The Dying Season II: Bull in a China Shop

Written in response to: Start your story with a character saying “Listen, …”... view prompt

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Crime Drama Mystery

"Listen," Weiss sighs, scratching his head in exasperation, "I'm just trying to help you out here."

"You can't," Jamie Blake looks like a kicked puppy, drooping over the table and not looking up at Weiss, "She's dead and you

think I'm the one that did it."

I don't. Weiss doesn't say, but maybe he should.

They’ve been in the interrogation room for 2 hours now. White walls and bright lights cage them in together as Blake plays with the ring in his hand.

Its evidence. Gilly’s engagement ring found at the scene, but Weiss can’t quite bring himself to take it away from the guy. He knows Blake and he knew Gilly. That’s the problem. Weiss knows Blake didn’t do it, but the guy has no alibi and won’t talk. Worse, he admitted to Weiss at the scene that he and Gilly were fighting. The detective wasn’t surprised, those two burned red hot as a couple.

Gilly didn’t take shit and Blake is like a bull in a China shop, always knocking into something he shouldn’t. They were loud and they didn’t care who heard them. They’d already gotten statements from his neighbours who’d heard the fight last night, heard Gilly slamming the front door and revving the engine as she careened out the driveway.

No word on if Blake left the house though, so that’s something.

“Did you go anywhere last night?” Wiess asks again, “Can you think of anyone who’d hurt Gilly?”

“No!” Blake slams his fist on the table, eyes bulging and face flushing red, “Damn it! I was home! Gilly went to her mom.”

“You didn’t call or text her?”

Blake shook his head, meaty fist trembling.

And that’s the other problem. Blake’s got a temper. Its what stopped him getting promoted, Weiss always guessed. The cop had one too many ‘overzealous’ arrests on his ticket. The guy’s been in anger management and he’s been doing good. Real good. Weiss saw him when he found out it was Gilly. He looked like he wanted to blow, even looked ready to punch Weiss, but he didn’t.

Gilly was a firebrand too. She could give a tongue lashing like no other. The difference is, Blake is double her size.

“What was the fight about?” Weiss sighs, not really expecting an answer.

Blake, however, surprises him. He looks down at that ring again and actually starts blubbering. Weiss is taken back as the big guy crumples limply in his chair and starts crying. All morning he’s been stoic and staring. He slams the ring down on the table, the clang of metal-on-metal echoing in the small room. The thin band of silver looks pale under the white lights and you can barely see the diamond, but Weiss remembers how excited Gilly was to get it. Mary spent hours talking about it to her on the phone and the two giggled like school girls over the wedding plans.

Blake turns wet eyes on the detective.

“Its too big for her,” his voice is strained, “I was supposed to get it resized ages ago, but I kept putting it off. She got mad. We yelled. She grabbed the keys and shot out the door.”

He pauses now, gasping as a sob wracks his hulking shoulders.

“Th-that’s the l-last time a s-saw her,” he bites out, “I should’ve just done it. I should have fixed the stupid th-thing. She wouldn’t be DEAD IF NOT FOR ME!”

The last comes out as a howl, broken and wild like a wounded animal. Weiss doesn’t think he’s ever heard anything like that and he’s been dealing with death for a while now. Silence follows. There’s nothing but Blake’s ragged breaths and muted sounds of the station outside. Weiss doesn’t way a word, watching as the giant sinks into himself again, curling his fingers back around the ring like its all he has left.

Maybe it is.

“I killed her,” Blake whispers finally, then louder states, “It was me. I killed her.”

Well shit.

Weiss sits back in his chair and crosses his arms. They need to talk to Gilly’s mom, cause this fool’s going to sell himself down the river.

“No, you didn’t,” Weiss finally says and Blake finally looks him in the eye, “And you’re gonna to screw up this investigation trying to crucify yourself over guilt.”

Blake looks like he’s clenching his teeth, face pulling taut. He’s not a regular grieving loved one though, he’s Blake and liable to act stupidly. “Now listen. Go home Jamie,” Weiss continues harshly, “We’re gonna check your story out. Go home and sleep. Then get a lawyer and shut up.”

He gets up, chair scraping on the floor. Blake doesn’t move, still staring. Weiss leaves him there.

He’s got work to do.


***


Gilly’s quiet.

Its so strange.

As Wiess gazes down at what’s left of Gillian Andrews, he keeps expecting her to sit up and complain about how cold the morgue is. She’s lying in a metal table, cleaned up and covered in a white sheet up to her shoulders. Its better than seeing her discarded on the side of the road, covered in muddy leaves and face down. She’d been thrown aside like trash and treated worse. She looks better now and she doesn’t.

Someone’s closed her eyes, so if you squint you might think she’s sleeping. That is if you can get over the deadly white skin and the bruising on her neck and face.

Weiss doesn’t think he’s ever seen her so still. Gilly was a fidgeter, always moving something. If she wasn’t yattering away, she had her fingers twirling in her hair or was shaking her knee up and down under the table, just to annoy you.

He’s going to miss her.

God, he’s going to have to tell Mary.

