A Venomous Love is now live
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Puzzled, Ruddy asked, “You say the body is still in the chapel? Couldn’t the nurse bring an exam table to put him on and start treatment?”
“She did. Young and I attempted to help but he suffered violent convulsions. Because the hospital is for children, they don’t have restraints. The head nurse instructed us to leave him back on the floor. She was afraid he’d fall off the table.”
“Makes sense.” The timeframe of Underhill’s death didn’t make sense. At minimum it usually took an hour and more often, hours for the venom to kill. A horrible thought occurred to Ruddy. What if it was a different suspect with a different lethal snake? “But he died while you were still here?”
“Yes. He convulsed brutally hard a few more times and an excessive amount of drool came out his mouth. Then he lost consciousness. A nurse put a blanket over him and a pillow under his head. He died as she was making him comfortable.”
“Strange. This is abnormally fast even for cobra venom.” Flanders stepped up on Ruddy’s right. “What is it, constable?”
“Shall I leave you to start my search?” Flanders asked.
“Yes. Collect anything, and I mean anything, you find that looks out of the ordinary,” Archie told him. “This case is so unusual we can’t be sure what is important and what isn’t.”
The nurse led them to the curtained-off bed. Honoria Underhill lay on her side softly sobbing. Her legs were curled up so she fit on the short bed meant for a child. The nurses had covered her with a blanket. When she saw Ruddy and Archie, she sat up and swung her legs down to the side of the bed.
“Yes. We know this is traumatic for you but we need to ask you to repeat what happened with as much detail as you can recall,” Ruddy told her.
“I understand.” Her shoulders trembled. She buried her fists in her skirt and kept her head down as she fought to control her emotions.
Ruddy brought the conversation back to the crime. “Did the suspect say anything when he attacked?”
“’A pretty little damsel, worth a pretty risk,’ he said as he rushed toward us. Then he leapt at me with the snake in hand inches from my face. Father pushed me out of the man’s reach and stepped between us. My father tried to knock the man’s hand away and swatted at the animal.”
She dabbed at her nose again and then offered the handkerchief back to Archie who waved off the return. “It happened so fast,” Honoria continued. “In the time it took me to blink, the snake’s throat blew outward, like a fan opening.” She demonstrated the action with her hands. “A second later it lunged and struck.”