page 2, chapter 2
Detective Whitechapel jotted down the information as quickly as possible wanting nothing more than to let the coroner's people take the body away. He didn't want to know anything about it right then. In fact, he didn't want to admit it was a puzzle. Right now, it was being listed as accidental death. Drunk guy passes out in a puddle. That was the unofficial rumour. I felt his disapproving gaze as he looked over at Vincent and myself. We were still looming in the doorway of the coffee shop, the police having closed down the mini mall and taping off the parking lot. He was doing his damned best to ignore us. I watched as he moved back to his car to write something that one of the emergency responders was telling him. Clearly, Ryan was in a bad mood.
Detective Ryan Whitechapel, stood 5 foot 11, had bleached blonde hair that hadn't been touched up in over a month, letting his roots show in all their salt 'n' pepper glory, blue-green eyes that depending on the light would have you swearing they were pure emeralds, and a devious sensual smirk that never seemed to leave his pale lips. The boy could flirt with a telephone pole and have it shivering in anticipation. Even though he was another east coast replant, Ryan had spent a few years in England, giving his accent more of a British bite. Our city had become a hot bed for people from the most eastern provinces.
"Your aunt had a knack for finding herself in the middle of such nonsense." Whitechapel said as he crossed the parking lot towards us, gesturing with the pad and pen securely pinched between his middle and ring finger. "I don't want to start with you now that she's gone." his voice rose an inch as he planted himself in front of us, directing his tone towards me. I watched as he quickly tucked the notepad and pen out of my view and into the safety of his inside pocket. Before my aunt Jackie had died, she'd been a bit of an amateur sleuth. She had worked at the local paper writing obituaries, and sometimes while doing the background checks, she'd dig up stuff that the police missed. I nodded then, more to myself than the detective, suddenly thinking I should swing by my aunt's storage locker and finally clean it out. "You two get out of my crime scene. I'll call you if we need another statement." he literally shooed us away back into the coffee shop closing the back door behind us.
"Have we just been banished to the kitchen?" Vincent asked.
"I think so. Well..." I looked around awkwardly sighing. "Since the whole building has been closed for the day, I think I'm going to go home." Vincent shrugged making a duck bill with his lips his eyes closed in agreement.
"You want some company? I got nothing to do now if he's shutting the place down. Nothing but going home to feed the cat anyways."
"Since when do you have a cat?" I asked as I waited for him to shut the kitchen down, turning off the lights before making our way slowly through the coffee shop. He gently guided me out the front door of the building onto the sidewalk as he locked up for the day.
"Uh. I've always had a cat. It just hides when you're over." he said matter of factly. I brought my hand up letting the back of my knuckles gently tap against the muscle not quite near his shoulder nor his chest.
"Actually, I have a detour first. You're not allergic to spiderwebs are you?"
The tiny office smelled like burnt tires and fried chicken grease. Not the most pleasant of combinations. We stood waiting for the manager to finish digging around first on his computer files finding nothing, then with a deep sigh of what could only be boredom, move the two steps to the five foot filing cabinet behind the desk. Snorting under his breath, he copied down a number before opening the large jewellery case retrieving the keychain. Vincent looked over my shoulder as we left the little room to stand in the chilly air, clouds thick and grey once again overhead. Personally I love when the weather is like that. Not too hot, not too bright, not too cold either. Grabbing the little piece of paper out of my hand nearly ripping it in two, he held his other hand out for the keys.
"You in a rush?" I asked looking at his reflection in the windows of the few cars stalled along the road waiting for the lights to change. He shook his head.
"No. I just have a better sense of direction than you do. I let you have the building number and we'll be going in circles all day. Besides, it's going to rain again. I don't have a coat." We ended up walking for another three blocks before spotting the sign for the storage lots. Quickly, we realized one of the two keys were to unlock the gate, and then just as quickly realized we'd wasted time walking around the block when we could have just entered the property next door to the office. "Okay let me see this." Vincent said as he began squinting towards the building numbers.
"Why don't you just admit you need bifocals." I teased.
"I don't need bifocals. I can see just fine...as long as it's you know day time and things happen to be right in front of me." he began to jog a little as he turned left down a tightly built row of sheds.
"At some point we all need bifocals." I began mumbling under my breath as his face lit up having found the right storage locker. The metal door rolled up on it's hinges like a garage would, scrapping aluminum as it did. "Okay not what I was expecting." I had never been there before, and was thinking it would be nothing but photo albums, stuffed toys from her childhood, and old clothes from the 60's but, instead what we found was more an office than an old storage shed.
A small desk sat against the back wall of it, a lap top in the middle with a printer beside it. Two large filing cabinets to the left of that both of which had plastic storage bins on top of them with extra files, a bookcase framed the opposite side of the desk filled with books, mostly paperback novels, but some looked like encyclopedia volumes and text books, two corkboards leaned up against the foot of the bookcase covered in photos, notes and printouts. A large map of Canada was pinned over the desk with a few tacks marking off places of interest. Another small fold out card table was pushed into the corner by the door which held a coffee maker and mugs, and finally a small two seater sofa finished off the cramped space.
A thin layer of dust covered everything, but not by much. My aunt had only been gone now six months, and by the looks of it, she'd kept it pretty clean up to that point.
"Computer works." Vincent said sitting down turning the machine on. "Oh my god!" he closed the lid embarrassed. "Okay I'll let you deal with that later."
"Why?" I was distracted by the list of true crime novels sitting on top of the bookcase.
"Um...she say anything about a boyfriend? Cause...her screen saver...I can not unsee that." he continued on blushing for a few minutes before regaining his composer. "I think it's safe to say we stumbled on your aunt's crime lab...crime den...crime nook? Help me out here. What is this exactly?"
"Lab would imply experiments and the only thing close to that here is the mold in the coffee pot." I stuck out my tongue dropping the filter and two dirty mugs into a waste basket. "This must have been what aunt Jackie meant all the time when she said she was going to the other office?" I wiped my hands in my jeans, unable to find any kleenex in my overstuffed purse. "This place is actually kinda cool."
"Hey, I found a couple of dvds with the store's stickers on them." I heard the cases crash together as Vincent picked them up from the edge of the desk. "Documentary on Jack the Ripper, the Johnny Depp horror movie about Jack the Ripper, and something about wishes."
"Let me see that." I grabbed the top one from him. "Master of Forgotten Wishes vol 8." I opened the dvd case. "It's empty. Odd. There was this guy this morning that came into the store looking for this title. I'd never heard of it before."
"That's a bit creepy. Wait it wasn't the dead puddle guy was it? Cause that would be super creepy like sleep with the lights on creepy."
"No, different guy." I looked around the storage shed again not seeing a dvd player or tv, before opening the lid to the laptop once again. Vincent swore as he turned away his back to the screen. "Yeah, didn't need to see that." I blushed myself at the naked photo of the guy. "Wait a second. I don't think it's a screen saver per say." I hit the side button on the laptop, the dvd drawer opening up causing the picture to vanish. "Found our missing dvd."
Tune in again for another installment of the Cinema Files starring your heroine...me(straight up story. Everyone needs a crime nook)