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Lost Light

Zxavyan Santaella, Staff Writer

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1:00 a.m.  

Can’t figure out why I’m still awake. I’ve seen dead bodies, I’ve seen drugs, and I’ve seen Murderers. But I feel like it’s all getting to me. I’m sitting on the edge of my bed now. I look up at my ceiling, it looks fuzzy. Little red and green dots pop in and out of my vision, probably because its dark. My eyes hurt from me rubbing them. I look at my phone…13 missed calls. I open my phone to see who it is. It’s the FPD? I quickly call them back.  

“Detective Caimon here, I received a call from you?”  

“Yes! Detective this is your partner Cheryle, we got an emergency call and we were both called in to work please hurry!” 

2:00am 

I bolt into the FPD while putting my coat on. I am running and questioning how I can run when I feel so tired. I run to the front desk,  

“Hey, it’s detective Caimon where is detective Cheryle?”  

“She is in the conference room. Why? Is everything ok?”  

“No time, thank you!” I open the door to the conference room. Cheryle looks quickly towards the door as I walk in. 

“Thank god you’re here Caimon! We just got an extremely sensitive case.”  

2:05am 

Cheryle stands up and looks towards me. Her face seems in distress. Her white sad face with red eyes and small purple sacks indicate she hasn’t slept well.  

“Caimon, we got a call from a pedestrian. He found the body of 12-year-old Bryce Andrew.” Her eyes almost seem to break from the intensity of the situation.  

“Paramedics have already arrived at the scene. Our current orders are to head to the morgue as soon as possible.” She grabs a tissue and blows her nose. Her coffee isn’t steaming anymore, she’s been here for a while. I look to my left to see Chief Salazar. He looks up at me while shaking his head slowly.  

“Caimon, I know you, you don’t have kids like Cheryle and I, compassion for children can be hard for someone like you. I know this is a sensitive matter and that’s we called over you and Cheryle.” Salazar rubs his eyes. His hair is messy, probably hasn’t showered. I look back towards Salazar.  

“Alright, I’m on it Chief.”  

“Thank you Caimon for handling this well.” 

3:00am 

It feels strange that I was called in this early. I’m not in my element. I need to keep my eyes on the road. Cheryle is sitting next to me, sipping on a Red bull. I look around at Downtown Fresno, so much trash, probably the homeless. I’m just hoping this isn’t another Marcus Wesson. I look to my left at Cheryle, she is concentrated on her Red bull.  

“I wish the stars would show, it would lighten the street up a lot better.” 

“Hm?” 

“I wish the stars could show, you know in the sky.” 

“They are pretty, why does it matter Caimon?” 

“I just thought they would lighten the street better.” 

“How could they? They’re crazy far away?” 

“I know, it’s just that the stars are better than yellow lamps” 

She doesn’t seem right. It’s probably the circumstances of the case. I look at my rearview mirror. It’s nothing but empty street on my lane. A few cars pass by me as I drive into the Community Medical Center parking lot. Cheryle takes a deep breath in. 

“I wish we were the people driving away.” 

3:30am  

Cheryle and I walk up to the clerk. She looks exhausted. Her hair dangles to her shoulders. It looks uncombed. I look up and around at the medical center. I smell that faint airport smell.  

“Hi, Detective Caimon and this is Detective Cheryle. We are here under orders to collect evidence. We need access to the Morgue.”  

“Do you have a warrant?”  

“Yes, we do.” The clerk nods her head and walks us to an elevator. She taps on the basement floor button. She pressed it with haste, she probably knows about Bryce. 

“Cheryle.” 

“Yeah?” 

“How are you feeling?”  

“My stomach is churning, I’m a bit nauseas, it’s most likely the Red bull.” 

“It’ll do that to you” I laugh. 

“I think it gave me the stomach flu not wings.” 

