A to Z Challenge: H is for HOMICIDE

posted in: Various Musings | 1

For the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge, I’m writing a story, aiming for 1000 words a day (every day except Sundays). Continuing today with part 6 of a story about the character Codie Snow.

If you’re new to this series of posts, you might want to start here:

Today’s segment of the story took a long while to write.  I had a lot of research to conduct.  But finally, just in the nick of time, here we go!

Even though it only took a few minutes to get to the address of the murder, there were already two other police vehicles there—one was an unmarked car. Pete said, in a voice that offered no arguments, “Stay here.” She watched him get out and walk over to a plainclothes officer standing beside a cop car. They stood chatting for a few minutes, but there was no way Codie could have tried to eavesdrop without being noticed. The window was rolled up and the car off. More than that, though, was the constant police radio. The sound of that damned thing was going to drive her nuts.

Soon, though, Pete walked back to the car and opened the passenger door. “Want to come inside?”

Holy shit. Did she ever. Now this was what she’d signed up for. She didn’t want to seem too eager, though. “Yes, I’d like that.”

“Let’s go.” She followed pace with him and the other guy. “Not a word.”

“Okay.” She was finally getting her wish, so if Pete needed her to keep her trap shut, no problem.

Before they got to the door, Pete said, “Codie, this is Detective Adams.” The detective looked over at her and nodded but didn’t say anything. Codie could practically feel an icy chill oozing off him and figured he needed to have that kind of veneer to do his job.

There were lots of people in the huge two-story home and it made Codie feel a little unbalanced at first. She looked around and missed part of what was said, but then they were escorted to the basement. After Detective Adams started following a uniformed police officer, Pete placed his right hand on Codie’s arm while holding out his left hand, indicating that she should follow the detective while he brought up the rear.

The feel of the house was tense. Codie could sense a quiet fear and anxiety, the feeling of waiting for another shoe to drop, like there were eggshells under their feet, but she kept silent and kept walking.

When everyone got off the steps, she looked around the room. To the left was a door; to the right was an open living area with a large throw rug, two sofas, and several chairs and, past where the rug ended was mere concrete. Two washing machines, two dryers, a small clothesline hanging from the ceiling, and some shelving took up the rest of the space. The officer led them through the door on the left. It was a large bedroom with two double beds…and a body on the floor. The detective asked the officer, “Forensics been called yet?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Secure the scene.”

“Already done.”

The detective turned to Pete. “Statements are being taken upstairs and forensics is on the way. I’d like to take a peek at what we’re looking at.” Pete nodded and looked at Codie, and the three of them approached the body on the floor. Codie caught a whiff of—was that urine? She kept her mouth shut, but inside her head, she was thinking, Ewwww. She slowly grew used to it, but she started looking at the body. The men weren’t saying much. The detective was writing in a small notebook (how cliché, Codie thought), but Pete was just observing—and was deep in thought, near as Codie could tell.

She was curious herself. Before they’d gotten closer to the woman, Codie had thought the woman’s head had been covered with a pillow, but she realized now that it was several white shopping bags. She noticed the woman’s gray sweatpants were soaked, and then she knew that was where the pee smell was coming from. Seeing the body started to creep her out. The bags that covered the woman’s head were pulled tightly down and the handles were tied over and around. Jesus. Codie wondered then if the woman was killed by suffocation or if the murderer had just wanted to cover the victim’s face.

There was also an empty bottle of store-brand acetaminophen and an envelope next to the body. Codie would have loved to have opened that envelope, but she knew there was no way she was going to get to. A few minutes later, two more plainclothes cops, a man and a woman, came in the door, and Pete said they were forensics. He said to Codie, “You ready?”

Not really, but she knew she couldn’t make that call, so she nodded. Once they were heading back up the stairs, Codie took a deep breath. She hadn’t realized until that point that the air had been heavy—not just with urine but death. She’d never seen a dead body before and it felt strange. The mood in the place was dark and she was sure that also colored how she was seeing everything.

Upstairs, Pete looked around the living room full of people, almost like an intimate party, and apparently found who he was looking for. He crossed the room and stopped when he got to a balding guy in a suit. “Forensics is here. Do you need me for anything?”

“We still have two people to interview—the victim’s husband and another housemate. They’re both in the kitchen. Save the husband for me.”

Pete nodded. “Got it.” He gave Codie a look and she got the message. She followed behind him as he strode toward the kitchen.

Two men sat at the table drinking coffee. Neither seemed to be particularly broken up about the dead woman downstairs. Codie found that odd, because she would have expected a husband to look sad—or at least a little shell-shocked. Instead, they both acted like they’d just gotten home from a football game or a concert.Codie Snow-H

“Which one of you is the husband?”

The man on the right—a guy with short brown hair and dimples—stood. He was probably about six-foot-four and thin. The guy didn’t smile, but he wasn’t near tears either. He held out his hand to Pete and said, “Caleb Dinsmoor.”

Pete shook his head and nodded, speaking again in an authoritative voice, almost scary compared to how he usually talked. “Someone will be with you soon, Mr. Dinsmoor.” He turned to the other man. “Can I get your name?”

“Tanner Johnson.”

“I need to speak with you.” Looking from one man to the other, he asked, “Is there a place where we can go?”

“We can’t just stay here?”

Pete said, “My lieutenant will be in shortly to speak with Mr. Dinsmoor, and I think he wanted them to have a little privacy.”

The guy named Tanner stood. “We can maybe go in the prayer room.”

Codie loved that Pete’s facial expression didn’t change, because she was curious as hell, brimming with questions. Maybe they would get answered soon enough. Pete said, “Let’s go,” and they were once again moving, walking through the kitchen deeper into the large house.


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