Leave No Stone Unturned

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


A short story with a big twist

Submitted: March 23, 2018

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Submitted: March 23, 2018

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Leave No Stone Unturned

 

Leo massaged the back of his neck, thankful the meeting was finally over. He took out his phone to call his mother only to realise his whole call log for the past two weeks was filled with Chloe, Chloe and just Chloe, whom he was working with as an assistant detective.

 

“Mom, I just finished my first case!”

 

“But you were just an assistant,” replied Mrs. James.

 

“I’ll be coming back to Kansas tonight, I missed you all so much!” he said.

 

“But it was always your passion and you wanted to be a detective. Anyways, we miss you too…uh wait I’ll call you back Aunty Reena is here,” and with that, she cut the call.

 

The first case had been pretty easy for someone like Leo who has read so many crime and detective novels and real life solved crime cases and has kept each one of them in his mind like a library except for the fact that they had to travel all the way to Florida. Becoming a detective had been his passion since the age of six. His mind had never thought of anything else. Not a police, not a forensic scientist, not a lawyer but only a detective. This was probably because of his mother, a crime novelist who was actually writing her most sold and popular crime novels of all time when she was pregnant with Leo. Hence, Leo started reading crime novels and listening to his mother’s crime stories from very young and always used to be the fastest person in college to crack crimes while studying criminology.  

 

Leo had spent the whole afternoon packing and sat down to relax. Just as he was about to go into a deep slumber, his phone buzzed.

 

Text from Dr.Chloe:

Did you forget we were supposed to be at the airport at 6pm? I am waiting downstairs. Don’t forget to take my baggage toooooo. Thankoooo!

 

“There goes my sleep. This lady didn’t let me sleep for the past two weeks and there she goes again” moaned Leo as he locked the room and said bye to Florida, badly remorsing over the fact that he did not have a chance to taste his most favourite craft beer.

 

As Chloe had said, she was waiting downstairs in a cab and off they went. That night, the flight touched down in Florida and the two detectives parted for a short break before their next case.

 

***

 

Finally at home, Leo hugged his mother and sat down for supper.

“So, how is your boss, the doctor turned detective?” asked Mrs. James.

 

Leo rolled his eyes.

 

Mrs. James continued to press him on with her question.

 

Giving in, Leo replied, “She is so demanding. Oh but she is truly a very knowledgeable person. Don’t ask me more mom, I am already so tired,”.

 

“Okay okay! Aunty Reena came in the noon and her close relative has a case. She gave me a file with the information and apparently the person only wants you to take up the case. See it tomorrow morning okay?’ Mrs. James said as she walked upstairs to get the file.

 

This was unique. Leo had just joined the company. Who would already be so adamant that he has to take up the case? Or did the person mean his company had to take it up? However, he was part of the company too so both meant the same. Therefore, Leo set the thought aside. He was not going to let anything or anyone disturb his long sleep tonight. He even switched off his phone just incase.

 

The next morning, first things first, he opened the file. “Kansas: Susan Fledger Suicide”. An hour passed. The case was an unsolved shelved off case by the police and this person called Jerry wanted to reopen the case. Leo immediately punched in Chloe’s phone number.

 

“Boss, I’ve got a new case.”

 

“Cool. Never knew you were so hardworking and ya go on, we don’t have any other cases in hand. We can take this.” she said.

 

“Ya, I am not sure if you have heard of this but it is about the death of this lady called Susan. She suicided in her apartme

 

“Did you just say Susan?” interrupted Chloe.

 

“Yes, you know the case?”

 

“Just go on,”

 

“Alright. So this person called Jerry wants to reopen the case. He has mentioned he needs more evidence to prove that this was not a suicide but a murder. But let me tell you what, I am hundred percent sure it is a murder. Can we meet up soon?”

 

“How can you be so sure. If the police have already closed the case, it means its a clear cut suicide. Okay, I will look at it once for your sake. Come to my place at 5. See you.” and with that Chloe cut the call. There was something about this case that made her uncomfortable. She needed to find a way to convince Leo to decline it.


 

***

Sharply at 5pm., Leo pressed the doorbell of Chloe’s house at Sunset Hills.

 

“Hey Boss!” he said, proving with this tone each time that he was still a youth and not serious enough to be a detective.

 

Leo took out the file and started going through the details loud. That was when, she decided to take up the case. It would be easy after all.

 

Yes, Leo squealed.

 

“Wait junior, you do know I have a trip to Florida again for a follow up right? So, this will have to wait a week. Okay? Call up that person and finalise the case.” she smiled.

