Resurrection 16

This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.

New Questions

By 9pm, all of the celebrants had left, J.W.’s parents had returned home, and Suzanna’s had driven to their hotel in Corbin. J.W. was sitting on the bed and Suzanna was feeding Claire one last time before putting her down. When Claire finished, she started to take the full, sleeping child to the nursery.

“Suze, let’s have her sleep in the bassinet tonight. I want us all together.” J.W. said.

“John, that’s the best idea you’ve had in a long time,” said Suzanna.

They climbed into bed and Suzanna fell asleep quickly on J.W.’s shoulder. J.W. didn’t fall asleep quickly, despite his exhaustion. He mind was still reeling, trying to make sense of the day. Eventually the exhaustion won and he slept.

…..

For the first time in weeks, Claire slept almost seven hours. When she stirred at almost 5am, J.W. and Suzanna hadn’t moved.  Suzanna got up, retrieved Claire and got back in the bed, laying on her side as she nursed. J.W. wrapped his arms around both of them.

When she finished, she was back asleep as was Claire next to her. J.W. got up and went downstairs to make coffee.

Coffee done, J.W. poured himself a cup and sat down in the study with his Bible. A daily devotional time was his normal routine. He read and prayed until he heard Suzanna in the upstairs bathroom. He got up, poured her a cup and stood at the bottom of the stairs to greet her. That, too, was his normal routine. Suzanna wasn’t a “morning person” and the lack of consistent sleep just made it worse.

They talked and laughed in the kitchen as J.W. made eggs. There were plenty of biscuits left from parishioners and friends dropping food by. They were on the second pot of coffee when Chief Dalton knocked on the door at 8:37.

“Chief Dalton,” J.W. said as he opened the door. “I wondered if you’d drop by today. Come in. Want some coffee?”

“Yes, a cup of coffee would be nice, thank you.” Dalton looked at Suzanna. “Mrs. Reeves, I want you to know I am truly sorry. We were sure the man was J.W., even Doc Silbey gave a positive ID. I am so sorry this caused you so much heartache. If there were a way to take it all back, I would.”

“Have a seat,” Suzanna was terse, “I’ll get your coffee. At least you came by to apologize.”

Right now she didn’t like Dalton and she didn’t like him bringing his cigarette stench into the house with Claire. She retreated to the kitchen.

Dalton sat down on the couch across from J.W.

J.W. spoke in low tones, “Don’t worry about her, Chief. It was just such a shock. We both know you were just trying to do your job. We both appreciate you coming by this morning to apologize.”

“Well, that’s not the only reason I came by, J.W.” Dalton leaned in toward J.W., “We have nothing on this case. No real leads. We know a man who’s your spittin’ image was murdered and he was carrying your ID. Do you have a brother or any other family? Could this be a relative, a cousin?”

“I don’t know. I’m adopted. Never knew or tried to track down my birth mother.” J.W. replied.

“Well is there anyone who would want to do you harm?”

“Honestly I can’t think of anyone,” J.W. was serious. He wasn’t aware of anyone who had a real grudge against him.

“Maybe an abusive husband whose wife you counseled? Someone on drugs you’ve helped? Anything at all? We’re grasping at straws here. We’ve got a John Doe, no missing person’s report, nothing. I got the autopsy faxed in from Frankfort this morning and it tells us some things, but no real leads.”

Of course Dalton was wrong about the report being “faxed.” The report was emailed to his administrator Shirley who printed it out and handed it to the Chief. She had learned long ago to understand what he meant when it came to technology, not what he said.

“So you could have a brother?” Asked Dalton.

“I could, but I have no clue how I would ever find out,” said J.W.

“Do you have your birth certificate?”

“I don’t think so, at least not here. Mom probably does. I’ve never needed it.”

Suzanna emerged with coffee and handed it to the Chief.

“Thank you, Mrs. Reeves.”

She started to correct him to call her “Suzanne” then remembered she was mad at him this minute. Mrs. Reeves worked just fine. She even withheld her “You’re welcome.” Her coldness was not lost on Dalton, but in his job he had long ago stopped being affected by the emotional reactions of others.

“I’m going to go check on Claire,” she said and went upstairs.

“Do you have any theories, Chief” asked J.W.

“Well, there are three possibilities. It could be someone killed him thinking he was you. If you don’t have any enemies, that seems unlikely. It could be he was killed by someone who knew his real identity and wanted him dead.”

“And the third?”

“The third is he wasn’t killed for either of those reasons, but was killed by some random person who was just looking for a victim.”

“That doesn’t seem likely,” noted J.W.

Dalton shook his head in agreement, “No, it doesn’t. Even more so based on the autopsy.”

“What did it show?”

“I can’t tell you that now, there are some things we don’t release in an investigation. If I need more information, I’ll ask.” Dalton stood up and drained his coffee. “Tell the Mrs. thank you again for the coffee.”

“I will,” said J.W. standing, walking Dalton to the door.

At the door Dalton paused, “One more thing, don’t tell people about our discussion. News travels fast in this county. We just need to let this be a misidentification of a John Doe. No need to let everybody in the county know what we’re thinkin’.”

“Will do, Chief, good luck.”

J.W. watched as Dalton got into his Explorer and drove away.

 

 

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