Being inspired, maybe – 54
A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like. For instance:
And, then, the words:
Perhaps, for the first time in months it was good just to be outside, revelling in the fresh air, even though it was very cold.
The fact I could feel the cold was a minor miracle in itself.
Had anyone asked me a year ago if I believed in miracles I would have laughed at them. It's strange how you take so much for granted when everything is going fine.
Then, all it can take us a second, in fact for me, less than a second, to have your whole world tipped upside down.
Yes, in a fraction of a second.
And then to be told how lucky I was to actually come out alive, and with the distinct possibility of making a full recovery.
Some might also think it odd that I would come back to the scene of the event, because, for everyone, there had been no progress in finding out what had happened.
In bare terms, I'd been shot, not intentionally, but as a result of a shootout between police and a gang of thieves who'd been trapped in a dead end street whilst trying to escape, and ended up with their backs to the wall.
And this was the kicker, all the forensic tests showed that I'd not be hit by a stray bullet from the thieves or the police as had been initially thought.
So, the question now being asked, who fired the shot that nearly killed me?
I'd had time to think about it, and it's not every day that you think you have the answer to a rather significant question, only to have someone come along and say, "By the way, we have conducted an extensive analysis of the crime scene, mainly to establish who shot you, and our findings are, to me at least, rather bizarre."
At the time I was not sure what I'd call it, an accident, perhaps, but someone else had said, if the bullet had come from a police-issued weapon, there would be consequences, both disciplinary and financially, which the police were hoping to avoid, so bizarre was not a word I'd use.
So, I had to ask.
"It seems you were shot with another weapon, because we'd collected and tested every gun at the scene, and the bullet could not be matched to any of them. Only the calibre which is why it was initially thought to be one of the officer's weapons.
"So as bizarre as that sounds I now have to pursue a new line of enquiry, part of which is to ask who you think would have reason to want to kill you."
And the answer, "No one," because I didn't really have any enemies, at least not the sort that would want to kill me.
Or so I thought.
The officer sent to impart the revelation then asked the usual standard questions, after dismissing the thought that I would be public enemy number one to anyone I could think of, starting with, "who benefits if you die?"
Good question. There hadn't been any changes to my will since the time I married, and since the separation had been amicable, with no fault on either side, I'd just left the provisions the same.
So the answer to that was ex-wife and older brother, who is always intended to leave a healthy sum of money, and one of the properties, one he was actually living on currently.
Neither of them had any reason to want me dead.
Next was my business affairs, and this amounted to having a half share in an importing business that was quite profitable, and run by my business partner. I had retired from actively participating in the business a year before, and he had been happy to take over the reins.
I just turned up occasionally to rubber-stamp his decisions and management. No problems there.
Girlfriends or at my age, relationships with other women, that only amounted to one, on occasions that suited us both, and mainly when she wanted to go on a holiday. I was happy to pay for her company, and there was no question of anything else, even though the offer was there. I was more worried about the age difference, not so great as to cause comment, but it did register with one or two hoteliers who regarded us as father and daughter.
And, no, she was not the murderous type and I doubted anyone she knew, that I knew about, was either.
People I did business with? No one there as far as I knew. That honour would fall upon Jerry, my business partner before it got to me because he was the face of the business.
That didn't seem to provide any immediate answers, so the officer went away for a few days, then came back with a new idea.
A wander through the area where the accident happened, yes, we were still calling it an accident, to see if I could remember anything.
It wasn't likely, but I was happy to humour him.
So there we were standing on the exact spot, where the only reminder of anything having happened was a bloodstain on the ground, the remnants that hadn't washed away.
What was significant about this place? I had to think hard about why I'd come because it was so out of my way.
I did a slow full circle, stopping at the place where the police said the shot was fired.
I shuddered, and suddenly a very cold feeling came over me.
Why was I there? I don't know why it hadn't come to me when the police first asked, perhaps the trauma of the event had caused some form of amnesia. But now, in a flash, it came back to me.
My brother had called, said he wanted to meet, and didn't say why.
And for some reason, when I told the detective, he didn't seem surprised.
© Charles Heath 2019