A Stab in the Dark

A detective. A forensic scientist. A journalist.
Three lives drawn together by a murder.
When evidence lies and the case evolves, who can you trust in a city full of lies?
---- Updated every Wednesday ----

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16. Every murderer is someone’s best friend

Escorting ‘the wasted one’ to the interrogation room, I ignored my orders, instead telling Smith that he had been assigned to the crime scene. Did Chesterfield really think that I was going to examine Jackie? Did he really think that I was that heartless?  I was going to bring her murders to justice no matter what the cost.  

 

“Dude…” Charlie muttered, breath reeking of alcohol, “I ain’t killed no-one. Max- Max ain’t guilty neither.  We didn’t kill your friend.”  

 

I said nothing, holding back the fire and rage which threatened to overwhelmed me. The pain in my chest demanded to be felt but for now, I had to resist and stay strong or else I would lose myself before the case was truly over. I shoved Charlie through the door and closed it behind me after I stepped through.  

 

“I thought I told you to go.”  

 

“Sorry, sir but I won’t. Jackie was my friend and I won’t abandon this case. Don't forget that I know you, sir, I know how you reacted to Martha and Jackie's death. One word from me and you'll be joining the suspects list.” I stressed my words, showing him that he had no place to argue with me. Enough was enough and today it had all become too much. My cuffs had blood streaked down their sides and my heart was shattered into pieces; anyone who dared cross me would suffer the consequences, especially today.

 

“Lloyd, you have no right to talk to me like that you little-”  

 

“I HAVE EVERY RIGHT! Now sit down and talk.” I instructed, forcing the intoxicated man down on the plastic chair.  

 

“Start the Recording, Harry.”  

 

“Can I get some Paracetamol?” Charlie slurred as he raised his hands, gesturing wildly.

 

“No.” I answered bluntly, “Now tell us what happened.”  

 

​"MAKE ME!" he yelled childishly, lips falling into a pout as he folded his arms.  

 

​"Either you tell me or I throw you back into that cell with no medicine. In this room, I am in control and you will tell me!"  

 

He made a show of sighing loudly before facing the wall and blankly staring. Harry and I shared a look as he opened his mouth and began to talk in chunks, only pausing to massage his forehead or giggle softly. He had clearly had far too much to drink and his so called friend hadn’t stopped him.  

 

“Max- Maxi- Maximus opened the door and spoke to the lady. He lied to the lady and then she threatened him… I don’t really remember because I passed out but there was shouting and stuff. Then Max left for work. He didn’t kill your woman, dude. He wouldn’t do that. He ain’t a bad man and neither am I you pompous shit.”  

‘She was not my woman. Katie was my woman but Jackie was my world.’  

 

“What time did he leave?”  

‘Give me something that I can work with!’  

 

“Around six? I dunno. There was a call or something. Why the hell do you care?!”  

“Check the phone records.” I instructed calmly.

 

“Me?” Chesterfield exclaimed, pointing to himself with an odd expression on his face.

 

“No. I was talking to the prisoner.” I deadpanned.  

 

“I’m not qua- qualified to do police shit, detective dude.” Charlie exclaimed as I looked around in disbelief. Closed in a room with an idiot and a drunkard, even my sarcasm was beginning to fail me. Even now, I knew that my skills would not.  

 

‘I want a beer so much.’  

 

“What are you not telling us?” My eyes arrowed a sweat began to trickle down his fore head. Our eyes met but all I could see was the alcohol which clouded his vision.  

 

“I told you everything, mate.”  

 

“Really?”  

 

“Yes.”  

 

“So then why does Mr. Costello’s story not match yours?” I leant over the table, looming over my prey. If crime novels had taught me one thing then it was that people panicked the moment that you started to question their story. Chesterfield raised an eyebrow. He knew that I was lying through my teeth but from the expression on Charlie’s face, he remained ignorant.  

 

“I’m telling you! That was all!”  

“Really? I’m sorry to tell you but if we don’t get something soon then both of you are going to be locked up with charges of a double murder and averting the course of justice.”

Bullshit’.  

 

“Screw you, dude. You don't know shit!"

 

“If you just tell me the truth then we can let you go. Is that what you want or would you rather be stuck here for the rest of your life?”  

‘More bullshit.’  

 

“I won't tell you anything!"  

 

"Then you'll stay here for the rest of your life!"

 

"Fine!"  

 

"Fine! Wait, shit... I didn't mean that! It was- It was Charlie. He had blood on his shirt when he re-entered the house.”  

I leant back and stole a breath.   The bastard. I was going to kill him. Painfully and slowly.  

 

“Thank you for your co-operation Charlie. You have been a lot of help.”  

 

“No problem, mate. Can I get my drugs now?”  

 

“Harry, you can deal with this.” I said, gesturing to the lump in the middle of the room. I had no time or patience to deal with a drunken waste of space.  

 

“Oi, Jones. Make me a coffee.” Harry called out as he moved towards Charlie.  

 

I saw red.  

 

What I said next was unrepeatable. Even Charlie raised an eyebrow as my colourful language filled the hollow room. With a final shout, I fled from the chamber, running through the building with pain fuelling my ever step. It demanded to be felt and who was I to resist? Reaching my lab, I opened the door and charged through, breath joining my pulse in racing away from me.  

Gone. Gone. Gone.

Jackie was gone.

 

How much did I have to suffer?

How much did I have to endure?

I fell to my knees, gasping for breath as memories and images washed over my mind.  

 

‘Alright’ my mind helpfully supplied, ‘You’re having a panic attack.’

 

No shit!’ the rest of me responded, ‘But what the hell should I do about it?!’  

 

There was no response.  

 

Grappling with my phone, tears blurred my vision as a picture of Jackie and me lit up the screen. Punching in my code, I clicked on contacts before pausing. Who could I call? Katie was dead, Jackie was gone and I had no-one else. The device fell from my fingers and crashed onto the floor; I had no-one.  

 

And so I sat, eyes glazed over with tears streaking down my face. I had lost everything and was now simply in the ashes of what used to be. My life was a wreck and Max was the one to blame but yet Charlie saw him as a friend.

 

As Agatha Christie once wrote: Every murderer is someone’s best friend.  

 

As my vision began to swim, my head lolled against the cool wall behind me.  

Nothing mattered anymore.  

 

Max Costello was going to pay and it was my job to make sure of it.

Little did I know he was thinking the same about me.               

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