Here it is the first part of my new thriller....
ONE SQUARE MILE
"Okay Patrick I’m going to ask you one last time, no more fairytales, no more evasions just give me the truth...How many bodies have you butchered and where the hell is Hannah Burley?”
Detective Knowles had been hunting a predatory serial killer nicknamed ‘The Troll’ across five states for nearly two years...and now he had him. Yet, as his suspect sat nervously shaking, Knowles was beginning to have doubts. Real doubts alongside lengthy questions and some grave concerns. He was one of the most decorated Officers in the state of Oklahoma and had seen it all before. The snivelling weasels, the crying cowards, the drama kings, the weeping lady-killers and the cool, smug emotionless bastards that somehow thought it was their right to kill...their raison d'être.
Something was amiss.
In all his years interviewing, scrutinising and interrogating these scum you got to know the territory, got to know the game that’s constantly played inside their insidious, depraved heads. Knowles optic nerves just could not register the sense of fear and panic that this Patrick character portrayed. Either Patrick was the most accomplished flawless actor he had ever encountered, or the fantastical stories he’d concocted were indeed true. Knowles had had enough, silently storming out of the interview room he glanced back one last time at the pitiable wreck that cowered in the corner. Outside in the corridor he motioned for Clarke to guard the room as he hurried away for a strong espresso. He headed for the vending machine outside his office, placing his folders askew atop of it as he forlornly waited for his second strong coffee of the hour.
She was the mother of the station, a veteran of 39 years and an all brimming, overflowing cup of wisdom and humour in equal doses. Smiling she placed her mop and bucket down next to Knowles with a re-sounding attention seeking metallic thwack.
“So second cup of the hour and seventh of the day heh," She mouthed, her arms vehemently crossed over her heavy slack bosom "and this time it’s an espresso Hm Hmmm.”
Knowles kept silent, leant forward, grasped his steaming black froth from the machine and turned towards her, a wry reserved look upon his face.
“You’re a better detective than me Winola. You been counting?”
“Just been counting the cups up in your garbage bin next to your desk as I cleaned, and that’s a white cup you got there, and the espressos come in the white cups do they not detective?” Winola probed gleefully.
“So how come you never got to be a detective then heh?” Knowles probed back, a smidgeon of a smirk now beginning to ease through his soul to seek to bring order to his inner turmoil.
“you know why.”
“I know, you love the deduction but you hate the paperwork and the guns.”
“You know me all too well.” She laughed. “So what’s troubling my favourite detective heh? I take it you have a suspect that you’re interrogating and by the look in your eyes I’d say you’re getting nowhere.”
“You got time for coffee as well?” Knowles gestured at Winola.
“Then step into my office, I could use another brain. Usual?”
He motioned towards his open door. Winola smirked, nodded and trundled inside his office - mop in hand - and slouched into the nearest chair. Seconds later Knowles followed cradling her usual double Latte. Placing it next to her he sat opposite and placed his heavy feet upon the desk.
She inched forward and took the coffee.
“Thanks, now what’s eating my favourite detective?” She smiled.
“Enough already with the flirting you dog, you know you’re old enough to be my mother.”
“Oh come on you love it. Now come on let’s get serious or your mom here will have to spank you.”
“Promises, promises...” Knowles laughed.
It was hardly by the book, hardly behavioural analysis or studious field work but Winola seemed to be the most brilliant detective that never wanted to be one. She was a 62 year old big boned African American woman. Surprisingly young looking and wrinkle-free despite her years with a sweet complexion, deep-set dimples and a smile that could melt a Lion’s heart at fifty paces. Along with a hearty laugh, a swaggering calm gait and shoulder length dark, curly hair she possessed the mind of a genius and Knowles believed it had been his destiny for this past 17 years to get her to join the force. Knowles had first met Winola some twenty years ago on her second day at the station and had regrettably used racial, unforgiving tones towards her. An act that took her some time to get over, but now they were the best of friends. Inseparable, especially when she had helped Knowles solve a seemingly impossible case that he had been working on. Unorthodox some would say using or consulting with a civilian cleaner for advice, but Knowles knew her well...knew her genius. Seconds later Knowles composed himself and wiped his brow.
“Okay Winola my good friend, I think for once this is one case where even your genius won’t be of any use.”
“Meaning?” She shrugged.
“Meaning, the guy we captured ‘The Troll,’ Clarkes guarding him now, but something tells me we have the wrong man.”
“And you doubt that why?”
He retracted his feet from the desk, placed them firmly on the floor and looked directly into Winola’s soul and continued...
“Why? Why you say. You know what I don’t even know why, I just do. I just feel it.”
“We all got intuition but detective work doesn’t always tend to let us use it.”
“Suppose so, but it’s more what he says and the way he’s acting. It’s not a charade, I’ve interviewed my fair share of murdering scum you know that, and you can tell when they’re bluffing. But not this one...He’s either playing me real good or my intuition is right.”
She slouched back into her chair, slurped her latte and wiped away a creamy smudge of foam from her lips.
“Latte’s not bad today. So are you going to tell me everything before our good friends the Texas Rangers get here, or should I get back to work.” She continued.
“You’re good my friend, how’s you know the Rangers are on their way for our guest back there and not the FBI?” Knowles grinned in disbelief.
“So you admit they are then? I just figured seen as this so called Troll killed in Texas first they might rush to interview him before anyone else. Besides you look real worried.”
“I do not look worried, I was smiling!” He kicked back.
