In the previous episode, Vera was caught trespassing at Marta’s, after Fern knocked her out with a frying pan. As suggested by the readers, Officer Hartman was the one to find her.
The front door handle jingled and Officer Hartman walked in.
“You?” he said. Then, he pulled a walkie-talkie from his belt and reported back to headquarters. “I found the source of the disturbance. I’m bringing her in.”
Still slightly dazed from being hit over the head with a frying pan, Vera gradually found her words, even if her head rang like a bell.
“Fern was here last night,” she said in a strained voice. “The neighbor. He’s up to something.”
“But why were you here?”
As Officer Hartman escorted Vera out of the brownstone, Fern appeared on the next-door stoop, watching as the two made their way down the stairs. He had a strange aura of calm over his face.
“Morning, officer,” he said, as if they were old friends.
Officer Hartman nodded at him. Vera sensed he found it awkward that someone would be so friendly when he was clearly walking a perp to his cop car. After Vera was placed into the back of the car, she looked to the stoop where Fern had been before, but he wasn’t there. Presumably, he had gone back into the house.
“Listen,” she said, as Officer Hartman adjusted some things in the front seat. “You yourself told me you thought I looked like a librarian.”
“Yeah. What’s your point?”
“I do like the quiet. Why would I make up this story? Do I look like a trespasser?”
Officer Hartman looked back at her, his eyes revealing the answer.
“Just give Fern a visit. I think he knows where Marta is–and Celeste, too, for that matter.”
Officer Hartman pursed his lips. After a beat, he exited the car, his shifting body weight causing the vehicle to tremor as he slammed the door.
Vera noticed he had left the cuff keys in the middle section between the seats. Luckily, this wasn’t a cop car with a caged barrier. She waited until Officer Hartman disappeared into Fern’s place before turning her body around so her hands could find the keys. She knew that given Fern’s violent behavior, Officer Hartman might not come back.
While sitting demurely in the back seat, watching joggers frequently run by, she discreetly tried to undo the cuffs, as not to appear suspicious to the runners. Minutes passed, and she still hadn’t undone the cuffs, but with each moment she didn’t see Officer Hartman return, she had a feeling he wasn’t going to.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of struggle, she freed herself! She flew out of the car and up the steps to Fern’s house, pounding on the front door. No answer. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a lower-level window to what she assumed was the basement. Maybe it was open. She ran down the steps, and when she got to the window, which had been covered from within, she could hear muffled screams.
Kicking the window open, she pushed apart the drapes to see Marta and Celeste, both tied to chairs. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.