It’s been a week since Jasper started at the St Peters police station as rookie detective. He wipes the strand of black hair out of his face and takes a sip of the coffee standing on the wooden coaster next to him. He still can’t believe that he of all people has been asked to take over from Charles Quinn.
The other detectives warned him that he is a grumpy old man who should have retired ages ago, but Jasper was eager to start working with him. There is so much to learn from a detective like Charles and so little time to do it in. Sitting at an old, beat up wooden desk, this twenty five year old had nothing to loose and everything to gain.
He stood up from the oversized, brown leather chair and stood in front of the window. There was no view whatsoever but he liked the fact that he could stare out the window like some of the detectives did in crime films. Staring out the window, as if a light bulb will be triggered which will help them solve their case. Instead what he saw in front of him was a concrete wall with a single window.
He pulled the dirty -what-used-to-be-white blinds open and a single ray of sunshine hit his desk. A book case was standing against the wall with old case files and a broken lamp was covered in dust in the corner. A chest of drawers which he still needed to go through was on the opposite side of the room and although the place was a dump it felt like, home. A feeling he’s never had. He walked back to the chair and it creaked as he sat down. Jasper couldn’t help but smile. He shook his head and opened the brown file in front of him. It had ‘under investigation’ written in big, bold, bright red letters on the front and a page of fingerprints slipped out from under the cover page. Pictures and statements, reports and DNA tests filled the file. A knock on the door made him jump and he closes the file quickly as if he was doing something wrong.
“C…come in” he says politely and the office door swings open. A tall dark haired women stands in front of him with a smile. She steps inside his dirty office and takes a seat on one of the uncomfortable, red velvet office chairs opposite his desk. Jasper stares at her a little too long and when she smiles at him he looks away shyly, trying to act as calm and collected as possible.
“Angie, what brings you to my humble abode?” Jasper asks combing his fingers through his dark brown hair.
“Well newbie, I just wanted to warn you that Mr Quinn is in a fowl mood this morning, here’s the Smith file” she hands him the file and he opens the cover page. “Kelsey, nineteen year old student who went missing in the early hours of yesterday morning. I believe Quinn wants you to look at this, go to campus and ask some questions” Angie explains while waving her hands in the air.
Jasper frowns while reading the information in front of him. What happened to this girl? Something just doesn’t add up.
“That’s the fifth student to disappear without a trace in the past month. There’s something going on and we need to find out what it is and fast” Angie gets up and walks out of the office leaving Jasper confused and his head buzzing with hundreds of questions.
The campus is alive and buzzing with students making their way to the first class of the morning. Jasper takes a bite of the chicken-and-mayonnaise sandwich and wipes his hand on the back of his black formal trousers. His silver Honda Civic is parked in the student parking lot and for a second he tries to blend in and act normal. He flips through the file of the beautiful brunette staring back at him with big brown eyes. He needs to crack this case, it could mean so much for his career. He takes a lick at his finger and turns the page to the ‘family & friends’ section.
Numerous names pop’s up, it seems like Kelsey was a popular girl. He frowns while looking at all the names written down in her file.
“How do you just go missing without a trace Miss Smith”? he asks while staring out the window, deep in thought.
Jasper pulls the door open and throws a backpack over his shoulder. He walks down the cobblestone path with green lawn on either side. He is eyed by a few students but most doesn’t take note. A few students have their faces buried in textbooks and others are occupied on their cellphones.
He reaches the principals office and a friendly blonde woman in her forties greets him politely. She stares at him a little too long for comfort and he shifts nervously.
“Good morning, I’m here to meet with the principal, Jasper Ezra” he explains and she page through the appointment book.
“Mr Nelson shall be with you shortly, please feel free to take a seat” she says and points at two green chairs opposite her desk.
Jasper takes a seat and runs his fingers through his hair. Coming back to University is not exactly what he signed up for but that’s part of the job. Going undercover. He wants to make Quinn happy and he knows that if he keeps Quinn happy he is set for life.
The door of the principals office swings open and a hipster looking student walks out and mumbles something to the receptionist who doesn’t seem to notice.
“Mr Nelson is ready for you” she smiles revealing a gold plate between her two front teeth and Jasper can’t help but shiver. This is not what he was expecting but jumps to his feet and closes the principals door behind him.
