The Posture of Innocence continues in the "Bundling" #freewrite, @freewritehouse, @road2horizon, @icedrum, @owasco, @misschance, @fitinfun, @wakeupkitty, @scribblingramma, @mgaft1, @iamsaray, @deemarshall, and @whatisnew -- it is now Captain Lee's turn to interview Mrs. Lilith DeVille, and without giving it away, let's just say he is in in his finest "Angel of Death" form as he asks a little "bundle" of questions to get at the truth ...
Where we are going after this part today ... half the Soames case turns out to be a key to a lot more ... two new characters coming this weekend!
I will be revealing a image for this story tomorrow, @streetstyle!
As calm as Captain Lee had remained, he had assigned the initial interview of Mrs. DeVille to Lieutenant Anderson because he knew Mrs. DeVille's bold-face lying in his face would have pressed buttons that another wicked old woman in his life once had pressed. Lieutenant Anderson was passionate and blew off steam, but he was at heart a gentle giant who went to great lengths to even let flies out of the office. Meanwhile, Captain Lee occasionally terrified his own lieutenants by reflexively snatching flies between finger and thumb right out of the air without breaking the flow of conversation. He could snatch the life out of anyone who angered him, just about as easily. Once he was triggered, anything was possible – so, there were certain things he simply would not do.
Which brought Captain Lee to the second interview – this could be done because it let him do exactly what he wanted to do. It was a snatch. It would not be harmless. It would destroy Mrs. DeVille without harming a silver curl on her head. For at least one family, justice would prevail. It had to be done with the utmost care … but then, the Special Forces commander who had transitioned to a devastating investigator and interrogator in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the Army was on familiar ground for this sort of mission.
Bundling – while other people had spent their lives bundling groceries, books, and packages together, Captain Lee had spent most of his adult life bundling tactics together into a winning strategy. He was undefeated in the field, so he was good at it. After Special Forces, he had made a lateral move to JAG, and had learned to bundle questions like he had bundled tactics in order to reduce his new opponents: lies and liars. He was good at it. How good he had not yet showed in the police force, but, that was about to change.
Six questions, precisely, were in Captain Lee's bundle for Lilith DeVille. That would be enough. He would be much gentler with Mrs. DeVille than she deserved. Then again – and he smiled darkly – that had always been his way. Not for nothing had the short version of his Army nickname been “the Angel,” which covered all his soft-spoken, devoutly Christian, and gentlemanly ways, and yet those who knew his fieldwork knew the rest of it: the Angel of Death.
Lieutenant Anderson, that Tuesday morning, was somewhat surprised to meet his commander and assess his mood. Captain Lee was calm and controlled, always, but it was on another level as he and Lieutenant Anderson drove out to see Mrs. DeVille. It was hard to gauge it, for it was like nothing that Lieutenant Anderson had never encountered … but he was glad, the instant he saw his captain's brief, dark smile, that whatever that special something was in the captain's mood was not directed at him.
Once Captain Lee and Lieutenant Anderson arrived to see Mrs. DeVille, Captain Lee took his time, explaining – his Southern drawl in fine form as if years of New York and the military had not put a noticeable edge on it – that the Soames case had not been closed in 25 years because of the acquittal, but that it was time to do so, and he needed to ask a few questions in addition to hearing Mrs. DeVille's story for himself.
Mrs. DeVille was still eager to push her fiction, and her reasons for it.
“I don't mind telling it again for you, Captain!” Mrs. DeVille said. “These people and their savage ways – never should have been allowed in a proper White neighborhood anyway!”
“I have come to hear you,” the captain purred. “Describe the view from your bedroom window.”
She did, describing the savage attack and killing of John Soames in Roland Park across the river. Lieutenant Anderson held on to the digital recorder and waited. Surely it was just a matter of time, as the captain's drawl lengthened even more as he asked Mrs. DeVille about how long she had lived in the neighborhood, and her connections with different people … including the Daughters of the Confederacy … in essence, he was mesmerizing her, and summoning all her motives out of her before moving in for the kill … .
“This is a gorgeous apartment,” he said as he began to wind down his interview with Mrs. DeVille. “Looks almost new.”
“Oh, they put on the fifth and sixth floors in 2004, and I was the first person they invited to come back and move on up from the old top floor – second – and move up to the sixth,” Mrs. DeVille said happily.
“I see,” Captain Lee said quietly. “We will soon be going to let you enjoy it. Just one more question.”
“Yes, young man?”
“How long after the Joneses moved in did you figure out how to run them out of the neighborhood?”
“Oh, just as soon as that murder happened, I knew just how to do it. I knew everyone would believe the story I put together about that n****r – he never belonged here anyway, and – .”
She froze, realizing what she had just admitted.
“Thank you, Mrs. DeVille,” Captain Lee said, his drawl now ice-cold. “That, indeed, clears up the matter entirely.”
Lieutenant Anderson switched off the digital recorder, just then.