Resurrection – 62Posted: December 5, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Truesdell was not happy he was assigned to “find” Doc Sibley. His friend had been killed and he was a cop, that meant Truesdell thought he should be part of that investigation, not running off after someone who probably got drunk and passed out in his car.
Truesdell drove the police issue Charger up the hill toward Queen Mountain. He use the spot to light up the trees on either side. He didn’t see anything. As he approached the clearing, he could see the opened hatch of the Cherokee first, then as he crested he could see the body.
The sun was not yet visible but he could see the pool of blood surrounding the body in the twilight.
“Shit,” Truesdell’s heart began to race as he put the car in park. He sat there, motionless, paralyzed by his fears. He suddenly realized how vulnerable he was. Out in the middle of nowhere, cop killer on the loose. He was a sitting duck.
Truesdell was not a brave man. He crouched down in the seat. He pulled his gun and reached over with left hand to the mic on his shoulder. His voice was shaky and a whisper as he spoke.
“Dispatch, this is Truesdell, over.”
“Go ahead Truesdell.” The sound of the radio sounded much too loud and caused him to jump, then he scrambled to turn it down.
“I’ve got a 10-33. Repeat, a 10-33. I need backup on Queen Mountain. Repeat, I need backup right now.” He cowered lower, just high enough over the dash to look around. He didn’t see anything.
As soon as Dalton heard the call, he and Harlan jumped into his Explorer and took off for the mountain. Dalton called Truesdell on his cell.
“What’s going on Truesdell?” Dalton’s concern was palpable. He’d already lost one officer tonight.
“There’s a body, looks like Doc Sibley. I haven’t seen a shooter, but I’m keeping a low profile in case he’s still around.”
“We’re on our way.” Dalton disconnected.
It was almost 15 minutes by the time Dalton and Harlan arrived. They both jumped out of the Explorer, guns drawn and down. Truesdell exited the prowler, “Boy, am I glad to see you guys.”
“Fuck, Truesdell, trigger discipline.” Truesdell had had his hand on the trigger.
“OK, Truesdell, you scan the woods to the left and Harlan, you go right. I’m going to take a look at the body. Fuck it, guys, keep to your side and don’t fuckin’ shoot each other.”
“Roger, Chief” replied Harlan.
“Roger” said Truesdell.
“And keep quiet. If someone’s here we want to hear them. They can’t move silently in these woods.”
Dalton approached the body, gun still drawn, keeping his eyes on the surroundings. Too many places for someone to hide. Fortunately, the sun was rising and they woods were sparse enough that with daylight, they could be sure there wasn’t a shooter close.
When Dalton got to the body, he could see it was Doc. No question. “Shit.”
There was a solid pool of blood around him, running off the side of the pavement. Doc had a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead. Dalton reached for a pulse, but as expected the body was cold and he couldn’t find one.
The officers were standing on either side of the clearing, scanning the woods.
Dalton reached for the mic at his shoulder. “Dispatch, we need a bus on Queen Mountain. And call Doc Mason, we’ll need him up here, tell him to come once he’s done downtown. Oh, and send Plummer’s as well.”
The body was cold enough Dalton knew the killer was probably long gone. Heck, he thought, the killer was probably sitting in his jail right now. He reached for his pocked and pulled out his Marlboros. When he went to light it, he noticed his hand was shaking.
He took a long drag.
“You guys see anything?” he asked.
“Well this is turning out to be one fucked up Sunday. One fucked up week.”
“Sir, you want we should keep lookin’?” Asked Truesdell.
Dalton didn’t answer. He just stood there, stone-faced, trying to make sense of it all.
Confirmation bias is a common problem in police work. Once an investigator decides he knows who committed the crime, then he has an unconscious tendency to see facts that support his conclusion. While training helps, when an investigator is intimately involved with the victims, it can be hard to see. Three murders would be overwhelming to anyone, but Dalton had just lost an acquaintance, a colleague and now a good friend.
The preacher, even in his thoughts he didn’t want to think of him as “J.W.” any more, killed Polly Friday night, dumped the body over the railing onto the dam. He came home and was at the parsonage when Dalton had stopped by Saturday. He got his family out of the house and then, came up here with Doc? Maybe he told him he wanted to stargaze with him. He kills Doc then, because the Cherokee was blocked in by the body, took Doc’s truck back home.
He gets back to Front Street. Canada was doing rounds, maybe sees the preacher pull in. No way he can explain why he was coming home in the middle of the night, so he kills Canada. Then he pretends to “find” the body.
But why kill Doc? They were friends. Guys talk to their friends, often even about their indiscretions. Locker room talk. Maybe Doc knew about the affair, and once he had killed Polly, the preacher figured he would have to shut him up. Doc might not talk about an affair, but murder? He would certainly give the preacher up.
If the ballistics matched, he would be sure of it.
It made sense.
“Truesdell,” barked Dalton, “take my Explorer, get down to the church and make sure no one, I mean no one, goes into the parsonage or touches Doc’s truck in the lot. You hear me?”
“Yes, Sir,” said Truesdell, grabbing the keys from Dalton’s outstretched hand. Truesdell was happy to get off the mountain and back to town.