Publish Novellas 9 March 2022
EPISODE 3 – NEGLECT
After avenging her attacker, a wife can’t remain around. Meanwhile detectives gather more information about her disappearance.
Did you skip prior episode?
Diana is the wife…
Diana feels vindicated and frightened. Not knowing whether she cut a femoral artery and killed the man after her attack, she realizes that she needs to leave town. Diana showers, packs up her few belongings, and gets on the highway to a new destination. After leaving a message with her employer that she is quitting to take care of family business, she discards the burner phone and buys another.
Diana sleeps in her car that night. The next morning, she trades it in at a used car lot and continues driving west. When she gets to Texas, she checks into a motel before looking around for an apartment vacancy.
The Kentucky police are still without clues in the disappearance of Mrs. Thompson. They discontinued surveillance weeks ago but still make spot visits. Officers notice Sam entering his home with a young woman who remains until after midnight. She then exits the house and gets into a cab.
With this information, Detective Nicholson sends two officers to bring in the husband for interrogation. At the police station, Detective Nicholson enters the room where Mr. Sam Thompson is sitting. “Can I get you some water or a soda?”
“No, thank you. Do you have any updates on my wife’s disappearance?”
“Actually, I would like to ask you the same thing,” Detective Nicholson says.
“No, she has not been in contact with me,” replies Sam.
“Mr. Thompson, it has been almost two months. Why don’t you tell me what really happened?”
“Like I said, I came home and she wasn’t there. After sending text messages and making unanswered phone calls, I phoned the police.”
“Give me a better understanding of your relationship.”
“What do you mean? We are married,” says Sam.
“Yes, I know. But where you intimate?
“I can’t see how that is any of your business, Detective.”
“Perhaps. But we are exploring all possibilities. Maybe she ran away with a boyfriend.”
Sam’s eyes widen as he wonders if this might be true. “She could have.”
“Take a look at this photo.” Detective Nicholson shows the indent on one side of his bed. “Do you see this impression here? That tells me that this mattress is very old and only one side is being used. Were you the one sleeping in the bed?”
“Sometimes, but that’s my wife’s side.”
Sliding another photo towards Mr. Thompson, the detective continues, “Do you see how worn out your sofa cushions are? Who sleeps here?”
“With my work schedule, I often come home late and fall asleep watching television in the living room.”
“Are you currently in a sexual relationship with another woman?”
Pausing before his voice breaks, Sam replies, “Why do you ask?”
“It’s a simple question, Mr. Thompson.”
“I’m not in a steady… I mean I’m not seeing anyone in particular.”
“Who was the woman at your home last night? Was it your wife?”
“No, I haven’t seen Diana in months. That woman was nobody—a prostitute.”
“Do they normally make house calls?”
“It has been awhile. I used a dating app. We went out. I brought her home and she stole my wallet. She was gone when I woke up in the morning. I am a rookie at dating.”
“How often did you and Diana go out on dates? What were her favorite places to visit?”
“Honestly, we did not go out often.”
“Well, I guess you could say that,” confirms the husband.
“What is the maximum number of days it may have been before you noticed your wife’s disappearance?”
Sam’s leg starts shaking before staring the detective in his unblinking eyes. Averting his gaze, Sam replies, “Three or four days… maybe a week.”
“A week? Why didn’t you tell us this originally? Do you know how far someone can go in a week? Diana could be out of the country!”
“I thought it would look bad if I didn’t know she was gone.”
“Well, yeah! It does look very bad. You have hindered the investigation. I should arrest you for obstruction of justice.”
“No, please. I didn’t do anything.”
“Then tell me what you have done!”
“The only thing I am guilty of is ignoring my wife. In my regular routine, I could go a week without seeing or speaking to her. That’s why I didn’t notice her absence.”
“Well now we have motive.”
“Motive for what?” asks Sam.
“Motive for leaving your sorry behind! What woman would tolerate such a dismal relationship?”
“Do you think she ran away?” the husband asks.
“Mr. Thompson, I am officially closing this case. You have tied up hundreds of investigation hours. She likely got as far away from you as possible. I don’t expect that you will ever see her return. And I certainly hope that I never see you again.”
Outside the interrogation room, Detective Nicholson tells two officers to take Mr. Thompson back home or call a cab. That night, at 49 years of age, Sam Thompson suffers a massive heart attack alone at home. In a form of macabre justice, no one discovers his body until a week later.