Rain had been dealing with a series of psych evaluations and meeting with therapists, shrinks, and participating in therapeutic groups and activities within the hospital. She hadn’t been pressured into taking any unwanted medication on a daily basis, but she knew she could ask for a mild tranquilizer if she felt herself becoming anxious. She always preferred to take things on an as-needed basis rather than a daily basis unless it was absolutely necessary to do so. She needed to take her thyroid medication every day because every day her thyroid didn’t put out enough thyroid hormone on its own, but she didn’t need to take a painkiller every day because she wasn’t in pain every day. It worked the same way with her anxiety, but if anything, she was more depressed right now.
And angry. She wanted to find and take care of the person who killed her husband, but she knew that if the sick twist was ever caught, the best she could hope for was that another inmate in prison would kill them because California had long since abolished the death penalty.
She had just returned from lunch and had settled in bed to do some reading when three people entered the room. Nurse Elizabeth, Doctor Santiago, and a nicely dressed man.
“Hello Rain,” Doctor Santiago began. “How are you feeling today?”
Rain shrugged and said, “As well as can be expected. Is everything okay?”
A wave of paranoia came over her just as the stranger spoke. “I’m detective Morrison, Miss Rudkin. I just have some questions for you if you wouldn’t mind.”
“Did you catch the madwoman that did this?”
“Yes, we believe we did. Doctor Linden is now in custody being questioned.”
Rain’s eyeballs bulged. “What?! Doctor Linden? Oh, my God. I thought it was the madwoman from back east. I suspected the doctor was slipping me some kind of drug, but I would never have guessed in a million years that she would kill my husband.” Rain muttered a series of oh-my-gods, eyes roving past Elizabeth’s sympathetic eyes and then to Doctor Santiago.
“I’m so sorry that I doubted your story at first,” said the doctor.
Rain glanced at Elizabeth, who looked exquisite as always with her perfect features. Then she looked at the detective. He looked like any typical businessman would look. He could have been a car salesman for all she knew. “How did she do it and why?”
“Well,” began the detective, “we aren’t sure why, but a young woman came forth to confess that she saw a woman matching the doctor’s description up by the Sacramento River where she and her boyfriend were walking. They saw her toss something into the water. Our team went to investigate, and we found a small pistol that was registered to her late husband. She was identified in a lineup by the couple, and we are now interrogating her to see if we can get a confession and find out what her motive may have been. However, we believe that you may have a better idea of what that could be since you’ve spent some time with her, which is part of why I wanted to talk to you.”
Rain blinked a few times, trying to wrap her head around the thought of Julia killing her husband. She’d known something wasn’t right with her, but she would never have guessed in a million years that she would kill Troy. “I never would have thought the bitch would do such a thing. She was clingy and she was demanding, smothering me in all kinds of ways that went from flattering to suffocating, but I would never have thought she would do such a thing. Never would have thought she had it in her to go that far.”
The foursome fell silent. Then, “I guess Julia was jealous or something.”
The detective began asking her a series of questions. “Did she ever mention owning a gun?”
“No. Never. We never discussed weapons of any kind.”
“So, you never saw any weapons in the house?”
“No,” Rain confirmed with a shake of her head.
“Did she ever speak of any violent acts to you or desires that she had either acted out in the past or was thinking of acting out in the future?”
“No, not at all. She could be bossy and moody at times, but never once did I suspect any violence within her. Why? Has she been known for violence? Is there any history there?”
“Not that we’re aware of.”
“Have you talked to her daughter?”
“Yes, we have. Is there anything else you could tell us that may suggest what may have motivated her?”
“Not really, other than what I already told the doctor and the nurse and that’s that she seemed to be lonely and in need of company. I had no clue she was unstable or dangerous in any way. We’ve had lots of great talks together and done lots of things. She taught me a lot about cooking, something I’ve never really been all that good at, and I spent a lot of time in her garden with her. We’d watch movies, TV shows, discuss books, go to swap meets… You name it, we did it.”
“I don’t mean to put you on the spot with this question, Ms. Rudkin, but was the relationship strictly platonic?”
“Yes, it was. She knew I was liberal and that I had been with women before my husband, and while I did sense that she might want to eventually advance beyond simple friendship, the feeling wasn’t mutual. I just wasn’t into her in that way. I admired her, I respected her, and I looked up to her, but I didn’t see her as anything more than a friend.”
“She’s denying the shooting,” the detective said. “Do you think it’s possible, even though her friends and family don’t seem to fit her description, that someone else that may have had access to the gun and could have done this to your husband?”
“Well, her daughter Amy never liked me, and she didn’t like the idea of her mother liking me as much as she did because of the age difference. But I could definitely see the doctor doing this much more than I could ever see Amy doing it, even if I would never have thought either one of them could be responsible for such a heinous act.”
“Do you think the reason she may have shot your husband was so that she could have you to herself?”
Rain thought a moment. “Well, if she really did do this, then that would be my only guess as to why. I can’t tell you much more but there is one thing I can tell you.”
“If the law doesn’t do the right thing concerning my husband’s killer, I will.”
“Duly noted.” The detective then said he would get in touch with her again once he had more information, and Doctor Santiago promised to be in touch as well.
The doctor and the detective left the room, leaving Rain alone with what was probably the only nurse who could look hot in maroon scrubs.
“I can’t believe this shit,” Rain moaned.
Elizabeth massaged her arm gently with her hand.
“I want to kill her. I just want to kill her. My husband’s dead, I have no job, and I have no place to live.”
“Sweetie,” Elizabeth said lovingly, “don’t you worry about a place to live. I’m not going to let you walk out of here and onto the streets.”
Rain smiled graciously at Elizabeth, tears in her eyes. “Thanks. This is just such a mind-blower.”
“Yeah, we’re all in a state of shock right now. I agree with you. Sometimes she wasn’t easy to deal with, but murder sure makes you question everybody you thought you knew. You think you know someone and then you find out you don’t have a clue. You could be a murderer for all I know.”
Elizabeth made a lame attempt at a chuckle to lighten the mood.
“I’m sure that you’re as beautiful as she was not, but I’m not at all sure of anything else these days.”
Elizabeth smiled with understanding as Rain stared up into her perfect face. There wasn’t a feature she could complain about. Nothing was too small, too big, too crooked, or off in any other way.
“You’re going to get through this,” the beautiful nurse said with confidence.
“As strange as it may sound… better to be the doctor and to have her behind bars, than for the madwoman to have found us, struck again, and eluded capture for the millionth time.”
“Yeah, I suppose you have a point there.”
“Since we never knew who she was, at least I know now that she hasn’t found me.”
“Well, you’re definitely safe in here,” Elizabeth assured her before she left with a flash of that sexy smile.
Rain once again picked up her book and hoped the sexy nurse was right.