The admirably firm and shapely body of a young woman in her early thirties lay spread out, devoid of any shame or embarrassment. Not that she had anything to be ashamed or embarrassed of. Tight workout gear, black spandex shorts and a grey sports bra clung to her form, leaving little to the imagination. Her eyes sparkled, reflecting the starlight as they gazed skyward. Her long, wavy black hair was darker than the shadowy surroundings and grime of the alleyway surrounding her. The healthy sheen of her jet black hair was punctuated by glimpses of the dark crimson of her own blood, pooling beneath her body. Her skyward stare was blank and empty of life.
A light suddenly flashed. The crime scene photographer had begun his unenviable duty of recording the scene for posterity.
“Can you believe it’s her?” a haggard cop with auburn hair said aloud.
The auburn veteran was Officer Frances Clery, an Irish immigrant who had taken his family and fled for North America when domestic terrorism began to shake his homeland two decades earlier. He had been a rookie when he gathered his family onto the boat for a better life on a new continent. Now wisps of white were quickly blowing through the temples of his pale and fading hair; his voice carried the strain of his decades of experience.
The man he spoke to was his senior officer, Detective Harry Hughson. Hughson wore every day of his experience as a line on his face. The man was nearly two years away from retirement, while looking ten years his senior. His eyes spoke volumes of cynicism and exposure to the worst that life offered.
“I’m shocked, but not surprised,” replied Hughson. “This was inevitable. It’s not about what’s right or fair or what we’d like. There are just certain forces, certain people you can’t refuse, even if you are the most beautiful woman in—”
“This stinks real bad,” a young officer interrupted.
The officer’s wide nostrils flared as he glared at his senior officers, chest heaving. He was burning with the passion for justice still held by those with little-to-no experience on the streets. The rookie, Officer Brickner, wore a uniform so blue it nearly seemed to glow in the murky grey of the alley. Although the uniform was indeed exactly the same as Clery’s, it had the appearance of being at least two shades darker. The difference being that Brickner’s uniform had not experienced years of wear, it had yet to be stained by the experience of active duty. Brickner’s furrowed glare bore into his superior officers. His grey eyes seemed to simultaneously sink further into his dark skin and pronounced brow ridge, a visual connection to his African heritage.
“Keep a lid on it rookie,” Hughson responded with a heavy serving of scorn.
“What, you think this is straight forward?” Brickner blurted in disbelief.
“Sometimes there’s more going on than what there seems and sometimes things are by the book. You haven’t had enough time in the street to have a single goddamn clue how to tell the difference,” Hughson replied. “As far as you’re concerned rookie, there’s no other reason to see this case than by the book. You know well enough from your 'excellent' training at the academy, that when a murder victim is married, the spouse is the first suspect—”
“Come on, I know I’m new but what do you think—”
“I said enough rookie! We all know that there was more than one man in this city that wanted her, and maybe one of them finally got his way. That’s a great recipe for a jealous husband and we know that jealousy often leads to violence,” Hughson responded angrily. “We’re going to talk to the husband, because that’s what an investigator does to gather evidence.”
Hughson had issued his final rebuke and the officers climbed into their cars, Hughson on his own, Clery and Brickner silently climbing into the squad car they shared. Both men knew that there was no point in discussing the matter any further. Brickner's youthful anger and Clery’s experienced apathy created a cacophonous vacuum of silence that mentally devoured them both.
None of the officers needed to ask for the address of their prime suspect. Despite the fact that the victim’s husband was a simple brick layer, everyone knew who he was, or more importantly, that he was married to the most beautiful woman anyone had ever seen.
The officers arrived and the knock at the door was soon answered by a fit man in his early thirties, his reddish-brown hair parted down the middle and his blue eyes looking confused at the presence of the police at his door.
In the background, a young boy, looking a lot like a four-year-old version of his father, stood in the dining room of the simple yet elegant home that his parents had made for him. The boy wore sky blue one-piece pajamas, complete with cottony looking white clouds on them. He stared nervously down the hallway, watching his father speaking to uniformed policemen.
“Mr. DuPlacey…we’d like to ask you a few questions,” Hughson started.
Within minutes, the man who had answered the door with every mental faculty and level of composure one could ask for was crumpled into a heap at the threshold of his own home, screaming incoherently, crying uncontrollably.
Hughson had radioed in for a female officer to help with the child.
“Hi, I’m Mallory,” the officer introduced herself to the confused and curious child.
The boy nodded politely, then tried to press by the woman so he could watch what was happening.
With the female officer in place, whom Hughson believed was better equipped to handle a child, the officers followed their instructions to cuff the suspect.
“Dad, NO!” the child burst out.
The boy reached for his father in vain as the woman who had seemed so friendly moments ago, held him back, causing the boy to struggle.
The shout snapped the man lying cuffed on the floor out of his incomprehensible grief long enough to spur him into a new struggle, fighting with the fervor of a mad man.
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