The girl who lived in the shadow

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18. Detective Amari Raguel Wattkins

16. 09. 2018.

“Boseman.” I heard him before I’ve seen him. My back was facing him, while my front was staring a the wall in front of me. The entire wall was covered with photos of evidence, and I’m trying to connect the pieces. Something was missing, and I can’t connect the pieces without it.

Roman walked to the table where I was sitting on and waited for me to finally acknowledge him.

“Do you see what I see?” I asked him.

“Evidence.”

“Not evidence. A puzzle.” I walked to the wall and took down the photo of the old orphanage. “Something is missing, Birsen, and I think that it has to do with this.” I showed him the picture.

“But we can’t go in without a warrant, and you know that the judge didn’t approve the request,” he said.

I placed my hand on his shoulder and said, “There is always another way. Let that be your first lesson.” Turning around, I placed back the picture next to the one of the sheriff’s daughter. I looked at her picture, and her green eyes stared back at me. There was something about in her that reminded me of my daughter. Both of them have the eyes of kindness. Looking at her picture made me miss my daughter.

“There’s been news about Roman Schneider,” Roman said.

I turned back to him and crossed my arms. “What news?”

“They found him,” he answered.

I nodded before I started walking towards the door. “I guess he is in the interrogating room waiting for me.”

“No, he isn’t.” Roman’s words stopped me from walking out of the room. I slowly closed the door behind me, trying to control the rage in me.

“What do you mean he isn’t there?” I stood in front of him, my eyes glaring at his ones.

“They couldn’t arrest him,” he said calmly.

“Don’t tell me those pathetic idiots didn’t arrest the only lead we had so far!” I screamed at his face so loud that probably the entire police department heard me.

“He is dead,” he said, “Roman Schneider’s body was found at the entrance o the town. It looks like he lost control of his car and crashed into a tree.”

~ - ~

The main road to the town was already closed when we got there. The police cars were blocking the entrance, with five cops standing in front of them soaking wet from the freezing rain. Their uniforms were wet, and their bodies were shaking from the coldness.

The press was here too. They didn’t care that it was raining or the fact that the temperatures were almost unbearable if you stand more than an hour in the rain. But they didn’t care. The low temperatures and the freezing rain didn’t matter. It was all about the story. Especially now when everyone believes that when something happens, it has something to with Margaret’s killer. They were standing in front of the yellow line like scavengers trying to get some piece from a dead body.

I pulled over to the only remaining empty spot, turned off the car, and took a deep breath before slowly opening the door.

“Are you okay?” Rayan asked.

I nodded my head. “Yes.”

Stepping out of the car, I took a deep breath of the fresh, cold air. The coldness suited me. It made me relax. Even the freezing rain that was pouring down on me, making me wet, didn’t bother me anymore.

Rayan showed up next to me, and we both made our way to the crime scene.

“Detectives,” one of the police officers greeted us. “They are waiting for you down there.”

I nodded my head, and both Rayan and I made our way through the group of people. We were trying to walk through them without being rude to them. One of the reporters recognized me and started shouting my name. In a matter of seconds, all of the press turned around, surrounding Rayan and me with a bunch of questions that I didn’t know the answer.

“Does this death have to anything to do with the death of Margaret Larson?” a blond reporter asked.

“Did you find the killer?” another one asked.

They have circled me to the point I couldn’t even see where I should go. It was like I was their dead body, and they were the vultures getting ready to eat me.

“How does it feel to be a black woman working with a police station where the majority of the police officers were white?” a third one asked.

I chose not to answer any of their questions. Even if I did, they would just twist my words, and make me look like a black woman who doesn’t know how to do her job.

I pushed through the people, finally managing to get away from them. Two black police officers nodded their heads and lifted the yellow line so Rayan and I could walk beneath it.

We both made our way down the muddy hill. The hem of our clothes was already soaking wet and covered with mud. I glanced at Rayan who’s brown, curly hair was now straight, and was sticking against his face.

