Carrie was sitting at a table with her right leg pulled up under her chin, when after what seemed like hours, the paramedics finally arrived. Frantically, she showed them where to go, but she knew it was useless.
When Carrie realized what she smelled was blood, she had cried out to Donovan to come help her. He pushed open the door, and behind it they found the body of her seventeen- year-old employee: Mary-Anne Wilson.
Mary-Anne’s body had been there for hours cold and alone; Carrie couldn’t help but wonder if she knew what was happening to her, or if it was all over very quickly. Carrie couldn’t help but wonder why she was there at all. Mary-Anne had not worked the day before.
Almost immediately after the paramedics arrived, the police and the coroner swarmed her once calm store. This type of thing did not happen in Ristretto, so the minute the news of a dead body went out over the radio, every officer in town showed up to help.
Carrie watched as the officers examined the body that the Coroner pronounced dead at 7:41 a.m. The officers took pictures of Mary-Anne, the room where her body was, the backdoor, the door they had to force open to get to Mary-Anne, and even the doorknob. One officer pulled out little clear baggies and put several of Mary-Anne’s personal things into separate ones. Mary-Anne’s body was placed into a bag and zipped up. They took her out through the back door, so that the small crowd that had gathered outside of the store would not be able to see.
As they started dusting for fingerprints, the detective who looked to be calling the shots walked over to her.
Carrie stood up.
“Good Morning Miss Uh..French, is it?” asked the Detective.
“Yes, Carrie French. And you are…,” Carrie glanced quickly at his badge, “Detective Johnson?”
“That’s correct. Okay, I’m going to have a series of questions for you, and this shouldn’t take long, but you should know, your store is going to be closed for most of the day,” warned Detective Johnson.
“It’s not a problem at all. I just want to help. I’ve only known Mary-Anne for about three months, since she began working here. She was so bubbly and I don’t understand this,” said Carrie.
Detective Johnson ushered Carrie to another table so they could sit and speak alone.
“Miss French, what time did you get to your store this morning?” asked Detective Johnson.
“I normally get to the store at 6:45 a.m. every day, but today it was 6:48 a.m. because my dog ran out of the front door as I went to leave and I had to put him back inside, so I was running a little behind,” explained Carrie.
“And around what time did you find Miss Wilson?” inquired Detective Johnson.
“It was right after Donovan got here at his usual 7:15 arrival, so I’d say around 7:20 or so,” figured Carrie.
“Did you notice anything suspicious when you entered the store today?” Detective Johnson asked.
“Not at all,” Carrie said, “unless you count being out of sugar as suspicious.”
The Detective did not glance up from his notepad.
“What did you do when you realized there was something wrong?” asked Detective Johnson.
“Well, first I called Donovan to come help me push the door open so I could get into the room. As soon as I turned the light on when I was able to get the door cracked before he came to help, I smelled what I thought to be blood. Donovan was able to get the door open for me, and as soon as I was able to process what happened I called 9-1-1,” said Carrie.
“How did you know you were smelling blood?” asked Detective Johnson.
“When I was younger, my dad would take me hunting. When I killed my first deer, he spread the blood across my face, and the smell was stuck with me for weeks after,” explained Carrie.
“What is Miss Wilson’s work schedule like?” asked Detective Johnson.
“She comes in every afternoon after school and works until we close at 6:00 p.m. Sometimes she closes the store for me if I have somewhere I have to be,” said Carrie.
“So, she has her own key?” asked Detective Johnson.
“No, I keep a spare one in the potted plant by the back door,” said Carrie.
“How many people know about the spare key?” asked Detective Johnson.
“Donovan, Mary-Anne, the UPS driver- Nathan-, and me,” said Carrie.
“Interesting” mused the Detective. “Okay, Miss French, I don’t think I have any further questions for now, but I do want to speak to Donovan before I leave. Here is my card; call me if you think of anything else,” said Detective Johnson as he handed her a white business card with gold letters on it.
“Thank you so much,” said Carrie as she grabbed her own business card off of the counter to give to him.
Carrie sat down and wondered if Mary-Anne’s mom knew yet. She was a single mother and had two sons also, but Mary-Anne was her baby. She thought about calling her, but she didn’t think it was her place, so she left it to the officers.
To pass the time while she waited on the officers to gather evidence and finish their work, Carrie started unloading the dishwasher full of coffee cups and placing them on the shelves. Most of these cups were from thrift stores and places Carrie had traveled to and gotten as souvenirs. She thought it added more character to have these than a set of matching ones.
Almost immediately Carrie noticed that a mug was missing. It was her favorite one- big, light blue, with a dancing hotdog on it that she got from a minor league baseball game a couple of years ago. Carrie looked at the cup Donovan still had in front of him, and noticed that it was not the Hot Dog cup. The Dishwasher was empty, and the cup was missing from the shelves. She called Detective Johnson back over.”
“Detective Johnson, this may not be important, and I might sound silly but my favorite coffee mug is missing. It wasn’t in the dishwasher like I thought, and it’s not on the shelves. I don’t know if it’s important or not, but I thought it was strange. I don’t misplace things,” stated Carrie.
Detective Johnson furrowed his brow and looked at her and said, “Well I’m sure it will turn up. It isn’t high on my priority list right now.”
Carrie shrunk away embarrassed and was just going to drop it; then, she noticed a light blue handle pushed up under the cabinet in the kitchen.