As the fog settled, the erie feeling of death crept into my soul. My blood was as warm as a towel after putting it in substantially warm water. I knew my night, and my life would never be the same again. Walking on a cracked sidewalk at 3 o’clock in the morning with the glare of streetlights were normal. What caught my eye was an old street sign that had fallen down in what seemed to look like a struggle in one of the near by allies. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I turned my head to see what lied in the alley of 21st street. A trash can was quite out of place, and the door to an apartment building looked as if something slammed into it. I walked slowly into the darkness of the alley, step by step my heart rate increased. My stomach turned as my nostrils filled with the scent of a corpse. A man, around the age of twenty four years old was sitting in front of me, cadaverous.
*One month later*
I woke up early in the morning, as I usually do. I went along with my daily morning routine, grabbing my bag of grounded coffee beans and pouring them into the white filter inside of my very mediocre coffee maker. As I read the daily news, the head line never changed. “Local Man Murdered Weeks Ago Killer Still Not Found.” That haunted me everyday since I found the body. I haven’t had more than 3 hours of sleep a day, I haven’t shaved my face, and I haven’t even thought about cutting my hair. I have to figure out who this killer is.
I went into my old office the next morning, looking for my journal that I used when I was at the peak of my detective work. It was under a large pile of books on the side of my desk. The room was so unused that I had the opportunity to write my name through the thick layer of dust that had settled on my desk. Before I could do anything my assistant, James, walked into the room.
“What are you doing now?” he said. James was always trying to figure out what was going through my head ever since we met each other.
“Just trying to clear this room up so I can get back to solving the headline on the daily newspaper.” I exclaimed. He suddenly stopped and began to sort different things in my office to where they belonged. We spent forty five minutes cleaning my book cases, sweeping the floor, and cleaning the glass windows that looked out into my main hallway on the second floor of my house. When we finished James headed back downstairs to work on whatever project he had set out to complete. I, however, had work to do myself. The Liverpool Police had thirty two suspects who they narrowed down to be the possible murderers. The first man I investigated was Mr. Tony Pryor. He was married to a lovely young woman named Mary Watson, and the couple was together for thirteen years. Something didn’t seem right, when I continued my extensive research it showed that the couple divorced suddenly and Ms. Watson got together with a new man. I looked to see if Mr. Pryor had signed up for possible therapy after the divorce. I found an office on 32nd street that he attended and payed for that was owned by my good friend Alfred Watkins. I thought I might as well walk down there and ask him a few questions.
The next day I made my way through the brisk English air to Mr. Watkins’ apartment.
“Please, come in!” I heard from the upstairs window.
“Mr. Watkins, I’d like to ask you a few questions regarding your newest patient, Mr. Tony Pryor.” I said loudly given that he was all the way up stairs. I heard footsteps coming toward the spiral staircase that I was standing at the bottom of.
“Great to see you, lad! Please, take your shoes off and come upstairs. I’d love to help an old friend.” Watkins said ecstatically.
I was mesmerized by the book collecting he had acquired over the years. He had all of the Shakespeare plays from A to Z.
“I’m sorry, what did you say brings you here today?”
“I’m investigating the murder of the man who was murdered in the alley of 21st street last month.”
“Ah, I heard about that. The newspaper said that his head was gashed in from three different places.”
“Yes, indeed it was. I happened to be the man who found the body. However, my main concern is your patient.”
“Pryor?” he said with a shocked look on his face. “If you think he did it then you’re out of your mind, the man couldn’t hurt a fly. He has been meeting with me for several weeks on end trying to get over his divorce with his wife, Michelle.”
“Records say his wife was named Mary… Mary Watson”
“Oh, my mistake. You’re correct! Mary, Mary Watson is her name.” He said very quickly. I looked down and saw his fingers moving rapidly through each other. I also noticed a bead of sweat run from the bottom of his sideburn to the edge of his jawline. Something didn’t feel right.
“I think I should leave now, I left the tea on the stove and my neighbors are probably furious with me.” I said.
“That’s too bad, my friend. I hope you find what you’re looking for.” Watkins said. I wondered why he suddenly became so nervous. After all, he was the first one to mention anything about Mr. Pryor.
I moved through the other suspects and none of them fit any type of description to murder someone. I wish the police knew what they were doing around here. Nevertheless, I had to find the killer. To get my mind off of what I had seen the night of the murder I walked down to the small coffee shop to get a cup of tea. A woman who fit the description of Mary Watson walked behind me to order herself a cup of tea.
“Are you Detective Lewis?” she said with a soft voice.
“Yes I am. May I ask for your name as well?” I said back to her
“My name is Mary Watson. I have to inform you about a few things regarding the murder of my boyfriend, Jack Adams.” I didn’t know who the man who was murdered’s name was let alone find out that she was in a relationship with the man.
“Please come sit.” I said. “So you’re saying that the man who was murdered on 21st street happened to be your boyfriend?”
“Yes, he was such a kind fellow, especially after being with that monster before.”
“Who were you with before?” I asked
“A man by the name of Tony Pryor. He would have fits of rage every week and take them out on me. One time he was so upset that I had a meeting with my male boss by myself that he threw a lamp at me and it cut my head open pretty good.” She continued to tell me different times in which Mr. Pryor hurt her or himself. That brought me back to when I talked to Mr. Watkins about Pryor, he said that he would never hurt a fly.
“Thank you for your time Ms. Watson, it is greatly appreciated.” I said softly.
I rushed back to my house and straight into my office. I looked up where Mr. Pryor lived to possibly arrest him for the murder on 21st street. The phone book said that he lived only five blocks away from me. I rushed into my car and drove as fast as I could to his house. When I pulled up I saw Mr. Watkins’ car. “Why would he be here?” I thought. I went and knocked on the door, Mr. Pryor opened it.
“May I help you?” he said.
“I’m here to talk to you about the murder on 21st street about a month ago, can you please let me in?”
He sighed, “Yes, please come in.”
“Just walk slowly away from the door.” Said a voice behind me as I walked in. I turned around to see Mr. Watkins holding a gun to my head.
“We can either do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way.” He said slowly.
“What is going on here?” I yelled.
“You’ve caught on to too much, Lewis. If you arrest my partner how are you going to catch me, the real murderer?” He said with a smile on his face. “After I talked to you multiple days ago I knew you were on to us. I knew you’d come and ask Mr. Pryor some questions. After all, I was right behind you at the coffee shop the day you talked to Ms. Watson.” I was speechless.
“You murdered Mr. Adams? But why?”
He borrowed money from me after he was in deep with a loan shark, then I met with Mr. Pryor for a long time and talked to him about his divorce. I grew more and more rage as he told me about her and him. So I had to kill him. I gashed his head in three times after he left a nightclub at midnight. I had to leave the body because people were walking past the alley too much, however, no one had the curiosity to check it out, Except you!” “So now, I have to kill you, Mr. Pryor was the perfect distraction until you had to go and mess it up.”
“You can’t shoot me.” I said
“Oh but I can, and I will. The mystery will never be solved now Mr. Lewis”
As he c***ed back the gun two shots fired from behind me. Both Mr. Pryor and Mr. Watkins were killed. I looked back to see who had saved my life, it was none other than my best friend. It was James.
“You son of a gun, how’d you find me?” I said laughing.
“You never don’t pick up your phone and I saw your car was here so I listened in on what was happening and waiting for the right time to help you out. I just wanted to scare you a little bit.”
We both called the Liverpool Police and they took care of the situation after we had given our statement and left the apartment. I never knew friendship could be so powerful. He had my back the entire time, he was there when I needed him most. Maybe I’ll have his back the next time. Hopefully there will never be a next time.