Archive for March 17th, 2012

17th March
written by amber

Don’t Go There

When I arrived on the scene, I saw many police cars surrounding a very large moving van. The crime scene tape surrounded the moving van, so I knew that was where the body would be found.

As I strode toward the moving van, my men tried to block my way. “Don’t go there.” Sometimes they’re too protective of me, but I’m not some fragile female. I can take it.

I couldn’t take it. Inside the van, one of my men lay, his life’s blood forming a red halo around his head.

One of my men. I always call them ‘my men.’ They’re all young, they all have a lot to learn, but they aren’t indistinguishable.

James. The man who died was James.

“Marla.” My captain approached. “You have to stand down now. You can’t investigate the death of one of your own men.”

“I already know who killed James,” I told him.

“That’s impossible. The medical examiner and crime scene people aren’t even here yet. All we’ve had time to do is trace this moving van – it was reported stolen last month. We haven’t even tracked down the owner.”

“It wasn’t the owner. It was the suspect we’ve been looking for, the one who leaves dismembered bodies in trunks on the outskirts of town. Look, Andy didn’t pull this moving van over for any sort of violation. He’s not…he wasn’t a traffic cop. And he probably didn’t know what we see now, that the van is full of trunks. But he saw what I can see – the mud flung up onto the van’s sides. Most drivers keep their rigs cleaner than that. And it’s the same red mud we encountered where the last body was found.”

“But why would he try to take the guy down himself?”

“He wouldn’t. Unless the circumstances were exceptional. There’s only one explanation. He must have found the murderer in the middle of a kill. We know the perp abducted women from ground floor or basement level apartments during the night. If you check apartments around here, you’ll find that someone’s missing.”

The captain shook his head. “He could have radioed it in, got help on the way. It would only take a moment.”

“James wasn’t in his patrol car. See, that’s his personal car over there.” It was parked sideways at the curb, not far behind the moving van. “And you know James, he never remembers to keep his cell phone charged,” I said to my remaining men. They nodded, sober-faced.

“It all took place inside this moving van,” I went on. “He either saw the guy dragging his victim in here, or saw a light coming out from under the door. He probably had his gun drawn as he went in.”

“You can’t possibly know that.”

“I know the way I trained him. He would have been careful.”

“Not careful enough,” the captain said sourly.

“He had to drop the gun.” I pointed to some leaf litter in the gutter, the standard issue police revolver barely visible in the mess. It wasn’t tagged.  No one else had noticed it. “The guy must have been holding the girl like a hostage, she must not have been dead yet. James climbed in because he was ordered to, then the guy shot him, either with a silencer or he shut the door first.”

Everyone stared at me. “No one called it in, right? No one heard shots. Someone saw the body, later, because the back of the truck was open. And it was open because James opened it. After he was shot.”

James was lying with one foot sticking about six inches over the back end of the truck. Smears of blood covered the inside door lever.

“Why would the guy let James open the door?”

“It was a while later. After the guy finished carving up the girl. See the mess of bloody plastic in the corner – I bet you’ll find the knives and saws in there, and her body in one of the trunks. James must have passed out after he was shot, but he came to eventually. The neck wound was fatal, but it was a slow death. He had time to pull out the gun he wears in a shoulder holster under his shirt.”

My captain challenged, “And what’s your theory about what he did with the gun?”

“He shot the murderer. If I’m not wrong, the guy crawled into a corner of the van to die. That’s probably his blood flowing toward us now. Maybe he’s not even dead yet. Maybe someone should take him into custody. But not me. It’s not my case.”

I walked away. My men followed me.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

Thank you to my mother, Mary Bond, for suggestions that inspired this story.