This scene in which in which Detective Brad Thorne visits Ileandra’s house trying to speak to her about the attack on the park two days before. Unfortunately, when he arrives, he finds that simply stopping in for a chat was not as simple a task as he hoped.
Brad unfastened his tie and threw it on the desk. The end landed in his mug of coffee and rapidly began soaking up the strong smelling fluid. “Damn.” Fishing it out, he left it leaking on a sheet of scrap paper and returned to the file before him.
The woman in the black and white scene photos looked worse than she had on the grass at the park. The hard lighting gave her skin a washed out appearance, compounded by the lack of colour. The wound on her neck stood out in dark, messy relief against the pallor of her neck and shoulders.
He thought again about the family; two kids, the oldest a mere five years old. Now orphans. The father tried valiantly to hold it together, but in the end, he cried. A WPC had to lead him away while he sobbed onto her shoulder.
“Pauline Lock,” he murmured, scrawling the dead woman’s name across the top of the page. It felt worse, somehow, having a name. The futility and sadness of it seemed far more real.
Grinding his fingers into his eyes, he stood and wandered over to the water cooler. He poured a cup and downed it in one swallow. He did the same with the next.
His head ached; terrible pounding as though somebody was riffling through his thoughts with a hand whisk.
“I should have stayed off.” He returned to his desk and searched for some pain killers. After a brief moment of triumph he realised that the blister pack he held was empty.
The rest were in his car.
Brad considered leaving them, but the pain was slowly becoming too much to bear. Still grumbling, cursing and flexing his fists he stomped out to the staff car park.
In his car he dug through the debris filling his glove compartment. There; a full pack of ibuprofen. And some cigarettes. “Guess I don’t need to worry about the smell on my clothes any more.” After a sneaky glance over his shoulder he lit one and leaned back to enjoy the taste and smell.
He fiddled with the radio, flicking the switch to allow the crackle of various outdoor units to fill the space.
“Base,” crackled a voice,” requesting nearby PCs in the vicinity of 1212 Mason Drive, Oadby. Resident reports domestic disturbance.”
Brad dropped the cigarette. Cursing, he scrabbled around on the foot mat, simultaneously reaching for the handset. “Repeat address please?”
“Who is this?”
He found the cigarette and popped the door open to flick it through the window.
“DI Brad Thorne, LI142. Just give me the address.”
The voice repeated it. Brad felt sick.
“I’ve got that, Base.”
A snort came through the speakers. “Don’t you have more important things to do?”
“I said I’ve got that. I know the address; it’s linked to a case of mine.”
“Fine. Do you want backup?”
He thought about it while strapping himself in. “Get me Tristen.”
“Tristen Blake. New guy.”
He strained his memory. “DF935 or something like that.”
“Fine.” The radio crackled again and died.
At the house Brad saw the car and motorbike still in place.
Peering through the window was a small pigeon of a woman with grey hair and skin like a shar-pei. She tugged her thin dressing gown tight around her and flip-flopped over to him as he stepped out of the car.
“Did you call about a disturbance?” He asked.
“Yes. I’m Abigail Ferdinand… Mrs Abigail Ferdinand. I live next door.”
“Hi. I’m Detective Inspector Brad Thorne. What’s the problem?”
“I heard shouting.” The woman blinked at him through glasses that magnified her beady eyes to monstrous proportions. “First Nick – that’s the young man who lives here – came out and put some things in the bin. When he went back it all began. Screaming, Detective. And banging. I’ve been knocking for some time but nobody’s answering.”
“Do you know if the woman is there too? Ille— Il—”
“Ileandra? No, I haven’t seen her. I think she went out. I don’t know. But Nick was defiantly there. And he was talking to someone. These are good houses but the walls are so thin.” She stroked one hand down the brick work. “So thin. Sometimes I hear their television when it’s up too high. But they’re always good about turning it down. Polite young couple. Very nice. Getting married, you know?”
“Really?” With half an ear on the conversation, Brad slipped around the woman and peered through the window.
