Category Archives: Murder Mystery

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter eleven, part one

“Shit.  The cops think Kayla was taken,” Matt said the second I walked into the apartment.  His hair was a mess, and it was clear that he’d had a beer or five.  He had a fresh one in his hand, and he wasn’t just sipping it.  I plucked it from his fingers and drank the rest of it in one gulp.  “Hey, that was mine!”

“No more for you,” I said, shaking a finger in his face.  Matt didn’t drink much so when he did, it went straight to his head.  I knew he was under a great deal of stress, but this wasn’t the way to deal with his problems.  “Tell me everything.”

Matt and I went into the living room and sat on the futon before he spilled his guts to me.  It turned out that the hospital had called the cops when it discovered Kayla missing.  The cops went over her room with a CSI kit and found traces of another person.  Now, that wouldn’t be so unusual as it was a hospital, but they found pieces of skin, hair and fibers from a shirt—all indications of a struggle between Kayla and the person who took her.  They were running tests on the samples found, but Martinez wasn’t too sanguine about the results.

“You talked to Martinez?”  I asked, interrupting his recitation.

“Yup,” Matt said, smirking slightly.  “I even got to see him.  Jealous?”  I punched him in the arm and indicated for him to continue.  He didn’t have much else to say.  The kidnapper hadn’t left a note this time, so the cops didn’t have many leads.  They were also concerned because of her hit-and-run case, but there wasn’t much they could do about that.

Continue Reading

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter ten, part one

I awoke the next day at noon.  I hadn’t gone to bed until the wee hours of the morning as I was too hyped from the two naps.  I went into the kitchen to see what I could dig up.  As I was about to pull some bread out of the freezer, I remembered that I had to be at Julia’s at one.  I raced to the bathroom and jumped into the shower.  The good thing about having an odd schedule was that Matt and I didn’t fight over the bathroom.  He used it around eight in the morning while I rarely needed it before noon.  I washed myself hastily before hopping out of the shower.  Running to my room, I thought about what clean clothes I had.  I pulled on a black cotton skirt and a red tank top before flying out of the house.  It was twelve-thirty, and I was going to have to forgo food until I got to Julia’s.  I just hoped she had something she could feed me.  I also hoped the gang wouldn’t be too pissed that I hadn’t finished my work.

“You’re early,” Julia said in surprise, reaching over to hug me.  She was subdued, and Banana was clinging to her legs again.  “A whole ten minutes.  You’re usually busting in here half an hour late.”

“I didn’t want to be late because I didn’t do my homework,” I said, ruffling Banana’s hair.  “Got any food?”  Julia sighed, but didn’t say anything as she was used to feeding me.  She walked into the kitchen, dragging Banana behind her.  I followed, eager to wrap my teeth around something delectable.

“Hon, I need you to let go of my legs,” Julia said gently, reaching down to unwrap her daughter.  Banana let go, but she immediately transferred her grip to my legs.

“Hey, what’s up, Banana?”  I asked, my voice quiet as well.  It was unlike Banana to be so clingy and not to say anything.  I wondered if she was still worried about her father.

“Nothing,” Banana said, her grip tightening.  She didn’t seem to want to talk about it, so I let it go.

Continue Reading

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter nine, part three

In my room, I halted before my closet, deciding to see if I could contact Danny again.  I sat on my bed and closed my eyes, willing his image to come to me.  I breathed deeply, knowing I couldn’t force anything.  Danny had to be willing to have me in his head in the first place.  Normally, he most likely wouldn’t have a problem with that, but these were not normal conditions.  I let those thoughts float through my brain without attaching any importance to them whatsoever.  I put my hands on my midsection, knowing that usually calmed me enough to focus on what I had to do.  Suddenly, a picture of poor Danny in only his underwear popped into my mind.  I stiffened, worried that his captors were taking things to a different level.