I laugh awkwardly. Cheryle is a terrible joke teller. She’s probably trying to lighten the mood. God knows some light needs to be shed on this case. We walk into the Morgue. Places like these can never feel right to me, regardless my experience. Cheryle notices my uneasiness.  

“You ok?” 

“I’m fine, thanks Cher.” 

4:00am 

As we walk down the Morgue hallway we pass by a few doctors. I wonder what’s on their minds. They have their own obligations, their own worlds, their own families. I look around and see the room we need to enter. Cheryle and I walk in. We both are greeted by a doctor. 

“Hi, I’m Doctor Robert Langstrom, the desk clerk Jenny phoned me you both were coming.” I look around the room and back at him. 

“Hi Doctor Langstrom, pleasure to meet you. I’m Detective Caimon.” We both shake hands. 

“This is my partner Cheryle, I do the talking she does the stalking.” 

“That’s great,” he chuckles.  

“So, Detective Caimon, let’s get down to business. Um so, a few Paramedics wheeled this boy into the Medical center a few hours ago. This is great because the corpse is still fresh, therefore I can run an autopsy.” I look at him and nod. 

“Shall we?” 

7:00am 

“Alrighty, Detective Caimon pleasure working with you.” 

“Like wise.” I shake Cheryle awake. She threw up and sat down outside the room. I feel bad. Someone with children should never have to see a dead child. I nudge her awake and whisper. 

“Hey, Cher, wake up.”  

“Hey Caimon, is it over?” 

“Yeah, it’s over.” 

We start walking back to the elevator. Doctors are walking past us. I feel this churning feeling in my stomach. I’m not ok, never have been and I don’t know if I ever will be. Focusing on the task at hand is hard when your mind doesn’t work. I wish my mind was blank. 

7:45am 

I get a call from the chief. I’m at a Denny’s. He asks how the autopsy went. I’m too frozen to answer. I tell him, he obliges and hangs up. I’m looking over the evidence with Cheryle.  

“So, here’s what we got. Bruises around the neck, most likely from choking, Stab wounds in the abdominal region, scratches all around the body, and, um…” I stutter to say it. 

“T-t-traces of semen in the anal region.” Cheryle winces. 

“Good god.” I feel bad.  

“Good thing for us however, the semen is traceable. Doctor Langstrom is currently working on DNA analysis right now.” Cheryle nods her head. 

“Good.” 

9:00am The Next Day 

I’m urged awake by more phone calls. At least I slept. I glance to the left at a picture. 

“Goodmorning babe, how’s paradise?” I get up, do the morning routine, and head out the door. I’m in my SUV driving down to work. I then get a call from Doctor Langstrom; I feel good. 

10:00am 

Cheryle called in sick today, so it’s just me. I start my car and head for the Medical Center. I’m driving down past Chukchansi Park and a song comes on the radio. It was my wedding song. I look to my left and remember where I am, I’m not home. I hold back my emotions and instead of changing it, I sing. 

I finally reach the medical center and I’m in the parking lot. I jump out of my car and slam the door shut. Summers in Fresno feel too hot. I walk to the front desk. Doctor Langstrom is already there waiting for me.  

“Detective Caimon! Good to see you again.” We head over to the lab and he hands me the results.  

“So, it seems that the traces of semen were from a 27-year-old by the name of Christian Woods.” 

“Thanks, Do-” 

“That’s not all, he also has HIV. Listen, whoever is doing this seems to me like he has some serious issues.” 

“Well thank you Doc for your help. I assure you that this man will be found.” 

I head out. 

10:30am 

I drive down to a Wendy’s. As I drive, I tell Cheryle the evidence.  

“Caimon that’s really disgusting don’t tell me this stuff when I’m sick.” 

“I’m sorry Cher, thought you should know. Well I’m going to send the evidence down to our computer nerds. See where Woods currently is.” 

“Alright then, bye Caimon.” 

“Bye.” 

11:30am 

I send the evidence to the intelligence office. They said they would start working on it right away. I’m sitting at my desk, working on a document. I continuously rub my arms. It’s freezing in here. I peep up at my pictures on my desk. Pictures of her smile put smiles on my face every day. I soon get a call. 

