Chapter 2 Part 2 Sergeant Inspector Riggs

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It was the first time Michael Riggs had a cup of tea during an investigation. It tasted like weak rainwater and was a lousy substitute for coffee, but by the second sip, Riggs was beginning to think there was something almost soothing about it—in an odd way.

Winifred Forester looked up at her husband. "I suppose she is dead?"

Her husband sat down beside her and gently too her hand. "I'm afraid so. There was nothing we could have done."

Winifred sighed heavily.

"Did you know her, Mrs. Forester?" Riggs asked.

Winifred shook her head. "I never saw her before."

The inspector sipped his rainwater. "Could you please tell me exactly what happened?"

Winifred held her cup and took a deep breath. "It was just a normal evening. I was just finishing up dinner when Philip came home. We set the table and talked about our plans for the weekend. Then we sat down and we were just starting to have our dinner when suddenly, there was this awful, horrible scream. I think I said, 'what was that' or something like that and Philip said something about it sounding like a woman, and he jumped up and ran to the back door and I followed him."

"Do you know what time it was?"

"It was 7:43."

Inspector Riggs' brow furrowed slightly. "You know the exact time?"

"I had been worried that the roast might be overcooked. Anyway, I've never been very good at roasts. I had just looked at the clock because I wanted to know exactly how long it was in the oven. It was 7:43 exactly, and that was when she...." Winifred stopped.

"That's when you heard the scream?"

"Exactly," Winifred said quietly.

Philip Forester put his arm around his wife's shoulder.

Riggs nodded. "I see. And what happened next?"

Winifred hesitated and Philip continued, "We both ran to the door. I could see two figures in the driveway. One person was overpowering another. I flipped on the porch light and shouted at him to stop. He must have let go of the woman because she fell to the ground. Then he took off."

"Did you see his face?"

"No, he must have looked at me, but his hat cast a shadow on most of his face. I think he was clean shaven, though."

Riggs turned to Mrs. Forester. "Did you see his face?"

She shook her head. "It was too dark."

"And which way did he go?"

"Toward the street. I wasn't sure whether I should chase him or tend to the woman. He was already at the street when I got to the driveway," Philip said. "I glanced at the woman for a moment and when I looked up, he was gone. I thought he turned left in front of our house, but that direction is brighter and I couldn't see anyone there. Then I thought maybe he'd gone the other direction, passed Mrs. Kent's house. If he reached the end of the road, he could have slipped off into the woods. I listened for a few seconds, but I couldn't hear anything so I ran back to help the woman."

"Was she alive when you got to her?"

"She had a weak pulse at first but it stopped," Philip said. "She wasn't breathing. I did my best, but it was no good."

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