A Gift for Crime
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
I'm in the process of writing my first crime fiction short story and wanted to share the first few pages with my readers. I really excited for this journey, because I will probably publish this story soon; however, I want to read y'all thoughts on it. Thanks for the support and enjoy!
“What do we have?”
“Single black female, approximately in her mid to late 20s, blunt force trauma to the left side of the head and a single gunshot wound to the chest. We are still looking for the shell casing; however, from the size of the bullet wound, I would say it’s from a .38 caliber revolver.”
“A revolver? Damn, that’s old school.”
“I know, right? Nice shoes, are you trying out a new work look?”
The thirty-eight-degree wind hit Detective Langley in the face as she rolled her eyes at Luis’s comment and walked towards the crime scene. Police blocked off the traffic around the Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps. There were barely any cars on the road; however, it was protocol. It was mid-March; the city was somewhat out of the winter season but haven’t crossed the Spring threshold yet. The sun has yet to make its appearance, causing the weather to feel much colder than it was.
It was around 4:30 in the morning on a Sunday. Most of the city and its citizens were asleep; however, crime was not, and neither was Alexandria Langley. Langley pulled her coat tighter towards her to protect her body from the chilly wind, her six-inch pumps clicked against the concrete steps as she passed the Rocky Balboa statue and ascended to where the body laid. “How the hell did Rocky do this?” Langley mumbled aggravated that she didn’t have any flats in her car.
Her date with a certain sexy someone extended into a nightcap, a wonderful nightcap. She was still at Mr. Sexy’s apartment in Rittenhouse Square when she received the call about the homicide. Since she lived in West Philly and the body was only a couple of miles away from her location at the time, strutting to the crime scene in her Louboutins was the most logical option, though Langley was regretting it with every step she took. Although she couldn’t seem to recall his name, the shockwaves he sent through her body were very much rememberable. Luis Gutiérrez, the medical examiner and only ME Langley preferred, handed her a pair of blue gloves as they took the last few steps before reaching the body. Luis was good at her job, damn good. Sometimes other detectives would complain about how Langley would never “share” Luis. Langley didn’t care though because she was damn good at her job too, and she preferred to keep the best of the best beside her.
“What’s her name?” Langley asked as she knelt beside the body and tilted the victim’s head to the side to examine the head wound.
“I don’t have a positive ID on the victim yet. There was no purse or wallet with her.”
“What about time of death?”
“It’s hard to say because of the weather.” Langley looked at Luis with her eyebrows up. Luis backpedaled a bit, “Okay. Since rigor mortis has fully set in, I would guess the time of death at around 11:00 pm.”
“A woman is beaten and shot on a Saturday night in a very public area, and no one hears anything?” Langley stared at the deceased woman and shook her head. What insane person would risk killing someone in an open space during a busy night like Saturday? Also, if she was here for 5 hours, why was Langley just getting called in? Did no one see her laying here? As Langley continued to examine the body, something noteworthy appeared. She lifted the woman’s upper body up and noticed there wasn’t a pool of blood underneath her. Luis spoke as if she was inside of Langley’s mind, “She wasn’t killed here.”
Langley nodded her head in agreeance. There was something else that was strange about the woman’s body. Luis seemed weirdly excited as Langley looked at her woman’s left hand. Langley looked at the victim’s hand and then back at Luis with utter confusion.
“I know right? Weird huh?” Luis said with a smile on her face.
“Luis, where is the victim’s ring finger?”
“I have no idea!” Luis said squealing with excitement. Homicide cases have been slow lately, so when the coroner’s office was called to gather the body, Luis was the first one to run out of the office. She needed some excitement, some action, anything that would keep her from sitting behind a desk pushing papers. Her mind was beneficial and useful when it came to cracking a case, not desk work.
Langley got up and removed the gloves from her hands before dusting herself off. She looked around at the few cops that were still processing the scene. “Any sign of the shell casing?” She yelled out to the officers, “And a severed finger?”
With every officer shaking their head no, Langley groaned in disappointment. Luis called over her team to get the body and bring it to the coroner’s office. “I will have more information later once I complete the autopsy.” Luis patted Langley on the shoulder, “Go get some rest. I know your feet needs it.” Luis snickered as she walked down the stairs. Langley looked up at the horizon as the sun slowly peeked out to welcome the world into the new day. As Langley descended the stairs, she thought about the new case she was taking on.
Why the hell is her ring finger missing? Langley recalled how clean the cut was. Langley’s first thought was the killer grabbed the finger, placed it underneath a sharp weapon (probably a knife), and slammed their fist against it as hard as they could. The killer had to be someone that was strong with cutting skills. It could be a surgeon or even a butcher. She assumed the victim was already dead, because there was no way a bloodcurdling shriek from a woman would go unnoticed. Also, if the ring finger was not there, perhaps the killer took it as a trophy. As the sun slowly came up and Langley slowly walked down the steps of the museum, a small but bright light from the left side of the steps demanded the attention of Langley’s left eye. She stopped walking and turned to see what was so important that it nearly blinded her. Rocky Balboa was standing there tall and proud. Langley’s eyes slowing cased the statue until her eyes stopped at the shiny object that sparkled at the base of Balboa’s feet. Langley quickened down the last few steps and headed towards the statue. As she got closer, the sparkle flickered more. She came to a complete stop once she was face-to-face with Rocky and the mysterious flicker. Langley’s eyes grew with curiousness and shock before a smirk appeared on her face.
