Hope

Psalm 31:24 –¬†Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Colossians 1:5 –¬†For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which has come to you.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Do your circumstances weigh you down? Being a Christian doesn’t mean life is going to be easy. Nor does it mean that nothing will go wrong. We all live in the same world as we did before our salvation, but now we have an overcomer, and a hope for better things to come.

To live in hope gives new meaning to all situations, and believing is the key to hope. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing is too big. Even in your darkest hour, don’t give up hope. God is bigger than any of your struggles and he watches over you every moment of your lives. He will never leave you and will bring you into that place of restoration and healing. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and hang on to the hope you can have in him.

Father, teach me to trust you in every circumstance that threatens to engulf me. Help me to believe in a better tomorrow and the hope that you have to offer. Show me how to be strong in your Word and live in hope through the promises you have given to me. All of my ambitions hopes and dreams, I give to you. Amen

 © Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the King James Version of the Bible

On the Wings of a – Duck?

The water was as smooth as silk. Its glass like appearance mirrored the beauty of God’s creation that surrounded it. The sun was warm and not a single cloud in the sky. The air was filled with the aroma of damp earth after the rain. I breathed in the fresh clean air, deep into my lungs. The heavens were filled with the sound of a flock of birds; all the indications of a beautiful day filled my senses.

It came from under the bridge. It was flying very low. Every now and then it skimmed the surface so lightly the tiniest ripple formed and died. Words of a well know song came to mind followed by the words of a verse.

Now that’s strange. There’s the wing of a snow white dove, and there’s the wings of an eagle, but on the wings of a … duck?

As I watched this unattractive but graceful, swift moving creature, I began to wonder just how awesome God really is. The power in those wings gave it the speed of an eagle, yet the gracefulness reminded me of a dove.

The charm of that duck brought me into a new understanding of beauty. God the designer and creator of the whole world, made all things … well.

© Chrissy Siggee

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

From my book:  Glimpses of His Glory

Sunset Hues

my soul awaits the  sunset hues…

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† dawn, so long ago‚ÄĒ

troubles of the day, be gone

                  and let me feel God’s peace,

permit the setting sun to give this body rest.

 

© Chrissy Siggee

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

From my book:     Glimpses of His Glory

Praise

Psalm 103:1 tells us that “Praise the Lord, my soul;¬†all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” (NIV)

A recent visit by the coast had me reminiscing about the days spent writing my first book. As I breathed in the seaside freshness, it stimulated the desires that once beckoned me to explore the dream. Pale pink clouds caressed the sunrise like a morning hug. Birds sang praises to welcome the dawn.

My thoughts reached out as in a dream, capturing a peace within my soul. While the sun elevated slowly into a glowing sky, words surged forth like a shifting stream. My fingers moved quickly to keep up with the flow of thoughts. My heart was overwhelmed by the outpouring of phrases previously unknown. There’s something about the break of day that gives freshness to the mind and releases expression onto a page.

Immersed in my writing, I was still aware of the increasing brightness filling the sky beyond the open window, but I was also conscious of the glow within my inner being. If there is ever a place I feel in harmony with God, it’s when I’m absorbed in writing. To not write would create an empty cavern in my life.

My desire is to praise Him through words inspired by creation. My hopes and dreams rest in knowing that He is the only one I need to bring joy and delight.

Father, let Your Word penetrate my soul. You are the author of my faith. Allow me, Lord, to bring joy and delight to your heart in return. May the words I write be inspired by your love and grace. Amen.

© Chrissy Siggee

First Published – 2012

MEMORY OF DREAD ‚Äď Part Six

ūü¶č¬†– a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 6¬†ūü¶č

Brenda gasped. ‘What?’ She stared back at Constable Hoxley then turned to Inspector O‚ÄôMalley. ‘When did you find this out?’

‘This morning,’ Hoxley replied. ‘Frank Davies‚Äô¬†drive to¬†claim¬†you several years ago set him into a downhill spiral.¬†He began skimming money from your husband’s bank accounts a few years ago¬†as well.’

‘Davies introduced Carlos Lorenzo to Charles as a gardener,’ Hoxley continued. ‘Lorenzo was to¬†spy on your husband‚Äôs clients for Davies and to check your¬†comings and goings. He had an elaborate plan that would not only get you but ultimately Charles‚Äô company and investments. Because of Davies’ dirty dealings, he unintentionally put you in danger, even¬†from some of Charles‚Äô clients. Why,¬†we aren‚Äôt completely sure.’

Hoxley flicked through his notebook before continuing. ‘Davies’ plans began to¬†come unstuck¬†when you took a disliking to Lorenzo,¬†whose feelings,¬†as you¬†know,¬†were mutual.¬†However, Lorenzo had already become a loyal¬†worker, and possibly a good friend¬†to Charles, at least someone he could¬†trust.¬†Because of this, Charles learned of Davies’ desire to¬†have¬†you and his money.¬†But, he¬†needed proof. The private door was your husband‚Äôs idea for¬†private¬†meetings¬†with Lorenzo and clients¬†who¬†were aware of Davies’ dirty dealings. We suppose Lorenzo simply got tired of¬†playing¬†Davies’ sick¬†games,¬†including¬†the¬†blackmailing.’

