Jacob awoke with a start when his alarm clock blared through his head like a gong. He groaned and smashed the snooze button with a closed hand. He had a massive headache that made his brain throb. He couldn’t look straight without feeling a sharp white pain stab into the back of his eyes. His hands stung, and he looked down to see that they were covered in dried blood. He’d probably overdone it last night.
It was his birthday, so a few of the guys at the station had decided to buy him a few rounds of drinks. Now, if only he’d known that their definition of ‘a few’ was just below the point of going blind from alcohol poisoning.
Was that even possible?
Of course, he did remember coming home without his key. He’d had to get a spare one off his neighbour. Thank god she’d answered the door. He’d lost his somewhere in the bar. That surprised him. He’d gotten an oversized orange sword connected to it purely to stop him from losing it. Where had it gone?
He couldn’t, and didn’t want to bother to think about it. He had the day off, so he could just roll over and sleep away the pain with an aspirin pill.
But then his drowsy bliss was interrupted as another buzzer drilled through his ears and unleashed a torrent of pain across his head. It felt like a jackhammer digging for gold in his brain. He growled and flipped over to see what all the commotion was about. His phone was doing a little dance on the table. He lifted it up and checked who was calling.
It was Tyler.
“Fuck it . . .” Jacob muttered as he brought the phone up to his ear and mumbled a half-greeting.
“We’ve got quite a scene here, man.” A coarse voice answered the phone. It was his self-described ‘badass’ detective partner, Tyler Ronson. They’d been good friends since they were buddied up by the lieutenant. He was alright, he could just be very ‘in your face’ sometimes.
“Do you really need me to come by?” Jacob asked. “Can’t you get Briggs to swing by or something?”
“Briggs is in the Bahamas.” Tyler replied bluntly.
“And its my day off.”
“Then take an extra one. Consider it a three day weekend.”
“Where I’m working one of the days with a migraine.”
“Look, there’s a pretty brutal scene on Cadaver Street, you’ll know you’re there when you spot us, get your ass down here.” Tyler hung up. Jacob let out a long and heavy sigh of disappointment. It looked like duty was calling, at the worst possible time. Jacob sucked it up, popped a few pills and wrapped up his knuckles before driving off to inspect the scene.
It was indeed a brutal scene.
Cop cars surrounded the house and yellow tape was strung along its exterior. A whole host of characters were standing idly by and complaining about life, or “discussing” the case whenever a higher-up wandered by.
Inside was a mess. The living room’s window was shattered, and the woman who’d owned the residence was lying dead in a pool of her own blood. A broken beer bottle lay in the corner, covered in blood. The front door had been knocked off its hinges.
Jacob’s mind was already at work trying to figure out what had happened. It was what he was payed to do, after all.
He looked around the living room. There was something incredibly familiar about this house. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but he was sure that he’d been here before. Maybe they’d come here on a previous case. Tyler appeared in the living room, having talked with forensics, and grimaced when he spotted Jacob.
“What?” Jacob asked.
“You look like shit, man.” Tyler answered. “Did you get in a fight or something?”
Jacob furrowed his brow and put a hand to his face. Pain slashed across his skin. “Fuck!” He shouted through gritted teeth. His face was covered in cuts. “Probably. I got pretty hammered last night.”
“Yeah, Conan told me about that. From the way he talked about it, I’m surprised you managed to make your way home.”
Jacob grunted. “Hey, did we ever come here before for a case?”
“Not that I can remember, why?”
“I don’t know, just feels familiar.”
“Eh, probably just looks like all the other houses on this street.”
Jacob nodded. It was probably just a bit of deja-vu muddling his mind. He looked down at the woman’s face. It was covered in bruises. Someone had beaten her senseless before grabbing the beer bottle in the corner to finish her off. Jacob felt very sorry for her.
“Can we confirm that the bottle is the murder weapon?” He inquired.
“It’s the only one we have.” Tyler replied. “My guess is he tossed it away and then stumbled through the front door.”
“He could’ve jumped out the window.”
“Yeah, but the glass is all scattered across the floor. If he’d left through there it’d be all over the grass. Not to mention the door is lying on the lawn.”
“True, I guess.” Jacob coughed. It felt like someone raked his throat with a pitchfork. “Got any witnesses?”
“One, an old man across the street. He says he saw someone about six feet tall, average build with broad shoulders enter the house, through the window, might I add.”
“So what, we’re looking for my evil twin brother?” Jacob joked.
“Or a very sad, middle-aged man.” Tyler smirked.
“Says the grandpa.” Jacob retorted. He felt bad for messing around in the middle of a murder, but he couldn’t help it. It eased the tension. “Have we got anything on the suspect?”
“We found quite a bit of blood on the glass and some more under her fingernails. She went down fighting. Forensics’ll test it later. We’ll probably have a match by tomorrow morning.”
“Alright.” Jacob murmurred. Something in his gut was telling him to run. To get out of there and just hide. Something very wrong was going on and he had no idea what it was.
He took a breath, and started processing the facts. Someone, who, looks, kinda like me, smashed their way into this house by breaking in through the living room window. There are blood stains on the glass, which meant they used, their hands . . . Jacob glanced at his bandaged knuckle.
No, no it couldn’t be . . .
Could it? He couldn’t remember much of the night before aside from arriving at the pub.
Stop thinking like that! He roared at his own thoughts. Just finish thinking it through . . . alright, so he came in the front window, the lady sees him, and there’s an obvious struggle. He beats her down, she claws him, and then he grabs a beer bottle to finish her off. Probably realizing what he’s done, he stumbled out onto the lawn and brings the front door down with him, and escapes.
Intention? Poor bastard probably got piss-pants drunk and thought it was his own house. Maybe. This house does, have the same paint job as mine . . .
Jacob shook his head. He was being ridiculous. It was probably just coincidence. He looked around to see if anyone from last night had decided to drag themselves back into work that day, and he spotted Conan, looking bleary-eyed at a red stained chunk of glass. He walked over with a smile and offered his greeting: “Conan! How’s it going?”
Conan glared at him with an open jaw, then frowned. “It’d be going well if I had gotten some sleep.” He grumbled. “Must’ve been pretty wild for you, eh, Scarface?.”
“Yeah, I can’t even remember most of it.” Jacob joked. “Did I get into a fight or something?” He asked, raising his hand for the forensics expert to examine.
Conan looked at it curiously. “Not that I can recall.” He said slowly. “If memory serves me right, you stumbled off home without a scratch on you, thank god. How’d you end up like this?”
“I, don’t know, that’s why I asked you.” Jacob replied quickly. His eyes were wide and his chest was tight. He was scared and panicking. Did I . . . did I do this!?
He took a breath and tried to calm himself. No, no you didn’t. Of course you didn’t, you’re a fucking cop! You would, you would never do this . . . right?
“Hey, I’ve got something!” Tyler announced, picking up a new piece of evidence. Jacob turned around and gazed at the little trinket between his partner’s fingers. It was a key, with an orange sword keyring connected to it by a chain.It was Jacob’s house key.