“Well, I be damned.” She mumbled to herself.
“Hey! One of you come over here.” She shouted to the officers, “And bring two evidence bags.” Langley grabbed a blue glove from her coat pocket and placed it on her right hand as one of the officers quickly descended the stairs.
The officer stood beside Langley with a shocked face as he opened the first evidence bag.
“What’s your name?” Langley asked the officer. “Brennan. Xavier Brennan, ma’am.” Langley looked at the officer; he looked no more than twenty-three.
Langley could hear the gulp go down his throat as he stared at what was placed by Rocky’s feet. The sparkle that caught her eye was a diamond ring, a ring that graced the missing severed finger. Beside the finger, was the other piece of evidence they were searching high and low to find.
“Make sure Luis get this, okay?” Langley said as she picked up the finger and placed it in the evidence bag. Brennan nodded his head as he proceeded to open the second evidence bag.
“Damn, Luis is good.” She said as she placed the missing shell casing in the second bag that indeed came from a .38 caliber revolver.
After going home to shower and change, Langley hustled to the coroner’s office to see if Luis identified the body. Her feet were now enclosed in a pair of knee-high black Ugg boots and her “new work look” was replaced with a pair of dark blue jeans, a thick black and grey striped turtleneck sweater, and a black trench coat on top to tie the look together. Her thick 4b, coily, dark brown hair adorned her head as a small top bun. A dirty chai latte with almond milk was keeping her right hand warm while the left hand was nestled in her coat pocket.
While she was in the shower, Langley kept replaying her date and early morning discovery over and over in her head. She expected to go home with Mr. Sexy and have sex with him; she also expected to leave in the middle of the night because for whatever reason, she cannot get proper rest unless she was in her own bed. What she did not expect was her to leave in the middle of the night for a case, especially for the type of crime she came to. The deceased woman was dressed in going out clothes, maybe she was supposed to meet a date, and they killed her? No, as simple as that sounds, the way the body and evidence was left, there was something more complex about this murder, and Langley’s jumping heart was an indicator that it was something bad; however, her methods for solving murders were far more complex but ensured the best results.
The receptionist flashed a smile as Langley walked inside the coroner’s office and past the front desk, heading straight to the forensics lab. Luis was standing in front of the victim’s body evaluating it. She finished conducting the autopsy and was waiting for Langley to arrive, so she can discuss her findings. Luis had an intense look in her eyes as Langley approached her in the lab. The body was laying on the waist length autopsy table, naked with the chest cavity open. There were lights built inside of the table that illuminated the body from underneath. The lights were helpful in finding smaller cuts and marks on the body.
“What do we have?”
Langley stood on the other side of the table and stared at the deceased woman; she was beautiful, even with her chest splayed. Luis looked at Langley with a semi-shocked face. “WE have nothing,” she said to Langley, “but YOU have coffee.
Where’s mine? I’m tired too, you know?”
Langley smirked, took a sip from her chai latte, and let out a dramatic fake moan, “Oh, and you would’ve loved these new expresso beans they just got in today, too. They’re Bolivian.”
Luis held up her third digits on both hands, “And my middle fingers are Colombian.” The women shared a laugh and then proceeded to talk about the woman on the table.
“Did you get a chance to ID her?” Langley asked putting her cup down on a nearby table and then grabbing gloves.
“I was able to ID her through dental records. The victim’s name is Aaliyah Samuels; she’s 25 and a Philly native. I took the liberty of finding her fiancée: a 31-year-old male Caucasian male named Daniel Dunn.” Luis handed the Daniel Dunn’s file to Langley and continued, “Autopsy reveals that the bullet cracked her fourth rib and tore through her heart. Looking at the head wound, the autopsy confirms that the victim experienced the blow to the left side of the head before getting shot. I think the head blow was supposed to incapacitate her, so the killer can get a perfect shot. If you look at the scans,” Luis grabbed a smart tablet that was connected to the large screen tv inside of the lab, using the tablet to pull up the X-ray scans of the victim onto the tv screen, “From the angle of the bullet entering the chest, it indicates that our victim was laying on her back, and the killer was standing above her when they shot her.”
Langley looked closely at the victim’s head as Luis talked and noticed a small detail behind the victim’s left ear. “What about the finger?”
Luis’s cheeks rose as she displayed the hugest smile she could muster, “Yes! My favorite part!” Luis grabbed the severed ring finger that was sitting in a petri dish, “I analyzed the cut of the finger. This is the work of a professional who has cut before. I’m thinking a surgeon. There is a serial number for the diamond ring, so I already wrote down the address of the jewelry store if you wanted to check them out.”
