Wherein Mycroft Witnesses Two Impossibilities

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She is a walking reed.

Her long brown hair is like a cloak around her skeletal frame, and people wonder how she manages to stay upright when she walks. The schoolgirls think she is ugly. Her face is bony, her cheeks hollow, and her lips thin as a needle.

Mummy is dead.

She can't get the images of her dead body on the floor or those unseeing, glossy, eyes out of her head.

She remembers everything.

School has been hard today. When she bounds through the front door, calling for mummy, she screams in horror at the scene before her. Daddy is here, too. He tells her to go upstairs.

"Mummy! Mummy wake up! Wake up! Please, mummy!"

The girl throws herself onto her mother's body, her tears falling onto the lifeless cheeks and her hands clutching the limp fingers. She screams for what seems to be hours, holding her mother's cold hands and begging God to save her only friend.

"Please, God! Please!" she whimpers. Her face is a human river: red cheeks, wet eyes, and runny nose. She sniffles ferociously, choking on her sobs.

"What's wrong with mummy?" she yells at her father, who is standing over the scene with clenched fists.

"She's dead," the man responds. At these words, the girl begins to sob harder, her heart is seemingly melting within her and flows in torrents from her eyes.

"Mummy, no! Mummy! Oh mummy, please, don't leave me! Don't leave me, mummy!"

"Go to your room, Irene."

"No, no! No!" she screams, kicking her arms and legs as the man cruelly wrenches the child from her mother's corpse. "What did you do to her? What have you done?" she hollers, tears rolling down her neck and drenching her chest as she tries in vain to assail her father with blows.

When he finally has her in the bedroom, he pins her down to her bed. She shatters his ears with her cries, and, at his wits end, he pommels the child with a blow from his fist. Her blue eyes shake and glimmer violently, tears standing on the lids' edges. Her lip is quivering with fear, and her cheek is already changing color. She gulps down her sobs, and she coughs as they stick in her throat.

"You close that mouth. Do you hear me? Not a word of any of this to anyone, do you understand me?"

She says nothing, does nothing, her limbs and face have been fossilized by his anger, and she wants to wail.

He raised his fist again and she cried out. He yelled again: "I said, do you understand me? Or I swear, I'll kill you, too. Do you hear me?"

The girl's nods are vigorous. The man lowers his fist, releases her, leaves her room, and locks the door. She lays there on the bed, and now that he is gone, she is left to sob to her heart's content. Burying her face in her pillow, she nearly drenches it through. She wears a nightgown to bed.

Where was Poirot now?

Where was God?

Now that Victoria Adler was dead, Edward Crowley has nothing holding him back from sending his pest of a daughter to boarding school. He had tried to convince Victoria to start a life with him apart from the child he never wanted, but she was too attached to the girl.

For three years, he had begged, argued, demanded that she come away with him, and all he had ever wanted was her love. But Irene.

He hated her for it. She wouldn't leave the child for him. He had told her to get rid of it in the first place, and if she had only listened...well, she wouldn't be dead.

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