The Girl in White

The Girl in White

A Chapter by The ArK
"

Detective Albart Baudmann was dragged out of sleep by the news of a young researcher's suspicious death. He sets out to pay a visit.

"

Chapter 1: The Girl in White

 

    It was on a damp spring morning that Lina Welcoste was found dead in her apartment at the Wiedelburg university’s guest house. It was the last week of March, spring just around the corner. But the weather was moody as it has always been around that time of the year. The roads were damp, I remember, when I drove to her place that morning to inspect the scene.


It was the spring holidays, so the guest house was near to empty. I met a few familiar faces on my way to her apartment, chanting a melancholic good morning as I passed by. I don’t really see why would’ve they been sad for the demise of a young girl they hardly even knew. Now I think about it, it possibly was because they missed a hot cup of tea in their bed while it's drizzling outside, maybe a quick round of sex with their wives or girlfriends or whatever. But now they all were guarding the corpse of a young university girl.


Lina’s apartment was on the second floor, No. 6, to the right of the stairs. The door was wide open and all the lights inside were kept on. There were only 2 people inside, waiting for me to arrive so that they can pass the baton and relax for a while.


The room was kind of smelly, from the dampened rug that was lying next to the door I suppose. Not keen on cleanliness this girl, I thought. It was a cozy little room. Cozy enough for a single lady to live, I can vouch. Immediately left of the door was the bathroom, which at the first sight seemed clean enough. On the right was the shoe stand and a coat hanger, where a hideously large black coat was hanging. Past the small corridor was the door to her bedroom. As I stepped in, the two police officers, Jake and Ryan, turned and moved aside so that they were no longer obstructing my view of the girl who was hanging on a white shawl tied on a small hook on the ceiling. The sight was not horrific like many of the heinous crimes that happen these days. But there was something that moved me, in an unpleasant sort of way. She was wearing a white nightgown with a shade of blue on the bottom. My eyes were fixated on her face, which was long dead. Still, it looked alive, her body too. I felt I was staring at an angel levitating in the air. Just seconds later I felt sheepish for fantasizing about a dead woman. I think my face let out my thoughts just well, that I found that Ryan gave me a slight nod as if it meant ‘We know!’.   


“Poor pretty girl we got here, Albart. Name is Lina Welcoste. A doctorate student in chemistry here in the university. Turning 24 this June.” Ryan said.


I didn’t reply. I was trying to get a clear look of her ghostly face trough the messy black long hair that covered most of it. All that while, she remained still, as if lost in a deep thought, staring at the grey tiles below. It was only when I forced myself to detach from her pensive yet cold face and look around the room that a feeling that something was amiss crept into my head.


The room was undoubtedly a mess. But for the standards of a young university student, I am inclined to say that room was pretty neat. But my middle aged brain that is accustomed to order and discipline will judge it as messy without a second thought. On the opposite side of the door was a small bed laid touching the wall. Right across the room was the kitchen area which was neatly kept which was in contrast to the rest of the room. On the right side of the door was a table which was laid facing the window. Scattered all across the table were countless research papers and books-mostly academic stuff- and a book of Agatha Christie, Death Comes as the End. The semi-transparent white curtains were drawn in but I could see that the window was locked from the inside. On the right hand corner of the room was the cupboard which was closed at the time. Between the table and the cupboard was another small table where a small television was standing, and a shiny ladies watch laid beside the TV. As a matter of fact, the room was nothing out of ordinary, except that there was a dead woman hanging in its centre.


I looked closely at her body, now with the inquiring eyes of a police officer. She was hanging from a small hook in the ceiling which was supposedly put there to fix an ornamented light bulb. She was hanging quite close to the bed, a feet or two away towards the door. It was tantalizingly close to the bed, I felt. If she desired to change her mind after she fastened that knot around her neck, it was quite possible that she could step on the bed and save her soul, or at least try to. I looked at the bed sheet for any signs of struggle, but it was a one fine white bed linen. Next detail that caught my attention was how low the body hangs from the ceiling. I mean, I have seen many suicide by hanging before. But this one stroke me as odd because her body was hanging too close to the ground, about only a feet or so high, which was not going well with the rather tall chair that was lying down strangely far to the right from the body. I couldn’t just comprehend the thought that this lady kicked that heavy chair to a distance of more than 3 feet as the final action to kill herself. I just couldn’t imagine that.


A dark green trolley bag was what deflected my attention from the heavy wooden chair. The bag was lying half under the bed and half outside, close to the left wall. There was dust accumulated to a greater degree all around the bag except for the handle part, which was an indication that it has been handled recently.


“Did you check what’s inside the bag?” I asked them.


“No. We didn’t touch anything yet. We’re waiting for the forensics to arrive.” Said Jake.


