Thursday, January 03, 2019

First Meeting from Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes


Cadence Stuart is a college professor, but she also works part time showing condos in the building where she lives. Today, the show and tell was interrupted when shots were fired, and a man collapsed on the beach. Cadence happened to see the shooter leaving the apartment she'd just been showing.

More police arrived and soon Cadence found herself talking to Detective Walter Scott of the Daytona Police Department. They sat in Bob's inner office while Bob, Ted and Susan waited in the outer one.
"That's all you can tell me? No hair color, distinguishing marks?"
Cadence sighed. "I told you already, he was wearing a mask. He was about six one, with a swimmer's build."
"What's that exactly?"
Detective Scott was in good shape, but had a stocky build. Cadence tried to put it in terms he'd understand.
"Okay, some men, like you, are muscular but it's bulky. You look like you can bench press about two fifty, maybe three hundred."
"Go on." Thanks for noticing.
"You probably do martial arts. You move like a man with a purpose who could kill in a hundred different ways without breaking a sweat."
He frowned, leaning across Bob's desk. "You a cop?"
"My dad. My brother, my cousins, my uncle. . . ."
"Got it. Long line of trained observers."
"It rubbed off. I learned to pay attention. A swimmer doesn't have your kind of build. No offense, but you'd be dead in the water. A swimmer is all shoulders and lean muscle. His body is streamlined so he goes fast. This guy looked like he could break a speed record."
"You saw all that as he ran down the hall?"
Cadence blushed, ducking her head. "He was really well built, Detective Scott. Forgive me for noticing."
"No, that's actually helpful. You said he was wearing baggies. Could you see part of his leg? Any distinguishing marks?"
"No, but he was white, though very tanned. There was a line of lighter skin between his shoe and his ankle bone." She closed her eyes, thinking. "No tattoos that I noticed." She shook her head. "Sorry, that's all I saw. Oh, and the hair on his legs was dark."
"Lots of men have dark hair on their legs."
"Yes, I know. But a man that tanned, if he was blond or even had hair the same color you have, medium brown, the sun would probably bleach it light. He was very deeply tanned, Detective Scott. And the hairs were black."
"So, we're looking for a deeply tanned, black haired swimmer about six one, broad shoulders, no distinguishing marks."
She nodded, sighing. "I really wish I'd seen more. I'm sorry."
There was a knock on the door. "Detective Scott?"
"Yes?"
It was the first officer on the scene, Perry Davis. "We found the mask. No gloves, but we're still looking. Got a hair off the inside."
"Bag it and tag it."
"Already done." He held up the mask and the hair in separate plastic bags. "Our boy's got black hair. We're hoping to get more evidence off the mask."
"Excellent. Thanks, Davis." Scott smiled at Cadence. "Good call, Miss Stuart." As he was seeing her out, another officer came up.
"You aren't gonna believe this, sir, but we've got a second crime scene."
"You're kidding. Where?"
"Two floors up. Maid went in to clean an empty place. She found a shell casing behind the couch when she pulled it out to vacuum."
"Got a gun?"
"Not yet. No witnesses up there either. That floor's closed for remodeling. This room is done, so she was cleaning it up."
"How many shots did you hear fired?" Scott asked Cadence.
"Two. Almost sounded like a third, but that was an echo."
"You're sure? The others thought it was three."
She shook her head. "I've been around weapons all my life. My family's cops—rednecks to boot. I know the difference between a report and an echo."
"Weird thing in both rooms, sir."
"Oh? What's that?" Scott was almost defiant, his arms crossed in front of him.
"They shooters used the cord from the blind to steady the weapon. The guy down here, probably about six one. The guy upstairs is shorter, maybe five nine. We think he might have taken the weapon out in a golf bag. The maid found marks of cleats in the carpet."
"Please tell me she didn't get them all vacuumed up."
"She did most of them, but there were some behind the couch. The guy took his time, walked outta here like nothing was wrong."
"So, the other guy was a decoy?"
"That's what we're thinking."
Scott seemed to remember Cadence. He blinked, focusing on her face. "I guess I've got another scene to investigate. If you think of anything else, call me." He handed her a card.
As her fingers closed on it, he pulled it away teasingly. "Or just call me. Anytime, day or night."
"Your wife won't mind?"
He showed her his left hand. It didn't sport a wedding band—which meant very little, but was reassuring. "Not married, engaged or dating. You?"
Cadence laughed, tossing her long brown curls. "Do you always hit on witnesses, Detective Scott?"
Evading the question, he gave her the card. "I've got all your information. If I need to talk to you again, I know where to find you."
© 2018 Dellani Oakes



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