stories

The Missing Jewel (Part 8)

“What do you want?” Penelope Britt asked, in a very loud tone. She hadn’t changed much since the photograph was taken. Her resemblance to Érica Jones was still impressive.

“What is your relationship with this woman?” Detective Bella Hobson asked as she pointed to the photo of her and Erica Jones.

“And what do you know about K?” added Detective Anthony Wells.

Penny’s face paled and her expression became serious; she stared at the photograph for a while, as if in a kind of trance. Then she looked at Anthony and said, regaining her usual sense of humor. “You are cute.”

“Thanks,” Anthony said with a smile. Bella punch her partner in the arm when she noticed that he planned to say something else. “Ouch,” he reacted.

“OKAY. I’ll say it this way: tell us what we want to know and maybe we can move to a less dangerous jail.” Bella said smiling

And you’ll reduce my sentence?” Penny asked.

“No.”

“Then, no deal.”

“OK, we’ll try to reduce your sentence,” Anthony said.

“OK.” Penny Britt professed her explanation with better intonation and grace than a President. “When I was young my father sold me as a prostitute to Madame Iris. Érica is my daughter. When Érica turned thirteen years old, she started working in the … business of Madame Iris. I promised Érica that if there was a chance to escape, we would take it. One day, when I was thirty-five years old, a man came asking us if we wanted to be free. Érica said yes without hesitation. The man bought us both. He was one of K’s assistants. He gave us a house, food, nice clothes, everything, in exchange for us doing certain … jobs for K.” Penny paused. “A few years after our release, I fell in love with a man. He was handsome and a good man. He knew about my… situation, so we planned our escape. Érica didn’t want to come; she liked the privileges of working for K. When K found out about our plans he killed …” The detectives couldn’t hear the name between the sobs. “And he locked me here. I haven’t known anything about my daughter since then. “


“Do you think Érica gave you away?” Anthony asked.


“I would rather not think about that,” answered Miss Britt thoughtfully.

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