“But we found this from one of the table drawers.” Ryan was holding an almost blank paper covered inside the transparent evidence bag.


He handed it to me. It was clearly a carelessly torn page from a notebook and on it was 2 sentences written in a slim and slanted handwriting with a blue inked pen.


Life has always been unfair to me.

For the first time I am being unfair to life, and for the last time too.”


“Ah! A suicide note! How classic!” I said and inspected both side of the paper. There was nothing else. Just these 2 sentences carelessly scribbled down. I handed it back to him and asked:

“What else do you have for me?”


“There’s this mobile phone. I suppose it’s hers. A pretty old phone without fingerprint unlocking!” Jake said showing me an outdated Motorola smartphone.


“Then we’ll have to wait!” I said and quickly added: “Where was this phone, by the way?”


“Well… this was handed over to me by the young lady next door. She was the first one to find out about this ordeal. As per her testimony the mobile phone was lying there on the shoe stand.” He said pointing towards the door.


“On the shoe stand?” it was indeed a strange place to find a mobile phone.


“I don’t quite understand why either.” Jake said with a perplexed expression on his face.


“How very odd!” I agreed and continued:


“By the way, who’s this young lady you guys mentioned? What’s her story?”


“She was the one who informed us about this whole business. Lives next door.” Ryan said, slightly tilting his head towards the direction of the door.


I decided to go for a quick inspection of the cupboard and the table drawers, and the bathroom before I go meet the lady in question. To my disappointment, I found nothing that stood out. Only her clothes, a few more books distributed throughout the drawers, and a lot less beauty products than I expected. I knew there would not be much progress if I were to start looking around the room with a magnification lens, as in the stories. I have always been ignorant to evidences that miss a normal eye. Not a keen eye I am having, they say. So I knew when to take charge and when to leave it to the experts.


Before leaving the room I turned towards the two and asked:

“Were this curtains drawn when you came, or did anyone fiddle with the window or curtain?”


“No. It is exactly as it was when we arrived. Windows locked from the inside and curtains drawn.” Jake replied.


Satisfied, I walked out of the room. But from the corner of the eye, I could see Lina hanging in the centre of the room all the while. A strange chill ran down my spine as I felt I saw a movement in her face, a devilish smile or a heavenly cry. Of course, I was imagining that. When I was seeing her for the first time, her body was stiff like dry wood in summer. Rigor mortis would’ve kicked in a few hours earlier. Later I was informed that the university physician has confirmed death before my arrival and has put the time of death to around 9-11 hours prior. Which meant she was dead before midnight the previous day. But still I felt that she was pulling a trick, I felt I saw her expression change on the corner of my eye as I walked out.

 

 

(to be continued...)



© 2020 The ArK


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Reviews

Well written and gripping story. Keep writing.
Cheers,
Anjali

Posted 1 Year Ago


You should know, hanging is a very ugly way to die. It distorts and discolors the face. No one looking at a hanged woman would find her attractive. Now, it may be that she was murdered and hung up there. If she was already dead, her face wouldn't change, but if she was murdered by strangulation, her face would still be distorted.

In the beginning, I'm confused as to what guest house were going to and how you know the familiar people you're passing. How do you fit into the scene?

Your opinions don't bother me unless they get in the way of the story. People judge everything they see. You're giving voice to that judgement. Just be careful with it.

You're setting an interesting scene. The rest of it looks like it just needs a good editing job to smooth it out.

I'm looking forward to future chapters.

Church

Posted 1 Year Ago


Overall, this is strong clear logical story telling that compels the reader to keep going & never gets boring or slow. I have issues about how appropriate this narrator's thoughts are. I do not believe that any decent policeman would make so many judgmental observations, such as examining her toiletries & saying it whether she's got a lot . . . or spending so much time discussing if this was neat or not very neat, for a college student. This is all dumb superficial bullshit, observations based on some person's assumptions about how people "should" be. This is NOT one bit how a policeman looks at a death scene & if this guy is so opinionated, I hope this is a story to show that he's incompetent. On the other hand, there are also strong depictions, like noticing the dust all around the bag but not on the handle. This is the kind of cool, non-judgmental observations I would expect from a professional. It's no excuse, toward the end, where this guy says he's leaving things to the experts. Police work should be done without making judgments about the dead, period. Sorry for this less-than-positive point, but it sticks out like a huge sore thumb to me, making it hard to enjoy the rest of your story which is mostly well-written (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 1 Year Ago



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Added on May 10, 2020
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The ArK
The ArK

Thrissur, Kerala, India



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I believe complex thoughts can be conveyed through simple words. I write simple, but trying to mean a lot. And I'm 21. more..

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