Face of Fear
Garfield Teague stepped out of his car and tried to straighten out his coat in the process. He had never understood why his wife kept insisting he had it pressed when it always creased as soon as he climbed into his vehicle. He removed his hat and ran a hand through his red hair, trying to make sure the part was in place - he had been very generous with the Brylcreem this morning to ensure his coiffure stay in position. He fished a silver case from inside his blue pinstriped suit jacket, but he thought better of it before producing a cigarette and so let it slide back into the recesses of fabric. He walked over to the parking structure on the corner of Main and seventh and halted by one of the three black and whites parked on the curb, blue lights flashing almost indistinctly in the morning sun. Teague gently placed the fedora on his head and followed it by stroking his neatly cropped beard as his hand slid into a pant pocket.
‘Detective Teague!’ A young officer called him over to the parking garage entrance.
“What have we got here, Officer Boden?” Teague asked as he approached, and he realized that he had taken out the cigarette case again.
“Well, it seems to be some kind of mob hit, sir.” The young man eyed his notebook. “Lang was first on the scene and is still down there. All I know is that there is blood everywhere, casings all over the floor, and one survivor.”
“Got it,” Teague replied and headed through the glass door and down the stone steps, ignoring anything else the officer might have to say. His black patent leather shoes echoed in the stairwell and were slowly drowned out by chatter from the lower level. He toyed with the case and flipped it over in his hand, a nervous tick he had developed the same week his dying father had placed it in his palm. As he descended, he watched his hand turn it from the back with its fleur-de-lis pattern to the front with his father’s initials: R.T.
Another beat cop opened the door for him when he reached the basement floor and gave him a quick two-finger salute, touching his digits to the brim of his cap. Teague did not return the gesture, maintaining his reputation as arrogant. Various lamps and floodlights illuminated the otherwise sparsely lit the lower level. In the center, stood two vehicles - a well-cared for Chrysler and a not-so-well-tended truck of unknown make. They faced each other, like two lovers about to share a kiss, and the symbolism made Teague miss his wife. The closer he got, the more sinister the scene before him became; officers and medical personnel surrounded the silent cars, both riddled with bullet holes, and six white sheets littered the floor. Stains of various shapes and sizes covered a large area, reminding him of one of those Jackson Pollock paintings he had seen in the paper once. He wasn’t much of an art connoisseur, and most of what he had seen on field trips as a child had never tickled his fancy, but that painting, Cathedral they called it, had spoken to him. It forced him to think, like a crime or mystery that needed solving. He liked it, but the splatter across the grey concrete created a very different mystery.
“It’s one hell of a scene, Teague.” The voice woke him from his trance-like state. It was Detective Greg Glade, a rotund man with a nervous disposition who wore his brown beard and hair cropped to the same length, giving him an even rounder silhouette.
“Glade.” Teague forced a smile. He had never been especially fond of the younger detective, whom he found trying - mainly due to his defeatist attitude. “Were you the first detective on the scene?”
“Yes, sir. It looks like we’re working together on this one.”
“Great.” Teague turned to the rest of the scene instead and tried to survey the area.
“We’ve got six bodies laid out both here and there and that goes for the different parts of them as well.” Glade snickered as he mentioned that tidbit. “Most likely a mob hit or a drop off gone awry. Maybe the buyer and seller couldn’t agree on a price?”
“So, they took each other out?” Teague rounded the truck and inspected the crates. Bending down, he removed a bloodstained sheet from a body. He quickly rose and stepped back and dropped the fabric back on the headless shape. “Doesn’t seem likely.” He stifled his urge to vomit. “The crates being left here would maybe indicate that, but this man was decapitated, and unless you have found a sword, machete, an axe or a large kitchen knife here, something else is going on. Have you found such an item?”
Glade thumbed through his notebook. “Not that I can see.”
“Well then, something sinister is going on here. I would assume that all these guys pissed off the wrong person and paid a high price for-“
“There is one survivor,” Glade interrupted. “He’s at St. Mary’s, I guess.”
“Right.” Teague flipped his cigarette case over in his hand again. “Not much more to do here. You stay and spearhead the investigation on the bodies, and I’ll head to the hospital.”