Original Manuscript Copy: This is not the final version. You are welcome to read, like and comment. Do not copy, cite, or distribute without the express written permission of the author.
© Perry A. Simpson 2022
Published by The Lemon Zest Project
Written by Perry Simpson
Knockmonlea, Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland
(Tel: +353 (0)86 109 2836)
by Perry Simpson (Cavendish and Wilcox)
Maria wasn’t sure what she thought at first. It was not what you would expect to find in an elderly gentleman's house. When she had entered, her nose detected an odour that was familiar to an elderly man living alone. The house looked normal. A step back in time. Someone's life is captured in memorabilia. A personal legacy of one's life. Mr Jenkins was no different. The contents of his house were as she expected. Photographs that reminded him of the good times and memorable places.
All normal, except for one room.
It was a small square room. The red-painted walls were overpowering. A single piece of furniture. A chair in the centre, and four eyebolts on the concrete floor - one on each corner of the chair.
WPC Wilcox looked around the room. It was like stepping back in time. She too had a look of horror on her face when she looked into the red room. Her immediate thoughts were that it was some sort of interrogation room.
Regardless, she classed it as suspicious and called for a forensics team. She didn't know what they would find in that room, but it was no longer her concern. The detective in charge will have the pleasure of unravelling the mystery.
Wilcox glanced around the room where they had found Mr Jenkins. He had been dead for some time. The smell was still bad but the windows had to remain closed until forensics had done their stuff.
Face covered, Wilcox explored the living room. She was curious. The red room played on her mind as it had Maria when she opened the door. Maria was Mr Jenkin's next-door neighbour. She didn't know Mr Jenkins that well. She said that he was a very private man. Liked to read books.
Wilcox could see by his extensive book collection that Mr Jenkins had his own library. The content covered a large range of topics, including torture and interrogation techniques. Of particular interest was the book that was still face down next to where they had found Mr Jenkins. The title was 'Modern Interrogation Techniques'.
Wilcox didn't touch the book. She knew that she might be standing in the middle of a crime scene. The cause of his death wasn't clear. An autopsy will clarify this later today.
She looked at the various photos dotted around the lounge. They appeared to span from when he was a little boy. There were photos of Mr Jenkins in uniform. Not any ordinary uniform. It looked as though he had been part of an elite force. The Special Air Services. The name didn't best describe the men that were in this elite force. Nor, did it even hint at what these people did or were capable of.
Mr Jenkins was no ordinary civilian. Like others like him, Wilcox imagined that he would suffer from the nightmares of his past.
The purpose of the red room seemed an obvious extension of his military training. Many left the force to take up protection or high-level security posts. Others became guns for hire. Wilcox wondered what road Mr Jenkins had taken when he left the service. She even thought about how he left. Was he decommissioned or was it a dishonourable discharge?
Again, it wasn't her problem now.
A cute-looking detective stepped through the door. He held his jacket lapel across his mouth and nose. There was a look of disgust on his face and anger in his eyes. This he directed at Wilcox.
She showed him the red room.
His expression changed. He, too, was not sure what he had inherited.
The forensics team had given the all-clear. Detective Cavendish asked Wilcox to stay and help coordinate the removal of the body.
Cavendish watched as forensics combed the red room for clues. He was deep in thought. He too yielded thoughts that some much more sinister events had occurred here.
Wilcox watched Cavendish as he lit up his fake cigarette. He's very young, she thought. She noticed how uncomfortable he looked. He had said that this was his first case since moving up from Reading.
The rumours floated around the station that he was a high flyer. Quite brilliant by all accounts.
Wilcox watched as Cavendish worked his way through the photographs. Then, onto the books of Mr Jenkin’s personal library.
'The sniffer dogs have arrived, sir', Wilcox announced.
'Good. Thank you.'
Eager to please their masters. Two beautiful liver and copper springer spaniels swaggered around. Their tails never stopped wagging as they sniffed out every corner of the house. Their excitement suggested that they had found something. They had.
Cavendish looked disappointed.
Wilcox had guessed he would find bodies buried under the floorboards. She watched as Cavendish held up the small packet of pills.
'Ecstasy,' he shouted over at Wilcox.
Wilcox walked over to Cavendish. 'Drugs at his age?'
'I doubt they were for him,' He smiled back at Wilcox. He took out his mobile and blasted away at the keys. The 'message sent' sound had started another line of enquiry. 'We'll see if he was using it.'
Wilcox smiled. 'So, what do you think, sir?'
'Wilcox. Sorry, WPC Wilcox, sir.'
'Wilcox, I never think. It's an unwanted and unnecessary distraction. Look at what we have here. Don't presume or assume anything.’
'What do we have here, Wilcox? It's not what it seems that you can be sure of.'
Two days later...
'Ah, Wilcox. Coffee?'
Wilcox looked surprised to see the dapping young detective Cavendish. 'Sure, thank you.'
The machine sounded like it was grinding the coffee from fresh beans. It wasn't that type of machine.
'Number twelve, please sir.'
'You can tell much about a person from what coffee they drink, how they take it and who they drink it with. Black, no sugar.'
'What's that say about me?' Wilcox asked.
'You don't like sugar,' he laughed. 'Take our Mr Jenkins. What were your immediate thoughts when you saw the red room?'
Wilcox felt as though she was being tested. She hesitated.
'Come on, it's a simple enough question. What did your eyes see and your brain conclude?'
'To be exact, my first thought was what the fuck?' Wilcox replied.
'Yes, then what did you think?'
'Well, it looked like some sort of torture or interrogation room. You know the single chair in the room, the chains and padlocks.'
'See, that's what you thought. I did so at first. When you look at the photos and books you got led by your thoughts. Then, add the forensics, who found blood, hair and tissue samples. They found what we hoped they would find. Evidence to support the thoughts we harboured about Mr Jenkins.'
'So, who was Mr Jenkins?'
'A retired SAS officer who liked reading a lot of books. It was ecstasy, but it wasn't his. No traces were found in his system. He didn't even drink.'
Wilcox sat down at the table.
Cavendish sat down opposite. 'You called as you saw it, Wilcox. Nothing wrong with that, but it was not what we all thought at first.'
Wilcox was dying to know. 'So, what was the purpose of the red room, sir?'
'It was nothing more than a photo set.' Cavendish turned his mobile around. People paid him to take photographs chained in his red room. It was very lucrative. He had a very healthy bank account.
Our Mr Jenkins died of natural causes.
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