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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

This chapter is in a different perspective, so as to see the story from a different angle. From here on the perspective will switch back and forth between Selena and my new character. If you want to find out more, read it.

Chapter 3 (v.1) - The Substitute Crime Investigator(freewrite)

Submitted: August 11, 2016

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A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 11, 2016

A A A

A A A

The Substitute Crime Investigator

 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I wanna be a detective!”

“But you know you can’t Markus.”

_______

 

She looked up at me with her big, dark, round eyes, she was so close now. Her lips were only an inch apart, then, ‘Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep!’. The dream dissipated. Why world, why?!

I slowly lifted my eyelids, but couldn’t muster the will to get up, so I laid there staring at the ceiling till my head started throbbing to the relentless beeping of the alarm clock. Reluctantly I crawled out of bed, I was greeted by cold morning air, and It took all I had in me to keep from returning to the warmth of the covers. I walked over to the dresser on which the alarm clock sat, still screeching. I shut the stupid thing off, but without it I’d be out of a job, and if I’d set it on the night stand I would’ve hit snooze.

 I stretched and yawned, then set about my morning routine in a zombie-like fashion, getting dressed, shaving, combing my hair, brushing my teeth, and swallowing down a few pills. Then it was time to go to work.

The sun had just come up on the horizon as I parked in the Daily Denver News parking garage. I got out and took a quick look at my reflection in my car’s window, smoothing down a defiant hair, and silently hoping my new tie might somehow impress Lindsey. Then I started off on my early morning trek to the news building a couple blocks down.

When I got there I looked up at the big white building with dark windows, in a way it kind of looked like a newspaper itself. Just a few months ago it had been intimidating, but as the days went by, it had now become familiar and common place. I walked through the main doors, and as always the building was teaming with life, reporters, editors, writers, and photographers were all rushing around, constantly racing against time to meet the deadlines, and only got more hectic when you went upstairs, that’s were all the real work is done.

After awkwardly cramming myself into packed elevator, and waiting a few agonizing seconds in the cramped, hot, and claustrophobic space, I arrived at the third floor. Carefully I dodged all the busy employees that darted around with heavy stacks of paper in their arms. Our department was in the corner of the room, since it wasn’t that important, and I could see a handful of people busy at work, including our department’s writer, Nancy, a retired school teacher, so she was a perfect for the education department. Next to her was Lindsey, she was a 24-year-old (only a year younger than me) fellow reporter. She sat there busily typing on her computer, she must have heard me coming because her head of golden curls whipped around, her face showed great concern, wait what is that supposed to mean? She clumsily scooted back her chair, then jumped up and ran over to me.

She looked up at me with her big, dark, round eyes filled with fear and curiosity, I got lost in them for a second, but then her worried voice brought me back to reality.

“Mark,” she said, “I’ve been waiting for you,” she paused (now this was intriguing), “the executive editor wants to see us.”

Uh oh, that is not what I wanted her to say, this couldn’t be good news. I checked my watch, I was only 4 minutes late, can you get fired for that?! My face no doubt mirrored hers as we both walked to the executive editor’s office. My heart beat quickened as we approached a big wooden door, Lindsey hesitated, then knocked on it. A man shouted for us to come in, reluctantly we entered.

In the center of the small room sat a man at a large desk, that took over most of the office’s space. A metal plate on his desk read Robert Harvey and listed his job. He looked over us with grey-blue eyes, I noticed Lindsey was trying to look courageous, I tried to too, but my heart pounded, it started to ache within my chest. I willed myself to take deep slow breaths, I was not going to pass out in the executive editor’s office.

Robert took breath, about to speak, we braced ourselves for the worst.

“I would like to commend you.”

We were shocked.

“What for?” I blurted out.

“For your last few articles, they’ve been exemplary, and were finished in record time.”

“Excuse my sir,” said Lindsey, “but were just the reporters, we only gather information, Nancy’s the one who writes the articles, you should be commending her.”

“Yes, that’s true, but you two have gathered all the facts, including ones not mentioned on the television news, as a result sales have, although only slightly, increased. Keep up the good work and tell the others in your department that they’ve done well too.”

“Thank you sir, is that all,” asked Lindsey.

“Yes, you may go.”

