The Oak Door Murders Short Story
She slowly opened her eyes straining to capture focus with several flicks of her lids, all around her were shards of shattered mirror and red Jackson Pollock configured blood spatter. In the distant living room she could hear the smoothly pulsing acoustic piano keys and the words "Never mind I'll find someone like you..." as the Adel CD continued to play through the entire encounter. It was as if a real life soundtrack telling the story of her most recent life filled the air even as her 5 foot 4 inch carcass went crashing into the tall antique framed mirror found in the fourier of her upscale home. How much longer she would remain animated would amount to only minutes, yet she knew she had to leave a message for him, even if only a word. She reasoned that her spilled blood would make the perfect writing utensil and the void where her assailant had stood would make the perfect page.
The hollow echoes and skewed vision of the room became her final memories as from the cold tile floor her life was dimming with every new flick of her eyelids. Her thoughts shifted to how much the vision was like an old 8mm film after breaking, flipping centrifugally around and around its sprocketed reel. Her vision fell blank, she could hold her eyes open no longer, and the music sounded further and further away as if she were traveling on a dark one way street to silence. She felt the floor now growing colder, her eyes sealed quietly for the last time. Kendra Fletcher was the final victim in a string of 3 murders the small Shell County Sheriff Department had been baffled by for the past six months. But this murder victim was no ordinary victim, Kendra's success had been the answer to every question and the reason for each of the three, now four, murdered souls.
He Stepped onto the Scene
It's hell walking onto a murder scene no matter if the victim is known to you or is someone you never laid your baby blues on. But this scene, it was the one he had always dreaded. The sprawled body of the petite Redheaded beauty was more than Nicholas Cavalli could stand.
His 25 years of rolling up on such crime scenes seemed to be of no help at all, as the top detective on the force fell to his knees, his face cupped in both of his extra large hands. His tears could be seen crawling from between huge masculine fingers as they dripped out onto the blood stained tiles. Each one effortlessly feathering the edges of the blood drops where ever they landed, diluting the coagulating red fluid in a final mingling of Cavalli and Kendra's DNA. His team watched the athletic bear-like man of steel become a child trapped in all six-foot five-inches of his olive complected body.
"I told her we were through, I just couldn't take it anymore..." the words fell from his tear dampened lips as he drank in the horrific vision.
"She, she, was so beautiful and perfect... I just couldn't..." he sputtered like an old unattended 5 horse power outboard, "She just wanted me to say I loved her, what a damn fool I am!"
Cavalli lifted his head free of his heartbroken shame moistened palms and noticed the writing Kendra had painted in her final moments. He knew right then and there the words were for him, and him alone. A message that was her last and greatest gift for the detective who had brought her up from the streets and proved to her she was worth more than a $30 trick in the backseat of some Johns heap of a car.
To him, she was worth it all, the swings of fiery feminine emotions and the passion of a girl who craved only to be loved by the only man she ever fully trusted. Now, her only way to pay back his kindness was to leave him the most important clue to solving his troubled investigation; the one clue that would stop this sick murderers next brutal excursion.
A Man on a Mission
"Damn, she wrote it in her own blood..." Cavalli muttered to himself while peering down on the crimson note. The hundreds of shards of mirror reflecting his anguish up at him as he wiped away a final tear.
He caught himself chasing the scent of Kendra's perfume which laced itself throughout the murder scene, the musky iron-rich aroma of her blood masking it just enough, teasing Cavalli. His mind went to a last embrace, her golden studded hazel eyes looking up at him, craving his love, needing his approval. He recalled that he could not speak the words, he couldn't tell her the things she wanted him to say. He couldn't allow himself to fully love her as she was, it simply wasn't his way. He thought to himself how perfect a woman she had been, more woman than any he had ever held in his arms. How this perfect creature could have been so imperfect he could not comprehend, he only knew he would find her etched into his heart forever.
A crash breaks Cavalli's meandering trip down memory lane as one of those fat uniforms knocked over a priceless vase, shattering like that of the mirror, hard on the tile. Cavalli snaps out of it and in a loud impatient tone, "Get your big ass out of my crime scene you clumsy bastard!" His gaze returning to focus on the words Kendra had left for him. A whistle of discovery poured off of his lips as he flipped his thick feather-like bangs away from his weathered face,"Hm-mm,...could it be?...I'll be damned! Good job baby, you did it!"
