Nancy collapsed to the floor near our feet. “Is she dead?” I gasped and took a step back. Queenie bent down and with a trembling hand, she searched for a pulse. “She’s breathing but just barely. We should wait a few more minutes before calling it in to the police. If we’re lucky they’ll think she overdosed on one of her many natural herbs she has lying about.” I shook my head and ran my fingers through my hair anxiously. “No! We can’t!” I blurted out. “If we wait any longer, we’ll be murderers! I don’t think I can live with that!” Queenie gave me a hard stare. “Valerie, don’t you dare lose your composure now. We did what needed to be done.”
“But I didn’t want to kill her!” I paced back and forth while Queenie busied herself with cleaning the kitchen and wiping down the counters. She was destroying any evidence that could tie us to what happened to Nancy. “I just wanted to hurt her as badly as she hurt all of us!” I was trying to make myself feel better. “And so we did.” Queenie pointed out bluntly and motioned for me to follow her to the living room. “What am I going to say to Johnny?” I asked worriedly. “He’ll never forgive me when he finds out that I had something to do with her death. Even though I don’t understand how he can…he loves her so much. It’s his mother for crying out loud! I have to tell him. Don’t I?” I fretted.
“You’ll do no such thing!” Queenie whirled around and jabbed her finger in my face. “He’s been through enough because of her. She was a parasite that fed on him for far too long and we’ve finally granted him his freedom. We’re all free of her now.” She declared. “I should’ve taken her boys and fled the country. I could’ve raised them as my own. But I was too old. Too tired.” She had a faraway look in her eyes. “I’m responsible for everything that’s happened.” She mumbled hollowly. “Don’t say that…it’s not true.” I hugged her frail form close to my body. “I won’t live to see it but I hope Lemon grows up to be just like you. Kindhearted and feisty when she needs to be. Do right by her.” She murmured into my ear. ‘I will, I promise.” I whispered back.
“It’s time for you to leave now, Valerie.” She pulled away from me and took her cell from the pocket of her robe. “Get the clothes you changed out of on your way out and burn them along with the ones you’re wearing. It’s probably not worth the trouble but it’s better to be safe than sorry.” She began punching numbers into the dial-pad. “Keep calm if you’re questioned by the police later….you have nothing to worry about.” She told me. “You’ve already got an alibi. You left during dinner in a hurry…we all saw it. If we missed anything else, I’ll take care of it. Now go!” She barked loudly. I could hear her speaking into her phone as I ran from the room. “Yes, I’d like to report a murder.”