Brenda sat in dumb silence. This had been going on for at least two years? It was inconceivable. Why hadn’t I noticed? Where was I when these meetings were going on in my own home? She couldn’t even speculate why Charles put up with Frank for so long, proof or no proof.

‘Six months ago,’ O‚ÄôMalley broke into her thoughts, ‘Davies represented a¬†small-time¬†drug smuggler.¬†The accused walked and Davies’ pocketed a large amount of¬†laundered cash.’

‘And Charles didn‚Äôt know any of this?’ Brenda interrupted, her frustration showing¬†from¬†her¬†usual demeanour.

‘Oh…¬†it gets better,’ O‚ÄôMalley sniggered. ‘Lorenzo found out about the money¬†and¬†dug up some¬†more¬†dirt on Davies.’

His toned softened. ‘But no, I don‚Äôt think your husband was aware, at least¬†not¬†until much later. Perhaps¬†only¬†recently. Charles did pay¬†Lorenzo enough money to pay off¬†the blackmail so Davies wouldn‚Äôt know things had changed.¬†This we discovered in a ledger your husband kept for his own records, not that he actually recorded it as blackmail money. He¬†recorded¬†Carlos Lorenzo in his last tax records as a business advisor, hence a higher payment.’

Brenda stood and walked back and forth, not that there was much room with the four of them in the small office. The three officers watched her and waited. She turned to Hoxley. Her mind went back to the early piece of news that shocked her most.

‘But I hardly¬†know Frank. He attended business lunches and dinners with us. I sometimes sat in¬†occasional¬†meetings¬†where it involved my¬†own¬†investments but other than that, I only knew Frank as Charles‚Äô lawyer. Why would¬†I be¬†attracted to Frank?’ She hugged herself¬†and grimaced. ‘I doubt I could ever be. You¬†are¬†kidding.¬†Right?’

Hoxley shook his head slowly. ‘Sorry.¬†They were his words.¬†I¬†admit¬†though, he‚Äôs one sick man and you have¬†no way led him on.’¬†He turned to McDougal who had picked up the file on the Asian guy.

‘This Asian character,’ McDougal began, ‘was¬†one of Davies‚Äô clients.¬†He was also a client of¬†Charles’ for a legitimate business. Somehow after a meeting with Charles, Davies and this client, this file¬†got caught between some of Charles’ own paperwork.¬†When Davies went to work on the file, he couldn‚Äôt find it and¬†figured out what must have happened.’

‘So, this file,’ she pointed, ‘is what put Charles and me in danger?’ Brenda asked directly.

‘Yes, and this¬†is where it gets messy,’ McDougal replied. ‘You see¬†this¬†client, Fo-Yong-Ho, is also a¬†member of an Asian drug ring. He had met with Davies before this meeting with Charles; the morning before Charles‚Äô¬†murder.’

McDougal handed Brenda the file page. ‘These numbers indicate names of drug dealers, or rather their code names.’ He walked over in two short steps and stood beside Brenda.¬†He pointed to the third number on the list. ‘This number here for instance:¬†49560HO is Fo-Yong-Ho‚Äôs. This¬†sign¬†here,’¬†he pointed to¬†an¬†Asian character symbol before the number, ‘represents what would be the third letter of their¬†alphabet.¬†What‚Äôs so important about the list is that the ASIS (Australia Secret Intelligence Service) would love to get their hands on it, and as soon as we have finished with the murder case, they can have it along¬†with¬†Frank Davies.’

‘You mean he‚Äôs¬†on the list?’ Brenda was beginning to understand. She ran her index finger down the¬†page. ‘71062FB! You‚Äôre kidding: number 27. As simple as that? But, does this mean he‚Äôs just…?’

‘Just a pawn,’ the sergeant finished for her. But a valuable pawn¬†to¬†the ASIS.

Brenda went to the sofa and sat down. With her head bowed slightly she touched her¬†wedding¬†ring. She took in a slow deep breath. ‘Look, I‚Äôm grateful for¬†you all¬†explaining all this. It gives me an idea what Charles was dealing with. About Frank I mean.’ Her voice wavered. ‘It‚Äôs also good to know why Charles died but what I¬†really¬†want to know¬†is¬†who killed him. Was it Carlos? Was it Frank? Or… this Fo-Yong-Ho person?’

‘Let me give you the facts about your husband,’ O‚ÄôMalley began. ‘He wasn‚Äôt perfectly innocent in a few things¬†but¬†if he was¬†still¬†alive, he would probably be charged for withholding information¬†that would¬†have led to the arrests of Davies and at least a few other names on this list. Also, the fact is he would have known sometime after he employed Lorenzo that he was an illegal resident. For those things¬†alone¬†he may or may not have received much more than an acquitted short term sentence.’ He returned to his chair behind the desk. ‘His gun, as you know, was registered but we’re unsure why it was in his drawer fully loaded.’

Brenda had listened in silence as tears suddenly streamed uncontrollably down her cheeks. She didn’t bother to wipe them away. Had her husband been a criminal or just plain stupid? The thought gnawed at her.

Hoxley came over and sat beside her.¬†As if reading her mind, he said,¬†‘Brenda, the way I see it, the only thing that Charles¬†was really guilty¬†of was protecting the woman he loved. He wasn‚Äôt letting any creep-of-a-lawyer claim you,¬†or his company.’

