Chapter 3:


Til Death Do Us Part

It’s Sunday. I think. I take a sip of water and lull my head back, ignoring the pain from the angular slat of the chair. It’d be nice to leave, feel the sun on my cheeks. But out there was different. No amount of warmth will erase the cold from my fingertips. No amount of closing my eyes will change the day to the past and no amount of crying will bring him back.

Officer Chipmunk, aptly named with his chubby cheeks and small piercing eyes, clears his throat. It’s been some time since he sat down, waiting for me. What can I say though? I’m tired yet I don’t want to go home. Home? Was it a home?

“You’re composed today. That’s an improvement.” He starts, and I toss my head forward. It was true. I’m surprised they didn’t tranquilize me with the way I acted the past two days. Whining, crying, sobbing, yelling, and pounding at the walls. Honestly, I could still go for throwing this table but I’m holding it in.

“Composed. Composite. Compost. Three words and they’re all what I am.”

“Excuse me?” He furrows his eyebrows and I smirk; it’s not surprising his humor doesn’t match mine. The past interrogations, if that’s what one could call it and not pitying the lost girl, have shown Chipmunk to be without kids but not without wife. I’m sure he wants a kid though, the way he laments about his wife’s age and the fertility period. It’s surprising what people will bring up when you’re quiet.

“Nothing.” I reply and sit up straight. My eyebrows perk at the manila folders. I didn’t see those before.

“Ms. Tempus.” He knocks his hands on the table and my attention switches. “It’s been three days since you’ve been detained. Don’t you want to leave? We’ve made progress on our end, but you can’t stay here if you don’t have anything else to say. Frankly, I’m confused on several fronts on some matters, but we can’t keep you here any longer.” He’s lying. How much could they have learned? I want to ask what they’ve got but I doubt he’ll give it to me. I was suspect number one for a time after all.

“Then, what’s with the folder?” I ask. I reach over but Chipmunk slows my roll, he snatches the folder back and shakes his head.

“These are for cooperative individuals, Ms. Tempus.” He smiles as if I’m an unruly child, but I huff and lean back. “When I asked you where you were the night in question, you didn’t answer because what was it? ‘Why does it matter when I’m not the murderer.’ I believe that’s what you answered. When I asked who Mr. Farrow had been in contact with, you answered, ‘who cares, the murderer is probably an obsessive fan.’ When I asked what you meant, you went silent on me.”

“They were all valid answers.” In my head at least. Afterall, while I’m in here, the murderer is out there doing gods know what. I clench my fist. That’s right. Not only is the world out of this grey, macabre room hollow and empty of my best friend but the killer is roaming free. I can’t even do anything about it.

“Alright, Ms. Tempus.” He sighs and opens the folder to my surprise. He slides over a photo and my shoulders fall. It’s a picture of the bouquet. “We’ve narrowed down the specific flower shop that sells these. Has Mr. Farrow bought flowers recently? Any woman he might’ve been with? These blue hydrangeas,” he taps the photo, “are indicative of scorn. Lots of planned murders leave symbolic messages in what they leave behind.”

Leave behind. Right. I guess that was one way of phrasing it. Not that the killer stuffed the flowers in every stab wound, creating the world’s most disturbing bouquet. It was grotesque. I wish I could erase the memory from my mind.

“No.” I mumble. “No, he was single. He had no one to buy flowers for. Even if he had, what kind of sicko does that? What kind of person does that?” My voice breaks and the folder closes. It’s quiet for a moment and then the door opens.

“It’s time.” A voice from behind breaks the air and Officer Chipmunk stands.

“Well, you heard the man. I’m afraid you have to go home. The room has been cleaned so there’s nothing to be scared of and we’ll have officers nearby at all times.”

No. No. No. I’m not ready.

“Miss, you’ve been a suspect, and then a witness. Don’t try to be anything else. Please leave.”

My body won’t move. I know I could do it if I tried but the air is thick, and my breathing is unsteady. A pat on my shoulder shifts my view and Officer Chipmunk hands me his business card. I take it. Larry E. Heisenberg. Criminal Investigations.

“Just come back if you remember something, alright?”

The way he looks at me breaks me. I wordlessly get up and head out the door. It feels like a dozen eyes are on me, judging me. Poor girl. So awful what happened. She’s a little crazy though, don’t you think? Heisenberg is too lenient. What if we’re letting a killer walk free? Stop that. Doubt they’ll ever find the killer. Did they check her bag for drugs? I hope it’s not a serial case.

I exit the building and run. I don’t have my car; I don’t have any money. It doesn’t matter. Even if my legs break down, it doesn’t matter. My best friend is gone. My keys jingle in my bag and I want to throw them away. There isn’t a home to come back to without him. 

Joshua Lundquest