Detective Gabriel Creed arrives on the scene of an unusual and apparently impossible suicide. Searching the house, they find a small girl locked in the basement, the apparent victim of the suicide, the suicide apparently being a paedophile. As it turns out, the girl is far more involved than it seems.
It had been raining again, the fourth day in a row of what was turning out to be a very wet Autumn indeed, when I reached the scene. It was in a fairly rich neighbourhood; you wouldn't expect movie stars to live there but I wasn't surprised to learn that most of the people living in this area were bankers or managers or one of the various other kinds of wanker with more money than they had a right to make. You could see the neighbours' faces pressed against the steamed up glass of their windows as they peered out, eager for a glimpse of something taboo to add colour to their boring lives.
"Creed." The officer on scene nodded in my direction, wiping the rain off his forehead; I tried to remember his name but my mind came up blank. "The body is in the tent."
"Thanks." I replied and walked on through.
The tent had been setup around one of the narrow trees that lines the avenue and I wondered what had happened. Perhaps a stag party gone wrong, a man handcuffed and naked and left to be gutted by some nutjob. I reached the tent, pulled back the flap and nearly lost my lunch.
Inside the tent was a man, hanging from the tree. He hadn't hanged himself though, rather he was hanging like a coat on a hook, a stubby branch thrust through his eye socket. I could almost feel the sensation in my mind of the branch entering his eye and scraping against the back of his skull as it stirred his brains into soup. Kneeling down by the trunk was a squint, examining the scene. I patted him on the shoulder.
"Talk to me."
The squint flinched, startled, and stood up, giving me the once over.
"Well, I've only done a preliminary analysis, but so far everything points to suicide."
"You can't be serious. Who would, who could do this to themselves?"
"No sign of a struggle, no signs that he tripped or was pushed. In fact if you look at the bark on the tree here." He said, indicating a couple of places with a rubber-gloved hand. "He actually gripped the trunk so hard when he pulled himself onto the branch that he damaged his hands. The patterns on the lacerations follow a motion consistent with him pulling himself towards the tree. Unlikely as it is, it appears to be a suicide. He must have had incredible willpower to be able to do it in such a manner but the evidence is there."
The officer who greeted me ducked his head into the tent. "Creed, we found someone inside the house."
"What, a witness?"
"No, a kid, a little girl down in the basement."
I got up, nodded to the squint to carry on and followed the officer out of the tent. As I walked towards the house, I pulled out my mobile and dialled the station.
"It's Creed, get someone from child protection down here. Yeah, I know, just do it. Looks like our suicide was a kiddie-fiddler. We found a child."