“Danny, can you hear me?”  I kept my voice low so I wouldn’t freak Danny out too much.  I didn’t want him to scream and alert someone that something was amiss.  Instead, Danny smiled at the sound of my voice, looking happier than he had two seconds ago.  There was a bruise around his right eye which suggested that his captors were getting frustrated.  That didn’t bode well for his future.

“Auntie!  You….back….scared….now!”  Danny was on the floor of the closet, huddled in the corner.  There was a strong stench pervading from the corner opposite, probably where Danny voided his bowels if his captors didn’t come in time to take him to the bathroom.  Poor Danny, having to sit with that foul smell every day!  They could at least clean it up from time to time.

Continue Reading

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter nine, part two

“Hi, honey, I’m home,” I called out, throwing my purse on the ground.  All I wanted was something to eat, perhaps a roll in a hay, and a hot shower.  I went into the living room where Matt was staring at the television.  Though he had it on the Sox game, he wasn’t really watching.  “You hungry?  I’m going to order a pizza.  You want in?”  No answer.  “Hey, Matt, what’s wrong?”  No sooner did the words leave my lips then I knew.  “Oh, Matt.  It’s not Shawn, is it?  He’s not…worse, is he?”

“He’s dead,” Matt said, his voice empty.  “He flat-lined while I was there late this afternoon.”

“Oh, baby,” I said, pizza forgotten.  I sat next to him and put my arms around him, wishing desperately I could take the pain away.  Again, I didn’t say anything as I knew there was nothing to say.

“He was only fifteen, Scar.  Fifteen!  What the hell am I doing?”  Matt’s voice cracked on the last word, and that broke the floodgates.  Putting his head in his hands, he started sobbing.  I rocked him back and forth best I could, my own eyes filling with tears.  “I saw him die, Scar.  I can’t fucking take this any more.”

Continue Reading

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter nine, part one

“Hey, glad you could stop by,” Julia said, her eyes red.  She looked as if she hadn’t slept in days.

“Hey, girl,” I said, giving her a warm hug.  “Hey, sport,” I said to Banana who was clinging to her mother’s leg.  That was unusual for her as she was an outgoing child, but it could be because of the tension in her mother.  “How’s my best girl?”

“Ok,” Banana said mournfully.  “Mommy’s going away this weekend and leaving me behind.”

“I know, Banana,” I said, glancing at Julia who looked as if she wanted to cry again.  “But you’re staying with me and Matt, and we’re going to have tons of fun.  We’ll eat lots of ice cream and go to the park….You won’t want to go home once the weekend is over.”  I flashed an apologetic look at Julia because I knew you weren’t supposed to bribe a child, but she waved her hand.

“Really?”  Banana said, her face brightening.  “Can we eat banana ice cream?  Like my name?”

“Uh, sure.”  I didn’t know if they made banana ice cream but if they did, I’d find it for her.

“And Uncle Matt will play with me?  I love Uncle Matt!”  Banana said with an enthusiasm shared by many women.

“Yup.  He said he can’t wait to see you.”

“Did you hear that, Mommy?  I get to play with Uncle Matt!”  Banana hugged her mother’s legs as Julia mouthed a thank you at me.

“Baby, why don’t you go put in the Shrek DVD?”  Julia said, gently disengaging Banana from her leg.  Banana didn’t even wait to reply before tearing off for the living room.  We followed, and I watched in amazement as Banana set up the movie for herself.  Kids these days were so technologically advanced at such a young age.

Continue Reading

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter eight, part two

“First time I’ve been called ‘God’,” Martinez said, his eyes amused.  I opened my mouth to make a ribald comment before clamping it shut again.  I had the sneaking suspicion that Martinez knew what I was about to say because he was openly smirking.  His voice was all business, however, when he asked if I’d spotted anything yet.

“No,” I said, discouraged.  “This is like the proverbial needle in a haystack.  How do you not go insane doing this kind of work?”

