Puffnel looked at the two detectives standing over him as he sat in Interview Room 3 at the Bagley Police Headquarters. The overalls he wore chaffed at his raw behind and his eyes watered as they tried to focus on what the detectives were threatening. With no access to his usual medicines to break the long days, he was finding it hard to stay focused without craving or ranting. A problem the other inmates seemed to cure with violence and intimacy the good doctor wasn’t so ready to accept.
“Look Puffnel, I can make this easy for you. Give us access to your patient files without us waiting around for a court order and we will put in a good word for you to be sent into isolation.” Perkins stepped back as a sign of good will. Jones wasn’t as forthcoming and kept his overbearing stance over the handcuffed prisoner.
“Okay! Okay! I get you. You want to see my patient files to see if there is a connection between Julia, myself and someone else. Did I get it?”
“I can tell you that without you having to pilfer through my private clients. I was the doctor to Julia and her brother for a few years when they were younger. They had…issues…that needed to be dealt with.”
“What issues?” Perkins stepped forward again, his pointy chin jutting out.
“They had to deal with some issues that had arisen at home. A death in the family.” Puffnel’s tortoiseshell glasses slipped to the edge of his nose and he leaned to his cuffed hands to fix them.
“Why was this death so significant to the Webster children?” asked Perkins.
“Because…because it was their sister that had died!” Puffnel said, exasperated. “I don’t see how this has to do with Julia’s disappearance or the slaughter left in my office, but that’s what I know.”
“And what did you have to treat them for? Shock? Depression? Anxiety?” asked the curious Perkins.
Puffnel hung his head, lolling it from side to side. Perkins glanced at Jones who watched the doctor with hawk eyes. A small giggle escaped from the doctor’s lips. When he lifted his head again to face the two men, his eyes were bloodshot and tears ran down his face.
“FEAR!” Laughter ripped from the doctor’s mouth, shocking both men back a step or two. Had the doctor gone mad in captivity?
“What did they have to fear Doctor Puffnel?” Perkin’s voice was gruff and his question had a warning note to it which the doctor didn’t seem to notice.
“Oh yes! They had a lot to fear. Never judge a book by its cover gentlemen!” The doctor squeezed his eyes shut, laughter shaking his body in spasms.
Excerpt taken from The Iron Pendulum by Eloise De Sousa.