Jessica was waiting for the bus. The talks with two important customers had been successful. Since no one was waiting for her at home, she could easily have stayed in Neustadt, but she did not feel like it. Although she was born here and spent the first two and a half years here, she did not feel any emotional connection to the place.
How should she? The beginning of her life was in the dark for her. All she knew was that her parents were named Ulrike and Thomas Müller and had her adopted when she was two and a half years old. What had become of them afterwards was unknown to her. She had come to a children’s home but had never been adopted. “You’re too old,” somebody had said, “people want newborns.” Every now and then, however, Jessica noticed that older children from her home also found new parents. For self-protection she did not brood over it, but took it and tried to make the most of her life. Professionally she succeeded as well. In private life, however, she had come to the conclusion that she was unable to relate. She also made the best of it and stayed single.
Bored, Jessica looked around. So she came from this city, but she did not even know where she had lived with her parents back then. She had a single photo of the house. It had been an old building with two lion heads on the left and right of the entrance.
Suddenly her heart almost stopped. Over there, on the other side of the street, was a front door with lion heads!
The bus was indifferent to her now. She crossed the street and walked to the house. When she had just reached it, the door opened. An old lady came out. With lightning speed, Jessica figured out that the lady, if she had lived here for a long time, might have known her as a toddler. “Excuse me,” she said. “Did you know Ulrike and Thomas Müller, who lived here with their little daughter some thirty years ago?”
Surprised, the lady looked at her. “Yes of course. That was a bad thing back then with the kids. “
Jessica was confused. With the children? In plural? “Do you remember how old the children were and what their names were?”
“Well, the girl’s name was Jessica. When she was two years old, little Timo came. And then, five months later, the terrible thing happened. Where the parents are attracted afterwards, I do not know. They just wanted to leave. “
Although Jessica’s inner voice advised her not to ask further, she did. “What terrible thing happened?”
“Do not you know that?” The old lady asked. “The girl strangled his little brother out of jealousy.”
When Jessica opened her eyes she was lying in a hospital bed. An about forty-year-old female doctor, who, according to her name tag Dr. N. Hoffmann was called, leaning over her. “Nice that you are awake again, Mrs. Müller. You have fainted, but fortunately you have only slightly injured in the fall. An ambulance was ordered immediately, and so you came here. Your ID card and your health insurance card were in your pocket, so we knew what your name was. “
Jessica remembered what she had fainted and burst into tears. “Do you have a problem?” The doctor asked sensitively. “You can tell me, I have confidentiality.”
Repeatedly interrupted by sobs, Jessica told her everything and concluded with the words: “Now I know why I was not adopted. I have never been told anything about the deed, but of course the adoption-interested. And nobody gets a murderer in the house. “
“You are not a murderer,” the doctor contradicted.
“I know toddlers are innocent -“
“True, but I did not mean that. You are not a murderer because you did not kill your brother. “
Jessica stared at her. “But the lady said …”
“Yes, that was the official version. My mother, who unfortunately died two years ago, did not believe it for a second. “
“Who else should it have been?”
“Their parents. My mother has told the police her suspicions, but unfortunately nobody believed her. “
The doctor pulled up a chair, sat down, and told Jessica everything she remembered.
“Mama had been wondering from the start that the millers were telling everyone how jealous his sister was soon after Timo’s birth. One must be afraid to leave the two alone with each other. Then the following happened: Mama passed by the garden of the house you lived in and noticed that the privacy screen had become porous in one place. She looked out into the garden and saw her sitting relaxed beside Timo’s stroller, with no adults nearby. When the terrible news came, Mama immediately said, ‘These were the parents! They depicted their daughter as a jealous monster, so everyone thinks she killed Timo. ‘”
“But why?” Jessica asked shakenly.
“Mama suspected that the two felt overwhelmed after the birth of the second child and wanted a life without children. Since they had hatched a diabolical plan. The younger child should die and the older one should be held responsible for his death so that he could give it away and then start a new life. Probably they would have strangled the kid with gloves and then put the fingers of his sleeping sister on the stalk, because of the fingerprints. “
“Do you think that your mother was right? If so, then you could still see the two today! Murder is not barred! “
“That’s not necessary anymore,” the doctor replied. “The two are dead. About a year later, they drove their cars somewhere in southern Europe against a tree. Whether accident or suicide, it has never been clarified. “
In Jessica, relief mingled with anger. “If it was suicide, then at least they should have confessed everything in a farewell letter! What about the inheritance? Would not I have to be the sole heir? “
“They only left debts.”
Jessica sighed. “I am very grateful, Doctor, for telling me all this. Why did your mother really care so much about the case? “
For the first time, the doctor hesitated before answering. “The tragedy … approached her somehow. She would have liked to adopt you, but that was not possible because she was single and working and already had a biological child. She had driven my producer to hell when she saw through his character. He later married another. “
Then she pulled herself together: “I’d rather tell you everything, Jessica. My producer was your father. We are half-sisters. My name is Nadja.”
Crying, the two fell into each other’s arms, and Jessica thought, “Such a day is only possible once in a lifetime! First, I learned that I was a murderer, and now I’ve found a sister. And all, because I had to visit customers in Neustadt and saw the house with the lion’s heads!