One Less Lover

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is the second of two stories with the same starting theme & settings. But they are not alike in any other way. This is a mix of who done what, where, and when. And the best part is the reader, if they are so inclined, decides who, what, when, and how. Only the twisted ending speaks for itself.

The evening was a wet one, windy too. And because of the wind gusts, the rain that was falling appeared to be coming down at a 45 degree angle.

Thunder could be heard, but the layer of clouds overhead only allowed some residual light to get to the surface of Mr. Baylor's surroundings.

Randal Churchill Baylor was a jewelry and precious metals trader, and he had just stepped off the Pine Street Trolley when the wind hit him like a miniature title-wave; --- swoosh, off he was taken by the force.

But his balance overcame the diversion, so he righted himself as he steered his tall and slender body toward the steps that stood in front of the Row-houses that lined the street.

Most of the Row-house doors, facing the street, were tall, Mahogany, and had polished brass hardware. Their viewing area of glass was emerald cut on every side, and clouded on the surfaces for a resemblance of privacy.

It seemed that Luck, that fable often referred to as being a Lady, was not with Randal on this evening of wind and rain. So he was just taking his time while trying to dodge the weather wherever possible.

 

After Randal navigated this street's track in-bedded surface, and managed to set his size ten patent-leather shoes upon the glistening surface of the well maintained sidewalk, he was hit again. --- Swoosh!

Randal grabbed a porch railing and held on despite the fact that most of his attention was focused on the briefcase that was in his other hand.

Alligator skinned, the briefcase was, with brass buckles and hinges. There was a lock on the briefcase too, but it certainly didn't match the other brass hardware, no, it was heat-treated steel; you could tell by the bluish tint on the surface of the metal.

 

Suddenly, a man wearing a black rain-slicker and a Captain's foul-weather cap stepped from the rain clouded shadows.

"Nice weather for a Ruddy-duck," the stranger calmly stated.

Randal quickly replied, "Yes, if he had foul-weather coverings such as yours."

And with that brief exchange, the stranger pulled an Alligator skinned, brass buckled, briefcase from beneath his rain-slicker.

Then the two men made an exchange quickly, while pretending not to notice one another. The exchange, swapping one briefcase for the identical other.

Then as the stranger tucked the newly acquired briefcase under his slicker he said, "Under any other circumstances the price would have been double.”

Randal nodded his head and replied, "Last minute sales are always subject to lower returns.”

Then, just before turning to walk away, the stranger said, "Next time you have last minute selling to do, take the Blue-Line to Lander Lane and wait by the abandoned news-stand. This street is much too open for my liking. "

Then the man wearing the black rain-slicker, and the foul-weather cap, disappeared into the falling rain.

 

Randal left too, rounding the nearest corner and then walking two blocks west.

And as he walked along, all the while creating shadows by the light of the streetlights, he took advantage of shop doorways. Yes, from doorways to canopies that the shopkeepers had hanging over the fronts of their businesses, and anything else that offered relief from the rain on Market Street.

As Randal waited under the Trolley Station's awning he began removing and shaking his waterlogged hat. And that is when he heard something behind him. He turned in a defensive manner only to see a cat making it's way to a windless and dry spot in a doorway.

So Randal returned to what he was doing, brushing off his trench-coat to rid it of clinging water.

Yes, under the Station's awning he stood awaiting the Cross-town Trolley to rescue him from the elements.

But when the Trolley finally arrived, the driver noticed a body sprawled on the sidewalk, and blood was apparent on the rain soaked curb.

 

Detective Bryan Stoker, recruited by the Boston Police Department and saved from a unhappy employment with a NCIS Team in Baltimore. And the only thing that preceded Stoker's arrival was his reputation for cases solved.

 

As Detective Stoker exited the unmarked police car and walked briskly through the pouring rain, he said as if he was talking to some walking beside him, "It is a sad state of nonsense, seeing someone lying on a sidewalk in a bloody pool of God's cleaning agent."

But few heard what he said, and fewer cared what he was saying on this wet and windy evening.

But I wondered why he had said such a thing before seeing the body that awaited him. Perhaps he was referring to what awaited him and said it wrong. Who knows?

After a quick check of the body, and the dead man's pockets, Stoker moved under an awning to jot-down notes for later reference; "The Victim is one, Randal Churchill Baylor, a Jewelry and Precious Metals Trader according to his business cards.

