Gemini - Breathe Your Last -- Chapter 6

During Erin’s rounds the next day her cell phone rang. “Hey, Erin, have you got a minute?”
“Yes, Marge, I’m between patients.” Her friend, also the office secretary, was always a breath of fresh air with her outspoken and sometimes skewed remarks.
“You know that vet who died? I heard he attended your Charlie Chan classes.”
“Geez, Marge. Charlie Chan was a fictional detective. Jackie Chan was the actor with the martial arts persona. Besides, our instructor’s name is Mr. Cheung and I only heard about the man’s death last night at our taekwondo class.”
“Well, do you remember him?” Marge persisted. “Daryl somebody?”
“Daryl Bonfield. I hadn’t realized he was the same man till they told me at our class last night. We called him Romeo and that says a lot about his character and attraction.”
“So, you’re not involved with finding bodies this time. I don’t have to deflect our boss from venting her spleen around the office about undesirable notoriety.”
“Mrs. Hildeforce has no cause for alarm on my account. I’m being a good girl and am not involved.”
“Sure and I’ve heard that song before. Well, take care and stay clear of trouble, please. Bye.”
Erin hung up and drove farther north in her assigned district, enjoying the breeze coming in her partially opened window. “Damn!” She slammed on her brake, keeping the car steady in her lane when a big antlered moose started to lumber across the road a short distance ahead of her car. She didn’t want to skid into the gravel and land in the ditch and couldn’t change lanes with a station wagon approaching from the other side.
The other car tried to swerve and avoid hitting the moose, seeming to aim for the roadside. At least, Erin judged, it wouldn’t cross and hit her.
The huge animal, likely trying to get away from the flies and mosquitos in the dense bush, managed to reach the other side safely by speeding up and jumping over the ditch. Erin, being farther away, had brought her car to a stop. When the other driver had slammed the brake to slow down, that car skidded before slipping down into the narrow ditch and stalling on its side.
Erin parked her vehicle farther off the road and getting out she hurried across to check on the other car’s occupant.
A short, stout, dark-haired woman climbed out of the tipped wagon, angry looking and muttering. She glanced at Erin and shrugged. “I better not curse that wild animal since I’m a vet and should love all species but give me a break.”
Erin did a quick visual check on the woman and held out her hand wanting to pull her up out of the small ditch. “I’m a nurse. Did you get hurt?”
“No, but let me get hold of that moose and I’ll hurt it.”
The woman waved away her help and plodded to the back, opening the rear door of the tilted wagon. “I’ve got two little dogs caged back here. An elderly friend asked me to board them while he went into the hospital for surgery.” She straightened the cages, cooing and petting the dogs through the bars. “They seem alright but I’ll give them a good check over when I get back to the clinic.”
“You have a dent on this side but you didn’t hit the animal. I missed him too and saw him trot off into the bush.”
The woman checked the spot. “Maybe it got banged with some rocks flying up or against the side of the ditch.”
A few minutes later a big Dodge truck stopped. The driver stepped down and offered to tow her car out and back onto the road. Once the vehicle was pulled up and mobile, Erin asked the woman if she worked at the clinic in Hanmer.
The woman got a wary look in her eye and answered in a terse voice. “Yes, but the practice is closed this week.”
Erin introduced herself but didn’t want to sound like a voyeur by asking unwanted questions about the murder. “I know about the closure as Janelle’s staying at my neighbor’s, her great-aunt. She enjoyed her placement with you.”
“When our inventory’s done we’ll get her back. She’s a good little worker—and even shorter than me. I’m Maddy.” The woman thanked Erin for stopping before departing with a wave of her hand out the car’s window.