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“Alright then, Constable Heywood, what have we got?”

The young woman glanced back from the screen and nodded to acknowledge her superior. “CCTV footage, Sarge. They had some office thefts last year, so they’ve got cameras covering every desk.”

“Excellent,” he said, settling down next to her. “Run it.”

She spooled the video forwards. “Not sure what to make of it really, sir. He arrives at his desk at oh-eight forty five, opens about half of his post and then just sits there.”

Sergeant Uxtable leaned forward and frowned. “How long?”

She fast forwarded the video. “Ages, sir. He doesn’t move at all until his phone rings at oh-nine thirty four. He picks it up, starts to speak, then chokes and collapses.”

She looked at him and shook her head. “I don’t get it, sir. He doesn’t eat or drink anything, so it can’t be poison unless he had it before he got to work.”

The sergeant opened the file. “Can’t rule it out until we get the coroner’s report. It could potentially be something that works on skin contact. Something in his mail. Have we got those letters?”

“Yes sir, all logged into evidence.”

“Check them. I’ll chase the coroner.”

She left to go and get the letters, and he picked up the phone to speak to the coroner.

“Afternoon, Geoff, it’s Dan Uxtable. Have you got the tox results from the Mathers case yet? Negative? Are you sure? What about illness? Hang on, let me get this clear. You’re saying that he was perfectly healthy until he just stopped breathing, all by himself? Right. Okay. Thanks Geoff.”

He put the phone down and leaned back, frowning. It made no sense.

“Here we go, Sarge,” the Constable said, returning with a handful of plastic evidence bags and a pair of latex gloves. “Now, from the tape, I think it’s this one that he was looking at last.”

The plastic bag held a letter and an envelope. She pulled them out and read the letter.

Sergeant Uxtable frowned as the constable sat very still. Her breathing became more pronounced.

“Constable? What does it say?”

She looked up at him with fear in her eyes, and stopped breathing.

© Kari Fay