she talked about her aunt in past tense. It is well known that the close members of a suicide victim talk about them in present tense.”
“Does it really matter?”
“Also, she wasn't very hurt by the news of a suicide.”
“What are you saying? She killed her? What about the evidence?”
“So far, it is a suicide. We have to wait.”
Three weeks past since Christine's aunt's funeral. She was back at work a week after it. She couldn’t just sit around waiting for nothing.
Christine stood in the kitchen of the Katmandu Rest Home in her white and navy blue golf shirt and blue shorts, the uniform, pouring water into a cup of tea leaves.
“Cook, I'm going to see what Dana wanted. This is the tea for room 425.” Christine yelled to the stout woman in all white into the connected room. The woman nodded as she continued to stir the pot. Christine walked out of the one story building to a courtyard with a pool and a garden.
“Good afternoon, ladies.” She said as she past two elderly women in tropical color smocks. Christine soon spotted a girl with the same frame of body as her with brown mousy hair, a clipboard in her hand.
“Dana! Hey, what did you want?” Christine said running up to the girl. Dana Danbury looked at her.
“I didn't want anything.”
“Oh, Tanya told me you want me to do something.”
“Oh, that was earlier. I did it already.” The two girls watched as a plump girl with a single ponytail quickly walked by the two carrying a tray.
“Is that for room 425? I finished making that like three minutes ago.” Christine nearly shouted at the girl.
“I was busy.” The girl said looking back as she kept going forward.
“These rookies are something else. Look, I’m going to the café for lunch. Want anything?”
“No, I have to go make some rounds.” Dana said looking at the clipboard.
“Okay.” Christine went back to the kitchen and grabbed her bag and hurried across the street to a small café.
Christine found herself once again in the same small dark room with the two detectives who a more stern look on both their faces.
“Miss Harrison, how are you doing today?” asked Detective Brown, a small smile on his face.
“I am fine. Why am I back here? Is there something new with my aunt’s suicide?”
“No, Miss Harrison. You see there was a death at the Katmandu Rest Home, where you work.” Detective Moreau said sitting next to Detective Brown. Christine turned a blank stare to the “bad” cop in the room.
“We were wondering if you knew a Mrs. Emily Whitman.” Detective Brown asked breaking the tense between his partner and the girl.
“She resided in room 425 of the rest home.”
“Oh, room 425! You see we on the staff don’t call the residences by their name because there are too many. So we call them by their room number.”
“Really? Well, it seems that she died from the ingestion of oleandrin and nerioside with an herbal tea.” Detective Moreau’s temper flared as he continued to confront Christine.
“She had her afternoon tea. What is oleandrin and nerioside?” Christine asked Detective Brown.
“A toxin from the oleander plant.” Detective Brown said showing the crime scene photo of the tea cup and of a white oleander.
“Do you know who fixed the tea?”
“I did but, you don’t think I killed her? I didn’t even know her.”
“Oh, I think you did know her. You see, Mrs. Whitman was Sam Edwards’s grandmother.” Detective Moreau said standing.
“But his grandmother died.”
“On his father’s side, yes. This is his mother’s mother.”
“That still doesn’t explain why I would kill her?”
“You see, Sam was to inherit 300 thousand dollars when he reached twenty-five and if she died before then he would get a third of it, 100 thousand. He told you this and he wanted a way to get rid of her. So he supplied the poison and you supplied a way to get it to her.” There was silence.
“I have no idea what you are talking about.” Christine said as she thought about the day before when Sam handed her a small vial of chopped green leaves and she placed her into the tea cup.
“You said you made the tea.”
“Yeah, but I was not always around it. Cook boiled the water for it. I came in and poured the water over the tea leaves.”
“Who put in the tea leaves?”
“I don’t know. I was busy before I poured the water. I then told Cook I was going to see my supervisor, Dana. Then a rookie to the place took the tea to room 425.” She explained.
“We will check it out.”
“Fine. May I leave?” Detective Moreau waved her out.
“There is just something not right.” He said.
“What do you think?” Detective Brown rolled his eyes at his partner as they both exited the room.
“I don’t know. Until we get more evidence, let’s keep an eye on her.”
Christine moved in with Sam after the whole problems she saw passed her way. It was a comfort to have him around and the two were really in love. Christine sat at the one bedroom apartment, curled up on the overstuffed couch that made for her bed at night. The day after her second encounter with the detectives, Christine was released from the Katmandu Rest Home permanently. She felt hurt from this but got over it quickly. Sam walked in carrying an envelope, a gleeful smile on his face.
“It’s here.” He said plodding down on side of her.
“You know we can’t spend it yet.” She said staring at the television.
“If the cops see we spend the money, they’ll get suspicious. I think one cop is already.”
“Then what are we to do?”
“Wait and see.” She said, “Just wait and see.”
Days had passed since they received the big check. The funds were secured away is what Christine told Sam as they went about their lives. Christine was leaving the apartment when the phone rang.
“Miss Harrison, this is Detective Brown from the police station.”
“Listen, I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“We just want to ask you a few questions.”
“Fine. I’m bringing my lawyer.” She said hanging up the phone.
At the precinct, Christine became very familiar with the room where she sat. Next to her was a family friend, Gina Douglas, who was also the family lawyer. Mrs. Douglas wore a black dress suit the matched her black hair to her ebony skin.
“Good afternoon, Miss Harrison, Mrs. Douglas. We just have a few questions.” Detective Brown said. This time he was alone yet not alone. The room where they were had a one way mirror. Behind the mirror’s façade stood Detective Moreau.
