Jail is a lonely place. Never in my life had I ever wanted to go home as bad as I did setting on that cold bunk in the city jail. I was surrounded by idiots eager to prove their manhood to each other. It amazes me the barbaric instincts men revert to when stuffed into a cell together. They become animals. As much as I hate to say this, my time in the slammer was cut short. The murderer had struck again. Another police officer was found dead in her apartment with her head bashed in. The murderer had used a rock that officer Mindy Wells had used as a paper weight on her desk. Her son dug up the rock in the front yard and given it his mother as a present. The irony.
That night in my bed I slept deep and undisturbed. The next morning Doyle had had brought over donuts and joined me at the table.
"When are going back to work?" Doyle asked.
"I don't know."
"I'm sorry you were hauled away to jail," she said, looking down at her hands wrapped around the coffee cup. "If you don't mind me asking why did the police suspect you?"
Dr. Smith, I thought, but kept my suspicion to myself. "I don't know."
She nodded. She knew I was lying. "So what are you going to do now?"
God I wanted to kiss her and have her tell me everything was going to be alright. Each day I can feel our attraction growing, but I would never tell her my feelings. Doyle was sweet woman and her friendship meant to much to me to ruin with failed love. "I'm going to find who murdered Maria Lakes."
She eyed me. Her soft brown eyes sparked under the kitchen light, and on the left eye I noticed a small spec of yellow-ochre embedded on the edge of the iris. I wondered if anyone else had ever noticed it. Doyle glanced away, her cheeks blushing. "I'll help you," she said. "But we'll need to make plan.
"A plan," I mouthed.
"Yes. We need think like a detective, and find out who she knows. Her habits. You said she had been acting nervous a month before her murder. The question is why?"
I nodded. Doyle was right. We needed a plan. Then I shot Doyle a glance. I didn't remember telling Doyle Maria had acted nervous prior to her murder, but then again there were a lot of things I didn't remember. Is Doyle the.... stop Jonathan. It's Doyle we're talking about. I never fail to disgust myself.
"So, what do you think," she asked.
"I don't want to drag you into trouble Doyle. We could get arrested for tampering with a police investigation or something."
"Well then we better not get caught, huh?"
"Um..." I bit my bottom lip. "Alright, but where do we begin."
She pointed at the window.
I turned and looked out the window. "What?"
"First part of the plan is we need to see if the police had missed anything in her house."
I spun around wide eyed and gulped. "Are you serious?"
She nodded."Only if you're serious about finding her murderer."
I laughed, and I don't even know why. I was scared out of my mind, scared what I might uncover. But I had to make a choice. Was I game or not?
"Well," Doyle said.
I nodded. "I'm game."
To my surprise Doyle had a key to Maria Lakes back door. "We're lucky, I just so happen to have a key to the back door."
Why does she have a key? I thought. I eyed Doyle, and found it odd that her hand never quivered as she slid the key into the lock and twisted. It was if she had done this a hundred times, perfectly comfortable with the situation.
Doyle noticed my uneasiness and glanced at me and then to her feet and blushed. "Maria gave me a key to watch the house when she was gone and feed her cat."
"Have you been over hear since she had... um... you know."
"Only once," but she didn't give any explanation.
Telling myself this was Doyle, she wouldn't hurt a flea, I let it drop. Whatever it was Doyle must consider it to be personal. I followed Doyle inside, and found we were in the laundry room. Stacks of neatly folded cloths lay on the dryer, left in place, as if Maria would return and put them away. I followed Doyle from the laundry room into the kitchen. Even though no one had lived here for two years stacks of dirty dishes litter the sinks, an forgotten cat bowl lay next to the refrigerator still humming with life. And in the next room I could hear the TV playing.
"Who pays to keep the electric on?"
Doyle shrugged. "I don't know. The last time I was here the electric had been off." and Doyle face paled as she swallowed a lump.
