Leaving the view of Claude in the living room window, I headed for the Walshes. When I entered their living room, I went directly to the telephone and called the police. I informed them of my suspicions and told them I would meet the investigating officers at the front door of Claude's home.
They promised to send someone in the next half-hour, since apparently the fellow wasn't going anywhere. They had just dispatched several of their men to a bad wreck out on a highway twenty miles outside town. It seemed it involved several cars, and a semi truck.
Thanking them, I decided to see if there was any coffee left from breakfast. I needed a cup in the worst way. Going into the kitchen, I saw Mrs. Walsh preparing the noon-time meal.
"Any hot coffee available?" I inquired hopefully.
"Yes, I'm just making some fresh. I thought it would be good after that brisk walk from church. Did you get any response from Claude Wilson's when you stopped just now?"
"No, in fact I think he may have gone the way of Miss Emmaline," I answered. "I just called the police but all the emergency vehicles and most of the officers are busy with a bad wreck out of town on a highway."
With those words, I decided to go immediately next door to the Wilson's and enter the house illegally. I had to know for sure.
"I'll be back after while. I'm going to break in and check on him," I told her.
"Wait! I have a house key to their back door."
I whipped my head around.
"Well, she went away for a couple of weeks to her mother's and left a spare so I could come over and water her indoor plants for her. She never came back over to get it, so I still have it."
Reaching up too a nail near the back door facing, she retrieved the said key and gave it to me.
Grabbing it quickly, I left through the kitchen door and headed across the back yard for the Wilson house. In fact, I ran.
Slipping the key into the lock, I opened the door, making my way through the very quiet house. The chill I felt told me the power may have been turned off. There was no heat here. It spoke of perhaps an unpaid bill.
Going immediately to the still form on the couch, I saw he had been shot, apparently self- inflicted. Feeling in his neck for a pulse, I felt a thready one, and realized he was still with us. I checked the place where the bullet had entered, and saw quite a bit of blood on his shirt front. I ran to the back door, shouting loudly for Mrs. Walsh.
( To be continued)