 

Alright, thank you so much boss, byeeee. With that, Leo left. Oh yes Chloe did say the case had to wait but Leo had other plans. He wanted to prove that he has got skills too and made an inner bet with himself to finish the case in a week to surprise Chloe.

 

He called up Jerry to fix a meeting first. The phone call was a strange one. Jerry did not want to meet up yet and only gave more details about the case. He claimed to be Susan’s close cousin and that he was not convinced Susan suicided. At the same time, Leo gathered more information about Susan’s personal life from the latter.

 

ABOUT SUSAN:

Age: 38

Religion: Christian, very religious

Friends: Not much

Family: Parents still in Kansas, one sister who moved to LA after her sister’s death.

Profession: Doctor at Kansas’s Stuart-Vail Regional Medical Centre

Relationship: Unknown

CoD: Suicide, doctor depression

Notes: Hung herself to death. Had been a member of Cryonics Institute. Autopsy was not not not notnot conducted.

 

This report may seem like a normal usual death to a normal person however once someone like Leo has come in, it's not a normal death anymore. He took a closer look at the crime scene pictures in the document file and made some notes:

  • smudged eyeliners ? she has cried before hanging herself or right before dying

  • right hand holding the noose at her neck ? maybe she did not want to die?

  • left hand hanging freely ? more like someone had pried it open

 

He immediately printed out Susan’s call logs for the past six months before she died and got a few of her colleagues phone numbers. Just as he was about to call up the hospital, his Mother came into his room.

 

“Did you forget?”

 

What Mom, he asked, immediately remembering about his promise of bringing her for her appointment.

 

“Sorrryyyyy! Which hospital?”

“Stuart-Vail”

 

Great! Now he could do his investigation while his Mother sees her doctor.

 

At the hospital, Leo found Mrs.Black, Susan’s closest friend in the hospital. Once he asked about Susan, her face changed. A lively Mrs.Black became quiet and reserved the moment she heard the word ‘Susan’. Leo asked her about Susan’s nature. Nothing suspicious or unordinary. She seemed to be a normal person from what Mrs.Black said. That meant, Susan did not have any so called enemies in her life. He also learnt that Susan was in a relationship that ended quickly when she came to know her Boyfriend was cheating on her. Later, he used to come to the hospital Everyday after a month to apologise but Susan never went back to him. He seemed to be very calm at first but soon became fed up of Susan avoiding and ignoring him that he ended up shouting at her in a coffee shop, following which Susan filed a complaint on him. She also later withdrew the complaint after he promised her he would never come back. This happened exactly a month before she died.

 

That's a point and a good lead, thought Leo. “Thank you very much for cooperating. Do you have anything else to say about Susan that could help us?”

 

He noticed her eyebrows shrinking and a confusion in her eyes. It was evident to Leo that she was evaluating if she could tell something or not. But she finally said, “No but if I remember anything, I’ll call you.”

 

***

 

Leo’s next stop was Bryan, Susan’s ex. Leo expected the meeting to be aggressive and tough based on what he heard about Bryan. He was waiting at a park near Bryan’s office for him to come. Nervous. Tick, tick, tick. Two hours went by. What if Bryan didn't turn up for work? Let's just wait for another hour. Another hour passed. Seemed like the whole office had left. Waiting any longer will be a waste of time. Just as Leo stood up to leave, someone touched his shoulders. He turned around. Standing behind him was a male who looked in his late thirties, tall, thick beard and a sober look. Was he Bryan?

 

“I'm the one you are looking for, Bryan”

 

Leo was surprised, shocked, amazed, all at once. How did Bryan know he was coming. Maybe Mrs. Black told him? Or was he following. This did not seem good. Leo turned back and shook hands.

 

Leo gestured for Bryan to take a sit. “How did you know I was coming to meet you?”

 

Without answering, Bryan pulled out a piece of paper, folded in half and all tattered and passed it to Leo. It was Susan’s suicide note. She had clearly stated that she was under depression, could not take the stress and was not sure if it was a right choice. He looked up as he finished reading. The reasons seemed clear.

 

“I can tell that this is definitely not Susan’s handwriting. Two things. Firstly, she lived to be a doctor. There was no way she could not be sure whether it was a right choice. She was so passionate since young. Secondly, the last ‘y’. She curves her ‘y’ in a unique way but the ‘y’ in the last ‘sorry’ seems normal. Somebody has definitely forged her handwriting.”

 

Leo took a look throughout the letter. The ‘y’ did seem different. Although Bryan’s first point was weak but the second one had evidence. He folded the paper and kept it in his pocket. Do you know anyone that might have any intention to kill Susan? he asked.

