The sun was not even up, and someone was already dead. It was Addison Scott’s first day in the Criminal Investigation Division with the Sawbridgeworth Police Department. She hoped she wouldn’t be on tea and coffee duty, like before, when she was a uniformed officer. She earned her position as a Detective. With a pink reusable coffee cup and mobile phone in one hand, she searched for her keys from the back pocket of her jeans with her other, while stepping towards her car. Addison struggled to put the keys into the slot of the car door lock in her Nineties Ford Escort; they slipped out of her freezing cold fingers and into a puddle. She closed her eyes while taking in a sharp breath before picking them up.
She didn’t like her car, but it got her places. She couldn’t wait for the department to issue her with an unmarked vehicle. Addison could smell the musky storm air that still lingered, and the ground was still soaking wet from the downpour. She could see her breath in the cold air as she let out a sigh, she placed her coffee container on top of the car along with her mobile phone and tried to rub her hands warm.
Addison bent down for her set of keys. Her wet flaxen ponytail whipped her in the face as she regained them from the rain puddle. She tried unlocking her old banger which she named Ethel, only to be interrupted by the dancing of her mobile phone across the roof of her car. She cursed as she answered the call, her keychain falling into the same puddle a second time.
“Oh no, I wasn’t talking to you, sir,”
She ignored the keys.
“I’m listening sir,” it was her Detective Chief Superintendent Brian Dowell, but she preferred calling him Chief or mainly sir.
“Could you say that again?” Addison shuffled around, pulling a notebook from the other back pocket of her jeans. She listened, as his clipped tone gave her the information she needed. “Number seven, Cannons Drive.” She repeated, “yes sir, I’ll be there as soon as possible.” She hung up. She bent down picking up her keys and finally yanked her car door open. She swiped her hot container and shoved her notebook back into her pocket before bending down to fit into the driver’s seat.
This car better not stall on me again. She thought.
Addison placed her coffee into the cup holder below her cassette radio and pushed the keys into the ignition. It took a couple of turns to get it started, but eventually, it did. She sat back putting her seat belt on, also taking a quick swig of her coffee, milky with two sugars. Addison took one quick look around and then pulled out from the side road, outside her tiny flat. She thought about the location she was headed; it was close by.
As she arrived at the scene, Addison saw police cars and news reporter vans everywhere. She parked as close as she could and trudged the rest of the way to the crime scene. Blue and white fluttering tape spanned the perimeter of a detached home. The crime scene unit had set up base in the front garden, with figures dressed in white Tyvek suits scurrying around like ants on a disturbed mound. She glanced down the road where people lingered to see what was happening, neighbours coming out of their homes. Addison saw the news reporters trying to interview each officer who comes out of the house, waiting for a story.
“Scott, over here.” Called the voice of her new boss from across the drive.
“Name and badge number please.” A uniformed officer requested while clicking the back of an ink pen as Addison approached.
“Peter, it’s me. Addy.”
“Well, well look at you. Made Detective already. Now, don’t you forget about us poor sobs still out here on the street?”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“Uh huh,” Peter grunted with a smile while lifting the tape.
She headed towards her boss, DCS Brian Dowell where she could see him talking to someone. A man, roughly in his mid-thirties she guessed, was standing beside him. Addison raised her eyebrows to the mysterious man; he was good looking with short, brown, shaggy hair and his focused green eyes. One thing caught her attention, his height. With his blue button-down dress shirt bunching at the sides in a desperate attempt to cling to his six-foot-three frame.
He’s very good-looking. She thought.
“Addison Scott, this is Detective Chief Inspector Robert Ashworth.” He introduced the pair. Addison put her hand out for him to shake. Robert Ashworth inspected Addison as a teacher about to admonish a child. His eyes narrowing into slits. He heard Brian Dowell clear his throat and Robert shook her hand quickly.
“Why don’t you run and get us some coffee; the real police will handle this.” Robert dismissed her with his hand.
“I’m not here for coffee duty sir, I’m here to help solve a case.” She responded. She crossed her arms when he finally looked at her.
“She’ll learn a lot from you, Robert,” Brian said turning back to Addison. She stared at Robert who turned away, back towards the house. She watched him as he put on a Tyvek suit and latex gloves.
“He’s an arrogant bastard,” Addison nodded the direction Robert went. Brian laughed as Addison’s eyes followed Robert head back into the house. “He is a good Detective though, one of the best.” Brian defended.
“What happened?” Addison said leaning sideways to look through the doorway of the house. Brian nodded his head for her to follow him. He was tall but not as tall as Robert, he had brown hair with a touch of grey on the sides. Addison estimated in his late forties maybe early fifties. She had known him from when she was training as he was one of her examiners, he gave her a recommendation and she ended up on his force. She watched him smooth out his tie and tucking it into his suit jacket.
“You’ll need these before you enter.” One of the forensics team said. He handed over two white Tyvek suits and a box of latex gloves. “Once we’ve finished examining the crime scene, I want you to interview the first officer on scene.” Brian said as they both got into the white coveralls.
“Yes sir,” Addison nodded.
