Emie, wiped her sweaty palm on her slacks, staring wide eyed around the small break room. She ran through her last conversation with the detective in her mind. She called him days ago, feeling she had to mention the necklace she’d seen several times around Shyly’s neck. She’d tried to ask the woman about it but any mention of Abby sent Shyly into an uncontrollable wave of misery that Emie couldn’t bear to inflict on her. But now, now Lamartha had just told them all that the detective had contacted her. They asked to schedule meetings with all the in house employees.
In a glance around the room, she saw everyone in a state of surprise, like she felt. Lamartha seemed to age more every minute, her shoulders more rounded, wrinkles more pronounced around her eyes and mouth. It meant someone they saw weekly had stripped sweet Abby of her life.
Everywhere she glanced, her coworkers eyes either met or averted her own.
A tear slipped from the corner of Miana’s eye, one she quickly brushed away.
Dania slapped her hand on the table, “Oh, that’s just great, what are they going to do, pin it on one of us because they can’t do anything better.”
“It’s just those of you who were here that night, right?” Elrick said.
Lamartha shook her head with a weary sigh. “They asked for anyone who had a key and wasn’t out of town at the time.”
“Oh, well that leaves the good doctors out,” Dania spat.
“This is all I need,” Elrick said. “When do I have to carve out time for their interrogation?”
“Time? Is that all you’re worried about,” Miana coughed on a sob. “There’s so much more to worry about here. And—and Abby lost all her time.”
“Look,” Lamartha said. “They’re just doing their job. If we all just answer them fully and truthfully, it’ll be fine. We can get through this.”
“Does it mean they know something?” Dania spat. Fully upright in her chair, she slapped the table again. “They best not try to pin it on me.”
“Maybe it was you,” Miana said, sitting up in her own chair with a strange eagerness.
“You would like that, wouldn’t you?” Dania said with a sneer.
“Enough!” Lamartha shot to her feet. “What has happened to us?”
“Life,” Emie heard herself say. “Death.
All faces turned to her, mouths agape.
Tired, mother hen, Lamartha. Ready to fight the world Dania. Sweet, pick up everyone else’s slack, Miana. Aspiring against the odds Elrick. And herself, always trying to hold everything together.
Her stomach sickened with the realization that one of them had robbed the world of Abby.