This is really a continuation of the recent post ‘The Critique’… I think it is a vast improvement on the original beginning. What do you think?
DI David Snow has a serial killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits.
Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.
The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems. Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job.
It was almost midnight, the cold rushing wind the only sound in the empty, deserted streets. The detective was unaware that someone had been following him ever since he left the public house. This had not been a social visit, he had been looking for information, seeking to loosen a few tongues with the help of the local brew.
It had been another waste of his time, and his mood was as black as the night around him. He heard a sound behind him and stopped walking, waiting for the person to come into view. When no one appeared he knew he was alone and more than a little drunk and frustrated.
As he stood in the middle of the road, something hit the side of his head, something hard and painful. He had been right, after all. Someone had been following him, and they had just thrown something at him. His senses began to fail as the pain intensified, his sight the first to go. As his knees buckled, he reached up, his fingers touching the alien object that was protruding from the side of his head.
The shock of realising what was happening accelerated his system failure, and he collapsed, his head hitting the road hard. As he lay dying, someone walked up to him and knelt down beside him. He couldn’t see who it was, or whether they were friend or foe, but he had the feeling it didn’t matter anymore anyway. The last thing he felt were the icy cold fingers on his face…
Detective Inspector David Snow stared at the black and white photograph, struggling to grasp why the familiar face of Jim Harris was looking back at him from the whiteboard in his office.
Snow’s brain refused to acknowledge that the man he had worked with for years wouldn’t be coming through the door again, grinning, with a Costa coffee in his hand.
Snow had attended the post mortem, feeling it was the least he could do for his friend. Jim would have been impressed, knowing how much Snow hated them. It had to be a mistake. Jim Harris couldn’t be dead. Why had he been out at that time of night? Snow found himself thinking like all the surviving relatives he had ever tried to console over the years, if you didn’t believe, it couldn’t be true, didn’t happen.
His job had been wearing Snow down for a while, and he was bone weary of the constant struggle. The last few years had been difficult, his energy never at full strength when he needed it most. Without Jim Harris, the future not only looked bleak, but it also seemed doomed.
Snow closed his eyes, remembering the optimistic presence, the calm and persuasive way jobs and problems were solved. No one else could diffuse a situation quite like Jim. They would replace Jim with some snotty-nosed Yahoo, intent on playing cops and robbers.
The sheer frustration of the situation threatened to ruin another working day, and the cheap pen he was holding snapped in two in his hands.
One piece of paper caught his eye, and he couldn’t look away. It was the preliminary coroner’s report. Blunt force trauma to the head, although not the cause of death. Skull penetration by a thin, pointed weapon still to be found.
What the report didn’t say, and never did, was why. Snow pushed himself away from the desk, the wheels of his chair squeaking on the vinyl flooring. He stood, unsure and puzzled. What was the time? Or the day? He had no clue. He also needed a coffee.
On his way to the high street, the image of a wild-haired woman with sad eyes flashed through his mind. Kate Devereau had been a victim in one of his cases last year. Her ex-husband had taken it upon himself to slaughter everyone who had ever upset him. Kate was one of the few survivors, rescued by Snow himself. Because of the trauma, she had suffered a complete mental breakdown, unable to communicate or recognise anyone. Once in a while, Snow would see her, hoping for a miracle, but her eyes were as dead as the people she had lost.
Further down the road and out of the corner of his eye, the familiar flash of red hair signaled the imminent arrival of his neighbour and nemesis, Susan Miles. It was too late to take evasive action, so he braced himself for the meeting.
‘How lovely to see you, David… but why didn’t you say if you needed something in town?’
He stared at her, trying to think of something non-committal to say, but the desire to be rude was overpowering. ‘I’m not shopping, Susan. I just needed a coffee … and a few minutes peace and quiet.’
They continued walking, his strides deliberately longer than hers, hoping her impossibly high heels would slow her down or at least trip her up, he didn’t really care which.
‘David, please slow down, I can’t keep up with you. I wanted to invite myself to dinner tonight, as I’m making your favourite…?’
She was really pushing it today, he thought. So many times, he had tried to explain that he neither wanted nor needed a replacement for his wife. Since Anne had died, he didn’t think about women like that. Even if he did, he wouldn’t choose Susan Miles. ‘Sorry Susan, I’m working late again. Too much work on at the moment…’
She frowned, and he could hear the wheels turning in her brain as she tried to think of something that would get her what she wanted. One of these days, he knew he would have to be blunt and put an end to her dreams of romance.
She had always been a problem. The reason Snow worked so late most of the time was to avoid her, and he knew he should have done something about the situation a long time ago. The trouble was, he didn’t know how to do it without hurting her. But if he wanted to retire, it would be time to retire her too, now wouldn’t it?
The whole idea seemed unattainable and impossible to fathom. Why wasn’t Jim still here, he would know how to make her leave.
(Feel free to pull it apart…I would love some constructive criticism!)