AN: This is a story I'm writing for National Novel Writing Month. It's an entire 50,000 word novel that I'm going to do throughout the month of November. I only have an outline written at the moment, but I have two other active fics, so updates could be few and far between. All I ask is a fair chance and patience, now without further adieu, I present to you...
Part 1: Ballad
Denver, Colorado, November 3rd, 8:42 PM
Bethany McGrady did not have a good day. First, her alarm didn't go off. Then, her coffee maker broke. Then, She had to work three hours overtime. And finally, no one at work would shut up about the Gemini Killer. All day that's all anybody talked about.
"It was just the other day! This is getting scary." Bethany's coworker, Andrea had said as though it had only just started, and it hadn't been happening for months.
"I hope they catch him soon." Bill said, as though somone who had gotten away with six murders would be caught on the seventh.
"You should watch out, Bethany," said almost everyone, as if she was going to be killed just because she had a sister that was only five minutes younger than her. That annoyed her more than any of the other things that were said. There were dozens of other sets of twins in Denver. Besides, there was no way to even be sure that all of the murders were done by one person, it could all be coincidence for all anybody knew, there was no evidence to connect them all.
She was found dead a few hours later, her body was next to her car, and she had been violently strangled and her head was banged against the ground until her skull split open.
Detective Alex Hughes parked his beat up car and got out. It was a chilly day, gray clouds blocked out the entire sky and a light breeze blew leaves across the ground. Hughes stepped under the crime scene tape surrounding the body, pushing his way past several shocked looking spectators. He walked over to the twisted corpse and squatted down next to it.
Hughes examined the woman, her light brown hair and eyes, the bruises and rope burns on her neck, the blood pooled on the ground beneath her head, and the small chunks of bone scattered behind her. Whoever did this was either very strong, or had help.
"He got another one, sir." The Seargant on duty said as he walked up behind Hughes. The man looked down and sighed. "I wish he would slip up, just once. That's all we nee-"
"How do you know it was the Gemini Killer?" Hughes asked as he stood up and turned around. The Seargant was a full head shorter than him, so when they were this close together, he had to crane his neck to look him in the eyes.
"Well, her name is Bethany McGrady and she has a younger twin sister." He replied meekly.
"Then you should have told me that first, Seargant." The Detective said in an annoyed tone. "I'm guessing you were recently promoted. When?"
"Uh, just last month." He looked down and scraped his shoe against the asphalt.
"Then think of this as a lesson. If you want to catch anyone, the first rule is to follow protocol. The second rule is to ignore the first rule only if you're willing to lose your job." Hughes took out a notepad, turned to a page without musical notes on it, and continued to talk. "So, you said she had a sister, where and who is she?"
"Her name is Amber McGrady. She's her only next of kin, so she's the only one we need to notify. Do you want to do it?"
"Yes, give me her address."
"She's in rehab for alcoholism right now, I'll give the address to you." He said it while Hughes jotted it down and put the notepad away. He walked back to his car and got in without another word. When he put his seat belt on, he noticed that he left his glove box open, with a half empty bottle of whiskey inside of it. His hand was reaching for it before he knew what was happening.
He stopped his hand when it was half way there. No, Alex. Not only are you on duty, you're driving. If someone catches you... He didn't even want to think about it. The glove box was slammed closed within half a second. He put the Sudan into gear and pulled out of the parking lot as quickly as legally possible.
Hughes took fifteen minutes to find a parking spot at the rehab clinic, the whiskey in the glove box calling to him all the way. He ran a hand through his midnight black hair, took a few deep breaths, and stepped out of his car.
The gardens surrounding the building were rather nice, if plain. There were no flowers or trees, just well kept grass, tables, and benches. It seemed too sterile, too clean. Hughes walked past several people on his way inside. When he walked through the front doors, he saw that the inside was just as clean and white as he expected it to be.
He walked up to the desk, where a receptionist was sitting and doing her nails. The Detective took out his badge and held it up. "Excuse me, I'm Detective Hughes, I need to speak to Amber McGrady right away." It was short and simple, it wwas always best to leave most of the information out of what his buisness was.
"Sorry, she's in group counseling right now, you'll have to wait another forty minutes or so. There's some chairs over there if you want to wait." Without even looking up, she gestured to the other side of the room with her nail file.
Putting his hands on the desk, Hughes leaned in, all three hundred pounds of him. The receptionist looked up with a bored expression when she noticed his shadow covering her. "Her sister is dead. If you want to keep me back here, that's fine. But I'll be sure to let her know why she didn't receive this news as soon as possible."
The woman sighed, obviously annoyed, and pointed down the hall. "Far end of the hall, last door on the left, 3A." Hughes didn't bother thanking her as he left, his long stride quickly pulling him away.
Orchestra music could be heard from somewhere in the building. Alex thought he heard flutes, piccolos, chellos, and... Violins. He tried not to think about any of that too much.
Here it is, room 3A. Hughes thought as he reached the sterile white door, surrounded by sterile white walls. There was a window which allowed the man to see part of a circle of men and women in folding chairs. Choosing haste over caution, he opened the door.
And nearly got decapitated by a flying coffee mug.
The coffee mug, the sterile white coffee mug, clipped his left ear and shattered against the opposite wall. The woman who threw it still had her arm stretched out in front of her and had a wild look in her light brown eyes, the same shade as her light brown hair. Her hair was shorter than Bethany's, but if this wasn't her sister, than Hughes was a Jewish Nazi.
"Are you Amber?" He asked through clenched teeth.
"Get out of here!" She screeched, nearly coming out of her chair. The lack of a reaction from the others in the room let the newcomer know that this wasn't the first time this had happened. One of the counselors tried to calm her down while another spoke to Hughes.
"I'm sorry, could you come back later?" He saw the badge hanging around his neck and added "Officer" to the end of his sentence.
"Officer" ignored him. "Amber, you're sister is dead. I thought you might like to know that." The whole room went silent. Amber stared ahead with a shocked expression on her face.
"This isn't funny." She whispered.
"No, I know it isn't. Now would you come with me, please?"
Detective Matthew Dickinson ran a hand through his sandy hair and took a deep breath before knocking on Captain Garcia's office door. He knew he was putting his career at stake here, but he couldn't let his thoughts sit in his head and gather dust.
"Come in." A voice said from the other side of the door. Dickinson entered slowly, every possible outcome running through his mind. "Dickinson? Make it quick, I have a lot of work to do."
"I know, Sir, but this is important." He inhaled deeply and put his hands behind his back. "It's about Detective Hughes, Sir."
"Dickinson, I know you don't like him, but I don't want another damn complaint from you." Garcia was one of those men that hardened with age.
"That's not it. As you know, a few hours ago, a murder victim was found. She has a twin sister, which leads me to believe it was the Gemini Killer. The interesting part was that she was killed in a way that would have require massive brute force. Hughes fits that description like few others could and-"
Garcia held up a hand for silence. "If that's all you have to convict another officer of murder, then put your gun and your badge on my desk and leave my office." He pointed to the door to emphasize his point.
"Well we both know he has motive-"
"Get out, if you find more substantial evidence, then I'll listen to you."
Dickinson looked at the floor and walked out. Well, it could have gone much worse. Alex, I've got my eye on you, if you slip up even once, I'll make sure you're hunted like a dog and put on death row so fast your head spins.