Chapter 1

Trapped in a Box

Captains office 1994

I felt like being a kid back in high school again: being told off, being judged, feeling ostracised. I sat there in the cold hard wooden chair with a face that can only be described as teenage angst, staring at the Captains fat nose as he was giving me a lector about why I am back and that this is my last chance. I've heard it all before. He got up and punched his desk, "you hear me Rin, this is it, no more favors this is your last chance." His bark is always worse than his bite, but this time I knew that he meant it. Okay so my record was never that clean, and I do have a tendency to play by my own rules, but I always get results and the Captain knows that the DPD would be lost without me. I hear a knock on the door, I know that from anywhere. Ed walks in, wearing his suit and his black hair slicked back. Me and Ed haven't spoke since the incident. He takes the seat next to me, I can smell his old spice aftershave and chewing gum that he has probably been chewing on all morning. I kept my direction forward and didn't look at him, I knew that he was the one that grassed me up about my bender the night before it happened. I ran my hand through my blonde hair and sighed, I wanted Ed to know that I was still pissed at Captain looked at us both, "everything going to be okay with you two?" Ed looked at me, "look, Rin, I know you think it was me but I am telling you it was not." The captain turned his head towards me as if I should say something, I nodded my head, I made a long sigh before I made my big speech. "Look I know I fucked up," I raised my eyes to the Captain, "I fucked up real bad, but I don't don't understand why the animosity." Ed and the Captain looked at each other as if to say, 'is she for real.' I've been off for 3 months now, not doing anything just drinking and smoking, thinking and thinking about what I could've done different. If only that asshole stayed still and didn't put his hand in his pocket. The captain leaned in over his desk so we were practically nose to nose, I could smell his coffee breath, I looked into his eyes, those blue eyes that have seen about 40 years of murder, rape and god knows what else. "This isn't a joke Rin." I got up so I could meet his gaze.

"I wasn't joking sir, I felt threatened and I did what I felt was right. Why can't people see that."

"You shot an unarmed man. And it's not just that, it's the drinking, the hookers, the bribing. The main man is looking at this department with a fine tooth comb because of what you did."

"That unarmed man was a fucking kiddie fiddler and a killer, if anything I deserve a medal, and the hookers are networking"

"For god sake Rin, your head is so fucking big sometimes I'm surprised you get through the door!" Ed got up and got between us, "look, guys, this isn't helping." He always is the peacemaker, totally the opposite of me, the Captain sat down, I sat down at the same time. "Look, Captain, me and Rin will be fine. We both know that we have a job to do." I rolled my eyes, I hated Eds little speeches. I don't dislike Ed, we've been together for two years now and he's like a big brother to me. But like siblings we tend to disagree on things. I looked at him and think that he has everything that I kind of want: a nice house, good car, a good head on his shoulder and a hot wife to boot. I was the black sheep of this family, I was never going to be accepted because of what I had done. Being sat in this room right now feels like the Captain is the angry dad yelling at me and the prodigal son is looking down on me. I just wanted to go back to work and everything will be normal again. "How long you been sober Rin?" My stomach got butterflies, "2 months now sir."

"The counseling and AA helping?"

No they weren't, "yes sir."

"At least you've done something productive with your time off."

"We done?" I said with a low tone. I had enough at being looked at under a fine tooth comb. The Captain tossed a piece of paper at me, "I'll start the pair of you off easy, body has been discovered in Palmer Park. it seems like a simple mugging gone wrong." I take the piece of paper with the address on it, and put it in my pocket. I know where fucking Palmers Park is. I nodded at Ed and we leave the office,