I wanted to leave this place. Something lay thick in the atmosphere. I wasn't sure what it was. Dread maybe, fear most definitely, but there was something else I couldn't put my finger on, and Doyle felt it as well. I could see the fear in her eyes, but curiosity pushed us forward, and followed her. She knew the house like the back of her hand. Almost to well. I wanted to say as much, but I kept my opinion to myself. Me and Doyle were friends, because I had been acting crazy over the last year gave me no right to suspect her. Besides this was Doyle, the most kindest person in the world. I followed her through the living room and up the stairs. The stairs led to a small room, Maria lakes bedroom. The bed looked as if it had just been made.
"This is strange," I whispered. "Look how clean it is. You think after two years dust would have settled on everything. I can't go two weeks without dusting."
Doyle swallowed. "I know. I clean your house."
I followed Doyle's gaze to the window and noticed it had been spray painted black. I knew right then someone was staying here. I gulped, realizing the feeling I felt in the kitchen. We were being watched. I wanted to vomited. Chills spread over my chest and ran down my arms and tingled my fingertips.
"Doyle, I think we better get out of here."
"Yeah," she said, as she stood above the night stand beside the bed.
"Come one." I looked down the steps afraid someone would be standing there holding a machete or something. "Let's go." I looked at Doyle and saw her grab a small black book and shove it in her coat pocket. And spun around and hurried past me down the stairs and ran out of the house, across the back yard, jumped the small chain link fence, and ran through the back door to her house, emerging in the kitchen.
"That was strange," Doyle said, pacing back and forth, chewing her thumb nail.
I stuck my hands out and leaned against the counter, trying to catch my breath. My heart beat to the chaos in my head. This was deeper than I had imagined. I wiped sweat from my brow and squeezed my eyes shut, trying to figure out what I had just saw. Maria Lakes has been dead for two years, but the bed had been made this morning. Gather yourself, Jonathan. Don't let Doyle see the weak side of you, I thought.
"I don't get it," Doyle said. The look in her eyes made me want to comfort her and take her in my arms and kiss her and whisper in her ear that everything was alright. Doyle rushed to the sink and splashed water over her face. "I was there less than three months ago and the house had been the same how Maria left it."
I eyed Doyle. She's hiding something. "What about the book you put in your pocket."
Panic passed through her eyes, and the corner of her lip jerked. As fast as it came the panic was replaced with curiosity. "I think it is an address book." Doyle dug the book from her pocket and yanked out a chair and sat at the table.
I pulled a chair beside hers. "Lets check it out."
She glanced at me. Our eyes made contract. A strange electricity sparked the air, then she looked away and blushed. She cleared her throat and opened the little black book. On the first page the word cyberspace had been written big bold letters. We shot each other a glance and shrugged. She flipped to the next page and written in neat hand style was a list of ten websites.
"You know what any of this means?" I asked, catching her swallowing from the corner of her eye.
"No." she flipped to the next page. "Blank." and used her thumb to leaf through the pages. "Rest of it is blank." she creased her eyebrows, resting her chin on her hand.
"Well?" I asked. "What do you think?"
She closed the book. "Only one way to find out." and walked into the living room and sat at her desk and opened her laptop. She pressed a button and the Google Chrome search engine popped up.
I watched as she typed in the address. "What's dot onion?"
Doyle shrugged. "I don't know."
"Me either." I watched as she pressed enter and the results page popped up: No results containing all your search terms were found. I looked at her and titled my head. "What does that mean?"
"I don't know." she said, and typed into the search bar - what is a dot onion site? the page loaded and the first results explained the Tor network hosts onion sites. That Tor stands The Onion Router.
"Tor?" I mouthed. "I've never heard of it."
"I've read about people surfing the deep web," Doyle said, typing on the keyboard.
"Yes." she pressed enter. "Some people call it the dark web. I don't know much about it."
"What are you doing?"
"Downloading the Tor browser."
"Oh." I watched as she downloaded Tor and installed the browser on her laptop. "Here we go." and doubled clicked her mouse button. Tor opened up and she typed the website into the address bar, and pressed enter.
