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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8. Something Less Than Human

 Day Two, Part Two: Lloyd

“Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit…”

 

I paced backwards and forwards, gazing at the results in disbelief.

 

There were faint traces of drugs in Martha’s blood stream and a single microscopic slither of metal on the side of the wound. A knife had been used. No DNA other than Martha’s was left on the body leaving me to think that the killer had worn gloves. They were just another faceless human, leaving their mark on the rest of humanity. This murder had been meticulously planned and almost seemed poetic in nature. It was sick, it was sick and twisted and yet strangely haunting.

 

Thinking of my favourite Agatha Christie Quote, my mind was at rest for a few moments.

 

‘Evil is not something superhuman, it's something less than human.’

At least that was a reassuring thought. We were better than violence and mindless murder but yet there were still a few who sunk to the darkest depth of existence and became less than the rest of us.

 

Pulling the white sheet over the body of my old colleague, I took a final look at her before exiting the room. My tests were done and yet no immediate evidence arose leaving me none the wiser and with more questions than before. I needed to see her office and her home in order to piece the case back together and point the finger at the guilty and spare the innocent. Martha was not a good woman but no-one deserved to go out like she did and it was my job, no -my duty- to ensure that the guilty did not go unpunished.

 

After all, that was my job and my job was all that I had left.

 

As the BBC Sherlock theme rose from my phone, I stripped off my gloves and saw that it was Jackie. Letting out a sigh of relief, I answered, preparing to tell her of the obstruction of justice called Max. 

 

“Jackie.”

 

“Lloyd? What’s wrong?  You sound like… Lloyd?”                                               

 

“Jackie, he was here. He was here to tamper with the evidence. The journalist, he just walked in and… I barely stopped him in time and I have no doubt he will be back. He tried to force his way into my lab and he was going to attack me. Jackie, I... I can’t, I just can’t...” For a few moments, panic overrode my every thought. My head was pounding as my heart raced and my hand slammed down onto the counter.

 

‘No, no, no. Not again. Pull yourself together. Pull yourself together, Lloyd.’

 

“Lloyd calm down and breathe, just breathe.”

 

Following her instructions, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, her words like an anchor, pulling me back into the realm of reality. It was okay; I was okay. It would all be okay. Holding back the tears beneath my eyelids, I let the silence ring freely, only interrupted by Jackie’s voice and the crackling of static.

 

“You shouldn’t be working today.” She muttered with pity rich in her tone. Rage rose up my throat as I clenched my fist; my work was everything to me and I would never abandon it, even if it killed me. I was quiet, I was hidden but yet I was deadly efficient in my work and that was how my life went. Jackie had been the only one to notice me and had asked for me on every case due to my success. She was my only friend and not even she understood me but at least she knew the truth.

 

“You remembered…”

 

“Of course I remembered Lloyd, how could I not? It was a year ago, a year ago today.” It was nice to know that at least had one workmate out there who recognised the day that the world crumbled around me and even dared to acknowledge it.

 

“A year… A year since she died and yet nothing has changed Jackie. I’m still in this job, I’m still dealing with all of this shit and it still hurts, every day I miss her.”      

 

“I know Lloyd… Just keep up the good work and if the London Chronicle keeps harassing you, I’ll file a restraining order. Don’t worry about him; I’ll deal with it. Meet me at Martha’s old flat in an hour and we’ll continue the investigation.”

 

“Of course... Thank you Jackie.” She realised that I needed a distraction and was willing to give me one even if it was slightly morbid in nature.

 

“No problem Lloyd and for the record, I’m glad that you’re still here.”

 

 And then she hung up, leaving me in the silence once again.

 

 One Hour later.

 

Pulling up outside the flat, the blue and orange police car caught my attention and alerted me that I was in the right place. Grabbing my keys, bag and phone before slipping out of the car, I locked it before walking over to Jackie. Giving her a confident but forced smile, our eyes met as a silent conversation passed between us.

 

‘Are you alright?’

 

‘I will be.’

 

‘Good. Let’s go.’

