This is the 33rd Novella in the series involving the Murder Squad team of Joseph Lind, Shelley Shields and Kaleesha Petrova.
Everyone has that desire to win first prize in a Jackpot Lottery, Lotto or Ozlotto. How easy would it make life more liveable?
A Battler, a poor old Pensioner has that experience.
Seventeen million dollars!
A week after his departure from this Earth.
With no other worldly goods of any value, he has never bothered to make out a Will, instead leaving verbal instructions that his long time Carer, his daughter, was to inherit his meagre belongings.
Not a problem is the consensus ... until she inherits 17 million problems that lead to murder and mayhem with a completely dysfunctional family emerging from the fog of alienation to claim a portion of the prize.
Through all this, the young Probational Detective Kaleesha Petrova is confronted with a scenario that emotionally, she is unable to handle and she submits her resignation from the Murder Squad and the Police Force.
It is a case that effects both Detective Lind and Shields more than they would have liked and the departure of their young prot?g? leaves them questioning their worth in the scheme of things.
She tore open the envelope and stood stock still as she read its contents.
A puzzled look crept across her face.
Her hands began to shake.
She raised her eyes from the page that she held in trembling hands. Gazed about as though she was seeing her surroundings for the first time. She had lived here in this house since she divorced that lazy sod some twenty years previously. Returning to the family home with her two kids to be near her father who was gradually going downhill.
She had shared the large house with her father since that time. She and her two kids. The kids long gone to start families of their own, though still living close by.
She knew her surroundings like the back of her hand though they looked alien and unknown on this morning.
A dim, fuzzy memory.
Her husband had left her nothing. What little they had acquired during their rocky marriage going in legal fees and bills.
Caring for her father when he became sick. Not thinking about it but seeing it as just another responsibility.
Going to the hospital each day as he sunk into oblivion.
Bringing him home to die in his own bed.
Being there for his last breath...almost.
"There must be some mistake," she mumbled to herself.
She read the letter again.
And again...for exactly the same result. The words didn't miraculously change though she willed them to with all her heart.
The truth seemed to bowl her over.
She sank to her knees, then rocked back on her haunches, crumpling the envelope and its content letter to her breast.
She let out a wail of anguish that made her next-door neighbour peer out of her window from behind lace curtains. Hurriedly leaving her house to hold the woman at the kerb-line in a tight embrace trying to expel the deep torment that seemed to seep from every pore of her being.
It was a pitiful sound that seemed to echo through eternity.
Her hurt, the combined pain felt by every human that had existed on this cruel, spinning orb.
- - - - -
He always felt that was too strong a word to use when talking about reviewing one's life.
The word 'misgivings' may encapsulate more of what he thought his life had endured whenever he did a rewind, looking over his life as a Scientist may view some strange bug under a microscope. Even then, misgivings may conjure up that feeling of him wanting to right something in his life that he felt needed correcting. He knew that was impossible, even if he had the power to repeat his life and remember what transgression he had committed the first time around.
To correct it.
To right it.
He had read somewhere that in experiencing your life over again and correcting all those regretful transgressions, you would not end up in the position, the same location that you find yourself in now...to go back to right that regretful moment.
The beating of a butterfly's wing...
It was called Asimov's Principle or something...a Writer of Sci-Fi in any case, had penned the principle.
They say that you review your life at this point...and that it is the sense of hearing that is the last to be rendered useless...and then there is blackness...not even a feeling of it...but just a... nothingness.
How extraordinary to not feel...sense anything anymore. Though the alternative as described in various Scriptures didn't seem right to him.
To have this after-live as though life here was but a hiccup...a test for a life of living for eternity. He had never wanted to live for eternity in any case. It seemed to him to be a carrot and stick thing...behave and attune your behaviour as the Scriptures demanded, and you will attain that nirvana. The Scriptures were written by faceless, back room Monks or Priests on the say so of the ruling Pope of the time. Over a century after the event took place. Some minor rebel causing a bit of a problem for the Roman Ruling class. What a marvellous way to try and control the masses...or at least those who would embrace such philosophical theorem...to ensure meekness and obedience providing a peaceful society suitable for the ruling class of Priests and Monks to exist in around two thousand years ago...and even today, where they seemed to exist above the law of the land. Yet it has been religion in all its guises that has been the nemesis of this world, responsible for more violent deaths, more societal upheavals than any other cause.
It was as though we thought ourselves so important, so intelligent and above all other living things, in thinking that death as that final act seemed such a shallow ending. We an arrogant lot thinking it not in keeping with our precociousness. We worth more than that...after all, we were better than all other animals living on this Earth, weren't we?
So much better, some would say!
He had severe doubts, as it hadn't been those animals that have brought this world to the edge of collapse...of extinction for so many beasts.
They surviving, peacefully roaming the continents for millions of years.
We a mere one hundred thousand!
We of such astounding foresight, cunning and keen investigation!
Makes you think, doesn't it?
He couldn't imagine it, that 'nothingness' even though he was lying here in a semi-coma. Hearing his two daughters' muffled sobs as though he may croak at any moment...not on, he thought he murmured.
Not on! He repeated more forcefully, so he thought.
Not until I have my life's review play before my eyes.
A Picture Show that he thought he would enjoy, none-the-less for all its little mistakes.
He thought he chuckled at that.
Sit back and enjoy the ride, he thought to himself.
He thought that he had smiled at that little joke.
Even at the end, he could still crack a funny!
How about that?
Clem 'Lofty' Hills Series:
Murder Squad Series: