Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

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Leverette and Marsden spent the early morning hours trying to figure out the case. Not knowing who the dead woman was made the investigation come to a halt. Other than Marsden’s gut feeling that the witnesses were suspects.

“I wonder how bad the head was,” Marsden asked, shuddering at the thought.

“I didn’t see it,” Leverette said. “Marcie didn’t say much at the scene. We’ll have to wait for pictures and for Gordon to run it through his facial program, if it’s not too bad, that is.”

Marsden folded his arms in front of him and squeezed his eyes shut trying to get the picture out of his mind.

“Gordon’s already working on the Kings,” Leverette said. He noticed Gordon coming in, not looking sleep weary, and head right to his lab.

Leverette’s cell rang again. He closed his eyes and shook his head hoping it wasn’t Marcie again. When he looked at the caller ID, it was Gordon.

“Well, speak of the devil,” Leverette said.

“Oh? Talking about me now,” Gordon laughed. “Nothing on the Kings. Do you know when I’m going to get a picture of the head to run it through the facial recognition program?”

“Carrington should be there now. I’ll have Marsden call and see what’s up.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Gordon said and hung up.

“Okay, I’ll call,” Marsden said with a small grin on his face. He picked up his phone and called.

“Carrington,” the ME answered.

“Hi, Doc, are we able to get a picture of the woman?” Marsden asked.

“Yeah, you can come down and take one,” Carrington said. “We can talk about some things I think I understand now.”

Marsden swallowed hard. “Okay. Great,” he said and hung up. He turned to Leverette and said “We can go take the pictures now, and he wants to talk to us.”

Leverette closed his eyes and bowed his head. Shit, he thought. Marsden can’t handle the corpse and I can’t handle Marcie.

“Come on,” Leverette said. “I’ll take the pictures and talk to the doc and you keep Marcie away from me. I’ve got the camera.” He opened the lower drawer on the right side of his desk and pulled out the camera.

“Sounds good to me,” Marsden said. They both put their coats on and headed out the door.

The ride wasn’t too bad since they didn’t get any more snow, but it was still very cold. It took them thirty minutes to get there but it felt like only five to Leverette. He parked the car and the two detectives headed to the morgue. The warmth greeted them and Marsden let out a sigh.

“This is better,” he said. Leverette just looked at him. “I mean the heat.”

“I know what you meant,” Leverette said and walked up to the window. “We’re here to see Dr. Carrington.”

“Okay, detective. I’ll give him a call to let him know you’re here,” she said and dialed the number. As she told whomever answered the phone about their arrival, Leverette started thinking about the case. It really had him and everyone else baffled, especially the one tape they saw where the killer taunted them. “Fucking bastard!”

“You can go on ahead, detectives,” the young lady said. She had her eyes on Marsden noticing how handsome he was.

They got to the morgue and Marsden said to Leverette, “Age before beauty,” and chuckled.

“Right,” was all Leverette said. Just as he was about to push one of the doors open Barb came out.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said. “I hope I didn’t hit you.”

“No, I saw you coming,” Leverette said and smiled at her. “Why can’t Marcie be more like her,” he thought?

“He’s waiting for you,” Barb said and walked passed them with folders in her arms.

Leverette took a deep breath and pushed the door open. He didn’t see Marcie and felt relieved.

“Okay guys,” Carrington said. “I think I know how she was killed.”

Marsden hugged the wall by the doors. Leverette walked up to the table where the woman was lying. He noticed that her face wasn’t bruised at all so they should get a good picture for Gordon.

“Tell me,” Leverette said.

“See these marks here,” Carrington said pointing to the marks on the torso. “I believe he had her limbs tied with a tourniquet of some sort. Then he’d cut off each limb, maybe waiting a few minutes between cutting.”

The two men were startled when they heard a thump on the floor. They turn to see that Marsden had passed out.

“Oh my,” Marcie said from the side room in the morgue. “Poor thing.” She grabbed a clean towel and ran it under water and went to put it on his forehead.

“You got that?” Carrington asked.

“Yeah for now,” Marcie answered. “I might not be able to get him up by myself.” Her voice was starting to sound taunting.

“Well, let him be, then,” Carrington said. “I’ll finish here and let Leverette take the pictures he needs.

Marcie pouted but kept the towel on Marsden’s head.

“Thanks, doc,” Leverette whispered.

“Oh, I know how she pines for you,” Carrington said. He looked at Leverette with a grin on his face. “Anyway, I believe he cut off her head while she was alive. Probably enjoyed the fear in her eyes. Then he released the tourniquets and let her bleed out.”

“Damn,” Leverette said.

“She’s a natural blonde, as you can tell,” Carrington said, making Leverette blush. “But she dyed her hair black. Her eyes are blue. I’m going to do a dental plaster and search the dental database.”

“Good. That’ll help,” Leverette said. He walked over to her head. “Can you lower the table so I can take pictures?”

“I can hold her head for you. The table doesn’t work that well,” Carrington said and picked her head up making Leverette cringe.

Carrington held it front first and Leverette took several pictures. He then turned it to the right for Leverette and then to the left. Gently he placed it back on what Leverette figured to be a morgue pillow.

“Good. These should help,” Leverette said. They looked over at Marsden who was starting to wake.

“We’re done here,” Leverette said walking over to him and giving him a hand up.

“What happened?” Marsden asked, confused as he tried to maintain his balance.

“You fainted,” Leverette said with a chuckle, doing everything he could to avoid Marcie’s eyes.

“Really? I don’t remember,” Marsden said and looked at the table with the woman’s body. “Let’s go before I do it again.”

Carrington called Marcie over so the two detectives could leave. She looked over at Leverette who kept his back to her.

Once they got back into the car Leverette let out a sigh of relief.

“Why can’t she find a nice young man?” he asked Marsden. “Someone closer to her own age. I’m old enough to be her father!”

“Your charm and wit must do something for her,” Marsden teased. Leverette shot him an angry look. This made Marsden laugh out loud.

“That is not funny at all,” Leverette said and started the car. This made Marsden laugh even harder.

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