Write What You Know, Part 18
By Stephanie Thompson, 1, 711 words
Read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17
When Officer Rodriguez brought her back to interrogation, the detective was already seated, with a file box and more files with him. Rodriguez released the elbow she’d been guiding Christie with when she was quote unquote safely on the other side of the table.
“All right, Christie, before we get started again, is there anything else you need?”
“Actually, I would love some ice, Wes.”
“Yes, I’m trying to give up smoking, it’s such a nasty habit, and one of my therapist suggested, sucking or chewing on ice, so I’m assuming this is a non-smoking building and we’re not getting smoke breaks,”” she laughed like they were chums.
“Right, sure, Rodriguez, can you find us smoke ice?”
“Until she comes back with that let’s go back to talking about your hotel. The way it was going I was a little unclear about whether or not you’d visit one of the three restaurants or two bars inside your hotel.”
“Oh, I’m sorry about that. I did have breakfast downstairs a few times. The coffee was atrocious. And I think I dinner once, on my first or second night there but that’s all. Why? Did one of these ‘Ripper’ murders take place in the bar?”
Riley was highly suspicious of this change in Christie’s cooperation. Everything about her mannerisms was different. She reclined back in her chair like they were friends having coffee in a salon. She smiled in her silences and while her answers were perfectly polite and amicable they somehow had a ring of falseness. So it wasn’t only like he was talking to a completely different person but that different person was being fake as shit.
Rodriguez came back with a paper cup of ice. Christie slid one in her mouth and crunched down on it like it was a bug.
“Actually, as it happens, our latest victim worked in your hotel.”
“Really? What a coincidence!”
He could almost read the stage directions in her tone (I’m not sure that makes as much sense as you think it does)
“I would actually call it highly suspicious.”
“I’m not sure I understand what you mean, Wes.”
Honey coated poison, that what her voice was. Honey. Coated. Poison.
“Well, let’s go over the facts. While you don’t remember exactly what day you arrived in the city, the first murders occurred around the same time as your signing events. You have no alibi for the night when a police detective was murdered, a crime scene where a cell phone, registered to you was found. And not only did the last victim work in your hotel, she was last seen with a woman who closely resembled you.”
“No, I don’t think those sounds as much like facts as you would like them to be. I mean how many people arrive in this city everyday? I’m sure the killings started not long after thousands entered the city. As for the cell phone,as I keep saying, I misplaced my phone or at least I thought I did some days ago but what if it wasn’t lost? What I was pick-pocketed or someone found it and didn’t turn it in.”
“And then they murdered a detective and didn’t noticed they dropped their newly procured phone near the body?”
“It’s possible. Just like it’s possible that any petite brunette out of the 50 or so staying out my hotel, not to mention the thousand in all of New York, could have run into this . . . This latest victim, you keep mentioning.”
“Ms. Fields, you’re right this is quite circumstantial which is why I’m trying to clarify all these issues with you but your answers are coming up lacking. And the fact that I caught you trying to leave town this morning again just fortifies your already highly suspicious behavior.”
“Wes, I’m not sure why you’ve honed in on me but I can assure you, I’ve had nothing to do with this.”
He didn’t immediately counter her or start a new question. He was watching her closely. So far, he’d seen three different version of this woman, four if you count the one he read about in her records and he still couldn’t reconcile any of them with each other. She was slippery like an eel and definitely not like most of the criminals he encountered everyday. He’d never interviewed someone who could read just as honest as she was lying.
In the pause so took another ice chip but sucked on it this time. She smiled when the eyes met and he read a new look in her eyes: adversarial.
“You know what, maybe you can help me then. You’re a writer, you have to imagine, or understand motives for your characters right? Maybe you can tell me what the murderer felt as she was doing this?”
He produced a picture of the first crime scene and the first victim.