Charles closes the book and takes off his reading glasses. He looks over to the left side of his bed, still empty as it’s been for the past sixteen years. He never thought that he would be in a position where he would ever lose a loved one close to him, let alone his wife. He looks down at his left hand and stares at the gold band around his ring finger.
He places the book and his glasses on the bed-side table and pulls the covers closer to his neck. Ever since that night, the night that changed his life, he struggles to fall asleep. His mind wonders to the missing students. He wants to crack this case but he wants Jasper to take the lead on this one. The boy’s got potential and he wants to make him the best detective he can. He is starting to feel more and more like a son to him.
Martha could never have children, that is something that they dealt with and somehow, she always thought that he blamed her for it. He didn’t, or maybe he did, a little. But he never told it to her face. He made sure to never show her how much it hurt him, staying in his study until the last tear fell from his eyes, then working on case files, and washing his face before getting into bed to avoid the unwanted questions.
The last night they spend together she was happy. Or so he tries to remember it. He’s been trying to shut out the memories of that night since it happened. He remembered waking up and not feeling Martha next to him. He remember walking down the stairs and finding her body on the cold kitchen floor, soaked in blood. Bastards. For the past sixteen years, he has been devoting his life to his job. He has spent late nights and early mornings at the office and he has done everything in his power to avoid coming home, sleeping in an empty bed and drowning in his own thoughts.
Charles is woken up by the ringing of his cellphone next to him. He searches for the noise and presses the green answer button with force.
“Quinn” he barks to the poor soul on the other end.
“I’ll be right in” he responds and drops the call without saying goodbye.
The drive to the station takes a mere three minutes but he is eager to hear the latest on the missing students. He walks into the forensic offices and closes the door behind him. He takes a seat on the black leather chair and nods his head at the forensic lab agent.
“Mr Quinn, w-we have one of the victim’s, perhaps you could identify him” the nervous agent blurbs and Charles stands to his feet and pulls the white sheeting off his face.
A young man, nineteen or twenty is revealed under the white sheets. The lab agent takes a step back but Charles moves in closer.
“What on earth?” he asks while inspecting the face of the young man closer.
“Eleven in total sir” the lab agent reveals and turns around to fill out some paperwork.
In the face of the boy in front of Charles, eleven razor blades has been buried in his face. Stained blood lines showing where the blood circulated.
“Cause of death?” Charles barks at the lab agent who jumps at the sound of his stern voice.
“H-his throat was cut sir” the agent responds, handing him the forensic report.
“Dammit, we need to catch these guys and catch them fast” Charles murmurs under his breath and as he glances up he can see that the forensic agent is standing uncomfortable with a look of fear on his face.
“Good job Parker” Charles says and taps the boy’s shoulder. “You did a great job”
The agent smiles shyly and he can see the pride shining from his chest.
Charles smiles and heads out the forensic lab on a search to find Jasper. But first, coffee.
The steaming cup of coffee shivers when Jasper bursts through his office door.
“Mr Quinn, morning” he smiles and walks over shake Charles’s hand.
“Morning Jasper, I hope you have some good news for me?” Charles asks keeping eye contact.
Jasper shoves his hand into the pocket of his trousers, a oily stain clearly visible on the front. Charles can’t help but smile. Kids these days. He takes out a card and hands it to him.
Charles squints his eyes to read the fine print and looks up at Jasper.
“You got in?” he asks, surprise in his voice.
“I got in” Jasper smiles back and jumps to his feet.
Charles can see the excitement in his demeanour and reminds himself that this is work and he can’t get up and dance around with this rookie detective.
Jasper takes a seat and Charles can see that a serious discussion is about to take place.
“The principal is on board with what we need to do, we have worked out a schedule on classes I will be taking. I have a list of names of who I should look out for, who I should become friends with and invitations to all the parties happening this week.” he says with a confidence that Charles only picks up on now.
“Well done Mr Ezra, I’m proud of the progress, now let’s catch the bad guys so we can put this chapter behind us and move on with our lives”.
Jasper stands and extends his hand to Charles. They shake and look at each other for a few seconds.
“I won’t disappoint you sir” Jasper says and walks out the office, closing the door behind him.
Charles stands in the middle of the office, a sudden wave of sadness hitting him.
“I know son, I know”.