 

Knocking on the door, we waited for an answer and when none came, Jackie turned to me and gestured to obstacle in our path. Lifting my leg, a single kick tore the wood off of its hinges. Jackie raised an eyebrow and in response, I shrugged and flexed my muscles; she didn’t have to know about the punch bag in my apartment or the weights by my bedroom. It took up time and that was enough for me.

 

Calling out to the two policemen that accompanied Jackie, her words were firm and clear.

 

“Stand guard. Let no-one in.”

 

Taking the lead, I inched forwards, opening doors and peering into the darkness. Flicking on lights and stalking through the corridor, I couldn’t help but feel like I was intruding on the life of a dead woman, like I was intruding into a life of mystery and dread. Tracing my finger of a surface, I lifted them up to see a thick line of dust.

 

“Over here!” I murmured, pointing to the counter top. Seeing the confusion on her face, I showed her my finger tips and yet she still didn’t understand.

 

“She’s been dead for three days right?  This hasn’t been cleaned in at least two weeks; the dust hasn’t been disturbed for at least as long so that raises the question, where the hell was she staying?”

 

“Lloyd, how on earth did you-“

“Arthur Conan Doyle.”

The look of disbelief which crossed over her feature was enough to tell me that she was impressed. Letting the ghost of a smile edge onto my lips I watched as Jackie simply wrote down the word 'Dust'.

" Elementary, my dear Watson."

"Lloyd?"

" Yes?"

 

"Shut up!"

 

"..." Almost laughing, we continued the search, going through cupboards and closets in search of anything that could be helpful. Stumbling across a neatly labelled photo album, I recognised the handwriting of a dead woman. Neatly crafted letters littered the cover, letters drawn by a hand never to write again Sometimes in cases that were long and drawn out, the true victim could be forgotten in favour of the chase. Martha was not a good woman but no-one deserved her fate.

Slipping books, objects and ownerless possessions into plastic wallets and sealing them, the DNA evidence may have been the next clue. Each day was searching, simply searching for a solution as paths lead to silence and occasionally to answers. It was difficult to see hard work and effort go to waste but Justice had to be served no matter what the struggle. Hands hovering over her laptop, I realised the power that lay beneath my fingertips; a woman’s life, her search history and her emails could hold the final clue in finding the killer.

Crouching down to see what was beneath her bed, a shadow caught my attention. Pulling the object towards me, I adjusted my gloves before calling out to Jackie in a twisted sense of satisfaction. What was the one thing that made my job so much easier? A diary.

"Jackie, you're going to want to see this." As she entered the room, I held up the book filled with words and confessions of Martha Kane. If Martha had noticed that there was anything wrong, she would have written it down and her diary would hold the information. She was a secretive woman but yet had to have an outlet and passing through lover and lover was hardly a way.

"I need it for DNA evidence and then it’s all yours. I think that we're done here, don't you?"

With our hands full of evidence and our minds full of questions, we exited the barely decorated flat and loaded up the two cars before facing each other.

“There were traces of chloroform in her blood Jackie. Just be careful yeah?”

“Of course I will. Don’t worry about me. Drop the evidence at your flat and them come back to mine. Beer and takeout okay with you?”

“Always Jackie, always...”

Climbing into my car and looking at the laptop and diary in the backseat, I let a smile grace my lips. At least today, today of all days, I had a friend to help me through the darkness.

Placing a key into the ignition, I pulled out behind Jackie and followed her back to the station, letting the tears run down my cheeks. It had only been a  year. One year since I had lost my world. One year since I had lost my love. One year since I had lost my everything.

Letting the tears freely flow, I gave up on being strong and let my grief break through. My mask was only so strong and I could only take so much.

How much did I have to endure?

How much?

Too much. Far, far too much.

​But I had to keep going. I had to keep working and I had to keep living.

Driving off into the darkness, I remembered the good times and mourned for the future that I had lost. I mourned for Katie, for Martha and for myself. All three of us had lives that we could never finish because evil had taken them away from us. Evil was not something less than human and was the victim of it all.

 

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