Framed for murder
“The impossible could not have happened,
therefore the impossible
must be possible in spite of appearances.”
― Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express
Blinding lights, small room and a bunch of hateful eyes behind the glass wall. And all I see in the mirror - after making the effort to look up from the table - is a pale face and a blank expression. Deep purple circles under the eyes and an unattractive bloodshot gaze.
I didn’t kill her.
How many hours has it been? I stare at the mirror again and ran a hand against my face. It feels dry and strained, just like me. This whole scene seems so surreal. This room, the dirty floor covered with an old green linoleum. The empty chair opposite me... the handcuffs pinned to my wrist and on a thin metal pipe. I lift my hand and the chain pulls against my skin, bruising it even more. I look at the red marks and sigh, because somehow this doesn’t turn out to be some strange magic trick, and the metal circle around my hand doesn’t just click open.
I didn’t kill her.
Those words pop in my head every couple of minutes and I flinch every time. I was completely innocent and yet I was the only one who seemed to know this, not so obvious truth. Because apparently, “I’m not a very reliable witness” and my alibi just doesn’t add up - funny, isn’t it? Odd, somehow I’m really not in the mood to be laughing. I sigh again, cross my arms on the table and slump my head heavily against them. Making the table’s legs scrape against the floor.
How did I end up to be accused for murder ? How could I be the killer ?
I didn’t even know the victim.
I’m harmless. Well, that’s what people say, pretty much all the time. Which used to be my least favorite label, until tonight that is... or should I say this morning. I lift my head for a moment and stare blankly at the big, white, round clock. I watch as the hand of the clock reaches twelve, making it officially 3 o’clock in the morning. My head slumps once again and I turn numbed for the next hour or so.
I’m hardly moving, except for the breathing part, but my brain is on constant alert. Reliving last night’s events. Over and over again. My mind drifting to the last moment when everything was okay. I remember sitting in my favorite chair, huddled over my sketches for the “Landbery House Design”. Architect work certainly wasn’t good for the back, that was for sure. I straighten up my posture and hear my joints pop a couple of times. I take of my glasses and rub my eyes. Trying to regain some focus, my eyes even more tired than me. Let me tell you one thing, if I didn’t love my job so much, I would be a really frustrated man, but since this was something that really kept me rolling, I didn’t bother to moan. Too much.
I sit down on the chair again and my stare falls on an open book, at the side of the table. I shake my head disapprovingly. Designing a luxuries bathroom and reading an Agatha Christie novel in between. I narrow my eyes, looking at the title : “The secret adversary” and then smile to myself. The serious architect, a man in love with his work and mystery novels. Nothing wrong with that picture. Nope. I take a sip of my coffee and stare at the window. Hmm, was is just me or did the scenery seem a bit more shady than usual? Well, that’s what you get form living next to a forest. Beautiful at most times, yet sometimes a little creepy at night. Especially on a night like this. So still and peaceful, so much that it has this strange, dangerous feel about it. Almost sinister.
I shake my head again. Too tired to think logically. Right now every odd shadow would seem like a monster form under the bed. Nightmares and dreams mixing together, letting me know, it’s time to finally give in and turn in.
I wake up suddenly, the door bell ringing relentlessly without stopping. At the first moment I think that I might be still sleeping, my head a bit fuzzy. I sink under the covers hoping that the ringing will finally end, since it must be some crazy person... ringing in the middle of the night... I finally give up when the ringing is being followed by a lot of pounding on the door. I groan in frustration as a small headache starts to develop. I look at clock in my dark bedroom and stare at red vibrating numbers.
I moan even louder and start to get up, tripping on the edge of the carpet and almost fall directly into the wall. Crap, crap, crap...
What lunatic calls in the middle of the night!? What’s wrong with people, don’t they have any respect anymore? - I nag all the way down the stairs, careful not to trip and accidently break my neck. Anything was possible tonight - or today, depends how you look at it. I reach the door and notice red and blue light through the window. A low siren whaling endlessly. Well, this couldn’t be good. I open the door and stare at the police officer before me. His hand loosely layed on the strap of his gun. I look blankly at him and back to the car behind him.
Mr. Clark Jamieson ? - Asks the officer and I stifle a shudder. Something was very wrong here. I take a deep breath.
Yes, it’s me. Can I ask what’s the problem? - The policeman stares at me, no visible reactions on his face.
