Apparently, the cocoa and conversation helped, because I was soon sound asleep with no disturbing dreams. I awakened to a gentle rapping on my door.
"Mr. Zeb! Time for breakfast! Fifteen minutes, Mom said," Katy informed me.
"Okay, I'll be down soon. Thank you, Katy!"
I heard her knocking at the doors across the hallway and giving them the same message. Apparently there was no response at the lady's door, for I could hear Katy speaking more loudly. By this time, I was dressed enough to stick my head out my door. Sam had also exited his door.
"She isn't answering my knock; do you think she might be sick?"
Katy looked anxiously at us, waiting for a response. Then she ran downstairs, while shouting for her mother to come up with a spare key.
Mrs. Walsh came upstairs at a run, holding a key in her shaking hand.
"She is always up by now, and has her bed made. I can't imagine what might be wrong!"
Inserting the key into the lock, she slowly opened the door, all the while calling out. Then going over to the bed, she gently touched the face of her tenant.
In the meantime, I had flipped the light switch by the door, flooding the room with light. When I saw the still form, and the pallor on its face, I knew immediately she would not be getting up. I had seen enough dead bodies to know this was one.
Turning at once to Katy, I said, "Why don't you go back downstairs and make sure the table is ready for breakfast? We will take care of this lady. She looks like she needs some more sleep, maybe."
Looking at me with a knowing glance, she replied, "She ain't getting up any more, is she? She looks like our dog, Petey, did when he got poisoned and died."
"Yes, Katy, but you do need to go downstairs anyway, because we need to call some people. Okay?"
"Sure, Mr. Zeb."
By this time, I had noticed the empty prescription bottle and empty glass sitting next to it. There was also a wine bottle, half empty. Sam started to pick it up to look at it, and I stopped him.
"Sam, don't touch anything! I'm sure the police will have to be called. The doctor should be called first. Mrs. Walsh, do you have a family doctor you could call?"
She looked at me dazedly. Uh...yes, yes. I'll go call him at once."
(To be continued)