Just Let Me Die Here (A Serialized Novel) 35
“Mrs. Logan,” Detective Singh says when my call is patched through to her desk. She sounds tired, lacking her typical spark. “I was planning on visiting you this morning.” I am so focused on what I was going to tell her that it takes me a second to catch on to what she is saying. Does she have something to tell me? Have they found something?
“Have you found them?” I ask, hoping beyond hope.
“No, Mrs. Logan. But we have found something. I was hoping you could come down to the station today. At your earliest convenience.”
“I’ll be right down.” This is better. It will be easier to lay out all my concerns in person. And, she’s found something too. Maybe this is the break I’ve been hoping for. I call a taxi as I change into my jeans and throw on a sweater. I grab my purse and check myself in the mirror quickly as I head out the door. It’s as good as it’s going to get for now. The taxi is waiting for me at the curb and I’m at the police station in ten minutes.
When I enter the station, I see Detective Singh talking with Officer Evans. She sees me and comes over.
“You have something?” I say rushing forward. “Millie? Did you find her?”
“No.” She sounds a bit deflated. And she doesn’t smile. “Like I said on the phone, we haven’t found them. Please, come with me.” She leads me to a back room, but not the nice office we had been in before. This room is much more in keeping with what I imagine interrogation rooms to be like.
“Pardon me for just one second,” she says, turning and closing the door behind her, leaving me alone in the room. Something doesn’t feel right. There has been a shift in the way Detective Singh is interacting with me. Her usual sympathy and gentle nature are gone and it makes me worry. What is going on?
I start to pace back and forth next to the metal table in the center of the room. My mind is a mess with all the questions I have and the things I want to share with the police. I want to keep everything straight, make sure I tell them everything, but as I pace, thoughts and worries tumble around and I start to feel anxious. I don’t know why. What is wrong? Why aren’t we at her desk? What kind of awful news does she have for me that she wants to do it in the privacy of a closed room? And why this room? It’s so dim and unwelcoming.
And it’s hot.
I feel the sweat break through on the back of my neck and along my sides.
Why is it so hot?
I take off my sweater and toss it over the back of the chair. Immediately I am met with a frozen chill, as if someone has left a window open in this windowless room. The ice from outside grips at my bare skin. What is wrong?
Detective Singh returns to the room, apologizing for her absence. She sits in a chair on the far side of the table, motioning for me to sit in the one across from her. She flips through a file folder and then closes it before giving me a tight smile.
“So,” I say as I sit, trying to convey a calmness that I definitely do not feel. “You have something?”
“Well, Mrs. Logan. We’ve been following your story and trying to chase down all the leads that were possible, but things just weren’t adding up. We were hitting dead end after dead end. No Tucker, no Millie anywhere. So, we decided to go back to when this all started.”
“What do you mean? The accident? I actually have some thoughts about that.”
“No, not the accident. We wanted to look into when you and your family arrived in Canada. Maybe we could get something to track Tucker from there.”
“Well, Mrs. Logan, that’s where we found the problem.”
“The problem with your story. See, you told us that you and your husband and your daughter arrived together in Calgary on December 26.”
“But we went back and checked the records at Calgary International, and with customs, and with the airline you flew in on. And do you know what we found?”
“What do you mean me?”
“Just you. No Tucker Logan. No Mildred Logan. There was just one plane ticket scanned that day at the airport of origin. Only one passport checked upon your arrival here. Only one person passing through customs. You.”
“My thoughts exactly. So, I thought I would give you the chance to, you know, tell me the truth. Why this whole charade? Why have you put me and the other officers here through this goose chase, telling us your husband took your child and abandoned you, when you were here alone the whole time.”
“No. That’s not true.”
“But it is.”
“No. We here on vacation together. We all flew in together. We drove to Canmore from Calgary together. And up until two weeks ago, we were all here together.” I pause to catch my breath. It slips away and my chest feels tight. What is happening? “We stayed at The Scarlett House, together. Just ask Ruth.”
“Mrs. Anderson? Yes, Evans went back a few days ago to confirm some details of your case. She says she never actually met Tucker. Never even saw him or Mildred for that matter. And none of the other guests had either.”
“But that’s not true. Why would she lie?” I quickly run through our time at The Scarlett House in my mind. There had to be a time when someone else saw my family. At breakfast? In passing? I can’t remember. Were they always up in the room?
What kind of mother just leaves her child in the room for a whole vacation?
You don’t love her enough.
This is all your fault.
“No,” I say. “It just can’t be true.”
As I talk, Detective Singh opens her file folder and slides a black and white photo across the table towards me. It takes me a second to understand what I’m looking at, but then it hits me. It’s from a surveillance camera at the customs check in Calgary. There is a long line of people with their luggage, waiting to get through. And I see me. Second in line. There I am.
Just me. One suitcase.
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