“Miss Harrison, it has come to our attention that Mr. Edwards has received his check from his grandmother’s will. It also seems that only half has been placed in an account. Mrs. Whitman’s will specifically says that 25 thousand dollars be used on her funeral and only Mr. Edwards inherited the money.”
“That is true. 25 thousand dollars is being given for the funeral.”
“What happened to the rest? Any extravagant spending?”
“No sir, as a matter of fact, 25 thousand was sent to his mother.”
“His mother? Is she living with his father? Why did she not inherit any of Mrs. Whitman money? Did he give it to his father and mother?”
“No, she isn’t with Sam’s dad. She left.”
“Where is she?”
“You don’t have to answer that, Christine.” Mrs. Douglas said as she wrote notes.
“It’s okay. He didn’t give to his dad. Just his mom. She left when he was young.”
“She left because his dad beat her. He beat him too. She couldn’t take it anymore, so she left. Leaving him to take it. Every now and then he sends her money to take care but some reason, he can’t leave.” The three sat in silence as the startling fact lingered in the air.
“Are we done, detective?” Gina asked looking at her client, Christine’s cheek were bright red.
“Okay. Thank you. You may leave.” Christine slipped on her glasses and walked out with her lawyer close behind.
“It is said that those from a home of abuse will abuse.” Christine said dragging on her second cigarette. She rolled up her sleeves to show blue and purple bruise on her arm.
“Sam did those?” Tim asked.
“He said he did it because he loved me. Piece of crap.”
Sam walked up to the shabby house carrying the heavy box containing many parts of an engine. He knocked with his foot against the wooden door. An overweight man opened the door with a snort. He wore a stained undershirt and khaki pants. He moved to the side as Sam made his way inside and set the box down.
“Here are the parts you wanted.” He said quietly.
“Heard you got some money.” The man said in a gruff voice.
“Yea and I know grandma didn’t want you to have any.”
“I don’t want none. I know you gave some to your mother.”
“I’m gone.” Sam said walking to the door.
“I ain’t done talking to you, boy!” The man said. Sam stopped in his tracks.
“Huh, you just like your mama. Can’t do nothing for ya self.” Sam turned around with his mouth turned up.
“You given me the eye, boy?” The man steeped to him. “I should knock you to next week.” He said holding up his hand.
“Do it.” The man slapped Sam across his face. Sam stood his ground. He pulled out a handgun and pointed to the stoutly man.
“Oh, a big man. You go shoot ya old man?”
“I’m tired of you. I’m leave.” Sam said as he turned.
“You ain’t goin’ nowhere.” The man grabbed Sam’s wrist. They struggled with the gun still in Sam’s hand. They fought until a shot was fired. The man looked into Sam’s frighten eyes. Sam stepped back slowly and stood. He stared at the man, still hunched over, as a red spot began to form under his shirt. The man fell to the hardwood floor with a thump. Sam stared in disbelief as the man slowly died.
Christine walked into the apartment to find Sam sitting on the couch holding a gun.
“Sammy? What’s wrong?” She said slowly walking toward him and sitting down next him.
“Nothing. Go pack you things.” He said looking at the gun. Christine stood and hurried to the bedroom and packed. Once she was done, she brought in her bags and saw that Sam was still looking at the gun. Christine said down next to him looking at the gun.
“Sammy, what happen?” There was silence.
“I killed my father.” Christine looked at his face and saw that tears began to fill his eyes.
“Sammy, it’s going to be okay.” He shook his head.
“No. Not this time. They are coming to find me. They know you killed your aunt and they know we killed my grandmother. They are coming to get us.” He looked up into Christine’s blue eyes, which now filled with tears.
“They will never find us. We will never tell. Will we?” He asked grabbing the sides of her face. Christine shook her head and grabbed his hands, holding his hands onto her face.
“Never. I will never tell.” She said.
“Come on.” He said grabbing her hand and their bags and rushing to the car.
Two police men kicked in the door of the now empty apartment. They entered with their guns drawn and searched each room.
“Clear!” They yelled. Detective Brown and Detective Moreau walked in.
“They’re gone.” Detective Brown said placing his gun back into its holster. Moreau walked to the coffee table to find a picture. In the picture were Christine and Sam smiling as Christine sat on Sam’s knee.
“Bonnie and Clyde.” Moreau said. All he could do was scoff. He then threw the picture across the room, smashing it against the wall.
Rain began to pour down onto the funeral. Detective Moreau stood near the open hole as they lowered Frank Edwards's body into his grave. Frank and Moreau were high school friends but lost touch as Moreau graduated from police academy and Frank turned to a life of petty crime.
A small framed girl placed a small bouquet of flowers on the casket. A black raincoat covered her as her hood was pulled over her head. Moreau watched as she stood near the grave. She lifted her head slowly and meet eyes with the detective. A shocked and horrified look came upon the detective's face. The girl then turned and began to walk to a black car. Standing near the open passenger door was a tall man with a black fedora on his head. The girl slipped into the car as the man closed the door. He then walked around to the driver side and got in. The two drove off out of sight.
Christine smoked the last bit of her cigarette before putting it out.
“It says here that it took the FBI five years to find you two.” Tim said shuffling through papers. Christine giggled.
“On the Most Wanted list for all five years. WE were famous.” She said smiling.
“It also says that Sam Edwards escaped from Angola prison two months ago. Do you know his whereabouts?” Christine lit another cigarette. She took a long drag from it and blew out the cigarette smoke with a smile.
“I will never tell.”