HOME INVASION 3
I rode with Erik down to the Los Angeles Police Department - Chinatown Substation to give my statement and fingerprints so they could distinguish mine from those at the scene. I was mentally kicking myself in the head for being so stupid and not thinking of all of the other possibilities before making that phone call to the house.
Suppose their other accomplices had passed me on their way out and noticed me stopping right in front of the house and using the cell phone after observing all of the lights on? They could have just shot me in the head right then and there. Or worse, they could have just kidnapped me and tortured me and no one would have missed me until I had missed an appointment or enough phone calls…its not like I have regular check in times or safety calls with other human beings. My life is pretty reclusive and working from home most of the time, it might have taken work a while to miss me. The first clue might have been my mail stacking up in my mail box. The gang members would have no way of knowing that though, would they? How much did they know about me anyway? How did they know I would not be home today? Did it matter? What if I had been home today? If this was a random act of violence spurred by drug-induced peer adrenaline rage – what would I have done against it?
“Erin,” Erik’s deep voice startled me out of my reverie, “are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I answered, but my voice wasn’t convincing.
“We’re here. We’ll go in the back.” Erik’s voice put me at ease, yet my mind was spinning. How many other mistakes did I make tonight? And how many more would I make now that I’m wearing down? I just want things to go back to normal…come home from work, find everything the way I left it, snuggle up with my laptop, and type away at some story or read some creations from my friends on the other side of the network on Hubpages. Those are my favorite evenings…
After crossing the parking lot, Erik was leading me through the “Employees Only” door vs. the door marked “Prisoners Only” with a sign warning that anyone from that point on must be accompanied by law enforcement officers and prisoners must remain in restraints at all times. This was all too surreal for my private shell of a world. I was starting to get lightheaded but took a few deep breaths to head it off.
We entered into a small room first, a kind a foyer. I didn’t expect this at all. The walls were tan with a chair rail molding halfway down and wallpaper below that. A coat rack was standing in the corner next to a tall Ficus tree. A lamp was lit on a small circular antique table next to a stairway which Erik explained led up to their offices. This was much too relaxing to be a police station.
We ascended the stairs to a hallway of wooden doors with frosted glass windows. A few of the offices had lights in the windows, but the hallway was so quiet, it was hard to tell if anyone was actually there besides us. These reminded me of the doors to one of those old movies where the beautiful woman with the mobster husband would go to seek the help of a private detective. The fourth one on the left was Erik’s office, he led me inside.
I sat in the comfortable leather chair across from his big wooden desk. Surprisingly Erik sat in the other chair, not behind his desk. “Aren’t you going to take notes?” I asked.
“If you don’t mind, I’d rather record our conversation and make notes later,” he answered, “I find listening and writing to be distracting and I miss verbal and physical clues.”
He really is honest. I like it and am uncomfortable at the same time. I’ve nothing to hide yet I’m hoping my body language is one of an innocent person; I’ve studied the non-verbal clues too and they aren’t always accurate. I hope he’s not a believer in all of the psychological stuff they teach you in detective school; it only works with untrained people.
“I don’t mind, I like that way better. Then I feel like you are really listening anyway. I’d rather talk to your face than the top of your head.” I answered.
“I like your honesty, Erin.” Read my mind Erik. “Let’s get started.” And with that he sat the recorder, no bigger than a credit card, on the coffee table between us. I liked that their was a small lamp in the room and more plants. No bright lights or torture devices. Yet anyway.
“Detective Morales, 7 February 2011, interviewing Ms. Erin LeFey 2224: LAPD Chinatown”
“Ms. LeFey, Erin – Can you tell me where you work, what you do and what happened on your way home tonight…”
I started with a bit of hesitation… Wow, that’s quite a loaded sentence right there. “Certainly, I am a freelance writer and editor currently doing some work for “Private Studios, Inc.” in Beverly Hills. I had to work later than usual this evening and as I approached the house…” and I began telling him the story just as it happened. He kept motioning me to go on with the story and at the end, he stopped the recording.
“Erin, that was good. Now, I have a few questions for you, do you mind if I ask you the questions while you are being recorded?” I was getting uneasy.
“Why do I have the sinking feeling that I’m the one who should be having a lawyer present during questioning?” I asked him.
Erik apologized. “I’m sorry, Erin. Can I ask you a question, off the record?”
“Sure.” I answered
“Do you have any kind of history in law enforcement?”
“I do.” I confessed.
“Then you know our line of questioning and it is not uncommon for victims to feel invaded after a break in and also by our questions. You are only going to feel it more and more. Especially because of your history. You’ll feel guilty because of not taking the proper steps, you’ll second guess all of your actions, whether we catch these guys or not, you are going to replay this scene in your head for a long time. It probably would have been better for you psychologically if you had arrived home AFTER we discovered the crime or if one of your neighbors had noticed something. You are the only one who saw any of it. I have to take your prints to distinguish them from the others at the crime scene – that’s another invasion – you may feel you are being prosecuted.”
His cell phone rang. “Excuse me a second.”
My head is spinning. He’s right. I’m a victim with law enforcement officer’s guilt because I made the wrong decisions while witnessing a crime. A crime that was happening in my own house. I left law enforcement because psychologically I just couldn’t handle all of the emotions associated with being a homicide detective anymore. After fifteen years on the force in Dallas, it all got to be too much. I knew I should have moved to a small town. But Julie was out here and wanted me to be nearby to keep her company for a while. I knew I should have just disappeared into the small towns of rural America and traveled the way I wanted to do. Too late for that now, but my life will change again after this.
“That was Detective Scarborough at your house." he started, "The woman died before they got her out of the house. She’s a Jane Doe for now. We have more work to do. I understand that this is going to be hard, but our gang violence break in just got bumped up to a homicide investigation. We will still be doing most of the investigation but the amount of people involved will increase. Erin, these questions are going to mean more than ever. If you want a lawyer, I can find you an excellent one, but you really don’t need one yet – if you are completely innocent and up front with me – I’ll be upfront with you and tell you the second I think you should.” Erik looked genuine.
I need to find a place to sleep tonight. I can’t ever go back to that house.
“I’ll answer your questions. I have no idea who broke into my house or why. I left no forwarding address when I left Dallas and you said that gang graffiti looked local?” I asked.
“Yes, it does. Let me start the tape again”
Other links in the HOME INVASION Series
- Short Story: Home Invasion
copyright pending 2011 by Erin Le Fey I worked a little later than usual today. So it was dark as I was driving home in traffic listening to nothing. Too much going on in my head to be distracted by...
- Home Invasion 2
copyright pending 2011 by Erin Le Fey I awoke to two police officers hovering over me and a faint distant sound coming clearer; voices, Shes coming around. Ms. LeFey. Are you okay? Where...
- HOME INVASION 4
Almost midnight and Im just reaching the hotel. Im so glad I still have the old habit of leaving a fully packed overnight bag in my car for emergencies. They taught us when I was working shift; in case...