I’m not yet entirely sure what I want to call this story, so for now I’ll just use the chapter names. I haven’t uploaded anything in over a week which isn’t meeting the deadlines I had envisioned for myself which would ideally be once a week or so.
I’m now realizing that such a deadline may be entirely too optimistic when I factor in the time required for work, schoolwork, and a reignited desire to workout again. Regardless, I just got a new keyboard and I figured what better way to break it in than by finishing up the first chapter of a story I started last week.
Keep in mind that I know nearly nothing about how actual police investigations, associated processes, and such work. I could always do research but for now writing is just a fun hobby that I like to do while listening to music and avoiding other more pressing responsibilities, so I’m trying to keep as much actual work out of this process as I can. I hope that doesn’t show too much throughout this story. Now, without further ado, Chapter 1:
* * * * *
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?”
“Damnit, I mean I don’t know!”
Detective Chase Kilgour jumped slightly as the man shackled to the floor slammed his fists down on the steel table out of frustration. He was glad there was a two-way surveillance mirror between him and the suspect. He felt no envy for his partner who was in the line of fire of the man’s belligerent rebuttals. It had been nearly half an hour and no real progress had been made. He could tell the wheels were spinning and nothing they could do currently would free them from this mud pit. Chase walked to the side of the mirror and leaned into the intercom panel on the wall.
“Let’s wrap it up and grab some lunch, nothing is coming of this.”
Chase saw his partner, Detective Jason Stubner, who was facing away from the mirror give a nod of acknowledgement. He watched for a moment longer as Jason moved to gather his belongings.
He turned to face Jackie Pembrook, one of the lab techs helping out with the case. Jackie was a very particular man and one could tell it by looking at him. He was on the shorter side of average height, his wavy black hair was always combed neatly to the right side of his head and held in place with pomade. Crow’s feet were already beginning to form at the corners of his youthful blue eyes. Chase knew he was only in his late twenties and assumed this was due to the amount of squinting and furrowing of the brow Jackie performed while reading through test results. His usual attire consisted of button down shirts whose colors remained on the cooler side of the visible spectrum along with a matching tie. As his co-workers would say: one would be hard pressed to find a wrinkle in his entire outfit, about as hard pressed as his clothes. Every visual detail about him was meticulously prepared and his work reflected his scrupulous personality.
“So we’re entirely sure it was this guy?”
“All the results we got back from the tests seem to come to that conclusion,” Jackie didn’t look up from the paperwork documenting the lab’s findings, “we got his prints on door knobs, the weapon – hell we even got partials on some of the underwear in the bedroom. The man’s a creep. Not to mention we found his blood under the nails of the victims. Also the fact that he was picked up by one of our patrol guys covered in the blood of the victims. I think it’s safe to say this is our guy.”
Chase walked back to the table in the center of the room where Jackie sat and reached for his coffee cup. He took a sip and grimaced; it was cold. He forgot that he hadn’t taken his eyes off the suspect during the entirety of the questioning. The detective looked back over his shoulder. The suspect was in the custody of two officers who were preparing to move him to a holding cell.
His hair was grey and wildly unkempt; it reminded Chase of a dust bunny he might find hiding away under a piece of furniture. He was short, heavyset, and crooked. One shoulder was much higher than the other and his back seemed permanently skewed forward, producing a slight hump in his back. Chase had his doubts about this man’s capabilities in pulling off such a brutal multiple homicide. His gut was telling him it wasn’t this man, but the evidence certainly argued in favor. Chase grabbed the suspect’s file, he wanted to look it over once more. Something fell from underneath the folder and hit the table with an audible smack.
“Whoops,” the detective glanced down to see what it was. He found a picture of himself in the local newspaper looking back at him with emotionless eyes. Above his picture was a headline that read: “Local Police Department Investigating Details Surrounding Detective Accused of Murder.” He stared for a moment longer and glanced sternly at Jackie who quickly placed the paper under his clipboard.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring that in here.”
Detective Kilgour grunted and pulled out a chair to sit. That was the last thing he needed on his mind right now. He tried distracting himself by scanning through the details of the file. The man’s name was George Bishop. He was fifty years old and homeless. He had a few run-ins with law enforcement in recent years. Mostly petty misdemeanors that you would expect of a man in his situation – shoplifting, public intoxication, and subsequently public urination. Nothing indicative that he would do something extreme like this.
Chase re-positioned himself on the hard plastic chair and loosened his tie. He had to be comfortable to think clearly – both were proving to be difficult. Minutes passed. Finally he clapped the file shut and tossed it back onto the table. The momentum sent the cluster of pages sliding across the table as if it were ice. The contents nearly spilling out completely.
“Hey, careful now,” Jackie cautioned as he promptly reorganized the papers.
Ignoring him, Chase hunched over, resting his elbows on his knees while holding his eyes shut in the palms of his hands. His mind was untenable right now. His train of thought couldn’t navigate with the other pressing matters plaguing his mind. Often he found himself idle at the train station afraid to venture forth and face what lie ahead of him. He let out a languished sigh.
“Sorry to interrupt your hard work, but I do believe you mentioned something about lunch.”
Somehow, Jason had managed to sneak his way into the room without Chase noticing. Detective Kilgour was always surprised at the man’s ability to seemingly appear out of thin air; he thought he would have been used to it by now after years of working together, but it was uncanny how well a man of Jason Stubner’s stature could be so stealthy. He begrudgingly dislodged his hands from his face to look up at his partner.
