Family Lies Chapter 16: Meeting

Drawing of a partly-built brick wall with a sign saying: "Under construction." Caption reads: "Work in progress."

Family Lies Chapter 16: Meeting chapter of work in progress by Iris Carden

The police interview room was crowded.  Besides Emily and Jessica, there were Detectives Carstairs and Morley, Henry Henderson  and a legal aid solicitor.

Detective Carstairs began: “OK Mr Henderson.  You said you would speak if Ms Clark were here, and she’s here.  Now, tell me about the bomb.”

Henry moved uncomfortably in his seat, then said, “I didn’t say I’d speak to you.  I said I’d speak to her.  I want everyone else out.”

The legal aid solicitor was about to speak.

“I said everyone,” Henry reiterated. “Otherwise I’m not saying anything.”

“You don’t have to go through with it,” Jessica told Emily.  “You can just walk out.”

“I’m willing, if it’s Ok with Detective Carstairs.”

“It’s highly unusual,” the detective said, “but we can watch on the closed circuit camera from the next room.  At the first sign of any danger, to you we will be back in here. And you Mr Henderson will be handcuffed to the table while we’re gone, to protect Ms Clark.”

Henry consented to the handcuffs.

Everyone else walked out of the room, leaving Emily alone with her half-brother.

“They’re still recording everything, and they’re still watching, so what was the point of having everyone leave?” Emily asked.

“Because i wanted to talk to you uninterrupted.”

“OK, so talk.  What is all this about? Do you actually know for certain our father is dead? And why do you think there was an inheritance?”

“Oh, you know as well as I do our father had family money.”

“This is the first I’ve heard of it.  How did you hear about it? Did he tell you?”

“Of course he didn’t tell me.  He abandoned my mother and me to stay with you and your mother, even though she was old and ugly and horrible.”

“He didn’t stay with us.  When I first heard about you, and your mother I wondered if he had run off with her.  I know the police were after him.  I had Jessica, my solicitor, try to find him, and the last record of him she could find was your birth certificate.  So I don’t know if he’s dead or alive, in Australia or overseas, or whatever. So unless you actually knew him, and knew when he died, maybe your mother made things up, or he told her stories that weren’t true.  After all, she was a child, he might have convinced her of all kinds of things.”

“No.  My mother knows the truth.  He was supposed to come and get us and he didn’t. He stayed with your mother instead.  And I know he died and you got the inheritance, because you got rich suddenly.  I waited years for you to give me my share, and you still haven’t done it.”

“I didn’t get any inheritance, and until the threatening letters started coming, I didn’t know you or your mother existed.  I only know now because of the records search Jessica has done.”

“Oh so your mother didn’t tell you what she did?”

“What my mother did?”

“She made my father stay with you.  You ask her.”

“Well, asking her won’t help because she has dementia.  All she ever told me was he left.  She never told me anything about your mother or you.  I never met him that I remember.”

“You’re lying.  Where did the money come from then?”

“A lot has come from careful investments.  The money I used for the first investments came from a gambling win, sadly disappointing, but true.  How long have you been watching me? If you knew I was suddenly rich?”

“Always.  Ever since my mother pointed you out in the street and said that was my father’s other child, the one he decided to stay with. She told me my father was rich, and we should have been living with him, but because of you and your mother we couldn’t.”

“And you never once thought to just make contact? Send me a friend request on social media?   Make a phone call? Write a letter the normal way and sign it instead of sending deranged notes on rocks through the window? And why manipulate your own son to help?”

“I’m not talking about any of that.  I want to talk about my money.”

“What money?”

“My share of the inheritance.  I don’t believe you didn’t get it.”

“There was no inheritance, even if he’s dead, he was a primary school teacher. Surely you know they don’t make money.”

“No. No. He had family money. My mother told me all about it.  He was rich.”

“Not as far as I know. And I still don’t see how you can know he’s dead, if you didn’t actually know him.  Who told you?”

“It’s obvious. You didn’t have money and then you did.  You got all the inheritance.”

“And this mythical inheritance you’ve convinced yourself of is enough to threaten my family.”

“I’m not talking about that.”

“You’re not talking about manipulating your own son to threaten me, about dropping a fake bomb in my yard, any of that?”

“I’m not talking about that.  I just wanted to talk to you, so you know I know about the inheritance and how you stole it, so you know you took everything from me when you took my father.”

“OK, well I don’t think this is getting me anywhere.  Detective Carstairs, I’d like to go now!”

The door opened. 

Everyone who had been in there earlier re-entered the room.  The duty solicitor said, “Well, my client still has not admitted to any crime, and I don’t believe you have enough evidence, so you need to release him.”

“He was caught trying to force his way into Ms Clark’s house.  He’s not going anywhere until he’s appeared before a magistrate.  You can apply for bail then.”

Detective Carstairs instructed Morley to take Henry to the watch house cells, while she walked Emily and Jessica out.

“I wish you’d managed to get a clean confession from him,” the detective said to Emily.

“My client came voluntarily to help you.  You can’t blame her for not doing your job,” Jessica said.  

“Fair enough,” the Detective Carstairs answered, “but I have to warn you, he’s got a mention in the Magistrate’s Court tomorrow morning, and unless we come up with some more solid evidence between now and then, there’s a good chance the Magistrate will let him out on bail.  The Police Prosecutor doesn’t have enough to ask for remand.”

“So we step up security at home,” Emily said.  “Reg at HomeSecure already has big plans and has started putting them in place.  We’ll be ready for anything else he tries.”

Chapters of Family Lies

Note, this is the first draft. What eventually is published as a book (if it is published as a book), will be edited, rewritten, and re-edited, and may not have much in common with this first draft.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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