The Two Detectives in
Blood on the Railway
Two subtle figures stood close by a recent crime scene, Detective Michael Encyclopaedia and Forensic Investigator Freud Lo-hurt. Michael placed his hand on his old black hat and shuffled it slightly, watching various members of the police force scatter along the railway.
Freud settled his glasses on his nose and stood quietly in thought. The sun was slowly going down in this deserted location. With a light cold wind rushing through and creating waves in the tall dead grass. Michael sniffed, looked behind him then turned back to Freud. “Guy was hit by a train... suicide, accident. Why do they want us? I should be in bed.”
Freud frowned in reply, “I only know as much as you Michael. Let's ask Superintendent Inkwood.” He began to walk across the dry dead grass, it crunched under his shoes.
Mumbling came from the officers, Freud picked up a few passing words, “Trains cancelled...”... “No impact.”
Superintendent Maria Inkwood stood in uniform over the railway track. The sun was moving downwards behind, blazing an orange outline around her. Freud smiled and tipped his hat towards her.
“Freud! Long time no see. How is work now?” She seemed delighted to see Freud. But before Freud could speak Maria's smile soon faded, “You're The Two Detectives?”
Michael burst in, “Yes! What’s the situation miss?”
Maria Inkwood ignored Michael's outburst and continued speaking to Freud, “You're better than freelance work Freud. Especially with... Michael Encyclopaedia.”
Freud chuckled, “I know, Michael is my friend. No matter what people say, we have solved quite a lot of crimes.”
Maria slowly seemed happier to know Freud was comfortable in his work position. “I did hear about that Carnival Sweets arrest, as well as the Moors Murder case. I bet you do all the brain work though.”
Freud did not reply but he could not hide his smile. Michael frowned, “I am right here you know. What’s the case?? I'm missing valuable sleep I am.”
Maria glared at him for a moment then turned towards a tall blue tent, “Bodies in there.” Michael and Freud followed her into the tent, finding themselves staring over a dark, crispy skinned body laying crippled on the floor.
“Oh dear!” Freud remarked, placing his hat down and bowing his head in respect. Maria Inkwood shoved a peg onto Freud’s, and her own nose. “What do you think Freud? Because something is very obvious to us.”
Freud was irritated by the peg gripping onto his nose, “Well...” he said talking through his nose. “I'd say burnt over a long length of time. Deep cuts in a gruesome way... Possibly before being burnt...”
“Exactly. Here is a mystery for you boys,” Maria continued gripping Michael and Freud's taste for crime mystery. “The driver of the train and his wife are absolutely sure they saw a girl stand out onto the track. It was such a surprise... that they were unable to stop the train in time. Apparently they felt and heard an impact on the front of the train. Yet there were no dents or any traces of blood on the front.
After they stopped the train and called us... well look at it. The moment they saw the body it was a burnt wreck lying in the grass with her limbs all cut up.”
Michael was suddenly finding it interesting; he looked down closer at the body. “I guess everyone assumes it is a different girl. Than the one that jumped out.”
“We did... but the driver and wife looked at the body... the face... the clothing. They swear blind it was the same girl. I think they were basing it on clothing though, as you can see there is not much face left.”
Freud stepped out of the tent breathing in some much needed fresh air. “No impact on the body.. so could not have been hit by a train.. car.. bus, well... anything at all. The burn does not look sudden. It looks more like she was dead already and left in the sun to burn slowly for weeks.”
Michael pulled himself out of the tent almost collapsing it, “So impossible for her to jump out on the railway moooments before her burnt body was found.”
Freud turned around suddenly, “Mooo?”
Michael replied, “Ok.”
Maria Inkwood walked over and grasped Freud's hand, “We're transporting the body to the Tavistock Labs. You know where that is?”
Freud closed his eyes and nodded.
Maria chuckled, “Tomorrow, starting 8am. I'd love some of your help.”
Michael waved his long brown jacket around and spun on one foot, “Freud! Asked out on a date!”
Freud frowned towards him, “Over a dead body? Whilst ripping the bodies flesh off to determine true cause of death?”
Michael stopped stunned, “Yeah... well. While you do that I'll be doing some other stuff.”
“What sort of stuff?” Freud asked politely.
Michael was once again stuck speechless; he actually wanted to go and eat ice-cream in front of an episode of ‘The Ruby Sketches hit Hollywood’. Which he hoped to fall asleep to. Then wake up in the morning ready for some ice-cream breakfast.
Instead this case had come up and was once again taking away ice-cream time. Michael grabbed hold of a man passing by and stared, with daunting eyes at him. “How are you related to the case?”
The man pulled himself back from the drunken-like Detective Encyclopaedia. “I am the train driver.”
“Ok! Good... right, I’ll be interviewing the witnesses and stuff. Happy now Mr. Romantic pasta meal over a corpse’s stomach?”
Freud rolled his eyes and pat Michael on the back, “I trust you'll do well without me. Call me with any updates, I’ll do the same.”
“Have fun on your date.”
