Option One (Crime Sites)
Crammed to one side of the roomy trunk, Gibbons’ limbs were folded awkwardly, his jacket askew. His mouth gaped open and a neat entry hole was positioned equidistant to each glazed eye. All in all, Detective Gibbons had met a messy end. Blood pooled beneath him, brain-matter adhered to the exterior of the vodka crates, obscuring the brand detailing and counterfeit shipping information. The writing on the boxes was unintelligible anyway, to anyone who wasn’t of eastern European descent and in truth contraband vodka was the least of Connell’s concerns. He knew where it had come from, had a good idea where it was destined, and short of slipping a bottle in his own back pocket for later, could see no value to the find. He slammed a hand at the lid of the trunk with frustration. It was hardly worth the trouble of Frankie loaning out his car if all Gibbons was using it for was to transport a few bottles of low end liquor. There had to be more than that. Why else would someone decide to put a gun to his head? He reached in gingerly and slid the crates aside. They moved with ease amidst the slick pool of blood, revealing something caught at the back, clutched in Gibbons outstretched hand.
Damn, muttered Connell. It couldn’t be at the front where it was easy to reach, that would be too damned easy. He balanced on one foot and leaned in further. Trying very hard to avoid the mess that remained of Gibbons, he grasped a manila file similar to the one Hamilton had slammed on the desk when he’d interrogated him the previous day. Not quite as thick, but Connell doubted many would have a file as full of bullshit and half truths as his. All the same he guessed it had come from the same place. He caught hold of the corner, pulled it out from Gibbons’ death grip and flipped it open.
Inside was a sheaf of paper with a mixture of type written text supplemented in the margin, by pencil scrawl. Along with the report were a number of A4 black and white photos. Obviously taken on a long lens with a shaky hand, they were grainy shots procured at various locations around the city. The only constant, being that he featured in every one. He scanned them quickly, unclear at their purpose until he picked up the last one. This photo had been taken in the alley outside the library. He was shown paused in the doorway, Molly stood before him, her hand in his, looking directly at the camera.
He recalled the moment vividly. The uneasy feeling that skittered down his spine, as Molly held him back. The awareness that someone was out there and Molly had known it all along. He’d felt her anxiety, her surprising strength as she gripped his hand, but the look on her face as captured by the lens, wasn’t fearful. It was resigned, almost regretful, as if maybe she knew exactly what was to come. He allowed the file to slip from his hand and sucked in a breath. He had the same feeling now. He felt the hairs stand up on the back of his neck and shrugged to dispel them.