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Settling Old Scores

Within a few minutes, the peaceful little neighborhood’s woken by sirens, as patrol cars began lining the streets.  Nosy neighbors started congregating out on the lawns, trying to figure out what had happened in their sleepy little community. Seeing all the interest, the captain instructing his men to canvas the neighborhood, see if they can locate witnesses.His partner Rachel volunteered to interview the maid since she’s the one who discovered the body. With everyone busy caring out their assigned tasks, Jerry, the lead decides to take a look around inside the house..

“There doesn’t see any sign of a struggle. Maybe the maid cleaned it up.” He thinks. Walking through the hallway, he meets his old buddy Kirk. He’s a hard working dedicated man who’d just started the police force a few years ago. With his help he hopes the young rookie will become detective soon.“What can you tell me, Kirk?”

“What can you tell me, Kirk?”

“Well sir, we haven’t found any signs of forced entry, and there’s no sign of a struggle. So we’re assuming the victim knew the person, let them in the house. The perpetrator waited until he wasn’t looking and hit him in the back of the head with this.” He says, lifting up the bronze statue. I checked for fingerprints and found four different sets. I’ll run them when I get back to the station. We found this lying beside the victim’s body. According to the fibers, I’d say it came from a woman’s navy blue jacket.”

“Where did all the water come from?” He asks stepping off of the soggy carpet.
“From the tub, apparently he’s getting ready to take a bath when his visitor shows up.”

“So the attack happened sometime this morning?”

“Yes, sir. Calculating the stream of water coming out of the faucet, and comparing that to the overflow, I’d say he was hit no more than an hour ago.”

“Good job, son.”
“Thank you sir.” Smiling Kirk gets back to work.

The detective sees  the housekeeper’s leaning against the edge of the porch railing, smoking a cigarette.  Walking over to her the detective notices the woman’s hand trembling, as she tries to bring the cigarette up to her mouth. Poor thing, she thinks picking up her speed.

“My name Is Rachel Webb I’m with the Berryville Police Department. I heard you’re the one who found the victim?”
“Se, Se I found Mr. Stan laying on the den floor when I came in this morning.”
“What time was that?”
“9:30. I always start my cleaning at 9:30.”

“Did you see anyone else in the house?”
No, no just Mr. Stan and I.” She takes another drag from her cigarette before recanting her statement.

“Someone could’ve been hiding. I didn’t look I saw him and ran out of the house.”

“Do you know anyone who might want to hurt him?”
“Se his wife, he kicked her out three months ago. There’s been bad blood between them ever since.”

“Is there anyone else who’d hurt your boss?”
“Se his oldest child Katelyn. He’s always worried she’d come back and hurt him. Mr. Stan told me not to let her in that I should call the police if I see her around the house. Guess they had a bad fight, haven’t spoken in years.”
“Is there anyone else you can think of that might want to hurt him?”
“No, no that’s all.”

“Well if you think of anybody else, call us alright.” Rachel says, handing Marie her card.” Glancing towards the porch, Rachel sees the paramedics wheeling the victim out on a gurney. Jerry’s right behind them.

“How’s the victim?” She asks, walking towards her co-workers.
“He’s alive. The paramedics said he started mumbling I can’t believe she’d do this to me.”

“Did he specify who he’s talking about?”
“No, the EMT’s asked him, but he kept mumbling the same phrase.”
“The maid said he kicked the wife out of the house three months ago, and he and his oldest daughter’s estranged. So I’m going to go talk to them. She turned to leave when she sees Marie rushing toward her.

“Miss Rachel, I thought of someone else who might want to harm him.”
“Who?”
“I guy named Carlos. Mr. Stan said he’s bad news, said he threatened to kill him if he didn’t pay up.”
“Did Mr. Howard call the police?”
“No, my boss didn’t want any trouble so he paid him.”
“Do you know the guys last name, or what he looks like?”
“No, he always came after I left and Mr. Stan always referred to him as Carlos.”

“Did you clean anything today?” Jerry asks.

“No, I see his car in the driveway so I go check on him first. When I saw him on the floor I ran out of the house. I’ll go in and clean now.”