“It is not a... It is a professional forensic investigation.”
As they spoke Inkwood's gloved hand picked up a black thread of hair from the grass. She mumbled to herself, “Worth a shot.”
Michael stood in the living room of Mr. Jacob Peterson's house. He'd taken his shoes off at the door, so his toes were sinking into the thick carpet. “Great TV. So big and brilliant quality. I have a little TV. Don't get enough work to pay for a BIG TV.” Michael said watching a cooking show and eating a biscuit from Jacob's kitchen.
“So you were the driver of the train. Where is your wife today?”
Jacob stopped in his steps, on the way from the kitchen to the living room. “Since the incident she has not been home I am afraid. I've tried everything to contact her but no reply.”
Michael thought about this for a second, “Interesting. So can you run through what you saw again... the incident?”
Jacob sat down slowly onto an armchair; he held a steaming cup and saucer in his hands. “I was driving the train. My wife came in; she sometimes works in the cafe so comes and sees me. The train went on a little bit... my wife got a phone call and then suddenly the girl jumped out onto the track! When it was too late to stop the train I closed my eyes shut tight. Then I heard the wham. Something must have hit us. I opened my eyes and saw my wife looking a bit stressed closing her eyes. I comforted her after stopping the train, trying to overcome things. Then I called police and ambulance to the scene. Stepped out of the train and there was this... dead... burnt body.”
Michael chomped onto the biscuit, crumbs landing lightly on his jacket. “What did your wife say on the phone?”
Jacob looked a bit uncomfortable; he did not expect an unrelated question while working over harsh memories. “She was just talking to her associate Debbie. They work together at a theme park by the beach. She said... 'yes'... 'That’s fine'... she got a bit restless, 'ok we'll have to... yes... do it anyway. Whatever.'... then she hung up.”
Michael smiled, “I noticed a cookie jar on the counter... might I be able to take that home with me?”
“I... suppose so..” Jacob once again looked uneasy.
Maria Inkwood walked through the heavy medical centre doors as Freud had a finger up the victim’s nose. “How’s it going?” She asked, walking around the table, the table with the crispy corpse lay motionless. Freud stared at his gloves for a moment, “Checked the body completely, no impact what so ever. It is positive I’d say, this girl burnt from at least three weeks of sunlight. She must have been laid somewhere, kept somewhere... probably dead already. Suffocated first? Then dumped somewhere and forgotten about. Her corpse just burnt naturally in the sun.”
Maria was deep in thought, pacing across the room, her boots echoing on the tiles. “Good.”
Freud continued, “Though the cuts are very recent. So recent in fact I’d say she was cut and then placed there, ready for you to find. Maybe as a way of making it look like she was hit by the train. Someone’s... game? They did a bad job at pretending that she was hit by the train through... with these amateur cuts and no big impact on any part of her body.”
Inkwood sat down and spun around on a rotating chair, then stomped her boot down as a break. She sat, staring at the body, in a trance. “Question is, were they trying to trick us or someone else?”
Freud nodded, picked up a large sheet and threw it over the naked corpse.
“Debbie is it?”
Michael was at a hotdog stand, part of a giant beach theme park. Debbie was standing behind the counter in her work uniform.
“You want a hotdog?” She asked with a dim expression.
“Not right now no. I was wondering if you knew the where abouts of Kate Peterson, husband of Jacob...”
“No. Why you want to know?” She seemed snappy, straight to the point.
“I'm Detective Michael Encyclopaedia and if you are hiding information we'll find out and you'll be getting jail time.”
Debbie blinked; suddenly she seemed more aware of her surroundings. “I did not do nothing. Kate's... Kate’s... I don’t know. She's off doing her own thing now. Aint seen her since...”
Michael shot in, “Where were you yesterday night... around 8.00pm?”
Kate went silent. “Here.”
“Can anyone confirm that?”
“I was at home.”
“You just said here.”
“I meant home... no one to confirm... it... Kate, maybe?”
“You are not very good at this. Kate was on the train.”
Jacob was becoming restless; he sat lonely in his living room. His television was switched off and the lights were dim. He pressed in the mobile number again and brought the phone up to his ear hoping for a reply. The painful ring continued and then finished with a woman, “The person you are calling is not available. Please try again later.”
He threw the phone across the room and slumped back down in his chair.
There was a light knock sound behind him. He slowly turned to investigate then found himself smiling.
Blood spat against the wall as the sharp blade of a knife ripped through his centre. Jacob collapsed onto the living room floor, dead. Blood seeping from his throbbing stomach.
Michael and Freud stood in Debbie's kitchen staring at their new homely environment.
Suddenly the door bell rang. Michael ran through the halls and to the front window, glaring out of the blinds. “It's Kate! Don't mention we're here Debbie.”
Freud ran to hide behind a sofa, Michael settled behind a cupboard. Debbie panicked, waving her arms around but not making a sound. After a minute or two she calmed herself down and walked to open the door.
Kate walked in, confidence in her movement. She threw her handbag onto the grotty couch and floated into the kitchen. “I'm going to use your shower Debbie. It is done.”