I was walking down the corridor faster than Ed and he was practically jogging to keep up with me. I still haven't looked at Ed, I feel a hand touch my shoulder, "Rin, you've got to stop this." I spun around, "stop what?" I could see his face, he didn't look well. "This is killing me, please, you have to believe me." I could see it in his eyes he's hurting, but I don't know if it was a guilty conscience, or if he is telling the truth. I just know that we have to work together, "Ed, I know this is hurting but maybe we could just move it aside in the meantime and try to do this case together." Ed chuckled, "that's going to work out isn't it? Burying it under the carpet." Ed's Queens accent came out then, I know that he hates it when that happens. "I'm not ready yet Ed, okay. What you did," Ed raised his thin eyebrow when I said that, "what you did, hurt me" I felt disgusted in myself for saying that 'hurt me' god I'm such a wimp sometimes. When I joined the force my father always told me that being a woman it'll be extra tough, I'll always have to prove something, but being gay it'll be tougher, better wrap some extra blankets around that problem. I'm not open about my sexuality in the force, the only ones that know are Ed and the Captain and I don't even trust Ed with that now. "Rin, I never did anything to hurt you." I felt like I was being backed into a wall, which I hated and I felt a rush of anxiety come, "just get to the fucking car Ed." I snapped at him and I know he hates it when I do that. Ed raised his hands, turned around and walked off in the direction of the garage where our car was parked.

The ride in the car was a quiet one, maybe I came back too early? I looked out the window. Nothing exciting, looking at the declining city that was once Detroit the old motor city, a distant memory of what it once was. Most of the factories are closed down and pawn shops are the new thing now. Ed is playing some stupid music in the car, I turned and looked him with my evil look and he understood why I was giving it and he turned it off. The precinct wasn't far from the crime scene, not far for the body, this one should be wrapped up by noon. Hopefully I can go home early if we do wrap it up. I needed a drink already and it's only 10am. The shakes haven't started yet, but I'm giving it time. I looked at my handbag and I remembered that I had some whisky in my coffee flask. Ed, Captain and my counselor think that I have been sober for 2 months and that I have been going to AA meetings, little did they know that it was a big fat lie. I like to think that I am good at concealing it because if I wasn't the Captain would've touched on it.

Palmers Park 1994

Me and Ed didn't talk at all in the car, when we arrived at the scene he parked up and turned the engine off and for some reason we both sat there. Ed turned to look at me, "you nervous?" What kind of a stupid question was that my tummy was like a washing machine, what if I fuck up? "No, it's a simple open and close case for me." Ed leaned back in his seat and put his hand over his face, "fuck sake Rin, we have to work together, how far is this going to go? It's like working with a child sometimes." A child? That was a new one to me. I opened the car door and walked to the scene, as always I inspect the ground as I'm walking there, just in case there is something that might have been missed. It hasn't been raining which is good as it means that my evidence is in tact. I walked through the crowd to get to the body. Crowds pissed me off, haven't they got nothing better to do then stand there and gawp at a dead body. I looked at Ed and nodded at him and he nodded, at lest we agree on something. I knelt down and looked at the body. I was in full flow, this is what I loved about my job. It's like a jigsaw puzzle to piece together, who was this person? What were they like? What was their life like? I was like a nosy neighbour that wanted to know everything. Ed is the same and this is why we work so well together. We are both stubborn and we love the chase.

I clocked straight away that this is not a normal mugging gone wrong, the body was clearly a lady and she was on her side. The most annoying thing is I can not touch her till the coroner arrives. Judging by her back she wasn't stabbed there so I am guessing the throat or chest. I walked around the body to get a proper look at her. As I was doing this I could tell that she was a pretty young thing, nice legs, curve hips and a nice frame on her. When I got to the face side I couldn't see it clearly as it was towards the ground too much. I looked at Ed and he was in the zone. The glint had come back in his eyes and for some reason this made me smile, as much as I am pissed off with him I don't like to see him hurt. I looked around the body to see if she hadn't dropped anything, I couldn't see anything which could either mean the perp took her stuff or some stupid officer picked it up. Just as I was thinking it an officer gave Ed her purse, Ed opened it and his eyebrows narrowed. He looked at me and showed me the purse with money inside it. I walked up to Ed and put my gloves on, I hope the officer did the same before he touched my evidence. There must've been 10 crumpled up dollars in there, nothing to ID her, no receipts, nothing. Ed walked to the officer and started asking about how far they're searching for clues, but something tells me they ain't going to find anything. Ed walked back up to me, "what you think Rin? Robbery gone wrong?"

"Why is her money still there?"

"Well 10 dollars ain't going to get you far."

"I know, but why go to all that effort and not have anything to show for it."

