a short story by Wallace m greensage
Charlotte's Near Miss
A Short Story By Wallace M Greensage
Who Is This Naked Lady?
And What Have They Done With My Wife?
Part 2 of 6
Todd looked again at the four witness statements his detective sergeant had asked him to review as the sergeant was off that weekend. They had been taken at the station by the duty officers immediately afterward the stabbing in the early hours of Friday morning. There were three witnesses to the stabbing and the club doorman who had dialled emergency services. Todd had an uneasy feeling that something was not quite right but he couldn’t put his finger on the reason for this. What’s bothering me about this, he wondered.
He made coffee for himself in the small kitchen and leaned against the counter, deep in thought, mentally shutting out the din of the busy Saturday morning office. His mind went back over the statements. That’s it, he thought: they are all remarkable similar. Too similar! Even the one from the club doorman. This smacks of a cover up, he thought.
He went back to the statements. Three men in the early twenties, all sharing the same address. Where did the victim live? Ah, interesting. Same address too.
Two hours later, Detective Inspector Todd Mathersley, accompanied by a plain clothes officer, Detective Constable Stephen Chapman, climbed the stairs of the crumbling government-built block of concrete flats. As expected, the ancient lift wasn’t working; they trudged to the fourth floor, attempting but failing to ignore the faint smell of urine in the stair wells. Chapman rapped hard on the door of number sixty-five and they heard movement inside.
A muffled female voice called out tentatively. ‘Who is it?‘
‘Police. Open the door please,’ Chapman called out.
The door was opened, still on its security chain. ‘What do you want?’ the young woman asked timidly. She was dressed in a long tee-shirt.
‘We just want a word with the occupants of these premises. It will only take a minute.’ Todd assured her.
‘There’s nobody here,’ she told him. ‘Only me and I can’t let you…’
‘Who is it, Tanya?’ called a voice from inside the flat.
Todd raised his eyebrows questioningly. ‘All alone, are you? Open the door please,’ he instructed her firmly. ‘Now!’
The door closed and immediately re-opened wide once Tanya had released the security chain. The two policemen stepped inside.
Two rooms and a kitchen. The front room door was open and Todd could see bedclothes on an old sofa and a camp bed in the middle of the room. In the kitchen, he saw two young men in their twenties eating at a tiny table. As the front door slammed shut, they looked up.
‘What the...who the fuck are you?’ the taller of the two men shouted as he rose from his seat.
‘Police,’ Todd told him, snapping his warrant card straight-armed into the face of the approaching man.
He stopped and glared at Todd. ‘What...’
Todd interrupted him, speaking politely. ‘Nothing that will take more than a few minutes, sir.’ Todd pointed at the closed door of the second room. ‘Your mate in there, is he?’
The girl Tanya, opened the door and Todd saw a third young man sprawled on a double bed, fast asleep. No, not a double, he noted; two singles pushed together.
‘Ask the gentleman to dress and join us, please,’ Todd instructed Tanya. She climbed over her side of the bed, unknowingly revealing her miniscule thong underwear, and shook the sleeper gently, then more strongly when he groaned and tried to roll over.
Todd turned away as the groggy sleeper showed signs of waking. Tanya spoke to him quietly. Todd waited in the hall and two minutes later, Tanya and the sleeper joined Todd and the other two young men in the narrow hallway. Todd nodded at Constable Chapman, who entered the first room.
‘What’s he doin’?’ asked the man who had first approached Todd.
‘And you are?’ Todd asked.
‘Ched. Ched Jinks. You should ‘ave a search warrant if yer want to look round ‘ere.’
‘Oh? Do we need a search warrant?’
‘Shut the fuck up, Ched,’ the erstwhile sleeper drowsily warned him, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
The three young men and the timid girl stood in the tiny hallway waiting for Todd to speak. Only Calderwood maintained eye contact. This will be interesting, Todd thought to himself. Let’s see how long it takes them to fold.
Thanks for reading this and for your positive comments.
Next post will be tomorrow. Charlotte's father asks searching questions. How will Charlotte handle them?