Blood Crumbs: Chapter 13Mature

    I awoke in a cold sweat and rolled onto my side. Graham had haunted my dreams for nearly a decade and I had become accustomed to these kind of nightmares. I looked over at the alarm clock and saw it was nearly six. Might as well get up now.

    My muscles groaned in protest as I stumbled into the bathroom to get ready. A few hours of sleep had done little to refresh me, I hoped that cold shower and coffee would make up for it.

    About thirty minutes later I was pulling out of my driveway with a thermos full of coffee and high hopes. I walked into the office and found my way into the conference room we had cordoned off for the Ramirez case.

    On the cork board photos had been tacked up for easy viewing. The crime scene and a mug shot of Ramirez. Another box of files covered the conference table and Gavin was asleep using a tower of papers as a pillow.

    I walked over and nudged him; he shot up and looked around bleary eyed and uncomprehending.

    “If you’re hoping to avoid looking like me when you’re this age, falling asleep on clunky government furniture isn’t going to do it.” I said waving at the papers in front of him.

    “Oh, yeah, no.” He said using his fingers to comb through his hair.

    “So did pulling an all nighter help us with any leads?” I asked hopefully.

    He lifted up a piece of paper in front of him and stared at it. His eyes cleared as he apparently remembered what he’d been doing. “Well it looks like Ramirez was able to plead down from attempted murder to assault two and then became the warden’s snitch once he was inside. Which is probably why he only served two and a half years.”

    “Prison snitch is a very risky profession.” I nodded thoughtfully

    “Could go to motive.”

    I shook my head. “I don’t see it. He would’ve gotten shanked while he was still on the inside if that were the case. And I’m still not seeing this as a revenge killing.”

    Gavin reached over and picked up a different pile of papers. “Well, unless I’m missing something, the serial killer angle is not looking good either.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Well, here’s what the VICAP database spat out so far as potential matches, but I’m not seeing anything here that looks like our guy.”


    “Well you might want to talk to someone that knows more about the psychological progression that our guy might have gone through but there’s definitely nothing in the department of exact matches. If our guy worked up to being this good at killing people then he didn’t do it the same way he’s doing it now.” Gavin said.

    “Did you look for any of the smaller details? Crimes where the victim’s hands were cuffed but legs were tied? Maybe the blood droplet thing?” I asked

    “Yep and still nada. Didn’t you used to know a psychologist that would consult with us on some cases?”

    “That would be Laura, my ex-wife.” I said remembering that I was supposed to call her at some point.

    “Oh, never mind then.” Gaven sighed then grabbed another report. “In the category of information that’s not going to help us, I got Littel’s report on his interview with Brady Cook, the man that found the body.”

    “Nothing there?”    

    “He’s got a solid alibi and Ramirez had been dead for four hours at least before Brady found him. There’s little chance he knows anything useful. It’s all in the report if you’re interested.”

    I shook my head.

    “I don’t think my eyes are going to catch anything you or Littel missed. I’m going to go speak with Bishop, we’ll talk more when I get back.” I said as I headed out the door thinking hard about what I was going to do next.

    Bishop’s door was closed and his blinds shut. A small tinge of relief lightened my shoulders. If he wasn’t in yet then I could delay my leadless report for a little bit longer. I gave a light knock on the door just to alleviate my culpability.

     “Who is it?” Bishop’s voice floated through the door and I cursed my luck.

    “It’s Burton, but I can come back.” I offered.

    “Come on in.”

    I swore under my breath and opened the door. Sitting in the chair across from Bishop was the tall, pointy gentleman from the day before. Weston’s assistant looked at me as if I smelt of bad cheese. I couldn’t remember his name so I mentally decided to refer to him as Spike.

    “Detective Burton, I’m sure you remember Mr. Gary Holtin.” Bishop waved me towards the seat next to Holtin.

    Spike. Gary Holtin. Close enough.

    “We were just speaking of you.” Spike said attempting to sound cheerful. To me, he looked like he had just eaten some tainted meat at a dinner party and was trying to proclaim to the hostess that the meal was an unrivaled treat.

    “I’d love to help you, but I can’t give away my trade secrets.” I said.

    Spike’s smile faded. “What?”

    “Well, I know that whenever people are talking about me, it’s usually in reference to my impeccable fashion sense. ‘How can a man look so good on a government salary,’ they ask themselves. But there are just some things that I’ll take to the grave with me.” I said as I sat down.

    “Burton.” Bishop warned.

    “Alright, fine. It’s garage sales.” I said with a forlorn look. I tapped my nose with my index finger. “I can smell them from a mile away.”

    “Seriously,” Bishop’s voice was stern yet pleading, “Now’s not the time.”

    Spike cleared his throat. “Well…yes, what we were actually discussing is Mayor Weston’s progress reports or should I say his lack thereof? He wanted me to come and check and ask if you guys had any leads.”

    “A few,” I lied.

    “Such as?”

    “Leads are largely based on speculation, Mr. Holtin.” Bishop jumped in. “It would be time consuming and fruitless to burden Weston with details that will largely turn out to be unhelpful or mistaken. We are diligently working the case and anticipate an arrest soon enough.”

    “And how soon is soon?” Spike pushed.

    “We are not psychics, Mr Holtin.” Bishop admonished, “Soon means as soon as we have all the facts and can ensure the proper man is arrested. There are no specifics and while we will keep it our number one priority, kid gloves must be used. We would hate to nail the guy, only to have him acquitted over a minor slip up.”

    Spike seemed like he might want to argue, but instead he tugged at his cufflinks and nodded. “Of course. I understand completely.”

    “Now, unfortunately Mr. Holtin, I’ve asked Detective Burton in here to chat with me one on one this morning. I would hate to delay him any longer than necessary considering the circumstances.”

    “Yes, of course,” Spike stood taking his cue. “I will assure Mr. Weston that he will be informed as soon as there is any promising information.”

    He gave a polite nod to Bishop, then limply shook my hand and walked out the door.

    Bishop turned in his seat and grunted. “So, what do we really have?”

    “Not a lot. Mainly I’ve been hitting walls.” I said with a shrug and filled him in on everything I knew.

The End

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