Ed shook his head, "I don't know Rin."

An officer came over with a man who looked like the park warden, must be the guy that discovered her. "Mam, this is the man that discovered the body." Before me was this tall man that looked like he needed a good wash, in fact he looked like some of the people that slept here. He wiped his nose with his hand and handed it out to shake mine and Eds hand. There was a long pause and he pulled his hand back, me and Ed took out our notebooks to start the questioning. I always started, Ed knows that, "so what time did you find the body." He wiped his nose with his hand and then looked at his watch, "well I started at 7am so I'd say roughly round 7.30AM." That's early start to sweep leafs?

"And you didn't see anything? Hear anything?" The warden nodded his head, "no sir." Reliable witness there. "Have you seen this woman before?" The warden nodded his head again, "nope." I was reaching the end of my rope here, "you know anything that might help us?"

"Nope" I rolled my eyes, looked at the officer and gave him the sign to get this man out of my sight.

Well this wasn't going to be as easy as the Captain said. In the corner of my eye I could see a van pull up, the coroner was finally here with the stretcher. "What do we have here then?" he said I have never met this one before, must be new. "O, sorry, Roy is the name." He held out his hand as a way to say to say that he wants a handshake. I smiled at him and I knelt down to the victim again, "well Roy your guess is as good as mine." Roy put his gloves on and Ed put on a fresh pair over his old ones. Roy and his assistant then carefully rolled her over.

I gasped and got up straight away, my knees joints clicking. Maybe I had too much to drink already this morning and I'm seeing shit, Ed looked like he has seen something out of a horror scene, that's going to give him nightmares. I looked down and my eyes aren't deceiving me the girl eye has been removed. Looking closer she looked young too. Whoever did this knows what their doing, not too much mess, this was a clean removal. There was still fresh blood around her socket, and also some on her nose going down to her cheek. Ed got up and walked up to a tree and vomited against it. I would've been joining him, but I skipped breakfast this morning. I always thought that he has seen the worst coming from the NYPD. I smiled at Roy as if to say don't mind him. The best thing to do in these situations is to let him have his moment and I'm also really crap in these situations, I'm probably the most unsympathetic person to comfort people too. Ed straighten himself out, "sorry about that," he said in a low voice. "It's an horrific thing to see," Roy said. On her throat there is a clean incision, at least we know what killed her. I looked at Ed, he was looking pale still, he looked at me as if to say that this was not going to be simple. Roy and his assistant begin getting her ready to be carted away, I took a picture of her face with my polaroid camera. "I trust we'll get the fingerprints asap Roy," I said, Roy nodded in agreement. Roy then left me and Ed to search the area where her body lied. There was no shoe prints apart from the victims, single holes that matched her heels. I get Eds attention, "got a trail, looks like the victims though."

"That's good Rin at least we'll know what direction she came from, there's got to be cameras set up here in the park as well."

"Yeah, and it shouldn't be hard to get hold of, you know it being government property and all."

I looked in the dirt where she found. No maggots, so must've been recent. No drag line, must've been jumped at this spot. I'm writing all this down without even looking at my notebook, that shorthand course was a big pay off. "Shall we go on a tour and see where these tracks lead," Ed said. I gave him one of my half smiles, "I thought that you would never ask."

