“So,” said Clare, as they stood at the bus stop. “What do you think about Freddy and his ring?”
“I don’t know what to think,” said Sunny, “other than that group was disbanded over a hundred years ago and you never see that symbol in America.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means they are alive and well, but what are they doing now, and what are they doing here? They can’t still be fighting the church, right? I mean it’s a losing battle.”
“If I were writing the story,” said Clare, “they would still be fighting the church, trying to get secret documents out of the Vatican basement, hoping to tell the truth and free the people. If I was the pope, on the other hand, I’d have the church’s hitmen go after all the members, until none were left to tell the truth. The one guy, who was vacationing in Aruba, when the others were murdered, would be killed when he came home. Then I’d have two fabulous women find his body, in an empty apartment, and have them solve the case in spite of the bumbling Detective in charge of the.”
They high-fived each other and waited for the door of the bus to open.
Clare handed Sunny another candy bar.
“How many did you take?” asked Sunny.
“All of them,” she said. “They were on a desk in the reception area.”
“Does a police station have a reception desk? I mean it’s not a hotel.”
“Well, some people do stay overnight, they are given a bed, food and water, but there’s no pool or mint on the pillow.”
“I see your point,” smiled Sunny.
“What’s with the Detective?”
“I think he’s tired, overworked, has no life outside his job and he doesn’t know what to do with us. I think he hates the fact that we might have helped him. He knows we didn’t kill the guy, but he doesn’t have any real leads. Do you truly think a woman killed him?”
“Makes sense. There didn’t appear to be any indication that he fought back. She was able to get close enough to shive him.”
“Oh I love it when you say words like shive and things,” said Sunny.
Clare laughed. “That’s why I said it, but the word wasn’t used correctly. Doesn’t matter though, as long as you liked it. She had to be pretty strong to stab him the way she did. She could have gone between his ribs, but she did it the hard way.”
“Do you think he knew her?” asked Sunny.
“No. If he knew her, he would have known something was up. I’m wondering if he was killed somewhere else and the body dumped in the apartment. I think there should have been more blood. If only Sherlock were here,” she said, biting her bottom lip.
“You don’t think it could have been a guy dressed up as a female, do you?”
“No, Freddie would have fought back.”
“Let’s get off here,” said Sunny, getting up. “The real estate lady gave me the key to another apartment and I think it’s right over there.”
They disembarked and found the apartment building. Busy street, small clothing store on the bottom level, two stories high. Brick, new windows and well cared for.
“It’s on the top floor,” said Sunny, “and it’s facing east, so I should get a lot of sun on the back porch in the summer, which means a nice garden.”
“This is a good area, but there is a lot of traffic.”
“It’s move in ready, everything’s been newly painted, and it’s only been on the market since yesterday. Best of all, the rent covers everything,” she said, opening the door.
“Do you think the dead guy over there is included as well?” asked Clare.
“How is this possible?” groaned Sunny. “Dead guys can’t be following me, I mean they were already dead when I got here,” said Sunny. “Who knew apartment hunting could be this weird.”
“No one,” said Clare. “No one at all.”
“Thanks,” she said, pulling out her phone.
“No. Don’t call…”
“Hi. It’s me, Sunny. We found another dead guy.”
“So, said Detective Austin. “You came to look at a second apartment, and found the dead guy in the corner.”
“Yes,” said Sunny. “That’s exactly what happened.”
“It was different this time,” said Clare. “This dead guy has been shot through the head, not stabbed.”
Detective Austin stared at her.
“Well, it’s true,” said Clare, frowning at him.
“No symbolic ring, he’s right handed and I didn’t kick him,” said Sunny. “Not even once.”
“And you,” he said to Clare. “Was he killed by a woman?”
“I think so. I mean no indication that this dead guy fought back either and it looks as if the shooter was close, when he was blown away.”
“Do you believe in life after death, Detective?” asked Sunny. “Maybe someone on the other side can tell us who’s doing these things. Oh, and Clare doesn’t think the first dead guy was killed in that apartment. She thinks he was moved from someplace else, because there wasn’t enough blood for him to be stabbed where we found him.”
“The first guy was killed in the gangway next to the building, and brought up to the apartment, where you found him,” said the Detective.
Clare and Sunny did a complex handshake, to their own music, while the Detective shook his head and covered his eyes.
“You okay Robbie?” asked Sunny. “You look a bit peaked. Want a candy bar?”
Clare handed him a candy bar. “Eat it, you’ll feel better after the sugar rush.”
“Did you take this from the station?”
“I thought they were there for the guests,” said Clare. “They looked free, so I took a couple.”
He sighed and unwrapped the candy bar. He ate it in two bites and went over to look at the body.
“He’s in the same corner as the other dead guy, said Clare. “Do you think the body’s been moved?”
“Maybe the real estate lady is involved,” said Sunny. “She might give us the key to places knowing there’s a dead guy on the floor.”
“She seemed really nice,” said Clare.
“You’re right,” agreed Sunny. “She’d never do anything like that. But what if…”
“The dead guys are about the same age, they kind of look alike, so maybe they knew each other,” said Clare.
“I bet it’s the hit guys from the Vatican,” said Sunny.
“What are you two TALKING ABOUT,” shouted the Detective.
“We’er brainstorming,” said Sunny. “What’s wrong with you? Want another candy bar?”
“There’s a pigeon tapping on the window,” said Clare.
“The whole city is filled with pigeons,” said the Detective. “They’re everywhere.”
“Yeah, but not all of them have bits of paper attached to their legs.”
The Detective opened the window and grabbed the pigeon.”
“You hurt that bird and I’ll rip your hear out and feed it to hungry wolves, then I’ll throw you to the ground and stomp on you until nothing is left,” said Sunny, gently taking the cooing pigeon from his hands. “He’s sorry, baby, he’s just a mean icky man who doesn’t know how to appreciate a beautiful being like you.”
“Back up,” said Clare, waving the Detective away form Sunny. “She means what she said. Wait until she takes the letter off the bird’s leg. She will do anything to protect animals.”
A few minutes later, after Sunny kissed the bird all over it’s back and face, she handed the note to the Detective, then carried the bird to the open window. “Thank you,” she said, putting the pigeon on the windowsill. “You’re a very good bird and you don’t have to run errands for humans, you can fly wherever you like. Go to where it’s always warm and the days sunny. Maybe you’ll like it.” The bird cooed, bobbed up and down a couple of times, then flew away.
“What does it say?” asked Clare.
got held up
can’t make it
meet me at our special
place at midnight
“Well,” said Sunny, that’s not very helpful.”
“Do you still want to tear out my heart and stomp on me?” asked the Detective.
Sunny walked right up to him and stretched to her full height. “If I EVER see you grab a bird like then again you won’t live long enough to ask that question.” Then she moved away and said, “No. I’m good. The bird’s okay and gone, so you don’t have to worry. You’re safe…for now.”
The Detective looked at Clare, who just smiled and whispered…”She really cares about all of them.”
The Forensic team moved in and they all left the apartment.
“There’s no blood in the hall or on the stairs,” said Clare, and there was a lot of blood on the floor and wall, so he was probably killed here, using a silencer, or people would have called you when they heard the shot.”
“Look for a tattoo above his right ankle,” said Sunny. “If it’s the same as the symbol on the ring, we have a pattern.”
“I think we already have a pattern,” said the Detective, “and you two, are part of it.”