The next day was quite unexpected. Same questions, same answers. David was desperate.
“Okay, Mr. Jason, do you know anyone else who can shed light on this incident ?”
He scratched his chin, pulled his tie, and rolled his eyes, before telling, “I think Hannah would be helpful. She’s smart too. A bit short tempered, but you can ask her.”
Hannah came in.
“Ms. Hannah, Is there anything else you want to tell me that I haven’t asked you?”
“Sir, I should’ve told this earlier. But I have a strong feeling Mr.Jason could’ve done it. He has told me many times that he doesn’t seem to enjoy Mr.Brown’s company. They weren’t on good terms for a few days. He carries guilt as a tattoo that weighs a hundred pounds. You just can’t trust him. He’s a friendly Jack, but when situation arises, he could become a monster. By the way, Sir, do you think the crime is committed by an individual?”
He didn’t expect this. Why, he hadn’t even thought about it. Well, he had a dream, but he avoided the fact in every way possible. He was sure that only one person could do it. So damnably sure. He rubbed his eyes and said, “Maybe not. Slightest possibility. “
She nodded, and left the room.
David rustled through his pages and sighed. A deep sigh. He stared at the tea and biscuits, but didn’t touch them. Not that he wasn’t hungry, simply because he couldn’t be hungry. One of them is being too obvious, and one of them is badly hiding something.
He was convinced that Hannah didn’t do it. No, she wouldn’t do it, because she can’t do it. Jason? That guy. The one who actually called them first. Who didn’t show any sign of grief. And he convinced himself that one of them is trying to save the another. So, conclusion ? Two people involved ? Ah, he just couldn’t bring things down to a T. Was he a bad detective ? No, come on, David, you handled the famous Langer case. And you won. Just get with it. After all, detectives only become better with every case.
He went to the spot again. Same old stuff. But he felt he was missing something. No, he felt the spot in itself was missing something. Had any one of them fiddled with things ? But they had told him none of them entered the cabin. Oh Jesus ! Why ?!
They remembered the facts collected the previous day. Nothing more except yeses,nos, and times. Times. He took a piece of paper and wrote what he had.
Alicia : 6:55 pm to 7:05 pm
Hannah : 7 pm to – ? No, immediate exit
Jason : 7:10 pm to 7:15 pm
Lisa: 7:25 pm to 7:30 pm
Mitchell : 7:30 to 7:32 pm
Shane : 7:35 pm to 7:37 pm
Too much flow. Back to back. This is too much. Oh wait, maximum gap is-10 minutes. One gap between Hannah and Jason, another gap between Jason and Lisa. No one entered the cabin. According to their answers. And no one had entered the cabin more than once. And all of them found Mr.Brown alive. And the couple says the door was locked from the inside. And they didn’t go in either. Ah. Alicia couldn’t have done it. Hannah was with her. Those two won’t be on my list anymore. So now, four people. All possible ways-24. If three people, six ways. Oh, David, don’t do math, you’re bad at it.
All these thoughts were interrupted by a voice.
“Mr. David, too much thinking eh ?”
It was James. He was now in his casuals, without glasses and sporting jogging shoes.
“Ah, finally. I was struggling without you”, he said with an accent that had a bit of Spanish beneath it.
“You won’t need me, ever, you’re smart enough to handle things by your own.”
David chuckled. “Well then, James, I’m trying to answer the questions by eliminating the options. Because I am not sure about the appropriate answers.”
“Did the examiner tell you that it’s a single correct option test ?”
David grinned. “Haha, no instructions have been given, so we need to play it by our own.”
“Perhaps, if you could take a sip of tea-“
“Yes,yes, by the way, the case seems to be more interesting than I thought.”
David handed over the chit of paper. James stared at it for ten minutes and smiled. David smiled back. “Well, I don’t know about your mind, but I think I’d rule out Hannah and Alicia. I’d love to remove Jason too, but I just can’t. And-“, he thought and shook his head. “Nothing more I could say ,David” he finished.
“That’s it ?”
“Well, I’m still pondering over the ten-minute gaps”, James said colourlessly.
David giggled. “Great minds think alike.”
James laughed along, and said, “Lies require commitment.”
“Yes. Ha, well, someone has entered the cabin more than once.”
David laughed and wrote something on a chit of paper. He showed it to James and both of them smiled.
“This seems to be- ”
“Well I’m not completely sure.”
“There’s just one woman in our list as of now, and those three men.”
“Listen, Mr.James, I haven’t completely ruled out Hannah and Alicia.”
“Me neither. But it’s that person, you say?”
“Well, things have become a little obvious. Atleast I can sleep tight tonight.”
“And I feel they’re trying to save one another. But why would they ?”
“Motive. Killing without a motive doesn’t seem interesting.”
“They’re trying to cover up things.”
“Yes. But if lying were a job, they’d be billionaires right now.”
“Yes. What else do you have on your mind ?”
“Nothing is ever certain. We gotta keep a track.”
“See you then,we’ll meet tomorrow. We’ll close this case soon.”
“Yes. We need to.”
And they parted ways.
David threw his papers on the table, and took a long breath. A vague suspicion of everyone and everything filled his mind. Just for a moment he had a premonition of approaching evil. He cleared his mind, drank a few glasses of water, and eagerly waited for the following day.
TO BE CONTINUED.