Addison was already taking notes of the crime scene on her notepad. They made their way to the kitchen first, number cards marking anything thought to be of evidentiary value. Addison glanced at the kitchen counter. Her eyes widened; the body of a woman was laying there. Her arm dangling down the side with dried blood around her hand from where it had previously dripped.
Holy shit, she thought.
The knife was plunged into the heart of the woman’s chest, a few centimetres deep and fatal. The body was propped in an awkward fashion as if it were ornately placed, planned to be the centre of attraction in a landscape of blood. Addison grimaced at the smell and thought of death. A man with a Nikon camera flash sparking with each shot, he was being guided by what Addison assumed was the coroner. He pointed to certain bits of the body for the young camera man to take some close ups, especially of the knife.
“That is Dr.Charlie Richards; we will speak to him in a few moments. This is Wendy Willis, forty-two-year-old divorcee, and mother of two. A single stab wound to the chest and…” Brian started.
“Where are the children? Were they here?” Addison interrupted, earning a scornful eye.
“They were both taken to Morburn hospital, they didn’t say a word when we first arrived, they still haven’t now. Social services will be with them until they have contacted a next of kin.” Brian cleared his throat. “After we are done here, I would like you to talk to the children. The daughter had wounds on her wrists, slashed but not deep.”
Addison chewed on the end of her pen and pulled at her sleeves. She pressed her lips into a thin line as she jotted down the information. Her eyebrows furrowed as she started to write quicker, her jaw tightening the quicker she wrote.
How could someone do this to a mother and her children? She thought. She scrunched up her face when she looked at the body. Her heart pounded in her chest as she saw the dead woman upon the counter. She hoped Brian hadn’t noticed her discomfort.
“What are their names?” Addison asked.
“Anna and Jake Willis,”
Addison noticed a tall attractive woman entering the kitchen. She was dressed in a plastic white Tyvek suit with latex gloves on like the rest of them. She swiftly walked in their direction.
“This is Detective Sergeant Addison Scott, Robert’s new partner, she is our newest Detective graduate.” Brian quickly introduced them. The woman put her hand out to Addison which she took, shaking hands.
“Congratulations and welcome on the team, I’m Forensics team leader Nora Williams,” Nora said and turned her attention back to Brian. “So, from what the evidence shows are that, Wendy possibly knew her attacker. There is no sign of forced entry nor any open windows, or possibly someone who pushed their way inside.” Nora said. “There doesn’t seem to be a scuffle, so Wendy wasn’t expecting it. She was facing her attacker when he stabbed her, fatal blow to her chest. But Charlie will explain more.” Nora waved her hand for them to follow her.
“I believe that one of the kids witnessed what happened, my guess is Anna. There were some faded barefoot marks which would have been too big to be Jake’s.” Nora pointed. “I’m unsure if the killer expected the children to be home, but I think he saw Anna; because she ran upstairs. Jake might have been in her room because of the storm. They both hid in the wardrobe when the killer went up after them, slashing Anna’s wrist, possibly as a warning.”
“What wrist did the killer cut? Or was it both?” Addison asked.
“It was her right wrist,” Nora replied.
“Was she right handed or left?”
“Is there a meaning to this?” Nora looked at Addison.
“I don’t know, it could be or become relevant to the case.”
“She’s got a point. I’d like to know as well.” Brian added.
“Anna is right handed,”
Dr. Charlie Richards joined the group, handing Brian Dowell a bag of evidence containing jewellery. “Nora is right, Wendy died instantly. Roughly at one thirty-five am. She doesn’t have any other wounds, but I won’t know anything else for sure until I get her on the table. The body will be gone soon, so you can continue with the scene. I’ll get Harry here to take some shots of all the evidence for you Nora.” Dr. Charlie Richards headed back outside.
“Thanks Charlie,” Nora called.
“Do you think the children saw the killer?” Addison asked.
“It’s hard to tell, but possibly, we will need to get statements from the kids soon as possible, they are witnesses. The killer could have worn a mask or covered it with something.” Nora answered.
Nora nodded for them to follow her. They took a closer look at the body. Addison bit the inner of her lip, as she got a good look at Wendy’s face. Her eyes slowly drifted to the knife that was sticking out from her chest.
Addison looked over at the block behind her, a knife was missing, she scanned the kitchen searching for a knife but there was nothing, it was clean. She assumed the one in Wendy Willis’s chest is the one missing. Brian watched the forensic worker dust the sides of the counter. “Have you lifted any finger prints yet?”.
“Only the family. We haven’t found anything else yet; but the killer most likely wore gloves.” Nora replied. “Dr Richards told me the body was moved into this position and that she was also killed here in the kitchen. The knife stopped her from bleeding out, but it was fatal, straight to the heart. She was neatly placed; arms and legs were placed at her sides. I don’t know if there was a meaning for the killer to do that.” Nora shrugged.
Nora headed towards the kitchen door. Addison glanced back at the dark-haired woman laying lifeless on the counter. She saw the number markings placed on the spot where one of the children had once stood.
That poor woman and her children. She thought.