“This gentlemen, Anthony Baxter, was stabbed 16 times. Several of the stab wounds were ripped open further, probably with brute force. His intestines were pulled out of one of the wounds, and blood was smeared across the floor by the murders hands. The second victim, Amanda Richland, was stabbed anywhere between 20 and 30 times, it was difficult to tell with her’s because a disproportionate number of hers were directed at her face until it resemble a bowl of bolgenaise more than a human face. She could only be identified by tattoos and dental records. Jasmine Clark had her entire torso sliced open and every single one of her organs were ripped from her body and strewn apart the room. By the way each of these people were killed in condemned buildings, lured there probably with the promise of drugs or money, and spent their last moments n the most disgusting place outside of a dumpster fire. What do you think the person who did that to them thought or felt while they were doing it?”
She didn’t look at the pictures, she never took her eyes off his. She wasn’t smiling any more. A determined fire burned from out of her amber stare.
Nikki stared down the detective. She was not moved by his morbid and gory pictures, she’d seen the same and worse in her lifetime. Done it herself even. She would not rise to his attempt to bait her.
“Detective, please, I did not do this. I don’t want to look at these pictures. I’m very sorry for these people. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that whoever did this was very sick.”
“It’s very interesting that you said that because. . .” He collected the photos from the table, not putting them back in there respective folders, and exchanged them for one fat file folder. The first one he’d come into the interrogation with.
“It seems that your history is marred with the same description. ‘It is the opinion of this court that the defendant is very sick and needs specialized help that cannot be provided by juvenile penal system.’ ‘Patient exhibits disturbing behavior she herself describes as too sick and messed up to help.’ ‘She wouldn’t stop until there was blood, then she pulled out a knife. It was sick. I couldn’t watch.’ The last one is from a witness in one of your cases, where you attempted to disembowel your boyfriend, I think it was.”
“That case had just as much evidence against me as you have right now and you will note that one was dismissed. The witness was found to be lying because she herself was sick.”
She leaned forward, one arm on the table, the fingers of her other hand in the cup of ice, bringing the freezing sensation from her tips to her wrist cooling the heat of anger, helping her maintain control. The doctor the Detective quoted would be so proud.
“Wes, I won’t deny that I’ve had a troubled past. But as you can see, I’ve been on the straight and narrow since my release. Not even a parking ticket. The most recent of these incidents was over a decade ago. Now, I’ve cooperated and I’ve answered your questions. I know you must be under a lot of pressure to solve these cases and I completely understand that but I also know, through my past experiences that you’ve so kindly pointed out that I’m not charged with anything at the moment and I can invoke my right to a lawyer at anytime. And while I’d like to help, I’ve told you all I can, so if this interview isn’t coming to an end soon, I’ll have no problem asking for my lawyer and stopping it for you.”
“Okay, you’re right we aren’t getting very far this way, I just have one more thing, I’d like you to take a look at.”
Nikki leaned back again fully satisfied and happy with her handling of the situation. The detective dug in to his file box shuffling papers like he was having a hard time finding what he needed. She didn’t buy his Columbo act for a single moment.
“Here we go,” He pulled out another series of photo prints. “Could you just confirm that this is your cell phone right here?”
She was so sick of hearing about this mother-fucking cell phone that if she ever did find hers again she would very happily break it with a hammer and shove the shards down a running garbage disposal. For the time being she indulged in a healthy eye roll.
She took the picture from his hand and examined the bloody scene with a practiced (? Uninterested? Whatever?) eye.
“I don’t see a cell in the picture.”
“I’m sorry that’s the wrong picture.”
HE handed her another photo. She narrowed her eyes at him. This picture was cans body, only showing the smeared bloody handprints on the floor and a bloody rectangle.
“Detective, please stop playing games, I can’t ell anything from this photo.”
“Are you sure?”
She tossed the photo on to the table for a response.
“Ok, well, here’s the one we took after we cleaned it up a bit.”
Of all the pictures he’d showed her, it was this one, a relatively blood free samsung galaxy in a pink case.
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