“Are you sure of what you saw?” the sharply dressed police detective asked the shy woman before him. The woman was a young Mexican immigrant and her English was rather limited.
“Sí, estoy seguro.” The woman nodded confidently.
“Okay, Carmencita,” said the detective, a 20-year veteran on the force. “Let’s go through this one more time. You were walking with your boyfriend?”
“Sí. We go to the river for walk. Rain starts and we decide to leave. We see an older lady quickly get out of car, run to edge of water and throw something into it.”
“And you have no idea what that might have been?”
“You said earlier that the woman appeared to be in a hurry?”
“She did. I do not think she saw us, however.”
“What did she do after she threw the object in the river?” the detective asked as he scribbled notes on the pad before him.
“She quickly get in car and drive away.”
“Could you tell about how far into the water she threw the object?”
“Not far. She threw like this.” Carmencita mimed the actions she saw with her boyfriend.
“Why are you coming to us now?”
“I come now because of TV. TV news say murder happened close. This is Sacramento and very big city, I know, but this not just any murder. This murder is close. We live on street not far from where it happened.”
“Did you know the person that was killed?”
“No, yo no se.”
“It was a man who was shot. Do you know the street that this happened on?”
Carmencita told the detective the name of the street.
“Miss Rico, if we were to take you down to the river, do you think you could show us the exact spot in which the woman threw the object?”
Carmencita nodded, “Sí, yo pienso.”
The detective went over the time of the sighting with the witness, and according to Miss Rico, it would have occurred shortly after the shooting. “Did you get a good look at the vehicle that the woman was driving? Was it a car or a truck? Any idea of what the color was or the model?”
The woman shook her head with frustration. “No. Lo siento. I am sorry. It was dark. I can only say that it was a car.”
“Okay,” said the detective. “That’s something. Was it small, just average, or large?”
“I think it was just average.”
“But you were close enough to say for sure that the woman was older?”
“Not for one hundred percent sure. But I think that by the way she move she be older,” Carmencita said in broken English.
“Did she appear to be looking around nervously?” The detective asked.
The woman thought a moment and then she shook her head. “No, I do not remember her looking around. She went straight to water. She get out of car, walk to water and throw object.”
“Do you think it’s possible that it might have been a gun that she threw?”
“I think so because of size and because light shine off object like it is metal.”
“What about her clothing, Miss Rico?”
Carmencita shrugged. “I do not know. It was dark. Her clothes… they look dark.”
“How about her height?”
“Short. I think curly.”
“I could not see color of hair or color of skin.”
“You said you were with your boyfriend that night, correct?”
“Sí. Yo fue. I was con mí amante. I am sorry my English is not good.”
“That’s okay,” Carmencita, “but we would like to talk to him as well.”
“Oh, okay. That is fine.”
“If I am unable to make it, I’m going to send another detective to your home to pick you and your boyfriend up. Once they bring you to the river, you can show them where you saw the woman throw the object into the water.”
“Okay, we can do that if that will help.”
“It would definitely help. We really appreciate any help we can get because as of yet we don’t have any solid leads on the case.”
“If you would like, I can call my boyfriend on my phone and he can come here now.”
“Oh, could he?”
Carmencita nodded. “Yes, definitely. He does not work until tonight.”
“I see. Where does he work?”
“At warehouse by railroad track. The one by the Arden Fair Mall.”
The witness made the phone call and the boyfriend arrived at the station in less than fifteen minutes. Officers then arranged to take them to the Sacramento River where the couple pointed out with confidence the location in which the mystery woman had been seen throwing the object.
It was all Doctor Linden could do to keep from slamming her phone against the wall. She collapsed onto the couch instead, face in her hands. She resisted the urge to scream loud enough to alert the neighbors. Everything was going the exact opposite of what she’d planned. Rain wasn’t supposed to get herself stuck in the nuthouse. In fact, she wasn’t supposed to open her big mouth and have the slightest clue as to what was going on. The doctor had underestimated the native New Englander. The Prozac was supposed to make her turn to her even more. Instead, it had freaked her out. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do more, kick her or strangle her.
Doctor Santiago was making matters worse. She had contacted her to ask if she knew anything about why Rain would be prescribed Prozac when it has backfired on her in the past. Doctor Linden tried to claim that she was just going through old records and an order may’ve accidentally been called in, but she knew Doctor Santiago wasn’t stupid. She’d just been so caught off guard by the sudden and unexpected question that she hadn’t had time to consider an answer. Instead, she had fumbled and stammered like a fool, trying to come up with an answer that sounded at least halfway believable.
What was even worse was that Santiago claimed that the Medical Board had questioned her about it, which meant that they were on to her and she could very well be looking at losing her license. She had a lot of money in savings and she could easily afford to retire now, but she had planned to wait another four or five years. Before Rain, working those morning hours was the only thing she had left to keep her sane. Now she may not even have her practice or the bubbly and feisty lady she had come to love. Or at least thought she had. Maybe she was just in lust and maybe she was just obsessed in a way that had blinded her.
Either way, Rain was trouble and she knew it. She might not have taken the chance on killing the husband had Rain not been stalked by the woman back east, making her the perfect scapegoat. If the Medical Board started digging and refused to accept it as human error, that was one thing. Being suspected of murder was another should she fall under investigation of any kind. Julia knew how these investigations worked. The police were going to focus on every move made by everybody connected to Rain. Everything she said and did would be highly scrutinized and her being stupid enough to forget to remove whatever record she could possibly remove of the Prozac prescription could really cost her big time. That would be the ultimate red flag in her direction next to finding the murder weapon.
Her mind scrambled for a way to fix things. She wasn’t sure what was the best course of action to take. Would doing absolutely nothing be the best thing? Or should she consider eliminating Rain as well? She hated to kill the woman. If she were dead, then she would stand no chance at all of reconciliation. A big part of her still held out the hope that Rain was just acting the way she was due to her traumatic situation and would believe that it was the madwoman responsible once she calmed down, thus willing to return to her having no place else to go. She knew she couldn’t make Rain feel things she didn’t feel, and that the relationship may never be totally mutual, but something was better than nothing. The doctor was bound and determined to figure out a way to get to Rain and to get her to reason with her. If she did nothing at all, then nothing at all was likely to happen.
It was then that Julia resolved to take a shower, freshen up, and then head to the hospital to speak to Rain.
She rose from the couch and had just placed a foot on the first riser of the stairs on her way up to shower when she heard what sounded like two or three vehicles screeching to a stop in her driveway. A second later it was followed by a fierce pounding on her door.
The doctor’s heart pumped madly, adrenaline flowing through her veins much in the way it had when Rain had been terrified out of her mind the night she had killed her husband.
She knew it was the police even before they announced themselves and demanded that she open up. Knowing she couldn’t hide forever, she would open the door and play dumb.