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Page Turner Challenge: Picks

One for Murder by Deborah Whelan

My screams ricochet off the corridor walls and I scramble out of Barnaby’s room. I press my forehead against the window and choke back the bile. I don’t have the stomach for this anymore. I’d retired early to get away from it. 

A wilting begonia sags against the glass, gasping for breath. I focus on it, breathe. I do not turn around until I hear running footsteps enter Barnaby’s room. 

“Jesus,” the nurse mutters.  I disagree. Jesus would never have done this to an 83 year old man. 

“Ma’am, please come with me. We have to call the police.”

I want to say, “I am the police.” But just like Barnaby, I had left that all behind me. Just yesterday, we’d talked about our careers, how there was so much we wanted to forget. And I remember how his shivering hand moved the lace curtain away from the window pane.

 “A crow banged into my window this morning, Matilde. One crow. It perched and stared in at me with its black eyes, looked right into mine. That means death, Matilde. Someone is going to die.”

I love volunteering at St. Mark’s.  I’m a friendly visitor for old souls who have no family to help them find their teeth, or play cribbage with them, or to reassure them that they’re not losing their memory. This is their almost final resting place, where death is as common as the cold. 

But not like this.  Not with nails driven into your eye sockets.

Deborah Whelan is from Mt. Pearl, NL

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