The Timekeeper: Chapter 4

“What do you mean Jillian?” asked Detective Taylor, mulling her statement over and over in his mind. Meanwhile, Anderson had handed him the photographs of the crime scene with the victim’s body.  Detective Taylor stared at the first of the many photographs, wondering how Ellery lay so peacefully beside the pool of her own blood that had seeped in through the carpet, as though sedated. Her hair was spread around like a halo over her head, and she faced the windows. The dim evening sunlight made her skin glow in an unearthly manner. He walked around to the exact location, recreating the events in his own mind.

“She fell a little too far from here,” he thought out loud, measuring the steps from the sofa “but further from her cell phone.” The investigating team had found the phone on the table of the bedroom, placed properly.  Which should not have been the case; Mr Gilbert said that the call had been made in haste- Ellery was screaming for help. The arrangement of the room remained mostly untouched. Detective Taylor walked to the French windows to examine the area, which was majorly a thin strip of a well maintained lawn, high walls with hedges on the top. He walked back, unsatisfied. He then rapidly browsed through the other photos, paying a little more attention to the close-up of Ellery’s face, trying to see if he could figure out any wound.

“Do you think there is some link to the previous case? Someone who has been uncovering a grave of secrets, and the “guilty” has found it out?” Detective Taylor asked again, realizing after a while that Jillian had not replied at all.

Jillian was now crouching by the fireplace, removing the electric embers hastily as though looking for something. Brushing off her trousers, she replied-almost a murmur, “I wish it were like that”.  Her words clearly indicated she had zoned out from the discussion; her eyes surreptitiously flirted around the carpet floor and her face was contorted to give a slight expression of bewilderment. “I think it is more of a cult-a brotherhood sort of thing-maybe trying to get justice for wrong,” she shrugged, and turned to look at Detective Taylor, who was now leaning on the wall next to him, his chin resting on his fist. “Don’t you think a hundred and fifty years is too long to carry a grudge?” she asked him.

“If rationality governed the moment of rage, then a lot of things would have been simpler,” he said, standing upright again, “And a heck lot less murders. We would probably have been out of work”. He chuckled at his own statement, expecting Detective Torres to react to it. But Detective Torres stood engrossed by the carpet floor, her brows pulled in by anxiety. “I fail to understand,” she sighed.

“Are you looking for something Detective?” asked Detective Taylor. Jillian almost jumped at the question. Her eyes widened and she strode across the room, stooping to pick up something among the carpet strands. “This,” she said, holding up a thin needle like instrument, “Your murder weapon. Or rather, a weapon of assault, I must say, because Ellery did not die because of blood loss.”

Detective Taylor stood staring in wonder. “But there was no wound!” he uttered. The glass instrument, which was approximately five centimetres long, was now in his possession, and it had a tiny spot of dried blood towards its narrow opening. The sharper end, however, was very clean, or so it seemed like. “Shouldn’t this end be used to rupture the skin?” he asked Anderson, who had reappeared at the crime scene. Detective Taylor ran a finger over the sharp end, and hurt himself. He handed over the instrument to Anderson for his perusal.

“It should have,” replied Anderson, trying to peep in from the opening, “and it would have been real nice and easy. But the opening here is the major catch.” He tapped it, and continued, “This is narrow enough to create a capillary effect. If the instrument would have been inserted in a vein, it could have easily led to the blood pool that was present.” Detective Taylor nodded his head in agreement, “Yes. Yes, that could have been done.” He could not help admire the brilliance of the murderer.

“However, it still does not explain the paleness. The drainage should have been more evident” said Detective Anderson, giving the instrument back to Detective Taylor, “Or even the fact that there was only one small drop of dried blood, when actually the blood should have flown through the tube.”

“In any case, an opening of this sort would need a visible wound!” he exclaimed, placing the instrument on the centre table, lifting it almost immediately for another round of examination. “Really, I saw the body myself!”

“Unless the wound had been carefully concealed, if there was enough time. Or if it was done externally,” replied Detective Torres in a very robotic tone. She was not very convinced with the proceedings of the event. Blood loss without significant damage to the body was not very uncommon, and it hardly led to demise. No, there was something important that they were missing.

Detective Taylor, however, felt there was a ray of hope. Sunlight poured in beautifully through the windows, a coincidental reflection of his optimism. Yes, he was certain they were not far from at least figuring out the method of murder. “Thank you Detective Torres, you have given us a lead,” he said, turning to her.

“I am not sure it would be of much help. The whole foundation is so shaky. I just happened to stumble upon it. Maybe it has been placed like that, so that we never focus on what the actual thing. In fact, I rather think the bleeding is staged on purpose. What if the doctor is right?” she said, voicing her concern.  She wasn’t so scared of the outcome, but how were they ever going to convince the department, the family or the people. And how was Detective Taylor to be convinced?

“Well, we can definitely re-examine the body. Anderson, send this tube for a detailed testing. Let’s see if we get something from this.” Detective Anderson had just completed his sentence when another member team approached him, “The family is intent, sir. The funeral is to happen tomorrow.” Before he had a chance to react to that, he saw Ellery’s mother standing near the door, gaping at the carpet. Her face had turned pale, and tears cascaded down her cheeks.