Lindsey left the room and I went to follow her, but then I looked back at Robert. He picked up a sheet of paper and sighed, running his hand through his half grey black hair.

“Is something wrong,” I asked.

“Oh,” he said, “It’s nothing for you to be concerned about”. He sighed again, “It’s just that, Jeremy Caldwell, our main crime investigator’s wife just had a baby, and he’s taking some time off to be with her. I can’t find anyone to fill in for him, and I just got word that there might be front page worthy story developing.” He stared off into space for an awkwardly long time, and I had no idea how to respond to that, so I turned to leave, but then he spoke up.

“Do you think Lindsey could manage reporting for the education department by herself?”

“Well, I have no doubt that she could, she’s an intelligent and talented young woman,” I replied, not liking where this was going.

A smile crept over his face, “I believe you’ve solved my problem.”

“I have?”

“Yup, I believe I’ve just found my new temporary crime investigator.”

“Excuse Me?” I asked.

“Well of course it’s up to you, but if you don’t I don’t know who I’ll get to do it.”

I thought about It, my mother’s words coming to mind when I told her I had wanted to be a detective, she said I couldn’t, that my heart was too weak to take it. But it sounds more interesting than interviewing teachers and members of the school board. I’d just have to talk to a few police, I won’t be in any danger, right? Besides he wasn’t giving me much of a choice. But there was one problem. “I am willing sir, but I wouldn’t know what to do, it’s a lot different from what I’m used to,” I told him.

“Oh you’d do fine”, he said,” Just talk to the crime department editor, he’ll tell you the basics. Besides you only have to do it until I can find someone else to fill in.”

“But...”

“There’s no time to wait, there’s a deadline and the other reporters are probably already at the crime scenes now.”

I obviously had no other option, seeing I was basically ordered out of the room. I hurried back to my desk to gather a few notepads and pencils, and as I was digging around to find my camera I heard a shout from a few desks down.

“Hey,” It was Lindsey, “Where are you headed off to?”

She looked like she was about to head out herself and was gathering her own supplies.

“I’ve got a bit of a temporary job change,” I told her, rummaging around my desk.

“What?!”

“Yeah, the executive editor said I was badly needed in the crime department.”

She tucked a pencil behind her ear, “No offence, but are you really qualified for that?”

“Not at all, but he didn’t give me much say so, must’ve been desperate. Do you think you can handle things on your own?”

She sighed and looked concerned, she nodded and a new look of determination came over her. “Yeah,” she said, “I can do it.”

I thanked her and threw my supplies into a sturdy backpack.

The crime department was downstairs on the second story, which it shared with the largest department, politics. When I arrived I saw about half a dozen people hard at work some I recognized, others were strangers. I wondered around, trying to figure out who the editor was. Suddenly a man leapt up from a desk beside me, he had a mop of black hair and large black-rimmed glasses to match it.

“Can I help you,” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said, “I’m looking for the crime editor.”

“That would be me, what do you need?”

“Oh, uh, the executive editor told me you guys could use a reporter.”

“Yeah we sure could, what department are you from?”

“Education.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose, “you do realize interviewing little old women who teach history is not the same as interviewing detectives, traumatized victims, and even possible criminals?” He paused, and I said nothing, then he continued, “I suppose we’re going to have to do the best with what we’ve got.”

I took a little offense, I’m sure I’m perfectly capable of doing it, could it really be that hard?

“What’s in the bag,” he asked, gesturing to my backpack.

“Just some pens and pencils, notepads, a camera, and a chocolate chip granola bar.”

“Well you’re going to need more than that if you want to be a crime reporter. Come on Caldwell usually left some supplies around his work space, I’m sure he won’t mind you borrowing them as long as you return them in one piece.”

I followed him over to a desk that had a small cabinet next to it. He opened it and started pulling things out, a flashlight, binoculars, a map, and a voice recorder. I stuck them in my bag.

“Do you have a check book,” he asked.

“Yeah, why?”

“Because photos and security footage don’t always come cheap. Ok, I think your all set, but here’s some tips, you can interview detectives and police, but don’t get in their way. If you’re talking to an upset victim or relative, try to be compassionate, and whatever you do don’t offend them. And lastly, don’t waste time, it’s essential.”

He handed me his business card, with his job description and name, Timothy Mayer, and his phone number on it.