‘That‚Äôs about size of it,’ McDougal conceded.

O‚ÄôMalley cleared his throat and gulped down his cooling coffee. ‘Let‚Äôs finish this up so Sergeant McDougal can continue his research on this¬†Fo-Yong-Ho character.’

The officers returned to their notes and waited for each other to continue.

Hoxley took the lead. ‘After Davies discovered that the file was missing he told Lorenzo to find it or¬†else¬†he would report him to the authorities. Davies informed him that you and Charles would be out most of the night and that he would have plenty of time to search. Fo-Yong-Ho called Davies about 10:00 pm¬†to question him about an error in one of the code numbers. Out of¬†panic, Davies told Fo-Yong-Ho that he had hidden it in Charles’ home safe for security¬†and¬†that¬†he, Davies,¬†could¬†retrieve it in the morning. However, when Lorenzo hadn’t reported back to Davies as scheduled he went to the house¬†to see what was keeping him. Shortly after midnight Davies entered Charles’ home office¬†by the side door,¬†just as Lorenzo had done earlier.’ Looking up he added, ‘apparently Davies had known about the side door but assumed it was just for Lorenzo.’ Here he paused to flip to the next page. ‘Lorenzo had found the file and realized what it was or, at least he had a fair idea.¬†Davies found him in the process of photocopying the file. He hadn‚Äôt heard Davies enter, probably because of the noise of the photocopier. Davies struck Lorenzo over the back of the head with the eagle paperweight.’

‘Forensics,’ O‚ÄôMalley interrupted, ‘had discovered some dried blood on the eagle. At first they thought it was Charles’ but until today we really had no idea whose blood it was. When Davies made his statement this morning,¬†forensics¬†paid a visit to Lorenzo in his cell for a sample.’

‘When Lorenzo regained consciousness,’ Hoxley continued, ‘Davies was sitting in Charles’ chair. Lorenzo was tied up and¬†Davies had¬†Charles‚Äô gun pointing at him.’ He looked over to the sergeant.

‘Yes,’ McDougal confirmed. ‘Lorenzo had admitted in a later interview that he had found the gun in Charles’ desk drawer and had been just checking-it-out while the photocopier warmed up. He had placed it on the desk to press the copy button. A silly mistake no matter how you look at it.’

McDougal took a moment to sip his coffee and waited for any questions. When none came, he continued. ‘Lorenzo also told us that Davies forced him to confess everything¬†including details about the¬†ledger that he found during his own search of the office¬†after rendering him helpless. Davies then gagged Lorenzo and¬†threatened him¬†to keep quiet.’

When McDougal stopped to take a long drink, Hoxley continued the narrative.

‘Davies decided he would wait for Charles to have it out with him, only he didn‚Äôt expect the telephone to ring on your arrival.¬†He¬†panicked¬†and forced Lorenzo to hide with him behind one of the large double doors he had opened so he would know when you both returned home. Once Charles picked up the phone in the office, Davies waited a few minutes to be sure you had gone upstairs. By that time Davies had figured out it was Fo-Yong-Ho on the phone. Davies said Charles raised his voice at Fo-Yong-Ho telling him that he¬†would deal with the situation¬†at their next¬†meeting. Davies said he was unsure what the conversation was about but¬†figured Fo-Yong-Ho must have¬†used¬†some weak¬†excuse to call, perhaps to make a visit himself. We don’t know.’

‘Hang on…’ Brenda interrupted. ‘Back up a bit. This Fo-Yong-Ho, Charles¬†had¬†no idea that he was a drug dealer. Right?’

‘Fo-Yong-Ho¬†was a client¬†of Charles¬†with¬†a legitimate jewellery business, which was also a¬†cover-up for the drug dealing, but¬†he used¬†the¬†family company name when dealing with Charles.’ Hoxley checked¬†his notes. ‘Minh Nhung’.

‘Davies has confirmed that Charles knew nothing about the¬†drug¬†deals,’¬†McDougal added for Brenda’s benefit.

After a quiet minute in thought Brenda nodded for them to continue. She was tired and felt like she had been sucked through an engine of a jet plane but she needed to know the rest so she could make sense of it all.

O‚ÄôMalley‚Äôs phone rang before anyone could speak. ‘O‚ÄôMalley. Yes, right. Good job! Thanks.’ He hung up. ‘A highway patrol constable has Fo-Yong-Ho in custody but more¬†on that later. We‚Äôre almost done. Continue Hoxley.’

‘According to the telephone company the call lasted no more than¬†a couple of¬†minutes. Davies confirmed it. When Charles replaced the telephone receiver, he turned to follow you upstairs only he was confronted by Davies who had stepped out from behind the door with Lorenzo held tightly in¬†his grip and the gun in his free hand. Davies claimed he just wanted to talk. His plan was to take Lorenzo as hostage and leave the country with Fo-Yong-Ho. He told Charles if he called the police or tried to follow, he‚Äôd have Fo-Yong-Ho¬†get¬†someone¬†to¬†kill¬†you.’ He paused. ‘Davies also told us that he would never have done that and his real plan was to have¬†you¬†abducted and take you out of the country¬†too.’

