The autopsy results are clear. The cause of death is a ruptured liver incident to blunt trauma. There are no other signs of illness or injury. The insult to the liver was so great, death would have occurred within an hour. So now the question is what, or who, dealt the death-dealing blow?
I am the only suspect. I alone cared for the decedent. While my wife had access to him, too, there is no evidence she went near him in the two days before his death. Indeed, she rarely cared for him. Yet I know I did not strike, kick or otherwise use force against him. So why do I feel as though I am a killer?
Earlier today I reported finding our Emu dead in one of our chicken coops. I was so upset about it I took him to our veterinarian. I wanted to know what went wrong. We have perhaps forty animals wandering our land. If there is a problem, I wanted to know about it.
The vet's report startled me. My first reaction was shock, followed quickly by anger. Our house is out of the way. We don't really have neighbors. I alone am suspect. So throughout the day I have replayed each move I made with the bird over the past two days. Did I hold him too tightly? Did I move him aside with too much force when I filled a watering can? Did I? Did I?
Effects have causes, and the manner of death in this instance is an open question. It hardly seems accidental. The bird is small, the size of a small turkey. How could he have run into a wall with force enough to cause such trauma? He can't fly or jump, so there is no question about his falling. Did he flee from a rat? Rodents are a common scourge where grain is kept.
I have no answer, yet sorrow and the need for something like closure make me want to confess. Events only two days old seem hazy, and capable of reconstruction.
It's been a good day for reflection. I wonder how many folks found near a crime react similarly. How many confessions are spawned by some need deeper and different than the truth? Talking to our vet makes me feel at once ashamed and somehow guilty.
I didn't kill the Emu, but I was responsible for his care. I feel therefore responsible for his death. Were he a human, I'd be a target, questioned by lawmen bent on getting answers to this simple death.
Given how I feel today, I would certainly hire a lawyer. I don't trust myself, and I wonder what an investigator would make of my tortured ruminations. I see now why innocent persons sometimes confess.