If you haven’t read part 1 yet,
Or even Part 2, this will make next to no sense.
When we left our Story last time:
… I would have thought him asleep if not for the pool of blood he was lying in. I turned him over and saw the ragged holes in his chest. Placed just the way they had taught us to shoot at the Academy. I vaguely remembered someone rushing me with a knife. Had I shot him? I may have.
I smelled my fingers. Cordite. The smell of burnt gunpowder was in the air. I had recently fired my gun that was now missing. I looked down at my clothes. My uniform was unrecognizable. It was torn to shreds and all emblems had been ripped off. No one could ever know me as a cop.
And we join the story, already in progress…
I could hear sirens wailing in the distance and getting closer. I had to decide what to do quickly. I could be linked to the case even if I ran; if it had been my gun that had shot him. All of the firearms in the department had ballistics records on them. They were sure to check. Even if I found all of the bullets they would suspect a cop. They knew how to cover their track. I thought my best course of action would be to cry self defense and stay and wait for my brothers in blue to come. I sat down hard on the cement next to the body.
I never was exonerated. There was no proof of anything but the fact my gun had killed the man. I couldn’t prove self-defense. I couldn’t prove anything. I was fired immediately. Kicked off of the force never to return. At least I didn’t have to go to jail. I know what they do to cops in jail.
I snapped out of my revelry and back to the present. I got moving fast. I flipped the cap on my lighter dropping it into my pocket, and moved quickly toward the glowing outline of the door, exiting back into the overcast sunshine of the alley.
My gun disappeared back into it’s holster as I exited the alley, turned right and walked quickly down the street towards a diner I had passed earlier. The sirens had almost arrived at the warehouse as I ducked inside “Vic’s”.
I sat at the counter and ordered coffee trying to pick up something, some clue from the warehouse. Then it hit me. The guy I had shot said “He dead across the street.” Before he began blasting away. Why was that so important? I finished my coffee and left Vic’s, walking fast to avoid the police that were milling around the warehouse.
My next stop was the library. I went directly to the newspaper archives and dug around looking for the news account of the murder. Across the street was the key. I knew it. I perused articles about the murder until I found it. Moran was not killed in the fire, but in the house across the street from the warehouse. I headed there next.
As I arrived I saw that a small brick house that sat on a large lot directly across the street from the warehouse. This was the murder scene, the place where Nelson Moran was killed. Why had I not thought of that before? I must have heard it somewhere.
The house was still covered in yellow crime scene tape and discarded coffee cups when I started up the front walk. I noted a rusting realty sign that hung from a bent metal stand. As I approached the porch and ducked the crime scene tape, a young officer emerged from the front door. “Area’s off limits buddy. Move along.” He told me in a bored voice. He didn’t want to be here either.
“Relax.” I said as I displayed my Private Investigators badge. “I’m here working for the family. I just want to look around.” “I dunno. I’m not supposed to let anyone in here without permission. We are working on this case.” “I understand, but the family has asked me to take a look around. C’mon I know you are bored. We can look together. I won’t even touch anything.” “Okay, “ he finally relented, “Just for a few minutes.” “That’s all I’ll need.” I told him as I mounted the steps and followed him inside.
I crossed the threshold and motioned for the officer to be quiet. I needed to think, to hear what the house could tell me. This house had been unoccupied but partially furnished by the Realtor who was trying to sell the house. I could hear the canned laughter of a television program playing in another room, where the officer must have been “watching” the place.
I entered a small hallway with worn linoleum on the floor and noticed the smell. It was the same stench of unwashed bodies that permeated the warehouse across the street. The homeless must have lived here also. That is probably why Nelson Moran was here that unfortunate night.
I turned left and entered a living room that was dominated by a huge bay window. This window took up most of the north wall. I walked over to the window and looked out. This was a perfect view of the warehouse across the street. An arsonist may have liked this view as his handiwork burned. But I was not on that case. This room had been lived in, the carpet worn thin in several spots, but it was relatively clean. Not exactly brimming over with clues.
If I didn’t find something, this case would be over.
Join us again next week for the next chapter of Jackson Malone!