Murders in Progress…

Nancy Gillis

(Episode 10)

 

The kids all poured out of the school van with wide eyes.  Burt followed.

“Okay.  Listen up!”  Leland shouted.  He didn’t introduce himself because they all knew who he was, and he was wearing a badge besides.  “You’re not going to get to see the body.  So I want you to just get that out of your thoughts right now.”  Leland had covered the corpse and head with a black body bag before leaving.  The girls looked relieved.  The one boy looked disappointed.

“There are a number of things which need doing, and fairly quickly.  The evidence at a crime scene can deteriorate or disappear quickly.  So we all need to be quick, but thorough.  We get no second chances,” Leland declared.  “I need someone to go over the Mercedes.  Who wants to do that?”

The boy immediately raised his hand.

“Good.  Now I need the two others to examine everywhere it appears there has been recent human activity for physical evidence – which I want you to pick away and put in these sealable baggies.  This includes blood droppings, cigarette butts, lost items, hairs, fabric, etc.  So you need to really look close.  That means get your head down around the ground!  And then you will record on this ‘grid’ we’re creating where each of these evidences were located and write it on the side of the sealed bag. “

“I’ve already taken photographic shots of the area and crime scene.  But if you see something you find remarkable, well then for goodness sakes, use some more film.”

 

Ruth was there too and was handing out supplies.  “We practiced lifting fingerprints on the way here,” she told Leland.  “And we went over how to walk around a crime scene; what to look for, etcetera.”

“Thanks Ruth,” Leland said.

The kids were putting on their gloves and booties, very quietly.  Leland took this time to grab Burt and walk him to where the two of them could maneuver Karen Loomis into the body bag, then pick her up and deposit her into the back of Sheriff Leland’s sports utility vehicle.  The kids all swiveled silently, following Leland and Burt’s movements as the corpse passed by.  Leland handed Ruth the keys.  “Keep it under 50, Ruth.  Tell Vern to put her in the freezer with the other corpse.”  Vern Smithers ran a mobile slaughterhouse, with a wild game dressing and wrapping  sideline out of his meat store, where, now and then, the Sheriff’s Office rented a freezer.   “Don’t use the siren.”

Ruth gave him a look.

“Please,” Leland added.

“Never any fricking fun,” Ruth grumbled, leaving.

“I’ll get a ride back with you and the kids if that’s okay,” Leland said.

Burt nodded.

 

“Well, that’s about it,” Leland said, hours later.  The kids had scoured the area.  Leland and Burt had made casts of the best of the boot prints.  And they followed the broken underbrush but could find no readable tire impressions at the road site.  Ruth had packed some sandwiches and Kool Aid.  They drank all the Kool Aid, but no one ate much.

They were all piling onto the bus when the last girl in asked Leland if she could “write something about this for the school paper?”   Leland looked at Burt.  Burt thought it should be permissible.

“Okay,” Leland said.

“And I would like access to a few of the photos taken, and a brief interview with you on the way back – if you would be agreeable?”  The girl insisted.

Leland wondered why he hadn’t noticed her pin point gaze and the firm set of her lips before.  Leland sighed.  He looked down.  ‘My God, it’s another Ruth,’ he thought.

“What’s your last name?”  He asked.

“You don’t even know my first,” she replied.

“Okay.  What’s both your names?”

“Nancy Gillis,” the girl replied.

Leland grunted.  He couldn’t place her amongst anyone of Ruth’s kin and vintage.  It seemed he remembered some Gillises lived out around Coventry Creek.

“And I intend to make a name for myself,” she added.

Leland mumbled.

Nancy Gillis followed him to the back of the bus, then back to the middle of the bus, and finally to a seat just behind where Leland sat down next to the one boy.  Not such a good ploy really, because then Nancy yelled her questions across the back of the seat, so that the whole bus was a party to it.

Photo by Tin Tin Nelson

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