The curtain, obscured much, but he could see traces of the furniture and partially through to the kitchen.
“There’s a body on the floor, Detective.”
“Excuse me?” He turned back to the woman.
“Yes, if you look; just by the sofa. Some legs. At first I thought it might be some dirty washing, but Ileandra is so much tidier than that. But then I saw they were definitely legs. And they’ve not moved since I’ve been out here.”
Brad took a deep, steadying breath. “And you didn’t think that was important when you rang? Somebody could be hurt.”
A look of horror crossed the woman’s face. “Hurt? You really think so? Oh, I’m sorry Detective, I never considered that. I do hope not. They’re such a lovely couple. Getting married, you know? So kind. So polite.”
Sure enough, as he stared through the window, he could just make out the shape of a pair of legs on the floor behind the sofa. A discarded shoe, something green and silky, and a sock spotted with blood. “Damn.” He knocked on the window. Then hammered it, turning his ear to listen out for anybody inside.
“I told you, Detective, I’ve been knocking for a while.”
“Okay, Mrs Ferdinand, is it? Step back, please. Now.” Sweeping her aside with one arm, Brad moved up to the front door. “I said get back.”
“Of course, but do you need any help?”
“I’m fine.” He tried the handle. Locked of course. “Just keep back.” Steeling himself, spreading his feet on the floor, Brad leaned into his back heel and kicked at the handle.
The door shuddered but didn’t move.
He kicked it again, grunting as the jarring impact shuddered up his leg and rattled his ribs.
Mrs Ferdinand tsked and trotted off around the side of the house, angling her body towards the open door which marked her own home. Brad ignored her and kicked the door again.
The wood whined, but held fast.
Huffing and puffing, he hurried back to the car and the radio. “Base, this is Detective Brad Thorne responding to a domestic disturbance?”
A burst of static erupted from the speaker. “Yes, go ahead.”
“At the site now. Quiet but some evidence of an injured party within the house. Request backup and medical assistance.”
“Copy. Sending a unit your way.”
“What status is the injured?”
“No idea. I can’t get in the house. Just send an ambulance ready for anything.”
“Copy. Base out.”
Brad tossed the radio back onto the seat and returned his attentions to the door. Balling his fists, gritting his teeth, he drove his foot against it.
It wobbled once but refused to budge. Even after three more solid kicks it remained firm.
He wiped a film of sweat off his forehead. “Bloody hell. Okay… back door.” Turning, he stepped straight into Mrs Ferdinand who stared up at him with her huge, blinking eyes.
“Are you okay, Detective?”
“Is there a back door here?”
“Yes, it’s just around the alley there. But Detective,” she grabbed his arm as he moved to go and held on with a grip like claws, “why don’t you use the key instead?” With the other hand she held up a single Yale key.
A twitch started to tug at Brad’s left eye. “Where did you get that?”
“Oh, Ileandra gave it to me months ago. Emergencies, you know?”
He fought the urge to scream. “And this isn’t an emergency? Why didn’t you use it sooner?”
“I don’t like to pry, Detective.” Mrs Ferdinand drew herself up to her full height of five feet. “It’s not my business. But if you really need to get in I’m sure she won’t mind.”
“Please do.” He said.
Nodding, she shuffled over the drive, knotting one hand in the front of her dressing gown to keep it closed while the other wobbled towards the keyhole. After three snail-paced tries she fitted the key into the lock and turned it.
“Thank you.” Brad barged past her without waiting, straight through the hallway and into the living room.
The first thing to hit him was the smell.
Not so bad as some he had experienced, but certainly not pleasant. Like unwashed public toilets. He held his hands to his nose and stopped in the doorway, scanning the floor for a safe way forward.
From his position the legs were clearly visible, beside them a single sock with a bloodied sole.
He frowned, picking his way across the carpet in as straight a line as he could manage, rounding the sofa on the left side.
When he saw what lay there, he felt his heart speed up in his chest. “Shit.”
As much as I like the chapter, in the end, it just didn’t have a place. So it can go here instead! Hope you enjoy it.