Mary Had A Little Lamb: Chapter Seven
A Personal Revelation
Here it is: I have no idea how long I’ll drag this out in short story form. I can see a book here, but I really don’t want to show all my cards now . . . but then it seems a bit cruel to take you this far and then leave you hanging…but I have this really cool idea for the book….but where is the time going to come from….and the doubts keep swirling.
I guess we’ll just have to see when the time comes.
In the meantime, enjoy!
The Boredom of a Stakeout
Two weeks of staking out a suspect will cut into a department’s budget pretty quick. The Chief of Police did not hesitate to inform me of that fact at every opportunity.
“We’ve got nothing on this guy Bitron, O’Dowd. I need something to justify the man-hours of watching him twenty-four-seven.” Similar statements were made to me, at least twice daily, and I could understand his concern. Hell, I had my own doubts to wrestle with. On the other hand, since the stakeout began, the murders had ended. Coincidence? My instincts told me no, but I had not one shred of evidence to back up those instincts.
“We need something,” Dawn said, stretching in the seat next to me. We were parked a block down from Bitron’s house. The subject of our intense interest was entertaining that evening. Five separate cars had arrived just before seven that evening, and each car disgorged a lone male. A poker game? A book club? I had typed in each license plate and was reading the printout of information as Dawn kept her eye on the house.
Shaun Peterson, age forty-two, single, no prior arrests, and local address.
Gerald Banks, age forty, no prior arrests, single, local address, the gentleman, Mister Average, we had met earlier.
Thomas Braun, age forty, no prior arrests, single, and local address.
Jonathan Petrie, age forty-five, no prior arrests, single, and local address.
And Mister Henry Streitz, the elder of the group at forty-nine, single, local address, and one prior arrest for assault and battery when he was twenty-two.
“What the hell?” I asked to no one in particular. “What are the odds of finding six single guys, in their forties, in one place? Why do I find that odd? I mean, there’s no law against being single, and there’s no law against six guys getting together for beers, or cards, or whatever, but I just find it stranger than hell.”
“I think we should go see for ourselves what they’re doing,” Dawn said as she opened her car door.
A Chill in the Air
A storm had blown in from the Pacific, reminding us all that no matter the season, life in the Pacific Northwest is unpredictable at best. The wind and rain hit my face like an angry lover as we climbed the stairs to Bitron’s home. The front door opened before we could knock, and Bitron smiled at us.
“Detectives,” he said. “I must tell you, you are dangerously close to harassment at this very moment.” He turned to his friends inside. “Thomas, could you come here, please?”
Thomas Braun approached the door, about six-two, black wavy hair, in shape, probably worked out at Gold’s or the Y, expensive teeth, and those teeth were on full-display as he stopped and smiled at us.
“This must be the two detectives you were telling us about, Anthony. O’Dowd and Robie, I presume. My client here, and friend, was just telling us that you don’t seem capable of leaving him alone.” He handed us his business card. “As you can see from the card, I am one of two managing partners of Braun & Braun Law, and Anthony is tired of you being camped out in his neighborhood. Now, if you have any evidence that Anthony is involved in the child killings, now is the time to pull that evidence out, but we all know you have nothing and this is a fishing expedition. That means tomorrow I call the Mayor, who just happens to be a golfing buddy, and I tell him I’m not happy about two of the city’s finest hassling a fine citizen. Now, is there anything else, Detectives? No? Well, then, ta-ta. ‘And so the teacher turned it out, but still it lingered near.’ Don’t you two linger, Detectives. It’s time to go find the real killer and leave my friend alone.”
We did as instructed and walked back to the car. I turned the heat on and we sat there.
“What was that about the teacher turning it out?” Dawn asked.
“It’s a line from ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb,” I said.
“Aww shit! What, this Braun is involved too? And if he is, why would he say that? Why say something that obviously points to the killings?”
“Because he’s convinced he can’t be caught, Dawn. He thinks we are so incompetent that he doesn’t have to be concerned with what we know. Let’s go back to the office. I want as much information as possible on the new players.”
The Weather Clears
According to the National Weather Bureau, the rains ended about three a.m. The storm dropped a little over an inch of rain on Olympia, but a high-pressure system was moving in. By three-thirty a.m. the stars were on display, the wind was calm, and the temperature was fifty-eight degrees.
The construction site at the corner of 18th and Lilly was a mud pit. The partially-framed home looked like a massive skeleton under the half-moon, the yellow Douglas Fir studs appearing white at that hour.
The body of a young girl hung in dark contrast against those studs. She had been crucified to what would be the front wall, facing the street, a street which was, by four a.m. filled with cop cars and emergency vehicles. Dawn and I stood on that street, along with another twenty-five city personnel. No one had approached the home. A cop had seen the body while driving by, had called it in, and had sealed off the scene.
There was not one damned footprint approaching the house. The ground was a literal quagmire with a good two inches of mud, the best surface possible for footprints, and we were looking at an approach of thirty feet completely undisturbed.
“We got a call in at twelve-fifty from the mother of Angelee Mullins, age six, missing from her bedroom over on Sleater-Kinney, about a mile from here,” a uniform told me. “This could be her.”
I shined my flashlight over the thirty feet. It was as pristine as you could ever see, thirty feet of mud, not one indentation, not even dog prints. I took a picture of the scene, the home, the approach, the oak tree next to the home, on the south side, at least seventy-five feet of branches and leaves, great shading in the summer, good wind-break in the winter, no neighbors, the first home in a small, planned development, the others to follow after this one was completed.
I turned to the same uniform.
“Okay, Detective Robie and I are going to walk to the body. We’ll use one path and one path only. I don’t want anyone else approaching that home, got it? As we walk I’ll put markers down on both sides of our path. That is the only approach to the body anyone can use. Understood?” He nodded. “And I want floodlights and I want them fast. I want this area lit up like Rockefeller Plaza in thirty minutes.”
I turned to Dawn.
“Let’s do this!”
One Small Clue
The footprints were inside the framed home, two sets of prints, from the south side of the home to the body. From the inside one guy had held the body up while the other nailed it to the studs. Small streams of dried blood led from the nails to the ground below. Dark brown hair, wildly curly, framed the innocent face, her lifeless eyes looking towards a future that would not be.
She was naked.
Dawn took pictures of the footprints using her wallet for scale.
“I want to kill them,” she said.
“What do you want to bet that Briton and his friends had a sleep-over and all six have the same alibi?”
“I want to kill them,” she repeated, brushing a strand of hair out of Angelee’s face.
IN THE NIGHT SHE VISITED
My muse is fickle and annoying at times.
Last night I was trying to sleep and my muse whispered in my ear and told me where this story was going, and now I have to write the damned book. I’ll give credit where credit is due, though; it’s a great twist!
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)