Suddenly standing up, Cavalli sharply turns to his team, "I know where we need to go boys, secure this scene and saddle-up, we're going to catch this son-of-a-bitch, and we're gonna catch him today!"
A slap of both hands made a crack that echoed across the room. Cavalli couldn't help but to count a chicken or two before they were hatched,
"This case is in the bag, and it's all thanks to her." Cavalli shouts right out loud as he sharply crosses the front door threshold wagging one finger high above his head while pointing toward the half-dozen cruisers parked out front, "Lets load up and hit the road boys."
With that, Cavalli and his team piled into their plain colored cruisers. You could hear the boys slamming those heavy Crown Vic doors with a deep percussion in an attempt to keep up with the now double-timing Detective. Cavalli was hot on the trail of the killer, and he knew just where to go to catch this low life murdering animal; all thanks to the redheaded beauty that lay stiffly posed on the crime scene floor.
The speedometer read just above 80 miles per hour as Nicholas Cavalli raced toward the spot where he would arrest the serial killer who brutally murdered his precious Kendra Fletcher. As the street signs zip by the windy rhythm of the open car window created a hypnotic effect that took him back to his first encounter with the feisty redhead some five years prior.
It was Sinner Alley, right off of the main drag; damp and filthy, nothing good to be found there. He was investigating a robbery near by when he stepped into her world, the world that changed everything Cavalli knew himself to be. He noticed a beat-up '57 Chevy tucked away between some garbage bins. Speaking to himself he muttered, "Now that's the muscle car of a 16 year old kids dreams; a car that could change a young guys life." But this muscle car was about to change his life in an entirely unexpected way.
As he shuffled around in Sinner Alley looking for the clues to the robbery, kicking wrinkled newspaper and chunks of stinky trash, hoping to unveil anything worth while, his hopes were suddenly answered. A worth while vision appeared right before his crystal clear baby blue eyes.
A petite figure stepped free of that old Chevy, red hair askew, in shambles at best. She adjusted her inexpensive form fitting slinky dark-green dress, leaving both spaghetti straps to slump off of her alabaster shoulders. He watched her quietly and as still as he had ever been. She lifted one leg to wiggle the back of a six-inch pump comfortable on the heel of her foot. It would have been quite a sight, sexy to say the least, if only it were under different circumstances. The heavy droning of the big engine stirred and that yellow '57 pulled away, a man; a John he figured, "heading home to his wife and kid sick with the essence of another woman, a hooker even, pitiful" whispered under his breath.
A Cat at Play in Sinner Alley
Still driving hard towards his suspect, Cavalli's memory continued recalling the first moments he laid eyes on his redheaded beauty long ago in Sinner Alley;
As the slim red headed figure rose out of that '57 Chevy she completed her far less than haute couture clothing adjustments, and then the two locked eyes; hers big and as Hazel-green as he had ever seen. It was like looking into a fresh sprig of sage, hard and soft at the same time. He stood in silence then found himself speaking as if involuntary actions had taken over, "You alright?" Stunned and out of herself, but smooth in her response, Kendra replied, "Sure, why wouldn't I be, handsome?" She turned to walk away, stalling and turning back towards Cavalli with one hip jutted out in a prissy stance, "You need anything I can offer, Big Boy?" Cavalli halted the rise of a smile at the corner of his mouth and shouted in a playful tone, "I don't dabble where other guys have been Red, just keep those pumps pumping outta here before I hook you up and give you a place to think things over for the night".
Looking closely at the big hunk of a man, her head tilted cloyingly, a precariously slow and uneven smile grew across her perfectly arranged face. Cavalli watched as the smile arrived, causing him to feel a bit like a toy some spoiled house cat had played and then become board with. That one look from those eyes shot an electric-like surge through his body, he had no idea that he had been snared and changed forever. The detective gathered himself and looked down at the damp filth underfoot, "You should run along now kitten, I got work to do."
With a smooth gliding turn she swayed her way down the alley toward the main drag, checking over her shoulder to make sure he was watching her exit...and he was. Her work day was over, it was time to freshen up and wash clean the filth of a job well done. Cavalli monitored her exit as she rounded the corner with one last glance in his direction,..."Man, I'm betting that little gal could teach me a thing or two if given the chance." He had no clue just how drastically those words would fit into his life over the next few years. Still distracted, he tried to concentrate on his search for more applicable clues for his robbery investigation.
