It was 11:54 P.M.
Where the hell was John?
He was supposed to meet me outside the hotel an hour ago, so I figured he’d been stuck in late night traffic or something. I was getting impatient – he was taking far too long. I went outside and called his cell, standing in the pouring rain, continuously glancing both ways. Finally, someone picked up. But it wasn’t John.
“Hello?” I asked.
“This is the Yorkshire Police, P.C. James Hartman speaking. May I ask who this is?”
“Er…hi,” I hesitated, not quite receiving the reply I’d expected. “I’m John’s friend, Matt Rogers. I had arranged to meet him at Southgate hotel at eleven P.M. today. What’s the matter?”
“Mr Rogers, I’m very sorry to inform you that your friend John Grahams has been murdered.”
“Unfortunately, that seems like the case right now. We’re very sorry.”
I was so shocked I could hardly talk.
“Uh...so…where are you right now?”
“We’re behind the Harington Pub in the city centre. Its-“
“Yeah, it’s fine, I know that place. Thanks, I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
I arrived at the scene, and police officers swarmed around the place like bees. There was no clear explanation which I could give as to why or how he had been murdered. I spoke to P.C. Hartman, who confirmed that I was now a murder suspect in the nicest way he could. I wasn’t angry, as I’d expected it – just horrified. This was someone who I’d spoken to around three hours ago, and now he was lying here dead.
“Is there anyone who you think we should inform?” Asked Hartman. I thought about it for a few seconds.
“I think his family would appreciate knowing,” I said. “I can call them, I have their numbers.”
“Yes. Perhaps it would be better for you to deliver the message.”
He nodded, and I flicked open my cell, looking for a contact.
“Hi Mike, what’s up?” Asked John’s brother Jack. He was the first of John’s relatives on my list of contacts.
“Uh, I have some bad news to tell you bro.”
“Uh-oh. What is it?”
“It’s about John,” I sighed.
“What’s he done now?”
“Well, to put it simply, he’s been murdered.”
He paused for a while. I could sense the anger, the frustration, the pain, all beginning to overwhelm him at once.
“WHAT THE FUCK, MIKE? Wh-how? By who? What – what the fuck?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry, man.”
“Who the hell did this?”
“I honestly don’t know. What I do know is, I’m a suspect, and you’re probably going to be one too. You’d better get your ass over here pretty damn quickly.”
He paused again.
“Mike…are you playing a fucking joke on me?”
“No, I’m not! I’m telling you, it’s for real.”
“Don’t think this is some sort of game, Mike. If you’re just having a laugh, I’m really going to kill you.”
“I said I’m not! Really, do you think I’d joke around about this kind of thing? There’s police here and everything.”
“Well I dunno.” He became slightly calmer. “You sound a bit suspicious. Plus, you’ve done it before.”
“Yeah, but that was, no-”
I was irate. But he had a point. I hung up and went over to the crowd of detectives and policemen, who were just about to wrap the area in yellow tape. Moving in closer, I zoomed in with my cell phone’s crappy camera and turned on night vision mode. The small light at the back shone brightly upon John’s dead body. I snapped a picture, then zoomed to the max and took another.
Blood covered everything in sight. A large, dry red patch sat underneath the corpse, which had a knife in its stomach.
Then I sent them to him, putting a caption on the first, reading ‘JACK THIS IS NOT A JOKE’, and another on the second, reading ‘YOUR BROTHER HAS BEEN MURDERED’. I admit it wasn’t the kindest thing to do given the circumstances, but I needed him to be here quickly. This was serious.
My cell rang; it was Jack. I answered it:
“So do you believe me now?” I asked.
“Mike, I know who did it,” he panted, sounding rather panicked.
“It was Adam. Argh, shit, now I remember. It must’ve been Adam. I looked at the picture. He’s wearing a leather jacket, right?”
He seemed too sure.
“Yeah,” I answered.
“Well, Adam gave him that jacket two days ago, and…do you remember?”
“No,” I replied, blatantly. “I don’t remember that.”
“What? You don’t? We were at your house!”
“Yeah, but I still don’t remember Adam giving John anything.”
“Ah, dude, you suck. I’ll explain later.”
“Yeah, I don’t get it. Whatever you want to say, come here quickly tell it to the police.”
“Okay, I’ll be there in five. I’ve got to tell mom and dad first.”
I hung up and closed my eyes. He’d seemed so sure that Adam had done it, yet his explanation made absolutely no sense. Even if Adam had given John the leather jacket, how the hell did that automatically make him the killer? Furthermore, Adam didn’t seem like the sort of person to murder someone. But yet, there was something which made him so sure of it.
Jack’s motorbike pulled around the corner. He got off it and took off his helmet. I walked towards him, waving him over to the policemen. He came towards me, shouting.
“Adam…the jacket! It had to be Adam! The pictures!”
“What about the pictures?”
“The jacket!” he saw the group of policemen, signalling him to go over to them. I took out my cell, looking at the photos I had sent to Jack. The leather jacket seemed pretty prominent, but what could that mean? I tried looking at them even more closely, I still couldn’t make a connection.
As he walked away, I suddenly remembered something from our conversation which suddenly made me freeze, standing completely still in terror. It wasn’t something I had said – in fact, it was something that I hadn’t mentioned which caught my attention.
All the ‘Adam’ talk had just been a distraction. The pictures didn’t even matter.
I realised I had never told him the location of the crime scene.