To a mind adept at pattern recognition, a dream did not necessarily constitute the seeing of the future as much as it did in unconsciously organizing known information the conscious mind, for whatever reason, could not. To those given the facility to remember what they dreamed, they could work on those issues that were troubling them 24 hours a day, although they might not have meant to do that …
Captain H.F. Lee of the Big Loft police department was increasingly frustrated, the week he interviewed Mrs. Tallie Mae Jones (see the “Visit” freewrite) and looked again at the Soames case. There was a lot of data missing because of the way the case had come out in court – an acquittal, clear removal of information about another suspect, the acquitted young Black man, Mr. Tom Jones, being run out of the state, etc.
Yet, more and more, the captain looked at what was present and realized the chief witness had lied. Even if there was not sufficient evidence present to solve the case directly, Tom Jones might be exonerated beyond a shadow of a doubt – and if that were done, the missing evidence might come to light. Someone knew. Someone just might need to know they could trust Captain Lee and bring it forward.
The problem was proving that chief witness had lied.
Knowing that his own department had fudged that case as they had others, Captain Lee took his interview with Tom Jones' grandmother as a new starting point and went from there. In 1994, young Mr. Jones was just married and had bought a house in the neighborhood the murder of John Soames had taken place in. So, Captain Lee pulled all available data on what that neighborhood had been like in Big Loft since the city was founded, and just started crunching it.
It was not long before he found a motive for someone wanting the Jones family out of the neighborhood: the neighborhood in question was among the very last to racially integrate, and Tom Jones had been the integrator. He had gotten around mortgage contract clauses that still prevented sales to Black people by having a White friend pose as the buyer! The neighborhood newspaper had a sly little note about it … a modern but thinly veiled call for somebody to do something about it … .
So: motive to do in Tom Jones was present. Time-dishonored but usually effective method: false murder charge by a White woman. But how, exactly, could she be proven a liar?
Captain Lee went through 14 whole reams of neighborhood data in getting that far. He was exhausted between that and his other duties as cold case division commander by Friday, and went home knowing he was close, but not close enough.
Still, Captain Lee was as stubborn as they come – came with being a Lee of that famous line in American history, doubled up by living a whole denial of the Confederate legacy. He went to sleep still reviewing neighborhood data … and ended up going in dreamland back to his own young love story, to that harbor cruise in New York that was one of the happiest days of his life, in 1992 … cruising New York Harbor on a gorgeous day with his late wife, Vanessa Morton Lee, their son kicking in her belly between them as her dark fingers intertwined with his marble ones (see the “Ferry” freewrite for the first iteration of this tale).
“How far do you think we could see from there, Harry?” Vanessa was saying as she pointed to the Statue of Liberty.
“Let's find out – it's in the guide book,” then-Cadet Lee had responded.
They had looked.
“Wow. 22 stories – 305 feet!” Vanessa had said. “That's a lot of stairs!”
Their son had kicked, and kicked, and kicked.
“Calm down, Henry Victor, trying to get up all those stairs,” Vanessa had said. “Not even here yet, and you are just like your father!”
“Well, let's go see anyway,” Cadet Lee said. “Some things, you just have to go see for yourself. If you don't want to go up, we won't. If you do but you worry about you and Henry Victor being safe doing it, I'll carry you up all 377 stairs. But let's go see.”
“I told you he's just like you,” Vanessa said as her son kept on kicking. “I'm carrying him while he climbs and you plan on carrying us both as we climb … you Lees are tough when you want something, I tell you.”
“You bet,” Cadet Lee had said. “That's how I got you, Mrs. Lee.”
“Good point,” she had answered, and their son had done somersaults of joy as their parents kissed and shared a moment of the passion that had produced him. “All right, all right! Henry F. and Henry V.: we Lees will have to go and see … .”
And Captain Lee, 27 years later, woke up with a start … he and his Black wife and son had found the answer, two years before Tom Jones had been falsely accused. Captain Lee did not know how it was the answer, but he would search it out.
“Lord,” he prayed as he sat up from where his head had rested on the table, “I understand what it is to lose a Black son. Henry Victor's life of just a few hours mattered, for it was long enough to teach his White father love for Black sons everywhere. Lord, give me clarity as You gave me Vanessa and Henry Victor, and I promise you – to the death, as I did with my family, I will follow through for this justice for another family missing a Black son!”
(This was the prologue -- day 1 is up!)