On the Way to Justice
A screech and then a bang, snapped Cavalli out of his thoughts of Kendra and the filth of Sinners Alley. He looked in his rear view mirror to see a couple of cars a few lengths back had collided. His heart beating wildly as adrenaline coursed through his body, "Come on people, pay attention!" The irony of the moment evaded him.
While he waited for the light to turn green, he watched a finely dressed woman pass a few feet in front of his bumper, the pattern on her skirt reminding him of one Kendra had worn a few months earlier; before things changed, before she needed him to commit to only her, before he had turned her away fully breaking her damaged heart. "She sure fought her way free from one hell of life, just to have it ripped away from her like that. Damn, why couldn't I tell her I loved her, maybe it would've all been different." His shame was almost too much, "Me in her world, it just wouldn't work. I'm not THAT kinda guy, am I?" He questioned himself over and over again in as few minutes as it took that red light to switch to green again.
His engine roared off the line as he floored the gas pedal, his team in tow six cars strong. His fingers were all but embedding their shape into the steering wheel as he gripped it hard in firtive juts in and out of traffic like he was heading for the checkered flag at NASCAR. He knew he had to make good time, he had to get their before the doors opened, he had to catch this S.O.B. before another fell to their death at the feet of a monster.
Shalimar and Single Malt Make for Strange Bedfellows
As luck would have it, if you want to call it that, only a day after they first encountered one another in the dank stretch if Sinner Alley, Cavalli and the redheaded figure crossed paths in a local watering hole called The Changing Room. The big detective had been sipping shots of the good stuff, aged single malt usually reserved for the best clubs in the hoity parts of town. He sat slouching casually with one arm on the bar and the other dipping into a bowl of stale pretzels he called dinner. Relieved that he had solved the robbery from yesterday, the day he ran into that redheaded stunner. The damn fool of a thief had dropped a business card from the pocket of his hoodie, the appointment card for his therapist. It was easy after that, Cavalli just waited for the guy to show for his session today and then hooked him up. A squirrelly little guy he was, spilled the whole story before Cavalli even got him down to the station. The reward was the smooth single malt that sat in front of him.
Over his shoulder and right smack-dab in middle of the room a female strolled in and took a seat. It was obvious without looking too closely that the shadowy frame was open for business. He paid little more attention to her than that, and continued slowly swigging his drink. The barkeep dropped off another long 2-ounce pour of the good stuff, "Hey buddy, I didn't order this" pushing it away using all four finger tips. With a nod of his head the bar tender informed Cavalli, "Nope, but she did." He took an uninterested look over his shoulder and realized it was the red head, that divine sassy little gal from the alley yesterday. He raised his glass in her direction as if to say thanks. He could feel his heart beat faster.
Suddenly at his side, next to him on the tattered blue bar stool, that red head introduces herself in a low sexy Stevie Nicks tone of voice,
"I'm Kendra, and you're Nicholas, right? Nicholas Cavalli." No room for him to respond, "So, I hear you caught that little thief today. Do you always get your man?"
Looking at her from the very corner of his eye he slowly speaks, "Yep. Unless he's a woman. I don't much care if a crook is a guy or a gal, guilty is guilty in my book sister... Thanks for the drink by the way." Again lifting it slightly in a 'cheers' gesture.
Cavalli could hardly stand the aroma of her Shalimar perfume as it crawled up his nose and made his mind dance with thoughts he fully understood. There was something about her, something rich and haunting, something he could not resist. They sat and talked for hours, more talking than Cavalli had done in a full year. Most of it a teasing game of cat and mouse, striking and then recoiling. A banter like none he had ever shared with a women, that was for sure. But he just couldn't stop, he couldn't NOT talk with her, it was all so easy, so real, and something he had needed his entire life.
He wasn't too sure how it all happened, but he found himself waking up in her bed the next morning, recalling through thoughts as thick as the film on his tongue that the expensive full bottle of booze he was swigging ended up only three fingers full before they left the bar. What he was certain of was that the night had been dangerous and exciting, and that Kendra made the big macho detective feel something he could only describe as love. All that was left of her in the morning light was a disheveled apartment with wigs, make-up, and sexy shiny and beaded clothing in every corner and on every surface, and a note;
"Meet me at the Candle Light Club on 2nd St. around 10 tonight. I want to share something very special with you."
