The ShroudMature

"Janelle Fornier, missing since January 14th 1987"

"…who reported her missing?"

"Um…her mother…Karen Fornier."

There was a rustle of papers, a sigh of annoyance, followed closely by a triumphant whistle. Detective Reese York placed his glasses atop his nose and scanned the crumpled form.

"Says here her mom went missing and 2 weeks later, they were found in a truck. The girl was cut from throat to nose, autopsy stated that her insides had been practically liquefied...and the mother was simply suffocated. Probably wasn't part of the killers original plan."

Reese shoved back from his desk and groaned, rubbing his face. He was a tall man of average build, with black hair which strongly contrasted his sea deep eyes. Leaning back in his chair, the detective stretched his arms and placed his hands in the pocket of his pinstriped black pants.

"Well I sure do love inventory…always gets me in the mood, the mood to crawl into a hole and die that is…"

The other detective laughed, placing paper cut hands behind his head. This man was not as tall as York; in fact he was rather short, with dark brown hair and emerald eyes that sparked with a youthful vitality. Cedric O'Kravey, the only Irish detective in the precinct, but that didn't single him out. Cedric scratched his chest and placed a red pen in the pocket of his pants. Rolling up the sleeves of his dress shirt, Cedric ran his fingers up through his hair and grabbed on, making a large growl of frustration.

"III quit...this is too hard, cases that haven't been solved in 17 years? Come on, what can we do now?"

Reese scanned the city below, saying nothing, he was as clueless as Cedric, but rarely decided to show his weaknesses.

"I mean sure...we're detectives, but even if there was any evidence out there, it's got to be completely ruined by now…"

Cedric's voice trailed off and Reese watched all the cars drive by. He imagined the families and lovers of all the drivers and through how it must feel to have to be told that the one you loved was found dead at the scene of an accident. He used to wish he’d never have to learn how that felt.

"I mean don't you agree?"

"Huh? Sorry...uh...yeah...yeah I agree with you, I know what you mean..." Reese mumbled quietly as he pocketed his hands and leaned against the windowsill.

"You space out way too damn much man, it's creepy..."

Reese glanced at his partner and folded his arms, "I'm not hiding anything...I'm only housing insecurities and questions…"

Cedric raised his eyebrows and leaned back in his chair, he didn't like seeing Reese in one of his philosophical moods and he wasn't about to get into another round of what's moral and what's not, what's meaningful and what's not, how to live and how not to.

"Well..." he said letting a yawn escape his lips, "I'm tired of this shit and I'm about ready to pack it in...gotta get home to the "wife and kids", haha!" he said grinning.

Reese laughed, knowing all too well that the only wife and kids in Cedric's life were his alcoholic beverages and sports channels. Cedric wasn’t one to settle down, but Reese knew that somewhere under that drunken, jackass interior…Cedric was waiting.

“You can head home then, I’ll finish up here…I’m in no hurry” Reese said sitting down at his wooden desk, covered in old case files and coffee stains.

“Alright buddy, I’ll talk to you tomorrow…unless I decide to fake sick from the terrible headache that I think I’ll suddenly fall victim too.” Cedric said, laughing slightly as he grabbed his garments from the hat rack and placing a cigarette in his mouth.

“Hah, get out before I kick your ass out…” Reese called out after Cedric as his footsteps and laughter trailed off down the hall.


Cedric descended two stairs at a time and burst through the door into the night air. Placing a tattered playboy on his head he breathed deep and began the trudge to his car. He could see the headlights on the freeway and he often thought of them as being fluorescent ants, following without knowing why. Cedric chuckled to himself and unlocked his car before waving to Reese's silhouette still sitting in the window sill. The shadow waved back and Cedric threw his things into the backseat.


It was oddly quiet tonight as he pulled up to his two bedroom shack and shut off the engine. Cedric leaned his head back and sighed, realizing that his hat had fallen off into the back. He stared into the review mirror and then the blackness. Cedric never liked backseats...he would always remember the ax-murderer stories that Reese would tell him when they were younger and those scared the piss out of him.

"Christ..." He breathed as he took hold of his steering wheel. He knew there was nothing to be afraid of, but he couldn't help it.