“Since this’s an active crime scene, you won’t be able to clean today. We’ll tell you when you can alright.”

“Please tell him so he won’t get mad and fire me.”

“We will. Thank you. Maria, you’ve been very helpful. Well, I’m going to go talk with his children and wife, Jerry.”

“ I’ll finish up here.”

***

Madeline’s working on a beautiful sunset when she hears banging on the front door. Looking out the kitchen window, she sees a squad car in the driveway.

“Oh my god, something’s happened to Katelyn!” Running to the front door she throws it open.

“I’m Rachel with the Berryville…”
“What happened to Katelyn, is she alright?”

“We’re not here about her. I need to talk to you about your husband. Where were you this morning between eight and ten?”

“I’ve been here all day.”

“Can anyone verify that?”

“Katelyn was here until she left for work at 8:30.  Then my youngest daughter Katie visited rafter she left. What is all this about?”

“Your husband’s found lying unconscious, barely breathing in his home this morning.”

“Unconscious! Oh my god, I have to get to the hospital.” She says, scooping her keys off the peg. The detective blocks her in the apartment.

“I need to ask you a few more questions first.  Where does Katelyn work?”
“At the cosmetic department at Macy’s. I really need to go be with him.”
“Give me Katie’s home address and you can leave.”
“It’s 51 Country Court, now am I free to go?” She asks impatiently.

“For now, but I might need to ask you a few more questions later.”

“I’ll be here, or the hospital. Grabbing her purse, she bolts out the door. Walking down the driveway, Rachel sees the captain pulling up behind her car.

“I’m going to visit Katelyn at work and visit the other girl, Katie to verify the wife’s alibi for this morning.”
“You don’t think she did it?” He asks pointing to Madeline.

“The way she reacted to the news and spouted off two alibi’s without even thinking I doubt it. I’m still going to have patrol keep an eye on her. Katelyn has a history of violence and her and the father’s estranged so I’m not ruling her out so quickly. “

“I’m headed to the station, so keep me informed, alright?”
“Yes sir.”

***

Jerry’s searching the house for evidence when Jeff approaches him. He’s fresh out of the academy still had a lot to learn. Like Kirk, the guy has potential if someone takes the time to train him right.

“Jerry, his youngest daughter Katie’s here. She wants to know what’s going on.”

“I’ll go talk to her. Thank you.” Walking out on the lawn he sees a distraught daughter screaming, as two officers attempt to hold her back.

“It’s ok I got it.” He says, the officers quickly releases her.

“My name is Jerry and I’m with the Berryville police department.”

“What happened to my father? Is he alright?”

“Your father’s found lying unconscious on the floor this morning. Evidently someone hit him in the back of the head.”

“Where is he?”

“The paramedics took him to Carroll Regional.”

“I’ve got to get to the hospital.” She says, turning towards her car. Reaching out, Jerry grabs her arm.

“Wait, I need to ask you a few questions first.”

“My father could be dying and you want to ask me questions?”
“I understand you wanting to be with your father, so I’ll be brief. Where were you between eight and ten this morning?”
“I dropped the girls off at school, went to the bank, post office, and then visited mom. After that, I went to the grocery store then came here?”

“What time did you visit your mother?”
“It was almost ten.”

“Do you know anyone who’d want to hurt your father?”

“No, I really need to go.” She says rushing to her car.

***

Walking into the large department store, Rachel began looking around. She hadn’t been in here since she was a little girl. This’s her step mother’s favorite place to take her to buy school clothes. It hasn’t  changed a bit/ She thinks. Glancing around she sees an older, heavy set lady standing at the cosmetic counter.

“May I help you?” The lady asks eyeing her appearance closely.

“Yes I’m here to see Katelyn Howard.”

“I’m sorry, but she isn’t working today. Perhaps I can help you with something.”

“When will she be back?”
“She won’t be coming back today, or any other day.”
“She’s fired?”
I’m afraid so, quite some time back. I know just what you need.” Pulling out a few fancy white bottles from the glass cabinet, she carefully arranges them in front of her.

“Not today, thanks.” She replies walking away.

