“I don’t want to be here,” Annette said as she and Kat drove up to the hospital. “What’s the big emergency that caused Jack to want us to come here at 1:00 o’clock in the morning?”
Kat pulled into a parking spot and turned to look at Annette. She was her cousin and she had been through so much. “Annette…your mother died sometime last night. Jack doesn’t know what caused her death, but he said the police are here.”
Annette looked straight ahead. She said nothing and showed no emotion at all.
“Are you ready to go in?” Kat asked. When Annette didn’t answer, Kat got out of the car and walked around to open the passenger door. “Come on, honey,” she said. “I’ll be right there with you.”
Inside the hospital, Jack was in the waiting room hoping Kat would get there soon. He had just checked on Vanessa who had been sleeping since he had arrived at the hospital around 11:30. Thinking how grateful he was the hospital had no set visiting hours, he got up to pour himself a cup of coffee.
“Kat!…thank God you’re here. Hello Annette. Has Kat told you?”
Annette nodded, but she was looking toward the hallway. Two policemen were walking toward the waiting room.
“We’re looking for Annette Morris,” one of them said. “She’s listed as the daughter and contact person on the paperwork for a Mrs. Edith Morris.”
“Yes…I’m her daughter. I’ve just been told my mother is dead.”
“Ms. Morris…are you aware that your mother’s death was not from natural causes or an accident?”
Annette glared at the policeman speaking to her. “Of course not,” she said in a calm and measured voice. “I told you. I just learned she’s dead.”
“What was the cause of death, officer?” Kat asked.
“It appears she was suffocated. The coroner is with her now. We’re trying to establish the time of death.”
“Two of our investigators are on their way here and they’ll need to speak with you, but in the meantime, I believe there is some paper work for you to sign.”
“Can I have my cousin come with me?”
“Of course said the officer. We’ll accompany you.”
After Kat and Annette left the waiting room, the two detectives got there and introduced themselves to Jack.
“May we ask you a few questions, Mr. Stein?”
“Do you mind if I check on my daughter before we begin?” Jack asked.
When he walked into Vanessa’s room, he found that she was awake. “Hi sweetheart, did you have a good rest?”
Vanessa, who had been standing by the window, ran into her dad’s arms.
“Daddy, I’m so happy you’re here. Mrs. Morris is dead. She pushed Mom into the fire, and now she’s dead, too.”
“Honey, I’m so sorry I wasn’t here to help you when you remembered that terrible day. What she did to your mother was unimaginable. If I had known maybe I could have protected you and Alice from what she just put you through.”
“At least we know that she can’t hurt anyone ever again.” Vanessa said. “I told her, Dad. I told her I remembered everything. Annette was there, too.”
“When did you talk to Mrs. Morris, Vanessa?”
“I don’t know, about 7:00 I guess. I waited until the day nurses left.”
“What did she say when you told her, honey?”
“Nothing…she couldn’t.” Vanessa answered.
Later, when the detectives came back to talk with him, Annette, and Kat, Jack asked to talk with them privately.
“Detectives…I would like to confess. I killed Mrs. Morris.”
“I see.” The head detective pushed his hat back and scratched his head.
“She killed my wife and harmed my children. She deserved to die.”
“Mr. Stein, we’ll need to get a few details from you. Can you tell us approximately what time this occured?”
“Yes…it was around 7:00 o’clock. I came here when I got back from Brewster…before I checked into the hotel.”
“Well, the detective said. We have the notes from the nurse who checked her vital signs at 8:30. She was alive then.”