The Murder Business…the rewrite continues…unedited and incomplete…

Konan looked out over the hollow, the moonlight glinted off the dew-touched leaves, the rays of the moon drifted lazily through the canopy of trees that surrounded the crime scene. Konan sighed a heavy sigh that hinted at pain hidden deep within him. Lilly leaned against him, resting her head upon his broad shoulders.
“Where did you go,” she asked.
“The past.”
“Tell me about it.”
“One day, when this is all over, I’ll tell you. Let’s get out of here. I’m famished.”
“Konan, I can’t eat. Not after seeing this.”
“That’s okay, Lilly. You can watch me eat.”
“Okay, I just….”
“No explanation required. It’s a gruesome scene, and most wouldn’t need food after seeing it.”
They walked down the hill and got into their unmarked sedan. Konan made a U-turn and headed back toward Fredericksburg.
Paddy O’Shea stood outside of his pub with the doorman Titan. A line of people stood outside the door and waited for a table to come open. Paddy gave Konan and Lilly a wave as they drew close. He gave Lilly a wink, and said to Konan, “Hiya, kiddo. How’s the murder business?”
“Oh, you know Paddy. Murder is going to happen as long as there are humans and human nature.” Paddy nodded and motioned for the pair to follow him to a table at the furthest table in the back. He said, “Yep, we humans like to do one another in for no reason at all.” He motioned for the detectives to have a seat, and then said, “Today’s special is lamb chops. Are you good with that kiddo?”
“Sure. Sounds good, Paddy.”
Paddy turned to Lilly, his pad in hand, and Lilly paled at the thought of eating anything. She held up both hands and shook her head no, and choked out, “Nothing for me, Paddy.”
“Yeah, I heard about that law clerk. Nasty piece of business. The young should never have to pay a tab such as that.” He jerked a thumb at Konan, and joked, “This guy though, he’s got a cast iron stomach. Nothing fazes him.” Konan grinned and shook his head, and Paddy slapped him on the shoulder before taking their orders to the kitchen.
After a hearty meal, Konan and Lilly left O’Shea’s. The news of Tiffany Watkins horrendous death had made it to town. While Konan had eaten his dinner, the conversation in the restaurant had centered around the dead body found on County Road 171. Konan drove the squad car back to the garage and shut off the engine. Lilly unfastened her seat belt but seemed unhurried to get out of the car. Konan unbuckled and sat with her.
“Her poor parents,” Lilly said quietly. “They don’t even get a private moment to grieve. The media will run the story in the ground. The paper is going to print it up, experts are going to talk it to death, some racist, insignificant ‘host’ will try to spin it so that they make it look like she went traipsing off because of ‘this privilege or that privilege.’ You can’t just die anymore. Everything is sin, or some sort of oppression.”
Konan didn’t say anything. There was no need to. Lilly was correct. The world had devolved into a madhouse, and society, like Alice, had tumbled headfirst down the rabbit hole.

Tia Mathers had left her unscheduled meeting with Billy and Khalid. She fumed the whole way back. God, I can’t stand that weasel Khalid. I swear, I hope Billy tells me to kill him. She sped back toward the precinct, darting in and out of traffic without so much of a backward glance, and whipped into an empty parking spot in the garage. Konan and Lilly stood outside their car watching her.
“She’s in a hurry,” Konan said. “If this law enforcement bit doesn’t work out for her, NASCAR will hire her.”
“Yep, it’s either an emergency or the consequences of a bad diet.”
“Or both,” Konan said. “It could be both.”
Tia slammed the door of her sedan, glared at the two detectives, and stormed toward the elevator. She turned to Konan and Lilly, her eyes narrowed, and her lips pulled back into a snarl. She yelled, “I want your report in five minutes.” The doors dinged shut, and Konan turned to look at Lilly. Lilly stared back at her partner and raised her eyebrows.
“If you want to head home, I’ll cover this,” Konan said to Lilly. She shook her head no.
“No, come on. Let’s talk to her. If she’s not sick now, she will be when we’re done.”
Konan and Lilly took the stairs. After a long climb up the hill to the crime scene, and the long walk down, their muscles had tightened. Another climb to the second floor would break the stiffness loose. Tia sat at their desk, and snapped, “Well? What do you have?”
“We recovered Judge Traylor’s clerk off County Road 171. Um, it’s gruesome,” Lilly said. Tia stared at Lilly and raised her eyebrows, then said, “Is that it?”
Konan licked his lips and said nothing, Tia stared at him and waited for one of them to continue. Konan scratched his forehead and asked, “Do you want details, chief?”
“Yes, if it’s not too much trouble” she said.
Konan turned and looked at Lilly, she’d gone pale again. “Could you do me a favor, Lilly? I left my notebook in the car, would you get it for me, please?”
“Sure, be back in a second,” Lilly said. Konan waited until she had left the Murder Room before he turned to Chief Mathers. She waited with her arms crossed, and Konan said, “She was chained to the wall, arms shackled overhead. She wore a spiked dog collar, and it pierced her throat. The rats fed on her neck, legs, and parts of her torso. Cause of death is tentatively called a heart attack.”
“A heart attack,” Tia said. “So, it’s not a murder?”
“Well, I guess if you’re stupid enough to think that a modern, emancipated, and professional woman strapped her herself into a spiked dog collar and then chained herself to the wall, then yeah, it’s not murder.”
Tia’s eyes narrowed, her lips pulled back into a snarl, when Konan responded to her question. Konan met her gaze and gave her a crooked grin. She shook her head and let out a loud sigh, and then asked, “Is it or is it not a murder?”
“Yes, it’s murder.”
“Then, I want you and Lilly to find this animal and get them off the streets.”
“We’ll do what we can, chief.”
The elevator doors dinged open, and Lilly walked back into the room shaking his notebook. Tia nodded to Konan and left for her office. Konan gave Lilly a grin and took his notebook from her.
“Did you brief her?” Lilly asked.
“Yep, she’s briefed,” Konan said. “Come on, let’s go home for a bit.”
“That sounds great; I need a shower.”
“Yeah, me too. You can’t see what we did today without needing a scrubbing.”
Konan always felt dirty when dealing with politicians, superiors, and those who felt they could do no wrong. Tiffany Watkins had barely ventured into her twenties, and now she lay flat of her back on a cold slab in the morgue. “From the look of things, this case would be chock full of all these types and then some.”

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