"Stop being such a jackass and get your shit old are you anyway?"

He shut his eyes and reached back, searching the upholstery with overworked fingers. Right and then left, left and then right. Nothing. Glancing in the mirror once more for reassurance, Cedric shoved himself backwards and made contact. Pushing open the door of his rusted out Volvo, Cedric plucked another cigarette into his mouth and slammed the door roughly four times before the finally swing coupled with a string of swears did the job.

“Piece of junk” Cedric mouthed, striking his match with an all too familiar spark.

A breath from behind quickly extinguished the match inches away from Cedric’s Marlboro Smooth.

“Oy, last of my book mate, what do you-“ Cedric began as he turned to face his new found adversary, unaware that the matchbook was the least of his problems.

Reese watched as a group of police cars screamed out of his building and down the street. Jumping off the window sill he wondered what the problem was, then quickly decided that some old lady had probably lost another cat. This city was a joke and everyone knew it, the police force was a joke, the people were a joke...and Reese was getting the feeling that maybe his whole life was a joke. He grabbed his hat off the desk and noticed that, in Cedric's hurry to get home, he had forgotten his house keys, which for some unknown reason he felt must be separate from his car keys. Reese placed the hat gently back on the desk and grabbed the keys. Fingering through them he lifted up a keychain of a woman and flipped it over, watching as the clothes slid off her revealing nothing but pure vulgarity. Reese smirked and shook his head.

"Cedric, you're a sick, sick man...a trip to Rome and the only thing you buy is a smut keychain from a street vendor."

Reese pocketed the keys and grabbed his things, locking the office door behind him, knowing full well that there was no point seeing as one could simply push on the loose wood and the lock would pop off.

It was all a joke.

He descended the staircase and slid down the banister as he was getting close to the last few steps. He was suddenly aware of the coolness of the night and put on his jacket, flipping up and collar and lightly jogging to his vehicle. As he placed his key in the door, Reese noticed a pool of black liquid beside the place where Cedric's car had been.

"God damnit, it's bad enough that guy lives in a his car is leaking." Reese slid into the front seat and looked at the pool again, pitying Cedric for his lack of money...and observation.

Lighting a cigarette, Reese pulled out of the lot and snapped to the rhythm of jazz and blues that echoed from his half broken speakers. He turned onto the freeway, swearing as slightly drunk adolescents attempted to cut him off. Sure he could try and pull them to the side, but he was off duty and lately his job lacked the flare that it once had when he was younger and more inspired.

As he passed Cessation Street he debated seeing if Cedric was up for a drink. Glancing down the block at the number 234, seemingly hollow and dark, he decided against it and continued on to his own hole in the ground, after all Cedric probably had a spare key in the porch light.


The lights flickered for a few moments as Reese threw his jacket and hat onto the couch while entering his home. Spraying the air quite liberally with air freshener, Reese coughed slightly and once again regretted buying the house at the annual police auction, which tended to only sell crap and crap scented with a thousand homeless cats. He was sure the smell would have dissipated after 2 ½ years.

He lumbered his way across to the lone kitchen chair and sat down hard in an exhausted heap, feeling that after a day of apathy and dead end cases, now would be a good time as any for that drink. Reese splashed a shot of vodka into a plastic cup, placing an ice cube in as an afterthought. Wincing slightly from the harshness, Reese retired to his bedroom, fingering through magazines for his haphazardly placed remote before crashing onto the bed, spilling some of the vodka as he landed.

He didn’t intend for his future to turn out this way, laying on a bed that hadn’t been made in 3 weeks grasping a cup that he was pretty sure hadn’t been washed, though he could hardly muster up the energy to care. He imagined being in a well light bedroom, sipping flavored coffee as his wife fingered through the culture section of the paper, commenting lightly on whatever catches her eye. Reese imagined promising her the world, kissing her softly, and heading off to work in a police station that didn’t smell of body odor or creak whenever someone walked across the room.

Pipe dreams.
All of them.
Clearly he had arrived at the future that had been decided for him.

Swigging the last of the vodka, Reese placed the glass on his rickety night table and repositioned himself against his covers, counting the wall tiles as he drifted into numb darkness.

The End

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