Brenda felt ill and must have looked it. McDougal filled a¬†glass¬†with water from a jug on O’Malley’s desk and handed it to her. She accepted it with thanks.

Hoxley continued.¬†‘Lorenzo kicked and twisted himself out of Davies’ grip. Charles made a dive for Davies but the gun was by then, aimed at Lorenzo. Charles dived between them as Davies fired, taking the bullet for Lorenzo.¬†Charles apparently died instantly.¬†When¬†Lorenzo began to¬†gag¬†on his own vomit,¬†Davies dragged¬†him¬†back out the side door¬†to the garden before he removed the handkerchief from¬†his mouth telling him to stay put and keep quiet or he would get a bullet¬†in his head. Davies then went back inside,¬†wiped the gun clean and placed it in Charles‚Äô hand. He also wiped his prints off the paperweight but missed the blood. Because he was a regular to the room, he didn‚Äôt bother to clean up too much else. He was so flustered he left the room without the file and the photocopy he had placed on the filing cabinet behind the door when he hid there with Lorenzo. He returned for Lorenzo and left. When he realised his carelessness he sent Lorenzo back to retrieve the file but by that time they had to wait until the forensics had left. He was in the house when Davis took you back to pack a suitcase.’

‘Thinking back on it,’ McDougal added, ‘Davies’ behaviour was meant to be a distraction and probably timed your visit to make sure Lorenzo wasn’t caught. What he didn’t expect was your sensitive nose.’

Brenda took a deep breath. ‘So it¬†was¬†Frank?’

‘Yes. Davies¬†was the one¬†who pulled the trigger that ultimately killed your husband.’ Hoxley walked over and put his hand on her shoulder and sat down. ‘He died saving Carlos‚Äô life and trying to stop Frank from proceeding with his plans.’

Brenda gave a deep audible sigh. ‘I need to be left alone. Please.’

McDougal and O’Malley quietly collected their notebooks and empty coffee cups and left the office.

He stood up. ‘Do you want me to send in Cheryl?’ Hoxley asked.

‘Not yet,’ she replied weakly. ‘Give me half an hour,’ she added. She managed what she hoped was a thankful smile.

He left and closed the door quietly.

In some ways she was relieved; relieved Charles didn’t suffer. Relieved it was all over. Relieved they had found Fo-Yong-Ho and relieved the law would deal with Frank and Carlos. Yet, a sensation of unexpected sadness tugged at her.

Carlos was also a victim and almost killed by this lunatic,¬†perhaps¬†trying to save Charles. Her emotions confused her. ‘Oh Charles, why?’ The pain was drowning her. She rested her head on the¬†back¬†of the sofa. Just as she did, a still small voice spoke within her. ‘Child, lean on me.¬†Cast all your burdens upon me and I will give you rest.’¬†Brenda prayed quietly until the floodgates opened.¬†It seemed to wash all the pain, ¬†grief and dread of the past few weeks¬†away in one cleansing torrent.

The life she and Charles had shared was over but she knew deep down this was a new beginning. She thanked the Lord for ten wonderful years with Charles, her safety and a closure. It was time to move on, on to a new life with her newfound faith in a God who loved her.

THE END

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

MEMORY OF DREAD ‚Äď Part Five

ūü¶č¬†– a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 5¬†ūü¶č

Time seemed to move in slow motion. Cheryl was chatting away as she busied herself in her kitchen.

Although Brenda had appreciated the conversation, she was way too distracted to comprehend what she was hearing. Her hand was much better after the emergency department treated the burn and re-bandaged it. She smiled briefly as she thought of Peter’s first-aid efforts.

‘This coffee sure beats the cup Peter brewed at the police station,’ she said when Cheryl came over and sat down opposite of her.

‘Brenda, you need to rest. You really should have some sleep before Peter returns home this evening. That‚Äôs your fourth coffee since you’ve arrived. Not that I mind.’ Cheryl sighed. ‘Peter has put your suitcase in the spare room. Why don‚Äôt I run you a hot bath?¬† You can change into something more comfortable for a nap.¬†Look at yourself. You’ve been in that stiff-tailored suit all day.’ She tugged at the coffee-stained sleeve. ‘I‚Äôm worried about you, and Peter’s going to be worried too if he sees you like this.’

Brenda put her cup down and reached out to touch Cheryl‚Äôs hand. ‘You two have become good friends. I wish Charles had a chance to meet you.’ She gulped away another threatening sob.

A sympathetic face looked back. ‘If I have to, I‚Äôll undress you myself and put you in that tub, then, tuck you into bed…for at least a few hours. Cheryl gently squeezed her hand.¬†‘I‚Äôm going to pray with you right now.’ She paused. ‘Please. Did you get any sleep at the hotel?’

Brenda couldn’t lie. She smiled, awkwardly, and rolled her eyes toward the ceiling before bowing her head while her friend prayed the most beautiful prayer she had ever heard.

Soon she was settled into a hot bath filled with bubbles finally allowing herself to relax. She laid back, closed her eyes, and listened to the CD Cheryl had playing in the next room. The music was soothing and the words were filled with praises and promises from the Psalms. She listened and began to hum along. The tune was one she had heard a long time ago. Peace is flowing like a river, flowing out to you and me…

Later that evening, Brenda felt more relaxed and refreshed. A rest, a good meal and a fresh change of clothes did help. Peter updated her, although there really wasn’t much to tell. They were still clueless, and although a replacement lawyer had been found for Brenda, Frank Davies had not yet found legal assistance. He was being uncooperative.

