The Case Of The IncompleteText

The Case Of The IncompleteText

8 mins

Detective X kneeled to observe the downward faced woman lying on the glass-shards strewn dingy street in a pool of her own blood. Her hands and legs bent in awkward angles were probably broken. The left foot bore a thin cut going towards the toe. The left shoe was missing while the right one, a red high heel, lay covering the toes and loose at the heels.

X backed away as the uniforms put away their cameras and straightened up the body to put it in a body bag.

The woman's face was visible now. Her porcelain face with smudged lipstick and mascara was almost cracked open at the forehead. X cocked her head to the right for a better view as they took her way. Pretty face, she thought.

X watched the van and a police car leave, sirens wailing at a distance, then glanced up at the broken window three storeys up the building on her left. It was so obvious. The dead woman had been thrown out of the window by someone bigger and stronger than her.

X sighed. Why do they keep calling me for open and shut cases?

She followed the forensic geeks up the stairs and found herself in a dimly lit two-bedroom apartment. A few broken vases and plates here and there, the table lying on its side, the usual scene of a fight. There was a small wooden chair below the broken window to indicate the obvious, once again. And beside that, a closed door to a tiny balcony.

X had noticed the balcony from downstairs but didn't think much of it.

The woman was heavily dressed for the winter in a trench coat, a sweater that covered her neck and a pair of jeans. Snow hadn't fallen in London yet but the weather was too cold for anything else.

The window was quite big and a lot of the glass was broken, a handsome amount of shards left on the inside. But why would one take the trouble to throw one out of the window when one could just throw them off the balcony to make it look like a suicide?

X shook her head. She remembered her mentor's words, "Most people committing crimes are stupider than you realise. They'll do that one inexplicable thing that undoes them. Even the pros!"

She opened the door and stepped into the balcony. It was refreshing considering the stuffiness inside the room although it was really tiny with designed iron railings on all sides, like half a jail.

For a moment she enjoyed the ambience. The soothing sound sea of the 4 AM East London traffic at a distance, soft murmurs and shutter clicks from behind her and the chill in the wind.

She could see the spot where the woman was found. It wasn't directly below the balcony but she remembered the position of the body. That's a strange angle, she thought.

X's thoughts were interrupted by a commotion from the hallway. She walked back into the room to find a very agitated and well-built man at the door wanting to get in but being held back by two forensic boys and Officer Malone. But with his strength, he simply barged into the 'crime scene' like he belonged, yelling obscenities and crying. 

"Who are you?", X interrogated. He fell down on his knees crying. "She was... my girl... I... how... why..."

"Boyfriend or husband?"

"Boyfriend... what am I supposed... my life is over..."

X wasn't good with emotions. She slightly walked aside to let Officer Malone take over. The bald man tried his best to calm him down. One of the forensic boys, Scott, brought him a glass of water. 

X walked back to the balcony to reconnect with her lost thoughts. She recalled the position of the body once again. To the right of the balcony was the broken window and the body lay below the window, well, somewhat. The body wasn't directly below the window either. She stepped on something and looked down...

"Detective!", her thoughts were interrupted again, this time by Officer Malone.

"Yes?" She walked back into the room. A relatively calm boyfriend of the victim was now sitting with a grief striken face on a chair. "Speak", she ordered. "Start with your name."

"Jacob... Jacob Waters. I work as a bouncer at The Dancing Den, a night club. My shift starts at 9.30 PM and gets over at 3 AM and it takes me an hour to get home. I was a little worried about Whitney when she stopped texting but I couldn't leave work just like that. I thought I'd come home and comfort her... But..."

"Did you two have a fight?"

"Yes... I texted her about a new job I'd be starting Monday next week but she got upset. I thought she'd be happy, you know. She didn't like I worked all night. So I texted her in the evening and she flipped out. We fought over text. In my anger, I'd called her a b***h... I... I didn't mean to, I swear!"

"Did you often have fights?"

"We're both short-tempered... But you must understand, I love her so much. She loves... loved me too..."

"How long have you been in a relationship?"

"About a year..."

"What job did you get?"

"As a bartender at Lucy's, a few blocks down the road. The shift would be over by 2 AM and I'd be home to my sweetheart by 2.30... I thought she'd be excited..."

"We didn't find a phone in the apartment."

Jacob looked at me, puzzled. "I... I don't know what to say..."

"Give me yours."

He meekly handed X his phone from his pocket. There was no password. X opened the texts from Whitney and scrolled up the fights. She found the first text sent to Whitney at 8.25 PM.

It read, "hey u wont blv ds. lucy is the best. she loves me."

Whitney's text showed her anger, "what did u just say", to which Jacob's text said, "whoa crazy jus read it?".

What followed were a series of obscenities from both ends. While Whitney's responses included "I knew it u b*****d" and "why r u doing this", Jacob's responses included "what r u talking bout" and "I didn do nothin to u". 

X tossed the phone back at Jacob. The texting had stopped at 9.20 right before Jacob's shift was about to start at The Dancing Den.


Officer Malone said, "I just talked to the manager at The Dancing Den. He confirmed that Jacob was there till his shift was over at 3 -"

"I already told you that I was there! You don't think I -"

"No. But we have to check all possible ends to make sure there aren't loose ones. Detective, there are also no signs of a break in and nothing seems to be missing."

X nodded. "Yes, I know. Whitney committed suicide."

"But-", Officer Malone stuttered.

"What?!" Jacob had sprung up.

"Will everyone just relax? Let me explain. Scott! Go to the balcony and check the right corners. Bring it to me!" Scott nodded and went off. He quickly came back with a red high heel shoe. 

"Describe it for me, Scott!"

"Uh, ok. It's a red high heel, of the left foot, size 6. "

"Precisely. Tell me Scott. Wasn't there a thin cut on her left foot?"

"Uh, yes."

"Show me a picture of the crime scene from the balcony."

Scott pressed a few buttons on the camera around his neck and handed it to X. 

"Officer, look at the picture closely. She's lying at an angle where her legs are facing the balcony. She's not directly below the window either. Here, see this picture now, the one taken from the street. She's neither below the window nor the balcony. Her head and half the torso is below the window. Whitney has jumped off the balcony but she wanted to make it look like Jacob murdered her so she broke the vases and the plates, turned over the table and broke the window with the chair. To the onlooker, it's a fight that went very wrong."

"That's quite the observation, Detective-"

"Oh, there's more. Scott, I believe, if you will find blood somewhere on the right railing of the balcony because that's how her shoe came off when she jumped. It simply got caught in one of the designs and slid off while cutting her foot in the process."

Scott hurried off with his kit to the balcony and X continued, "If one looks for motive, the texts are sufficient to show it. Thanks to Jacob's abrupt texts Whitney believed Lucy was a woman who loves Jacob, her boyfriend. She thought he is cheating on her and decided to teach him a lesson. The last text from Whitney reads "u wil pay for dis" to which Jacob's text read "whatevr b***h". They're both obviously hot-headed and didn't bother to clear out the misunderstanding. Personally, this is why I prefer texting properly or calling!"

Jacob sat staring at the floor, his head in his hands.

Malone stared at X in disbelief. "How on earth am I supposed to prove all this in court?"

"That's your problem, officer."

X walked out of a dead silent apartment. She heard Scott's fading voice scream "I found the blood!" as she walked down the stairs.

She exited the building and hailed a cab. By the time she walked into her tiny little office, it was morning. There wasn't any scope for sleep. A private detective needs to pay the bills too.

After washing down two mugs of black coffee X turned at the pile of files on her desk. She picked off the first one and flipped through. Hello Mr. Stone!, she smirked.

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