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The Cat’s Gaze

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The smell which hit his nostrils as he entered the house indicated that the woman had been dead on the floor for some days. Her cat regarded him with a cool gaze which held a level of knowing that he found both unusual and unnerving in a pet. 

“So, the cat didn’t eat her then?” He quipped to the coroner who merely grunted.

The cat, on the other hand, did not break its eye contact with him but let loose a low growl of disapproval.

He gulped. “Just a joke.”

The growl stopped but the unbroken gaze remained. 

“So,” he said lightly, trying to ignore that a cat was psyching him out, “what killed her?”

The coroner rose from her position on the floor. “Arsenic based upon the blue  tinge to her lips.”

He surveyed the room and spied the spilled tea on the floor. “The tea?”  He learned over to smell the tea pot for the almond scent which heralded arsenic’s presence. “No.”

Still, the cat held his gaze as the detective continued to look aimlessly about the room, his agitation rising as he imagined the animal’s estimation of his intelligence diminishing with every minute.

Finally, the cat looked down to the scone on the plate at its feet and delicately batted one of the scones in the detective’s direction.

“The scones?” He said as he bent to smell one of the un-jammed scones. 

The cat batted another scone to the floor, this one was laden with jam and cream. 

“Ahhh… the jam!” The detective bent to smell the jam and ‘lo and behold, a scent of raspberry and a hint of almond wafted past his nose.  “Clever cat.”

The cat began to purr loudly. 

Reluctantly, he leaned over to scratch the witness’s neck. “Any idea who did it?”

The cat stopped purring, strutted into the lounge room before leaping up to the cabinet to lie on a framed photo of the victim and a young woman. 

“Who’s that?” He muttered.

The assistant detective wandered over. “That’s her daughter. Really upset that her mother died.” 

The cat growled and the detective smiled.

“Bring her in for questioning.” He turned to the cat. “You know, Cat. This could be the beginning of the beautiful friendship.”

And the cat purred. 

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