Prompt Day #126: Begin a piece by describing something strange found in a department store dressing room.
An Eye for an Eye
“So, after she left, just like I do after any customer leaves, I went in to clean the room out. You’d be surprised how little respect they have for other’s property. Clothes bunched up on the floor. They don’t even take the time to hang it back up. So disrespectful. Anyways, when I walked I saw it immediately, I mean it was looking right at me. Of course I thought it was a toy, but when I picked it up, it was heavy and it freaked me right out. That’s when I called you of course.” The clerk stood with her hands on her hips looking at the two officers who had responded to the call.
“Can you describe the woman who left it in here?” The first officer, young and far too serious for his own good, asked.
“Yes. She stood out easy enough. I mean how often do you see a woman walking around wearing an eye patch. And this patch was done up all fancy with lots of bling. So it catches your attention easy enough and she was in a hurry. She bought the clothes and then asked if she could put them on. Said she had a job interview and was running really late.”
“So, a woman wearing an eye patch accidentally left a glass eye in the changing room.” The older and far more sarcastic and disinterested officer said.
“Yeah, so?” The clerk said, irritated that she wasn’t being taken seriously.
“Well, it seems to me that someone with a glass eye has one good eye and someone wearing a patch also has only one good eye. Can you tell me why someone would go to the trouble to get a glass eye and then cover it with an eye patch? I mean I think we are all in agreement that she was seeing out of the eye not covered with the patch.” He said closing up his notebook. “Ma’am, it isn’t a crime to misplace or leave something behind, even something as unusual as a glass eye. My suggestion would be, stick it in a bag and either keep it behind the counter til she comes back for it or put it in the mall’s lost and found.”
The officer’s headed out. Ryan, the younger of the two looked at his older partner and mentor.
“Hey, Chuck, don’t you think it is a little strange, the whole thing. I mean it seems like that is something you wouldn’t want to lose, right?”
“You know, after so many years on this job, I don’t question the weird shit people do. Maybe it was bugging her, like a contact or something.” Chuck said, making a pit stop at the pretzel kiosk. “Like that body they found this morning, stabbed to death in her own home, nothing missing, the place completely untouched. But the killer chops the lady’s finger off. Why, Ryan? What for? Makes no sense.” He ordered and paid for his pretzel. Sitting down at the bench to eat it, he offered a piece to his partner who shook his head. “If we spend our day trying to figure it out, as sane thinking human beings, we’ll drive ourselves nuts.”
“Yeah, I see what you mean. I been thinkin’ about that lady too. Like what if she is the first victim of a serial killer who takes fingers as a trophy? I mean, from the sounds of it, she didn’t have an enemy in the world. Poor thing had just lost her own mother who I guess she’d been taking care of for the last ten years or so.” Ryan shook his head and fiddled with a hang nail. Chuck continued to work on his giant soft pretzel, his fingertips covered in cheese sauce. Ryan leaned forward, rested his elbows on his knees and commenced to people watching, trying to clear his brain from the questions he could not and may never answer.
That was when he saw her, a familiar face and the unforgettable walk of the woman he had seen that morning at the murder scene. She was the sister of the dead woman. She in fact, had been the one to find her dead. Only this woman, who he could have sworn was the same, had long curly blond hair instead of the short choppy black hair he’d seen this morning and this one was wearing an eye patch. He stood up.
“Hey! Miss, uh, Miss Langard!” He yelled. He had a thing about names and faces. He never forgot them. She looked at him; involuntarily responding to her name being called but then quickly looked away as if she hadn’t noticed. Ryan started towards her and she broke into a run. Chuck jumped up too, wiping his fingers on his pants, leaving yellow wet streaks on the side. He jogged after Ryan who was sprinting after the girl who was running full force towards the door of the mall.
Miss Langard, who Chuck had found extremely suspicious this morning when she told the story of arriving for a visit and finding her sister dead. Yet the call was placed from the neighbor’s house. The neighbor who saw her walking out of the house and towards her car. The neighbor who hollered to her that she knew her sister was home. Only then did Miss Langard tell the neighbor she was dead. The neighbor was the one to coax her inside to call the police. Off course Langard had said she was just in shock. The neighbor said she was surprised to see Miss Langard since she rarely visited after a family falling out when the girls’ mother was still alive. Chuck wasn’t convinced it was the Miss Langard but he’d learned not to question Ryan’s amazing ability to recognize a face no matter the disguise and to never forget a name. He called for back-up just as Langard broke through the mall doors and into the parking lot. Here, she was immediately hit by a car. Chuck’s thumb slipped off his walkie talkie as he watched her body fly into the air, the blond wig twirling like a graduation cap further above that before both landed flat on the ground.
Ryan reached her first but it was clear she was dead. Her head sat on her neck at an impossible angle that can only be achieved post mortem. Ryan was on his knees at her head when chuck arrived but his head was turned away from her and he appeared to be retching. Chuck had never seen Ryan get sick over a crime scene, ever, so he was quite perplexed at first but then he looked down at the body. The patch the girl had been wearing sat askew now, covering her ear instead of her eye. Hanging from the dark and empty socket of her eye was a mottled finger wearing a big antique diamond ring. The resemblance to the cover of a horror novel was a bit much even for a veteran like Chuck and he felt his pretzel trying to come back up. He swallowed it down and hit Ryan on the back.
“C’mon Buddy, this one’s DOA. Let’s leave her for forensics.” Ryan obeyed. Chuck walked him to a bench outside the mall where they sat awaiting the back-up Chuck had called for as the woman who had killed her sister, cut off her finger and put it in the one place she could think of where no one would look, took her last steps.
Finally, Chuck let out a small laugh. “Well, partner, I guess once in a while, all your questions do get answered.”