“Her mom come by yet?” he asks the coroner, a sandy haired woman in her late forties with glasses drooping down her nose. Her name is Maddie Sharp, a strait-laced sort that Weiss has come to appreciate. He also finds it a bit funny that she’s Dr. Sharp. Her knives certainly are.

She shakes her head.

“Can’t get hold of her,” Dr. Sharp frowns down at Gilly, “You say you can do ID?”

“Gillian Andrews, age 27,” Weiss says, “She was gonna marry Officer Blake.”

The coroner winces.

“One of ours then,” she comments.

“One of ours,” Weiss agrees, “Can you tell me anything?”

She looks at the chart.

“Strangled,” she says, “Found some DNA under her fingernails, we’ll run that so you can compare it to suspects.”

That’s good news. That’ll clear Blake so Weiss can eliminate him officially.

“They didn’t find anything with the body?” he asks, just to clarify.

“She was dressed for a night out,” Dr. Sharp says, “Little black dress, no jacket and no purse. She’d been drinking, not enough to be over the limit though.”

“Hmm,” this is sounding more and more like a robbery gone wrong. Weiss isn’t sure whether the randomness of that makes it better or worse.

“Oh, and I found this in her mouth,” Dr. Sharp hold out something in a little plastic bag. It’s a bit of paper that was all crumpled up previously, now rolled out straight in the bag. Weiss accepts it curiously, bringing up the paper for closer inspection.

He does a double take.

It’s a picture. A very familiar looking picture. Wiess and Mary got sent one just a month ago after all.

Its Blake and Gilly’s engagement picture. The couple are wrapped around each other, Gilly’s head tucked under Blake’s chin as she smiles at the camera. Her chestnut hair is loose around her shoulders and she’s practically glowing.

Blake is looking down at Gilly like he can’t believe how lucky he is.

So much for the robbery gone wrong theory, this was personal.

He really needs to talk to Gilly’s mom.

His phone decides to ring just then, the shrill bell sound making his jump as he’s jarred from his thoughts. He answers it gruffly and his day just gets a hundred times more complicated.


***


Mrs. Andrews was found dead at noon by a neighbour, shot in the head and her place looking like a tornado had gone through it. Gilly’s room took the worst of it, someone even taking a knife to her bed and splitting it open. It didn’t look like someone was searching. It looked like someone was pissed off and taking it out on the furniture. Every photo of Gilly they could find was carved up. The ones of her and Blake together took the brunt of the abuse.

Weiss steps into the scene with a sense of foreboding. The weather has changed again and he can make out the soft pitter patter of raindrops in the otherwise silent house.

He clenches a fist.

Just what the hell is going on?!

Jealousy? Is there someone in Gilly’s past that doesn’t like the fact that she was getting married? He tries to think of Gilly mentioning anything about a bad break up before she met Blake, but nothing comes to mind. Maybe Mary would know, he’ll have to give her a call when he gets back to the station.

Mrs. Andrews is still in her bed. There’s no sign of a struggle and it seems for all intents and purposes that she was shot in her sleep. She looks a lot like Gilly, or rather Gilly looks a lot like her. They have the same petite build and chestnut hair. He wonders for a moment if the killer thought it was Gilly in the bed. In the dark and without noticing the more aged features, it could be possible.

“Sir?”

He turns, a young officer is standing behind him, he looks pale.

“It’s Officer Blake, sir,” the young man looks perplexed, “He’s in the hospital.”

“What?” Wiess can’t quite process the news for a moment, staring in surprise, “Why?”

The officer’s brows furrow and his face twists into something disturbed.

“He tried to hang himself.”


***


Beep! Beep! Beep!

The rhythm of the heart monitor is the only sound in the room as Weiss looks down at Blake in the hospital bed. There’s an angry red and purple mark around his throat from the rope he used to try and off himself with. You could be fooled into thinking the big guy was vulnerable with his lax expression and the tubes jammed up his orifices.

“He gonna make it?” Weiss asks the doctor checking his stats.

“Not sure yet,” the doctor looks like he’s been in shift for a while, wearing a bedraggled expression and rubbing his eye, “He was deprived of oxygen for several minutes, we’ll have to wait and see.”

He leaves them alone together after that.

“You’re an idiot, Jamie,” Wiess lets out finally, “Gilly would have killed you for this.”

She would have too. Resurrected him, yelled in his ear like a banshee and given him a very painful passing. 

This doesn’t change anything, apart from making Weiss’s life more complicated. He still has a killer to catch and he’s just lost someone who could tell him more about Gilly’s past. He casts one last look at his friend and leaves the hospital room.

The same young officer is waiting for him. Weiss told him to bring any news from the guys looking over Blake’s house.

“They find anything?” he asks, feeling like this day will never end.

The officer shakes his head.

“Nothing,” he confirms.

Weiss sighs and –

Wait.

“No suicide notes?” he asks.

The officer shakes his head.

Well. That’s interesting.

It might mean nothing. It might mean something.

Wiess is going to find out. 

November 07, 2021 19:35

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1 comment

Jon Casper
17:03 Nov 08, 2021

So obviously we'll need a part 3 ASAP. This is unbelievably great story telling. I'm totally engrossed here. I am impressed with how you just keep raising the stakes -- wham, wham, wham. Superb.

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