His hat was resting on bench. Nothing valuable removed from person, gold watch, and wallet with a small amount of cash left untouched.

Victim apparently died from several stab wounds to the back.

Stoker put his notepad, and a stubble of a pencil, back in his pocket. Then he stood for the longest time just surveying the crime scene from the vantage point from which he stood.

 

That is when Stoker noticed that even though the rain had stopped falling, still, there was a stream of bloody-red water slowly making it's way to the street-drain.

And as Stoker watched the water disappear into the slotted shadow below, he said to a nearby policewoman, "Look! Not all this blood is coming from this victim, there is another source from beyond the body's position; it is coming from up this street."

It came as no surprise to the officer on the scene, the Detective was right; but then, stories about him said that he was always right.

And sure enough, a steady stream of red tinted water was flowing from the direction the dead man had come from, or so the detective surmised.

So, with the rain stopped and the wind at a mild whistle, the detective decided to take a observant walk in the fresh, crisp, air.

It had rained long and hard enough to rid the city of it's usual smells, which left Detective Stoker with the unyielding urge to breath deep.

 

After following the red-water trail, he came upon the body of the stranger that once wore the black rain-slicker, and the foul-weather cap. But unknown to everyone but ourselves, those items of clothing were now missing from the man's body. And to Stoker's distaste, this man, like the first, had been stabbed several times. However, this man was still alive.

At the good news Stoker said to the policewoman who was tagging along with him, “Hmm, he's still alive. Maybe we have an eye witness and maybe he can tell us a reason for this madness.

An ambulance was summoned.

 

As Detective Stoker surveyed the scene of what he instinctively felt was the second stabbing, four uniformed officers arrived in two separate squad-cars; there was an ambulance following close behind.

Immediately, two of those officers began checking the shop doors to see if anyone had taken refuge within. And as the other two officers started to do the same on the victim's side, but Stoker stopped them and said, "Leave the door checking to them. I'll check the service-alley, and you two create a perimeter around the crime scene."

The service-alley was nothing more than a fire gap between two buildings, and a flag-stoned walkway leading to the property at the rear of the buildings. But in this case, the back of these buildings had been transformed into an English-garden retreat for the building's tenants.

Stoker thought out load, “Ah, such a quiet retreat of trees, trellises, vines and cozy places to sit in the bustling city. I must remember this place.

 

It wasn't long after Detective Stoker had disappeared into the alleyway, a woman wearing a black rain-slicker came scurrying out from between the two buildings.

Soon after that, Stoker appeared and called out to the two uniformed officers that were attending to securing the area, "Stop That Woman!"

It was then that the woman stopped and looked in the general direction of the detective; she had a puzzled look on her face. But that look didn't last long.

As the two policemen approached her, she went into action.

Using all the moves of a Ninja, and a rather elongated knife as a weapon, she took no time at all disabling one and trying to do the same to the other policeman. And just as she succeeded waylaying the second officer, Detective Stoker drew near enough to become a threat. So this female Master of the Martial-arts went after the detective with a vengeance not seen when she was dealing with the other policemen. And that is when Detective Stoker pulled his service weapon and fired once.

It was surreal, in a slow motion sort of way.

The woman, arms moving in a robotic fashion, suddenly stopped. And at the same instant a small hole appeared slightly above, and directly between, her eyes.

She stood motionless as a trickle of blood began to make it's was from the hole, and onto the bridge of her nose. And that is when her body fell to the pavement.

Detective Stoker just stood there until the rain began to fall, once again. And with the rain falling ever so gently, Detective Stoker emptied his gun and handed his gun and bullets to the nearest Cop for processing. Then he told that cop, “I'll be at the Station if anyone want to know.”

Stoker sighed a heavy sigh, then took a Captain's Foul-Weather Cap from his Trench-coat pocket. And as he walked away he pulled the cap down, low, on his head, and said, "There is just no trusting a fellow thief to leave no witness, so this time around my pockets will be fuller than expected, and my friendships will be missing a lover. --- Such a pity.”

 

Several hours later, Stoker could be seen by streetlight coming out of that very same English Garden with an Alligator skinned, brass buckled, briefcase in each hand. With stolen jewels in one, and cash in the other, he though it best to retrieve them before the gardeners arrived to trim the Ivy.

 

JE Falcon

11-10-2021


Submitted: November 10, 2021

© Copyright 2021 JE Falcon aka JEF. All rights reserved.

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