I write partly from an outline and partly as it develops. I call this my draft 0, it's raw, largely unedited, and not very good.
Grammarly is screaming at me, but I'll edit later.
But it's out there. It's done. It's more words that get me closer to Draft 1.
Ash walked toward the patrol officer standing near the yellow cordon tape, angling toward the narrow opening between the barricades.
The officer held his hand up and said, "This is closed off; you'll have to go around the block."
He lowered his hand to the strap of his holster resting tight around his waist and step to block the narrow entrance.
"I'm Ash ..." Ash began; she practiced this in the mirror the night before and still couldn't sound natural. She reached inside her jacket and retrieved the familiar leather-bound badge wallet. Flipping it open, she continued.
"I'm detective Hawke; this is my scene."
The officer smiled and said "Ah, the other detective is waiting for you." He paused and looked at her badge again, his smile widening. "First day is always the roughest, good luck...detective." He emphasized the last word, letting it hit her and held his hand out, guiding her through the cordon.
"First day?" She thought. "And what was that tone?" She looked at his smile and brushed past him. First day or not, this was a day she had worked hard for, despite those in the department that believed, and voiced, otherwise.
"It's upside down." The officer looked at her badge. "Your badge, when you pull it out, make sure it's right-side up, its makes you more believable."
She looked at her badge. She was still holding it up, her hand frozen in mid-air. She turn the badge and saw herself staring back at, upside down.
No matter how many times she practiced in the mirror, she still messed it up.
"First days, they're the worst," she said, putting the wallet back in her jacket and letting out a slight giggle.
She turned and picked up her pace, walking towards a man standing not far from the entrance to the alleyway.
"Evening, Ash." Tom said, "Welcome to your first shift. This is going to be a long one."
"What's the story?" Ash asked, looking over Tom's shoulder into the alley.
"We've got a body in the back of that van," Tom said, pointing towards a large white van with its back doors open. "It's safe to assume he's Daniel Moody, an ice sculptor." He looked at her, "we got the call thirty minutes ago, don't you live around here?" He said, motioning to the towers around them.
The city lights were starting to come on and many of the condos glowed with warm light on the brisk fall evening.
"Yeah, I do," Ash said, looking back at Tom. "Do we know how he died?"
Tom shook his head, "Yeah, that one's obvious, but Christina is here and she'll make it official." He nodded towards a woman in black coveralls who was talking to a uniformed officer near the van.
Ash looked at the woman and then back to Tom. "She's the medical examiner?"
Tom nodded, "Associate medical examiner, but yeah." He looked back at Christina and finished "She's good at her job, she'll probably take the lead spot in no time."
Ash took a deep breath and walked towards the van. This was it, her first day on the job she wanted for the past five years; and already a homicide. She could feel the adrenaline pumping through her veins as she approached the van.
The van looked like it was an ice cave, painted white with shimmering blues and livers leading toward the back. It was a dramatic display piece, part of the show of his ice carving. Blocks of ice filled the entrance, some were carved, but most were stacked on either side of a central table.
Tools were strewn about, a few larger ones on the floor and smaller ones on the table. There was a large block of ice in the center of the room, half-carved with what looked like a figure inside.
Blood spattered the walls and blocks of melting ice. The half-complete figure was a shimmering crimson on one side.
The body lay face down, in the rear of the van, near the tool shelves, a small chain saw blade emerging from the man's back.
Ice melted onto the floor around the man, mixing into pools of blood and water. An assistant was waiting with a bag, looking towards Christina.
Christina turned as Ash approached. "Hey, you must be the new detective." She said, holding out her hand. "I'm Christina."
Ash shook her hand, "I'm Ash." She said, looking back at the body. "Do we know how this happened?"
Christina nodded, "Well, it's obvious enough what happened, but how, is another question." She said, gesturing towards the body. "The saw made quick work of the chest. He either fell into it or was stabbed with it running at full speed." Christine motioned to the window, "That leads me to believe it was the latter."
