Detective Laura Kimber - Alternative Ending to 'A Different type of Torture' by Frank Atanacio
Scene of the crime ~
Detective Laura Kimber watched the Fire Marshall walk away as if he had just closed a notebook full of petty complaints from people in the area who had nothing to do but gripe about their neighbors.He had shown Kimber and Chambers what he said was a "pour pattern", a spot on the carpet that was darker than other areas. "This is the first spot where a flammable liquid was poured," the Marshall had said.
She was filled with disgust. Was he not going to conduct an investigation further than this? He had been on this job too long, she thought. Maybe it was time for him to take a long vacation and get far away from it all. She knew this run-down area on the corners of North and Colorado Avenue was not a lovely place to be, but a job had to be done here.
She almost felt helpless for the first time in her career. Here was a sinister crime with no witnesses, a burned body of a young man who had been tortured in a different way than she had ever seen, a smashed up body of a woman spread on the pavement below, a "pour pattern" and the Fire Marshall says, "I'm sorry, that's all I got." What? What was he apologizing for - for not offering peanuts, popcorn and sodas to go along with the show?
"That's all he's got?" Chambers said. "No ID, no motive, no clues other than this?" He pointed at the pour pattern and looked around.
Not letting this one fade ~
They stood in the middle of the room in apartment 1636 B, looking round at the burned, charred furniture then back at the burned body slumped in an overstuffed armchair. Two holes had been cut in the tarp where the guys face would have been.
"Oh, damn, look at this, Chambers," she carefully pointed to the holes with her pen. "It looks like whoever did this to him made these holes so the guy could watch the fire coming for him. Jeese!" Chambers paled as he looked into the holes, not wanting to see what he saw.
Laura was not about to let this one fade away into obscurity as so many crimes in the west end of Bridgeport had gone. This one would not go that route. She had a job to do and already was on the hunt.
She was grateful her partner, Nathan Chambers, felt the same and told her to count him in.
Laura thought about her office, where she was always at ease, knowing she could sit at her desk, with coffee and go over paperwork of the crime. Coffee and her office sounded good right now - but, there was work to be done immediately, before the shock and fear the neighbors felt cooled off like the burned body was doing now.
Laura looks into the hole in the canvas ~
Reluctant witnesses and slammed doors ~
They went up to the apartment where the woman had jumped from. As Laura looked out the window she noticed an old, strange looking man across the street. There were no clues to be found in the apartment. "Go over every inch of this place and find something," she told the two officers who had followed them up.
Reluctant witnesses or not, Kimber changed her mind about banging on doors. They covered every apartment in the six-family run down building, their next step would be to visit any surrounding locations within sight of the scene.
All they got was a resounding rehearsal of "I saw nothing!" and slammed doors. When they came back outside Kimber frowned and looked across the street to the old man standing on the corner, smoking a cigar, one hand in his worn overcoat pocket. "Chambers, wasn't that old guy there when we first drove up?" She pointed with her chin, holding her notebook and pen, ready to write down some thoughts. "Go see what he knows."
As Chambers looked across the street he saw no one on the corner. Laura stopped jotting down some notes and looked up at Chambers. "I asked you to go talk to him, Nathan." She was getting irritable.
"Talk to who?" Laura dropped her arms to her side in exasperation. "That old man over there." Chambers asked, "Where?"
"Oh for crying out loud! That ... ", Laura looked across the street and the man was gone. She snapped her notebook closed and stomped to their unmarked car as Chambers stared after her, scratching his head. Then he shrugged his shoulders and followed her, taking a puzzled look over at the corner.
He was there, an old weird looking man, on the corner ~
Weird happenings ~
Back in her office, Laura sat at her desk going over her notes. How long have I been here? She got up and poured herself more coffee. hmmm... second cup of coffee, must have been here quite awhile. It seemed like they had just left the crime scene a few minutes ago, but it was a good 20 minute drive from there. She felt so tired.
Laura reached for her phone to call Chambers and go over some notes with him. She could not find her notebook. I left it right here! She went through her pockets, then her purse and could not find it. Just as she picked up the phone again a loud alarm went off and she jumped.
"Oh, my god," she opened her eyes and realized she had been dreaming. All this sinister crime was only a nightmare?!
What is happening to me? Am I crazy? We were there at the scene, the burned body, all of it. It was real, I know it! That old man across the street. He was so ... evil looking ... I think he was grinning, too. He knew something and she would find out what it was. God, I am going crazy. Or, was something more sinister happening?
Her phone rang sharply, like a loud alarm. Startled, she picked it up, her hand shaking. "Yes?" She sat up, brushing her damp hair off her forehead.
"Laura," it was her captain. "I want you and Chambers to hightail it over to the corners of North and Colorado Avenue over on the west end of Bridgeport. Someone wrapped a poor sucker in a plastic tarp and burned him. A woman has jumped out or been thrown out of a third story window, landing on the bare asphalt. It's a mess. Get on it."
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Frank's challenges ~
Have you ever taken on one of Frank's challenges to write an alternate ending?
Note from author ~
This is an alternative ending to "A Different Type of Torture" by Frank Atanacio. He threw out another challenge to fellow hubbers and I decided to take him up on it.
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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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