This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 4.
(While all locations are real, by necessity and for authenticity, the events and characters are entirely fictitious. Please read this as a Draft. I am writing this from memory. Please excuse inaccuracies. I will amend these as I get the chance to peruse my old diary entries and copious brochures and pamphlets I acquired while living there. A murder mystery requires research, but in order to try to keep up with the spontaneity of NaNoWriMo projects, I will get on with the narrative, and tidy up the errors in the Second Draft stage.)
Singapore Slasher – Part 4
Next morning the team arrived at Orange Grove Road for a more thorough search, while as predicted a snarl of traffic snaked along the road, squeezing through the narrowed section with inches to spare. But nothing was found. No sign of the weapon. No traces in the undergrowth, behind the gate, behind the wall, in the gutter other than soggy leaves washed there by the early morning drizzle, or on the pavement. Apart from the already-swabbed, coagulated blood on the steps, and a ‘clean patch’ on the darker aged pavement at the base of the steps, there was nothing. The team had also swabbed this area the night before to determine if detergents had been used there. These samples were in the CSI laboratories awaiting testing.
Watching the writhing traffic from her living room window vantage point, Lara Castle cradled her coffee mug against her chest, and turned down the corners of her mouth.
“Troy’s not gonna be happy about this, then. He’s gonna blame me. Bugga.”
She turned away, replenished her coffee, and turned on the TV. The news was full of the story of the murder. A rare occurrence in Singapore, it warranted the major news time-slot, with ‘On The Scene’ footage. There on the screen was the crime scene, a close-up of the blood on the steps, pulling back past the fluttering Police Tape, and the searching minions in their eerie jumpsuits, to a generic reporter in her make-up, sleek hair, and fitting suit, speaking at a higher pitch and, due to the traffic, higher volume. The fact that the TV crew and their vans were adding to the congestion didn’t seem to faze her at all. It just increased the horn honking. Suddenly Troy moved into the shot. Lara gasped.
“Here is Mr Troy Castle, whose wife discovered the body last night.” She shoved a hand-held microphone into his face. “Tell me, Mr Castle, what happened?”
“My wife was coming home from work late last night, when she found the body sprawled on the steps over there.” He pointed behind him to the steps in the background, leaving no doubts as to the exact location of the crime. This ensured that all the ghouls and thrill seekers would know exactly which steps to have their photos taken in front of, as soon as the crime scene tape was gone.
“Why was she late?” The mike was thrust towards him again, then retracted as she added, “And why was she walking alone in the dark at such a time?”
Disconcerted at the twist to his first statement, Troy’s eyebrows snapped together into a scowl. The reported smirked. “She always walks home late at night. She teaches at a language school and the classes are always after hours.”
It was the reporter’s turn to look a little disappointed – she’d expected a bigger bite, an angrier response than that. She tried again. “Well, can you tell me what happened?” She smiled encouragingly.
“She, my wife, was walking home, came round that bend (pointing), and there it was. Sprawled on the steps. With its head back and its throat cut.”
Delighted by these salacious details – a real bonus – she rewarded Troy with a wonderful smile. Mollified, and smoothing his already slick hair, he grinned back at her. She edged a little closer to him. “How do you know these details, Mr Castle?”
“Because I saw the body too. I came down with her to wait for the Cops – the Police. And there it was. Well, there she was. It was a pretty Singapore girl. Lovely hair, and tiny feet. But dead. Quite dead.”
The reporter took a step back from him. This was a little more than she had expected, and though it was much more than she’d hoped for, and could only boost her career chances, there was something rather unsettling about the way he had responded.
“Well, that’s all for now,” she began, but Troy interrupted her.
“It’s a damn nuisance though.”
Startled she said, “What?!” a thing she tried to never to say – well not like that.
“Well. Look at all this bloody traffic. How am I supposed to get to work on time now?” Troy waved his arms around indicating the very obvious traffic, totally oblivious to the fact that he had just cursed on Singaporean television.
Watching the screen, mouth open in shock at Troy’s revelations, but not at his attitude, Lara hoped there would be no repercussions. Shaking her head at his folly, she moved to the bathroom. She needed to shower and dress, then catch a taxi to the police complex to make her statement.
* * *
In his office earlier than normal – the investigation of murder wasn’t the norm – DI Lim watched the screen in disgust. How could that Expat be so indiscreet? Now he would have to go into immediate damage control. And he’d probably get dressed down by his Superior. He shook his head, lips in a tight line. What a way to start an important investigation.
The door crashed open as DS Lee burst into the room.
“Sir. Sir. Did you see that on TV?” He registered, the news footage on the TV screen behind his boss’s shoulder, then the angry expression on his boss’s face. “Oh. You did.”
Other than compressing his lips till the line became white, Lim didn’t respond, but turned to move behind his desk. “I will deal with that man when he comes in to make his statement after work. I should go down and haul him out of work, when he gets there, but as we didn’t take down those details last night we can’t do so. Well we could go back to the apartment and get them from his wife, but I think we’ll just hit him with it when he gets here. He won’t expect it.”
Lee nodded, afraid to comment.
Realising that he should have stopped speaking after the first sentence, Lim sighed, shuffled some papers on his desk, and asked, “Has the post mortem report come in yet?”
“Just a preliminary one so far, Sir. Throat cut by a right-handed person. And it looks like someone washed her feet carefully, and creamed them. And her hands as well.”
“Like she had a pedicure, and manicure?”
“Yes, Sir. Same, same.” As Lim frowned, he added, “It looks like that, Sir.”
“A right-handed person doesn’t help us much – that’s the majority of the population.” He tapped his pen on the desk. “Nothing else? Had she been interfered with? There was semen in her hair. Was it anywhere else?”
“Yes, Sir. It was in her hair. And some on her neck. And her knickers, her panties were missing, Sir.” Lim’s eyebrows shot up. “They had been removed. We didn’t notice before, because her knees were together.” Lim nodded, as an image of the girl, sprawled up the steps, knees together and feet placed carefully on the pavement, flashed into his mind.
“What about ID? Did they find any purse or handbag? Any ID cards?”
Lee shook his head. “Nothing, Sir.”
“Did they look in the gardens of the Shangri-La?”
Lee nodded. “Yes, Sir. Nothing there, Sir.”
“Widen the search area. Look in all the garbage bins, and dumpsters, and skips, at all the buildings along Orange Grove Road, and Stevens Road. Maybe they’ve been thrown in a bin nearby.”
“I’ll arrange it now, Sir.” Lee moved towards the door.
“Then come back here. We need to go to the Shangri-La and look for witnesses. And I think we’ll go and talk to Mrs Castle on her own.”
“She is coming in this morning, Sir. To give her written statement and sign it. Will we wait for her? Or go to the Shangri-La first.”
“Yes. Yes, she is. Bother. I wanted to talk with her first.” He paced up and down a few times while trying to mentally sort out his priorities. “I think we’ll head over to the Shangri-La first. We don’t want to alienate the Manager. If Mrs Castle arrives while before we return, she can give her statement to DC Yeo. And then wait for us. Then we can add to it after we chat with her. See to it.”
Lee nodded, then hurried out.
* * *
In a Salon on the third floor of Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road, a pretty Singaporean girl reclined into the relaxation of the special massage/pedicare chair, and wriggling her toes presented her feet for attention. She smiled into the face of her attendant.
(C) Jud House 15/11/2012
* * * * *