“Hey Detective Caimon, this is Sam from intelligence. We found him, but there’s an issue.” 

“What is it?” 

“Woods has been dead for 2 months. He was killed by a heart attack.” 

“This doesn’t add up. Where did Woods live?” He tells me the address and I head out. 

12:13pm 

I reach Wood’s old house. I look at a for sale sign on the front lawn. The house is nice. It reminds me of those houses you would see on HGTV. I walk up to the front door and knock twice. 

“FPD open up!” A young girl opens the door. 

“Mommy there is a tall man at the door!” I smile. 

“Hi, I’m Jessica Woods, how are you sir?” 

“I’m fine, I’m Detective Caimon, I’m working on a murder case and evidence suggests that a man that used to live here by the name of Christian Woods is responsible for it.” Jessica tells her daughter to go to her room. 

“Chris has been dead for 2 months how the hell could he be responsible?” 

“His DNA was found on the body.” 

“That’s impossible, what kind of DNA?” 

“Semen.” She looks at me with confusion. 

“My Christian died, how is it possible that he could have done this?” 

“Ma’am that’s why I’m here. I believe you that it wasn’t him.” 

“So then why are you here?” 

“I need to ask you a few questions.” We head inside to her dining room. It feels nice in her house. Well balanced, not too hot, not too cold. 

12:30pm 

Would you like anything to drink detective?” 

“No thank you.” She turns the TV off, turns on the dining room light, pulls a chair out, and sits down. 

“So, I find it scary that on the News I heard about the murder, it’s so sad. I just never thought I would be related to it. What were the questions you needed to ask me?” 

“Did Chris have any turbulence with anyone?” She looks down like she is trying to think. 

“He had issues with people only when Elizbeth, our daughter, was playing soccer. But that’s just because he was being competitive. He really loved watching her play.” I smile and look at some pictures of her daughter and Christian together. 

“How old is Elizabeth?” 

“9, sometimes 20.” I chuckle.  

“So, Ms. Woods, reasons have led me to believe that Christian didn’t die of just a heart attack. I believe he was murdered.” 

“That’s, no. Who would want to murder him? H-h-he was a great guy to everyone.” 

“Well sometimes, unexpected things, bad things, can happen to good people.” I look into her eyes, she hasn’t slept much. She has bags under her eyes. Her eyes start to water. 

“Well, Ms. Woods I think It’s time for me to go.” 

“Oh, um, o-ok.” We head to the door. I bid my farewells and head back down to my car. 

1:04pm 

As I drive back to the station, I see a playground. I look back to the road. I hurt to watch. I look back to the road and continue driving down the road. I stop at a taco bell. I then remember something strange. Christian Woods’ autopsy reported that he was perfectly healthy, no disorder, no mutation, no high cholesterol. I run back to my car and grab my laptop from my bag. 

I throw the bag into the backseat and swing the driver side door open. I shut it hard. I open my laptop and sign in. I get to a browser and head to my email. I email Doctor Langstrom. 

“I hope this is what I think it is.” 

2:00pm 

I head towards the medical center and call Cheryle.  

“Hey, so it turns out Christian Woods has been dead for 2 months.” 

“What? That destroys the case then!” 

“Not quite, his autopsy indicates that he was perfectly healthy, yet he died from a heart attack.” 

“So, what then Caimon?” 

“My suspicion is he died from poisoning.” 

“But if his autopsy found that he was fine, and nothing was wrong, how are you going to find the traces?” 

“I don’t know but my best bet is to look again.” 

“Good luck then Caimon.” 

2:30pm 

“Hey Doc, how have you been?” 

“I’ve been fine, pleasure to see you again.” 

“I have suspicion to believe Christian Woods isn’t our guy.” 

“How so?” 

“You should know.” 

“I don’t know much Caimon I’ve only been here for a month.” 

