Monday, October 06, 2003

Today’s Word: Denizen

"The killer left a tread stain in the victim's blood," said Havishar. "From that print we were able to establish that his shoes were a rare brand made in France called Panches. Have you a pair of Panches, Mr. Whitelaw?"

Whitelaw swallowed and his small eyes jittered off Havishar's face to the ceiling and then to the floor.

"Mr. Whitelaw?"

"I do."

Whitelaw's wife put the back of one hand to her mouth, her breath catching in her long throat.

"You didn't have to tell them, Eldon. We should call Mr. Trebbledown immediately –"

"Hush, Cynthia," said Whitelaw, not unkindly, but with enough force to silence her.

"May we see said shoes, Mr. Whitelaw?" asked Havishar.

Whitelaw turned and motioned to a maid, who had been eavesdropping at the kitchen entryway, to go and get the shoes. Havishar intercepted them when the girl returned.

"Are these bloodstains, Mr. Whitelaw?" asked Havishar, inspecting the shoes' soles.

Whitelaw stared at the black grand piano behind Havishar.

"Yes, it is blood."

"And what reason can you give us for having blood on the tracks of your shoes, Mr. Whitelaw?"

"I am a denizen of the night, Inspector Havishar." The small man seemed to grow as he said this, his slouching back rising straight. "I tried to stop that murder, but I was too late this time, I couldn't save that poor young man."

Havishar motioned to the beatcops and they took Whitelaw in hand. The small man made no move to resist.

"You're making a horrid mistake, Inspector."

Havishar dropped the expensive shoes to his side.

"If this is a mistake, then I have made it countless times before, and I shall make it countless times after."

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