‘What about the client‚Äôs file they were trying to find?’ Brenda asked after the brief update.

‘We haven‚Äôt found it. At least nothing that looks suspicious. There‚Äôs one thing though. Carlos told O‚ÄôMalley when he was arrested that the gun was on the desk when he was in the house the night of Charles’ death but then he changed his statement and said he didn’t see it. After that, his information was not so forth coming.’

‘So did Carlos kill Charles?’ Brenda persisted.

Peter stifled a yawn. ‘To be honest, I don‚Äôt think he did, but, if he did, it was by Davis’ instructions…or someone else‚Äôs’ – if there is a someone else.’ This time he didn‚Äôt manage to cover his yawn in time and apologised before heading to bed.

Cheryl left a few minutes later but not until Brenda had a private moment to thank her again. Brenda stayed awhile in the living room alone with her thoughts and memories.

The next morning Cheryl accompanied Brenda to the police station at Brenda‚Äôs invitation. It would be a long day for her and she needed a friend around while Peter and O‚ÄôMalley were busy with other things. Cheryl had gone to the kitchen to brew some coffee she had brought from home. O’Malley opened the door and held it open for Cheryl, who followed with two large mugs of steaming coffee.

Once the women were seated on the sofa and O‚ÄôMalley at his desk, O‚ÄôMalley held up a thin manila file folder. ‘We found the file.’ He opened it and pulled out what appeared to be a sheet of ordinary office paper.

‘Is that all there is?’ Brenda asked a little confused.

He stood and leaned over the desk to hand it to her. There appeared to be an Asian name at the top, some contact details, and then a whole lot of figures: mathematical symbols and what looked like serial numbers or possibly invoice numbers.

After she gave it a good look-over she handed it back. ‘What‚Äôs it mean?’

‘I‚Äôm not sure but it was hidden in the lining of Frank Davies‚Äô briefcase. What I want to know is why someone would want to steal a single sheet of paper from your husband?’¬†He sat down again. ‘And, why would it lead to his death?’ He studied the paper while the women drank their coffee in silence.

Brenda began to pace.¬†After a few minutes she looked at her watch and placed her empty mug in Cheryl‚Äôs hand when she had reached for it. ‘Thanks Cheryl. I‚Äôm afraid it‚Äôs going to be a bit of a bore for you today.’

Cheryl smiled. ‘That‚Äôs all right. I‚Äôm here if you need me. If you need some space, I‚Äôll be in the kitchen.’ She left, closing the door behind her.

O‚ÄôMalley stood up and started to leave. ‘Oh, I almost forgot. We sent the forensic team back out to your house late yesterday with some specific instructions. Once they are through with their examination, our cleaners will be sent in and have it ready for you when this is all over. I hope for your sake that it’ll be soon. I‚Äôve taken the liberty of finding you a new lawyer, Cole Webster. We’ll hand over a few of Charles‚Äô personal files, including his current Will. That’s if you’re happy with Webster.’

Brenda nodded before he continued.

‘There was nothing in your husband’s personal files that could help the investigation. I believe everything was left to you except for a holiday cottage which he left to his brother, Patrick.’

‘Yes, I was aware of that. We discussed it some time ago.’

‘We had the authorities speak with Patrick. Everything was in order.’ He paused. ‘Patrick has offered any assistance if you should need it and sends his condolences. I believe he‚Äôs been interstate for business trips these past weeks and wasn‚Äôt even aware of Charles’ death.’

Brenda‚Äôs hand went to her forehead. ‘I hadn‚Äôt even thought about contacting Patrick. I feel terrible.’

‘Well, it‚Äôs understandable, considering you had been detained, and Davis obviously wasn‚Äôt doing his job. Anyway, my office is yours for the day. I‚Äôll be in and out to update you, and get files as I need them.’

He started to gather a few things from his filing cabinet and desk when they heard a scuffle outside the door. They both watched as Cheryl burst in and placed her back up against the door.

‘I believe that’s Carlos.’ Cheryl pointed over her shoulder. ‘He‚Äôs not happy.’

Carlos Lorenzo was causing a commotion in the hallway as officers tried to escort him to the holding cell after yet another interview.

The inspector sighed.¬†‘If he does gets off the murder charge, he‚Äôll be serving a few years for breaking-and-entering, and stealing before being deported. Our friend Carlos is an illegal immigrant. But right now we need to separate him from Frank Davies. Davies, by the way, will represent himself. He doesn‚Äôt appear to have too many colleagues that like him. I wonder why?’ He bid farewell to the ladies and left.

Brenda wandered to a small barred window that over looked the parking lot. The bars made her cringe. Would she ever be free of these memories?

The meeting with the new lawyer went well, ending with a promise of a letter going to the magistrate that afternoon to support the new police findings. The letter was roughly drafted for Brenda’s benefit and the Will was read in full. Charles‚Äô funeral arrangements were discussed and partially organized but a date couldn‚Äôt be determined until the investigation was over and his body released by the coroner.¬†Cheryl had been there throughout the meeting at Brenda’s request.