“Smiling through your worried grimaces. You look tense when the FBI are on their way, but you only look worried when the Rangers call. What’s that you always say...’’The Federal Bureau of Irritation,’ but the Rangers they storm in like the old Wild West as they still seek to tame America.’”
“I do not say that.” Snapped Knowles.
“Touchy.” She heartily laughed, Latte spilling down onto her skirt as her heavy frame rocked with mirth.
Helikened her to a human stress-buster, and no matter what the world threw at him or anyone else, there was no denying that Winola possessed a certain feel-good, side splitting passion that could warm and tickle the most hardened, stubborn lacklustre souls back to life. Winola took out her handkerchief and mopped her playful, hot brow.
Slowly she composed herself.
“Okay come on tell me about our guest and I’ll stop teasing.”
His smile returnd briefly.“Okay then...deal. Our guest says he’s not a killer, and states that the killer we're after slaughtered his three college friends in the Oklahoma desert just outside the town of Lone Bluff. Oh, and he also states that a Mexican Lady is President of the USA and that he followed the killer back to his apartment through some kind of shimmering, portal and that’s where we found him cowering. So go figure?” He kicked back into his leather chair, clasped both hands tightly to the arms, tilted his head back and sighed.
Seven weeks earlier
16 Miles South West of Lone Bluff, Oklahoma.
“Oswald you did not bring the coffee. Oswald did you hear me you forgot the coffee!”
“Yer ok, ok, can’t you see I’m concentrating, can’t you be quiet for two minutes? God!”
Oswald was 74 and his outspoken wife Sherri-Lee sat behind him - within their tattered Chevy ’97 Silverado white pick-up - resembled a more effervescent 71. In spite of their differences, their mood swings, their constant disagreements that tend to stem more from Oswald’s stubbornness rather than his dear wife’s hormonal seethings, they did occasionally love each other. They were making their way to see their dear old daughter Madison and her husband Ben and the troublesome twins Lilly and Emily, and regardless of their misgivings both were secretly yearning to see the twins again after eight long months.
“Don’t you curse at me Oswald I only asked ya bout the coffee. It’s too damn hot to argue, why the hell did she have to move to this arid place anyhow?” Sherri-Lee continued.
“Ask me, ask me. You did not ask me for God’s sake Sherri, you told me categorically that I did not bring the coffee, there’s a difference there you know. God!”
“Whatever Oswald and stop calling me Sherri, when’s the last time you called me Sherri-Lee or even your pumpkin? You’ve never loved me for years!”
“Oh for God’s sake can I just drive we’re nearly there and I don’t want the kids to know we’ve been arguing, and it’s too bloody hot for your hormonal outburst. While we’re at it what’s with the outbursts anyway? You’ve been through that menopausical type thing already last week, so where you getting this extra hormone overload from?”
“Oh you be quiet, I don’t know and we’re not arguing, you’re the one who kept going on about the coffee!” Sherri Lee quaffed.
Oswald silently shook his head in disbelief. Talking back would only afford him more nagging, but then being silent would almost certainly bring him even more nagging too, and maybe also the convenient tightly crossed arms manouevre. He outwardly sighed, maybe a bit too loudly. Sherri-Lee opened her mouth to scorn his sigh but Oswald’s violent slamming of the Chevy’s brakes temporarily halted her rants. Despite the ten minutes of earache beside him Oswald had resolutely kept his senses heightened on the road and espied the lone stranger in the nick of time and stomped the brakes.
“What the? Oswald.” Sherri-Lee shrieked.
Oswald fought to keep control of the old faithful Chevy as it slowed from 70 to zero with a screeching of rubber, asphalt and backend swerves. In the breath of a humming birds beating wing Oswalds 45 years of army training automatically kicked in as he miraculously manoeuvred and slowed the Chevy to a full heart-tearing stop just feet away from the stranger that now stood smiling gleefully in front of the steaming, dusty hood. Sherri-Lee looked pale and confused and began to scream and wail with equal multitudes of panic and pain.
“Oswald, Oswald! Who is he, what does he want?”
“I don’t know, just sit tight it’s okay. Are you alright?”
“My angina’s throbbing and my arms are tingling Oswald.” Sherri-Lee turned and slapped Oswald hard on the shoulder as she continued. “And what the hell did you have to brake so hard for?”
He sighed once more and gave a silent 'Ssshh' as the figure in front approached his side window.
“Don’t open the window Oswald just drive on, Oswald...Oswald you hear me?”
“Ssshh it’s okay, he’s probably lost or broken down or whatever. For God’s sake not everything in life is like a horror movie woman, it will be alright.”
“Oswald I don’t like this, where’s his car? We’re miles from nowhere.” Sherri-Lee shrieked, her voice now rasping with fear and rabid apprehension.
“We’re 16 miles from Lone Bluff you scatty woman, that’s hardly miles from nowhere.”
“Don’t you call me scatty, and that may be so but look around there’s no car and only desert for 16 miles ahead, let alone the hundreds behind us.”
“QUIET will you.” He cried. “He’s at the window, now be quiet and let me handle this.”
She huffed loudly and folded her arms defiantly across her chest, her angina pains miraculously dissipating in the heat of the situation. Oswald cautiously deployed the electric window down a touch as the lone smiling figure approached. Ahead lay void, empty desert highway shimmering in the mid afternoon furnace like a surreal smooth surface of sparkling mottled glass.
ONE SQUARE MILE
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All characters contained in these tales are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.