“I hate this weather,” he commented.

“Tell me about it,” I said back.

Rayan was the first one who walked down into the forest, while I was standing at the entrance, staring at the forensics team searching for evidence under a white tent. They were examining the car, searching for something that could explain this accident.

“Good morning, detective,” one of the officers greeted me. Even though I didn’t know his name, he sure looked familiar.

“It’s not a good morning, isn’t it?” I walked past him to dr. Helen, the pathologist. She was wearing a white onesie and some black rubber gloves, while she was examining the dead body.

She moved a little, so I could get a better look at the dead boy. His body was hanging out of the windshield, while his face was covered with glass.

“Good morning,” she said while examining the backside of the body. “But it’s not a day to say something like that.”

I glanced at her. “No, it isn’t.” My voice was so cold that it made her look away from me. She stepped back from the body and pulled off her gloves.

“They still came for the body?” I asked her.

She shook her head. “It’s hard to get out a body in these circumstances. Especially when the press is watching your every move.”

I folded my arms. “We need to take away his body as soon as possible. I can’t have the press start making things up about something that might be an accident.”

“I don’t know if it was an accident, but that’s one of the possibilities. With the number of injuries, I will need to do a full-body autopsy,” she was telling me something, but my eyes were focused on the forensic team. It reminded me of a day that I try to forget.

“Momy, please help us. Mommy, don’t leave us.” I heard my daughter’s voice in my head. She was begging me not to leave her.

“What about murder? Is that a possibility too?” I asked her.

“Yeah, it could be,” she answered. “Are you okay?” Her voice slowly disappeared in the background, and my daughter’s voice appeared again.

“Please help me, mommy,” she cried out.

My eyes went tot he dead body, and instead of that young boy, I saw my daughter hanging out of the windshield.

“Please mommy, help me.” She moved her head and stared at me with her eyes filled with glass. “Help me,” she said, “Help me.”

“Boseman.” I felt Birsen’s hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay?” he asked.

I nodded my head. “Please inform him everything you just told me.” I walked away from them.

I needed to clear my head from these dark thoughts that are not leaving me alone.

My feet carried me further away from the crime scene, where I leaned against a tree and closed my eyes for a moment. I need to hear my daughter’s voice. I need to know that she was safe and that all of this was just a nightmare.

I took out my phone and dialed my husband’s number. I waited for a couple of seconds until he finally answered my call.

“Amari?” His voice was the best thing right now. I immediately relax under his soft voice.

“Is everything alright?” he asked.

I took a deep breath before answering, “Yeah, I just wanted to check on you. How are you and Marocco doing?”

“We’re fine. She just went to Lizzie’s house. She and Lizzie are having a tea party.”

I laughed. “Of course they are. Could you please tell her that I love her and that I will come home as soon as I solve this.”

“Don’t worry, I will,” he paused for a moment, “Is it true what they say on the news? Did someone kill that young girl?”

It took me a moment to answer it, “Yeah, it’s true.”

My eyes went to the person standing behind a tree. The person was staring at me, but when he caught me looking at him, he immediately disappeared behind the tree.

“I have to go now. I will call you later.” I didn’t even give him a chance to replay because as soon as I hung up the phone, I started to walk to the person behind the tree. I took out my gun and pointed it in front of me. “FBI! Raise your hands where I can see them and slowly walk out from the behind the tree!” I said, but the person didn’t say anything back.

“Wattkins!” Birsen yelled my name. Turning around, I saw him running down the forest towards me. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Someone was spying on us, and now because of you, he ran away.” I placed my gun back into the halter.

“I mean what the hell were you doing up there? Is there something I need to know?” He pushed with his questions until I finally snapped.

“Lesson two. My business isn’t your concern. What happened up there isn’t your concern either.” I pointed a finger at him.

“Of course it is my concern. This entire investigation can fall apart because of your actions!” he growled at my face.

“Did you handle the situation?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Then there is nothing more to discuss.”

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