She sat on the cold cement shuddering. The things she had seen couldn’t be erased from her memory ever. She clapped her hands to her ears and began wailing. When the police arrived they called EMS to come look over the keening woman. They discovered the blood that covered her like a second skin was not from any wounds she had sustained. The police were puzzled; they had no clue where the blood had come from, or where the woman had been. She wasn’t about to tell them either. All she was able to do was rock back and forth and whimper. Artie Calumet tried his best to break through to her to no avail. All of the sudden she looked up at him and shrieked “ALAN! NO!!!!!”
“Vic’s name is Sarah Grier sir, Alan is her husband. No sir, we don’t know where he is. No sir, we haven’t found the source of the blood. Yes sir, she was taken to the hospital just a few minutes ago. Yes sir. Absolutely, sir. We have a large group of officers that have volunteered. Yes sir, right away.” Artie hung up his cell phone and turned to the man on his right “Chief wants us to fan out and head in the direction Sarah came from. I doubt we’ll find much because I really think she had to have been in a vehicle at some point or someone would have noticed her. Make sure each officer has tags, bags, and a camera. Also make sure every drip is tagged, logged, photographed, and swabbed. Anything found on the road is to be tagged, shot, and collected, I don’t care if it looks ten years old, bag and tag it. Let’s go Steve.”
Steve Harmon wasn’t having a good day. Admittedly his day was going much better than Sarah Grier’s. But his day still wasn’t a good one. It started with his infant son peeing on him and snowballed from there. On his way to work he blew a tire, his coffee mug had slid off the dashboard and onto his lap while he pulled his injured auto off the road. He then sliced his hand open on the tire iron and still wound up having to call Triple A to come and change the tire. The damn lug nuts had been too tight. When he finally got to work he stepped out of his car and into a huge water filled pothole that could have been used as a swimming pool. His left shoe and sock were soaked and his khaki pants were now at least six shades darker for about three inches above the left ankle.
He stumbled into work shaking as much water off his leg as he could. Unfortunately he wasn’t watching where he was going and he slammed into the Chief knocking the man down and effectively ruining Harmon’s day and possibly his career. He had barely made it to his office and got his butt in the chair when the call about Grier came through. He rushed out to the scene where the caterwauling of the victim had attracted the attention of a neighbor. Now he stood at the scene taking orders from Calumet; a guy that wouldn’t know Luminol from a Pepsi. He carried out Artie’s demands and walked with the officers as they worked to find the original crime scene. If in fact there was one; for all anyone knew Alan Grier could have tossed a bucket or two of cow blood on his wife. Had he been in Calumet’s shoes he would have done a presumptive field test to ID the species the blood came from. But he wasn’t the lead detective, Artie was. Why help the enemy?
As he walked he fumed about the fact that Artie had received the promotion when it was him that had attended all those forensic conferences on his own dime. He was also the only one with experience working a murder case. Why Artie was heading up this case was a mystery to Steve. There was nothing he could do about it so he bit his lip and continued walking. It wasn’t that he disliked Artie, there was never a nicer guy, but Steve just didn’t think Artie was a very good cop. Take for instance the bags he handed out, they were all plastic. Any good forensics tech knew that both paper and plastic bags should be given to each man in case they came across wet evidence. Basically any evidence that had blood on it should be put into paper to allow the blood to dry and slow down bacterial degradation of the sample. He probably should have pointed these things out, but the Chief needed to see the moron he had in charge with Artie Calumet.
As they walked Artie looked sideways at Steve Harmon. There was a lot Harmon knew about working a scene that Artie didn’t. He figured he had probably already made some mistakes but he was doing his best. It was just too bad that Steve would rather allow a murderer to walk free due to police error then give up any of his knowledge to help. Artie sighed and hoped that he wasn’t doing anything that could let a killer off the hook. He continued down the road and found the drips ended at a point in the road confirming his hunch that Sarah Grier had been riding in a car and had been dropped off not far from where she had been found. There were no tire marks or anything else helpful at the area where the car had stopped to let the vic out. Artie felt the case slipping away and turning cold in that moment.
He almost let out a yell when the EMS guys called to tell him that the vic was starting to talk. He sent a couple cops to the Sarah Grier’s home and then he headed to the hospital to interview her. He had left Steve in charge of the scene and wondered if he was making a mistake but Steve had the experience and the years under his belt that fit the criteria for leading a scene. He just had to trust that Harmon wouldn’t try to screw him.
Sarah had been photographed, swabbed, poked, prodded, had her fingernails cut and bagged and she was even x-rayed. The blood had been washed off of her in a sponge bath after several dozen swabs were taken. They were all pointless. She looked up at Artie as he walked in and smiled. He knew Sarah all his life and the smile she gave him chilled his heart. The grin on her face was of a countenance he did not know. This Sarah Grier was one he had never in his life seen, until now. The madness trickled down from her eyes and played along her lips. “Artie.” She made his name sound somehow obscene as if instead of greeting him she was telling him to go to hell.
“Sarah. What happened?”
“Oh, the usual.” A giggle escaped her
“I need to know what happened and where it happened.”
“Alan’s dead. I should be sad but I’m not.”
“Well you’ve obviously been through a horrific ordeal. Can you tell me what happened?”
“Sure. But not until after I talk with Marcia Header.” The wicked smile on her face told Artie a lot.
“Sarah, who drove you to Bateman road?”
“Ah, ah, ah Artie; I asked for a lawyer.” She flashed the loony grin again. He stepped away from the bed a little to call the lawyer.
“Marcia, I got Sarah Grier here at the hospital and she has requested to speak with you. I think she might have been involved in killing Alan. Yeah. As quickly as you can. Thanks Marcia.” Turning back toward Sarah he told her “Marcia’s on her way. Is there anything you want to say before she gets here?”
As they awaited the lawyer’s arrival Artie got a call from the two officers he sent to the Grier home.
“What did you find gentlemen?” He listened as the cops told him of the bloodbath they walked into. Someone had used blood, possibly drained from Alan Grier, to paint the entire living room. His men reported that the culprit had been very careful not to drip onto the moldings; basically someone took their time using a man’s blood to color all four walls. He grimaced as they told him the condition that Alan’s body was found in. He had been stabbed just once and a five gallon bucket sat near the body with a blood soaked paint roller and scalpel inside. The stab wound was precise. The bloody scalpel the cops found was most likely the weapon used to rip through Alan’s throat and carotid artery. One thing his men reported stumped Artie; the family car was missing from the Grier garage. If Sarah had killed Alan, as he was sure she did, where was the car and who was driving it?
Steve sighed. Calumet had called him and told him he had put out an All Points on the Grier’s Pontiac Grand Am. He had listened while Artie told him the newest updates on the case and he was in shock. He knew Sarah and couldn’t see her killing anyone but he had to confess that her actions did make her look guilty. He wondered who was driving the car and why did they let Sarah live? Calumet asked him to look into this lead and Steve was currently on his way to the Grier home to dissect the garage for clues. He was floored when he opened the door and found the officers guarding the house laying in the entry way their throats slit. He retreated to his car and called for backup and then dialed Artie. “Sarah’s not the killer! The murderer is still around; two of our men are down!” He didn’t get much further before an arm reached around from the backseat and grabbed his jaw. He never even saw the scalpel as it sliced through his throat. The killer slipped out of the car and took off running.
“Sarah’s ready to talk.” Marcia Header informed Artie.
“Sarah what happened?”
“He killed Alan. He made me paint the walls with Alan’s blood. He made me drink it too. It was all him.”
“Who is he Sarah?”
“I don’t know. I never saw him before.”
“Bullshit. Who is he?” Artie could see she was lying to him.
“I don’t know and that’s all I can tell you.” That evil grin was back.
“You’re about to be arrested as an accomplice.”
“Calumet! You stop harassing my client. Let’s step outside and talk.”
“She knows who did it Marcia. Why in hell would you allow her to stonewall and let a killer escape? Not just any killer either but one who just offed a man who was your friend.”
“She’s told you all she is going to.” With a flourish Marcia walked back into Sarah’s room.
She held open the door looked at Artie and told him her client was finished talking to him and that he should leave the hospital. She closed the door in Artie’s face and turned towards Sarah. It was all she could do not to run to and hold her beloved. The murder hadn’t gone the way she had wanted it to and she regretted having to kill three cops but Marcia and Sarah were in love and Alan was going to ruin that. He was going to make sure that Sarah stayed married to him against her wishes. Marcia couldn’t deal with that. She and Sarah had cooked up this plan a week ago but she didn’t foresee the cops showing up at the house so quickly before she could stage the scene. Sarah looked up and whispered “I love you.” That was all Marcia ever wanted and somehow it made everything all right. They’d never find Sarah’s car and Marcia would never be suspected of this ‘heinous’ crime. Once the grand jury heard the tearful account Sarah Grier provided about the horror she had been put through they acquitted her as an accomplice and she and Marcia were free.