It wasn't the best of days for police detective John Denver. First, he woke up with a throbbing headache. Then he received a call about a suspected homicide. Now, he was riding shotgun in the police car, with his partner Dylan Thomas at the steering wheel. Denver glanced to his left. Sometimes he wondered how Thomas could have been his partner and best friend as well. They were so different in many aspects, yet the two of them clicked well. For instance, Denver was a rookie in his early 20s, and was of medium build with curly black hair, while Thomas was an experienced sergeant in his late thirties, was of a larger build and had straight brown hair. But then again, Denver had always looked up to Thomas as his older brother, and Thomas was willing to share almost everything with Denver as well. It formed certain camaraderie between them, and the both of them had solved several robbery and burglary cases, earning praises from the police commissioner. However, today was their first homicide case together, and both of them were hard-pressed to solve it.
The sight that greeted both man was not particularly pretty. A body lay at the front door of the apartment and it was quite obvious that whoever the killer was, he sure hated the victim. At first glance, it could only be ascertained that the victim was scarred by a liquid which was most likely acid. "What happened exactly?" Thomas asked the first responding officer to the crime scene. "Sgt, an old man called the police at 6.55am, reporting that his neighbor's body was lying on the front door of the apartment. I reached the crime scene and did the necessary- detained the old man, cordoned the area off to public." "Thanks for your help. Lead us to the old man and leave the rest to us," interjected Thomas as they walked towards the old man. The old man was gaunt, and wrinkles littered his face. He seemed tired and nonchalant at the same time. Denver held up his badge "Sir, we would like to ask you a few questions." "Ask away," the old man was tired but he was cooperative. "Sir, please tell us what exactly happened." "I woke up at 6.45am just like every other day and I was about to go for breakfast when I found Joe lying face up on the floor in front of his door. I went for a closer look and turned around when I saw his face. Man, that psycho splashed acid and killed him. How cruel is that?" the old man said as a matter-of-factly. "Sir, how did you know it was acid?" The old man gave a chuckle and replied, "I was once burned by acid when working in the pharmaceutical industry." He raised his left hand and a scar was seen. "Now, I know acid wounds when I see them." "Last question Sir, you don't seem horrified or even surprised that your neighbor was killed." "Joe was never friendly in this neighborhood, in fact, he was aggressive towards almost everyone except his friends who were drinking with him, people like him die every day, there's nothing to be sympathetic about." The old man shook his head in disapproval. Denver and Thomas left the old man to examine the crime scene.
"This killer's no ordinary man, he's extremely careful," noted Denver at the lack of fingerprints and evidence in the crime scene. "That's right, and he's very daring, he did not even dispose of the body after killing the victim here," Thomas pointed at the blood splatter around the victim's head and on the door. "Right now we know a few things; the victim was either splashed with acid first or hit in the head with a blunt object repeatedly. We'll have to ask the coroner for the actual order but my guess is that the acid was splashed first, this fits the image of the perp hating the victim more." Thomas summed up but gave a sigh. "All this isn't really much to go on." Denver pondered for a while. "Thomas, why don't you visit the victim's parent and see if they knew if the victim had any enemies. I'll follow up on what the old man said- the bunch of friends the victim hangs out with." "What about the old man himself? He was at the scene and is a suspect as well." "The blunt object used would have weighed at least 20 pounds, and there was no way the old man could have lifted it. Of course, this doesn't rule him out, but I think that other leads are more important. If you're worried, we could put a police officer to monitor the old man." "Alright then, do be careful and less polite, others are supposed to call you sir, not the other way round, being too polite will only let everyone climb all over you." Thomas left Denver to visit Mr. and Mrs. Robson. Denver could not understand what Thomas was fussing about. After all, it was always better to offend less people, lest he became the next Joe Robson.
John Denver stared at the apparel store right before him. The visit to the club which was the most frequented in town was not exactly helpful. The bouncer admitted that he saw the victim on several occasions, but could not remember what his friends looked like. All he could do was point to the opposite shoe store, where he thought one of the victim's friend was working. Now, Denver strolled into the store and brought out the picture of the victim at the counter. "Police, does anyone know this person?" At this, a young man stood up. "That's Joe Robson, my friend. Did anything happen to him?" "He was found dead in front of his apartment door this morning. May I know your name?" questioned Denver. "What…dead? But…I just saw him last night," stuttered the man whose name tag showed him to be Ryan Matthews. Matthews collapsed into a chair and shook his head wildly. "I need to go to the restroom…Excuse me for a while," Matthews walked lopsidedly and disappeared into the back of the shop. "Sorry for that, Sir, I am the owner of this shop and Matthews is my employee. I often saw the victim with Matthews. He must be greatly distraught at the loss of his good friend," Jamie Garcia spoke to break the awkward silence. "It's ok, I'll wait," nodded Denver.
A few minutes passed, and Matthews had still not reappeared. Denver decided to check on him. But before he could even start moving, Denver heard someone in the shop let out a scream. In front of them, Matthews was limping and struggling to keep his balance. A deep gash appeared on his forehead, and his arms and legs were slashed too. "Someone…black suit…gloves….he attacked me..," before he could finish his sentence, Matthews collapsed to the ground and writhed in agony, hoping that he was dead and did not need to suffer anymore.