The detectives examined the body at the bottom of the deck stairs. “Dust the wheelchair for prints, then get photos.” The chalk outlined her where she died.
Two Hours Earlier:
Lauren had binge-watched her show on Netflix and was now totally freaked out. Especially since she was alone, stuck in a wheelchair. Breaking her femur had knocked her out of commission. Being penned up inside was making her crazy. At least her boss had sent some projects to work on at home. She should have finished the overview before watching Netflix though, but the figures wouldn’t add up and she’d just needed a break.
Pushing her large popcorn bowl aside, she wiped her fingers off and tried to focus on the numbers. Her cat jumped into her lap and she actually screamed. Her show really had put her on edge. The wine wasn’t helping either. She looked at the spreadsheet. That couldn’t be right. Where did that money go? And why did Brian sign off on it? Not his department. She wished she’d skipped the wine. She couldn’t line up the columns.
A floorboard creaked and her head snapped toward the sound. What’s that? Not the cat. He was here. Backing up, she maneuvered her wheelchair from the table and rolled it toward the kitchen. New noises kept her turning left, then right. Someone pounded on the door. She jumped and whimpered. It took a long time before she could answer. “Who’s there?”
“Brian. I brought dinner.”
She let him in. He held up a sack. “Soup.” The soup had been poisoned in her show. Now you’re just being stupid. “Thanks. Want some?”
“Nah. I gotta run. Just wanted to check in and help. I’ve been so busy.”
Why won’t he taste it?
“Great view,” Brian said looking at her deck. He offered to push her out.
She hadn’t been outside for days. “Sure.”
He wheeled her out. “This is great. I’d be out here all the time.”
“I should be.”
“I better run. Are you okay out here?”
“I’m fine. I can roll the chair back.”
“I’ll let myself out.”
She forgot to say lock the door.
She couldn’t eat the soup. After sitting a while, something crashed inside.
“Brian? Is that you?” Did he come back? Is someone in there? “Who’s there?” She’d left her laptop open.
She rolled the chair but the wheel caught between boards. She wrestled it but it wouldn’t budge. “Who is there?” she yelled, frantic. She had to get away. Pulling herself to her good leg, she dragged along the banister. She wrestled the chair. She needed help! Fumbling out her phone, she dialed. “Someone’s in my condo!” She lost her footing and the phone flew. She grabbed the chair to catch herself. It finally gave. She was off balance. They both flew down the steps.
Inside, her cat was eating the popcorn he'd knocked off the table. And the rest of the condo was silent.
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