Chapter 8 Dark Memories on a Bright Morning

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Winifred picked up the silver pot and poured her friend another cup of coffee. It was mid-morning and they were sitting at the dining table. "I hardly slept a wink." Winifred added some milk to the coffee and handed it to her friend. "I never wanted to forget my old life, but I had to find a way to start over. Seattle is so small and new, it's the opposite of London." Winifred took a deep breath. "Coming here gave me a chance to rebuild my life but when I saw that poor woman lying there, everything came back to me; the pain, and the destruction and the death, all of it suddenly came rushing back over me."

Victoria set her cup down. "Try not to be too hard on yourself," she said. "The blitz was horrible. You lost your family and you witnessed a lot of suffering. Last night was bound to stir up painful memories."

"It's not just that." Winifred looked at her. "I'm afraid, I don't want to go back to that dark place. I don't mean London, that's being rebuilt, I mean..."

Winifred stopped talking and looked down.

"I know," Victoria said quietly. She reached across the table and touched her friend's arm. "This is a tragedy and it's stressful, but Riggs is the best detective in the department and he's going to solve this case in no time."

Winifred's eyes filled with tears. "I hope you're right, Victoria. I'm so afraid."

Victoria moved to sit beside her friend and put her arm around her Winifred's shoulder. Winifred dried her eyes. They sat for several minutes in silence before Victoria asked, "How's Philip taking it?"

Winifred glanced out the window to where her husband was working in the yard. "He says he's fine," she said, "but he canceled his golf game and he's been keeping himself busy around the house all morning. He oiled all the door hinges, checked all the fuses in the fuse box, and mowed the lawn. I wouldn't be surprised if he started pruning the rhododendrons next. Ithink he's trying to stay near the house for me."

"That's very thoughtful of him," Victoria said approvingly.

"He's a very thoughtful man," Winifred said. "Did you realize we've been married ten years already? When you suggested that I leave London, I never imagined this life."

"What did you imagine?"

"I thought I would be nurse in New York or Boston, or someplace I'd actually heard of, not Seattle. I hoped to meet someone special, but I suppose I always imagined that if I got married there would be children."

"Do you mind?"

Winifred smiled. "Not having children? No, I don't think so, especially now that I'm helping out with the hospital charity. But I do sometimes miss being a nurse. Philip and his partner have been busy building the new clinic and he's always saying how he couldn't have done it with me. He really loves helping people. Even last night..." Winifred's expression changed. "You know, just for a minute, I'd forgotten about last night."

Winifred took a deep breath. "When my parents died, I didn't know until I read about it in the paper. A stray bomber hit a village in south Surrey. Three houses were gone. By the time I learned the news it was already too late. Oh, I wish I hadn't heard that poor woman scream. It was already too late to help her."

"But you saw the murderer," Victoria reminded her. "At least that will help the police bring the guilty man to justice."

"Just his shadow. I didn't see him well enough to identify him."

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