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Autumn Whimper 3

October 24, 2013

October 24th
8:57 A.M.

I just transferred.
Why? Why is this what they stick me with? And as soon as I get my foot in the door.
I shut off the engine and step out of the vehicle, catching a face full of morning breeze that causes a shiver to run down my spine.
I hate the cold.
The buzzards are circling the corpse en masse.
This isn’t a circus.
Getting to the victim takes an unfortunate amount of brute force, but after a few gentle shoves I can see the body.
It lies in a position that is difficult to look at. I can tell by the form lying under a sheet which had been placed over it that it was that of a young man. Late twenties, maybe? Who am I joking. As if I’d know.
I pass under the yellow tape and walk over to Vincent.

“Quinn,” he nods, “good morning.”
“Not from where I’m standing. What happened?”
Vincent throws a thumb over his shoulder and my eyes follow it to an older woman standing with another policeman.
“Landlord is out and about at the crack of dawn each morning, she says. Found something growing in the garden that she doesn’t remember planting, she says.”
I suck my teeth at him.
“She said that?” I ask Vincent, turning to go check over the corpse.
“Well, you know. I tend to editorialize.”

“Unfortunately, I guess I do.” I mumble, shielding the prying eyes of the harpies behind me with my back as I pull a small portion of the sheet down to reveal a man’s face.
Huh… late twenties. Isn’t that something.
Not a bad looking guy, I guess. Clean shaven. Hair cut seems to have been recent. Aside from the hue of his face, he looks like someone who is smack dab in the middle of a pleasant dream.

I lift my head to Vincent for a moment.
“Did she hear anything? Did any of the other residents see or hear anything?” I ask him as I gently turn the victim’s head to either side to look for some sort of trauma.
“If it weren’t a suicide, it was some sort of silent assassin, they say.”
There’s nothing here. I place the sheet atop the victim’s face again and stand up, smacking my hands together.
“Who the hell says that, Vincent?” I say, more than I ask. As I pass him on the way to the victim’s landlord, I push Vincent’s notepad against his chest.

“…he was such a bright young man, too…” I catch the landlord say as I walk up. I make eye contact and nod to the officer who had been taking her statement and pat him on the shoulder, signalling for him to leave. He does.
I’m almost as cool as those detectives you see on basic cable.
“What is your name, miss?” I say to the landlord.
Early seventies maybe? Is that important?
“Patricia Rutherford..” she answers, her voice shaking.
“Patricia, I’m Quinn, alright? Quinn Roswell. I’m an investigator. I know you didn’t wake up this morning with the intent on seeing what you’ve seen, and I understand you’d like to try and forget about it as soon as possible,” (She’s old. Was that insincere?) “and I know you’ve been speaking to us since… well…” I look over my shoulder at the lifeless form lying under the sheet. “do you know of anyone he was involved with that would want to do him harm?”

Patricia places a hand on her mouth and shakes her head for a moment.
“How many residents live in this building?”
“Just Hughes since last spring.”
“Last spring? Was there another resident last spring?”
“It was his girlfriend. They had met upon moving in and really took off.”
“A girlfriend? May I have her name?”
“Amelia Jehms. That’s J-E-H-M-S. She liked to be called “Gem”. That’s what everyone called her.”
“Amelia Jehms.” I repeat, as I produce a small notebook and a pen from one of my pockets and jott down the name. “And where is she now? Did they break up?”

Patricia sighs, as if the weight of the world was bearing down on her.
“I understand it’s tough, Patricia, but any information you might have for us, regardless of how small it may seem, could be very helpful to the investigation.”
She wipes her eyes and sniffles for a few moments.
“She passed away.”
Maybe I should have just investigated that small gem mysel- that’s definitely in bad taste. I should know better.
“I see..”

“Quinn!” comes Vincent’s voice from over my shoulder.
I turn to face him.
“Yeah?” I scribble “Patricia Rutherfurd” under Jehm’s name.
“No sign of entry whatsoever. It’s like a baby blanket covered in butter up there.”
I blankly stare over Patricia’s shoulder.
“God damn it, Vincent.” I think to myself.
“What does that even mean, Vincent?” I say aloud in response. “I’m in the middle of a statement.”
“It’s clean. No sign of a struggle at all. Was a pretty clean guy from the looks of things actually.”
“Write it down, Vincent, and tell me later?” I say as calmly as I can.

“They were such a good couple…” comes Patricia.
I return to her my attention.
“I think the grief just caught up to him… poor Ronald… he was such a bright young man…”

I scribble down the name “Ronald Hughes”
Looking like suicide.
“Thank you for your cooperation, Patricia. We appreciate the time. If there’s anything you think may in some way be helpful, don’t hesitate to let us know, alright?”
She nods.

I let out an exhale. I want to see the apartment. Vincent’s a damned idiot.
If only to get out of the cold. It’s the worst.

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