Early next morning the house was quiet.Suddenly there was a cry from the room next to Roger's,his mother's room.Roger opened his eyes and looked at the clock.It was nearly seven o'clock.He got out of bed and opened the door quietly.At the same time the door of his mother's room opened and Diane came out.Her face was very white.
‘Roger!It's Mother!I brought a cup of coffee for her and I found her dead.She's dead…dead in her bed,’she cried.
Roger went quickly to the door of his mother's room and looked in.The window was open but the room was warm.Molly was on the bed,one hand under her head.Roger went across to the bed and put his hand on her arm.It was cold.On the little table next to the bed was a hot cup of coffee and an empty cup.
‘I'm going to call the doctor,’Diane said.
‘She's dead,’Roger said slowly.His face,too,was white.‘Mother is dead!’
Diane walked across the room to the door.‘I'm going to phone the doctor,’she said again.
‘Wait a minute!’Roger called.‘Let's tell the family first.’
‘Family!Nobody loved Mother!’Diane went out and ran downstairs.
Roger slowly went downstairs after her and stood by the telephone.
‘Dr Pratt,this is Diane Clarkson.It's my mothershe's dead.Can you come quickly?’
Diane put the phone down.‘It isn't true,Roger!Mother dead!Daddy died last winter,and now Mother.’Diane began to cry.
‘Don't cry,Diane,’Roger said.‘Let's go upstairs and tell Uncle Albert and Jackie.’
‘No!You tell them!Nobody loved Mother.You aren't sorry.Look at you!You want her money.That's all.’
Roger suddenly wanted to hit Diane.‘Be quiet!’he said.‘What about you?You didn't love Mother.You wanted her money,too.Don't forget that!’
‘It's true,’Diane said.‘Oh,I can't stay in this house.I'm going out.I'm going to the river with the dogs.’
‘No,’Roger said.‘The doctor's coming and I want you here.’
Diane said nothing.She went into the kitchen and at once the dogs got up and came to her.‘Beautiful dogs!Daddy loved you and Mother loved you.Now I'm going to love you.’She opened the back door and went out with the dogs.
Roger did not move.He stood by the telephone.‘It's true,’he thought.‘I am happy about the money.I needed money,and now I'm rich.Things are going to be easier for me now.But Mother…why didn't I love her more?And now she's dead.’Slowly,Roger went back upstairs.He wanted to dress before Dr Pratt arrived.
Dr Pratt was a little fat man without much hair.He was the family doctor and he knew all the Clarkson family very well.He went upstairs at once and looked at Molly's body.He looked care- fully at the cup of coffee and the empty cup on the table next to her bed.
‘I'm sorry,Roger,’he said.‘Where is Diane?She phoned me.’
‘She went out with the dogs,’Roger said.‘She was angry with meangry with everyone.’
Dr Pratt said nothing for a minute.‘This is going to be very difficult.I'm going to phone the police,Roger.’
‘I don't know.Your mother wasn't ill.I saw her on Thursday and she was very well.Why did she die?I don't understand.I want to find out.’
Roger went across to the window and looked out at the garden.It was a beautiful summer morning.The sky was blue and the garden was green.It was all very quiet.His mother loved this garden.But Tom Briggs wanted the garden.And Roger wanted the garden,too.Roger felt worse and worse.
‘Your mother took sleeping tablets,’Dr Pratt said.‘Did you know?On Thursday she had a new bottle of tablets,but I can't find it here in her room.’
‘I didn't know,’Roger said.‘Very well.Let's go downstairs and you can phone the police.’
Roger went into the kitchen and made some coffee.Just then Diane came in with the dogs.
‘Roger,’she said.‘Look,I'm sorry.I was angry and said some angry things.’
‘It doesn't matter,’Roger said.‘Here you are,have some coffee.Dr Pratt is phoning the police.Did you know Mother took sleeping tablets?Well,the bottle is not in her room.’
‘What?I don't understand.’Diane took the coffee and began to drink.Her eyes looked big and dark.
Just then Dr Pratt came into the kitchen.‘They're coming at once,’he said.‘DianeI'm sorry about your mother.’
‘Dr Pratt,I want to tell you about last night.Everyone was very angry…’
‘Be quiet!’Roger said quickly.
‘Diane never thinks before she opens her mouth,’he thought angrily.
Diane did not look at Roger.‘Last night Mother went to bed early because everyone…’
‘Don't tell me,’Dr Pratt said.‘You can tell the police.’
Roger's face went red.Suddenly he felt afraid.‘The police are going to talk to everyone,and ask questions,’he thought.‘And they're going to want answers.It's going to be very difficult.’He finished his coffee and stood up.
‘I'm going upstairs,’he said.‘I'm going to tell Uncle Albert and Jackie about Mother…and about the police.’