Two officers return to find Shelly now well enough to talk to them. She sits in the hospital bed, looking small and scared. Jeff doesn’t leave her side, holding her hand and telling her everything is going to be okay.
The officers sit in extra chairs the hospital has provided and pull-out their notebooks so they can both write everything down. They don’t want to miss a single word Shelly tells them about what had happened to her and where she had disappeared to after the murder.
Shelly glances at Jeff, who nods and gently squeezes her hand. She takes a shaky breath and readjusts herself in the bed to get more comfortable.
“I was at home, making Jeff’s favorite cookies after we had lunch together. His favorite is oatmeal raisin. I can’t stand them myself, but I will always make them for him.” She looks at her husband lovingly.
“Anyways I had just popped them in the oven when I heard a noise coming from our back garden. I went outside and found one of my pots were broken. But everything else was fine and there was no one back there.”
The officers nod, one telling her to go on.
“Well, I looked around twice but still couldn’t find anything else broken or anyone hiding back there, so I walked back inside. I grabbed my cleaning supplies from under the sink and started cleaning up our mess from lunch and my mess from the cookies. I was just finishing when I heard a knock on the door. I hurried and out everything away before I went to the front door.”
Shelly shifts on the bed. She taps her chin thoughtfully. “I think I forgot to set the oven timer.”
She shakes her head. “Anyway, I opened the door and found a neighbor who lives four doors down from us, Mr. Paul, standing there. We chatted for a bit about the weather and the upcoming neighborhood block party. He told me how he and Mrs. Paul were planning to make their famous potato salad, broccoli salad, and beer. But between you and me, their potato salad isn’t the best. My Aunt can make a better one.”
The male officer with the last name of Robertson pinned to his shirt clears his throat. “Mrs. Harris, please just stick with telling us what happened that day.”
Jeff chuckles. “Sorry about that Officer. My wife loves to talk but seems to have a hard time staying on the subject.” He looks at his wife. “What happened with Mr. Paul, sweetheart?”
Sherry sighs and looks out the window. “I excused myself since I needed to get back to the kitchen. We said our goodbyes and I closed the door. I was halfway to the kitchen when someone knocked on the door again. Thinking it was Mr. Paul, I hurried to the door and opened it. I told him that we will have to talk later since I have to start dinner and the laundry soon.” Her face grows angry.
“But it wasn’t Mr. Paul. It was the tramp, Sheila at the door. She pushed her way in, ranting and raving about how Jeff is going to leave me. How Jeff is going to marry her and all this bologna.” Sherry punches the bed. “I won’t lie to you, officers, but I was hot under the collar when she was screaming those things at me. I was raised by my mamma to never raise my voice or curse or hit. But let me tell you, I wanted to do every single one of those things to that crazy tramp.”
The officers’ glance at one another, smirking ss they listen to the woman speak. They look back at her, their pens ready.
“I tried to push the woman out of our house, but she was a lot stronger than I had thought. Sheila attacked me then. She scratched at me, and pulled my hair, and even kicked me a few times. I kicked back and slapped her a few good ones until I had her covering her head. Once she did that, I hit her in the back of the head with a vase. She dropped to the ground unconscious, alive but unconscious. That’s when I ran out of the house screaming for help.”
The female officer with the last name of Ledesma on her shirt wrinkles her eyebrows. “Are you sure the woman was still alive when you left?”
“I am very sure. And Mr. Paul came running when he heard the commotion. He was so scared when I told him everything. He told me to run to his house and call the police from there while he tied Sheila up. He checked for a pulse and told me she was still alive before I ran off. I had told him where the rope was then just ran like a bat out of… well you know where.” Sherry smiles her cracked lips.
Officer Ledesma glances at her partner. “We’ll need to question Mr. Paul again about all of this.”
Officer Robertson nods, writing down a quick note to remind them to take Mr. Paul back in to question him about the events. “Please continue, ma’am.”
Sherry shivers. “I get to Mr. Paul’s house, thinking Mrs. Paul will be there, but she wasn’t. I banged and banged on the door, calling for her but no one answered. So, I went inside and…” Her voice catches in her throat as she remembers Mr. Paul’s house.
Jeff snuggles is wife close. “It’s okay, sweety. Just tell them everything that happened just like you told me. Okay?”
Sherry nods her head, wiping fresh tears from her cheeks, leaning against Jeff.
“It smelled something awful when I finally got inside. It was dark. All of the curtains drawn and not a single shred of light could get inside. I pushed one open and wish I hadn’t. Mr. Paul and Mrs. Paul hadn’t cleaned in I don’t know how long. It was awful. Flies everywhere. I even think I saw maggots.”
Sherry shudders, seeing everything in front of her. She cries out and slaps at Jeff, thinking she sees bugs on him. Jeff catches her hands and looks back at the officers. “I think we better end it for today. Please, come back tomorrow.”
“Mr. Paul…. Mr. Paul came back. He was covered in blood.” Sherry shrieks. “Covered in blood. I escaped and ran into the woods behind his house. He chased after me, saying something, but I couldn’t hear him. I escaped and then I tripped.”
She looks at Officer Ledesma. “And then you were there, helping me.” Sherry breaks down, sobbing in Jeff’s shoulder.
Officer Ledesma and Officer Robertson excuses themselves and hurries out of the room. They get to their patrol car and calls in for back up. Officer Ledesma relays everything Shery had told them as her partner races out of the parking lot, lights on, and sirens blaring in the late morning.