Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/578066-Jonahs-Challenge
by Andi
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Detective · #578066
A young woman is murdered and New York's finest detective is on the case.
New York City was unusually quiet that rainy evening. Jonah Hutchinson, the city’s finest detective, was sitting in his office, pondering some inconceivable idea when his boss, Ralph Sullivan, a hefty individual who oddly resembled Ross Perot, barged through the door. Jonah flinched inside, but managed to keep his disdain from being apparent. Sullivan sat in Jonah’s office chairs, but not without effort,the seat was too small for his huge body. He picked up a photograph of Jonah’s parents, his beady eyes gazing at Jonah’s attractive mother. Jonah watched his boss quietly.

Keeping his eyes on the picture, Sullivan slowly began to speak in a placid tone. “Got a case for you. Was thinking about giving it to Mitchell, but thought the better of it.” Jonah kept his sapphire eyes on Sullivan. Sullivan placed the photograph back on the bare desk. “Do you want it or not?”

Jonah turned to his black briefcase where he kept a notebook and pen. Sullivan continued, “Case includes one dead. A female around the age of twenty-five. Rich. Beautiful. Successful. Could have a lot of enemies.”

For the first time since Sullivan’s ungracious entrance, Jonah spoke, “Name?”

“Elizabeth Harper. Her father own’s Harper Bank, another angle that you should check out.”

Jonah looked up at his boss, amusement on his face. “Thanks for the tip chief. Glad to have you around or I might have missed that one.”

Sullivan glared at Jonah. “Don’t get smart. This case can make you or break you.”

“I don’t need to be made.”

Sullivan slammed his hands on the desk. “This case isn’t about you, Hutchinson. This case is about the team. Now shut up and let me tell you the rest.”

Jonah raised his hands in peace, “No need to get excited.”

“I might be fifteen years older than you, Hutchinson, but I can still throw a punch.”

Jonah nodded slightly, “I don’t doubt that.”

The older man glared at the sarcastic detective, “Just shut up. Harper was found by her sister, Marcy, around 7 pm. Looks like she was killed by a gun shot wound to the back. The coroner hasn’t moved her yet, he is waiting for you to get there.”

Both men rose from their seats. The conversation was over. The trip to Harper’s mansion was a tedious one. Traffic was horrible and the sound of the rain annoyed Jonah for some strange reason. Twenty minutes later he arrived at the scene of crime and his annoyance grew more. Reporters, spectators, and policemen seemed to be crawling everywhere. Jonah stepped out of his black Nisson and was greeted by his partner, Tim Connally.

“Was wondering when you would show up. I’ve been keeping everyone out of the room until you arrived.”

The duo began to walk towards the house, “How long have you been here?”

“For about a half hour. I was eating at a restaurant down the road when Sullivan called me and told me about the case. It’s kind of unbelievable, I actually went to high school with Elizabeth.”

Jonah looked at his partner, “Really? What a coincidence.”

Tim opened the front door and began to lead Jonah through the large house. “Yeah. She was a popular one. The perfect rich girl- beautiful, intelligent, and obnoxious.” The men reached the study where the murder took place.

Jonah shuffled in the room quietly. Elizabeth laid face down near the center of the room. The surroundings seemed undisturbed. She was fully dressed. She was just getting home or planning to leave.

Tim walked to the body. “Doesn’t look like there was a struggle. She wasn’t feeling like she had to be defensive.”

Kneeling near the victim, Jonah began to examine her. “She was shot in the back. She didn’t have time to be defensive.”

“Break in?”

“Possibly. The window is open- easy to get in. A big house like this- it’s a jackpot for burglars.

Tim nodded and began to look over the scene. Jonah pushed back the victim’s hair out of her face. “Where is the family?”

“In the kitchen, you want me to get them?”

“One at a time. Start with the sister.”

Tim left the study leaving Jonah alone with the body. He put on a pair of gloves and rolled the victim over. Thoughts filled his head, “She looks peaceful, she wasn’t afraid when she died.” Jonah began to stand up when he saw something come out of her jacket pocket. He reached carefully for it and pulled out a folded piece of paper. After unfolding it slowly, Jonah read it attentively:

Meet me at the park tonight. I love you and miss you!

Jonah folded the note perfectly, placed it in a bag, and began to think over the evidence. She was getting ready to leave for the park. Why was she in the study? Maybe to sneak out? If she received a letter that meant they didn’t want to the words to be spoken. Was the victim having a love affair with someone her parents disapproved of?

As the thoughts passed through his head, Tim and Marcy walked into the study. Jonah looked over the girl. She was young, around twenty, and obviously beautiful, even though her makeup had ran down her face. Jonah noticed blood at the base of her shirt and the top of her pants. Marcy’s eyes darted towards her dead sister and a look of grief crossed her face. She stood motionless for a moment and it wasn’t until Jonah began to speak that she recognized that he was in the room.