As unlikely a duo that ever was, these two found themselves entwined in a needy, but cautiously distant understanding of passion they had never known. Cavalli knew he would be there at 10, and he could hardly bear the hours between.
The Candle Light Club
Cavalli waited at a table that was covered in a starched white cloth, "Nice place" he thought to himself. Not the kind of place he expected a gal like Kendra to frequent, unless it was to hustle some fat-cat out of a few bucks in the back of the coat room. He looked around the place watching all of the high-rollers chomp caviar and bark about money. When his eye returned to his own table, a folded piece of pink paper lay in front of him. He furrowed his dark brow and picked it up to read:
The oak panel next to the bar is a door. Hand the bartender a soup spoon on a napkin and tell him you like your sequins gold and your feathers down. He'll open the panel for you when the coast is clear. Follow the hall to the stairs. Go down the stairs and you will find a very special place; I will be waiting for you.
Behind the Oak Door
Behind the oak door at The Candle Light Club was another world, one unknown to Cavalli until that night, The Oak Door Burlesque Club. An entire theater sized stage and very private night club lingered there. One where boas were the trend and a masculine femininity lured only those privileged people willing to step through the looking glass to find what they never knew they craved. A world where men were "queens" and kings and nothing else mattered.
The headliners on the stage were Cher, Liza, and Tina, still found dancing in their prime. Cavalli wanted to run back through that oak door, but something held him there unable to move. A soft glove-covered hand wrapped around his waist from behind, and then a whisper, "I knew you would come. Now you know my secret Nicolas." He was stunned, but not appalled one bit; part of him already knew. A fascination for the room washed over him, even an appreciation for the camp and absurdity of it all. "I just don't care kitten, your as smooth as they come and I couldn't stay away from you if I tried." The Oak Door Burlesque club would be their place from that moment on.
Five Years Strong
Over time the companionship between Cavalli and Kendra grew into something neither could explain, but couldn't let go of either. The next five years would have ups and downs, but the connection would always be the same, nothing could come between those two, nothing at all; accept murder I suppose.
She got herself a place up where the finer homes are found, while Cavalli kept his apartment down by the hustle and bustle of the city. It didn't take long for Kendra to leave the street life behind, thanks to Cavalli. Getting the job as headliner at The Oak Door Burlesque Club made her financial life a breeze. The pay was good, but the tips were even better, offering her a lifestyle she never expected from this off-the-beaten-path life. Their private life remained just that, private. Until about six months before Kendra was murdered. That was when she suddenly needed more from her Nicholas, he just couldn't completely make the jump into her world.
It was around that time, six months ago, that a new group of "girls" started to frequent The Oak Door Club. They came with their own brand of junkyard dog named 'Hank the Tank'. A real low life that treated his girls like property and the Johns like scrawny schoolyard wimps. Along with Tanks bad attitude came the barrel of a 38 caliper revolver, the kind of gun that doesn't leave the casings behind. The kind of gun with a purpose, giving this kind of guy gunpowder courage.
The second Cavalli saw the words "Candle Light" written in Kendra's own blood he knew right where to go to get his grizzly-bear-sized hands on her murderer. And he was just minutes away from giving this guy some payback for what he did to Kendra and the three Oak Door gals.
Slam Goes the Oak Door of Justice
His cruiser tires screech loud as the front passenger side wheel pops up and over the sidewalk curb, coming to an abrupt halt. Cavalli kicks his car door open wide so he can maneuver his big tall body out of the vehicle quickly. His boys several minutes behind him, but that just didn't matter to him, he was going in alone and he was going in pissed. The front glass door of The Candle Light Club flew open wide banging the stopper at the bottom hard against the wall as the big cop hustled past it. Nothing was going to stop him now.
Looking right at the bartender and not missing a stride he shouts out, "Open that damn oak door NOW or I'm kicking it in!" With that the door popped a-jar and he pushed through heading directly for the table in front of the stage.
