This is the eleventh part of a fiction serial, in 1065 words.
Jean was inconsolable. The two policemen helped Don get her away from their son’s body, and into the living-room. They told him not to touch anything, and to just sit with her on the sofa. Don could feel the tears on his face, as he watched his wife’s body rocking with near silent sobbing. He had to hold it together for her sake, but the urge to scream was overwhelming.
Tom Henderson stopped his car at the blue and white tape, and showed his I.D. to the officer manning the cordon. By the time he arrived, two more police cars and an ambulance were blocking the road, and some people across the street were standing outside their houses, watching all the fuss. He was met at the door by Andy Cross, a long-serving policeman he knew well, and the first on scene at the incident.
“Hi, Tom. Looks like a burglary gone wrong. A dead boy, eighteen years old, been there for a while, I reckon. Stuff all over the place, but nothing big missing. I’m guessing he was disturbed by the son, and clumped him before legging it out the back doors.” Tom was about to reply when his mobile started ringing. It was Sergeant Sally Wilcox, also alerted by the control room once a body had been confirmed.
“Tom, this sounds like a murder scene. Secure the area, and wait for protective clothing and the forensics people to turn up before going in. I don’t want any evidence contaminated by too many bodies in the house”. She spoke to him as if he had just left training school, but he didn’t care. He was too tired to worry about stuff like that. “I’m on my way down, and I have notified Inspector Mullins. He has told the regional murder squad in the city, and they will nominate a Superintendent to oversee the case. Meanwhile, have a good think about the burglary aspects of the job, that’s your main strength here”. Tom waited until he was sure she had finished talking, and said just two words. “Got it”.
Sally Wilcox was buzzing. After she put down the phone, she went over it all with her partner, who made lots of suggestions that Sally jotted down on a memo page in her phone. She was a known high-flyer, a university educated direct entrant who had gone straight into plain clothes as soon as her probation had ended. When she turned up as a sergeant at the town’s detective branch, everyone had whistled under their breath. A real looker, almost too good-looking to ever be a cop, she had attracted the attention of every man in the police station within moments of arriving. But it didn’t take too long for them to discover that she wasn’t interested. She lived with a woman, and they had a civil partnership. And not just any woman. Commander Emily Leeds, head of the police training college in the county. That connection made Sally more or less fire-proof, and guaranteed that she was no longer bothered, and left alone to do her job. This would be her first murder case, and she was keen to be kept on the investigating team.
Alex decided that he should go outside after all. The people from the houses across the road were standing just outside the taped cordon, chatting in small groups. It would look strange indeed if he didn’t show some natural curiosity. He put the front door on the latch, and walked into his front garden, turning to look across the driveway at the comings and goings next door. A line of blue and white tape stretched across the gap between his Jaguar and Don’s motor-home, and as he walked toward it, a man approached him. “Please go back inside, sir, someone will be along to speak to you later. There has been an incident in your neighbour’s house”. Alex looked at the crumpled plain-clothes policeman. He looked tired, almost worn out, and a little too old to still be operational. When he hesitated, the man showed him a leather holder containing a photo I.D., and a badge with a crest. “Please sir, back in your house for now. There’s nothing to see”. Alex nodded, adding “I do hope they are all OK”. The man sighed and repeated what he had said earlier. “Someone will be along to speak to you later. Thank you, sir.”
Lucy was very relieved when she got to the train station. The traffic had been remarkably light, and they had made good time. She left the engine running, and turned to face Eduardo. “Why are you being like this, Eddie? I took you away to a lovely hotel, bought you clothes, food, and drinks, and you have just woken up today acting like a silly boy, sulky and obnoxious. I just don’t get it”. Eduardo did his best to look hard done by. “But you don’t love me, I can tell. All this time, and you only want sex. I wanted to marry you, get a nice house together, and start a new life. But you don’t ever tell me when that will happen, and you never say you love me. I think if you don’t really love me, we should stop now”. He expected her to collapse in a heap, to declare her undying love, and promise to end her marriage, as she didn’t want to lose him. But he had badly miscalculated.
“Well if you are going to act like a child, and don’t have any patience, then maybe that’s for the best. I can’t just walk away from a long marriage with no plans or considerations, and I can tell you that Alex is not the sort of man to make it easy for me to do that. If you can’t wait for me, then I agree we should end it now. We can be sensible about it, and try to carry on normally. Get your bag, or you will miss the next train. I will see you tomorrow at work, as usual”. He would have liked to have ranted and raved at her. Told her she was too fat, unattractive, and that she snored like an engine. But he was too surprised to do any of that, so retrieving his bag from the back seat, he got out of the car without a word.
To be continued…