“I can make you look like a new women, in just a few minutes. You’ll look so good your husband won’t know what to think about the new you. The lady continued, as the detective hurries towards the door.

“My husband doesn’t know what to think about the old me sometimes.” Laughing, she walks out into the bright afternoon sun.

***

Wanting to stop the cerebral hemorrhage, and reduce swelling on the brain, the doctors rushed Stan off to surgery. The doctors then decided to keep him in a medically induced coma, until his condition improved. After being allowed to see him briefly, both Madeline and Katie decided to go home, get some rest. Wanting to be close to the phone, Madeline decided to sleep on the lumpy sofa she’d purchased at a second-hand store. After an hour of tossing, and turning, she grabbed the remote and began surfing channels, hoping to be bored to sleep. She’d just started watching a classic when she’s startled by a loud bang. Listening a little closer, she realizes someone’s pounding on the front door. Wrapping her housecoat around her, she walks over to the entranceway.

“Who is it? “  She yells through the door.

“Mom it’s me, can you please let me in.”

“Oh for heaven sakes.” She  mumbled, fumbling with the locks. Throwing it open she sees Katelyn standing half naked on the porch. He hair’s a tangled mess and her makeup’s smudged with two long streaks of mascara running down either sides of her face. Looking a little closer she notices fresh bruises.

“Are you alright?” She asks.

“I’m sorry mom. I’m so sorry. I messed up, real bad this time.” She cries. Madeline starts to pull her inside when she sees a tall, muscular man step out from behind her. His hair’s long and greasy.  He had numerous piercings along his dirt smudged face.  Pushing the distraught young women in the apartment, he slams the door behind them. The sudden gust of wind sent an overwhelming smell of body odor through the room, making Madeline gag.

“What do you think you’re doing?  Barging into my house in the middle of the night?”  She asks, backing away from the rancid odor.

“Your daughter owes me money, and I came to collect.”

“Don’t listen to him mom!”

“Shut up, bitch!” He yells tossing her on the floor.

“Get out of my house, now!” Madeline screams.

“Give me my money and I will!”

“I’m not paying you a damn dime. So get out before I call the cops.” Reaching inside his jacket, he pulls out a revolver.

“Either pay up or I’ll kill you both.” He says, pointing the gun at her. Frightened she glances over at her daughter. She’s curled up in the corner of the kitchen crying.

“How much does she owe you?” Madeline stutters, reaching for her purse.

“I figure all the blow she snorted comes to five hundred dollars.”

“Five hundred dollars!” She exclaims

“You’re full of shit, Carlos, I don’t owe you a dime.” The daughter blubbers

“That’s what I should have gotten back from your sales today.”
“I told you I gave the money to Diego.”

“That’s not what he’s claiming. He says he found you lying on a bench all strung out. When he asked for the money you said you hadn’t sold a thing. When he asked for the drugs, you took off running to your car.”

“Well he’s lying! I gave every last dime I made to him!” She screams.
“What’s going on?” Madeline asks.

“Your precious little girl’s been selling coke for me. Today she snorted up all the profits.”

“Is it true?” She asks looking over at Katelyn. Seeing the disapproval on her mom’s face, she started bawling. She’s gotten really good at crocodile tears and fabricated stories through the years.

“I didn’t want to sell for him, but he made me. He said he’d kill us both if I didn’t start paying off an old debt.” She blubbers.

“That’s a lie! You begged me for a job.”

“He’s lying, I wouldn’t break my promised to you. Not after all you’ve done for me.” She cries.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but I want you to leave, Carlo’s.”

“Pay me the money, or both you bitches die!” He yells. Getting a firm hold on Madieline’s  housecoat, he shoves the gun into her forehead.

“No one threatens my mother!” Grabbing a knife off of the kitchen counter she runs towards them.

“Katelyn no!” She warns. Her daughter continued racing towards them. Raising her left arms up, Madeline smacks Carlo’s arm, causing it to fly towards the ceiling. Katelyn raises her weapon up and plunges the long, sharp weapon between his shoulder blades. Carlo’s squeezed the trigger, as the three tumble onto the floor.

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