“Do you know who this is?” Asher passed the young realtor a photo the size of a playing card. It was sleeved over, presumably to protect the image.
“This is a former owner of the home.” Emily responded, turning the photo facedown. A gold pattern was embossed on the sleeves back. Emily examined it as she said, “She passed away before the house went up on market.”
“I see,” Asher responded, fondly asking, “Did you know her?”
“…No, not really. I mean,” She hesitated a moment and said, “She was a good wife, and a good mother.”
“You don’t sound so sure of that.” Asher retrieved the photo of the young woman.
“Who did you say you were again?” Emily asked.
“Asher Grey.” He pulled out a badge from the inner pocket of his suit and passed it to her.
“I’ve never heard of a Community Relations Officer before.”
“Would you like me to get you in touch with my supervisor?” he asked as he retrieved the badge.
“No. No, that won’t be necessary.” Emily took a deep breath and said, “The family here before was wonderful. Mrs. Casser tended to the home while Mr. Casser worked as a consultant with us.”
“I understand they have a son?” Asher said as he laid the photo face-up in front of them.
“Yes…Yes, they did.” Emily glanced down at the photo, but her gaze didn’t linger.
“Where is he currently?” Asher asked politely, “Is he aware that the home is for sale?”
“He passed away with his mother. We are managing the estate on behalf of the Casser family.”
“How old was the son?”
“That’s very young. How did they pass?”
“I’m surprised you don’t know. Shouldn’t you know something like that?”
Asher smiled lightly, and said, “I like to hear things out from other people’s point of view, rather than stick to the dry reads I get from reports.”
“There was an accident.”
Emily looked away.
“Hmm,” Asher said, “the report says he died of asphyxiation. They found water in his lungs, which suggests that he was drowned.”
“He wasn’t drowned.”
“You’re sure of that?”
“A hairdryer fell into the tub while he was bathing.”
“Do you know many people who bath fully clothed?”
“He wasn’t dressed! He was taking a bath when the accident happened. Mrs. Casser walked in afterwards and saw her son, and, well she went in after him without thinking.”
“She was a good mother. And he a good son.”
“-And what about Mr. Casser?”
“What about him?”
“I’m asking you, Emily. Where was Mr. Casser during this accident.”
“He wasn’t home.”
“Are you sure of that?”
“He didn’t hurt his wife or his son.”
“The report indicated he was found in his bedroom-“
“Stop!” Emily exhaled.
“His son had died from asphyxiation, but his wife had died from a cardiac arrest induced by a high electrical charge,” Asher explained, “as I said before, there was water present in the boy’s lungs, which suggests he was held down underwater. Presumably by someone much stronger than himself.”
Emily looked quietly down at the photo.
“It seems to me that, Asher began, “that Mr. Casser wasn’t satisfied at home. He drowned his boy and killed his wife while setting the scene to look like an accident. Once he realized what he had done, it was too much for him, so he painted the ceiling with his-“
“Enough!” Emily cried out. “He didn’t do any of that! He was a good man; his wife and his son were everything to him!”
“Yet that didn’t stop him from annihilating them.” Asher retorted.
“The evidence says otherwise, Emily.”
“He wasn’t there when it happened!” She cried out.
“Oh?” Asher waited.
“He wasn’t there…” Emily began crying, “Because he was with me.”