“Call me if you have any questions or need help. Oh, by the way, I didn’t get your name.”

“It’s Mark Slater,” I said.

“Ok Mark, here’s your assignment,” he said, getting a sheet of paper from his desk and handing it to me. “Sorry it’s not much, but it’s a start.”

With that I was off on my very first assignment as a substitute crime investigator, and I had no idea what I was doing, or what to expect. I got in my car and drove down the highway, leaving the bustling city behind and heading toward the beautiful suburb of Lakewood.

_______

 

Is this the right street? I pulled out the sheet of paper the editor had given me. It says 2843 Plateau St., well this is Plateau street, so where’s the house? Timothy sure was right when he said they didn’t have much information; the paper only says that a man was found dead from an unknown cause. Why did this have to be my first assignment? They better have taken care of the body; I don’t feel like getting scarred for life today.

I drove a little farther and went around the bend, oh, there’s the house. It was a pretty little house, but all of its beauty was ruined by lines of yellow police tape all around it. News vans, police cars, and the cars of fellow reporters lined both sides of the street. I parked my car amongst them.

Before I got out I rummaged through my backpack for a notepad and pencil, which I tucked behind my ear, then I got out to join the crowd. I really had no idea what to do first, so I went over to a compacted crowd of press around an officer who seemed to be dealing with the media. I listened to them ask questions to the officer to hear his answers and get a feel for what questions I should be asking.

“What was the cause of the man’s death,” one person yelled out.

“We don’t know yet but an autopsy is being done,” the officer replied.

“Did anyone else live in the house,” another reporter yelled.

“Yes, the man’s wife, Kathrine Rousseau.”

“Where is she now,” the same reporter asked.

“We do not know, but we are doing their best to find her.”

“Have you found anything else significant in the house?”

“The house has to be checked for fingerprints first, then we will conduct a thorough search for any further evidence.”

After a more questions with no real answers, I gave up on on sticking with the pack and walked away to get some quiet and write down what little information I’d gathered so far. I wondered around the house for a minute, then took note that there were two cars in the driveway, it could be a useless fact, or a vital clue. I stood there on the sidewalk observing what I could of the house, police darted around, observing every inch or the house. I sighed if the world permitted me to have it my way I’d still choose to have my childhood dream job as a detective, oh well, a crime reporters pretty close, might as well make the best of it while I can.

As I watched the police work I noticed a tall man, easily over 6 feet tall, with caramel colored hair, walk out of the house. He was probably only a couple years older than me and wore shirt, tie, and dress slacks, not a police uniform like the others. He glanced over at the swarm of press, then looked at me with a curious expression, I pretended not to notice instead acting as though I was busy writing on my notepad, but then he started walking up to me. I continued to pretending not to acknowledge him until he was only a few yards away, then I looked up, he took long strides and held himself with a sense of pride and dignity.

“Which newspaper are you from?” he asked me casually.

“I’m Mark Slater, from the Daily Denver News, you’re the detective on the case, right?”

“That’s correct,” he paused, “well go ahead.”

I stared at him, confused.

“Go ahead and interview me, that why you’re here, aren’t you?”

“Oh, right. Um let’s see how about we start with…”

The detective grinned, “your new to this aren’t you?”

I smiled sheepishly, “is it that obvious?” He nodded, and I continued my attempt at an interview.

“So who found the body,” that seemed like a good starting place.

“The Public Safety Answering Point received a text from an anonymous person saying that there was a man killed at this address and they forwarded it to us.”

“That’s odd, did you track the phone?”

“We did but the person used the dead man’s, Richard Rousseau’s phone.”

“Hmm, so what condition was the house in when you first entered?”

“Everything seemed in place, except the sliding glass door on the back of the house had been broken.”

“Was it a robbery?”

“We have no way of knowing if anything was taken, but there isn’t any evidence of anything being stolen.”

“What condition was the body in when you found it?”

“There were no visible marks on it, although it is safe to say it looks like he suffocated.”

“Suffocated, yet there were no marks on him?”

“Yes, that’s what I just said.”

“What room was he found in,” I asked.

“It appeared to be the dead man’s wife’s art studio.”

“Was there anything else significant in the room or the rest of the house?”

