Cirque de Murder

November 5, 2012
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I was waiting for the light to turn so I could finish my walk to work, when a bright color caught my attention. It was a flyer stapled to the lamp post, advertising the old circus had come back to town. Oh, how I loved the circus, I sighed to myself as the childhood memories flashed into my mind. But all the memories soon faded as the light signaled for me to walk across the road.

Seconds after I stepped into the station, I was engulfed by rambled conversation.

“Hold on.” I shouted, holding my hand up for silence. The conversations stopped. “Eli, explain.”

“There has been a murder at the storage building uptown. The circus rented it out for the weekend and the ring master has reported the star tiger missing. We were just getting ready to leave.” Eli explained with a blank expression on his face. As police officers, we can have no emotion when it comes to cases like this.

“Okay, I’m ready.” I said sharply as I turned back to the door and went to my cruiser. Today is going to be a long day, I thought to myself. The drive uptown was unusually quiet, so I thought I’d try to lighten the mood.

“Eli, do you like the circus?” I asked.

“No, actually I am quite scared of the whole idea.” Eli responded, shuttering as he did so.

“Oh, why’s that?” I began to become very curious.

“Since I was little,” he paused, taking a long and deep breathe, “Let’s just keep it at, I’ve had bad experiences with the circus.”

I couldn’t help myself from laughing but immediately tried to hide it with a cough and a small ‘sorry’.

“It’s okay. I’m okay.” He seemed deeply disgusted by his conjured memories and he tensed up as I pulled the cruiser to the curb.

“You ready?” I asked, I could feel my concern seeping through my pores.

“As ready as I will ever be.” His voice trembled but he opened his car door and walked into the storage building. I quietly followed.

Inside, I could smell stall blood and the grotesque smell of unclean animals; this was definitely where they kept the circus animals. I slowly walked through the dark doorway, waiting to see a blood-bath murder but to my surprise all I saw was a small crime scene and a few blood marks.

“What is that?” I demanded even though I realized what it was.

“Our ‘murder’ victim.” Said Detective Kim, our newest member to the department.

“The circus’s star tiger, found whipped to death.” Cried out an older man, in his mid-50’s.

“Excuse me, who are you sir?” I questioned as I pulled a small note pad and pencil out from my jacket.

“I am Arthur Bella, the ring master of La Bella Circus.”

“Oh. May I ask you some questions pertaining to this incident?” I asked sympathetically.

“Sure. Just as long as you do your job and get to the bottom of this quickly.” Arthur snapped at me, with anger and sadness.

“Thank you.” I replied, and my interrogation began.

Back at the station, Eli and I went over the evidence when the chief told us to go back to the storage building and look around and that is exactly what we did.

Walking around the building, I sneezed quite a bit because of the dust surrounding us, Eli and I decided to split up and check out the whole perimeter. I turned down a corridor to see a light shining off the edge of the wall. Slowly, I crept toward the flickering light, my hand silently sliding to my gun belt where I lightly unclicked my holder and brought my gun to arms’ length and eye level. I was ready for anything and everything but what I saw in the room. My eyes went wide in shock and my hands went so numb that I dropped my gun, and the impact caused my gun to shoot a bullet into the opposite wall. I could hear heavy footsteps hurrying toward me and a loud, panting-like breathing behind me; Eli had come to save me…

“What just hap…?” His question was cut short by the image lying before us.

A female’s dead body lay rotting below us. Her neck matted in dry blood and her wristed tied in a knot by a whip most likely used to beat the dead tiger from earlier. She was surrounded by a pool of drying blood.

“Oh my god!” was all I could say, continuously until I had enough sense to put my hand to my mouth. I was so shocked by the horrific scene that I jumped when Eli placed his hand on my shoulder.

“Hey,” he cooed, “I called the station. They will be here any minute.” We remained in the bloody room, waiting for the department to come and collect this crime scene. Only ten minutes had passed by when it seemed like an eternity.

“How did you find this?” Detective Kim asked.

“I saw the light at the end of the corridor and I followed it.” I cried.

Loud footsteps pounded down the corridor, they belonged to none other than, Arthur Bella.

“So, who’d you find? Some dead-beat living off my garbage?” Arthur asked sarcastically.

“No. Riley Miles. 27 year old female. Active animal rights member and a ticket stub to your circus dating this morning.” I replied, holding up her wallet in a Ziploc bag.

“Oh, that hag,” he sneered, “she gave me trouble earlier about an animal abuse scandal. Stupid broad, that one.” Arthur began to pace back and forth.

“Mr. Bella, I’m sorry but we have to take you downtown for interrogation. Regulation rules.” I stated.

“Fine. Fine, let’s get this done and over with.” Arthur simply agreed to be taken downtown. No argument, which was odd for me.

Once back at the station and placed in the interrogation room, Mr. Bella began to pace once again, as if he was trying to talk himself out of something. He sat down after I walked in with two cups of coffee.

“Okay Mr. Bella. First things first, where have you been all day?” I casually asked, knowing he would tell the truth.

“I was, of course, at the circus until noon when we let off for lunch, then I went to the storage room to see if the animals were safely tucked up for the night, and they were fine. I went home and slept for a bit and then the circus manager called and said Tigger was dead.”

“Okay, so how do you know Ms. Miles?” I questioned.

“She was at the circus today, and started a rant about how we mistreated our animals. And we don’t, not that I knew of until this after noon.” He replied.

“How did she get to the storage room, Mr. Bella?” I became curious to what me questions would lead to.

“I dunno, honest. Her and her little groupies probably snuck in.” He shrugged, taking a sip of the coffee. Right after he said that, the main door opened and Eli came in with a manila folder marked CIRCUS FILES.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Evidence report. You will be surprised.” Eli and I both looked over at the now nervous Mr. Bella.

“Thank,” I said to Eli as I turned back to Mr. Bella. “Is there anything you would like to say?”

“Nope.” He replied. I read the report and it surprised me just like Eli said it would.

“Mr. Bella, your DNA came up on the whip that was wrapped around Riley’s wrists and it also had blood from your star tiger. Care to explain?” I was looking down at the paper when I heard the screech of the chair being pushed backward. I looked up to find Mr. Bella giving me the deadliest look possible. I knew I was in danger.

“Arthur jumped across the table and lunged for my throat and the next thing I remember is waking up.” I explained to Eli who was on the other side of the coffee table.

“Wow! Thank god we are off today, huh?” he exclaimed. I was just about to agree when the phone rang, “’ll get it.” Confirmed Eli running to pick up the phone.

After a few moments of waiting, Eli set the phone down with an odd look crossing his face, “You’re never going to believe this.”

“What?” I demanded, giggling a little.

“That was the station. There is a murder up at the old storage building, like the one in your dream.” He said. My mouth dropped in shock.

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