The Mustang that pulled up and parked right next to the crime scene tape was plain, generic, an onlooker even described it as mundane. The manner in which its tyres screeched to a halt echoed of its occupant’s urgency and importance. A rather shabby middle aged man briskly jumped out of the driver’s seat, flashing his badge to the officer on guard. The man immediately recognized the detective even in his loose tie and creased and stained shirt; and raised the tape high enough for him to slip through without much effort. Detective Brown, his partner met Cooper at the door to the magnificently large Victorian-style house.
“You’re late, Coop. Unfashionably late” Detective Brown greeted, referring to Cooper’s appearance. He was in last night’s clothes. He also stank of whiskey, cigarettes and insomnia. Detective Cooper didn’t seem bothered; he had an old saying he lived by. “The government pays me to find murderers, rapists and criminals, not to be corrupt, clean or sober.”
“Tell me something new, Partner. What do we have here?”
“Dead body, Coop. Female, late-30s, Does not live here and doesn’t look homeless either. Owners of the house found her here when they came home for vacation.”
“You gon’ give me a name, Brown? Or do I have to lick your boots first?”
Brown chuckled “Yeah. Just a first name from a card she was carrying. A birthday card. Alicia”
“A birthday card was all she was carrying? How festive! Cause of death?”
“Take a look for yourself”
“That doesn’t sound good.”
Detective Cooper took out his gloves and began tracing his path to the bedroom with his eyes. He walked keenly to the bedroom, taking notice of every little thing. He stood in the door way for a few dragged seconds. He liked to take in the crime scene, acknowledge the life that occupied it, the death that so suddenly riddled it, the events that transitioned the former to the latter and everything in between.
The bedroom was in an almost perfect state; except for the bed that is where Alicia lay. He stared at her for a second too long. The look on his face changing from casual to disgusted very visibly then to concern all too suddenly. She lay pale and cold, her lifeless eyes still open as if staring out, calling out for heaven and redemption. She lay a bit too perfectly that it bothered Cooper. Her wrists slit and stretched out beside her. Her head perfectly tilted upward, her cold blue lips pursed together almost as if sown there, it didn’t feel like it seemed. Cooper drew nearer to deepen his inspection. He first closed her eyelids before examining her face and neck, she was covered in bruises; the most noticeable being the ones on her neck, they were prominent, pronounced and worst of all they were fresher and deeper than all the other bruises.
“This isn’t suicide, Brown. I can feel it”
“Of course it is, Coop. Her wrists look like a badly sliced hotdog bun.” Detective Cooper was now circling the bed. “Now Coop, I know you like adventure and mystery but this looks like an open and shut case to me.”
“And how is that, Brown?” His tone came off a bit condescending
“Well from here, Coop it looks like Alicia had some rough days here and there. Maybe heartbreak here and there. Until one day, she decides to pull her own plug with a knife to the wrists. She was too scared and immature to face her own life so she finds an abandoned house and kills herself. She’s not the first, it won’t be the last.” Brown explained with a note of finality.
“Wait, Brown. You said this isn’t her house?”
“No. The owners, this nauseating young couple came home from a two week vacation and found her there. I told you that already, Coop.”
“Where are they?”
“Out Front. Mr. and Mrs. Morgan.”
“Thanks Brown. Did you guys find the knife?”
“Who said there was a knife?”
“We found no weapons on site, Coop”
“That’s cause it’s not suicide, you idiot.” Detective Cooper walked away, leaving Det. Brown flipping through his notebook furiously trying to locate the murder weapon. Almost as if his words were meant to awaken Brown’s brain from years of hibernation. He wasn’t as good as Det. Cooper, even he knew it; but in all fairness no one was and it seemed like no one would ever be, Det. Cooper had a way with his work. It was effortless, yet the results reflected much calculation and focus. He related with the crime scene and the victim. It was almost as if he spoke to them and eventually for them.
It was easy to spot the Morgan’s from the crowd. They were shaken up. Mrs. Morgan had been crying for a few hours now, Coop could tell. Mr. Morgan rubbed his wife’s back as she cried into his chest with this frozen stunned look on his face. After a quick interview, Cooper concluded that they didn’t have much to offer in the hunt for Alicia’s murderer. They claimed not to know the victim or anyone who would be comfortable enough to stage a fake suicide in their matrimonial bed. So now he had a dead body, no witnesses, no suspects, partial victim identity and a staged suicide; he knew there was something he was missing, the link, the connection. The onlookers were too noisy now and the crime scene had been deliberately cleaned to leave no trace but Alicia, or her body at least. The answers weren’t at this mansion, Cooper concluded. He beckoned Brown and they rode back to the station. Cooper had Brown read the facts of discovery back to him over and over again, as he mumbled under his breathe calculating.
Watch out for the next part.