I sat, seething, in the driver's seat of my old Bentley, waiting for the traffic lights to turn green. Sergeant Maguire had forced every one out of the mortuary and sealed the doors with us on the outside and them on the in. After an un-productive yet oddly satisfying argument, Richmond had sent me home on a 'well needed day off'. Patronizing bastard. The light turned green and I revved off down Boulevard Road before turning into Trolbeck Court. I had decided I would spend the day at home with a stack of films and a coffee machine on standby. The little houses that lined the street were cheap and fairly run-down but a lot better than the apartments I used to live in when I just finished university. I parked on the curb and turned off the ignition. With a quick glance at my watch, It's becoming a habit, I realised it was half seven. If I hurried I could make it in time for the beginning of Diagnosis Murder. Ah, nothing like good murder mystery to boost your low self esteem.
I must be getting slow though, because it took me all the way to the kitchen and the disposal of my keys in the little dish to realise someone else was in my house. You'd have thought that the door being un-locked would have given it away but I put it down to my poor memory. It was the sound of the television blaring from my living room that tipped me off.
Carefully I edged my way around the kitchen units to give me a clearer view of the living room. Someone was sitting on the sofa watching the moving pictures on the screen. MY screen. Reaching behind my back I groped for the draw I knew was there, I slid it open and fumbled inside it. My fingers touched cold metal and I withdrew my back-up firestarter. I released the safety with a soft click. Cupping it two handed, I crept closer to the open doorway, not taking my eyes from the back of the strangers head. When I was a few feet away I sighted down the gun and yelled loudly.
“Put your hands up!” I'd prefer to have yelled something more threatening but I guess being around cops for as long as I have has been a bad influence on me. The figure remained silent and un-moved. Fine, you want to play it like that. Inching closer I moved around the side to get a clearer look at the face. The first thing I noticed was the large bullet hole in her left temple and that Samantha Pollington wasn't going to be going to work later this afternoon. The second was that the minimal amount of blood had soaked into my five month old, cream couch. It was going to be murder getting those stains out.
Let's just say, that no matter what the situation, there is always going to be one cop who is going to get on your nerves and another who you could just smother in kisses when they come to save your arse. I'd had my dose of crap-spouters and it was now my turn for the knight it fresh new uniform. And I got him, under the name of Sergeant Rowan Daniels. He'd been my superior on the first day of work, after that, he learnt never to try and boss me about. We'd kicked butt together, lost some good friends, hell even tried dating once of twice, but we'd crossed the barrier that meant we could be lovers, we were too good-a friends now, and I didn't mind. Honest. We even kept in touch, hung out every once in a while. Anyway, he was a werewolf, and I try not to date the supernatural.
You heard right. The preternatural community had outed themselves to the public when the rumours started getting more and more elaborate. I guess their ego's couldn't take the beating Vampires, shapeshifters and other what-not have been legally accepted into society these days. I was raised when they were making their grand entrance so I grew up with the idea of magic and monsters being natural, others weren't quite so forgiving. People accept them, but that doesn't mean they like them. Rowan however had earned his respect and place on the force. He was like a role model to the furry.
“You're not even our retainer any more and we still manage to meet when there are bodies involved.” He was smiling cheekily at me from over his coffee mug. The moment he'd gotten into my house he marched me into the kitchen, taken my gun from my hand (I hadn't put it down in case the body decided to jump up and eat me) and announced coffee was needed. This meant I also had to accommodate for the other ten people he'd bought along who were at this very moment, prodding, photographing and evidence finding. I was going to run out of coffee soon. Damn.
“You know me Rowan, always brining my work home with me.” I answered dryly. I guess having a dead body in your living room makes you a little bitter. I sighed and put my empty cup on the kitchen work top. “Sam was a good kid.” I commented to no one in particular.
“She was older than you wasn't she? Thirty something.” Said Rowan, waving his arm, casually.
“Thirty six to be precise.” Came a voice from the doorway. We looked to see Officer Mark Skelton leaning against the frame. He gave me a small salute and came in to refill his mug. I'd met Mark at least twice when I was on retainer, he was one of the trainee's while I was around the force. Good kid as far as I was aware.
“Yeah but she was tiny, four foot six. We always referred to her as 'kid' in the department. She used to get so angry and throw things.” I felt a smile tug on my lips and hid it with the action of refilling my cup.
“Got a call from Maguire about ten minutes before you called us in.” Said Rowan suddenly. I tensed and looked at him as if he's just thrown a mud ball at me. “I know you hate the guy Sydney but he's a good cop. Told us you'd gotten into more trouble. We gotta say half the force thought you'd gone and shot someone els – well, when we found out what it was the whole department was in laughter. Good old Sydney, never a day was dull when you were around.”