“It’s better than factory assembly,” Martinez said, shaking his head.  “I did that every summer during my high school years, and there is nothing more tedious than putting together the same two pieces over and over again for eight hours a day.  Don’t let it get to you.  Just think of it as a scavenger hunt.”

“Some prize,” I murmured, turning another page.

“Well, I have to go,” Detective Martinez said, looking at his watch.  “Johnson here will keep an eye out for you.  If you need anything, let him know.”  I looked up, startled to see an officer in the room.  I hadn’t heard him come in, which made me exceedingly uneasy.  He looked as if he were fresh out of training, and he certainly didn’t look old enough to be a cop with his round cheeks and clear blue eyes.

“Ma’am,” Johnson said, nodding his head.

“It’s Scar.  Or Ms. Hsu,” I said sharply.  He made me feel a hundred years old when he called me ‘Ma’am.’  “How am I supposed to find you?”

Continue Reading

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter eight, part one

“Is this right?”  The police sketch artist, name of Meg, held up a composite.  We were in an interview room, and I was starting to get claustrophobic.

“Nose is too big,” I said, frowning at the picture.  She had done a good job capturing the guys general likeness, but there was something missing.  Needless to say, Matt and I never did get around to trying to draw the captor last night.

“How about now?”  Meg had taken several minutes to redo the nose before turning the pad towards me.

“Better.”  There was still something about the picture that wasn’t quite right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  There was something about his hair that was eluding me.  Oh well, I dismissed it from my mind.  If I thought about it any longer, I would become more confused than ever.  The best thing would be to allow it to come to me when it was the right time.

“How did she do?”  Detective Martinez said to Meg, striding into the room.

She did just fine,” I said loudly, cross that he was talking about me as if I weren’t even in the room.

“Fine, Detective Martinez,” Meg said, smiling up at the detective.  I suddenly realized that Meg was an attractive brunette in her early thirties with clear green eyes and a glorious smile.  No wonder Martinez softened under her gaze.  I wondered if she was Irish as she looked as if she had a touch of the green in her.

Continue Reading

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter seven, part two

“What about Digger?”  I asked, more to shake her up than because I thought it was him.

“No, why, what?  Why would Digger???”  Kayla couldn’t finish the sentence with the proper amount of indignation it called for, possibly since she remembered that I had her packet of blackmail material.

“Tosca,” I said softly, watching Kayla’s face.  It drained of what little color she had retained, and I knew I’d scored a palpable hit.  I also knew, however, that if Digger was involved in this, Tosca wasn’t in on it.  Why?  Because Mob didn’t do namby-pamby kidnappings with little to no real pain involved.  If Tosca had ordered the pick-up, well, let’s just say that Danny would have been more of a mess than he’d sounded on the tape.

“Um, Italy?”  Kayla’s laugh rang hollow, and not even she looked convinced by it.

“That’s it, I’m leaving,” I said, standing up abruptly.  As much as I wanted to help Danny, I couldn’t deal with this coked-up, strung-out bitch.

“Wait, um, Scar.”  Kayla made a grabbed my arm and nearly tumbled again.  As she would have taken me with her, it behooved me to help her stay on her feet.  “Please don’t go.  I know I’ve been a pain in the ass, but I really need your help.”  A Girl Scout couldn’t have looked more sincere, but I trusted Kayla as much as I’d trust Jet with a cute boyfriend.

“Give me one reason I shouldn’t walk out of this house and never come back.”  I was steaming, and I wasn’t going to come cheap.  “From the start, you’ve been outright lying and lying by omission.  You’ve been more of an obstacle than a help, and I have to wonder what else you have to hide.”

“Sit down, please?”  Kayla’s tone was normal rather than whiney or like a little girl’s, which was probably why I sat back down.  Matt sat next to me on the couch, and the two of us looked expectantly at Kayla.  She sat on the hardback chair opposite, not quite able to meet either of our eyes.

“Well?”  I said impatiently when Kayla continued to do her impression of a statue.

