Wilma Franks, wife of the now deceased Travis Franks, met us at the door. She had on a beige lined Trench Coat crafted by Michael Kors. Her brown hair was wet and matted to her head. Her visage paled when we flashed our badges.
“She looks like a wet dog,” I whispered to Lilly.
“Hush, Konan. Mrs. Travis, I’m Detective Lilly Thompson, and this is my partner Detective Thermopolis Konan.”
“Um, what brings you out here this early in the morning detectives?”
“Are you the wife of Travis Franks?”
“Yes,” she responded softly. “Has something happened to my husband?”
“May we come in?”
“Of course,” Wilma said, moving to one side of the door. “Please come in. We will sit out on the enclosed porch.”
Lilly stepped across the threshold, and I followed her in. A single lamp illuminated the living room. “It’s almost like she just beat us here,” I thought as I followed the women to the back porch.
Wilma motioned to a couple of wicker chairs, and we sat across from her. She sat on a wicker bench and folded her hands.
“Ma’am, your husband is dead. His body was discovered by an employee for the railroad.”
A singular tear streaked down her right cheek, and she wiped it off with the back of her hand. She cleared her throat and said, “how did he die?”
“Um,” Lilly said, “he suffered some head wounds. Our medical examiner will perform an autopsy, and we will have more details then.”
“When can I have his body? When can we have a funeral for him?”
“I don’t have an exact timeframe, Mrs. Franks,” Lilly stammered. “Ashley, that’s our medical examiner, she will let us know when the body can get released.”
Lilly squirmed in her chair. She was uncomfortable with asking questions concerning with the crime so soon after the death. I gave her a nod and cleared my throat.
“Mrs. Franks, did Travis have any enemies?”
“We’re wealthy. There’s always someone who isn’t happy with us.”
“Yes, I am sure that’s true. Is there anyone specific who might want to kill your husband?”
“There was some trouble at the club about a month ago. A man threatened to beat him to death, but it was over a card game. We figured he was blowing off steam because he lost heavily. Do you think…”
“We don’t know, ma’am. At the moment, we’re gathering information. Do you remember the name of the man that threatened your husband?”
“Teals? I think his name was Dr. Jeffery K. Teals.”
“Okay. Thank you for answering our questions, and please accept our condolences for your loss.”
“Thanks for being gentle,” Wilma replied, as she led us to the door. “Please let me know when we can have the body. I must go break the news to my children,” she said, easing the closed.
“Yes ma’am, we understand.”
Lilly and I walked back to the vehicle, the rain had stopped, but large puddles had formed. We didn’t say anything until we climbed into the vehicle.
“She didn’t seem shocked or surprised, did she Konan?”
“No, she didn’t. You noticed she still had her coat on, and her hair was soaked?”
“Of course. She’s hiding something.”
“Without a doubt pard. How about we stop for some donuts and coffee?”
“I could go for a cup of coffee,” Lilly replied. “Cases like this one makes you feel way older than you actually are.”
“I wouldn’t know,” I remarked, as I backed down the driveway. “Regardless of how many birthdays I accumulate, I’m forever 25.”
In the eastern horizon, the sun struggled to rise through the black clouds. I felt its pain. My faith struggled to rise through the doubts that filled my mind.