 

“She never understood me enough to share everything. But I did. While others have a long hard process of getting selected for a job at the hospital, Susan was immediately appointed because she knew the dean before. This, of course, could have angered many but there was this one doctor. That day, I went as usual to visit Susan. A group of doctors came out of the operation theatre including Susan. She didn't even look at me but another doctor did. He seemed very crossed. Once he saw me looking at him, he came to me and said, "we could have done this surgery successfully. This is why I hate people who come by recommendation." I asked him if anyone died. Fortunately, no but apparently Susan had made the surgery very complicated and lengthy by not listening to the other Doctors which could have risked the patient. He seemed to be very cross with Susan, not only on that day but I've seen his eyes raging upon the sight of Susan a few times. You should talk to him."

 

This was a new turning point to the case. This case seemed to go deeper just like what Leo expected. He knew there was more to this. Now he needed to meet the other doctor, Patrick. He stood up to leave. "I'm sorry I forgot to put the letter in when I gave the document."

 

“It's okay,” replied Leo.

 

The train journey back home was a long one. Lots of thoughts. He needed to meet Patrick and Jerry too. He should at least keep the client informed even if his chief did not know. Also, who how was Susan associated with the dean. What was the link? He needed to research more about Susan. Therefore, Jerry has to be prioritised.

 

Something flashed in his mind as he waiting for Jerry to pick up. ‘I forgot to put the letter in when I gave the document?’  Did they know each other? His thought process was interpreted as Jerry picked up. Leo first asked about Bryan.

 

“Bryan was the one who wanted to start the case. I helped him because I got to know your family through Reena Aunty. And I really want you and your chief to solve the case--” and with a pause and a sense of reassurance he continued, “because you guys are really good, nothing else.”

 

Nodding, Leo asked about Susan’s school and college friends and whatever interviews or competitions she attended that might have caused her to know the dean. Jerry went through every single detail of Susan and nothing seemed like she might have known the dean especially when the family only moved to Kansas a few years back and within a month Susan got her job. Leo checked if he could meet her parents but Jerry pointed out that they do not know it was a murder and that he does not wish to disturb them. What else could be more painful than not knowing why your child died?

 

***

 

Dean or Patrick? Who to meet and how to meet?

 

Heads meant the dean and tails meant Patrick. Leo threw it up in the air. Caught it. And put it into his pocket without looking. When the coin is about to land, everyone will definitely hope for either tails or heads and whatever they are hoping for is what they want. The coin cannot decide what you want, only you can.

 

He started following Patrick. This was also the right thing to do. He could not just go and meet the dean like that. What if he decides to not talk to him or run out of the city? That was only if the dean was really hiding something but Leo strongly believed the dean does. His day seemed normal. Nothing strange nor suspicious. His call logs were also clear. But there was something that caught Leo. One day at the memorial area for doctors who died during work, he saw Patrick taking a long look at Susan’s photo. His eyes seemed to be full of melancholy, no joy, no accomplished look. He seemed to be okay to approach.

 

“Hello, this is Chief McDonaugh here from Topeka Police Department. We need to clarify some things regarding Susan’s suicide. Are you free to talk?”

 

“Yes sir, we can talk now.”

“It is being said that you had a personal agenda against Susan. Is that true?”

 

“Oh oh personal agenda is a big term sir. I am not denying that I did not like the way she got her job but she was a very talent doctor in the hospital. It is a loss for us.”

 

“The way she got her job? What do you mean?” Leo tried to get information out Patrick.

 

“Sir…” he hesitated. After a few hellos from the other side, he continued, “I am not really sure but I heard that she blackmailed the dean into giving her the job. I really do not know anything else about the blackmail or her suicide sir. I am not the reason for it. Please leave me.” he begged.

 

“Okay, thank you Dr. Patrick, we will call you if we need anymore information.”

 

That was it. The case was getting to it’s crux. There was no way he could get words out of the dean’s mouth. There was another way.

 

***

 

The area was silent. The house stood big at the end of the street, laden with sadness. Thank god, there were no dogs because Leo was afraid of dogs. This was illegal, he knew but he could not resist. After all, he was going to help Susan’s parents wasn't he? Breaking into Susan’s room would not be morally wrong. Living up to his morals and conscience were the only principals he followed.

 

The window to Susan’s room was locked. Spare keys came in handy. You are great Leo, he thought to himself, proud of his skills. Just like what Jerry had said, her parents had kept her room intact without removing anything for her memories which is a huge plus for the case because her phone and desktop were still there. Even her email account was signed in to!