A large red streak of blood led to a small window that open just above the table with tools on it.
"There's more blood in the cab." Christine motioned to the front of the van.
Ash looked at the body and then back to Christina. "So, it was a surprise either way..." Ash stopped and turned bright red, looking from Christina to Tom "I..didn't..." She stammered, losing her words.
Christina nodded, "yeah, either way." She said, raising an eyebrow and looking at Tom. She was putting the coveralls on and started to zip up the front.
"That's a lot of blood," Ash said, gaining her composure.
Tom was writing in his notebook and then said, "We got the call around 7 pm, sounds like the chainsaw stopped at around 6:30."
Christina turned and looked at the ice sculptures then back to the body. "Well, I'll get to it and let you know the details when I'm done." She motioned as if she wanted them to leave and then finished zipping up her coveralls.
"Come on, there's a lot of witnesses I want to get to before it gets too late." Tom said, putting his notebook in his jacket's side pocket. "Most of the officers have already taken routine statements and there one guy we need to follow up with right away."
Ash nodded and followed Tom back towards an entrance to the furthest tower. The walked through the service entrance and emerged at a bay of elevators. "So, do we have a suspect?" Ash asked as they entered the elevator.
Tom shook his head, "No, not yet." He said, looking over at her. "But this guy said he was watching the whole afternoon, but the story's confusing."
The elevator dinged and the doors opened to a bright corridor with a large glass window looking out to the evening cityscape. Leading off in both directions were bright hallways with white tile floors and marble and wood lined walls. They walked down a long hallway, stopping at the furthest door.
Tom stopped at a door and knocked.
A man's voice called out from the intercom, "It's open."
Tom opened the door and gestured for Ash to enter.
The entry was smaller than Tom expected, and he looked around almost like he was disappointed. A narrow hall led to a large room where music was playing low. Ash led the way and as they emerged into the room, Tom looked betrayed a surprised look. The room was lined on three sides with floor-to-ceiling shelves, a narrow walkway midway up the walls led to a staircase on either end.
Tom's eyes surveyed the room and looked out large full-wall window, an impressive view of the city skyline merging with the water with a beautiful sunset just beyond. He leaned to Ash and asked, "Do you have a view like this?".
To Ash, the room felt like home, it was big but cozy and inviting in a way that most offices weren't.
"Mine's better..." She said. Tom looked at her, his eyes widened.
"Ah, Detective!" A man said walking quickly in from the patio; he smiled and gesturing for them to sit.
Two large, cushioned chairs were arranged opposite each other separated by a small glass and wood table. They were angled toward a large oak desk that had an aerodynamic chair sitting on the other side.
The man looked at the chairs and then to the other side of the desk. He hesitated, as if he didn't know where to sit. Finally, he walked behind the desk and rolled the office chair out in front of the desk placing in front of the two comfortable chairs. He sat down, and then leaned forward with his elbows on the arms of the chair.
"And who are you?" the man asked with far too much excitement for a visit from two homicide detectives. "Please! Please, sit. Can I get you a drink?" He said, not letting Ash respond. He pointed to a small nook in the far wall, A glass cabinet was built into the bookshelves, bottles of expensive shapes were illuminated by a small light on each shelf.
"I'm Detective Ash," she said pointing to herself.
"Yes, of course." The man said, "I'm sorry, where are my manners?" He leaned back and clasped his hands over his stomach. "I'm Simon Baker."
"I'm so glad I was in my office when you called just now, otherwise you would've thought I wasn't home!" he smiled at them like they had missed the point.
Tom started to speak, "We're glad we caught you also, Mr. Baker."
"That's my office entrance..." Mr. Baker continued, his voice pitch lowering slightly, "my home entrance is one floor up."
Tom opened his mouth but closed it again as Mr. Baker began to speak again.
"I was only in my office, because I wanted to see this beautiful sunset." He motioned out the window without looking at it.
Tom didn't look but said, "Mr. Baker, earlier tonight you gave a statement to an officer. I'd like to ask a few more questions."
