EVERY 31 MINUTES – Part 4


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 4.

Every 31 minutes someone is murdered . . .

Morning – New Years Day

As dawn dissipated the dark, over at the High Rise, police began taking photos, looking for and collecting evidence, and systematically working their way up the staircases to each level to find where the victim had fallen from.  By the position of the body it was obvious that he hadn’t just leaned over and fallen by himself.  He had landed too far out for that.  He had to have been thrown.

A pallid young Constable stood by the sheet-draped body beside an ornamental garden bed.  The ambulance drivers were impatiently waiting to take it away to the hospital morgue, before the heat of the day really set in.  The Pathologist and photographer arrived and began their work, so he edged away.

The Detective Senior Sergeant and Senior Constable were talking to the tall bearded Bikie who’d approached them on their arrival.  ‘I was working on me bike in me carpark over there, when I heard this horrible scream like someone’s mad about somethin’.  So I looked out n saw him fall the last coupla floors n hit the deck!  I couldn’t’ve reached him if I tried.  It was so quick, mate.’

‘Mad about something.  Angry?  He sounded angry?’

‘Yeah.  Sounded like it.  But it coulda been terror.  I ran over, took a look, tried not to chuck up me guts … sorry, tried not to vomit, then yelled out for someone to call an ambulance, and you blokes.’

‘What about that sheet ?  Was that you?  Or someone else?’

‘Nah.  Yeah.  That was me.  Thought I’d better chuck me ground-sheet over him, coz it wasn’t a pretty sight.  Anyone coulda seen him.  There’s kids live here you know.’

They took his contact details and headed for the stairs.  ‘Only other witness was a woman who was waiting for her husband to come home from night-shift.  She heard the scream, then saw him fall past her kitchen window.’

Looking up they caught the sudden movement of a head drawing back from the top floor railing.  Important?  Or just a nosey parker.

* * *

Mid morning, steamy and bright, the daughter was on the swings, with Dad pushing, while Mum stayed inside sleeping off the party, and the gatecrasher lay still on the front lawn by the gate.  ‘Who’s that man,Daddy?’

‘What?!  Geez.  Go see if Mum’s awake honey.’  Daughter packed off inside, he walked slowly over to investigate the sleeper.  ‘Wake up mate!’

So still.  So pale.  Bloody Hell.  He’s not asleep.  He’s dead!  Lifting the tatty old car rug he saw blood, under the body, around him, and on his back.  Cops.  Gotta call the cops.  He rushed inside to do so.  ‘Don’t panic honey.  Just keep the kids inside.  Put on the TV for them or something.’

Sirens in the street.  The first to arrive was a well-built, tawny-haired Detective Senior Constable, who having checked the body for signs of life, called in the Detectives from CIB in town.  He returned to the body, which he couldn’t search till it had been photographed, and seen to by SOCO.  ‘Have you moved him at all?’  Due to his extremely light, nearly invisible eyebrows and lashes, his gaze seemed unblinking which was disconcerting.

‘Nah I just pulled the rug down and saw the blood.  See there.  Then I ran inside to call you.’  The body looked familiar, but he couldn’t work out why.  He couldn’t see much of him.  His face was in the damp grass.

‘He’s been here since last night, you said.  When last night?  Early?  Late?  When?  And who put the rug on him?’

‘I did, in case he caught his death . . . . We all came out at midnight’ – the weird eyebrows raised – ‘my friends, my wife and I.  We were having a New Year’s Eve party.  We came out for another barbeque, and he was here then.  We all thought he was a gatecrasher from another party.  Too drunk to go home.’

‘I’ll need all your names.’  He supplied them, and their addresses as well.

‘I think I know this man.  I’ve only been here for 3 months, but he might work where I work.  It’s a big company – lotsa blokes go to lotsa different areas.  The others might know.’

‘Do you.  We might get some ID from him when we can search him.  I’ll check with you once we’ve done that.  Go on inside.  I’ll be with you after the DSS and the SOCO team have finished.’  More sirens.  Vans and cars filled the parking bays on the street, except in front of the house.

* * *

No-one went near the third victim.  No-one knew there was a third victim.  Only the neighbour worried, and fretted, afraid to go and knock on the door.  Afraid of her friend’s husband.

(C) Copyright Jud House  21/11/2011

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EVERY 31 MINUTES – Part 2


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 2.

Every 31 minutes someone is murdered . . .

Midnight – New Years Eve.

 The attack was swift and sudden.  The blade sliced into his left side and up towards his heart.  His chest ripped, ribs broke, as he stumbled forward onto the knife, pulled out with violence.  He gasped, his eyes bulging in disbelief.  From his open mouth came gurgling, sputtering sounds.  He wanted to cry out for help, to scream his agony and fear to the party-lit street, but he could get no volume.

Without a word his attacker turned and left, purposefully, with no appearance of panic.  Alone, and to the sounds of revelry from every house, he clutched at the nearest fence, staggered along it to the gate, then clung to the gate-post to gain the strength to open it and proceed unaided.  He didn’t get far.  Dropping to his knees, then down onto his hands, he dragged himself about a body-length across the grass beside the path.  With a spluttering gasp he collapsed face down and lay still, as his life ebbed from him, and his senses faded.