 

There was no useful information in her desktop, downloads or mail. That’s when he remembered something Chloe had taught him, ‘if you ever want to know the good habits of someone, look at the books he reads and if you want to know the other side a man hides, look into his dustbin’. Why not try looking at her recycling bin or trash? Praying to find something, he clicked the recycling bin icon. There were many files there. Many. He went through each one of them. One by one, waiting for something to reach out and help. That was when his phone had to ring, as loud as a speaker. Fumbling as clumsily as he could, he managed to silent the call. It was Chloe. He waited five minutes to see if anyone woke up. Luckily, he was safe. Why would she be calling at this hour? She’ll be only coming two days later and it seems like Leo would be done with the case tomorrow itself. He sent her the customised text every phone has saying he cannot talk now. Came the reply immediately.

 

Text from Dr.Chloe:

Hey! I touched down in Kansas in the evening. We will meet tomorrow regarding the case. Still strongly believe it is a suicide. See you.

 

Reply:

Getting evidence.  Will too prove it was not a normal suicide.

 

And I will prove it was not a normal suicide or a murder, he said out loud totally forgetting where he was. Suddenly, something caught his eyes. “C.M. malpractice”, a video. He opened it.

 

There were two people in the video. They were in the operation theatre of Stuart-Vail Medical Centre. One of them seemed to be the senior doctor, the one who was operating. He could only see the eyes and it was a female. The other doctor also seemed to be a female but she was only assisting. Once the patient came in, the junior doctor left the room. That was when the other doctor took out a bottle and drank it fully. She then started to operate. Soon, she became unstable. The other doctor came into the room and started saying something in shock. Leo could not hear anything. He took out his headphones and rewinded the video a bit.

 

“Doctor! The operation is on the right eye, not on the left!”

 

The senior doctor gave up and left it up to the other doctor to finish up the surgery as she collapsed onto a nearby couch. It was clear she had was drunk. As she landed on the couch, she took out her face mask.

 

Next stop was her email’s trash. As expected, there were a few emails too. He forwarded them to him too. Now, all he had to do was to give them to the police tomorrow.

 

***

It was 5 a.m. in the morning when Leo reached home.

 

“How’s the case going?” his mom asked as she rubbed her eyes sleepily.

 

“Deep and back to me, mom.” he said as he went up to his room.

 

Although she did not understand what he meant, she was too lazy to think.

 

Leo sat down on his bed, shocked at what he had just discovered. He wrote out possible theories. Susan had spy cammed an alcoholic doctor, used it to blackmail the dean and get a job. It could have been either the dean or

 

“—me” came a voice from behind him.

His eyes widened. He looked up. The voice was familiar. The voice that killed Susan. The voice of Chloe. He turned around to see her sitting on his hammock. Beside her, the window open. She looked deadly. His heart almost skipped a beat on seeing her.

 

“What a play Chloe! So, it was you?” he said as he turned on his recorder discreetly.

 

“Well done junior. Don’t you think this is too much for you kid? Okay, just forget everything. It was a suicide and still a suicide.”

 

Leo still could not believe it was Chloe who killed Susan, “but WHY boss? Why did you kill her after so long?”

 

“She was a bitch. Since college. I was the topper and she hated it. She hated everything I got in life, she was a jealous woman. I admit, what I did was wrong. I was depressed after my second child got aborted and resorted to drink. She took the video and showed it to the dean. In order to save the hospital’s reputation and myself, the dean dismissed me and appointed her upon her blackmail. And then I became a detective, just for a break and planned to start a clinic soon. But two years later, she entered my life again with the same video. She really wanted to strip me of my doctor title. The title I yearned for since four years old. She was earning way more than me but she still wanted money out of my pocket. That was why I had to kill her. Do you think I deserve all this? Do you think what I did was wrong? Do you? I’ve treated you like a brother, do you still think you should turn me in?” she started crying.

 

She came forward, closer to him. The scene turned emotional. And within a second, she took out a knife and almost stabbed into Leo’s stomach had he not moved swiftly. There was no reason to pity her. Drinking on duty was a mistake. Killing Susan was a bigger mistake. And she did come ready to kill him too. He held her hands and brought them to her rears and called out to his mom. She came up running in panic and was totally confused upon seeing Chloe in Leo’s catch.

 

“Call the police, mom” he shouted.

 

Chloe tried her best to get out of Leo’s ways but she could not. She saw Mrs. James running down to get the phone. She had to escape the place somehow. Suddenly, his grip on her loosened. She was surprised. She turned around to look at him.

 

“Letting you go now isn’t a big thing. I’ve got everything recorded.” he came with a bang that she did not expect.

 

Without any thought, she ran. She ran towards the window and jumped. I am not a criminal, I am a doctor and I will not live if that is going to change, were her last thoughts before she fell to her death.

“On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.” - George Orwell.


 

-The End-

 


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