I watched as the screen as the page popped up. "What is that?" I asked pointing at the picture that filled the screen. It looked like a oblong inflatable balloon of some sort. I read the words underneath the picture. "Inflatable space habitat." I furrowed my eyebrows and looked at Doyle.
She had the same confused look and scratched her head as she flicked the mouse wheel and scrolled down. "It's an article about space habitats."
"Type in the other websites," I said.
Doyle type and another article about inflatable space habitats popped on screen, again we gave each other a confused look. One by one she typed in the websites and they all were about space habitats, until she got to the last website. She typed in and a black screen appear. We looked at each other, and shrugged our shoulders.
"Odd," I said. "Scroll down."
Doyle scrolled down. At very bottom of the page in small print was a quote. Doyle leaned forward and squinted. “Everything you can imagine is real. ― Pablo Picasso."
A shiver ran through my spine. Is the killer real because I could imagine? Is this a message to us? Is this a clue? or is just some random quote that whoever made website liked? I didn't know. It had been a strange day. It boggled my mind what space habitats and Pablo Picasso had to do with solving Maria's murder.
"What do you think?" I said, pacing her living room floor.
"I'll go through and read the articles and see if anything pops out to me. Then I say we find were the company is located and check them out.
The next morning I was woken by the a knocking at the front door. I rolled out of bed and slung on my robe. The knocking continued. I wanted to scream. I could feel the temper in my palms temples rising. Calm down Jonathan. I squeezed my eyes shut and counted to to ten. Stay cool, calm, and collected. I didn't get to bed until after three am and all I wanted to do was sleep. I'm an astronomer and study stars for a living. I have a special bond with the night.
I slung open the front door. "Doyle?" I was surprised to see her at my door so early in the morning, looking fresh and fragile, her hair swooping out from underneath her beret coming to a rest on her shoulders.
"I've located the company," she said, bouncing on the balls of her feet, clutching a piece notebook paper hand. "It's located right her in the city." and handed me the paper.
I looked at the notes she had scribble down. It was information on the privately owned company called Roadblocks. "That's an odd name."
"I thought so to," she said. "Can I come in. I'll make the coffee."
"Sure." and stepped aside.
"I thought is was strange as well, until I dug deeper and found out the company originally made concrete barriers for road construction. The company came across financial issues and was bought out by a space company called Spacecore Industries. They bought the company two years ago."
"What would that have to do with Maria Lakes death or any of the deaths?"
"Think about Jonathan. Spacecore bought out the company two years and transferred some of their staff from another factories to run the new factory." she pointed at the paper in my hand. "Read the date."
I held the paper up. "Company bought out Roadblocks on January 20th." I looked at Doyle. "So. I don't get what this has to do with anything."
"Keep reading," she suggested.
"The new factory operations began on March first." I lowered the paper. "What are you trying to tell me Doyle?"
"Think about it Jonathan, Spacecore brought in employees from other factories and the factory began operations on march first. Fifteen days before Maria was killed on the eyes of March."
I opened my mouth to protest and stopped. Clamped my mouth and leaned against the counter. Doyle could be on to something.
She handed me a cup of coffee. "What do you think?"
"I think you could be on to something."
"So are you ready to leave?"
I raised an eyebrow. "Now?"
"Of course," she said and blushed. "Unless you don't want to."
"No, I do, just give me a few minutes to take a shower and get dressed." I took my coffee with me and hurried upstairs and jumped in the shower.
This is the third chapter of a story I am writing using @mariannewest 5 minute freewrite challenge. I'm using the prompts she supplies each day to continue the story. I'm not sure where the story is going. This is a challenge. Trying to write a coherent story, using prompts. So far I have managed to keep in line. I just hope I can continue to do so. Everything here has been published before on earlier post. I combined the earlier post together to make chapter 1 for easier reading experience for those interested.
If you read it, wow! Thank You.
I made no corrections to errors. Only corrected misspelled words and markdown tags. Sometime in the future I plan to come back and giver it a proper edit and fix errors. Thank You.
I want to give Thanks to the @freewritehouse
I want to give Thanks to @mariannewest for the freewrite challenge. Follow. Upvote. Resteem.