Wax Apple (1970) – Random House

A Mitch Tobin Mystery

I unpacked, putting my things away in the closet and bureau, finding no trace of the former resident. The room had been anonymous when I’d walked into it, and when I was done unpacking it was still anonymous, an empty large under furnished room waiting for somebody other than me.

I didn’t want to stay in here any more than necessary, and in any case I should be out and around, getting a look at the place. And I hadn’t met any of the injured ones yet. So I left the room, uncomfortable that there was no way to lock the door, and made my way with some difficulty and one wrong turn back to the staircase Jerry and I had come up. I opened the door and stepped through, shut the door behind me, started down the stairs, and felt something catch my ankle.

I tried to stop myself, but there was no banister and my flailing hands bounced off the side walls. My balance was gone. I felt myself toppling, saw the staircase stretching down ahead of me with all those sharp stair edges like the serrations of a steak knife, and far far away was the bottom.

I should have gone limp, of course, I should have relaxed and fallen like a rag doll, that’s the way to minimize the danger of injury, but I wasn’t thinking at all. I’d panicked, and I went down with my arms stretched out rigid in front of me, my hands wide open, my fingers splayed out, and when I hit I heard the dry quick snap in my right forearm. And nothing more.




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