An agonized whimper tore from Celle Marrow’s throat as she looked in anguish at the darkening gaze her sister, Marcy, threw in her direction when she neared her mother’s casket. No words were exchanged, but if looks could kill, her sister just eradicated her. Celle touched her mother’s chalky face as she gazed down at her still body with moist eyes. She stepped back to take her seat in the front row, straightened her shoulders with a touch of militancy while her hands smoothed the delicate black folds of her dress. Her silky blonde hair hung over her shoulders loosely. She looked up at her sister and noticed Marcy was wearing her mother’s favorite black dress. It fit her tightly around the bosom and was cut low enough to show off her firm breast, as well as her tiny waist. She was taller than Celle and beautiful. If the two were standing near one another, one wouldn’t know they were sisters because while Celle had blonde hair, Marcy had auburn hair that shined like a new penny. It was common knowledge that Celle wasn’t as beautiful as her sister, but her father often told her, you’re beautiful in your own right Celle. She knew exactly what her father was referring to, but even so, she was never jealous of Marcy’s looks or her popularity. Her interest was deeper than Marcy’s and although she enjoyed dressing and looking fashionable, her biggest desire was traveling the world learning about different cultures and volunteering her services to those in dire need of her medical expertise.
Over a year ago she had taken a five year sabbatical from Santa Barbara General Hospital in order to satisfy her desire, and that’s where she was, in Africa, when her father called to break the ghastly news about her mother.
Celle was in such cavernous thoughts that she hadn’t noticed when her father sat down beside her; only when he tapped her on the shoulder was she able to come out of her trance and turn to him. “Oh Father…hi.”
“I have a new investigator working on the details of the poisoning honey. He may find something we can use.” Celle looked unconvinced, and her father, Jonas, could hardly blame her. “If we can’t find any more information then we’ll find someone else.”
“You’re reaching for straws Father. We both know who poisoned mother, but you won’t…”
“Celle I don’t want to hear another word about your sister. Do you hear me? I don’t know why you think she’s involved, but you’re wrong Celle; dead wrong.”
Celle hesitated and then shrugged. “Okay Father, I’ll try not to mention it again, but why would mother change her will so suddenly? I mean father…look at the whole situation - she had you as her beneficiary and then out of the blue she put Marcy’s name in your place and then removes me completely out of her will. Something is badly wrong Father, and I think you know it too.”
Jonas started to protest but restrained himself. He quickly stood up, leaned down and whispered in Celle’s ear before walking over to his wife’s casket. “You don’t give up for a minute do you Celle? You knew weeks before she died that she was going to divorce me. Now isn’t that bit of information good enough for you? No, I don’t think so because you just want to blame your sister.”
Celle clutched on to her father’s jacket and whispered, “Then why would she have taken my name off her will Father? Do you have a good answer to that question? I don’t think so.”
Jonas removed Celle’s hand from his jacket, and then looked back at her in bewilderment as he turned and moved over to the casket. She had never seen her father look so insecure and befuddled.