“I’ve done some things I don’t feel very good about,” Kayla said softly, looking down at the ground.  “You know about some of them from what I’ve told you but also what’s in the packet.  I swear, I didn’t mean to hurt anyone—well, not really, and it all just got out of hand.”  I forbore from pointing out that blackmailing people hurt them even if they may deserve some of that pain.  I knew that nothing I said would dent Kayla’s world view of herself.  I was just grateful to have her talking, so I kept my big mouth shut for once.  “But, um, there was this incident…”  Her voice trailed off as she looked more uncomfortable than I’d ever seen her before.  I took that as a good sign.

Continue Reading

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter seven, part one

“Where the hell have you been?”  Matt snapped the minute I walked into the apartment.  I took a long look at him before turning around and leaving again.  I re-entered the room and held up a hand to forestall him from repeating his question.

“Hello, Matt.  It’s good to be home.  How are you?”  I didn’t expect him to reply, but I had to let him know that he couldn’t treat me that way.  To his credit, he backed down immediately.

“Sorry, Scar.  I’m just going out of my mind.  I shouldn’t take it out on you, though.  How are you doing?”  Matt allowed me to walk into the apartment and take off my shoes before we headed for the living room where we always had our confabs.

“Julia’s ex, Banana’s father, has AIDS,” I said without preamble.  “Julia had to talk about it a bit, plus she wanted to know if I’d look after Banana this weekend.  I said yes, of course.”

“That’s horrible,” Matt said, meaning it.  “Of course we’ll look after Banana.”  How like him to include himself in the promise even though he had nothing to do with it.  What a guy.  “Hey, Kayla wants us to go over.  Did you talk to the cops?”

Continue Reading

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter six, part three

“Here you go, Apple,” Jet said, deftly transferring what appeared to be zucchini tempura onto Julia’s plate.  “Let me know when you need more, Watermelon.”  Jet called Banana any fruit other than Banana which Banana found hilarious—Julia, not so much.

“Let’s get to work!”  Banana said through a mouthful of tempura.  She pounded her fist against the table, scowling at each of us in turn.

“Banana!”  Julia said, aghast at her daughter’s behavior.  Julia was more perturbed when the rest of us burst into laughter at the sight of Banana perfectly imitating her mother when Julia got in a snit or a panic.  “What?”  Julia scowled, causing us to really laugh it up.  She and Banana were the spitting image of each other.

“Oh, Julia, if you could see your face,” Anu said, delicately brushing the corner of her eye with her fingertip.  “That is so priceless, Banana.”

“Thank you, Auntie,” Banana beamed, taking another bite of her tempura.  Now that she’d gotten what she’d wanted, she was the picture of placidness.

“You’re not saying I act like that!”  Julia said, pointing a finger at her chest.  Her perfectly proportioned face screwed itself up, looking more like Banana when the latter was having a temper tantrum.  Julia patted her blunt cut which looked strangely good on her.  “I exhibit perfect decorum no matter what the circumstances.”

“Oh please, Yamamoto,” Jet said, rolling his eyes.  “You can be so mean when things aren’t going your way.”  The rest of us nodded our heads in agreement.  “Banana is only imitating what she sees every time we come over.”

“It’s not like the rest of you are angels, either,” Julia protested, her eyes darkening.  “If I do scream like that, and I find it highly unlikely, it’s only because the rest of you are such slackers.”

“I’ll get it done by next time, honest,” Banana said, looking hangdog.  She dropped her head in mock-shame before peeking up at us, a mischievous glint in her eyes.

“Busted, Bobby!”  I crowed, clapping my hands in delight.  Bobby was always late with his reports, though he managed to meet his outside deadlines on time.  I supposed I should be thankful he kept us waiting and not the public, but it was damned frustrating.

“What, were you talking to me?”  Banana’s expression became puzzled as she looked from one to the other.  “Oh, um, ok.”

Continue Reading