"Oh, of course!" Mr. Baker said, his voice back to its original excited pitch. "Anything I can do to help. Oh, please call me Simon."
Tom leaned forward and clasped his hands. "You told the officer that you were in your office all day today, is that correct?"
"Yes, that's correct." Simon said. "But not all day, I frequently move around the house when I need to think. You know, working my ideas out requires motion."
"And you didn't leave the house at all today?" Tom asked.
"No, I didn't." Simon said. "I was working on a project all day and I didn't want to lose focus."
Tom looked over at Ash who had been quietly taking notes. She met his eyes and gave a small shake.
"Mr. Baker," Ash started, "uh, Simon. Which part of the house were you in when you heard the noise stop?"
Tom turned his attention back to Simon .
Simon looked at her and then back at Tom. "I was over by the patio door," he said, "by my desk." He pointed to the large window with the water view.
"And what did you see when you looked out the window?" She asked.
"I didn't see anything," He said, "I just heard the noise stop."
Ash gave Tom a confirming look.
"Mr. Baker, we have reason to believe that you were not in your office all day." Tom said. "Can you explain why there would be a discrepancy between what you told the officer and what we know?"
Simon's face changed, the excitement gone and replaced with a more serious look. "I don't know what you're talking about." He replied.
"Mr. Baker, we have witnesses putting you in the garage area earlier this evening" Ash lied.
Tom furrowed his brow but kept his gaze on Simon.
"That's not possible." He said. "I was in my office when I heard...call me Simon, I don't like the last name thing!" He stood up and moved behind his desk.
Tom leaned forward, he was tapping on his phone, sending a message. "Do you hear that?" Tom asked, nodding his head toward the window.
The sound of the city below them was amplified as it came through the open window.
Simon just looked at them, "The city?" he asked.
Tom stood up and he placed his phone on the desk, he pressed the screen and the sound of a chainsaw starting up filled the room. He walked to the window and waved for Simon to follow "Come here." He said.
Simon's face turned white. "I don't understand." He said.
Tom turned off the phone. "You have an beautiful view of the water from here but you can't see the alley. And, you can't hear the sound from the alley."
Simon nodded, still looking out the window "It is beautiful." He said to himself.
Tom continued, "That sound," he said, pointing at his phone, "was a chainsaw, at full speed in the same location of the sculptor's van in the alley. I couldn't hear it over the sounds of the city from this window."
Simon just stared at him, "I don't know what you're trying to say."
Tom sat back down, "You do, Simon ." He said. "I think you were near the alley when the sculptor was killed. I think you saw something, or someone. I think you want to tell us, which is why you called it in. But I also think you're afraid because of what you saw."
Ash looked at Tom, impressed by his assessment.
Simon sat down, his face in his hands. "I can't." He said, his voice muffled.
Tom leaned forward, "Why not?" he asked.
Ash leaned forward, caught up in the dramatic turn of their interview. Her face was hiding the excitement she was feeling. She stopped writing in her notebook and watched Tom do his work.
"You have it wrong." Simon said, his voice wavering. "I didn't see anything. I only heard the chainsaw. And I...I can't tell you how."
Tom leaned back in the chair and looked at Ash. His eyes were telling her something, but she looked back in confusion.
Ash wasn't sure what to do next. Tom leaned forward "Simon ," he started, "Would it be easier for you if we had this conversation at the station?".
Simon remained silent.
"I think you should come with us down to the station," Tom said. "We can talk more there and maybe show you some pictures to help you remember."
Simon looked up at him, his face pale. "No." He said, "I'm calling my lawyer."
Tom nodded to Ash, who packed up her notebook and pen. She walked around the desk and reached for Simon's arm. "Simon Baker," Ash started.
"Wait," he said, holding up his arms. "You can't do this! I didn't do anything to that man."
Ash grabbed his arm and lifted him from the chair; he rose easily, surprising her.
"I can show you!" Simon shouted, then calmed his demeanor. "Just let me show you where I was."