“There is a strange painting, hanging in the art studio, it depicted the man, Richard’s face after he died,”

I wrote all these things down, with each question I asked the case got weirder and weirder, and it interested me. “Do you think that his wife did it,” I asked.

“That’s what it looks like, but there’s no real way of proving it, she’s gone, probably on the run.”

“Then how did she get away if there’s still two cars in the driveway?”

The detective glanced at the cars, “your very observant.”

“Well, actually,” I said, “I aimed to be a detective once.”

“Really, what made you change your mind?”

“I just, decided it wasn’t for me,” I lied.

He stared at me hard, his hazel eyes seemed to search for something.

“You know, there’s more clues inside the house,” he said.

“Really,” I perked up, “like what?”

“That depends,” said the detective, “on how badly you want to know them.”

I didn’t really understand what he meant. I looked at the house, I wish I could just go in and see for myself, not just ask questions about it.

The detective seemed to read my mind,” don’t you want to see what’s inside,” he said looking towards the house, “not because it’s your job, but just because you’re curious.” It was an odd question, but he was right.

“Well yes,” I replied.

“That’s what I thought, follow me,” he said nodding towards the house. I followed him, still not exactly sure why he was doing this for me. We walked up the porch and through the red door, into what appeared to be the inside of a completely normal house. I couldn’t take notes quick enough to write down all the details of the house, so instead I scribbled down a quick drawing of its layout, it looked like this:

 

I was anxious to see the art studio, my heart fluttered, and not in a good way, I coughed a couple times and reminded myself to calm down. All around us there were officers gathering evidence and dusting for fingerprints. We turned down a hallway, I could see the art studio through the open door, but not anything in it. We walked through the doorway.

I stopped in my tracks upon seeing the painting that was hung on the far wall. It was the most devilish piece of art I’ve ever seen, if you could call it art. It could only have been the work of a deranged mind. If that accurately portrays the body, I would have died of a heart attack if I were the one to find it. It was so life like, even though it depicted the man, Richard, after death. I never wanted to lay eyes on it again, but duty lead me to dig my camera out and of my bag and take a couple pictures of it.

“If the man’s wife, Kathrine wasn’t it, killed her husband why in the world would she paint this picture, unless she was crazy,” I asked.

“She was,” the detective said.

“Really?”

“Some officers did some research, apparently when she was younger her parents emitted her into a mental hospital. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has supposedly taken medication for It ever since.”

“Well doesn’t that just about solve the case,” I asked.

“I suppose; we just have to find her.”

All the sudden a shout came from behind us, “What is he doing in here?!”

We both spun around, a look of dread came over the detective. The man in front of us was in his forties with dark grey hair, he was of average height but was muscular, like a bulldog, and his whole presence gave him an air of authority.

“You know the press aren’t allowed on the crime scene, what were you doing letting him in here,” the man asked the detective.

The detective, despite his height, seemed to shrink in this man’s presence, his previous sense of pride all but disappeared. “Sorry sir, it’s just that…”

“I don’t want to hear your excuses,” the man said, “come on.”

He gestured for me to follow him, giving me a dirty look. I followed him, but as we walked out of the house I could no longer keep quiet, so I asked the man, “Excuse me, but who are you?” He gave me a look that seemed to say, ‘what do you mean, everyone knows who I am’.

“I’m detective John Parish, and I am in charge of this case.”

“But wait a second,” I said, stopping, “that other guy said he was the detective on the case.”

“Who Aaron?”

I didn’t answer, he hadn’t told me his name.

 The real detective sighed, “That boy’s pride gets the better of him, he already thinks he’s some kind of Sherlock Holmes.”

“So is he, or isn’t he a detective,” I asked getting even more confused.

“No he’s not, not yet any way, but if he passes his exams he’ll be promoted to one, so he’s shadowing me for a while. He’s got some talent, he’s amazing at reading body language, one time when he was with me on a case about a woman found dead, I let him conduct the interview with the woman’s husband, who seemed hysterical with grief, and I had to stop it because Aaron was saying terrible things to him, which only made things worse. Afterwards I asked him why he did that, he said that every word the man said was a lie, which was no excuse for the way he acted, but in the end he was right, the husband was the killer. But besides that Aaron’s not the best detective yet, even if he’s qualified on paper, he’s still got a lot to learn, he still can’t tell a homicide from a suicide.”

