Free Falling Murder

Free Falling Murder

A Story by Leon Sylar
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After the death of a Parachuting Instructor, Musket PD must find the killer before he can escape from the Four Corners area where they have jurisdiction.

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“Freefalling Murder”

            “Ok!” the parachuting instructor yelled over the roaring wind coming through the door, “Remember what you learned in class the last few weeks! If you pull your parachute too early, you won’t make it down in time and if you pull it too late, you won’t find yourself waking up in the morning!”
            The frightened students nodded their heads in understanding as one by one they ventured out of the plane into the rushing winds. As they leaped out, the instructor looked back to the pilot and gave the thumbs up. The pilot smiled and continued to fly. It was protocol between the two workers to make sure each individual student made it out okay.
            “Is that the last one?” the pilot yelled looking back briefly as the instructor made it to the door.
            “See you at the bottom!” The instructor yelled leaping out the window.
            Wind rushed past his face, as he fell through the sky. A smile flashed across his face as he reached for his ripcord to open his parachute. Yanking it away from him, his parachute deployed, but he didn’t slow down. Looking behind him, he watched as the frayed ropes attaching his parachute to his pack drifted off. In urgent fear, he reached for his back up chute only to find the cord stuck!
            Frustrated and scared the instructor looked back to find himself only a hundred yards from the ground! Quickly and quietly saying a prayer in his heart, a few seconds soon past and everything went black.
 
            “Have you spoken to all the witnesses Finn?” the detective questioned looking at the officer on duty.
            “Yes sir,” Officer Finn spoke confidently with notebook in hand.
            “What have we learned?” he asked.
            “Well Randy, sir,” the officer opened his notebook, “It would appear as if none of the students wanted him dead, to say the least, and that everything appeared okay with him when he was sending them out of the plane.”
            “So you’re saying there is no current and apparent motive?”
            “No,” Finn looked down, “There appears to be no motive.”
            Detective Randy Shiner, Head Detective of the Musket PD, had been called on the case only an hour ago when the body was discovered a few miles off. He wore orange sunglasses and a tan suit with his badge adorned on his left coat pocket. His shoes had been covered in dust due to the mere fact the body had been found in the deserts on the four corners.
            “Do we have a name?” Randy asked biting down on his teeth.
            “Yeah,” Finn turned another page in his notebook, “Darrel Williams, his drivers license confirms it.”
            “Has anyone informed relatives and friends of the death yet?”
            “Yes sir,” Finn looked back up at the detective who was now to his right, “Close friend and co-founder of this school was the pilot of the plane taking them on the trip. He has already called the instructor’s family in California.”
            “Great,” Randy kicked some dust up, “That means we’ll have to talk to them before we can do an autopsy.”
            “Sorry sir,” Finn replied, “But he called them while someone else was calling 911.”
            “Interesting,” Randy looked at the officer, “bring them all into the station, I want to individually talk to them all now.”
            “And the evidence is already sent to the lab,” Finn hurriedly added before Randy could leave, “They say they’ll have all the info by the time you get back.”
            “Good,” Randy smiled, “Let’s go.” Hopping in his car, he turned the radio way up as “Baba O’Riley” by the Who began to play on the station.
 
            The lab of Musket, Arizona was state of the art, especially in the small town no one had ever heard of outside of county limits. New computer technology allowed fingerprints to be reconstructed perfectly from partials to ensure matches through AFIS and other government records. Lab technicians Mack and Trey were already diagnosing the parachute.
            “What do you got on prints?” Trey asked as she studied the frayed ropes of Williams’s chute.
            “They all go back to the same two guys who packed this parachute,” Mack’s eyes were wide open as he clicked on the two profiles, bringing them up side by side, “Founders: Instructor Darrel Williams and Pilot: Jarvis Bergman.”
            “Well the ropes appeared to have been cut by a buck knife,” She held the magnifying glass closer, “And some brown hair seems to have survived the force of freefall.”
            “Strange,” Mack said looking at the strand of hair, “How did it last on the parachute?”
            “I don’t know,” Trey said, “But it appears as if the emergency chute had gotten stuck in on the metal ring around the rope. See this-” she pointed Mack towards a spike ejecting from the ring, “-the rope was stuck on that. That is why the chute didn’t pull.”
            “Okay,” Mack frowned. “We don’t have much to report to Randy yet . . . So what do we do?”
            “Continue to search, we still have personal affects of our vic to go through.”
            “Then let’s get to work.” Mack smiled next getting closer to Trey.
 