“What is this Rowan? A trip down memory lane?” I scoffed but I was pleased. It's nice to be remembered. “So what did Maguire find?” Rowan's face became serious and Mark made his hasty excuse and dashed from the room.
“Guy froze to death. He wasn't dead when he went in that chamber but he was sure as hell dead when he came out. Not only that but they found an overdose of a variety of drugs, the combination has been seen before in cases where a person has faked their own suicide, only to get up a couple of hours later, breathing and very much alive. No wonder no-one found anything, he was practically dead, the good old side effects of the drug that can fake death.“ I leant back against the cabinets, thinking. If he had really been overdosed, then surely it would have shown up on his records. Not even Sam, who'd only been there for about four months would have made such an amateur mistake. And now she was sitting dead in my living room enjoying the news at ten.
“Sam was the one that did the preliminary autopsy, apparently he was her last body before she went home, at about eleven fifteen.” I caught Rowan's raised eye brow and added, “ ... I look at the rotors everyday and before I leave. Plus I know the way Sam worked, she always stayed at least an hour and a half more after her finishing time so she could catch up on other work. I don't know how he got down into my morgue though, I left for a few seconds to answer a call on the phone and by the time I cam back the body was there with the report on top of his chest. I just presumed Sam was busy and needed to just drop it off as fast as possible.” Rowan had pulled out a small notebook and was jotting something down. Cop through and through.
“Maguire said some other things, apparently once they'd done the body, he'd gone to her office. The place was trashed. Sign's of a struggle. Some things were missing. Mostly files from her filling cabinet and a paper she'd been working on. Her computer was wiped clean. No traces. Maguire sent some men.” He checked his watch, “ ... about five minutes ago” he admired what he'd done on paper before doing over dramatic dot on his notepad and flourished it at me like it was a bunch of flowers.
“Then just check her laptop. Sam always made copies of her work and even put them on back up disks. And check her body for signs of a struggle, bruising around the wrists, ankles or necks, and look for bruises that seem recent and bite marks, definitely check for those, there wasn't nearly enough blood. Oh and check her personal information, you might find something in that.” I was off on a rant and about to go on when Rowan interrupted
“Sydney, you don't have to tell us how to do our job.” He said it laughing but I put on a sour face anyway. Try and be helpful and people take the piss, just plain rude. “What I want to know is how she ended up dead in your house?” His eyes turned blank and I knew he was giving me his cop face. The one he normally put on for questioning criminals.
“Don't you dare accuse me Rowan, You know damn well I couldn't have done it. I even have the witnesses. I left work at half eleven, went to work at six. By the looks of it she was moved into my house a short while after I got to work. Plus, with the colour of her skin and the freshness of the wound, she was killed at one this morning, or somewhere around that.” Rowan looked at me in wonder and a smile on his lips. His eyes had gone back to their calm green.
“You got all that by just looking at the body?” He sounded impressed, which was nice to know, it was hard to impress people these day's. “Man, I don't know why they ever let you go.” He shook his head in disbelief.
“Because I shot someone.” I told him simply. He sighed and got to his feet.
“You got any place you can stay tonight? I'm thinking they're planning on making this an official crime scene.” He pushed his notebook back into his pocket and slid the pencil behind his ear.
“I'll go stay at mum's, she only lives down the next road, insisted we live near each other in case of emergencies. She's going to eat me alive for this ... you know she bought me that Sofa?” I sounded depressed. I was worrying about a sofa. Who cares about the body, what about my bloody sofa? The irony of it was so funny I couldn't help but burst into laughter, and of course, once I'd started I couldn't stop. Rowan just watched me for a while before leaving the room and calling for Mark. They stood at the door while I giggled myself into silence. Once I'd finished Mark came in and smiled at me.
“Sergeant Daniels has told me to drive you to your mum's place.” Stupid Rowan.
“I have my own car, detective, thanks but I'm a big girl, I can drive myself.”
“Hey, I don't make the rules. It's either I drive you or I follow you. Either option I'm going to be near you.” I was starting to like Mark. His blond hair was floppy around his face and his brown eyes managed to sparkle childishly. He seemed to have a sense of humour. Let's just hope he kept it the further he got into this job. “I'll be stationed outside the house anyway and I've been ordered to take you into the station once you've sorted yourself out. Interrogation, I mean, questioning.” Big grin. Yep, definitely a sense of humour.
“Alrighty then Officer Skelton, lead the way to your chariot of flashing blue and red.” He swept me a play along bow and I walked out the kitchen. When you find someone dead in your living room, you don't make a fuss. You make jokes. It was only when I was in the car that I realised I still hadn't picked up that voice mail.