After the meeting Brenda wanted to take a walk but she knew, at least for today, would be impossible. Her thoughts involuntarily wondered to the Asian man. Who is he? Where is he? What did he want?

‘Do you have any family of your own, Brenda?’

Brenda felt the urge to hug her friend, so she did. ‘Thanks for being here for me, Cheryl.’ She released her and stepped back to the window. ‘My father passed away after a long painful illness a few months ago. There‚Äôs just my mother; I have no siblings. I had finally convinced her to go with a friend on a cruise. She left the day before Charles died. I‚Äôm glad she did. I‚Äôm not sure if she could have coped with all this.’¬†She turned to face Cheryl. ‘Anyway, she‚Äôs due back next week when this will hopefully be all over. I called her on Sunday after you and Peter dropped me back at the hotel. I didn‚Äôt tell her anything. Just that I missed her…’ She finished and looked down at her feet.

Brenda felt Cheryl’s arm go round her waist.

This dear friend was a good head and shoulders shorter than Brenda but she had been a tower of support. She rested her head on the top of Cheryl’s. They stood in silence until a knock came and Peter entered.

‘I‚Äôm going to get us some lunch. I won‚Äôt be long.’ He stepped inside and closed the door. ‘Brenda, Frank‚Äôs told us everything. As soon as we get his interview typed up and some legal paperwork done, we can let you know what‚Äôs going on. We need to find this Asian fellow though.¬†All we have is his name a telephone number in a motel’s reception. I‚Äôll be back soon.¬†We‚Äôll need to start praying.’ He kissed Cheryl’s cheek and left.

Brenda was amazed at this couple‚Äôs faith in God. ‘Cheryl,‚ÄĚ she said eagerly. ‘I want what you and Peter have. I mean, I need hope and you two seem to have that hope in God. Show me how to get that same faith and assurance you have.’

Cheryl‚Äôs face lit up and she encouraged Brenda to sit and pray with her. ‘This is a big day for you; in more ways than one.’

After they had eaten and the officers and station staff returned to their duties, Brenda returned to the office with O‚ÄôMalley and Peter following close behind. Cheryl stayed to clean up the station’s tiny kitchen.

Once the three were seated, Police Officer Sergeant McDougal, joined them. McDougal gave a preliminary report. Most of it Brenda had already heard, except for some details of her own arrest and interview but she was able to add a few extra details to complete the report.

Constable Peter Hoxley then began his report on Carlos.¬†‘Carlos Lorenzo has been an illegal immigrant of some four years. A year after his arrival, Frank Davies represented Carlos for a minor traffic offense. Davies found out about Lorenzo’s illegal papers and began to blackmail him.’ He placed some notes on O‚ÄôMalley‚Äôs desk and looked over at Brenda before continuing.¬†‘Basically, Frank used Carlos to do his dirty work.’ He nodded to O‚ÄôMalley to continue.

‘Frank Davies had been working with your husband long before you and he were married…’

‘Yes, I know that.’ Brenda interrupted. ‘What does that have to do with Carlos?’

‘Carlos Lorenzo was hired to spy on you, Brenda.’ He paused to let this newest information sink in. ‘You see, Brenda, Frank Davies says he was in love with you and still is.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

MEMORY OF DREAD ‚Äď Part Four

ūü¶č¬†– a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 4¬†ūü¶č

The window resembled no similarities of the peaceful beauty Brenda enjoyed in the church window just yesterday. What she recalled though was the early hours of the cold morning less than a week ago. Only it wasn’t her that sat beside Frank Davies in a stark interview room; it was Carlos.

Police Officer, and now friend, Peter Hoxley, placed a supportive hand on her shoulder. ‘Are you sure you’re okay with this?’ He stood beside the plastic chair where she sat staring through what looked like a two-way mirror. ‘They can‚Äôt see or hear you, and you are perfectly safe. They don‚Äôt even know you have been invited to witness the interview.’

Brenda took a deep breath, and then eased it out slowly, a technique a counsellor showed her at the prison. It helped somewhat throughout her short but terrifying incarceration. ‘I‚Äôll be fine. I just don’t understand why I’m here.’

At that moment Inspector O’Malley stepped into the small room and leaned back against the door.

With eyes still fixed on the two men on the other side of the glass, Brenda¬†began with reluctance. ‘What surprises me…and it probably shouldn‚Äôt, is the fact that Frank is here for Carlos. I mean, is it legal for him to represent both of us?’

‘It is,’ O’Malley replied. ‘At least at the moment.’ He walked over to the glass and watched the two men for a few minutes. The whispering was becoming heated and Carlos was fidgeting and shaking his fist at his lawyer.

‘I think we might begin, Mrs Stanton.’ He paused, ‘or would Brenda make things a little easier?’¬†At her nod, he continued. ‘I asked you to come because something doesn‚Äôt fit with Frank‚Äôs story, not Carlos‚Äô so much. I need you to listen carefully, and when I come out Hoxley will see you to my office. I‚Äôll join you once I’ve returned Carlos to his cell…and decide how to proceed with this lawyer character.’

Still slightly confused, she nodded in agreement anyway. She knew that Peter had described to O‚ÄôMalley what had occurred with Frank the day before which may have been part of the explanation. She watched the men squirm in their chairs when the inspector entered the interview room. Peter¬†turned a dial beside the window she hadn’t noticed before. They could now hear the voices clearly.

