"Love?" Paulo went back in. He ran up the stairs and looked into the bedroom, the spare bedroom, the bathroom and study. All the rooms were empty. He hurried downstairs and looked in the sitting room, dining room and kitchen. Odd.
He put on his coat afer first checking his wallet and keys were inside the pocket of the jacket he had on. He also pulled on his shoes. Paulo went out, careful to leave the door on the latch anyway. This time he went round the whole house. It was when he reached the outer back wall that he gasped.
Slumped in front of the wall with bruises flowering on her neck and her skirt trapped beneath her bare legs was Maddeline. Tears came into Paulo's eyes and he ran towards her. He already knew it was no use but he took her wrist and felt for her pulse anyway. His worst fears were comfirmed. Paulo stared at his wife's still form for a few minutes, tears running down his face, caressing her hand absent mindedly.
At last, getting a grip on himself he stood up and went indoors. He picked up the cordless white phone which sat on the hall table and dialed the emergency number.
"Police please" his voice trembled. "It's my wife, she's been strangled. No I don't know who it was. I was on the phone when she answered the door. She suddenly broke off mid sentence in calling to me so I told the guy to ring back and ran downstairs to find her. I was too late.. Yes, I'll wait here for you. Thanks."
The phone nearly dropped from his trembling fingers but he managed to maintain a grip on it and put it back on the holder.
The phone rang.
"What the heck" grunted Charles. He sat up, reluctantly reached over and took the phone off the hook.
"Sherrif Wright here". He tried to keep his voice polite but there was still a tinge of hostility. "Not another one" he groaned.
"I'm afraid so Sir. I'm at the house right now. I thought I should let you know."
"Do you know what time it is? Luckily for you though I only settled down to sleep at ten."
"I'm sorry Sir".
"No, no it was right that you should let me know. Damn it I'm really going to have to get the FBI in now. Look, I'll get my sleep now and I'll be at the police station at eight tomorrow morning where I'll fill in Chief Deputy Khan and we'll come over together."
He put the phone down and then settled back down to sleep.