Morris studied Reginald Patterson from under his eyebrows. If the fat officer thought he was going to pass any information on Frederic, the stupid shithead was very mistaken. He wasn’t. Period. Carefully, without changing the position of his head, he screwed his eyes from left to right to inspect the office he’d just been brought into at three in the morning. He’d been pushed rather roughly on the straight metal chair that did not yield to his frame at all. The office was as lifeless and listless as a dying plant. Grey slats, closed and dusty, black metal furniture, flickering computer screens. The metal table between him and his interrogator, the shaded lamp above their heads and the silent copper, who had taken up position next to the door, made Morris feel he’d been brought into a bad B-film. The air was permeated with the strong smell of stale coffee.
“Your wife was an antiques dealer, wasn’t she?”
So it was Angela that Patterson wanted information on, not Frederic? Well, he wasn’t going to talk about her either. Certainly not about her. He gauged the officer again. Was he letting out a sigh Morris wasn’t supposed to hear?
“I know my rights, dickhead.”
He wouldn’t utter one word until his solicitor showed up. If it had to be a game of who could shut up the longest, whose thoughts would drive him crazy first, well Morris knew without a slice of doubt that he was going to beat the fat guy at it. Look at him, all indulgence and lack of discipline. A copper! Ha, it made him laugh. He stared at his handcuffed hands lying in his lap, studied the red blotches on his pulses. Caught for the sake of Frederic’s freedom. Let hell come down here and now. He was ready for it! He had nothing to lose anymore.
Angela’s big, soft eyes doomed up before him, showing absolute panic, her hands like claws around his arms, tight as the handcuffs now.
“Do something!” She begged, “You of all people must be able to stop this. For heaven’s sake, think of me!”
He longed to tell her that in his soul Frederic was no longer his brother; that he had lost that right when he had started to stalk her and certainly after he had killed her but he couldn’t. He knew he would be lying. He had sacrificed his darling, his Angela for his criminal brother. He had failed to stand by her in the end. Frederic had escaped with his help. Now the DaCampo’s were truly a damned family.
Patterson shifted in his chair and looked up from the file he was reading. It was Frederic’s police record for sure. Morris didn’t have one. Until now. Was there a glint of sympathy in the fat guy’s eyes? Well, he didn’t want any sympathy. He didn’t want anything from anyone. Not the stale cup of coffee he had been offered although his throat was scorching, not even the cigarette he was dying to accept. He would bear it all for the sake of the wife and the brother.
He just hoped Frederic had found the getaway car he’d left him in Parkside Avenue. A Volkswagen Polo with the keys in the ignition. He had nicked it two streets down the block, surprisingly easy for someone who had never stolen a car before. Then he’d driven Angela’s old Buick to Marlborough Road. Contrary to his normal careful parking, Morris had left the Buick nonchalantly at the curb in front of her shop. He had quickly grabbed the suitcase with valuable coins from behind the counter. He could trade them for money so he and Frederic could go abroad. All he had left to do was send Frederic that final text message. The car door was still open and the suitcase with Angela’s coin collection left standing in the middle of the road. Rain started beating relentlessly on his hatless head when the sound of sirens came down from the other side of Marlborough Road. They mixed with the song on the car radio that made him puzzled. He knew he had lost it somehow.
No matter who you are
No matter where you go in your life
At some point you gonna need somebody
To stand by you.
“I failed you,” he whispered, tears melting with raindrops, “I let Frederic kill you. I deserve what is going to happen to me now!”
Morris had just had enough time to haul his mobile in the bushes. It had been a matter of waiting for the coppers, for surrender, for not knowing if Frederic was safe.
Twins outside, the brothers had been as different inside as rain and sunshine. They grew up looking identical and people couldn’t keep them apart. That’s where all the trouble had started because he, Morris was different, very different. He had wanted to become a sales manager with a big house and a nice blond wife and that’s what he had worked for and gotten. Frederic had gone of the straight and narrow when he was sixteen to hang out with the wrong sort of guys. It had been an endless repetition of burglaries-prison, theft- prison, fights- prison, drugs- prison. Morris had given up on visiting him behind bars, given up on him altogether. Until his brother had shown up six months earlier, needing a place to crash. He’d promised them the sky and all had been okay for a while. He’d even gone to the job that Morris got him in his own warehouse for a couple of weeks. Things had started to look up. Until…
Patterson closed the file, heaved his heavy posture from behind the table and walked to the window. He pushed the slats aside to peer outside. Through the narrow slits, Morris could see it was still raining heavily. The officer sighed audibly now before he turned around to face Morris. The man looked haggard from lack of sleep, or was it something else?
“You’re sure you won’t tell me anything about your wife? About your relationship?” His voice sounded flat and defeated, as if he wasn’t the one in charge here.
Doctor Reginald Patterson disliked the anger he felt rising inside himself. He knew too well that they were short of staff at Gilleshearn Clinic and any staff- even his own very specialised team – could make mistakes. Still, he had given off warning signals about his client several times but this boss had dismissed them as irrelevant. Now he was mostly angry with himself. Frederic DaCampo had been so clever at throwing dust in everyone’s eyes. Taking his medicine dutifully for weeks, behaving perfectly normal, a sociable guy and a kind husband. How mistaken they had been to send him home last week.
He looked at his patient and sighed. It might not be a professional outlet that escaped him but even a psychiatrist who’s just been tricked by a patient is entitled to some emotion. The doctor studied the handsome creature opposite him, always clean shaven, clad in a not inexpensive business suit, the dark hair neatly groomed, eyes an almost innocent blue. This harmless looking young man was ever so dangerous when not on Risperdal. Patterson could see he believed he was the invented brother Morris again. Yes, it was difficult not feeling sorry for the lost man opposite him. The police report he had just read told the truth of how he had coldbloodedly shot his beloved wife.
The worst thing was that Frederic DaCampo didn’t even know he had killed the one person who had been the most precious to him in his entire life.
The eyes said “stand by me”. Patterson sighed again. He would. There was nobody else.