‘This interview begins at 9.30am. I‚Äôm speaking with a Carlos Lorenzo who is with his lawyer, Frank Davies, in regard to incidents relating to the murder of one Charles Stanton.’

‘Carlos¬†Lorenzo, Frank Davies, are you both aware this interview is being recorded and give permission to do so?’

The two answered with clear responses and confirmed that they agreed to the recording of the interview.

Brenda shivered and pulled her jacket around her. She adjusted her posture and leaned forward.

Peter stood with his forearm against the frame of the window, watching and listening.

Carlos was speaking rapidly to Frank in his own native language. Expletives were obvious.

O’Malley raised his hand; palm facing Carlos to halt the outrage. The room fell silent.

‘Mr Lorenzo, please explain in your own words why you were in the home of Charles and Brenda Stanton in the early hours of last Friday morning.’

He cursed again. ‘I look for pay cheque. Mister Charles…he always pay me on Wen-day. I thought maybe I won‚Äôt get now he dead.’

‘Why didn‚Äôt you speak to Mr Davies in regard to your payment? He is Mr Stanton‚Äôs lawyer. Right?’

He glanced sideways at his lawyer. ‘I do not trust Mister Frank.’

Frank crossed his arms and huffed like a spoiled child.

The inspector looked at Carlos; his left eyebrow slightly raised. O’Malley continued a little quieter, a little more direct. ‘Why don‚Äôt you trust your own lawyer, Carlos?’

‘Cause he promise¬†good pay when I start work. Mister Charles did not know this when we disgus‚Äô money…two year ago. Mister Charles always keeps my cheque under ee-gull paper-rate on desk. If he not in office, I take. I do always.’

A deep audible intake of breath caused Peter¬†to jerk his head to face Brenda. She looked at him. ‘I never knew that. I‚Äôve never known Carlos to be in my home.’

The inspector continued. ‘Did you find the cheque?’

‘No. It not there.’

‘Tell me, Carlos, how did you get past the officers at the house the morning following the murder? They had been there since daylight. Before that, two other officers were on guard.’

Carlos fidgeted and Frank stood and paced.

‘Well?’¬†Inspector O’Malley persisted.

It was Frank who answered. ‘There‚Äôs a side door.’

‘Where?’ O‚ÄôMalley‚Äôs question echoed Brenda‚Äôs, from the other side of the glass.

Peter moved closer to Brenda. ‘Are you OK?’ She sucked in her lips and nodded but had missed the first part of Frank‚Äôs reply.

‘It sounded like his closet.’ She paused. ‘Oh God,’ she whispered.

The inspector must have said something similar because Carlos continued with: ‘not clozit. Like clozit. It old window. He ren-no-vate. Missus Stuck Up did not like Carlos.’ He crossed his arms and sat back.

Heat filled Brenda’s cheeks. Her eyes stung.

Frank continued to pace.

‘Where were you on the night Charles Stanton died?’

Carlos glared at his lawyer and swore in English. ‘You tell.’

Pressing his lips together he locked his arms tighter. Frank’s jaw jerked sideways and stiffened. He¬†shoved¬†his hands into his pockets and returned¬†to his seat. He glanced down at his knees and then looked into O’Malley’s eyes. ‘I think I need a lawyer.’

Brenda stood up; her mouth opened.

Carlos smiled and turned to O‚ÄôMalley. ‘Carlos in Mister Charles house…with Mister Frank.’

Brenda’s knees went weak.

‘Whoa there.’ Peter¬†grabbed her elbow and helped her back into the chair.

She continued to listen but she could no longer watch.

‘Shut up!’ Frank exclaimed and jumped to his feet.

‘NO! You shud-up’

‘That‚Äôs enough,’ O‚ÄôMalley snapped back.

‘Mister Frank said Carlos must get a…’ he clicked his fingers and looked thoughtful.

‘A file, if you must know,’ Frank finished for Carlos. ‘A client‚Äôs file.’

‘Go on,’ O‚ÄôMalley insisted calmly.

By now, Brenda had regained her posture but was taking long slow breaths to help ease an attack of nausea, which threatened to overwhelm her. She noticed that Peter¬†had closed his eyes. His lips were moving in silent prayer. She touched his arm.¬†‘Thank you,’ she whispered.

Frank started to pace again; hands deep in his pockets. ‘It was the client that Charles was speaking to on the phone that night.’ He paused, and then returned to his seat placing his hands in front of him on the table. He sighed. ‘Carlos is guilty, but for only one thing: he entered Charles’ home that night without permission. I’ll continue this interview only after I make my allowed telephone call and have a lawyer present.’ He leaned back and folded his arms.

A smug grin crossed Carlos’ unshaven face.

O’Malley officially brought the interview to a close and instructed them to wait.

Once O’Malley had closed the door behind him he looked at Brenda with eyes that glistened. He smiled apologetically and asked Hoxley to take her to his office and make coffee for three. It was going to be a long meeting.

‘A penny for your thoughts,’ Hoxley asked, handing Brenda a steaming mug of black coffee. ‘Sorry, no milk,’ he added apologetically.

