Requiem for Claire 6
A Sudden Turn of Events ...
A week after the reading of Claire’s Will, Rachel receives a personal visit from Detective Jesse Hodges.
“Jesse, what a surprise. Can I help you?” Rachel inquiries.
“I just wanted to personally inform you that there will be a Coroner’s Inquest regarding the death of your sister Claire.”
“A Coroner’s Inquest? But I thought my sister died as a result of complications from that migraine episode.” Rachel’s eyes widen in disbelief.
“No. When the coroner’s team took Claire’s body to the morgue, Judd Warden requested a preliminary autopsy be done per Claire’s Will.”
“I didn’t know Claire had put that in her will as a stipulation.” Rachel confesses.
“Yes—it was a precautionary measure of Claire’s that Judd thought was nonsense at the time. However, it has proven to be vital.” Detective Hodges explains.
“In what way Jesse?” Rachel’s surprise has turned into curiosity.
“ Those pills that Claire took were laced with Potassium Cyanine—enough to kill several people.” Rachel’s face distorts in horror.
“Cyanine pills? How could the pharmacy have made such a fatal mistake?” Then looking up at Detective Hodges she remarks, “No, surely you don’t think that someone—”
“I am not accusing anyone of anything, Rachel. I am just giving you the facts. There is going to be an inquest, and this discovery will definitely be brought up.” Detective Hodges responds calmly.
“What should I do?” Rachel implores.
“Just tell the truth, Rachel. That’s all you need to do.” Detective Hodges suggests and Rachel nods in response.
“You don’t have anything to hide do you Rachel? You’re not protecting someone?” Detective Hodges watches Rachel’s mannerism, sensing a change in her demeanor.
“No, of course not.” Rachel reacts unconvincingly.
“On the night Claire died, she came to my home.” Rachel whispers.
“Yes, go on Rachel.” Detective Hodges tries to curb his impatience.
“She got into an argument with Cedric. My brother Patrick also called me. He said that Claire threaten to inform the Board of Trustees regarding his gambling addiction if he didn’t pay her the $8,000 he owed her.” Rachel takes a deep breath.
“That’s some very damaging information regarding both your husband and brother. Is there by any chance anyone else?” Detective Hodges probes further.
“My daughter Karen also had words with Claire.” Rachel informs him.
“Rachel don’t talk to anyone else about this. You need a lawyer. You know I am under no obligation to disclose this as it is just a courtesy call but during the inquest, there will be a lot of questioning. You have to tell the truth. Your family has to tell the truth.” Detective Hodges is adamant regarding pressing this point. “I would advise you to have a serious talk with your family.”
“I will Jesse.”
“I have to go now. I understand this is all disconcerting to you, Rachel but I know you to be inwardly a strong woman. Claire just never seemed to realize that fact.” Detective Hodges takes Rachel’s hand and pats it gently.
“Thank you again, Jesse.” Rachel answers as she walks the detective to the front door.
“I’ll be in touch.” Detective Hodges affirms, walking toward his car as Rachel closes the door.
“There are quite a few people who would profit from Claire’s death.” Detective Hodges contemplates to himself. “I wonder who would be bold enough to—”
Detective Hodges’s thoughts are interrupted by the appearance of a blue Mercedes. Out of the car rushes Patrick Westbrook and he appears to be in a big hurry.
A Hodgepodge of Suspects ...
When Rachel opens the door, she is almost stampeded by her brother.
“I just heard the news from one of my congregation, Eric Washington.” Patrick retorts breathlessly.
“And what news is that?” Rachel responds calmly.
“That Claire’s death was murder and not a result of her illness or stroke.” Patrick is beside himself with dismay.
“I see—well, did you kill her?” Rachel queries in a straightforward manner, observing her older brother.
“Of course I didn’t. I wouldn’t have called you, trying to borrow the money if I had plans to kill her, although the bitch really needed it.” Patrick smiles at the upraised brows of his sister.
“I know she was a completely manipulating woman but Pat, she didn’t deserve to be murdered, now did she?” Rachel is still watching her brother.
“How can you be so calm? You are the one who got the lion’s share of Claire’s Estate. It could have easily been you!” Patrick accuses.
“But it wasn’t.” Rachel states in a unemotional manner.
“What are we going to do, Ray?” Patrick is exasperated.
“Just tell the truth at the inquest.” Rachel rejoinders, echoing the sentiments of Detective Hodges.
“That’s all you have to say on the matter?” Patrick is amazed at the calmness displayed by his younger sister.
“That’s all, Pat. You said you didn’t kill her. I believe you. You possess neither the backbone nor resources to do it. That took planning.” Rachel’s words burn deep into Patrick’s ego.
“How dare you—” But before he can continue, Rachel interrupts.
“Quite easily dear brother. Everyone assumes that I am a meek little lamb in need of constant protecting. It’s true that I do get emotional at times, but it’s only because I couldn’t tell Claire what I thought about her constant meddling. Now, I don’t have that constraint.” Patrick begins to scrutinize Rachel with new respect. Again he smiles, but this time earnestly.
“Well, I’ll be damn!”
“Let’s hope not, after all you are our vicar!” Both begin to laugh hardily.
Rachel meanders to the window and discovers Detective Hodges’ black sedan still parked in front of her home. She moves away from the window to confront her brother.
“I want you to take your time when you leave my house, Pat.” Rachel commences.
“Because Detective Hodges is sitting in his car watching the house.” Rachel informs him.
“Why is Detective Jesse Hodges parked outside of your home?” Patrick walks to the window and sees the same thing.
“Because he came to unofficially inform me of the inquest. I should be receiving something soon I would think.” Rachel answers.
“Then he saw me tear up to your house like my ass was on fire.” Patrick chuckles.
“For a man of the cloth Patrick, I find your choice of words quite colorful.” Rachel reprimands.
“Look, it’s just you and me, Ray. That hubby of yours is knee-deep in your inheritance. He’ll barely have time to sneeze, less know correct my rhetoric!” Patrick chuckles.
“Regardless, you need to practice. They will be looking for anything and everything. Don’t arm them with the proper ammunition.” Rachel orders.
“I am impressed with the new you, Ray!” Patrick proclaims.
“Like you, I’ve developed the need for relaxing my façade.” Rachel grins at her brother.
“At any rate, I’ll compose myself and be on my way. Do you think that he will stop me for questioning?” Patrick wonders.
“No, he’s no doubt aware that I have informed you regarding the current situation.” Rachel responds with confidence.
“Right, then until I hear from you, I’ll just go about my normal activities.” Patrick gives his sister a brief peck on the cheek and hurries out of the door.
Rachel notices that as soon as Patrick leaves, Detective Hodges follows soon afterwards. She rests her head on her right hand as if in meditation. Then speaks—
“Just how many people have both the motive and the means of killing my sister?”
To Be Continued ...
Requiem for Claire 7
- Requiem for Claire 7
Even in death, Claire Monique Westbrook manages to create quite a stir—in light of the fact that her death was not of natural causes. There are quite a few people who profited from her demise including her sister, nieces, brother and fiancée. But is
© 2019 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS