He stepped into the room. Immediately, the putrid odor of blood told him that something was wrong. No. Something was terribly wrong. Forcing the door open, he found himself face to face with his partner’s body.
The man was tied and gagged to the bed. Whoever killed him apparently wasn’t satisfied with simply leaving the body behind. His partner’s blood had been drained and used in someone’s perverse idea of decor. Had he never seen worse, he probably would have found himself retching. Instead, his eyes searched the red walls and carpet for evidence.
If the dead had been anyone else, the first thing he’d probably suspect was failing to recognize a threat. However, his partner had been working with him for several decades now. The man was anything but careless. Whoever did this was careful enough to avoid suspicion. Furthermore, from what he could tell by searching the room, the person had also planned the murder for some time.
Someone that could get under his partner’s nose and kill the man, could very likely be a person that he also knew. For all he knew, it was also someone that he trusted. His partner wasn’t known for associating with others. With the way that the man looked at every new face with suspicion, he knew that unless the killer was someone that his partner was extremely familiar with, the individual wouldn’t have made it past the door.
In fact, he never met another man that viewed each and every new individual with as much suspicion as his partner did. If he hadn’t known better, he would’ve suspected that the man that he worked with was psychologically unstable. He literally had to shovel their new associates down the man’s throat. His partner had such a strong aversion to accepting new members into his circle that despite his years, the man has never dated and, as far as he could tell, had never been laid.
“Trusting and falling in love with someone else wasn’t worth the risk.” His partner had once told him. “Everyone’s suspicious. To get to the point that they are beyond suspicion requires nothing short of sitting over a bomb hoping that it was one of the many defects that made it out of the factory. I can’t miss something that I’ve never had.”
In a way, he respected the man’s resistance toward familiarizing with others. Not many men could so offhandedly turn down the possibility of getting hitched. Fewer could show zero interest in the idea, even when the possibility danced before his face multiple times. In a way, there was no one quite as stable as his partner. The man was almost emotionally flat, in a way that benefitted his crime-solving profession. Killing his partner, without a high level of familiarity with him or without breaking an entry was not only unlikely, but with his understanding of the man’s habits… was almost out of the question.
Despite the blood coating the walls, the room looked undamaged. The glass windows were unbroken. He stood, walking over to the glass panes. A close inspection and testing told him that they were locked, and the locks hadn’t failed. Next, he checked the door. The hinges were still present. The locking mechanism worked as expected.
With his partner’s tendency to go overboard with self-defense and security, he expected nothing less. Unless, someone did break in. However, with observations telling him that physical security hadn’t failed, there was little doubt about it now. The killer was someone that they knew.
A sense of unease washed over him, as his eyes drifted over to the cloaked camera in the hall. It was someone that they knew. Someone that knew their patterns well. Someone that was only recently in contact with them. Someone that was likely involved in their most recent case. Someone that knew exactly where they were at this time. Someone that he should’ve recognized, but failed to. He stared out at the window, at the sun peeking into the sky, before returning his attention to his fallen colleague. Despite his repressed emotions, he let out a pained sigh of grief. For once, he had to admit, his partner was right.
This story was inspired by a writing prompt from the “Promptly Written” Publication.
The detective entered the blood-stained hotel room just before dawn.