***SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!*** This post contains information about my story Blanks. If you haven’t read this story, click here before reading on.
Stepping out of my car, I’m immediately met by Bart.
“I told you on the phone,” he says, “she’s not talking to anyone.”
I look off to the side and see Tabitha sitting in an old tree swing, staring off into the distance. “If she has nothing to hide, why won’t you let her speak to anyone?”
“I’m not keeping my wife from doing anything she wants to do.”
The anger in his tone draws a curious look from Tabitha. “Honey, who is that?”
“No one, baby.”
“Hello, Tabitha. I’m here to interview you about Brittney’s disappearance.”
She pulls back, picking at a scab on her knee.
“Perhaps if you talk to me, we can do something the police couldn’t.”
“She has nothing to say about—”
“No, Bart,” she says, coming toward us, “I want Brittney to be found.”
“I’d like you to be a part of the interview too, Bart, if you wouldn’t mind.”
Scowling, he leads us into the house.
“Bart,” Tabitha says, “would you please get me some tea?”
He opens his mouth to protest, but she rubs her stomach and bats her lashes.
“The baby is begging for peach tea.” Once he’s left, she smiles at me. “You know I didn’t hurt Brittany, don’t you?”
“I’d like to believe that. Can you tell me what happened that night?”
Her brows fall together, her mind almost visibly reaching back. “It wouldn’t make any sense if I told you.”
“What do you mean?”
Licking her lips, she chooses her words slowly. “I know I wasn’t there that night, Burt and I went to dinner, but that night I had a nightmare that I saw what happened to her, and who did it.”
“A nightmare? Are you saying you had a vision?”
She shakes her head. “No, I—I think I saw it.”
“But how could that have happened if you weren’t—”
“If you’re going to pester her,” Bart says, “you can leave now.” Handing her the tea, he grabs my elbow.
“I’m only trying to make sense of what she’s saying.”
“Am I not making sense?” Looking at her tea, she runs a finger over the rim of the cup, her forehead creasing.
“Bart, were you having an affair with Brittney?”
Tabitha’s gaze darts up to him.
Her eyes harden. “What a liar.”
Her lips curl up into a snarl.
“That’s enough of these questions.”
“Tabitha, do you believe he was cheating on you?”
Tilting her head to one side, she looks me up and down. “She was easier to carry than you would be—”
Bart grabs my arm and starts to pull me from the room. “Did you do something to Brittany?”
“But then, she wasn’t exactly aware of what was going on.”
As the door slams behind Bart and I, I hear her say how good it will feel to finally get the credit she deserves.
“If you print any of this, I will sue you for everything you’re worth.”
“What did she do?”
“Tabitha is innocent. This whole thing is my fault.”
“Where is Brittany?”
“Somewhere safe. Somewhere that thing,” he points to the house,” will never find her.”
“I thought you said Tabitha was innocent.”
“She is. The person you were just talking to wasn’t Tabitha.” Covering his face, he sets down on the front step. “Something happened to her. The week she found out she was pregnant, I panicked. I wasn’t—I’m not, ready to be a dad. The night Brittany went missing, she had gotten drunk and texted me, admitting to still having feelings for me and Tabitha saw it when I was in the shower. I didn’t even know until later that night. Tabitha was supposed to meet for dinner, but she didn’t show up. I got this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. When I got to Brittany’s house, Tabitha was dragging her outside. I thought she was dead. That was the first time Tabitha introduced herself to me as Arnold. What Arnold is, or how long he’s been around, I don’t know, because when Tabitha is back she has no idea who Arnold is. What I do know, is that because of “him”, I had to knock my pregnant wife unconscious in order to save her best friend.”
When I go to ask another question, he stops me.
“Brittany survived, but as far as Tabitha knows, she’s gone. She’s safe, and so is Tabitha.”
Getting up, he pushes past me and heads to his car.
“Where are you going?”
“Thanks to your story, the police are looking a little too closely at my wife. They want someone to blame, and they already think I have motive, so I’m turning myself in for Brittany’s murder. They get to close their case, Tabitha gets to grieve her friend, Arnold gets his victory, and my kid gets to stay safe. As a father, that’s the least I owe it.”
“But Tabitha won’t get the help she needs.”
His gaze levels on me. “Somehow, I think I know a writer who will take care of that for me.”
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed this character interview. Check back this Saturday for the crowning of our next Ruling Reader. Wondering what a Ruling Reader is? Click here to find out more!