The local finest arrived in one squad car. Adam flagged them by flicking his jeep’s lights. The two uniformed officers climbed out of their vehicle and approached.
“Stay here,” said Adam.
“But shouldn’t I talk to them?” Patrick asked.
“Yeah, but let me speak to them first, okay?”
Adam climbed out with his detective’s shield ready and met the officer at the front of his jeep.
“Evening officers,” he said.
“Did you call for us?”
“Yes officer,” said Adam. “Well—I called—for him.” Adam gestured towards the passenger’s seat where Patrick sat rubbing his sore bicep, the graveyard in his line of sight.
He presented his badge and ID to the officer who studied it with his regulation flashlight. Officer Powell sighed after reading that Adam was a detective, he passed the ID to his partner. Then he aimed the light at Patrick, who flinched from the bright glare. The officer dropped the beam and gave Adam back his badge.
“We’re Officers Powell and Officer Saxon. What’s the problem here, Mr. Potter?”
“I was on my way home when I drove by and saw this young man in a tree with a masked assailant.”
“In a tree?” Officer Powell pulled out a notepad from his uniform coat and wrote the information Adam gave as he listened.
“That’s right. He fell when the limb broke, right over there by the fence,” Adam said, pointing to where a tree limb lay.
“Patrick, the young man in my jeep. He gave no last.”
“Go on,” said Officer Powell as Officer Saxon walked over to the place where Adam said Patrick fell. He shined his flashlight upward to the crooked tree which showed signs the limb on the ground snapped off. He turned his flashlight to the ground to search for any footprints, but none were visible because of the hard ground.
“I intervened when the masked guy jumped from the tree holding a knife. I got my gun from my glove compartment before climbing out of my jeep. I ordered the masked figure to get away from Patrick. He took off running I chased him around to the south side when he climbed the fence back into the cemetery.”
“Climbed back in?” Officer Powell asked, glancing at Adam.
“Yeah, I couldn’t follow.”
“Can you describe him?”
“Between 5’9, 6’2, bulky built, dressed in black that covered him from head to toe, no skin exposure. I’m not even sure it was a male or a female attacker wearing a Harlequin mask.”
“Harlequin mask. The ones they wear at masquerade parties.”
“Oh yeah. Go on.”
“Well, I couldn’t pursue him because of the gate.”
“The locals branded it ‘Hell’s Gate’,” said Officer Saxon over his shoulder, shining his flashlight into the cemetery, scanning the jagged thrones on the bars.
“But you said he climbed over?” asked Officer Powell.
“Yeah, he must have had reinforcement gear on because he didn’t miss a beat,” said Adam.
“You stated you carry a weapon, Mr. Potter?”
“Did you fire it?”
“No, it wasn’t loaded.”
“Is that all?”
“Yes, Patrick said his friend Gavin is still in the graveyard. He believes he’s dead, killed by the Harlequin.”
“What makes either of you think he’s dead?”
“Patrick said Gavin’s been stabbed and saw the Harlequin break his neck.”
“Okay, we will need to speak to him.”
Adam turned and waved Patrick to approach. Patrick exited the jeep and walked over to Adam and the two officers.
“Patrick, Officer Powell needs to speak with you.”
“But, what about Gavin?”
“That’s what we’re here to find out,” said Officer Powell, taking charge of the questioning. He noticed Patrick’s smudged face with small cuts on his chin and forehead and the injury to his hand. “Your hand is injured. Do you need an EMT?”
“No, I’m fine,” said Patrick, putting his hurt hand behind his back.
“Can you start by giving me your full name?”
“Patrick,” he said, moving closer to Adam. Annoyed by Patrick’s refusal to give his last name, the officer continued with his questioning.
“Do you know Gavin’s last name?”
“Where did you last see Mr. Martin?”
“He’s lying on an above-ground grave marked.”
“Why did you two go in there?”
“Is that important? Gavin--” But the same officer interrupted him.
“Because it’s after hours and no one is allowed in there. So I’ll ask again. Why were you in there?”
“Gavin likes cemeteries. He enjoys walking through them. We did nothing wrong.”
“Trespassing to take a walk through a cemetery is doing something wrong?”
“You say he’s lying on an above ground grave?”
“Okay, we will need you to take us to him. How did you get inside?”
“Through that gate over there.” Patrick pointed at the spot Gavin had taken him through many times, not far from the tree.
“Why didn’t you go that way?” asked Officer Powell.