We had just made it a ways out of the door when a police officer ran up.

“Sir, we just got a word from the PSAP, they received a text at 6:47 PM yesterday, they think it’s from the same ‘anonymous’ person.”

“Well why didn’t we hear about it sooner,” detective Parish asked, almost yelling.

“They thought it was just some prank, since the message didn’t make much sense,” the officer said.

“Well what does it say?!”

The police officer handed him the detective a piece of paper. He looked at it for a second, then suddenly he dropped it, and the police officer and I watched in astonishment as he sprinted back into the house and disappeared. Curious I picked up the piece of paper that he dropped and read it. Then I dropped it and ran back into the house too, my camera in hand.

By the time I made it into the master bedroom Detective Parish was already on the floor pulling a box out from under the bed. I readied my camera as he pulled up the lid, I wasn’t sure what we’d find. To my relief it was just a bunch of old diaries. The detective, John, pulled out one with the current year on it and hastily pulled it open, he stood up and read it with a concerned, concentrating look as he paced around the room.

A couple police men entered the room and waited to take orders. The detective snapped the book shut.

 “You” he pointed at one of the officers, “I want everything you can find on a man named Mathéo Rolland.” He looked and at another officer, “and I need you to get a group together and have each and every one of these diaries thoroughly read. And you,” he pointed a t me, “I told you to get out of here.”

Reluctantly I turned around and walked out of the house. That man’s name, Mathéo Rolland, what was that about, hmm, I could almost swear I’ve heard that somewhere before. I went out onto the street, that still swarmed with press, and I walked over to my car, no use staying if I learned all there is to learn, the editor probably would like to hear what I’ve found out, and I’m sure there are more crimes I need to cover.

I opened the car door and went to get in, when I saw a figure coming towards me in the rear view mirror, I turned around it was Aaron, I waited for him to jog up.

“Hey,” he said, “sorry about earlier.”

“It’s alright,” I said.

“Here,” he said handing me his business card, “If you ever need another interview or want to talk about the case, call me.”

“Ok,” I said. This guy was a bit odd, I didn’t see him giving free interviews to the other reporters, maybe he’s just lonely and wants someone to call? I don’t know.

“Just don’t bother me too much, because I’ll be really busy with the case,” he said resuming the serious attitude he had when I met him earlier.

“Um, ok,” I said hopping into the driver’s seat. I shut the door and drove off.

 

_______

 

That night, after work, I sat down to review my notes from my first and most interesting assignment of the day. I had practically filled the entire notepad, so I got to work, only stopping to microwave a frozen dinner.

I finally finished by 8:00, and thought it was still too early to go to bed, I’d usually watch T.V., but I forgot to pay for cable and now I’d have to wait until my next paycheck. So I pulled yesterday’s newspaper out, which was already open to the crossword puzzle page which I had filled in somewhat yesterday, so I continued filling in the boxes, I guess this is what people did before T.V. It was actually surprisingly hard, I didn’t have a clue what most of the answers were, but I filled it out to the best of my ability till my eyes crossed.

Finally, I gave up, folded up the newspaper, and threw it down on the desk. I got up from my chair, but then I stopped, something on the front cover of the newspaper caught my eye, it was a small article on the bottom corner of the page. I gasped and pulled Aaron’s business card, they may have already seen it, but it was still worth a shot. After rummaging around my apartment to find my phone I dialed the number. It rung for a couple seconds then he picked it up.

“Hello,” Aaron said, “who is this?”

“It’s mark, the reporter, we met earlier.”

“Oh yeah, I didn’t expect you to call so soon.”

“I know,” I said trying to get to the point, “have you seen yesterday’s Daily Denver newspaper?”

“No, and I don’t want to buy one if that’s what you’re asking.”

“No it’s not that, here I’ll send you a picture so you can see for yourself.” I took quick picture and sent it to him.

“Whoa, your right, seems like more than a coincidence. I wonder why we didn’t find this.”

“Well It is only from yesterday.”

“Yeah. Hey, why don’t you stop by the station tomorrow, we’ve found out a lot since this morning.”

“You’re sure it’d be ok?”

“Yes, there will other press there too, so you wouldn’t be the only one.”

“Ok.”


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