Suddenly there was a great shout into the humid NorthWest night.  Cheers.  Auld lang Syne!  People spilled out of the houses and called to their neighbours.  Barbeques were re-ignited and meat was soon sizzling.  Music blared from various sound systems – Michael Jackson competing with Pink Floyd, Meatloaf, ACDC down along the street.

People danced on the grass, and wondered about the gate-crasher who seemed to have had a skin-full.  ‘Should we wake him?’  ‘Nah.’  ‘Leave the poor bugga to sleep it off.’  ‘Fair go – it’s New Years after all.’  Banter.  Laughter.  Arguments as a couple get too drunk and nasty.  The parties break up and people drift off home.  ‘Cover the gate-crasher with an old car rug or he’ll catch his death.’  ‘Night.’  ‘Seeya.’

Quiet descends on the street, on the town.  The humidity mists onto the lawn and the body, glistening in the street lights till they too turn off.

* * *

12.31 am 

The pounding his wife was taking was beyond description.  He’d sorted out the boyfriend, and now it was her turn.  Again.  It had been going on since Xmas.  She’d screamed then, but noone came to help.  Her neighbours, her friends thought they’d make the situation worse if they did, and domestics weren’t considered as priorities at that time.  If they waited till he went to work, they could make sure she was okay then and help her get away.  But he didn’t go out, and she didn’t appear again.

The beatings got a bit worse each time.  Furniture was smashed, he yelled abuse, then forced her to cook his meals without snivelling or she’d cop it again.  The last time had crippled her, broken her legs,and ribs, and she’d lain on the bed, bound hands and feet, in a foetal position, unmoving since then.  Into her mind had crept the incongruous thought of Douglas Adams quote in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy about ‘bits of her kept passing out’, and had wanted to giggle but couldn’t.  The pain was too great.  Her eyes were all puffy and she couldn’t see, and wouldn’t know if he was standing there watching her.  So she kept still, and when she was conscious pretended she wasn’t.

But it was no protection from the sudden beatings, each more shocking than the last as she had no way of knowing when they would begin.  He pulled her by the hair and flung her, still bound, across the room.  He kicked, and kicked, and kicked, before pounding into her head with his fists.  After flinging her back onto the bed, he quietly picked up his knife.  It had done such a good job on that bloody boyfriend.  Now it was her turn.  Bitch!  He slashed her unprotected body, watching the terror in her eyes.  Then he sorted her face out as well.

Closing the bedroom door for the last time, he went and made himself a cuppa, and a sandwich, and turned on the TV to watch the New Year fireworks replay.

* * *

1.02 am 

In the High Rise apartment complex a drugs deal was underway.  The men entered the dimly-lit central courtyard through the ground-floor car-parks and headed for the lifts.  Pretending to press the button, then retreating to the base of the stairs, the Dealer swore.  ‘The bloody lift’s out of order again.  Have to climb the bloody stairs!’  ‘What floor?’  ‘The bloody top of course.’  ‘Geez!’

Halfway up the mugginess was getting to his Mate, so the Dealer told him to wait while he went to see the kid.  Didn’t wanna spook him anyway.  He might rack off before doing the deal.  He plodded on up.  The Mate leaned on the railing and looked around the compound created by the railed walkways lining the inner walls of the complex.  Geez he’d hate to live here.  Looked like a prison.  He leaned over and glanced down at the courtyard.  At least there were some palms in tubs down there, some greenery.  Mostly paving, but.

On the sixth floor, the drugs had changed hands, the money been counted and the kid had sauntered off.  Descending to join his mate, the Dealer commented on the couple of gay guys in the courtyard below.  ‘They shouldn’t do that in public!  Not even at night.  Kids live here.’  His mate craned his neck to get a look.  ‘What?  Where?’  ‘Down there.’  Pointed to the thickest foliage below.  ‘You’ll have to get on the step and lean out a little.  See?’

He crossed to the lift and pressed the button calling it up.  He returned to his mate, leaning dangerously out trying to see the gay guys in the gloom below.  With one swoop he grabbed his mate’s legs out from under him, tossed him up out over the rail.  In three steps he was in the lift which was ready, barely hearing his mate’s furious frantic scream or the sickening thud as his body hit the concrete paving slabs below.  His head struck the corner of a garden-bed wall, splitting open and spattering its contents onto the cool leaf-strewn surface of the courtyard.

Leaving the ground-level lift he hurried to the courtyard to gaze up as if startled by the scream, as people appeared at the railings and peered down for the same reason.  Several men approached the body.  ‘Call an Ambulance!’  ‘Call the Cops!’  A tall, bearded Bikie grabbed a dropsheet from a nearby carbay to throw over the nauseating sight.  The smug Dealer slipped away to hide in the air-conditioning plant room till it was all over.  Petty blackmail sorted.

* * *

(C) Copyright Jud House 6/11/2011

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