The Copper Frame

The Copper Frame by Ellery Queen Read Free Book Online

Book: The Copper Frame by Ellery Queen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ellery Queen
    â€œControl to Car Two,” Saxon said into the mike, “Roger.”
    Five minutes later Edward Coombs called, “Hey, Chief!”
    Walking back to the cell block, Saxon said, “Yeah?”
    â€œYou better check that woman prisoner. Some awfully funny sounds are coming from there.”
    Saxon continued on to the last cell. What he saw made him hurriedly draw the key ring from his pocket and unlock the door. The blonde stood on the dropdown bunk. One end of her headscarf was knotted about an overhead water pipe; the other end she was winding about her throat.
    As he turned the key in the lock, she quickly unknotted the scarf and dropped it on the bunk. By the time he got into the cell, she had jumped down to the floor.
    Saxon paused in astonishment when she took hold of the front of her dress and deliberately ripped it to the waist, also bursting the center strap of her brassiere to bare small but well-formed breasts. Her skirt came up to her waist and she savagely tore at the unglamorous plain white cotton panties she was wearing. The elastic burst and the material split, allowing them to slither down to her knees. She completed their destruction by ripping them right in two and letting the segments fall to the floor.
    Then she hurled herself at Saxon, scratching, kicking, biting, and screaming. Fingernails burned one cheek. He made a grab for the clawing hand, missed, and felt her teeth sink into his palm. The toe of a pointed shoe dug into his shin.
    Spreading his arms, he managed to pin hers to her sides by enveloping her in a bear hug. Her pointed toes began to beat a tattoo on his shins and she attempted to get an ear in her teeth. He pulled her over to the bunk, threw her down and held her there by the simple expedient of falling on top of her with the full weight of his two hundred pounds.
    Quite suddenly she relaxed.
    â€œYou going to cut it out?” he growled.
    â€œAll right,” she said in an entirely calm voice. “Get up. You’re hurting me.”
    Cautiously he released her arms and started to rise to his feet. At once her legs shot out to encircle his waist and her arms locked about his neck. She gave an abrupt jerk that pulled him off balance and made him fall heavily atop her again.
    A voice from the cell door said, “What the hell’s going on here?”
    Then the woman was pushing against his chest, fighting him away and screaming again. Saxon fell from the bunk to his knees, climbed to his feet, and staggered backward across the room, to back into someone in the doorway. He turned to find Sergeant Morrison glaring at him in outrage.
    â€œShe’s gone crazy,” Saxon said. “She tried to hang herself, and when I came in to stop her, she was all over me like a swarm of hornets.”
    â€œLooked to me more like you were all over her,” Morrison said in his rumbling voice.
    The woman still lay sprawled on the bunk, her skirt bunched around her waist to disclose her bare thighs, her naked breasts heaving. In a flat, unemotional voice she said, “He raped me.”
    After staring at her for a moment, Saxon walked over and picked up the headscarf. Morrison was still standing squarely in the doorway when Saxon turned back toward the door, a belligerent expression on his face. But as Saxon bore down on him, the expression on the acting chief’s face turned Morrison’s expression uncertain. At the last instant he stepped aside.
    Relocking the cell door, Saxon stalked to the waiting room, trailed by the silent Morrison. Tossing the headscarf on the counter, Saxon entered the washroom, leaving the door open, and stared into the mirror over the washbowl. Two raw scratches ran down his left cheek. Rubbing water on them, he patted his cheek dry with his handkerchief, then ran water over his bitten hand and dried that too.
    Sergeant Morrison watched silently from the washroom doorway. When Saxon turned toward the door, again he stepped

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