‘Black is fine, thanks.’ She sniffed the tantalizing brew and sipped. She grimaced and pressed two fingers into her closed lips but not before a sob escaped. ‘Sorry,’ she sniffled.

He handed her a handkerchief from his pocket. ‘Don‚Äôt be. That wasn‚Äôt something any of us expected…and you‚Äôre right, the coffee’s does tastes worse than it smells.’

Brenda wiped the wetness from under her eyes. She glanced down at the smear of mascara on the white cloth. ‘What will Cheryl say?’

‘She‚Äôll understand.’ He sat on the corner of the desk sipping his coffee.

O’Malley entered the room.

Still sitting, Peter pointed to a mug of coffee beside the computer. O’Malley thanked him and sat down. He took a couple of long slow mouthfuls before replacing the cup on a cardboard coaster. Peter stood and moved a few steps to a chair near the door.

The office was small but comfortably furnished. She had sat on a small sofa of sorts that was probably the most expensive piece of furniture in the room. It was a lot more comfortable than Brenda felt in the silence. She sipped more of the foul tasting brew and warmed her hands on the cup.

‘Brenda,’ O‚ÄôMalley finally said. ‘I can‚Äôt go against the magistrates court order but I think once you find another lawyer we can get some of these bail restrictions lifted. By that time we may even get you cleared of all charges.’ He looked up at his young constable thoughtfully and then back to Brenda. ‘Why don‚Äôt I have Hoxley drive you to the motel and get your things.’

‘Why? I can‚Äôt go home. Not yet.’

‘No. You can‚Äôt,’ Hoxley answered for his boss.¬†‚ÄėI think, what¬†Inspector¬†O‚ÄôMalley is suggesting is that I take you home to stay with Cheryl and me until we organize a few things.’

‘It‚Äôs not quite the norm but considering the unusual situation,’¬†O‚ÄôMalley¬†pointed in the direction of the holding cells, ‘I think you‚Äôll be safer with the Hoxley‚Äôs. No one, except us three, and Cheryl, will know where you‚Äôll be staying.’

Brenda almost spilled her coffee. ‘What are you saying? Am I in danger?’

‘I didn‚Äôt mean to alarm you but there‚Äôs no easier way to say it. Yes, I believe you are in danger. From whom, I‚Äôm not sure. I‚Äôm hoping the only two involved are sitting in our holding cells. But, there‚Äôs still a missing link and I want you safe until all this is over. You can stay with Constable Hoxley and his wife at least until I can get a safe-house, or witness protection organized.’

Brenda only realised she was shaking when hot black liquid spilled on to her hand and down into the sleeve of her jacket. She felt numb. Even when Peter had rushed out and returned with ice water, she hadn’t realized her hand was scalding red. What the inspector had said in those short moments, she couldn’t comprehend.

‘Why?’ Was all she could manage as Hoxley slopped icy cold water over her hand and dabbed at it lightly with his handkerchief that he had somehow retrieved from her clenched fingers.

O‚ÄôMalley sat beside her. ‘Brenda,’ he took her hand and checked it as he talked. ‘I‚Äôm hoping it won‚Äôt come to that, but you need to know before you leave here. If we uncover anything that may show you to be in danger, you have to be protected.’ He released her hand.

Her hand stayed poised in mid-air momentarily and looked down at the now stinging hand and wrist. Blowing on it she accepted the cold glass from Peter and rested it on the back of her hand, the area that smarted the most.

‘Take her via the hospital and get that checked out Hoxley. Call Cheryl before you leave here to make sure she‚Äôs alone. No visitors. Understand? At least until we know more. I’ll send an officer around until you finish up here for the day.’

‘Yes, Sir.’ Peter grinned at Brenda. ‚ÄėLooks like you‚Äôll be explaining about the mascara yourself.’

Brenda could only force a small smile and thank them. ‘I‚Äôm sorry,’ she said to both officers.

‘Don‚Äôt be. There‚Äôs nothing to be sorry for,’ O‚ÄôMalley said. There was a measure of gentleness in his voice. ‘Now, I want you to try and relax while I go into the front office and get some of these calls taken care of, and while Hoxley gets organized.’

He pointed to the seat Brenda was sitting on. ‘Put your feet up while you wait.’¬†Stepping back around the desk, he grabbed his coffee and left.

Hoxley followed but turned at the door. ‘It will be all right. Try and hand it over to the Lord.’ He smiled and closed the door behind him leaving Brenda to herself.

The cushions were soft and inviting but she was too distraught to relax. Resting her elbows on her knees and head in her hands, she wept.¬†Realization had struck hard. Charles was dead. Murdered! ‘By whom? Carlos? Frank? Who? Am I in danger too?’¬†Brenda bolted upright. She remembered something¬†Frank had said yesterday.

‘Who was he trying to protect me from?’ She said this aloud as Hoxley stepped back into the office. She glanced at him and repeated her question.

‘We don‚Äôt know. If we knew that we might start getting to the bottom of this.’ He wrapped a burns bandage loosely around her hand then retrieved a pillow from a locker beside the window. ‘Now, please. Try and rest.’

She smiled. ‘Is that an order, Constable Hoxley?’

‘A direct order.’ He grinned and left the room.

Finally Brenda allowed herself to close her eyes.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.