Detective Albert Sykes was hoping he was going to get through at least one night shift without having to attend a murder scene.
He was looking forward to going fishing on the weekend, and, with about an hour to go, it was looking possible it might happen.
Until the call, a shooting in a neighborhood near where he had stopped to have a cup of coffee and a donut. After attending a domestic violence scene where it turned out the wife had mistaken the husband for a burglar and hit him over the head.
A lot of blood, some very angry words, but not deaths to deal with. Not then maybe.
A patrol car and ambulance had beaten him to the scene, and he arrived as the paramedics were attending to the victim on the lawn and a visibly upset lady.
When he reached the paramedics, he asked, “What happened?”
A policeman standing by them spoke, the paramedics trying to revive the man lying still, a large blood stain about where the heart would be on his track top.
“Apparent gunshot wound though no one heard the shot. The witness saw the man fall to the ground, when she came out she saw someone run from the bushes and get into a car which, she said, sped off, and another car which left soon after, in the same direction.”
“And a man in the bushes, possibly the perp.”
Possibly, Sykes thought, or not. That would be determined by the crime scene investigators and put in a call.
Sykes looked over to where the woman was being questioned by the officer's partner. A quick look at the scene on the ground, and the notification from one of the paramedics that the victim was dead, he joined the officer and woman, arriving just as she was saying, “the man in the bushes got into a red car, no I don’t know the make or model, just that it was red, and the other car was blue. I think it was chasing the red car, but I can’t be sure.”
Sykes asked a question, “Was the man alive when you reached him?”
“I don’t think so, he was very pale. I never did a first air course, so I didn’t know how to check. I just called the ambulance to come quickly.”
“Where are the bushes the man jumped out of?”
The woman pointed to a clump of bushes surrounding a tree on the strip between the footpath and the road. There was one outside each of the houses in the street, and none looked as though they had been maintained.
He walked around the bushes and stopped on the roadside where there were a couple of broken branches, and a space almost big enough for a man, or woman, to hide in. Like children had hollowed it out so they could play inside hidden from their parents.
Intermingled with the scent of the bushes was another aroma, that of cordite, of a recently fired gun. But no weapon, or bullet casings. The shot had come from the bushes. The man who burst from them and left in the red car most likely the shooter.
He went back to the paramedics who were covering the body.
“Do we know who the victim is?”
“We believe he is Joseph Jones, lives about two houses down from here. The woman recognized him. He usually goes out for a morning run about this time.”
People who have regular activities, and a jogger. If the exercise didn’t kill him, then he made it easy for someone else to do the job. Someone who knew him well enough to know where he would be and what he was doing.
When Harry saw Sykes purposefully striding towards him he groaned.
The man was perpetually in a bad mood, overweight, usually smoking a cigar, known to drink excessively, a man who hated the world and everyone in it. In other words, the perfect man for the job.
Harry had crossed Sykes path on another job, where he refused to answer any of Sykes' questions on the grounds of client confidentiality. It was an attitude Sykes said that was only going to bring him trouble, warned him he should be inclined more towards helping the police, not hindering them.
Harry pretended he didn’t see the detective coming towards him, and waited till Sykes rapped on his car window.
When he wound the window down, Harry said, “Detective Sykes, what are you doing here?”
As if he didn’t know that, which only irritated Sykes more.
“I could ask the same question. Your car was seen here at the time of the shooting.”
A moments thought, then “Are you sure it was my car?”
“A blue car matching this car’s description.”
“There are a lot of blue cars matching this.”
“Then why are you here now?”
“I was driving past and saw all the lights and cars. Could be a potential case.”
“This is a homicide scene. You should be out looking for stray animals. If I find it was your car that was here, I’ll have you thrown in jail. Go, and don’t let me see you here again.”
© Charles Heath 2016-2018
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