A Section of River Road

Here’s a short excerpt from River Road:

Homicide Detective Hugh Rafferty stood in the center
of the kitchen holding Fido, his hefty black cat in his arms.
In dismay his sharp eyes roved over the disaster that
surrounded him.
A huge dark brown stain matted the filthy linoleum floor,
Cabinet doors sagged open, some broken, as was the
kitchen window. The oven door hung sideways and the
kitchen fanlight was hanging by one electric wire. Rafferty
wrinkled his nose at the familiar smell that permeated the
room.
Fido struggled to get down, but Rafferty held him fast.
“No no, Fido. You know you can’t be wandering around
crime scenes. Jesus…”
Jeff Malone, a husky man in his early forties stood in tshirt
and jeans holding a clipboard in one hand and a digital
camera in the other.
“Yeah Raf. Crime scene is right. This is about as bad as
it gets. The bastards that did this—” He broke off and
sucked in his breath. “I mean…this is sick, man.”
“I hear you,” Raf agreed. “Just when you think you’ve
seen it all.”
His eyes continued to rove about the kitchen. Cracked
tiles sullied the counters. Litter cluttered the counters and
the floor.
“But hey,” Raf went on, “look at the bright side, Jeff.
Somebody did us a favor. When we bring this puppy back
to life, she’ll be worth three hundred grand. Maybe a little
bit more.”
“Well, we’ve got our work cut out for us, Raf. But—you
know, only giving me a forty thousand dollar budget to
work with—this isn’t going to as easy as the last flip.
Besides, if you ask me, this was a poor time to be trying to
flip a house. This’s not like a couple of years ago.”
“You said that the last time, Jeff. In fact you always say
that. But somehow you always come through for me. And
we won’t be greedy. If we offer a good value, the right price,
somebody will buy. I —” He broke off to answer his ringing
cell phone. Still holding Fido firmly in his grasp, he fished
the phone from his side pocket. “Yeah. Yeah. Where? Jesus.
Yeah. Okay, I’m on my way.” He shoved the phone back
into his pocket.
Jeff stood patiently looking at his employer.
“Looks like my city needs me, Jeff. Crime never takes a
holiday. Well, you’ve got enough to start on. I’ll touch down
with you later.”
As Raf headed for the door, Jeff nodded and looked at
his clipboard. Raf turned suddenly back.
“Well, come on man. We’ve only got four weeks to flip
this puppy.” He looked down into Fido’s yellow eyes.
“Come on, Partner. We’ve got us a homicide to investigate.”
“Yeh,” Jeff came back, “and you need a new hat.”
Raf pulled off his ragged and stained straw hat to reveal
a thick mass of uncombed red hair. He looked fondly at the hat.
“Hey, I’m sensitive about this hat. This is my lucky hat. I
wouldn’t trade it for two new ones.” He slapped the hat
back onto his head. “Now get busy.”
***
Raf pulled his Ford off onto the right embankment of
River Road, opposite the small army of other vehicles,
including two television vans.
Raf sighed and grabbed Fido up in his arms. “Come on
big boy. We’ve got work to do.”
The day was warm but hazy and the tree line that edged
down toward the river looked slightly fuzzy. Carrying Fido
in his arms, Raf crossed the roadway.
A uniformed officer snapped his notebook shut as Raf
approached.
“Looks like you and your partner there have
another nasty one on your hands, Raf.”
“Gee, thanks, Jason. Just what I needed. “You know Fido
can’t stand the sight of blood.”
Jason laughed. “Sorry about that. Tell him to look the
other way. Here’s the deal: The girl was apparently riding
her bicycle in the rain along the road here.” He waved out
toward the roadway, dry now on this warm day. “Evidently
her bike was struck from behind by a vehicle, throwing
her off. But her body turned up down below there, under
a tree.” He waved his arm downward in the direction of
the river. “We don’t think the force of the blow threw her that
far, not by a long shot. Somebody got her down there one way or
another and smashed her head in with a rock.”
Raf’s face sobered. He set Fido on the ground and pushed
back his straw porkpie hat, allowing his tumbled red hair
to fly out. “Sexual assault?”
“Medical Examiner thinks so. Her shorts and panties are lying
by the body.”
“Oh boy…well, come on, Fido.”
Closely followed by Fido, Raf struggled to maintain his
balance as he slip-slid down through the wet grass and
gravel to the huddled corpse.

And we haven’t yet met Lucretia St. James, the medium.

River Road from http://www.writewordsinc.com and most sites.

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