“Okay, Seth, when I hit the record button; you’ll be able to give your statement, on the record. I’m going to do the whole official sounding bit, first, but don’t be alarmed. Just tell us what you know about the deceased and that’s it. Okay?”
Seth nodded but part of him wondered if he ought to have a lawyer present. He’d heard horror stories about how everyday people get duped into confessing a crime they didn’t commit. He decided to word his statement very carefully to avoid any chance of having a random stranger’s death pinned on him, especially being a horror writer. Bill gave the signal and, after a deep breath, Seth spoke.
“Okay, I briefly observed the victim for the first time, the other day. Let’s see…My first day gathering information for my next novel was Tuesday so it would have been Wednesday, the eighth. It was in that little coffee shop over on the corner of Main and Vine. I forget the name of it because I never go there. Well, I’d never been there before, I should say. It has a really funny name though.”
“The Dark Side of the Spoon?” Bill interjected. “Is that it?”
“Yeah, that’s it! I had gone in there to pick up some coffee to take to Kim and Angela. He was a jerk to everyone in line and believe me, it was a long line. If he acted like that every day, I’d bet he made a whole lot of enemies. It’s never a smart idea to piss people off before they’ve had their coffee.”
Bill hit stop on the recorder before allowing his laughter to escape.
“While that’s quite true, I’m going to remove that last part. Just stick to the facts. If he got into a verbal confrontation, if someone threatened him, that’s factual and feel free to give us the low down but any personal observations open you up to attack so leave that out, okay?”
Seth completed his statement quickly and Bill replayed the recording to ensure everything was correct. Afterward, they used some of the station’s equipment to filter out the sound from Seth’s video at the restaurant. By the time they’d finished everything, it was closer to morning than bedtime. Bleary eyed and yawning, Seth shuffled to Bill’s vehicle. He envied Melanie, cuddled under the covers, undoubtedly with Malachi at the foot of the bed. It was a struggle to keep his eyes open while giving Bill directions to the house. More than anything, he wanted a good night’s sleep but, since he agreed to meet the reporter at 9AM, there was no way he’d get enough sleep. I’ll be better off staying up. Some extra-strong coffee and whatever is left of the cheesecake from dessert, and I should be able to get some work done.
“I’m home. Did you miss me, my pet? Guess what… Aw, not in the mood for guessing games, huh? Fine, I’ll just tell you. Another body was found tonight. Since those bumbling fools are taking their sweet time finding my presents; I get to keep you around a little longer. Between you and me, I’m delighted. You’re absolutely decadent.”
Tears welled in the bound and gagged woman’s eyes before spilling over and trickling down her pale cheek.
“Are those tears of joy, I see? No? Well, that’s downright rude. It seems you haven’t learned a thing. Rudeness is what landed you here in the first place. I’ve been too lenient. It’s time I teach you a lesson.”
Struggling against the binding cords, she squealed in agony. Her captor glared at her with sheer malice in his eyes. His favorite moment was rapidly approaching, that flash of terror when he raised the blade for her to see. He could feel his pulse quicken and his breathing grew erratic. When he could no longer stand the anticipation; his fingers curled around the stainless steel handle. Cool to the touch, the brushed finish was not as sleek as the blade but it felt perfect in his palm.
“Hmm, what would be the most effective punishment? I could cut out your tongue but I’ve used that one on that little shit from the coffee shop. No, I don’t want to overlap and give the cops any similarities. What would you miss the most?”