With her latex-gloved hand, Nora pulled the door just a fraction.
“This is what I think one of the children saw when the door was like this. I think they got a glimpse of the killer. They must have panicked and rushed back upstairs.” Nora explained.
“What makes you think they went back upstairs?” Addison asked.
“Because the children were found in the bedroom wardrobe.” Nora paused and looked at Addison.
“Right,” Addison was left red faced.
Nora led them to the stairs. Addison saw Robert with his latex gloves, looking through paperwork in the dining room. He glanced up to see Addison passing and then carried on with what he was doing. She followed Nora and Brian up the stairs. They walked into the room, everything was pink, the bedcovers, the drawers, even a pink TV. Nora stepped into the wardrobe. Addison and Brian looked inside, a couple of blood drops on the wooden floor.
Addison looked around the bedroom; she noticed the fish tank over to the side. The light was still switched on, she moved to the side of the bed. She glanced out of the window across to the neighbour’s house opposite, noticing someone standing by their window next door. A young boy was staring back at her.
“Sir,” Addison called.
Brian moved next to Addison, he looked out of the window and saw the boy. Only for a second before the boy moved away.
“Do you think he saw anything?” Addison asked.
“We have uniforms doing door to doors, but you can go and have a talk with them,” Brian replied.
Addison carried on looking around the room, she moved towards the fish tank and watched the fish scatter. She glanced down to the floor, it was dark, but she could just make out what it was; a faded footprint. It was too big to be any of the families.
“Sir, a muddy footprint has been missed here,” Addison told them. He moved to her side, following where she was pointing and saw the print on the floor. Nora moved over, placing a number marking next to it.
“Ben,” Nora yelled.
A man in white coveralls appeared through the doorway with a kit in hand and gave the superintendent a curtsy nod. Nora pointed towards the print and watched as he knelt, pulling out his measuring kit from his bag.
“I want that print taken in; find out what size, shape, what shoe it could have been, brand-new or old,” Nora demanded.
“I want you to find PC Richards, he was the first on scene. And then do you think you can go over to the hospital? There are a couple of uniformed officers over there right now with the kids. Maybe see if you can get anything from the children. After, I would like you to talk to the next door neighbour and see if that little boy saw anything, take Robert with you.” Brian said. She nodded. She went to turn around, but Brian spoke one more time.
“We’ll get him,” Brian told her. Addison nodded and smiled.
She plodded down the stairs and outside the house removing her white suit and gloves. She glanced over to where Peter was still standing, and she headed over to him.
“Peter, do you know where I can find PC Richards?” She asked. He clicked his pen over and over which made her eyebrow twitch. He nodded his head over in a direction and she glanced over to see PC Richards hovering around. She nodded to Peter and scurried over to Richards.
“PC Richards?” Addison asked.
“Finally, you’ve come to interview me, it’s been a long night.” Richards explained.
“Of course, it shouldn’t take long.” Addison said as she got her notebook out. “What time was it when the call came in?”
“It was between four and five am, I can’t remember exactly but it will be on the records. Someone phoned it in as a burglary.”
“How long did it take you to get here after you received the call?”
“It took me fifteen minutes. The front door was wide open when I arrived.”
“Did you call for back-up before going inside?”
“Yes, I did, they arrived twenty minutes after me. I went inside as I could hear crying. I found the woman on the counter but there was no pulse, then I followed the crying upstairs.” He paused. Addison glanced up at him from her notebook.
“That’s where I found the children, in the wardrobe. The girl she had something wrapped around her wrist, it was stained with blood. I guided them outside, avoiding the kitchen as the ambulance arrived. More officers also arrived and two of them went with the children to the hospital PC Tony Poole and PC Rebecca Smith. I was told to remain here until someone spoke to me.” He finished.
“Thank you, Richards, you may leave now. If there is anything else you remember when you arrived on scene, please let me know or DCS Dowell.” Addison told him. He nodded and headed off under the tape, she watched until he disappeared into his car and went from the scene.
Addison glanced at her watch and quickly made her way to her car. She noticed a news reporter heading in her direction, panic started to rise until someone grabbed her arm.
“McKenzie,” She looked round to see Robert behind her. She sighed, placing her hands on her hips.
I’m determined to earn this man’s respect. I will show him what I’m capable of and he’ll be surprised. She thought, hiding a small smile.
“It’s Scott,” she snapped.
“Whatever, we are going to need to contact Wendy’s parents.” Robert started. Addison nodded but then said, “I am going to try interviewing the children first and when I get back DCS Dowell wants us to talk to the next door neighbour.” She said.
“Because the little boy who lives next door, his window is opposite Anna’s, and he could have seen something from last night. We saw him at his window when we were going through the scene. He saw us, so what else did he see?” Addison explained.
“Well, make it quick. We’ve got much work to do.”
“Arrogant Bastard.” She said under her breath.
He went to walk away but heard Addison mutter. “Excuse me?” He stopped and looked at her.
“Nothing,” Addison said turning on her heel towards her car. He watched her stride away and then stuffed his hands into his pockets, making his way back to finish the crime scene.