“I didn’t realize they had finally widened the doorways so you could fit without having to squeeze through.”
“I see your sense of humor hasn’t left you. It’s a shame that what was left of your youthful radiance has gone – you look terrible.”
“Ha,” Chase scoffed, trying to rub the redness out of his eyes, “and you look like a lion stalking its sickly prey. A lion whose fur migrated from the top of his head down into that damned beard of yours.”
“I just might be if you don’t hurry up and come talk to the Chief so we can get out of here.”
“Only if you carry me. I don’t think I have the energy,” a playful glint flashed in Chase’s eyes followed by a smirk, “it must have left with my youthful radiance.”
“For you? Anything,” Jason smiled back through his thick beard.
Minutes later the trio found themselves in Police Chief Thomas Addams’ office. Addams was an older man, in his late fifties, and an ex-marine. The two detectives had worked under Addams for nearly ten years at this point and despite some tensions when they had first started, a friendly rapport had been fostered over the years.
Today, however, Chase could feel something was slightly off with Thomas and he knew it was his fault. His face was tired, seemingly defeated. His facial expression was sad and soft as opposed to the usual hard, statuesque ferocity that many people found intimidating. Chase felt as if he were responsible for the desecration Thomas Addams’ intense persona.
“Stubner, flex your muscles and scare the door shut, please.”
“You got it Tom,” Jason struck a valiant pose and held it until Chase kicked the door closed, “Atlas may have held up the world but not once did he close a door simply by flexing.”
“Actually I’m pretty sure he would have caused several earthquakes were he to pose in such a manner.”
“That’s not the point, Jackie.”
“Whatever you two are about to debate is certainly not the point of this meeting. Let’s get on with it, shall we?”
Thomas Addams, despite his down turned mood, was able to reign his employees back in line. He sat straight as a board in his large leather chair, his hands crossed and resting on his desk. He looked expectantly at the three men above his small reading glasses that sat low on his nose. His short white hair looked exactly the same and as neat as always, Chase was convinced he trimmed it every day as it never seemed to change. His office was neat and arranged perfectly, it was as if he had never left the military.
“Right at once, Tom,” Jackie was assaulted by the Chief’s harsh gaze, “Uh, I mean, right at once, sir.”
Chase chuckled, Addams never did seem to like Jackie. He suspected Tom was secretly jealous of how Pembrook was able to keep his clothes so well pressed and wrinkle-free. Whatever it was he was certain the lab tech would never make it to the first name basis with Tom.
“I think it’s safe to say that Bishop is our guy, despite our inability to get a confession from him,” Jackie stared once again while handing Addams the completed paperwork he was working on earlier, “As I was saying to Detective Kilgour earlier, the DNA evidence we have on him tells the tale. We didn’t find any other matches on DNA in our system, in fact the only other DNA we found in the house belonged to the elderly couple. It’s quite sad, really, it seems like no one has visited them in a very long time.”
“Yeah, that is sad – oh and also the fact that they’re dead.”
“And in pieces, not really much left of them to visit.”
“Alright, enough you two,” Addams put an early end to a line of conversation he didn’t have the patience for, “So we have enough to put him away. Any idea what his motive would be? Why would a homeless man like him do something so brutal to these elderly folk?”
That very question was the one that made Chase feel uneasy about claiming George Bishop guilty of this murder. No explanation he could think of made any reasonable sense in his mind, and with no confession or witness testimonials his gut would not be swayed. He proposed the only logical answer he could reach.
“No reason. If he did it, the only way I see him doing it is if he just snapped. You know? That’s the best I’ve got. Maybe Bishop was tired of being homeless and angry at the world for not allowing him to piss where he wants when the world put him in that position in the first place.”
Addams leaned forward, eyes trained on Kilgour.
“You said ‘if he did it,’ are you not convinced by the DNA evidence?”
“At this point we don’t have any evidence that Bishop knew these people or that this was premeditated. I believe that if someone were to pick out a random house to break into and kill whoever was inside must have some kind of serious mental problem. From what I could tell during Jason’s time with him in the questioning room I think Bishop is of sound mental health – at least as sound as an alcoholic homeless man can be. That’s not even mentioning the man’s poor physical stature; he’s been living off fast food scraps and alcohol for the last few years. I just don’t think he would have it in him to do something like this.”
“I have to back him up on that one, sir, the whole time I was questioning him I got the sense that he wasn’t insane or anything. Now that doesn’t mean I necessarily agree on whether he did it or not, for all we know the man could be a psychopath and a damn good liar.”
Chief Addams processed everything he had just heard for a moment. He removed his reading glasses and let them hang around his neck as he leaned back in his chair. He rubbed his eyes – there had been a lot of that going around lately. After checking the watch on his arm he finally spoke.
“Okay. I’ve worked with you two long enough to know I can’t dismiss your intuition without further investigation. Right now I’m partial to agree with the lab on this one, I’ve seen the evidence we have on him and it’s more than enough to convince the DA that we’ve got the right guy. I’ll wait on that, though, I want the footage from the questioning when I get back from lunch. Stubner, you and I will be working on this from here on out. That’s all I have for now. I’m hungry, so you’re dismissed.”
“Music to my ears, Chief,” Jason’s lips strained to listen to the aforementioned music as they formed a large ear-to-ear grin.
The three men turned to leave, eager to satiate their hunger. Addams’ voice cut down their enthusiasm like the brush he had cut down in the jungles during the war.
“Except you, Kilgour. You and I need to talk.”