“What do you mean?” I’m starting to get anxious  

“I moved here from Los Angeles, I haven’t always lived here.” 

“Damn! So, what your telling me is Christian Woods’s body isn’t here?” 

“He’s on our records but his body isn’t here. You can check the Mountain View Cemetery.” 

“Will do.” 

3:03pm 

I arrive at the cemetery. I look around.  

“It’s empty?” I walk up to the gate and see a sign.  

“Closed for Father’s Day, enjoy the time you have with them.” I grab the paper angrily. I can’t help it anymore and I let a tear fall.  

“Hey Neighbor, what are you doing here alone?” I turn around to see Cheryle! 

“W-what are you doing here?” 

“I couldn’t let you solve this case all on your own, too much for one person to handle.” I smile. 

“Your right, I have been feeling pretty stretched thin.” She notices my tear. I look back, feeling embarrassed. 

“Huh, oh um, I don’t think I can hold on to it anymore so here it goes. About a year ago my wife and I were headed to the emergency room because her water broke. We sped through traffic and reached the ER. We checked into a room and we joked and laughed about how weird it would be for us to be parents. She went into labor but unfortunately the baby wasn’t breathing. We rushed the baby to another room while my wife tried to recover. She never did. She died of complications, and the baby suffocated to death. What haunts me to this day is the last thing I said to her: What if we lose the baby?” Cheryle looks at me in shock. 

“Caimon, wow, I’m so so so sorry. I had no idea your wife was pregnant. All you told us was that she died from cancer.” I look at her with guilt. 

“I know, the baby was too much for her, it was her tumor.” 

“Caimon I had no idea. You should have said something sooner, we’re partners. I’m here for you and you’re here for me. You’ve always saved my ass. Just give me chances to save yours.” 

“I’m sorry for shutting you and everybody down at the station out.” 

“It only took you 13 years to actually show emotion.” 

“Ha ha I know I know. Well enough of this, we have a case to solve.” Cheryle and I call the manager of the place. We tell him we have a warrant, and he sends a maintenance worker over to open the gate for us. We look around. It’s getting dark, we need to move fast. I ask the maintenance worker if he could give us some help digging up Christian Woods’ grave.  

3:45pm 

 We finally dig the casket back up. It’s dirty but still looks relatively new. Fitting since he barely died. We grab the casket and place it on the ground. Cheryle unlocks it, and I slowly open it…nothing!?  

“Damn it! Where is the body?” I look around as if I was hoping for it to be displaced.  

“Caimon! Caimon! Look over there.” Cheryle yells to me. I look around and see nothing. I look once more and point a flashlight into the dark. A dark figure with all black and a body bag is creeping behind the entrance. He notices us and runs quickly back out. Cheryle and I sprint towards the gate. I’m running and trying not to slip on the rocks and leaves that are around. Cheryle hits a rock and stumbles. 

We reach the entrance. The figure is hastily shoving the body bag in to his trunk. We pull out our guns. 

“STOP!” Right as we shoot, he opens his door and the bullets deflect against the door. We sprint across the parking lot towards his car as he pulls out. He then honks his horn and flashes his brights as soon as his car faces us. He then guns the engine and zooms past us.  

“Damn! We had him Caimon.” 

“No, we got him.” I pull out my notepad and write down his license plate as he drives away. 

1:37pm The Next Day 

I head to work a little bit later than expected. It’s fine though. I emailed intelligence the suspect’s license plate number. I expect a response within an hour. Hopefully this is the end. I head over to the station. I can’t help but feel a little bit free. I feel like letting go is the best way to get over a loss.  

“Thanks Cher.” I whisper. I walk through my office and over to the intelligence branch. I’m suddenly stopped by Cheryle. 

“Caimon. I have terrible news. Jessica Woods has gone missing.” 

“What! Good god, how did you find out?” 

“Her mother lives with her. She had been calling her all day and she wouldn’t pick up. She found her daughter in her locked room crying for her mom.”  

