Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/475625-The-Real-Perpetrators
by Joy
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Mystery · #475625
If the missing fiancé is found. . . For Wannabe's mystery contest
We were in the mall, shopping. "I'll try these shorts on," Warren said.

"Let me check out the handbags. Then I'll wait for you by the fitting rooms."

"Okay, take your time."

I dashed forward, wondering. Warren had recently turned so positive. To avoid clashes, he just nodded or split.

When I returned, Warren was nowhere in sight. I looked around the men's clothing. I noticed the archway with the "Fitting Rooms" sign under the Van Heusen symbol. Next to the archway a white wooden armchair welcomed me. Warren had to be inside. Since he loved to admire his figure in the fitting room mirrors, trying on clothes took him forever.

I sat and waited and waited. Then, a tall dark Hispanic-looking man with stubble on his chin came near me.

"Is this the women's fitting room or the men's?"

I was startled. Why would he ask me that? "I don't know. Men's, I guess."

He walked in through the archway.

I waited, watching the men's jackets and wondering how they made those seams invisible. Suddenly I heard someone running. I turned around to see the Hispanic-looking man rush out. His right hand was bloodied. He ran past me and out the door. I stood up, not knowing what to think. Was Warren in trouble inside?

"Warren!" I yelled. No answer.

"Warren!" I yelled louder and charged in.

No one moved in there. In one of the partitions, the shorts that Warren tried on hung on a hook. The door to the next partition was open. Inside, the mirror lay in shards with blood all over.

I ran out in panic, almost bumping into that Hispanic-looking man who had returned with one of the mall guards.

"I can't find my fiancé, and there's blood," I said.

"She must have something to do with it. She was sitting here all that time. I asked her if this was the men's fitting room. She wasn't sure," the Hispanic said.

"He ran out with a bloody hand," I pointed to him.

"I opened the partition door and saw blood on the doorknob." The Hispanic man was still wiping his hand with a tissue.

A sales clerk came running. When she learned what happened, "Don't panic," she said. "A few hours ago, a worker who was replacing the mirror broke it,cutting himself. Didn't you see the out-of-order sign on the door? We're still waiting for the cleaning crew."

"Sorry!" everyone said.

Still, Warren was missing. The store called him on the loudspeaker, and I went to see if he was in the car. No luck.

Until closing time, I waited in the store. Afterwards, I went home and called the police. Since he was an adult, they didn't consider him missing until twenty-four hours later.

I called his partner. "George, Warren disappeared from the mall. Nobody wants to help me."

George and his wife came right over. Together, we called everyone we could think of. No sign of Warren. Finally, the police agreed to file him as a missing person. I was sure something bad had happened to him.

Two days later, I went over to Warren's office and looked through his things.

"The police have already been here," George said.

"Let me see his appointment schedule."

Without a word, George handed it to me. Nothing was unusual about it. Except, his appointments after he disappeared were written in red ink. I showed that to George.

"Oh that," he shrugged. "Celine quit last week. The new secretary likes to use red ink."

Celine? The wheels in my mind started turning. The voluptuous brunette with hair so dark, it glittered blue... I had noticed the same glitter in Warren's eyes during the Christmas party.

"Myra, go home," George said. "Warren will get in touch with you."

"George, do you know something you're not telling me?"

"Myra, go home. I don't know where he is, but I know he's okay."

"George, will you bring me a glass of water. I don't feel so good."

George went out to the water cooler. While he was out, I stuffed into my large handbag all the papers and note-pads that could be important.

While searching through them at home, I found a note of reservations on the back of Warren's schedule log. All those business trips he took... They had to be there.

I drove up the steep mountain road with fir trees and thick spruce all around. Bright blue-green moss covered the shady sides of the road.

I don't remember if I ran or walked up the steps. The front door was open. The carpet was the same red one with green dots. I recalled the skiing vacation Warren and I had taken here together. The owners put several couples per chalet.

If I could only get the right couple...

My hand caressing the most important item inside my purse, I pushed a door open, . A couple in their forties were watching TV.

"Sorry," I apologized. "I thought this was Warren's room."

"Check number nine. He and his lady are there, I believe," the woman said.

I dashed in room number nine. It was dark inside with the curtains drawn. The couple in bed was in the middle of something romantic. I'd show them what was romantic. I fired all the shots inside the gun.

You see, the mistake wasn't mine, Your Honor. I didn't even know these people. That lady in the first room gave me the wrong room number.

Yes, I know that Warren said I was soft in the head and he couldn't break free of me. I know he thinks I'm the clinging type. I know the last time he wanted out, I threatened him. But still...

The worst thing is, while you lock me up, the real perpetrators are running free.

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