Empty Chambers

For two weeks, detective Nathan Chambers worked backward on Adriana Thompson’s last hours, learning that on the night of her murder she was picking up baby formula for her fifteen year old daughter’s infant. They had no place to go so they stayed with her at a local run down motel near the Bridgeport and Stratford town line. Robbery was one motive, but it wasn’t the primary motive. Rape was the motive that clearly stood out. Taking the twenty two dollars and fifteen cents was just an added bonus.

The crime scene was largely the bottom part of a steel fire escape on the side of an old brick building. The victim slumped over several plastic milk crates. Her shirt and bra ripped off with such force it left deep wounds. Her face was marked by a dozen or more stab wounds and Chambers had no idea why that was done. On the ground near the back entrance to the Garden Spring Chinese Restaurant, were the contents of the victim’s purse. Confirming the secondary motive. Sadly, beyond that, there was no physical evidence in the alley. There were no fingerprints, and there was nothing leading anyone to this brutal attack. The crime scene had nothing Chambers could use to help find the perpetrators. He knew without physical evidence and witnesses he was in for a long haul. Adriana Thompson’s life simply met the constant battle of the daily grind and lost.

Adriana’s daughter seemed frozen with fear as Chambers expressed his condolences. She said a soft “Thank you,” and brushed away welling tears.

She was strong for a fifteen year old girl, but she had to be strong. She was raising a child of her own, Chambers thought.

The crime scene was dim and dirty. It was once a meeting place for all manner of underhanded, slightly shady, and outright unscrupulous sorts. This piece of paradise was situated just off of Bridgeport’s Barnum Avenue. As for the smell, no one was entirely sure just what it might be. At times, it seemed to defy normal description. There was a rancid smell of garbage, sweat, mixed with free floating smoke from cigarettes and Marijuana. You could also add to that, a dust of blood and vermin waste. Now it was simply the resting place for Adriana Thompson’s soul.

In the months since the murder, nothing turned up. No one was knocking down the police doors to confess. It was such a disgrace to society and humankind, but Chambers knew that there were many cases like this one. In fact there were too many cases left unsolved.

Finding her murderer ended without even a dying fragment of hope. The reality was simply pale, starved and weak. The case would never go cold, but it would remain open long after Chambers was soaking in his pension.

Detective Nathan Chambers meandered down the hallway of the Congress Street Police Station. He stopped and pressed his back against the flaking plaster watching a uniform shouting at a young black man in dreadlocks. He also heard the desk sergeant screaming at the coffee machine demanding his money back because only a half cup of coffee came out. Then two young rookies were talking about the late basketball game that went into over-time. The chatter was scattered all around the police station as if to indicate, “Life goes on.” Maybe it should go on, but not for Adriana Thompson, who probably deserved better. Chambers closed his eyes for a brief moment. After that, the crowded police station was strangely silent.


© 2013 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 24 comments

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

Your description of the murder scene puts you in the realms of the very best crime writers my friend. Your also a champion of the downtrodden and the brutality that can come from being so, especially in the big city. It is comforting in a way to know Det. Chambers still has a reflecting conscious for these unfortunates. Shiny Happy People holding hands this is not. Well done, Frank.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you Alastar.. for always showing up at my crime scenes..bless you bro :)

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Ghaelach 3 years ago

Hi Frank.

A great crime article.

Sadly another one that goes along with the thousands and thousands of unsolved crimes.

LOL Ghaelach

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

So many good phrases and descriptions. Hope there is more of this!

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Ghaelach and Kathleen for stopping by :)

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Wonderful descriptive work. Sadly there are too many of these unsolved murders. She was probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

poetvix profile image

poetvix 3 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

Oh, Frank. It's so sad. I don't know how you do it but you sure open up a guy's head. It makes me wonder how they get up and do it everyday. Wonderful writing, Frank, even if it is heartbreaking.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you Becky Katz and thanks Poetvix..longtime no see :)

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Valleypoet 3 years ago

This has got to be one of your best Frank...the impressive descriptions, the sense of hopelessness as the case remains stubbornly unsolved, and your finely crafted final paragraph describing life carrying on as normal...except, of course, for the victim and her family...great work:-))

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you and coming from you it has weight... Bless you Valley Poet :)

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. Perfect read for 1:30 and 23 hubs later. (not too heavy)

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting. A sad story of a dreadful crime. You tell it real well and it was a fascinating read. Passing this on.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Your descriptions paint such "real" pictures. Thanks for sharing your great talent. Well done!

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Ms Dora, Gypsy Rose lee and Mhatter for visiting my empty chambers bless you guys :)

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lovedoctor926 3 years ago

A good crime murder story. you kept me hooked from beginning to end. voted up!

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

aaawww thanks Marlene :)

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lovedoctor926 3 years ago

Good morning:)

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Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

you have a good day too Marlene :)

tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Frank, I seemed to have missed this one. Your talent in painting such imagery shines in this short story, another excellent read.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

tobusiness thank you :)

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

So descriptive, as always. you make us feel for both women but I think I feel more for the young girl left behind. Fifteen and now totally alone with a baby.

Since Jack the Ripper these heinous crimes have been committed and no perpetrator found. Well done my friend.

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Tillsontitan for always reading my back stories...:)

lisavanvorst profile image

lisavanvorst 2 years ago from New Jersey

Another great crime story Frank

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you lisa Happy new year :)

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