“Cher, I need you to stay here, stay in touch with intelligence.” 

“Will do.” 

2:30pm 

I reach Jessica’s house. I walk up and knock on the door. An older woman opens the door this time. 

“Are you a cop?” 

“Detective, so next best thing. I’m Detective Caimon.” 

“Thank Goodness, I won’t ask anything of you just please take a look around.” I walk in, this time the TV isn’t on with cartoons and the little girl is asleep. Poor child. I look around at the living room. I see a door with a chipped paint. I look down at the hardwood floor. Chipped and Scratched. 

“Ms. Woods where does this door lead?” 

“The basement.” I open the door. I smelt the air, I immediately knew what it was.  I run down to see a bag covering a large lump in the ground. I take the bag off, Jessica Woods. I look around the corpse and see she was stabbed to death. I look above to see a note taped above her. 

“She tasted delicious, especially when dead.” I grab the note and crumple it up and place it in my pocket. I head back up to Ms. Woods.  

“Ma’am please don’t go down there, you don’t want to see her like that.” 

“What do you mean? Is she dead?” 

“I’m so sorry.” She breaks down and starts crying. My stomach tightens. I call paramedics in to assist with the body. My phone starts ringing right as I was about to put the phone into my pocket. It’s the FPD. 

“Caimon.” It’s Cheryle’s voice. “We found him.” 

4:00pm 

“Where is he?”  

“He’s in a rundown part of Downtown. A SWAT team is already in Pursuit. I’m on my way as well.” 

“Ok Cher. I’ll meet you there, just send me the address.” I head out speeding. My heart is racing and pounding. I speed through the playground. Empty. I look back to the road and head to the address.  

4:30pm 

I reach the location. It’s a house. I see swat cars pull up with me. Cher is already here in her car. She glances over to my car and gets out of hers. I get out of mine and meet her in the middle.  

“Let’s go catch us a madman.” Cheryle nods and we pull our guns out and the SWAT team follow behind. We walk into the house. It hurts to breathe. I smell dead bodies. I notice a rundown kitchen and living room. Next to them is what I could assume is a basement door. I open the door, it leads to a basement. I get Cheryle with me and we head down. The stairs creak from beneath us and the air is heavy. I get to the end of the stair case and see a freezer. 

I walk to the freezer and look around. I see a decaying dead body, it looks like Christian. I see some plants next to the freezer. Aconite plants. Extremely poisonous, untraceable, and it causes heart attacks. I open the door to the freezer. I see a vial. I grab it and take a close look. It’s labeled WOODS. It’s semen! A gun goes off and I feel a sharp pain in my chest. Cheryle shoots at the man. He’s hit in the shoulder. The man falls to the ground screaming. I hear heavy footsteps as my vision blurs. It’s most likely the swat team.  

“Caimon, are you okay, oh my god, hang in there, please don’t go out on me!” 

“C-c-cher?” I mutter  

“It’s me Caimon I’m here.” Her voice echoes now. I look up to see a light. It’s beautiful. I’m attracted to it like a moth.  

“Caimon I got you don’t leave me partner.” I close my eyes and let my mind go blank. I feel no more pain. 

 

2 months later, 10:00am 

“With overwhelming evidence, I sentence Andrew Holmes to be put to death for 2 accounts of murder and the murder of a detective.” One side of the crowd gasps, the other side cheers. I miss Caimon. His smile, his intensity, him being my partner. At least he is with his family now. I head to his funeral.  

 

12:00pm  

When I arrive, I’m asked to give a speech. 

“What can I say, Joseph was a great guy, extremely smart and very intuitive and observant. I’m glad he was able to solve this case and put it in the ground. My partner, and my friend. What a great man, he will be missed.” After the funeral I get in my car and head home. The sun goes down and I look up at the stars from my car as I drive. 

“Yeah bud the stars are definitely better than these yellow street lamps.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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