Still Life in Scarlet (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

A woman looks at Bosch's painting "Tryptich of the Last Judgement" in Vienna

Foto: Reuters/HERWIG PRAMMER Hieronymus Boschs “Weltgerichtstryptichon” in der Wiener Akademie der Bildenden

“Still Life in Scarlet”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros met Rovas at a diner they liked, The Blue Line. It was far enough from the Rovas household for Khazarian to relax a bit. The tension in the booth they shared was palpable. Claire, their usual waitress, didn’t linger at the table; she dropped their dishes off and scooted away.

“…I know, Gil. I know,” Rovas continued after she left. “I wasn’t thinking, and that upsets me to no ends. What upsets me more is the what Berrak will think if…when she knows the whole story.”

Gil did not wonder at all if Berrak would find out. He was impressed with Berrak’s line of reasoning; he doubted they would have had the closures they pulled off if not for her help. So, he didn’t answer, only taking a bite out of his apple pie, following it with his coffee.

Rovas sat looking out the diner window at the cars passing by. He took a sip from his coffee and made a grimace. “I wish Berrak could teach people how to make a proper cup of coffee. Lord knows, she’s tried with me.”

They both smiled; Rovas’ own attempts at coffee making fell far below the standards of Berrak’s brewing skills.

“Come over after you get off work. We’ll plug in all the details. Berrak and I already have a beginning plan.”

Gil nodded his head. Rovas turned his attention to his slice of pie. They cleaned their plates in silence, paid their bill, and left. When Claire went to bus the table she saw that both cups of coffee were barely touched.

*****

Hours after Gil arrived at the Rovas house, the three were huddled in the study, examining the details on the whiteboard and bulletin boards. Berrak and Gil were still making notes with followup questioning, routes they felt they should follow. Rovas was mentally making his own notes.

“Here’s what we know. Three years ago, on May 4th, a 911 call was received. The caller, who was later identified as Lilly Landers, a known madame with a record, stated that a murder had been committed and that she felt she was next. Just as she gave out the address the call abruptly ended, with her calls of help. Three of them, and then the line went…I hate to say it, but it went dead.

Gil and I were not the first to respond; a squad car was closer to the house. When we arrived, the coppery smell of blood was prevalent. All the windows had been closed. It was a cool night for May. The officer who got there directed us inside and upstairs. He stressed he did not touch anything. Rovas told the officer to stay outside and  to secure the perimeter.

At the top of the landing we found the body of Ms. Landers. Blood had dripped down onto the steps. She had been stabbed in the back three times. Beyond the body were three rooms, all the doors closed. We checked all three bedrooms, and in two were the corpses of two other women, who also had priors for prostitution, tied up on the beds. Except for a tube running down the arm of one of the women, there were no other visible signs of cause of death. No strangulation marks. No knife wounds.

The ME arrived, muttering out loud…”

“A lot,” Gil added.

“Yes, a lot. He didn’t want to commit to anything definite then and there. After he got them back to the lab and examined them, he was bursting for us to come down so he could deliver the results.”

Gil broke in: “He said they were bleed almost completely dry. Exsangal….”

“Exsanguination, Gil,” she patted his hand. “Not a pretty way to go. Two young girls drained of blood. I remember the headlines of the ‘Vampire Killer’, but I know you had more details that weren’t discussed with the press.”

“We couldn’t give it all away, in the hopes of catching the person who did this. We didn’t want false leads, so we held a few things back.”

“SOP, Zarian?” She smiled.

He nodded.

“And you’re sure this was a brothel?”

Gil nodded. “There were the usual items. Tons of condoms, lingerie, leather, sex toys, lubricants. It was obvious at first, and the rest came when we found Landers’ books. No names of clients or the girls. Just initials.”

They were all quiet for a moment, looking at the wall of information of their private notes. Berrak broke the silence.

“There was a fourth bedroom made up in the attic?” She didn’t look at her husband or Gil, concentrating on the the photos and captions on the white board. Rovas seemed to lose a little color. “It looks lived in, done up like the other rooms.” She looked from the pictures to the notes to her husband and Gil. She thought she had never seen more guilt on two men’s faces. Rovas asked her to sit down.

“What aren’t you telling me Zarian? Gil?”Berrak said as she sat.

They both looked at each other. Gil raised his hands, palms up, and shrugged both shoulders. He and Rovas sighed at the same time.

“Berrak…there was a fourth girl.”

“But, there’s been no mention in any of these papers. Nothing in the news. What? How? I…I don’t understand. A fourth. That room has been bothering me all day.”

Rovas sighed once again. He knelt down and took both of her hands.

“I have to tell you about Kristina…”

*************************************************
“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1600 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

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3 responses »

    • A French restaurant, in a house in the hills, was actually a brothel in the 40’s and 50’s. The place was atmosphere to the nth degree. As to an actual up and running one, I’m not telling. 🙂

      Like

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