“Miss Harper, I’m Jonah Hutchinson. I’ll be working on the case of your sister’s death.”

Marcy’s brown eyes glanced at the detective. A look all too familiar formed in her eyes. It was the look any person got when they found someone attractive. Jonah made a mental note of this. He walked over to her and held out his hand. She looked at his hand and then back up at him. It was then that Jonah realized he still had his gloves on.

“Sorry about that.” He took them off and offered his hand a second time, she accepted. Jonah continued, “Miss Harper, can you tell me anything useful?”

“I’ve already spoken to the police about finding her.”

“I’m sure you have Miss Harper-“


“Miss Harper, I would really like to hear, in your own words, about discovering your sister. Did you hear her scream? Did you hear a loud noise? What made you come into the study?”

Tears began to fill Marcy’s eyes. “I, I was reading in my room when I heard Lizzy scream,... then I heard a gun shot.”

“I see.” Jonah glanced over to his partner who was leaning against a chair. “Tim, will you go get Mr. and Mrs. Harper?”

“Sure detective.”

Jonah turned his attention back to Marcy. “I imagine this is a horrible ordeal for you, it is for anyone. Where you close to your sister?” Marcy nodded her head slowly. “Miss Harper, can you tell me if your sister was seeing anyone?”

Marcy’s eyes meet Jonah’s. “No, detective. She wasn’t seeing anyone.”
* * *

Jonah sat in the kitchen, watching the victim’s parents sip a cup of tea. After asking them if they saw anything missing from the room (No), Jonah decided that their conversation might be best suited outside the study. They now sat in the kitchen and the police were in study, under Tim’s supervision, looking for clues.

After Jonah saw that they were somewhat composed, he began, “I know this is hard, but you can help your daughter by helping us. Can you tell me what she was like?”

Sarah Harper glanced at her husband and then back to Jonah. “Liz was very popular. She was smart and nice. Everyone loved her.”

Jonah nodded his head. “How was her relationship with her sister?”

This time Clinton Harper spoke, “Lizzy loved her sister very much, but Marcy has always been,” he paused for a moment, “somewhat jealous. Like my wife said Lizzy was very smart and popular. It’s not that Marcy isn’t, but she’s.... she’s always been competitive.”

At that moment an officer stepped into the kitchen, “I’m sorry to interrupt, Detctive Hutchinson. We found the murder weapon." * *

It was found behind a ebony couch in the corner of the study. The gun looked like it was thrown in a moment of distress. After Jonah had a young officer photograph the gun, he pulled on some gloves and delicately grabbed the weapon. Mr. Harper turned to Jonah.

“Detective- that’s my gun. We keep it in a safe in my room.” Everyone in the room turned toward the voice. Jonah blinked in surprise.

“How many people know the combination to the safe Mr. Harper?”

“Only family.”

Jonah’s mind began to reel, “The murder weapon belongs to the family. The victim didn’t look afraid, but yet in Marcy’s statement she said she heard the girl scream.” The detective looked around the study, seeing if Marcy was in the room. She wasn’t. Jonah turned to a nearby officer, “Bag this up please.”, as he held out the weapon. The officer looked at Jonah and then to the gun, Jonah became aggravated. “You do know how to do that don’t you?”

The boy shook his head quickly, “Yes, sir.” After Jonah saw the gun safely filed he returned to the victim’s parents. Mr. Harper was holding his wife carefully. Both had tears in their eyes.

Jonah talked quietly, “Mr. Harper, my team will have to search your house to make sure that we aren’t overlooking anything.”

Mr. Harper nodded, “Of course, anything to help. The girls’ rooms are on the west side of the house.”

“Thanks for cooperating.”
* * *

It wasn’t until Jonah and Tim were searching Marcy’s room that they found a clue that broke the case open. Under the mattress of Marcy’s bed, a small, red book was securely held. The book was Marcy’s diary, full of thoughts and emotions. Jonah was randomly flipping through it when he found an entry that was relevant:

March 13-
P.C. and I went to see a movie. I’ve never felt this way about anyone. I spend all my time thinking about him and how my life could be so much better if he was with me always. It’s her that is holding us back- her from keeping me from my dream. I don’t know why he feels obligated to see her, when he loves me. I won’t let her win this time. It’s my turn to come out on top.

Jonah’s mind became busy. “The same P.C. that wrote the note to the victim? He was seeing both sisters? That gives us a motive.”
* * *

It was late into the night. Neither Jonah or Tim had slept. Both men sat hunched over the case file, looking for something they might have missed. An hour later Tim stood up, “Look Jonah, I don’t know what we are doing here. All the evidence, and I do mean all, points to Marcy.”

Jonah looked at his partner tiredly, “There is something wrong with it. I know I saw something that just isn’t fitting right, but I can’t figure out what it is.”