Officer Saxon walked over to the gate and checked the chain link with heavy duty catch and noticed it was two different links padlocked to the gate. “This gate is locked tight,” Officer Saxon called. The questioning officer turned back to Patrick for answers.
“Are you sure that’s how you got in?”
“Yes. Someone must have put it on after Gavin and I entered. It was loose, so we duck under the chain.”
“I’ll get the cutters,” said Officer Powell.
“Can Mr. Potter come with us?” asked Patrick.
“We have no problem with that. Mr. Potter, do you mind joining us?” Patrick leaned against Adam’s arm and gazed up at him.
“You both can go wait with Officer Saxon.”
Officer Powell grabbed the cutters from the trunk and clipped the chain, opening the gate. Adam walked beside Patrick as the two officers walked behind them shining flashlights. Patrick took them to the precise spot where Gavin was. Only Gavin’s body was gone.
“But he was here, I swear—He had a knife, in his back, and his eyes were open,” said Patrick, frantic.
“Are you sure you brought us to the right spot?” asked Adam.
“Yes—Gavin always brought me here.”
Officer Saxon searched the ground, shining his flashlight on the grass, dead leaves, and the above ground grave no sign of foul play was evident.
“Were you two just walking or doing something else?” asked Officer Powell. The condescending tone in the cop’s voice made Patrick avert his eyes not wanting to respond. “Okay enough—either you answer my questions or I’m arresting you.”
“For what?” Patrick asked.
“For wasting the police’s time with your little joke,” he snapped.
“I swear someone killed Gavin.”
“Then answer my question!”
“Okay. We were here fucking. Is that what you wanted to hear?” He turned to Adam and grabbed his forearms. “Please help me; Gavin is still here.”
“What makes you think that when you said someone killed him?” asked the officer. Patrick turned back.
“The killer might have moved him,” said Patrick
“Did you try calling for help?” asked Officer Saxon.
“Yes, on my cell but the killer blocked the call.”
“How?” asked Officer Powel.
“I don’t know, but he was saying we can be together, now that Gavin was dead. But Gavin wasn’t dead yet; he was still breathing. When I turned back to him, the killer was standing beside him then—broke his neck. I dropped my cell and took off running.”
“Where did you drop your cell?” Adam asked.
“Over there in the leaves.” Officer Saxon checked the dead leaves by a headstone but found nothing.
“When did the killer show up?” Officer Powell continued.
“A few seconds after he blocked my call,” said Patrick.
“What direction he come from?” Officer Powell watched Patrick as he continued to bombard him with questions.
“I don’t know. He was just behind me.”
“When did he first attack your friend?”
“While we were finishing having sex.”
“You saw him come up on you?”
“I didn’t see him stab Gavin. I had my eyes shut.”
“Something entered his back, and you didn’t hear him grunt or cry out?”
“I thought he was—climaxing. I had my eyes closed,” Patrick repeated looking for the right words and avoiding Adam’s gaze.
“Or there’s no killer, and someone’s having a good laugh at your expense. We’re going back to the car and you might be charged,” said Officer Powell to Patrick.
“Charged for what? Being scared out of his wits?” asked Adam. “Being chased by a knife wielding nut?”
“I’m not talking to you, Potter. But since you brought it up, there will be a call out for the guy. I find it strange that the killer who Patrick-with-no-last-name says chased him into a tree, fought with him and had a knife in his hand. Why didn’t he use it on Patrick?” Officer Powell directed his last question at Patrick.
“How the fuck should I know?” snapped Patrick.
“Watch your tone, boy.”
Adam stepped between them, keeping his back to Patrick.
“Listen, the killer said they can be together. That could be the reason he never stabbed Patrick. Aren’t you going to search the graveyard more thorough?”
“We’ll do this by the book, and a search will be done.” In silence, they returned to Adam’s jeep and the squad car. “Make yourselves comfortable.” Officer Powell walked over to his partner leaving Adam and Patrick by the jeep. They stood in silence as Patrick shivered.
“You’re freezing,” said Adam.
“I’m all right,” said Patrick.
“Yeah right. Stay here.” Adam walked to the back of his jeep and opened the hatch window bringing out a fleece blanket. He returned to Patrick and opened the blanket for him. Patrick allowed Adam to drape it over his shoulders and welcomed the warmth it provided. “Better?”
“Yes, thank you, Mr. Potter.”
“Thank you, Adam.”
“They well get answers.”
“I hope so.”