I was running. My lungs were on fire. My feet barley touched the ground. The trees past in a blur of green and brown. A shot rang out. The birds flew from the trees above and quickly flapped their wings to try and find safety. The birds were safe.
I was the one getting shot at.
"Every time. Every single time we do a stake out, I get shot at!" My companion - Matt - complained. Again.
I laughed. It was true but I knew he loved the thrill of it. Usually the day after.
The black truck came into view. Matt lunged into the driver seat and gunned the engine as I flew into the back seat. Matt pulled onto the motorway as cars honked at us.
"You need to stop with the cheating spouses jobs, Rose." Matt panted. He was right. This was my third cheating spouses case this year and all three times we have been shot at. It was a miracle that we have never been hit.
This is also the third time I have caught the cheater with someone else in the bedroom.
"No more. I promise." My voice was ragged. It seemed like a good idea at the time to park a mile and a half away.
We arrived at our house. In truth it was two houses - one above the other like a duplex. That was how we met.
Matt had lost his job and was about to lose the house and so he came to me hoping for a job around the house. I told him that I was a detective and needed another set of eyes. It was only meant to be one job. Or two. Or a partner for the next two years.
My house was on the bottom and since neither of us could manage stairs we collapsed onto the couch and fell asleep instantly.
I awoke to whistling. Matt was always cheerful in the mornings. I hated mornings. I smelled eggs and bacon. Correction - I only loved mornings when Matt cooked.
"Morning." Matt smiled. His hair was dishevelled but it was cute. His red hair and green eyes made all the girls fall for him. All but me. He hated it when I ignored his good looks.
"Morning." I croaked back.
"Was that 'Morning' or a frog dying?" Matt laughed. He knew that first thing in the morning you were lucky if I knew my own name.
We ate in silence. I pulled my laptop over and sent an e-mail to the cheater's wife. A few minutes later she informed me that I should go and get my check between five and six. The check would be $300. I had already been paid a down payment of $100.
I learned my lesson after a woman refused to pay me because I gave her grief. I had only done what I was told to do.
An hour afterwards I was showered and feeling alive again. Matt was trying to get an online degree. He was studying to become a lawyer. Why? Because if something went wrong he wanted to be able to get us out of it. He was always careful that way. I was just reckless and trusted my instincts a little too much.
The phone rang.
"Hello?" I put on my polite voice.
"Detective Blossom?" A male voice asked.
"Hello, this is the Chief of Police. I would like for you to do a case for me."
"What kind of case?"
"A murder case."
"We are doing a real murder case!" Matt was ecstatic. Last year would have been our first murder case but I wouldn't let him come. He was scared of murders in films never mind the news reports. After that he started watching a lot of horrors.
"Yes but if you say that I am your mother then you can forget it." I threatened. Matt was 21 and I was 34. A 13 year age difference. He was a good friend but the age difference was annoying at times. Like music choices on stakeouts.
"Yes mother." I hit him. I didn't look 34. Most people thought that I was 26. Matt thought that I was joking when I told him my age. It took my birth certificate and a look at my file in a police station to convince him.
My hair was raven black and my eyes were a darkish grey. My skin was a fair tan that my sister bullied me for as she could not tan.
"In all fairness I still find it weird. I only found out last month." Matt tried to defend himself.
"By the way, could you tell me about your fiancé?" He asked.
"Later." I said getting out of the car. A lot later.
We were alone with the crime scene. It was a closed off alleyway. Most people didn't know that it was here. I did but only because I was brought up here. My friends and I used to meet up when we were going to a party.
The body was a young girl, no one knew her name yet. She was found in the skip, poor girl.
Matt tried to look fine but he was a bit on the pale side. He stuck close to my side and I considered making him go to the car when I spotted something.
I walked over and carefully picked up the blood soaked cloth. It looked familiar. Where have I seen this?
"Now what?" Matt asked as I put the cloth in a plastic bag.
"See anything else?" I asked.
"No." He didn't even look around. Safe to say that the blood was getting to him.
The cloth was useless. Only the girls' – Rebecca – blood was on it. I looked at the cloth and nearly fainted. The cloth was now red but it used to be white and the same material and design as my prom dress.
I shook my head. I was being silly. It was probably part of Rebecca's clothes.
As Matt and I walked down a corridor he took my hand. Now he was really pale.
"Do you want to wait outside?" I was getting a little worried now.
"No, no." He shook his head but he didn't sound very sure of himself. I opened the white doors and walked over to the table. My hand was about to pull back the sheet when I paused.
"No." I gave him a small smile.
Rebecca was pretty but she now had multiply knife wounds.
"Take notes?" I was hesitant. Matt was about to hit the floor. Yet he nodded.
"Butcher's knife. One commonly found in a kitchen. The bruises on her arms mean that she was attacked from behind as they are closer to the front. Her cheeks are slightly swollen as her mouth was probably covered and her bloodshot eyes and the bruises on her neck mean that she was strangled."
I looked closer at the wounds.
"She was strangled after she was stabbed." Now Matt hit the floor.