I started to follow the trail with Ed I noticed that he had his hand on the upper bit of his trousers where his gun was. This park is well known for hobos but they are harmless junkies, nothing to worry about. I only got my badge and gun back by the skin of my teeth, I'm not going to blow it over some dumb ass shit. As we followed the trail it lead to the opening of the park on the corner facing the street. Then a smell hit me, I breathed in: stale piss, stale beer, stale body odor, I turned my head and saw a bench there with a sleeping bag on it. I tapped Ed's shoulder and nodded towards the bench, I'm just hoping that Ed doesn't shoot him. I grab the end of the sleeping bag, hoping that what I find is someone that's decent and I yanked the sleeping bag off. Underneath was what I expected, junkie asleep, he woke up suddenly and bolted upright. I grabbed his shoulder and shoved him back down again, in case he did a runner, they normally do. I could tell that he was trying to get back up again, I put more pressure on his shoulder, squeezing down as hard as I could. He started to sag, "we going to play nice?," I flipped my badge out, the first time I have done it since I got it back, I felt like a child practising in the mirror with a toy one. The junkie sat down on the bench nicely. I could get a good look at him. He had on a coat that looked like it hadn't been washed for years, he smelled like a landfill site and I'm pretty sure that there was drool stains on his shirt. He looked no older than 50 but cause the hard times and drugs I'd go for 40. His sandy blonde shoulder length hair looked like it had grown as far as it could grow, and so did his beard. Looking in his blue eyes I could tell that this junkie has been through the rigger, his face looked drawn out and thin, I wonder what made him this way abused childhood? Army vet? Or even an ex rich guy that blew his money away? I don't care either way, he was my witness and I had a job to do. I sat down next to him not knowing what the hell I've just sat in. I thought I'd try my 'good cop, bad cop' routine. Ed stood over him just in case he did another runner. Ed didn't like my tactics in getting info from people, but I always got results, plus I don't want to get in trouble for bribing again and a junkie never gives up anything without a price. I put my right leg over my left leg and leaned back in to bench. I clearly got him whilst he slept, he looked so out of it.

"What's your name?" I asked calmly

"Seth." He sounded groggy. Then Ed perked up, "got anything to back that up?" Seth looked up as if what Ed said was an insult, "do I look like I own a wallet?" I slap Seth shoulder playfully with the back of my hand. He flinched when I did it, "don't be silly Ed of course he doesn't, don't worry about him." Ed looked at me as he knows that I contradicted him.

"So, Seth, I have a problem, and I think that you can help me."

"I ain't no snitch." I sarcastically put my hand on my heart.

"Seth, I am hurt. Did I ask you to snitch on anyone? Tell you what I'll break it down for you. Basically there was a murder 5 minutes from here and the victim walked past here. If you don't help us with some info, I'm going to pin it on you." I know I'm a asshole right? Ed flipped his notebook open, "I take it you were here all night and morning?" Seth nodded yes.

"Did you see anything."

"No sir, I took my hit about midnight." Ed wrote it down.

"Nothing strange during the day, no pervs? Lingerers? Other junkies on your turf?"

"No, nothing sir." Either this guy was totally out of it or he's frightened of something. If Ed isn't rusty he can cotton on to that. "That's a bit hard to believe Seth." And he did cotton on, "you see Seth you must've seen something, any attractive women walk past late at night?"

"There's lots of those sir, there's a brothel down the road." Seth pointed to a building down the road, "they use this park to meet the Johns." I took the polaroid out of my pocket and covered the missing eye with my thumb, I don't want to screw this guy up any more than he probably already is. "You know this one?" Seth dimmed his eyes to get a harder look, "I think so, maybe, I'm not too sure. There is so many of them that come through." I got up I know that he didn't do it, one money wasn't missing, junkies will take every last cent and any jewelry on her, even the shoes and coat sometimes. I wiped my bum off as I got up, I'm going to have to throw these trousers away now. Maybe I shouldn't have worn my long black coat either cause they're a bitch to wash.

"Is this your normal spot?" I asked him.

"Yes mam." I dive into my pocket past my mints and give him my police card. "Anything comes to mind give me a call. It's a free phone, or you could pop in and see us."

Me and Ed started to walk back the scene, "what you thinking Rin." As we both stare down to the ground where she was found. I blew out some air, I don't think that I wanted to say what I was going to say. It had been on my mind since I laid eyes on her face. I took out the photo I took of her, this could've been someone mum, daughter, good friend, aunt. I looked at her other eye, it was blue, she looked like a pretty thing, I'd give her a second glance. I stare at that photo for what seemed like hours. Thinking. Staring at that face. Wondering what she was like. "Rin?" I snapped of it. "My opinion? I don't think that this was a kill and grab. Seth definitely had nothing to do with it." Ed nodded in agreement. "I agree Rin, this is something very different to what I have seen and I'm from New York." I turned around to walk back to the car I needed a drink I was getting the shakes and I was feeling emotional, I didn't want to tell Ed that I thought that this was something way beyond personal, it had all the makings of a serial killer.

7