Adam wanted to stay in the reception area, but Detective Cutter insisted that they go back to the crime scene.
The weather grew bitter as an icy breeze stung Adam’s cheeks. Adam turned up his coat collar as he noticed the town’s clock in the distance read two am. He still needed to set up his office computers and equipment, and he was hoping to do that with Justin in six hours.
Cutter walked ahead of him to the door that led to Gavin’s apartment that was wide opened. Adam saw the police tape blocking off the area of the street where he found Patrick on the ground. He followed Cutter upstairs; the living room was to the left with a flat 42-inch screen TV mounted on a brick wall. A sofa dating back to the nineteen sixties sat new or reupholstered amongst other vintage antiques from candy and soda machines to a wall-mounted-crank phone and various furniture from different eras. Even the light fixtures were old. but brought back to their former glory.
The room had an uncluttered, nostalgic feel. The TV was the newest item in the room. None of the forensic team bothered to search for clues there. A technician took pictures of scratch marks on the wall in the hallway. Adam hoped they weren’t from Patrick’s nails clawing it to get away from the Harlequin.
He saw there was an extra bedroom on the right before Gavin’s room. The room was bare other than a full-size unmade bed in a cast iron frame and a small table.
He continued to Gavin’s room where Cutter was waiting for him. Cutter was talking to one of the forensic crew members about Gavin’s body when Adam walked into the room, seeing the man covered in a white sheet as the Coroner prepared to remove his body.
Cutter walked over to Adam with an open notepad.
“So Potter, how is it that you came across the victim, Patrick Valdez?”
“The first time was by accident while driving home. I saw him fall from a tree by hells gate."
"The upscale graveyard?"
"How did he end up here?"
"Afterwards, I wanted to drive him home, but he insisted on coming here.”
“So he doesn’t live here?”
“Did you know the deceased?”
“Never met him.”
Cutter scribbled quickly on his notepad before continuing.
“Where were you coming from before the graveyard?”
“I had just dropped off my new assistant at a party he was invited to.”
“New assistant? Assistant for what?”
Adam rocked his jaw from side to side trying to suppress the urge to smack Cutter. Adam never bothered to ask A.J. how long he cheated with Artie Cutter during their relationship. All he knew was that A.J. was always busy at work with his studying to be a detective. Artie Cutter was his mentor. For a time, Adam encouraged A.J. to chase his dream to work in homicide. To learn all he could from Artie. He and Artie worked in Vice together.
Adam saw Cutter as a good man. That is until Artie started fucking A.J. The guy even had the nerve to help A.J. move his things out of his and Adam’s shared apartment.
“I just hired him yesterday to work in my detective agency as my receptionist.”
“Oh yeah, I heard you were starting your own gig,” he said with a slight grin as he tapped his pad.
“Patrick said Gavin was stabbed is that how he died?” asked Adam changing the subject.
“The victim has a stab wound in his upper back, but there is no sign of blood except coagulation around the wound. He also has a broken neck. Forensics will know for sure which one killed him first.”
“That’s odd. Where did he bleed out, because there was no blood at the gravesite?”
“We’re looking into that. Do you know the victim?”
“No this is the first time I’ve ever seen Gavin.”
“How about his boyfriend?”
“I’m sure he’s seen him a lot.”
“You know what I mean Potter. Have you ever met Patrick Valdez before tonight?”
“No.” Which to Adam was the truth why bring up his transgression when it has no relevance to the case?
“Why didn’t you come in with him?”
“He wanted to be alone.”
“So how did you get in here?”
“I used the bathroom window. It’s across from mine.” Cutter walked into the bathroom with glass and splintered wood across the floor, He looked out the destroyed window and saw an opened one across the alleyway.
“Wow, Potter that was reckless. Why didn’t you call the police?”
“There was no time. Patrick might have been raped and or killed by the time you guys arrived.”
“Okay, Potter description of the guy.”
“About 5’9, two hundred and ten pounds. Clothes black with padding in the chest and legs and back. He wore thick gloves and on his head was a ski mask or stocking that concealed his face and hair. The harlequin mask was white, with a painted on teardrop under the right eye socket, a red line grin, and a crack now on the right jawline.”
“Do you have any theories on how the killer got the body up here?”
“Well, he had enough time to do it while Patrick and I were at the graveyard. He could have used Gavin’s own key to get him inside. They never found his clothes. Did they find the weapon?”
“Nowhere to be found. By the way, do you still carry?”
“So why didn’t you just shot. A.J. said you’re a good shot?”
“When do you and my Ex find time to talk about me? Before or after the lights go out?” Cutter ignored him.
“Or at the least, you take your firearm with you and go in gun blazing. Like you usually do.” Adam clenched his fists as he focused on Gavin’s covered corpse and tried not to make eye contact with Cutter. “But it’s understanding why you didn’t take it. I mean you did quit the force and left town. From what I hear you had a lot of things to work out. So it would be natural that you forget protocol.”
“You mean like convincing A.J. to cheat?” Cutter glanced towards the raised heads of the two technicians in the room and shot them a warning not to respond.
“You can go Potter, but make sure you're available for follow-up questions.”
“Oh, slow my beating heart,” Adam said, turning and walking away. He glanced back into the spare bedroom and noticed something odd on the wall trim. He looked back at Cutter, who caught his gaze from the doorway.
“Is there a problem, Potter?”
“Did you know there’s another door to this room?”