Edith Morris hadn’t been able to sleep. She was anxious to get out of that dreadful hospital. Her once beautiful face was now scarred and ugly. As always, Annette had ruined everything.
All Edith had wanted was to get to know her grandchildren. She had to know if they remembered anything about the day their mother, Jennifer, accidentally fell into the fire. She couldn’t live another minute with the fear that she might possibly be blamed for Jennifer’s death. The more she thought about it, the more she was convinced those girls could never be trusted to leave it all alone.
Even now, she wondered where they were. She knew they had been brought to the hospital. She was in the police car with them. Annette had refused to discuss them with her, but that was okay. Edith didn’t say much to anyone, anyway. She decided to bide her time until Annette took her home tomorrow. She had hired a full-time nurse to take care of her. She would find a way to take care of those girls.
Around seven p.m. Edith asked for a sedative. A strong one. She was sound asleep within a few minutes.
“I took a warm pie from the restaurant and wrapped it in a tea towel. It must have been about 7:30. If anyone saw me go into the room, I would say I was taking a gift for her and Annette. When I got there, I saw that she was sleeping soundly. I wrapped the towel around her face and held it there until I thought she must be dead. I was crying so hard, I had to take the towel and wipe my eyes. I ran out. I couldn’t believe what I had done.”
“I went to her room around 8:00 o’clock. I thought about everyone she had hurt. I felt responsible in some way for letting her continue to destroy everyone around her, especially Annette. Edith was sleeping soundly. It would be easy to put an end to her miserable life. I pulled the pillow out from under her head and put it over her face. I held it there for a while, but then I heard someone in the hall, so I left. The pillow fell to the floor. I had to hurry, so I didn’t pick it up. I looked back and saw a young girl go into the room.”
Annette and Jack had come into the kitchen to see what was going on.
“It must have been Vanessa going into the room,” Annette said. “She wouldn’t have known you. I got there shortly after and Vanessa was there talking to Mother, but she was sleeping. She was trying to tell Mother she remembered that it was her that pushed her mother, Jennifer, into the fire. We noticed the pillow on the floor, so we picked it up and put it under her head. A nurse came in to check on her, so we left.”
“I have a question, Pop.”
“What is it, Sugar?”
“Did you lie to me when you said you went to Mother’s room at 9:30? You said you went there to make sure she wouldn’t go home, but when you got there, she was already dead.”
“I didn’t lie. I wasn’t sure if she was dead, so I went back. She was most certainly deceased when I got there at 9:30. I thought that I had killed her until you told me a nurse confirmed she was still alive at 8:30. Now I realize it was Stella that wrote the note in her chart that said she was just sleeping.”
“I was cooking at Paul’s cafe when I decided I had to do something to stop Edith. I went to the hospital and when I got there, I found the nurse’s locker room where I was able to find some scrubs that fit. I also put a cap on. When the girls left, I took the pillow out from under Edith’s head and covered her face. She didn’t move, so I assumed she was dead. I took her chart and wrote down the blood pressure numbers that were close to the ones on the previous line. I said she was sleeping and didn’t want to wake her, and then I left. Vanessa and Annette had only seen me a couple of times and they didn’t appear to recognize me in my get-up.”
“What time was that?” The detective asked.
“It must have been around 8:30. That’s what I wrote on the chart.”
“Was the pillow still on her face when you left?”
“No, I placed it back under her head.”
“And you couldn’t tell if she was still breathing?”
“I was too nervous to think about it I guess. She looked dead to me, and she didn’t move a muscle when I put the pillow under her head.”
The detective was wearing his hat out pushing it back and forth on his head.
“Let me get this straight,” he said. “Miss Sandy brought a pie and tried to kill Mrs. Morris at 7:30. Paul Morris tried to kill her at 8:00…then, Miss Stella, who dressed up like a nurse, got there at 8:30 and attempted to kill Mrs. Morris. Lastly, Mr. Morris came back at 9:30 in case he had to finish what he had started at 8:30.”
“Now, let me look here. The coroner’s report stated the time of death was between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. Looks like even though she was smothered three times within a couple of hours, she remained alive unless Mr. Morris is not being truthful when he said she was dead at 9:30 and in fact, he finished her off.”
“How did you determine that she was…most certainly dead, Mr. Morris?”
“This time, I checked her pulse.”
“Did you notify anyone in the hospital that Mrs. Morris was deceased?”
“No. I figured I had killed her when I was there earlier, and at the time, I wasn’t anxious for anyone to know it was me. Since it was never proven, I didn’t let myself believe that she had killed Jennifer, but I knew what she did to Jennifer’s daughters. I had left Annette with her and she made her feel like she was unloved and worthless. She brainwashed her own daughter until she believed kidnapping Vanessa and Alice was the right thing to do. You see, I killed Edith to assuage my own guilt. I was ultimately responsible for all of it. I will gladly turn myself in for the death of Edith Morris.”
“What none of you knew was that Mrs. Morris was never going home. Upon release from the hospital, she was going to be charged with her crimes. She was to be held in a State Hospital until she was well enough to stand trial.”
“I’ll need you all to come down to the station and put your statements in writing.”
Annette stayed in Danfield. Paul, Sandy, and Stella were all out on bail. Their attorney felt their cases were weak and would eventually be dismissed. It turned out that Mrs. Morris had been so heavily sedated that her time of death couldn’t be accurately determined. Any one of the pillows and tea towels could have done the job.
Stella told Kat she had boarded Trixie and Spirit. Were they ever happy to see her and she was happy to see them. It was wonderful to get back to her daily runs on the beach with Spirit. She and Jack were becoming good friends and they made the commitment to each other that there would be no more undercover work. Hopefully, Stella would be home soon. Alice was improving daily and would be released from the hospital in a few days. Kat watched over Vanessa while Jack spent time in Boston with his youngest daughter.
Kat looked around at her beautiful home on the Cape. “Do you suppose we can finally live the dream?” Kat asked Spirit and Trixie. It was a beautiful day and she was enjoying her coffee while looking out her kitchen window at the beach. “Today we will,” she said. “Today we will live the dream.