            Randy looked as his first witness nervously twiddled his thumbs about in the chambers.
            “Why did you bring them back,” the large African-America asked his top agent. Tracy Langley was never a happy man, “By now they’ve all aligned their stories to sound the same.”
            “That is how we pick out the lies from the truth.”
            “What?” Tracy asked.
            “It is a risky method to try,” Randy laughed, “But we generally can find the liar from the group by whosever stories seem the most innocent and unchanged from their original statements.”
            “That can’t work!” Langley looked over to his detective, who had a smile on his face.
            “It does most of the time,” then he looked worriedly at Langley, “if you do it right, sir.”
 
            “So we can confirm our vic is surely Darrel Williams,” Trey asked as Mack finished fingerprinting the rest of the wallet.
            “Yeah,” Mack sighed, “His name is all over it, finger prints, ID, even in sharpie it is written across.”
            “Nice,” Trey sealed the bag. As Mack went to help her with that, a fax started to come through the machines close by.
            “What is that?” Try asked again.
            “It’s our permission to perform an autopsy on the body!” Mack claimed, “I’ll take it down to Sal immediately!”
 
            “Good news sir,” Finn called through the ear phone sitting in Randy’s ear, “We have permission to do the autopsy.”
            “Good,” Randy thought sitting in front of his final witness. The method of interrogation that Randy had proposed to do actually had nothing to do with hard core pushing, only silence.
            “Uh . . .” the eighteen year old Martha said shifting uncomfortable in her chair, “So what do you want?”
            Randy didn’t respond for a moment, he looked up and gave her a charming smile, “You know what you want.”
            “A confession?” she slammed the table, “No way! I didn’t kill him.”
            Randy looked at his notes, so far the same.
            “Could you elaborate that for me?”
            “What is there to say?” Martha breathed in, “Okay, this is what happened. Yesterday we started finals, packing the parachutes. Mr. Williams and Mr. Bergman were prepping the Mr. Williams’s parachute. Today I took off and lept.”
            Still no inconsistencies.
            “Thank you miss Martha,” he said after another long moment of silence, “You can go now.”
            “Oh,” she relaxed, “Thank you.” She stood up and walked out. That was the last Randy ever saw of her.
            “This is great,” he murmured, putting his hands behind his head as Finn walked in, “Not one inconsistency before hand!”
            “Maybe they collaborated stories before we arrived.” Finn suggested.
            “Doubt it,” Randy stood up, “I guess we’ll have to look other places.
            “Should we head to Doc Sal?”
            “Docile?” Randy used the coroners nick name, “Of course.”
 
            “You send me a body this messed up and you expect me to fix it?”
            “Fix it? No, to open it up, yes.”
            “I’m sorry,” Docile responded, “But the force of the impact actually should have made his body separate. By cutting it open, I might lose everything inside.” Docile had earned his name by being the opposite. Docile, rude and proud, was also a heavy metal head. Once Randy had walked in on him, merely a few weeks ago, when he finally purchased the new Metallica CD, jamming out to the hard core songs.
            “Thanks for the image,” Randy said, “So you just assume the death is from what exactly?”
            “Either impact with the ground or heart attack on the way,” Docile smirked, “I’ll never know from the looks of it.”
            “Too bad,” Randy thought, “I’m not happy to say it but I’ve got to go deeper to find this murderer.”
            “Did it ever occur to you this was an accident?”
            “Nope,” Randy said stopping at the door, “All reports said Williams and Bergman packed the bag, plus Trey says the chute was cut by a knife.”
            “What about the brown hair on the rope, they told me about that,” Docile prompted.
            “Bergman’s,” Randy frowned, “Unfortunately, he was leaning over the body-” It clicked in his head, “Thanks Doc.”
            “No problem,” Docile said returning to his work. Once the door was closed, Randy could here the sounds of Megadeath through the door.
 
            “Trey,” Randy said entering his lab, “Get Mack on the sky-divers books. I want to know all about the business.”
            “Something click in your head boss?”
            “Yeah,” Randy turned the corner, “And I want you to obtain all the phone records made from Bergman’s phone!”
            “But that could take a court order!”
            “Then get one!” Randy said yelling down the hall.
            “That won’t be necessary,” Mack said meeting Randy at the end of the hall.
            “What are you talking about?” he asked looking at his co-workers.
           
