I submitted this last spring in a response to a writing prompt. The originators of the contest challenge never got back to me. So, here it is for you to enjoy.
Room With A Knife
Detective June Weaver stepped into the hotel room. The blonde woman on the floor was in silk pajamas but with all the blood, it was hard to say what color they were. A knife was in her right hand, her arm stretched away from her. Her left arm was covered in cuts. Defensive wounds, June thought. She tried to fight whoever it was off. On the small table, in front of the hotel window, there was a half full bottle of chardonnay. Beside it, two plastic hotel glasses, one half full, the other tipped over. The bed was still made.
She turned to the uniformed officer who was standing at the door. “Any luggage?”
“Suitcase in the closet, Detective.”
June nodded, green eyes thoughtful, visualizing the room and running scenarios through her head. “The chairs were in place when you got here?”
“Yeah. Right next to the table.”
June scratched her head. “I don’t get it. Only one cup tipped over. Bed made, furniture in place, but there was a hell of a fight, she has defensive wounds all over her arm. Blood on the carpet indicates she was killed right here. I’m not getting it.”
Her partner, Lin Chow, entered the room. “We have video of the hallway. A guy, about six foot, dark hair, left the room about ten-seventeen last night. No reports from neighboring rooms about noise.” The petite detective paced around the room. “She looks like she was in a fight, but the room doesn’t. Any ideas?”
“Fresh out, you?”
Lin put a glove on and opened drawers in the dresser. “She didn’t unpack, drawers are empty.” She squatted next to the body. “Hotel says she was registered to stay three days. So why didn’t she unpack?”
June tucked a strand of her long red hair behind an ear. “Is there video of the guy leaving the hotel? Tell me there’s video in the parking lot.”
“Yeah, he left through the lobby. No video in the parking lot.”
“Too bad, plate numbers would have been nice.”
“We’ll have to hope for prints on the bottle or the glasses, June. M.E. is on the way.” She pulled evidence bags from her suit jacket pocket. “I’ll get them to the lab and see if we get lucky on the prints.”
Two days later, June and Lin were at the door of a tidy Craftsmen style cottage in the suburbs. A man answered, six feet tall, black hair, dressed in khaki Dockers and a dark blue polo shirt. “Can I help you?”
They showed him their badges. “We’re with the City Police, I’m Detective Walker, this is my partner Lin Chow. We’d like to ask you a few questions, Mr. Ross.”
He stared at them then recovered. “What’s this about?”
June noticed a sheen of sweat form on his temples. It was only sixty-six degrees on an overcast spring day. “We’re investigating a murder, Mr. Ross. Where were you two nights ago?”
“Uh, that was Monday. I have bowling on Monday.”
June could see his knuckles turn white as he gripped the door edge. “And when did you return home?”
“Um, ten-thirty, eleven. I’m not sure.”
Lin was jotting notes. “Anyone in the house that can corroborate that?”
“No, I’m divorced. It’s just me here now.”
June watched a drop of sweat run down the side of his face. “And your ex, she still live in town?”
Ross shook his head. “No, she went back to California, her home town.”
“Do you mind if we call her, Mr. Ross?” She smiled at him. “We just want to touch all of our bases.”
“No, not at all. I’ll get the number.” He left the door open and went inside. June nudged the door open with a toe, to get a look. The house was a mess, take out containers were piled all over the living room. There were blank spots on the wall facing the door where it looked like pictures used to hang.
They heard the sound of a door. “Crap,” June said as she drew her Smith and Wesson. He’s running.”
They leapt off of the porch, June turned right and Lin went left. They circled the house, June saw him leaping over a four foot picket fence two yards away. “Call it in,” she yelled to her partner.
She jumped the fence and sprinted across the yard. She saw Ross run around the third house, as she closed from behind. As she reached the street she saw him duck behind a white Victorian across the street. Behind her, June could hear Lin on the radio, giving responding police cars their location as she followed her partner.
Sprinting across the street, June ran into the house’s back yard. Ross was struggling over a six foot chain link fence separating the back yards. June charged forward and grabbed a leg just before he got it over the fence. After a short struggle, she pulled him back. Lin ran up and helped her subdue him and put him in cuffs.
“I didn’t mean to,” he sobbed into the lawn. “It was an accident. How did you find me?”
“Finger prints, Mr. Ross. The chardonnay tattled on you.” They hauled him to his feet just as two radio cars pulled up in front of the house. Lin read him his rights as they walked him to the police cars. The uniformed officers took him into custody.
“I guess he never watches police shows,” Lin commented as the cruiser drove away.
“I’m glad. We’d have never solved it if he had.”
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