Debbie coughed, looking over at where the Detectives hid away. “Done what Kate?”
Kate stopped and turned towards her, “... I killed Jacob. Wore gloves, they won't find any prints or even a murder weapon. I'll just act all surprised and devastated. He finally got what he deserved.”
Freud and Michael were now standing clearly in the hallway. They were watching Kate as she drifted around looking for soup tins on shelves. Freud tipped his hat and tried to remain calm and understanding. “We know what happened now Miss Kate.”
Michael picked up a crumb from the arm of the grotty sofa and stared at it closely. “It turns out it was quite simple really.”
Freud nodded. Kate was still in complete shock, they could see she was almost boiling with madness. “Tamsin Burke. The victim.... the girl we identified dead at the scene, burnt in the sunlight. We also found her mobile hidden in the grassland close by. Possibly dropped from her pocket. I'm sorry Debbie... we know everything.”
Freud stopped for a breath, before he could continue Michael broke in. “Your hair was found at the scene Debbie. Course we sort of ignored it at the beginning. Two things that could not possibly connect up, a husband and wife driving a train and a girl jumping out onto the track.”
Freud walked over to the counter and picked up Kate's mobile phone. “But they did connect didn't they. That girl, Tamsin Burke... she'd been missing for three weeks. Then suddenly she jumps out onto the track ready to be hit by a train.
Someone wanted it to look like that had happened anyway. Jacob Peterson was having an affair with Tamsin Burke.”
Michael nodded towards Kate and Debbie. Freud scrolled down the address book and call list on Kate's phone as he spoke, “You knew about it Kate. You got angry and wanted to HURT your husband. So you organised this.
You thought if your husband had seen Tamsin being hit by his own train he'd feel the pain you felt when you found out he was cheating on you.”
Michael once again followed on, “But to me, it looked like he was oblivious of this. The train was moving too fast, and it was too much of a shock for Jacob to recognise her. Plus her body and face were burnt so much he had no way of noticing it was Tamsin lying there dead. Which I imagine was a mistake.
Three weeks ago when you found out, you ordered your friend, Debbie to murder Tamsin. Seemed easy enough, Debbie has mental issues as we found out from past police reports. Debbie must have taken her to this very house and suffocated her. Then she did not know what to do. You called up Debbie mentioning that Jacob was not working for three weeks. So Debbie left the body of the dead girl in the backyard. An unforeseen mistake. In the blazing sun her body burnt up. When the day came you tried to keep as far away from Debbie and the crime as possible. Only contacting her by phone.
Anyone recall the phone call? On the train... just before the event. “She said.. 'yes'... 'thats fine'... , 'ok we'll have to.. yes.. do it anyway. Whatever.'.. then she hung up.”
Debbie was telling her that the body was burnt and did not look the same as when she left it. Kate was angry and knew this would not all turn out as she planned but wanted it to happen anyway.”
Kate shuffled her feet and looked down at the tiles.
Freud put the phone down on the counter. “It was all planned ahead, apart from the burns. You asked Debbie to cut the corpse up and make it look like it had been hit by a train.
Here is the interesting bit. You got Debbie to wear a wig and similar clothing to the victim. And actually risked her own life...”
“I know... I’m sorry Debbie...” Kate suddenly spoke; tears were flowing from her eyes. She was looking at her friend who stood in the corner. “I got Debbie to dress up as Tamsin and jump on the track in front of the train. In the nick of time Debbie would jump out of the way and place the body near by on the grass. She cut her up... pretty badly and then ran away. I did the rest inside. I covered my husband’s eyes and hit the counter, a loud whack sound convincing my husband that the train had hit her”
Michael butt in and directed his words at Debbie, “We probably found the hair when you took your wig off.”
Kate was now crying rapids, holding onto the counter and looking away from the Detectives. “How did you find out all this?”
Freud smiled and straightened up, “Jacob Peterson made various phone calls earlier today. The phone rang in the lab, Tamsin's phone. We twigged, plus the hair and your disappearance. It all fitted. Unfortunately it was too late for us to save Jacob's life... You killed him before we could get there. When you came in you clearly said, “I killed Jacob”. Which we recorded. So it is safe to say you are both going down for murder.”
Michael and Freud sat peacefully in the park at a wood bench and table. Michael had a can of coke in his hand and Freud had pulled out a book.
The clouds overhead seemed to part letting a bright sun through and a blue sky. Michael sipped the liquid from the top of the can and then placed it back onto the table.
He found himself in deep thought, “I did not like doing all the talking... it is too emotional... I started to care for these people. I'm actually pretty depressed that Jacob died. Don't ever run off to the labs again will you?”
Freud put the book down and frowned, “I will... I have to. But I won't let you go interviewing by yourself.”
Michael smiled in reply, “Thanks dad.”
“Yeah... I’m not your dad Michael.”
“Shut up I didn't say that.” Michael pushed Freud's book back into his face and continued to sip his coke.