Free Radicals

Chapter 4

She was wakened by a knock on her still unlocked door. It was a policeman, not the one from the village but one of the provincial traffic police. He asked if she knew where her car was.

She looked at the patch of gravel where it had been parked.

“It’s gone,” she said. “It was over there.”

“You didn’t know it was stolen? When did you last look out and see it?”

“It must have been last night.”

“The keys were left in it?”

“I suppose they must have been.”

“I have to tell you it’s been in a bad accident. A one-car accident just this side of Wallenstein. The driver rolled it down into the culvert and totalled it. And that’s not all. He’s wanted for a triple murder. That’s the latest we heard, anyway. Murder in Mitchellston. You were lucky you didn’t run into him.”

“Was he hurt?”

“Killed. Instantly. Serves him right.”

There followed a kindly stern lecture. Leaving keys in the car. Woman living alone.

These days you never know.