By Jeff Bennington
Detective Rick Burns slammed on the brakes and stepped out of his rusty red Pontiac. He gazed into the crowd, took a deep breath and recalled the other murders. The heaviness, the blood, the darkness had finally pricked its sharp edge into his soul. He peered into the night and wondered, no, he feared, that this one would be like the others.
Red and blue lights enveloped his body and danced across the frightened neighbors that had gathered together, shaking and shivering. The car door let out a lingering squeak, slammed shut and he walked forward.
Rick lifted the crime scene tape, rushed past an ambulance and heard a woman whimpering. He turned his head, continued forward and studied her face with twisted brow.
“Teary and swollen,” he whispered to himself. “Shocked at best, but not grief stricken.”
He examined her slow, careful movements as she gingerly wiped her tears. Her eyes lacked the hollow, desperately confused grief that he’d seen far too often. Lady of the house, or mistress perhaps, it mattered not, something about her seemed amiss. He pulled his notepad and pen from his jacket pocket and scribbled a few words regarding his first suspect: female caucasian, mid-fifties, pinstriped suit, stilettos, shoulder-length red hair, five-foot-eight, no blood visible, September 23, 9:30 p.m.
The detective weaved through the crowd of wealthy onlookers wrapped in lush throw blankets, Swiss satin pajamas, and lama-lined slippers. They watched and whispered. Fearful murmurs and conjectures splashed his ears amongst the waves of apprehension. He listened to their wonderings and walked on.
As he approached the home it was clear that he stood out from the other cops. Although he had a higher pay grade than the first responding officers, his running shoes, faded jeans, wrinkled t-shirt and patchwork sport coat made him look more like a down-on-his-luck-reporter than an eight-year veteran of the Indianapolis Police Department. But that was Rick Burns. He cared little for appearances. In his line of work, he found that appearances, more often than not, were deceiving.
He walked through the moistened grass and noticed that a second story window was open and the room illuminated. The house was a lovely Meridian Street classic with intricately stacked Bedford stone, copper gables and staggered limestone quoins. He could smell the fresh scent of glory maple and the last of the purple pansies at the base of the stamped-concrete entrance. He took one last look before entering. The elegant contours, lines, and lighting looked great from the outside. To Rick Burns, however, it appeared beautifully deceiving.
The detective opened the glass entry door, observed that the doorjamb had not been tampered with, and approached a group of officers gathered at the base of the stairway.
“Which way, fellas?” he asked.
They pointed toward the stairs. Rick noticed their disturbed behavior, arms crossed, eyes reeling in fear. Officer Nick Carmichael, the rookie, had recently vomited and was busy wiping the acidic residue from his chin.
One officer called, “Hey, Burns!”
The detective stopped. “Yeah?”
The cop shook his head. “It’s not pretty.”
Rick’s eyes jetted back and forth, observing the dread in the remaining officer’s expressions. “On a scale from one to ten; what’ve we got?” he asked.
The officer scratched his forehead. “Twelve. Maybe thirteen.” He looked directly into Rick’s eyes. Rick felt as if he were trying to warn him, offering an unspoken heads-up into the dreaded scene that awaited his inspection.
The detective looked up the stairway and imagined the grisly scene. He reached into his pants pocket and grabbed a bag of sunflower seeds and popped a handful into his mouth and sucked on the salty shells. Six dead in two years, he thought. And all on my watch. He swallowed, nearly choking on the apple sized lump in his throat.
“Game’s on, boys.” He headed up the steps and slapped his hands together. “Time to get dirty.”
Throughout his career, he knew what to say to keep his fearless detective image intact, but the words never soothed his spirit. He took a deep breath and his heart raced in anticipation of the unknown...
I'll send out a few more excerpts to my blog followers over the next few weeks. If you know anyone interested in this type of book, share this blog with them. Thanks and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!