I lifted my hands and turned away from
to face Detective Parker.
, I did not want to give him any reason to shoot me. The gun in his hand raised a bit as I moved, daring me to do something. I stayed on my knees.
“Look, Gerald...” I said.
“Shut the fuck up. That who I think it is?” he said.
I looked down and nodded, “She called the library. Hysterical. I came right over.”
“Jesus, Banned. What kind of monster are you? First the girl, now this?”
A fire lit inside me. The acrid feeling of adrenaline spiked in my chest and I got angry.
“You think I did this? You think I could do this? Who the hell do you think you are? Piece of shit, waste. This was my friend. I’ve known this woman my entire life, you sick fuck. You followed me here from the library, huh? When did I have time? WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?”
My screaming woke the part of my brain with reason. I realized my hands had dropped and my fists were clenched. I was still on my knees, but one foot had braced back, ready to launch me at the other man.
Parker, to his credit, did not shoot me. The pistol in his hand aimed at my center mass as he calmly reached to his belt for his radio.
“Dispatch?” he said into the box.
A crackle of static and a woman’s voice answered affirmative.
“Can you send a car and the ambulance over to Betty Lou’s house in Locke Hill. She’s... She’s been murdered.”
The static on the other end was silent for a moment, then the voice answered affirmative again.
“Put your hands behind your head, Mr. Banned,” he said, taking out his handcuffs, “You are under arrest for the murder of Betty Lou.”
I sunk down, my hands on the back of my head. He made sure to grab the part of my hand that had been cut when removing the handcuffs two nights before, causing the wound to reopen. He also searched me, finding the little note from Betty in my hand.
“What do these numbers mean?” he asked.
“Call number,” I said, “I was going to find a book when I got the call from Betty. Held on to it.”
There was no way I was telling Parker I had found the paper here, in Betty’s hand. Besides, the little note Betty left did look like something we would use at the library, and it had my name on it.
“Yeah, well, I’ll keep it safe while you’re locked up.”
The handcuffs clicked back into place on my wrists and Parker pulled me to my feet. We walked through the house, out the back door and to the squad car that was just pulling up. Parker shoved me in the back seat.
I looked at the little grey house with red trim, Betty’s house, and thought about the little lady inside. Tears welled in my eyes. I thought of when Betty had come to work for Mom at the library. The really nice lady that gave me candy, made quilts and sang weird songs. I remember her hugging me when I told her I would be taking over the director position. I even remembered defending her dumb story time antics. I remembered Betty Lou, the last of the Lou family, and I wept for her in the back of the squad car.
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