            The beaten and ragged body of Jarvis Bergman sat in the interrogation room holding an ice pack to his blackened eye, bruised temple, and swollen cheek bone. He had found his way to the station.
            “How did he get here again Mack?”
            “A trucker picked him up a few miles away from the company’s hangar,” Mack rubbed the back of his neck, “From what it sounds like he was kidnapped, beaten up, robbed and dropped off. If that trucker hadn’t of found him, he would have died.”
            “Great,” Randy put his hand against the glass, “That means our killer is still out there. And we have no idea where he is!”
            “Actually,” Trey and Finn entered the room, “Maybe not.”
            “What are you talking about?” Randy turned around.
            “Another call was apparently made by our imposter,” Finn put his hands on his hip.
            “And oddly enough through his radio on the plane,” Trey showed him transcribed conversation, “He’s meeting someone at McDonald’s on Thirtieth and San Droe.”
            “Why McDonalds?”
            “It’s inconspicuous, its public, no one would ever believe that an important meeting could happen there.”
            “Let’s go.”
 
            The cars departed from the station, sirens blaring as they whizzed down the streets. Randy was confused. It didn’t seem possible that Jarvis could have been that easily replaced, and without speculation. Who was the killer?
            The black SUV’s surrounded the McDonalds as the officers drew their guns and stormed inside. Randy and Mack entered through the front door. The only two men in the dining room saw them and took off into the kitchen. As Mack readied to chase them, Randy stopped him. As they continued to down, they reached the exit to see Trey and Finn talking to the cooks. Fear took over their eyes as they looked around for a spot to hide when they heard the gun c**k.
            “Going somewhere,” Randy reached for his cuffs, gun held steadily behind the men, “Mack, book him.” He through the cuffs towards his partner, who took out his own as well. As Mack began to repeat their rights, Randy’s phone began to ring.
            “What is it?”
            “Sir,” the voice spoke, “We have a problem.”
            “What is it?” Randy mumbled, it was Jon from the lab’s reception desk.
            “I tried to find your team, and none of them were there. But Docile has left a message for you,” Jon scrambled around for a piece of paper, “It says – ahem – uh, I’m not going to read the exact message for you, but here’s the gist. He has examined the wounds on Jervis’s body, they were caused a few hours ago.”
            “So then who did we pick up?” Randy looked at the two men, which he noticed that both men were Hispanic.
            “Uh,” Mack looked at him, “They admit to being illegal immigrants.”
            “Great.” Randy closed the phone and headed out to the SUVs.
 
            “Okay Jarvis,” Randy sat, tapping his fingers in front of the suspect, “Why did you do it?”
            “What?” he acted innocent, his voice was scratchy.
            “Why did you kill your partner?”
            “Kill him?” he said, continuing to act innocent of any crime, “I didn’t kill him!”
            “But evidence said otherwise,” Randy opened up the folder containing the phone numbers. “The only time Williams’s family is even on this list is from three minutes before his death.” The before was stressed in the sentence.
            Jarvis Bergman sat silently for a while, “It . . . was . . . an accident.”
            “Is it?” Randy leaned closer in, “I bet it isn’t. I pretty sure if we were to check the hanger, we would find the knife that cut the ropes.”
            “It was a joke okay!” Jarvis yelled, “I cut the ropes knowing that Darrel would know what to do!”
            “What?” Randy’s eyes narrowed, “A joke like that is deadly!”
            “You don’t understand,” Jarvis calmed down, “It’s a trick we play on the graduates. We would both pack the pack and then cut the ropes on the main chute. Then he would pull the emergency and, with the students in terror and fear, he would safely land.”
            “Can anyone confirm this?”
            “Ask anyone from the prior graduating classes,” Jarvis shook his head, tears welling up in his eyes, “It was only a joke.” Randy stood up and exited the interigation hall.
            “How long would it take to confirm his story?” Randy asked Finn who had been watching the conversation.
            “A few hours,” Finn smirked, “It wouldn’t be very hard.”
            “Do you think we could get a motive for murder?”
            “Most likely not,” Finn smirked, “No one really knew much about them anyway so we have no way to confirm the thoughts we might have.”
            “Then I guess this a case closed,” Randy said exiting the room with anger in his voice. Finn turned and watched as Jarvis continued to weep quietly.

© 2009 Leon Sylar


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Leon Sylar
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Added on January 2, 2009

Author

Leon Sylar
Leon Sylar

Phoenix, AZ



About
I am a high school student and enjoy reading and writing in my spare time. Drug and alcohol free, I also enjoy playing the guitar and football, I run track, and find music another joy in life. I.. more..

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