Chapter IV: In the cold of the night
(Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter III)
. . .
The previous night has been harsh. He was completely drenched when he had reached his home and he didn’t waste much to get himself into fresh clothes. He saw the envelope on the coffee table that he had to give later the next day. The room was pretty simple. A bedroom was all he had needed, after all, he was the only one staying and the furniture was minimalistic- a mattress, a coffee table, a bean bag and a table that has a laptop which also serves as the dining table for him. And a wall which is supposedly built to house a large TV but now holds a large chart with newspaper clippings and photos. A few files were labelled and were neatly arranged beside the laptop on the table as if there was significance to the arrangement. He stared at the photo that was marked with the red marker and glanced over at the envelope on the coffee table. He has to deliver the envelope early tomorrow morning. He made a far-fetched assumption that the case officer would be at the police station the following morning and he has to leave the envelope.
He woke up at 5 sharp and did a little routine workout, had a little toast, and set out to the police station at 7AM sharp. The station was filled with reporters and he wondered the news spread faster than he had thought. He had not anticipated that much crowd so soon. Now, it was just easier for him to blend in and do what he had wanted to do. It was almost 9AM when the detective took the turn at the curb and halted in his parking spot, locked his car and went straight inside. The media personnel were scouring behind Mike’s partner who had just got in a couple of minutes ago and technically he went right into their path. He hadn’t seen that coming, so many people overpowering him as he had no idea that media would be all over this. Mike had taken a turn at the curb and let out a smile seeing his partner drowning amid the people and decided to take a different route away from the reporters. However, a few of the reporters did make it to his car and were following him but were a bit too far away for him to stop and say the routine statement, “No comment” which is what his partner was battling at the moment. Among the few that did approach his car and follow him had the perpetrator from last night. The people made it quite easy for him to do his job. He slipped an envelope under the wiper of his car windshield. He waited out a bit more after he had done what he had come to do and continued pretending to the reporter outside the station. After a while, he slipped away slowly when one of the TV News van was leaving the station. He had managed to avoid all cameras which he made a note of a few weeks earlier. But it wasn’t safe for him to stay longer than usual. He had other things to tend to, like his next target. He thought it will get easier after the first one. It didn’t. If at all it just got a lot more complicated and then he recollected the There was already a lot of media tension and people up in the high places are pulling all possible strings.
. . .
[Later that evening]
Mike drove back to his office to hand over the letter that he found on his car that morning. He could have given the letter that very minute but the entrance was filled with reporters and he thought he can swim through that, not at that moment. He had placed it in the zip-bag for the forensics which he will hand over along with the photos he took at the roof on his second visit to the apartment. The footprint was sketchy but it could possibly tell a little about the size of the feet and perhaps a rough estimate of the perpetuator’s height and all whatever they could find would be instrumental in determining the person who killed the Lawyer the previous night. He reached the office to see media personnel still swarming at the station. The commissioner had called for a press meet before the news channels and newspapers flood with crazy theories. They thought it was better to come forward with a theory than to let the media speculate and that will mess up almost everything. The media is canvassing all the places to get exclusive news on the latest homicide. The pressure was building up and it hasn’t been 24 hours yet. A press statement was scheduled for later that evening which is yet to happen in a few minutes, in the hope the media will back out a little and give a little space to breathe. Mike had just barely managed to get through the crowd to come in face to face with the commissioner who gave him an enquiring look which meant only one thing, “Any new leads!”. Mike nodded that he has something and he is pursuing it.
“So, what have you got?”
“Someone left a note on my car windshield this morning”, he pulls out an envelope in a zip bag and shows it to the commissioner. “I will have this examined and I believe it is from the same person who had left the note last night. The font-style is almost the same. Maybe, we’ll be lucky enough to get a sweat drop or a smudge, a partial print, anything.”
“You think it’s from him? And what the hell did he give it to you? How did he know you are the officer assigned?”
“I am as clueless as you are. But, I am going to find out who this person is. I will start with the security cameras from outside the station. He must have left this in the morning and maybe we will find something. Though, it is a long shot since the media is all over this and narrowing this will be quite difficult. But, it’s all we got at the moment. Also, meanwhile I will have to cross check my previous cases to see if there are any links connecting to this in any way.”
“Good. Do it fast. We need some results soon. Something is up. I have never seen this much pressure from the Mayor.”
“I will do my best. This doesn’t seem like a random hit. This is very meticulous and pre-planned. Whoever the person is, they have done their homework and is very keen on the details and also not to leave any. I fear, god forbid, there might be more. I don’t know why else why he will go to lengths to give this second envelope. He could have left it with the first one at the crime scene. So, what are we letting the media on? I was almost ambushed twice today itself.”
“You know better to say anything about the ongoing case. ‘No comment’ is in your preamble when you made the detective. Did you forget it or what?”
“Oh dear Jesus, I asked a simple question. What are we letting the media on?”
“The same thing I just told you. Now, just go and find out who that bastard is before we have to deal with more bodies.”
. . .
Meanwhile, the Mayor picked up the phone from the drawer of his study. He had hoped not to use the phone unless it was absolutely necessary. He made a call on a secure line. A voice answered the call. “We need to meet. The sooner the better”, is all he said. The voice said something back to him. He nodded in agreement, said “Okay” and then broke the phone in two and threw it in the fireplace.
( To be continued … )