The beggar’s knife was not visible before the murder and it was not certain the
beggar was the one who had used it, but who else? Could anyone have known the beggar
would be carrying it?
The yellow cat had not been noticed until the red paw-print was found on the title
page of the cheap mystery the dead man’s sister had been reading. Someone said he could
hear a sound like the brush of a tail.
I said, “I am the one who is still here, so I am the one who will solve the murder.” I
turned towards the whistle of the teakettle. The book with the red paw-print was sleeping
on the stove.
I sat down. My chair was made of wood and I was sitting in it. It would have been
unnatural to grow larger at this moment. The yellow cat was licking its red paws. It
seemed so long ago that it mattered.
The rain was falling and I was not in its path. I knew I was not solved but still
solvent. I knew I was not here to answer the book.
I reduced the top button of my shirt to an object by placing it on the table. I was
certain it had not been visible during the murder, but I did not know why I thought this
A piece of ash from the pages as I burned the book started floating in the air and it
crossed the beam of sunlight cutting through the tear in the window-shade.
I began to select portions of the room to memorize. I began to place the murder
weapon in the various wounds I had noticed. I placed my cheek against the table to see if
the surface was legible. I was alone and the yellow cat was not part of my experience.
I said, “I am going to remain.” I said, “I am going to suffer.” The yellow cat turned
the page of a different book and it seemed to reveal that I was not the murderer. The
beggar had left. The beggar had a calling.
I was not able to lift anything from the table until the knife was removed. I was not
able to button my shirt. I was sitting in a chair made of wood and I seemed to be
suffering. I guessed that there were only a few more pages to turn. I guessed wrong.
A sound like the beating of a small bird’s wings left me exhausted.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.