Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dark World: Trial and Terror

(The story begins here.)
(The last recap is here.)

“The attacker was already in the room when Clio entered,” Darren began. “How that happened, I’m not certain—though I do have a suspicion that I’m sure has occurred to the doctor as well.” His friend’s expression remained noncommittal, and he continued, “The goal was not murder but theft, and when Clio interrupted the thief, he first tried to escape.” Darren opened the shutters. “He quickly saw that the shutters were too slow to let him to escape, so he turned to attack. Even then, I suspect his primary goal was to frighten her off or fend her off until he could escape. It wasn’t until he managed to strike her hard enough to stun her that he lost his temper: she could no longer fight, but she still kept him from what he wished to steal, and she probably tried to hamper his escape. She was prone on the floor, and he seized her from behind and began to choke her, lifting her to a standing position in the process. That’s when she made a final effort and freed herself, removing him from the area in the process.”

“But how?” Officer Hancock demanded. “You already said she couldn’t fight.”

“Not in the usual way, no. But I know her, and I’ve seen her fight. Even Rosa doesn’t know about her fighting style, because Rosa would rather not look.”

Miss FitzHugh rose somewhat shakily to her feet. Dr. Fleming steadied her, but she soon gently removed his hand and stepped over to the policeman. “Desperation can give unusual strength and stamina,” she said. “When he pulled me to my feet, I jabbed my elbow back as hard as I could, then reached back over my shoulder and grabbed him. I bent and pulled and flipped him out the window. Then I hit the switch to close the shutters, and I guess I collapsed.”

“Ridiculous!” Officer Hancock nearly shouted. “A mere slip of a girl, and wounded at that!”

A fiendish gleam shone in Dr. Fleming’s eyes. “I think this calls for experimental verification, Miss FitzHugh.”

She drew herself erect and beckoned to the policeman. “Would you like to try your luck, Officer? You can’t be afraid of a mere slip of a girl, especially a wounded one.”

“I wouldn’t want to harm you…”

“Nonsense,” Dr. Fleming replied. “I am a doctor, and I’ll make sure no harm comes to her.”

Officer Hancock did not seem quite reassured, but he took up his position behind the young woman regardless.

“Let’s not use the window this time,” the doctor suggested. “Into the hall should be sufficient.”

“If she threw him out the window, he would have been killed,” Officer Hancock objected. “The body should still be there.”

“Not if he had an accomplice,” Darren said. “Besides, it’s not that hard to survive such a drop with only minor injuries. She said he was agile, and I could do it, so I think he could too.”

“I’d like to experiment on that,” the officered muttered.

“You’re anticipating her move,” Darren said. “Her attacker didn’t know what she would do.”

“Well, I can’t—” Officer Hancock began.

Dr. Fleming pointed toward the window. “Lassiter!”

The policeman turned his head and emitted a noise that combined a grunt and a wail as he sailed into the hall.

Next: Comparing Notes

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