His eyes adjusted quickly to the dim lighting and as expected he saw Hank the Tank sitting at his usual table, tossing back what he liked best, boiler makers and cigarettes. Cavalli stormed toward Tank leaving little doubt what his intentions were about. Pointing strong and directly at him Cavalli spouts,"You miserable bastard! You had to have it all to yourself, you had to knock-off any thing standing in your way and anybody who wouldn't play your damn game!" He suddenly stopped his pace and tossed both big palms up at shoulder height,"You don't have the balls to go man to man with me? Pussy! You're gonna have to shoot me dead before I let you leave this joint alive" Cavalli spews at Tank.
A 38 revolver looks a whole hell of a lot bigger when it's being pointed at your face from five-inches away. Cavalli could see the big hallow point tips sitting in each cylinder just waiting to find their final place in his brain matter. With the realization that this guy would likely shoot him no matter what he did, he thinks to himself, "All-in, no going back now big man!"
The Spirit of Truth
"What the hell did Kendra do to you, Tank? Why kill that beautiful creature you animal?"
Tank displays escalated twitches and speaks from his very Irish, street-savvy lips,"Kill Kendra?...dat lass is dead? I had nuffin' to do wiff dat one bruffer, she's a cops ole' lady, man...not even Tank's jacked-up enuff to mess wiff dat." Lowering his 38 a little, and with one shoulder tilted high, he shakes his head back and forth, "I liked dat freaky lass man, she brought in the lads wiff the cash bruffer. Tank like dat about da girl."
The bear sized detective's hackles smoothed a touch as he processed what Hank the Tank was talking about. "She was murdered in her house this morning, just like the other three Oak Door gals. And you know it because you were there, you lying son of a bitch."
Tank throws both arms straight out on both sides of is body, that big 38 caliper hanging loose at his bent wrist, "Look laddie, if it be I that tagged dat lass, yur ass would already be on da floor heavy" his eye brows raised high enough they almost reached his slicked back blond hairline, "Tank don't play wiff dis stuff bruffer, it eiffer is or it isn't, and dis itsn't, lad." In a lower tone now, "I ain't yur lad fir dis one, and Tank swears dat on his dead mudder's grafe." He looks up slowly at Cavalli,"The trooff goes out when da spirit goes in laddie, and Tank has the spirit of good ole' Irish Whiskey full-up in 'em righ-now."
Cavalli weighing his chances against the position of Tanks 38 ponders if he has the speed to tackle this freak, "What about the triplets Tank, are you gonna lie about them too?"
"No, man...dat stooff is real bruffer, but Kendra ain't my claim. Dem 'tree bitches were crampin'Tank, laddie...you know not wearin' Tanks saddle, and dat means day're not sharin' the welf wiff Tank...Tank can't let dose strays hang 'round his place, lad. You need to shake down dat skinny bartender 'bout yur lass. Dat dude, he's some kinda crazy fur dat red mane, bruffer,...crazy fir dat Kendra of yurs."
Let's Hear it for the Boys
The reality that Tank wasn't the one who killed Kendra struck Cavalli hard, like a two-by-four to the gut. Just then Cavalli's boys poured into the secret den, with the Candle Light Club bartender in tow. "We caught this guy creeping down the stairs headed your way boss, looked like he had a loaded Smithy with your name on it. When we searched him we found the necklace missing from around Kendra's neck in his front pocket."
As Cavalli looked the barkeep in the eyes, he now could see the deep-scratched stripes on the barkeep's face, and a smudge of blood spatter on his ear. Cavalli whispers under his breath to Kendra,"It's your blood! You ripped DNA from his ugly face and managed to mark him with your own..I'm gonna miss you gorgeous, every bit of you."
With that Cavalli turned to see Tank, the serial murderer, being hooked-up in silver bracelets for taking the lives of the Oak Door triplets, shaking his head and throwing him a look of absolute disdain. He then takes one step, stops, and pivots bringing round his moose-head-side frozen-turkey-hard fist and planted it right on the chin of Kendra's murderer, knocking the guy clear into the second row of tables. While the boys were wrapping up the arrests, pretending not to notice the punch, and securing that big 38, Cavali headed for the exit at the Oak Door; you could hear him say in a loud perfect tone as he was leaving,
"You may have killed her you gin-tending son-of-a-bitch, but she killed you right back; and you'll die a whole hell of a lot slower."
This article and all of its content is copyright protected ©2011 K9keystrokes
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