"Then what happened?" L.B. asked.
"She ordered me to stay away from her, and wouldn't accept my phone calls. Without my knowledge she put the baby up for adoption, and moved from the area. I completely lost track of her."
"Did you ever try to find her after your wife died?"
"Absolutely. It took a while, but I finally located her in Kansas City. By that time she was happily married and had had two more children." Hal ceased talking and stared off in the distance.
L.B. patiently waited, not wanting to intrude on thoughts of a lost love.
"It took me three more years," Hal added, "and thousands of dollars to find Lynne."
"Nelda never knew?"
"God, no. When I met Nelda she was divorced from Foister. I asked her to marry me just so I could be close to my daughter. By then Lynne was getting ready to marry Kurt, and shortly afterwards they moved to Tucson. I didn't want to lose what little contact I had with Lynne, so I retired and suggested to Nelda that we also move to Arizona. She would have no part of Tucson or Phoenix, but when I suggested Sierra Vista, she jumped at the idea. She thought she could be a big fish in a little pool. I'm thinking, of course, of a barracuda."
"When and how," L.B. asked, "did you kill her, and why did you put her in the brine tank?"
"All day Friday and all weekend that abhorrent scene in the bedroom and the conversation afterwards wouldn't leave my mind. I could think of nothing else. Nelda and I didn't speak to each other for those three days, but if I happened to look at her, she'd have that evil smile on her face. She was gloating, and enjoying every minute of it. Late Sunday night--before she was to go to Tucson on Monday--I concluded that she simply should not go on living. I went into her bedroom while she was sleeping, and took one of the down pillows from her window seat. I smothered her."