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Caught: Preconceptions of Detectives
The news makes her numb. She doesn’t hear her parents crying, nor does she notice her siblings staring glassy-eyed at her parents. Instead she heads to her room and firmly closes the door. Sitting on the hardwood floor, she looks out the window. The curtains that obscured the view in the winter were now pulled aside, revealing large oak trees that stand across the road. It’s almost the end of summer, but the days were still hot and sticky. Today was one of those days; it was only 11 in the morning and already she could see ice cream trucks rolling around with kids crowding around it. She begins formulating a plan in her head as she watched a small girl snatch another girl’s ice cream and throw it on the ground. Quickly she changes out of her PJs into white shorts decorated with floral prints and a white top. She unearths her brown bag from her closet and her laptop. Grabbing the car keys, she opens the door and hurries out of the house, posting a note for her parents, who’d now retreated to their bedroom. On the way, she grabs her sandals and hurriedly closes the door. After about 20 minutes, she arrives at the beach. Locking the car doors, the girl grabs two slices of pizza from the fast food restaurant and water. Walking past the tourists, locals and kids, she makes her way farther along the beach, to where the rocks are. Settling down on one of the lounge chairs the beach offered; she munches on her veggie pizza. She opens her bank accounts and watches the water lap gently on the shore as 10 billion euros are transferred from a bank in Zurich to her many accounts here in Canada.
The arrangements for the funeral were being managed by her Aunt Isobel who lived in France.
“We’re going to fly to the States and stay for about three months. You’re staying with Everett and Jenna; you can call the babysitter when you’re working. We’ll call you when we get there. Bye honey.”
And with that, her parents leave the country to attend the funeral of a man she calls grandpa.
Sitting in the stuffy portable, Selene looks out the window towards the elementary school playground as the math teacher drones on about parabolas and points of intersections. She had purposely pulled up in the parking lot close to the second bell this morning, and had avoided looking at anyone as she’d entered Portable 10. Now, as she turned her attention back to the class, she begins to notice the people that filled up the class. It was a small class with only 18 students, Selene notes. Most were strangers except Eric and Lucy. They were the first ones that introduced themselves to her when she moved here in grade 10. Now she half-heartedly solved some problems while waiting for the bell to ring.
“Selene! Hey! Where were you at Hale’s party?”
Selene turns around to find Lucy coming up the path with Eric, Julian, Lauren and two other girls she didn’t know the name of.
“Things got... complicated back home and my parents had to jet out, so I was stuck with babysitting,” she told Lucy hesitantly, as the rest of the group fell into step beside her.
“Whoa, jet out? You mean they’re like gone? Oh my god, is it just a coincidence that I’m planning a party? Hello, we can use –”
Selene gave her a look and didn’t answer until they were a few feet away from her gang.
“The reason my parents left was because my grandfather died of a heart attack a week ago and they’re planning his funeral with Aunt Isobel. They’ll be coming around Christmas and I’m stuck with Jenna and Everett.”
She said all of this while looking at Lucy’s pixie face and did it without fidgeting, looking around or crying. She had long mastered the art of looking cool and sounding nonchalant while telling people unpleasant or tragic news.
“Oh Selene,” Lucy said looking sadly at her as she extended a hand.
Her group of friends looked curiously at us, but moved along. Selene looked at the small hand extended to her. It was a pale hand with red fingernails. She could see the bones tense up as she waited for Selene to take her hand.
She didn’t. She’d learned that close associations with people on the outside only led to trouble and mishap. She made a decision. Selene looked at Lucy MacDonald once before getting into her car and heading out to the beach.
She came back home in time to make dinner before her siblings arrived. As she stirred the pasta, her thoughts wandered. She felt guilty for skipping the first day of school and even guiltier for leaving Lucy hanging. But most of her thoughts revolved around Grandpa William. He’d taught her everything back when they all lived in his manor in England. But things had become risky and everyone had spread out. It was from him that she learned to pick a lock, to speak new languages, to make croissants. But the question that plagued Selene’s mind was his death. Her mother had said that he had died because of a heart attack, but she knew that he was more fit than most boys at her school. It was strange and as she stirred the pasta, the doorbell rang. When she opened the door, she was greeted by two men wearing cargo shorts, flip flops and plain white shirts.
“I’m Detective James and this is my partner Detective Wong. We’re investigating the murder of Mr. William Gray. Could we have a few words with you miss?” the one with the blond hair said, both flashing their badges.
“Murder?” she sputtered.
Although the thought wasn’t appropriate for the occasion; she’d always had this preconception of detectives –that they wore large trench coats and delivered tragic news on rainy days.
“Yes, we’ve found evidence that suggests that Mr. Gray was induced to some sort of drug that led him to have this heart attack. Our labs are examining the drug. It was by no means, an accident.”
“You haven’t talked to my parents in the States?”
Her mind scrambled.
“Yes, we have, but we wanted to personally talk to you.”
“Why is that?”
“Miss Gray, you’re the prime suspect in this murder investigation.”