Relative Change-A Lennie Fanfic
At 1:13 p.m., on another hot August day, the two detectives entered the Park Avenue apartment, which was already filled with Crime Scene Unit agents and uniformed officers. Squawk boxes going on and off and the din of voices made it hard to hear exactly what was happening, what had taken place, and what was left to be done. What wasn't difficult to figure out was the dead guy on the living room floor. He lay there, trousers around his ankles, boxers twisted askew, exposing himself pitifully to the room full of dispassionate voyeurs.
From under his head a quickly coagulating river of blood pooled in the brick area that served as a hearth for a tiny fireplace. Protruding slightly from under the right side of his head was a small, cast iron statue of a rabbit, the obvious agent of the man's demise.
"What a way to go," quipped Briscoe, the older of the two detectives, characteristically wry and unintentionally irreverent. "Poor slob must've been cut off in mid-stream."
"How can you tell that?" asked the young Latino detective at his side, assuming his role as straight man.
"No smile,” said Briscoe, vaguely gesturing at the corpse's face. "And look at this wouldja?" He pointed. The body sported a perfectly intact condom.
"So much for 'safe sex' ," quipped Rey Curtis, the younger man. He and Briscoe both grimaced slightly.
"Don't feel too sorry for him until you see what we got in here, Lennie," said a CSU man to Detective Briscoe, gesturing back down the hallway behind him.
The two detectives followed the man down a hallway whose beige carpet was dotted with blood, the white wall smeared in two places with it. A pair of torn women’s underpants, soaked with blood were wadded up against the baseboard near the bedroom door.
"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph," exhaled Curtis. The catalyst of his invocation sat propped against the wall on the opposite side of the room. Bloody; cotton dress and stockings torn; face bruised and cut; her eyes empty and staring, was a woman of indeterminate age. Her own blood had begun to soak the carpet under her. In her right hand she clutched the telephone receiver, the “nine-one-one” operator still in attendance on the other end. The CSU agent picked up the receiver with a gloved hand, carefully disengaging the woman's fingers.
He told the operator who he was and that officers had responded to the scene. He told her to definitely send the ambulance, a.s.a.p.. He listened for a moment. When he hung up he told the detectives that, although she dialed nine-one-one, the woman had not been able to respond to the operator's questions. The operator had dispatched the police to the address which had shown up on the computerized system when the telephone connection was made, and had stayed on the line until now when she was sure the police had arrived.
"Looks like she crawled back here," said Bennett, a uniform accompanying the others, pointing to the rug burns and torn stockings on the woman's knees. "She musta crawled back to the phone to make the call. They didn't even know she was back here when they called you guys in; all they saw was the body up front."
Lennie stepped gingerly across the carpet, careful not to step on anything that might be evidence, as though they'd need much to figure out what went down here. He squatted down beside the woman, who continued to stare without focus at some distant spot on her own private horizon.
"ID?" he asked to anyone in general, never taking his eyes off the woman's bloodied face. Not pretty, not even particularly attractive, there was something compelling about her, beneath the blood and bruises.
New York driver's license in her purse says Hannah O'Neal, born 1958," said Bennett. Phone bill in her name has a West Village address, Christopher Street."
A far cry from an apartment on 86th and Park, thought Briscoe.
"Hannah?" Briscoe spoke softly. "Hannah, my name is Lennie and this is Rey." He pointed upwards to where his partner stood, a deep frown furrowed above his eyes. "We came to help you, okay? No one's going to hurt you anymore. I promise."
Rey took off his suit jacket; it was brown, made of soft light-weight Italian wool and lined with silk. He handed it to Lennie. "She's in shock," he said, "put this around her to keep her warm." The cool and control in his voice was belied by the look in his eyes.
Lennie almost asked Rey if he was sure he wanted to risk getting the expensive coat bloody, but saw the look in Curtis's eyes and thought better of it; he wrapped the soft jacket around her shoulders, lifting her gently away from the wall as he did so, carefully keeping his arm around her and moving slowly, so as not to bring her back to reality too abruptly. He knew rape victims often can't stand to be touched. He spoke to her again, more of a croon than speaking, the way he would a hurt child.
Briscoe straightened his crouched position beside her, gently leaning her back against the wall. He put his hand on her face, brushing short blue-black curls out of the blood around her eyes. He carefully put his hand under her chin and tilted her face up slightly and looked into her still unfocused eyes.
"Hannah, come on now. I'm here. It's okay. It's safe," he repeated this litany several times while holding her face toward his. Seconds went by. Then slowly she slid her brown eyes upward until they looked into his own dark blue ones; both pairs rimmed with tears now. She frowned slightly, then began to shake violently. She still hadn't made a sound. Then, a tiny cry that began somewhere inside her made its way to her throat, her mouth, and out into the room, bringing with it whatever pain and terror she had been holding down. Though not loud, it seemed to echo in the detectives' ears.
Briscoe put his arms around her, rocking her gently.
A high-pitched wail sliced the air. St. Vinnie's, the local name for St. Vincent's Hospital, was not far away.
Those immortal words, to be continued