Langley grabbed a magnifying glass and looked at the skin behind the victim’s left ear, “Come look at this.” She motioned for Luis to come over. Langley tilted the left side of the victim’s face, so Luis could see. “Do you see the small puncture wound behind her ear?”
Luis nodded, “Yes, I’ll do a tox screen.” Luis closed the chest cavity and quickly sewed it back up. The organs have been removed already, so there was no need to keep the chest cavity open.
Langley removed her gloves, grabbed her latte, and sipped, “I think our victim was drugged first to incapacitate her. Maybe the killer was upset while looking at her and decided to smash something hard across the left side of her face in anger. I think the gunshot and puncture wound was intended but not the head wound. We are looking for a right-handed passionate killer.”
“Well, she is engaged.” Luis paused, “was engaged. Do you think the fiancée did it?”
Langley thought about it for a moment and said, “Maybe, but if I killed my fiancée, I would take the ring instead of leaving it at the crime scene. You don’t deserve my commitment or your life. We will pay him a visit though. I want to learn more about this victim.”
Luis let out a huge exhale, “Wait for me. I’m gonna go get some coffee before I run the tox screen. I’m gonna invite Jessica because I’m a nice person.” Luis sneered at Langley.
Langley had a confused look on her face, “Jessica?”
Luis rolled her eyes and smacked her forehead. “The receptionist? The person who literally greets you every time you walk in?”
Langley displayed a “Oops, my bad” look on her face.
Luis shook her head at Langley, “Can you lock up the lab if you can’t wait for me? No one else in here right now; I sent everybody home. I don’t want some creep coming into my lab and doing God only knows what.” Langley chuckled, nodded her head, and responded, “I will examine the body for a few more minutes.”
Luis grabbed her wallet and her receptionist and vacated the premises. Langley walked around the coroner’s officer a bit to make sure no one else was around. When the coast was clear, she went back in the forensics lab and stood close to the body.
“Okay, now let’s try to find out what really happened to you.”
Using her right hand, Langley placed her index and middle finger on the forehead of the victim. She closed her eyes and inhaled slowly as if she was collecting herself. As she inhaled, small balls of lightening were forming around her arm and made their way down until they were floating around her fingers. “Revelata ultimo” she spoke and quickly exhaled, causing the small balls of lightening to shoot from Langley’s fingers and fly into the forehead of the victim. As Langley was gathering her strength back, Aaliyah let out a gasp and her eyes popped open. Langley watched as Aaliyah rubbed the left side of her face, completely unaware that her ring finger was gone. She looked around and squinted her eyes as if she was trying to see, and she sniffed the air and gagged at whatever she was smelling.
“So, the ring finger was cut off after she was dead.” Langley mumbled as she continued to observe Aaliyah living out the last few minutes before her death. Aaliyah looked at her left hand and rubbed her thumb against the rest of her fingers as if she was feeling a substance that she pulled from her head; she was still oblivious to the missing finger. Aaliyah winched in pain and muttered, “What’s happening?” She tried to get up but was quickly pushed back down as if a force was keeping her to the ground. Her eyes were dilated, and her hands quickly shot up to her face in a shielding position; a light was being flashed in her face.
“Please.” Aaliyah muttered, “You don’t have to do this. Please, let me go. Why are you doing this? Why?”
Langley continued to observe as Aaliyah was gasping for air and placed her hands right above her chest, both hands were in a semi-circle, with the right head on top of the other; someone’s foot was on top of her chest. Aaliyah tried to muster as much strength as she could to relieve the pressure off her chest, but the more she struggled, the more she could not breath. Langley watched as a small indent appeared underneath Aaliyah’s breasts; the indent was coming from the shoe.
Aaliyah’s hands flew back beside her body, and she let out large inhales and exhales indicating the killer took their foot off her chest; however, just as quickly as she caught her breath, her eyes widened and her body jerked up a bit, indicating that the killer dealt the final blow, the gunshot. Aaliyah laid motionless once again, and the balls of lightening slowly emerged from her forehead. Langley placed her right hand forward and spoke, “Intra in me.” She inhaled and the small lightening balls slithered back up her arm and entered her body. The last ball was seeping into her skin just as Luis and her receptionist was coming back from the coffee shop. Luis walked back into the forensics lab and asked, “Ready to go shake down the fiancée?”
“Yes, but I have the timeline of her injuries, time of death, and where she possibly died.”
“Talk to me.”
“Whatever the killer injected Aaliyah with wore off, forcing them to have to incapacitate her again by knocking her out, only she woke up again. Wherever the killer dragged her to, they had to quickly kill her then and there before she started to make noise. The killer kills her a few minutes after she woke up the second time; this aligns with your time of death. Do you have any knowledge of any abandoned warehouses being close to a dump site?”
Luis shrugged, “None that I know on the top of my head. Why?”
“It’s just a hunch.” Langley replied, “Aaliyah’s chest was also being pressed on by the killer’s shoe. Look at the small indent on her chest, right underneath the breasts. This brings me to my next hunch.”
“The killer was wearing heels. I think our killer is a woman.”