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Ben must face more accusations in Part 3.


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Daniel Norrish

To the Nines Award Part 3


Ben steers past the blue and white police tape sectioning off his murdered neighbour’s house and he slows to a crawl in the street as a crowd of people moves out of his way. Some of the people in the crowd have cameras and some of them have notebooks, but they’re certainly all journalists and they’re all standing in his driveway.
“Get out of the way,” He calls out through the windshield.
“Why did you kill your neighbour?” A voice is thrown at him from the horde of faces.
“I didn’t.”
“Is it true you have mental problems?”
“Problems? What are you talking about, who told you that?”
“Do you have a reasonable explanation for involvement?”
“Sure, I’m not involved at all. Leave me alone.”
When he gets out of the car there are hands all over him and recording devices are thrust towards Ben’s lips. People are tugging at him and waving and shouting for attention and Ben just wants to go home, so he nudges his way through the congregation. Ben’s face is down as he pushes past people, but one woman stops him dead. She holds her palms up in a passive stance and leans back, away from Ben.
The stranger says, “We can help you. My website can help. Just take my card; the media can be your friend. I can show the public the story from your point of view.” Ben tucks the business card into his pocket.
When he gets to the front door, Ben’s astounded to find it already open. There are police inside putting his belongings in plastic bags and shinning strange lights on everything.
“What are you doing in my house?”
“Ben, I’m glad you’re here.” Inspector Rolander bounds with long, deliberate strides to the front door.
“We’re conducting a search warrant, all the information is here.” She continues as she passes Ben a document. There are still faces and devices and cameras hovering around Ben, so Inspector Rolander pulls Ben into his own house.
Rolander puts a palm on Ben’s shoulder and says, “Let me ask you something, where did you say you always keep your medication?”
“Um-well, I always keep it on the bedside table and it just disappeared last weekend.”
“Well, it was in a drawer beneath your microwave today, in the kitchen.”
“That’s not possible.”
“Yes, it is Ben.”
“Does anyone else live here?”
“No, it’s just me,” Ben says as someone pushes past him.
“Let’s go back to the station where we can talk more comfortably.”
“Am I under arrest?”
“No, but we’re just in the way here and, if we stay, you’ll still be answering questions.”
“Alright, let me just use the bathroom.”
“Wait a second,” Rolander says as she puts up a finger. Ben waits, trapped in his own front hallway as Rolander shouts back into the house, “Are we done in the bathroom?”
“Yes,” The reply comes and Ben is allowed to use his toilet.
As soon as he’s behind the locked door, Ben opens the window as quietly as he can and slips out into the backyard. In a second, he’s crept into the high bushes beside the fence and in a few more seconds, he’s skipped over it into the Pomin’s property, at the back of his house. A huge, fat Rottweiler tears across the lawn as soon as he sees the intruder and as soon as he realises it’s Ben, he smiles.
“Hi Zeus, quiet now, good boy.” Ben urges the beast as he makes his escape.
He’s moving quickly down the parallel street now, wondering if the cops will turn on the sirens when they notice he’s run away.
What the hell is he going to do?
He pulls the little business card out of his pocket and dials the mobile number. When the woman answers on the other end, Ben says, “I didn’t do it!” in a quick, urgent snap.
“Ben?” He doesn’t reply. “It sure looks like you did.”
“Are you a journalist?”
“Yeah, for an online magazine. You wouldn’t have heard of it, we’re called-“
“I don’t care what it’s called. I have a proposition and you’re going to have to trust me.”
“What?”
“I’ll only talk to you, not your magazine, not your competitors, just you.”
“Fantastic!” The woman exclaims.
“But you need to help me, I didn’t kill anyone. I want you to keep me posted on the police’s progress.”
“No way.”
“Yes. You don’t need to tell me anything you’re not going to write online anyway, I just don’t have time to read it. Tell me what’s happening while it’s happening. I’m going to find whoever killed Theresa.”