A pocketful of lies

by Jenny

The snow drifted gently to the ground, coating the gravel drive and the trees in a layer of thick white icing. The tick of the grandfather clock clattered off the wooden panelling, ringing out in the shocked silence.

The old man was dead in a spatter of bright scarlet and none of us was going anywhere.

Matilda began to scream; a gin flavoured hysteria that demanded the Doctor’s immediate, soothing attentions.These were duly given as Colonel Fawcett assumed command.

“Well, we’re just going to have to sit tight until the police can get here. It’s better if we don’t touch anything, risk of contaminating the crime scene and that. Arthur, take everyone into the drawing room. Eleanor, darling, can you ring for some tea, or perhaps something a little stronger? Matilda, do stop that dreadful racket, you’re giving me quite the headache.”

“Dammit man, I can’t stay here. If I miss this flight the biggest deal of the century will be out the Goddamned window!” shouted Lionel Wilson, striding across the library floor, nearly treading in the old man’s blood. The Colonel observed him dispassionately.

“My dear chap, I don’t see how you can go anywhere. We're quite snowed in here - just look out the window. The roads will be blocked for miles. That’s the trouble with you Americans. No common sense.”

“Now just what’s that supposed to mean?” demanded Lionel, squaring up to face the Colonel, who stood his ground, eyeing the shorter man with contempt.

“Please, this is not the time” said Arthur stepping between them “Grandfather is dead. We’re all upset. Let’s go into the drawing room, like the Colonel said, and wait for the police to get here.”

Lionel sneered, he eyes never leaving the Colonel “as if he’s sorry. This is exactly what he wanted. We all knew the old man was going to cut you out of his will.This is all very convenient for you, isn’t it, Colonel?”

“How very dare you sir!” the Colonel blustered “the old man knew about your shady dealings. Oh yes, he told me all about it, and he told me exactly what he planned to do about it too. Yes, don’t like it up you, do you?!”

“Colonel, Matilda is very upset” reasoned Arthur, desperately trying to keep the peace “Perhaps you can take her outside for some air?”

“I don’t see that I need to do that. The Doctor is looking after her quite well. Mind you, he was doing a lot of looking after before the old man died, wasn’t he? I wonder what he would have said, if he’d known his young new bride was being diddled by the family surgeon.”

Matilda screamed again and the Doctor flushed and stammered and suddenly everyone was shouting at one another, accusations flying, recriminations bouncing off the sherry decanters, Matilda’s desperate cries unheeded in the melee.

And as they all stood shouting and accusing one another, a nursery of unmanageable toddlers without a nursemaid, I slipped quietly from the room, the bloodstained knife still held fast behind my back and wondered in whose room I should hide it.