The Silent Child 1
Thursday, October 18, 2012
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The Silent Child 1
The Silent Child 1
Episode Eight concluded with:
When Dehner turned back, he saw the sheriff lift Judy Thompson’s arm. “Have you seen many corpses, Rance?”
“Me too. I don’t think Judy Thompson was killed recently. She’s been dead at least a few hours.”
The detective took a closer look at the corpse. “I think you’re right. That means Judy Thompson and her husband were probably killed this morning. About the time I found Pixie,--or she found me.”
“But why would the killers come back and set fire to the house?”
Dehner shook his head. “I can’t say. All we know for sure is that someone murdered the parents of a little girl. And now they want to kill the child.”
Rance stepped out of the Candler Hotel. He had taken a room there and had just finished supper in the hotel restaurant. The town’s main street was now an erratic collection of filmy, yellow blotches from the windows of saloons and the lanterns that hung over most stores. Even in the limited light, Dehner could see that the man walking toward him was angry.
“Good evening, Deputy.” Dehner tried to sound cheerful, but not too cheerful.
“Evenin’,” came the sullen reply of Emory Logan.
“On a round?”
“I’m on my way to the livery, mind if I join you for a few minutes?”
Dehner tried to think of something to say that might make the boy feel better. Emory was failing at his job. Nothing Deputy Logan did seemed to go right. Hardly an unusual situation for a green kid, but Rance recalled how painful it could be.
Before Dehner could think of anything encouraging to say, Emory spoke up. “Hear you’re riding out to the Thompson place tonight.”
“Yes. I’m going to rent a buckboard from the livery. The fire should have burned itself out by now. I can retrieve the body of Gerald Thompson.” Rance shook his shoulders in a resigned manner. “We want to retrieve the body before the coyotes get to it.”
“Understand the doc pulled two .44 slugs out of Mrs. Thompson’s body.”
“Of course, you’d know. You were there. Guess the sheriff doesn’t want me to take a hand in this matter.”
The welcome intrusion came from Rupert Bushrod, who was tying up his horse in front of Bushrod Brothers’ General Store. Dehner figured a few minutes spent with the Bushrods might benefit Emory Logan.
“Where have you been, Rupert?” the detective asked.
“At the home of Albert and Stella Candler.”
The deputy looked surprised and impressed. “They’re the wealthiest family in town.”
“Sure enough are! The Candlers are our leadin’ citizens. Got high standards, too. That’s why I have to deliver stuff to Mrs. Candler. Bad enough that her husband has to get dust on his suit by comin’ in the store to remind us we’re broke. She don’t want to be seen anywhere near Bushrod Brothers’ General Store. The lady’s got a reputation to uphold.”
While his brother spoke, Clarence ambled to the doorway. “Did she make you come in by the servant’s entrance again?”
“Yeah, but this time she instructed the butler to call me Rupert instead of lazy, no good bum.”
Clarence smiled broadly. “See, I told you that down deep they was just regular folks.”
“What did you deliver to Mrs. Bushrod?” Dehner asked.
“Jewelry. We give her first look at anything we get in.” Rupert pulled a check out of his pocket and waved it in front of his brother’s face. “Mr. Candler paid me tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll give this back to him. Take it to the bank and deposit it.” Rupert turned his head toward the deputy. “You won’t have to evict us. Not for another month or so, anyhows.”
“This is a cause for celebration,” Clarence declared. “Why don’t you gents come in and feast on a piece of rock candy.”
Dehner could see Emory’s eyes brighten but the deputy was still a tad reluctant. “Well…I’m supposed to have my round done by eight--”
Clarence pulled a timepiece from his pocket. “You got plenty o’ time. It ain’t quite seven yet.”
“The glass on your timepiece is cracked,” Dehner said.
“Yeah.” Clarence returned the gold colored piece to his pocket. “Blasted glass broke shortly after I bought the thing. Where did I get that piece of junk from anyhow?”
“Bushrod Brothers’ General Store,” Rupert answered.
“Oh yeah,” Clarence smirked and tilted his head. “Should’a knowed. I do recall paying too much for it.”
Dehner laughed and gave the deputy a pat on the shoulder. “You better take up the candy offer. You’re going to need the energy for that day when you have to evict these guys. They’ll have you laughing silly the whole time.”
The sullenness left Emory’s face. “Guess so.”
“Say, Rance,” Clarence spoke as the detective started to walk off. “How’s that kid doin’?”
“I saw her about an hour ago. Pixie isn’t talking yet, but she looks more relaxed. Being with the Harpers seems to be doing her a lot of good.”
“Bring her by again, soon as you can,” Clarence implored. “She might be wantin’ some more candy.”
Dehner shrugged his shoulders. “She didn’t want any today.”
“Yeah, but you paid for it!” Clarence raised an index finger. “That’s what counts!”
“Businessmen has got to put first things first!” Rupert declared in an officious manner.
Dehner laughed as he continued his walk to the livery. The sense of merriment stayed with him until he drove the buckboard out of town. He then remembered that he was off to retrieve a burnt corpse.
Tomorrow: Episode Ten of The Silent Child