From Under the Nose

V
In the cold of the night

.  .  .

5 AM, The morning after the lawyer’s murder

The flight had just landed. Wilfred Morrison woke up from his short power nap. He is a Businessman who had recently made a signification investment who constantly is in transit, moving from place to place, meeting people and making investments. He had already invested a huge chunk in a belief that the returns will be manifold once it gets into action. But he is now conducting keeping up appearances to avoid any suspicion.

He had gotten used to these power naps, which played an important role in his daily commute. There is no such thing as a good night’s sleep. All the sleep that he gets is during these commutes. And he doesn’t want to jeopardize these naps at any cost. That was why his phone was switched off for the whole of his 5-hour flight. As the flight hit the group, he woke up from his nap, exhausted and tired more than usual. The flight had been bumpy and also the deal he was tasked to close had to jump over too many hurdles. It would take a lot more talks to get them on board for their grand plan design. They seemed convinced but they wanted to do their due diligence before they could agree to invest. To grabbed his hand baggage in the adjacent seat and pulled out his phone and fired it up.  A notification popped up saying 10 missed calls from “Private number”. He sensed that something was wrong and he was about to hit the call back button when his phone started ringing again with the same private number blinking on the screen. Philip, he thought. He was the one who would call at this time. Philip Lawrence, whom he came across one of the Horse Races, where he won big on his stallion Jaguar. He had been boasting about his horse for a while and it did come through for him. However, there were many offers to buy his horse out, he was sure that he would make a lot more money. One of the people he had rejected the offer was Wilfred who knew that his offer would be rejected, but that gave him an excuse to bring him on board about investing in something that could possibly make him a multi-billionaire. He was able to convince him. Philip was reluctant to believe on what Wilfred had told, but it looked like a great proposal if it all worked out.

The phone was ringing loudly now. He picked up the phone.

Philip: “Mr. Morrison? Philip”

Morrison: “Hi Philip. What’s the matter? I have been getting calls all morning. What happened?”

Philip: “You haven’t heard? About James?”

Morrison: “Heard about what? I had a long night and barely slept on the way back. Is he mumbling about that thing again?”

Philip: “No. It’s not that. James is dead”

Morrison: “What? James is what?”

Philip: “He’s dead! He was found dead in his apartment. The police is all over it. And I just got the wind of it from our people over there”

Morrison: “What the hell? How…Are you sure it was him?  How … why? What was he even doing in that stupid apartment of his?”.

Philip: “I don’t know. But all I know is that he is dead, shot dead. It seems like someone has targeted him”.

Morrison: “But…who would want to kill him? He was the least involved one. And sure, he was paranoid, even without doing anything much”

Philip: “Are we compromised? Do you think…”

Morrison: “No way. No one besides us know. It can’t be compromised. We have planned it for years and we are almost there. Just a few more months and there will be nothing that can touch us”.

Philip: “We need to be careful. Especially when we are so close!”

Morrison: “Yeah. First of all, find out who killed James. We need to get ahead of this. It might be nothing, but we can’t let anything jeopardize.”

Philip: “Sure thing. He had been paranoid since that reporter approached him with some information.”

Morrison: “That was taken care of. I am pretty sure no one else knows. Because you know what happened”

Philip: “Yes, I do. But he had been paranoid ever since. He kept saying who will come next.”

Morrison: “We will deal with this like we dealt with that reporter. Don’t worry. Find out who did it, will you? I will contact a few people meanwhile who will take care of this discreetly, like the first time.”

Philip: “Is the meeting still on?”
“Yes. We are on a schedule. Will meet and discuss  the concerns then.”

He cut the call, broke the phone in half and threw it in the trash can in the Airport Arrival Lounge. As he exited the Airport, an SUV was waiting for him. He got in and was on his way to the hotel before heading to the next meeting.

.  .   .

5 PM, Police Station Control Room

Mike went straight into the control room after having the conversation with the Captain who was going to the give some information to the press before any speculations arise. The Mayor was personally looking into the matter since James, the deceased was one of his friends. The control room consisted of a series of TV screens showing various camera angles around the police compound. On the other end was a TV showing the Chief getting on the podium to issue a police statement.

Mike: “Hey, Josh. How are you doing?”

Josh Howel: Tom: “Better than that guy”, he said as he pointed to a screen which was showing a photo of the Lawyer.

Mike: “Everyone is on my ass now. Do me a favour. Can you bring up the camera feed from today’s morning? Bring the one facing  the parking lot.”

Josh: “Sure,  a moment. You think whoever killed came to the station?”

Mike: “I don’t think. I know. He left …”, Mike searches his coat pockets to reveal an envelope In zip bag. ” this on my car this morning”.

Josh: “It’s from him? You sure?”

Mike: “I wasn’t in the morning. But I have a feeling this was left by him. And I am following all possible leads at the time. And we have very less leads at the moment”

Josh: “What’s in it?”

Mike: “I didn’t open it. I wanted to check this with the forensics before opening it up. I am hoping to find some sort of DNA, any kind as a matter of fact – sweat, smudge or anything.”

Josh: “You don’t think he will wear gloves when he was so meticulous in killing the lawyer last night. I think he has covered all bases. But I hope you find something. We are told to put in extra hours. The sooner it is solved, the fast we will get back to normal routine.”

Mike: “I understand. I will see what I will find with this… Yes, that one, that’s when I entered the police station. Geez, these media guys are everywhere like a fair of sorts.”

Josh: “There, you parked the car. Clear so far. You got out and .. You took the other way in after seeing the crowd, huh?”

Mike: “You bet. Can’t deal with the media now. They keep bringing up my history for no reason. I am trying to move on”.

Josh: “Look…there, some people saw you and following you toward the car.”

Mike: “They are going around the car and up to the entrance.”

Josh: “There is no good shot of this. One among them might have kept the envelope. Any way we can identify them? Face recognition or something. Wait…stop… rewind that.. A couple seconds back and go slow”.

Mike: “There, his hand moved towards the windshield. He took his time to put it there under the wiper, I guess to avoid flying off from the wind. Follow him wherever he goes.”

Josh: “He seems to be completely in disguise, with basketball cap, sunglasses and whatnot. Must have seen a lot of spy movies lately. He is going back with the crowd. And he stopped. What is he waiting for? Why isn’t he leaving?

A couple of minutes pass by.

Mike: “Where did he go? Go back and slow it down frame by frame”.

Josh: “There… he is standing and seems to be waiting for something. One of the TV van is pulling out. He disappeared from behind that van”.

Mike: “Do we have any cameras outside?”

Josh: “We do, but I am not sure they will be of any help”.

Mike: “Check them anyway and also there must be cameras from the other side of the street. Get them and see if you find anything about the guy who left from there. Like what he was travelling. I want to know which bus he took, which car he was driving, or which Subway he took. Anything. I will go down to the forensics and see what’s on the envelope.”

Josh: “Okay Boss. Will let you know if I find anything”.

Mike left the control room and was waiting for the elevator. He had been curious what was inside the envelope. There seems to be something and not some letter of confession. He reached the floor while pondering over the series of events that had happened in the past day or so and was lost in the trail of thoughts. As he got out of the elevator, he bumped into a person who was staring at the phone and didn’t see who was in front of him. The envelope from his hand fell and a small tiny thing slipped in the zip bag that he had placed the envelope in. He picked it up and observed what it was. It looked like a chip, perhaps a pen drive. And he wondered what game was the killer playing and what his angle was.

( to be continued … )

.  .  .

In The Night Of The Cold

In The Cold Of The Night