“Be calm,” Eric kept telling himself. “You only rented out the house to these people. The dead girl upstairs has nothing to do with you.”
Just as he finished his call to the police, the couple that he was supposed to meet hurried up to them.
“Sorry we’re late, but there was an accident on the highway. Is this the property you were going to show us?”
“Yes – er, no,” Eric said quickly. “I’ve got another townhouse in the complex. It seems as if we have a bit of a … plumbing problem here at the moment.”
“Is that what you call a dead girl in one of the beds upstairs?!” Eric hadn’t realized the owner was standing right next to him.
“A …dead girl?” the woman echoed.
“It shouldn’t … be a problem,” Eric said. “Usually it’s a nice, quiet complex. We don’t get many complaints.”
“You liar!” The owner swung his fist right into the middle of Eric’s face. Without uttering a sound, he fell to the ground.
The couple looked on in astonishment. “If I were you I’d get myself another agent. This one stinks in more ways than one,” the townhouse owner said furiously, and kicked Eric in the ribs and stomach. Eric lay on the ground, howling and sobbing, like a baby.
“Let’s get out of here,” the wife said to her husband. They made a very hasty retreat down the driveway.
The police and the ambulance arrived at the same time. “Is this the patient?” the ambulance driver asked. Eric still lay sprawled out on the driveway, coughing and gripping his stomach.
“No,” the owner of the complex shook his head. “He’s the villain. The young girl is upstairs. She is dead. I think she has been there for some time.”
“Can you hang around until we ask you a few questions?’ the police asked the owner.
“Sure. I’ll keep an eye on him. I don’t want him going anywhere.”
The paramedics, followed by the police, ran into the house. A few minutes later the paramedics came out again, grim expressions on their faces.
“I’m afraid she’s been dead a couple of days at least. We’ll need to get the coroner here as soon as possible. He’ll be able to tell us more.”
As soon as the police arrived they cordoned off the whole area.
By now Eric was beginning to recover and get his breath back. When he saw the police, he shouted out to them: “This man here assaulted me! Aren’t you going to arrest him?”
A big, burly looking policeman walked towards him. “‘Arrest him’, you say, you piece of scum. You have a dead girl lying in one of the upstairs bedrooms.”
“It’s not my fault,” Eric whined. “I only rent these places out. I have no say in what the people do in their homes at night. They are allowed some privacy. Aren’t they?” he asked in a more belligerent tone.”
Tell us what you think: Can Eric be held responsible at all for what happens in housing he rents or sublets out?