Harry dashed back down to the basement to see if Cathy was still there.
She was not in the room where he had last seen her. He then frantically searched the rest of the basement. It was empty except for him.
He could feel the gun weighing down his pocket. He pulled it out and looked at it, had a smell.
It had been recently fired.
He instantly realized he was holding the murder weapon and his fingerprints were all over it. About the same time as the thought that perhaps Cathy had shot her own father, and she had just made him the number one suspect
He went back into the room where Al was and turned on the light.
Another shock, if it was possible. Al was gone. No body, no blood, no rope, nothing. It was as if he had never been in the room.
Harry carefully and quickly wiped the gun clean of his prints and hid it away in the bottom of one of the storage boxes, and made it upstairs just in time to see Sykes and several other police cars, sirens blaring and lights flashing arrive outside the building.
Harry had a feeling of impending doom the moment he saw the police car screeching to a halt, and Sykes leap out of it while it was still moving.
Sykes was not alone. Suddenly the building was swarming with police, both plainclothes and uniformed officers.
The front door was open, still unlocked from the time Al's daughter had arrived.
If it was his daughter, or if she worked there at all. Why hadn’t he considered that possibility before? Harry, at that moment in time, didn't know what to believe, except she had disappeared and left him holding the gun.
"Where is he?" Sykes demanded as he came through the door.
"He was downstairs." Harry pointed in the direction of the staircase.
Sykes didn't stop. "Watch him," he barked at a uniformed officer. Another detective ran to keep up with him, looking haplessly at Harry as he went past.
Harry shrugged. Where could he go? One uniformed officer watched him, another stood at the door. Others by now covered the other exits. He was trapped. He reached for a handkerchief to wipe his brow. Sweating on a cold night, not a good sign.
Then he heard Sykes start yelling. “Walthenson?”
© Charles Heath 2016-2018