"Can you please tell me what's going on?" I asked.
My aunt and I were sitting at the table, not talking, despite my best efforts. Adam was still in the corner, shutting out the world just like he did when he was a kid--before intensive therapy and an obsession with music helped him learn to cope. He would come around when he was ready. Until then, it was best to leave him alone. Poor Aunt Peg looked so haggard; it was as if twenty-two years of safeguarding Adam had finally done her in. Not even when she and Dave were divorcing, their marriage collapsing under the strain of caring for Adam, had she looked this defeated. She was only forty-two, but she looked sixty-two at that moment, with bags under her eyes and deep wrinkles on her forehead. I watched her pick up a paper clip from the table, twisting and untwisting it until it finally broke. She looked up at me.
"Jamie, I want to wake up from this nightmare, but I can't! It all started this morning…I dropped Adam off at his music lesson, like I always do. He's been taking drum lessons at the music store on Harrison Street. When I went to pick him up an hour later, there were police cars and an ambulance blocking the road. I almost crashed the car I was so terrified--I thought something had happened to Adam! Any mother would’ve panicked, but it was worse for me because of Adam. He doesn't see trouble coming. He's too trusting, even after what happened with those horrible kids…"
She started crying again and I dug a tissue out of my purse. Divorce lawyers always have tissues handy.
"Then what happened, Aunt Peg?" I couldn't imagine where this story was going.
"I stopped a policeman--it was more like I grabbed him--and demanded to know what was going on. He said there had been a homicide! I started crying and screaming for Adam and then…he…he said…Adam wasn't hurt, but they were taking him into custody!"
She was on the verge of hysteria, so she closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. I'd seen Adam use this calming technique before.
I waited a minute and then gently prodded her, "Aunt Peg?"
She continued as if she were in a trance. "I followed the police car back to the station. At first, they weren't going to let me in here because Adam is over eighteen but, when they saw him like this, they changed their minds." She stopped and looked at Adam with tears in her eyes.
"Margaret Muller, look at me!" I snapped.
"Will you tell me who died already?"
Death by Didgeridoo is available on Amazon Kindle.