It was not an ordinary morning even though Gregson followed his ordinary routine. He set the coffee pot to brew and made fresh squeezed orange juice. He ate his toast, read the funnies, and then progressed to more serious sections of the newspaper. Gregson did this out of habit. Somehow, the best part of his day was when he put it in order. Reading the newspaper was his reboot, his reset. He found something he could identify with and this helped him to feel less alone. It was murder out there and studying murder is what he loved, but Gregson also knew that murder could not be his whole life. Still, the medieval killing kept entering his mind. He couldn’t shake it; there had to be a reason for it. Gregson had an older partner who had a similar case he couldn’t solve. It drove him mad. Most cops didn’t voluntarily check themselves into the nearest hospital when they couldn’t handle the next day; it was always a bullet from their retired revolver. It was starting to be a thing in his unit and Greg thought about his gun on lonely nights.
Gregson knew he was stewing on the wrong thoughts so he went for a walk. Soon he was lost in the theoretical and abstract. Gregson discovered a long time ago that he didn’t have the typical police officer’s mind—one without imagination. Instead, he had learned a long time ago that murder is conceived in the imagination and that is where it must be solved. Gregson was following another train of thought when he crossed some yellow tape; he had literally walked into a crime scene.
A forensic expert walked towards him. “Get out of here. Do you want to get arrested?”
Gregson followed his instinct. He reached for his back pocket and pulled out his identification.
“This says Homicide-Retired. I’m afraid you still can’t be here.” Gregson knew the possibility of promotion is the currency of the police force and he tailored his questions carefully. “Have you found the weapon? I’d wager that you’ve just discovered an unusual killing that you can’t explain. Am I right?”
“So, what if the killing is unusual? It is none of your business?”
“You haven’t found the weapon, have you?”
“You know a bit too much about this case, perhaps I should detain you.”
“I don’t think that would be healthy for your career as I still have connections in the police force, but I can help you get promoted, if you like?”
“I’m listening,” said the investigator.
“Have you noticed those low-hanging branches? Some of the twigs have been broken, and recently too because the sap is fresh. The weapon that killed that fellow was thrown from an easterly direction. I don’t see any wounds on the body and his face is covered. Therefore, his skull must’ve been crushed by a primitive weapon. Given the medieval killing from yesterday, I’d wager it was a ballistice or three balls tied to a leather strap. They are designed to strangle and crush the skull. I’d bet there are ligature marks around his neck.
“How did you know?”
“Just a deduction, and if I might make another, you will find something important in his right hand.”
“It’s closed like a vise.”
“Get your crowbar out of the truck and use some leverage.”
Gregson and the investigator applied force to the grip of death. It was locked in rigor mortis.
The hand only budged a hair, but it was enough for a solitary black bishop to fall to the ground.