Crime Drama Thriller

‘Stephen? What did you do?’

     He uncurled his fingers from around the bottle; it dropped to shatter across the patio tiles. A thousand green shards of light. He turned, his vision a blur, stirring awake to open his eyes and look out across the sea of dark, he thought he was still lost in the fever dream. A monster, huge claws held around his throat as he felt the air rush from his lungs. His vision blurred. Death. ‘Stephen. The police are downstairs, what did you do?’ 

     Perhaps it wasn’t a dream after all. Smoke swirled in the dull light of the table lamp. It was her voice, wasn’t it? 

     He opened his eyes and said: ‘Stillwater Avenue, flat C.’ 

     The driver looked doubtfully into the rearview mirror and then pulled out into the drunk song of New York City. Horns honked as somewhere a man was stabbed, police lights, the red and blue painted up the brown bricks of an apartment complex.

‘Help me.’ 

     ‘Stephen? -Call up the police at once, I won’t let him out of my sight,’ said the woman. She stood now, her slender form silhouetted to the golden light of a dying day. God, she was pretty. There was another man there, slouched, standing in the doorway to the room. He nodded and turned, the thump of his shoes slowly fading down the hall. ‘What have you taken Stephen?’ She touched a finger to his cheek. 

    ‘I’ll clean it up,’ said Stephen. He reached out with his fingers but the bottle had gone. She said: ‘You have done it again haven’t you?’ 

    ‘What have I done?’ 

    ‘You know perfectly well,’ she replied. 

    The clouds above were bright, and a cool summer breeze blew gently up across the fields. Clouds, a huge silver monster that growled as it approached the house; rain and thunder. ‘Stay with me.’ He felt the warm press of her fingers on his cheek. He replied: ‘It was me.’ 

     ‘I know.’

     ‘That’ll be ten dollars, fifty,’ said the driver. Stephen looked into his wallet; his fingers trembled as he looked down into the eyes of Alexander Hamelton, he pressed the crumpled note into the driver's hand and said: ‘Keep the change.’ 

    ‘Hey, buddy-’ 

    The car door slammed. He stumbled, his footing lost, the yellow cab screeched away leaving him alone. He looked up, his fingers prying into his coat pocket to where he found a cigarette, he pressed it between his lips and lit it, inhaling deeply. He coughed, his throat contorting, he gasped and took a step toward the block of flats. Glass lay scattered across the parking lot; a girl had died there the other night, shot in her car. He sighed and found the first of the metal steps with his foot. One-step and then another, he heaved himself up pulling on the rail. He stopped at the top of the stairs, swaying, he saw the door to Flat C, a bottle of milk stood to attention beside it. He turned the handle, locked, he turned the handle again; still locked. 

    ‘Let me in you dumb bitch.’

    ‘You never change,’ she said. She was sitting now, her hair tied back tightly in a bun. Her hazel eyes danced over the scattered bottles. She sighed and lit a cigarette. Smoke lifted to fill the space between them. The ceiling fan whirred, around and around, and around, and around. ‘They’ll be here soon.’ 

    The lock splintered easily. Light spilled into the narrow hall; motes drifted in the white light of the street lamp. He said: ‘Hello?’ 

    He closed the door. His foot caught something, he heard it rattle as it shot across the floor to smash. ‘I am back- hic.’ Using his hands to steady himself he navigated his way into the darkness, he knew what he was looking for and he knew where it would be. A dresser stood smartly as it always had in the corner of their bedroom. The glass still cracked from when he had hit it. The keys jiggled as he put them into his pocket. He wanted to punch it now, as he had then. But he didn’t. He let out a soft cry as he retraced his steps and stumbled through the doorway, back down the stairs, and into the car park. 

     ‘Stay there,’ she said, as she stood and adjusted the crinkles of her dress. He had not seen it before, all yellow, covered in little white polka-dots and smart-like, that man must have bought it for her.

He scoffed as he turned the key in the ignition, and the engine whirred into life. Was it snowing? He put the car into reverse gear and slammed his foot down, the car lurched back and jolted as it reared up and down. The engine ticked as he paused, his eyes flickering from the rear view mirror to the line of smart-like cars surrounded by a veil of shattered glass. Had he hit something? No. He changed the gear and slammed his foot down once more, the car reared forward and he was gone. The lights were a blur, the waters of the Hudson a silky sky of black. He rolled down the windows; he could feel the wind in what was left of his hair. 

    ‘He is in here, officers.’ 

    ‘Don’t let them take me,’ said Stephen. 

    ‘You have to go with them, they can help you,’ she said.

She was sitting on the patio, her hair tied back, her lips red, leaving a smudge of lipstick on the glass.

    She placed the glass down on the table and said: ‘What did you do?’ She disappeared inside the house. The silver clouds were nearer now, it would be raining soon. She reappeared, a dustpan and brush in hand, she knelt beside the green shards of glass and brushed them into the pan. She had been crying. ‘When are you going to stop?’ 

    ‘Put the cuffs on him,’ said an officer. 

    The other officer, short, bald, and fat, took the handcuffs from his belt, leaned over the bed, and pulled Stephen's hands behind his back. 

    ‘Stephen Williams, I am arresting you. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law-’ 

    ‘Where did she go?’ 


    ‘My wife.’ 

    The police tape billowed in the spring morning air, above a bird sang as the leaves of the trees swayed in time with the beat of the world. She lay, in a halo of glass, the white poker dots of her dress speckled red.

June 21, 2022 14:13

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