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Death of a Ballerina -Part 3-

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

A thin crack ran through the corner of the windowpane, but Rose stared through it without noticing. Her knuckles were white as she gripped a dripping plate over the sink full of dishwater. Two birds soared effortlessly across the blue sky. She tried to focus on the plate or the birds. The kitchen radio was blaring out oldies tunes, but her mind kept straying to the sounds coming from her mother’s room. The screams and pitiful cries were heartbreaking.

Experience had been more of a drill sergeant than a teacher as Rose learned to care for her aging mother. A series of strokes had rendered the frail woman paralyzed on the left side of her body. The doctors were excited to see her regaining the use of her limbs after a year’s worth of physical therapy, but Rose was not so hopeful about this new development. Her mother’s mind had been changed permanently. More importantly, her personality had been changed permanently.

Rose sighed. It’s been thirty minutes. I should go check on her again. She rinsed the plate off and stuck in on the drying rack. After tossing the towel back on the counter, she grimly moved up the stairs towards her mother’s room.

The hollow door rattled as she knocked on it and she didn’t bother to wait for an answer. The smell of medicines and mothballs filled the room. Her mother was squatting on the closet floor, hugging her left arm close to her body. She looked up at Rose with horror stricken eyes. “He’s dead. He’s dead. He’s dead.” Her threadbare pajamas hung loosely around her emaciated frame. Her shoulder length gray hair was matted to one side of her head. Rose moved silently to make up her mother’s bed.

——- ——- ——- ——- ——– ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——-
Clary’s voice sounded small in the echoing locker room. Officer Maine stood a few feet away listening to her version of the morning’s events. “After the initial shock had worn off, I realized that there was no blood. It seemed strange to me. Her tights are soaked in urine, which most likely occurred after her death. But the only traces of blood that I could see were at the roots of her hair.”

She gestured towards the crusted blood. “I think that she was yanked from behind at some point.”

Greg cleared his throat. “Did you notice anything odd about the room? Was it the same as usual?”

Clary paused to consider the question. She twirled one of the buttons on her coat. “All four of the bathroom stall doors were open. Usually some of them are open and some are closed in a random sort of way.” She looked around the room. “I noticed that the girl didn’t have a cell phone or a wallet in her bag. She didn’t even have keys or an iPod or anything. Only those clothes and the teddy bear.”

Detective Maine broke in with a raspy voice, “What do you make of this costume? The tutu, the sequins … why would she come to the hospital dressed like that?”

“Most likely someone went into labor, and she hurried away from whatever she was doing. Some kind of performance, I guess … a dance recital, maybe. It’s actually pretty common to see all sorts of costumes and uniforms on this floor. People never seem to have babies when you’d expect them to.” Clary offered a tiny smile. “I’ve seen kids in little league uniforms, a hoop skirted museum tour guide, and even a dancer of a more … um, exotic nature.” Her voice trailed off.

Greg looked at her curiously. “I thought you just started here last week. When did you see all of that?”

“Well, I meant over the past few years. I’ve spent a lot of time on the maternity floor. Just not in this hospital.” She tossed her hair over her shoulder. “And I spent a month here, last October.”

“That’s great.” Officer Maine tapped his pencil against his notepad. “How do you think she got here?”

Clary looked up at him in surprise. “I suppose she came in through the stairwell next door. The nurses claim they never saw her. I don’t know. What do you think?”

Officer Maine smiled. “Well, how trustworthy are the night nurses in your opinion?”

Clary chewed on her lip before answering. “Each night there’s a different group of people. And I haven’t met everyone yet. I’m still getting to know the staff.” She glanced at her fingernails. They were getting too long. “But I can’t imagine a sparkling ballerina walking past the nurses’ station without the hens clucking about it all night. It would have made interesting conversation. Someone would have noticed.”

“She’s right about that, Maine.” Greg’s eyes were bright. “I bet someone saw her coming in the door. A costume like that would be hard to forget.”

“Assuming she came in last night, after regular visiting hours, how would she get here?” Maine had his pencil ready for Clary’s response.

“She would have come in through the emergency department, and then headed towards the main elevators. She probably saw the signs for the stairwell and walked up to the third floor.”

“And then I suppose she just fell over and died?” Maine said sarcastically. He scribbled something illegible in his notepad. “Anderson, make sure the forensics team sweeps the stairwell, before they leave.”

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

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