Tim rolled his eyes and began to pace the room, “I think New York’s finest detective isn’t happy with such a simple case. Come on! You read the diary entry- Marcy was a jealous witch and couldn’t stand to see whoever she loved with someone else. Open, shut- boom , jail.”

Jonah sighed, “It isn’t an open and shut case. I know there is something-“

”What is it then Jonah? Why don’t you want to lock this murderer up?!?”

After a moment of silence Tim looked at his partner. Jonah was hunched over the table reading rapidly. “What is it?”

“Marcy isn’t the killer.” Tim rushed to his partners side. “When Elizabeth Harper was shot in the back the blood left a pattern on the white wall.” Jonah pointed to pictures to prove his point. “See this one has something obstructing the pattern. I couldn’t figure it out until I saw this snap shot.” He pulled out a picture of the clothes Marcy was wearing while Elizabeth was murdered. “The blood on the shirt matches the pattern. Marcy was standing in front of her sister. Someone else had to shoot her from behind.”

Tim leaned farther over his partner, examining the evidence. “Wow. Didn’t see that coming.” He went back to his seat and pulled out a new piece of paper and his personal pen from his brief case. “So that puts us at square one.”

“No- we know that the killer had to be familiar with the family for two reasons, the gun and the victim herself. She wasn’t afraid when she died, she knew her murderer.”

“What tells you that? Maybe someone just came through the window. We don’t know that the gun wasn’t out.”

Jonah shook his head. “The killer was familiar with the family. Think about it Tim. Marcy was standing right in front of Elizabeth. She never warned her sister that someone was behind her or Elizabeth would have turned around. Marcy didn’t kill Elizabeth, but she helped hide it.”

Jonah’s mind was hazy. He was watching Tim scribble ferociously on the pad of paper. That was when he saw it. On the clip of the green pen, three letters shone in gold. T. P.C. Connections began to form in Jonah’s mind. Everything fit, but it couldn’t be true.

“Tim, you said you went to school with Elizabeth right?”

Tim raised his eyes from the paper. “Yeah, about eight years ago.”

“Did you know Marcy then? Was she the same person she is now?”

A frown formed on Tim’s face, “I really wouldn’t know.”

Jonah nodded and smiled at the young detective. “Um, Tim, I’m sure that I don’t have to point this out to you, but your initials are T..P.C”

“What’s your point Jonah?”

“I just remember one time when I meet your mother, she called you Peter.”

“I went by my middle name when I was a kid.”

“And with those you date?”

The moment of truth had come out. Tim leaned back in his chair, staring at his partner, “What are you trying to imply Hutchinson?”

“You were at the scene of crime quickly. One of the first things you said to me was that you were eating at a restaurant down the road. It didn’t struck me as anything at first, until I remembered that your apartment is across the city. Why would you be eating down here? You are P.C. Elizabeth wouldn’t have be afraid of you, she was in love with you. You could have gotten to the gun from Marcy. But why? Why would you want to kill her?”

Tim hung his head and looked towards the ground. Jonah waited patiently. When he finally glanced up at Jonah a smile was on his face. “She was talking about getting married.”

Jonah stayed silent, leaving room for Tim to talk, but he said nothing else. “That’s why you killed her? She was talking about getting married?” Anger began to boil deep in Jonah’s stomach. Tim shook his head.

“No, there was more, but I don’t think we need to go over the details. So what are you going to do with me Hutchinson? Take me in?”

“Was planning on it.”

“It wasn’t my idea, Jonah. It was Marcy’s.” A thought flashed through Jonah’s head. When Tim said she was talking about getting married, he didn’t mean Elizabeth, he meant Marcy.

“You loved Marcy?”

Tim nodded. “I meet Elizabeth again a year ago. It was fun for awhile, just kind of mindless passion. But then I meet Marcy and I fell in love. Elizabeth wouldn’t let her sister have me, she said she would ruin us. I came to her that night and three of us talked peacefully. I told her Marcy wasn’t the one I wanted and when she turned her back, I shot her.”

“Why did you drop the gun behind the couch?”

“I guess Marcy wasn’t ready to see her sister die. She began to scream. I’ll I could I think about was getting out of there in case someone heard her.”

Jonah stood up from the table, “About five minutes ago you were about to blame Marcy with the murder. What is wrong with you boy? First you kill someone and then you blame the woman who loves.”

“I’m not going to jail, Hutchinson.”

“You didn’t think we could catch you?”

“We were going to make it look like a break in, but Marcy ruined it.” Jonah started to walk towards the door, before Tim stopped him. “What kind of fool do you think I am, Hutchinson? I wouldn’t tell you this information if you would be able to leave the room.”

Jonah turned towards his partner and was surprised to see his gun drawn. “Have I taught you nothing Tim. You are in the middle of a police station. It would take about thirty seconds for someone to be in here. How would you get out?”

“I’ll think of something.” A shot rang out and Jonah fell to the floor.
© Copyright 2002 Andi (andi5 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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