Can you step back into the house ? - He asks sternly, his voice not to be discuss with it. His request less of a question and more of an order.
Yes, of course... - I say quietly, moving back and keeping a safe distance from him - but may I know what’s wrong, I really don’t understand... - the cop looks around slowly, his expression still cool. He stares at the furniture and things laying around on the table. A messy bunch of papers and coffee mugs. I swallow and he looks back at me, noticing me again. He straightens his back even more and turns formal. Apparently on some strange kind of mission. Not good, not good.
Mr. Jamieson. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
There must be some mistake...
I whisper and the cop doesn’t stop talking even for a second.
...If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
Can you please tell me what’s this about - I ask trying to sound more confident as a thought hits me - Alright, is this some kind of sick joke? Did Pit put you up to this?
Sir, please remain calm... Do you understand these rights as I have said them to you?
He asks, his voice even more stern, and at the same time it turns a bit cautious.
I am calm... so was it him, because I told him he wasn’t a good pranker ? Because if that’s the case, he definitely went over board.
I say putting a hand on the guy’s shoulder, still a bit in shock, rambling on and on.
Sir I advise you to remove that hand of immediately! This is an assault on a police officer and will be held against you in court !
I didn’t... - I start to mumble as the officer pulls my hand away sternly and reaches to his belt, taking out a pair of handcuffs. They make a nasty sound, clashing against each other.
Mr. Jamieson, you are accused of a first degree murder on Sara Walters.
Excuse me...? - I ask even more bewildered, as he turns me around, grabbing my wrists and pulling them behind my back. There’s a sickening sounding click, as the metal circles wrap themselves around wrists, digging deeply into my skin. This was a nightmare, I must be still sleeping, because this just couldn’t be true. It couldn’t.
I lift my head as the door to the interrogation room opens with a creak.
Your personal connection with the victim?
What are you talking about, I didn’t even know this woman !
Is it true that your company has a “work chat” ?
Yes we do, but I don’t see how that’s relevant?
So you confirm, and the purpose of the chat is...?
It’s too... ask questions regarding building issues that can happen when dealing with a project... or consulting about the details. The technicalities. I don’t know, keeping up with the work plan we have... it’s just a “know how” I guess. Most companies have this.
That is true, and you have been also using it for “professional” use, isn’t that right?
The detective asks, looking into some files. I shake make had confused. Why was he asking this weird questions ?
Yes, but... - I start when the looks up, his stare sharp.
Mister Jamieson, I’m going to ask you one more time... and I advise you to think the answer through. Did you, or did you not know Sara Walters?
No ! - I scream, sounding more desperate than I wanted, then add more calmly - I do not know this woman.
Alright, than let me ask you a different question .
He says, taking a moment to lit his cigarette and smoke it, the smoke instantly felling up the room, flowing in the air in small circles as the cop breaths it out.
Do you confirm knowing a person with the nick “mandy9857” ? - he asks, as if this doesn’t really concern him. I stare at him, furrowing my eyebrows.
Yes, it’s a girl I’ve been talking about architecture, a college student.
And also discussing your newest project - he looks in his files again, searching for something - “The Landbery House Design” ? - he asks and my eyes widen.
Yes, perhaps a little, but how is this of any importance?
Isn’t that project confined by a secrecy policy... and a very strict one for that matter, Mr. Jamieson ?
He asks and I can feel myself going pale. How does he know about this? The only people who knew about it were me and... no, that couldn’t possibly be.
Mr. Jamieson. The person behind the nick “mandy9857” wasn’t a student of architecture. She was a woman of thirty-two, working for a company, which specialized in obtaining confident information. There are many who don’t want your company’s project to succeed. Apparently the land that the house is to be build on, is very significant to other, let’s say “investors”. People who don’t necessary play by the rules and are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Am I making myself clear?
Crystal. But that woman. How is she connected to....
Mr. Clark... may I call you that? Let’s stop playing games, shall we? The woman that you have been talking for the past six months, and successively passing private information, is indeed Sara Walters. Our victim that you had stabbed and left to bleed out in her apartment.
No, that can’ be. No, no... I didn’t kill her. I didn’t even know her. I mean, I thought she was a student. I was helping her. I didn’t kill no one, you have to trust me on this, I'm telling the truth.
Mr. Clark! I’m loosing patience with you. But because I like you, I’m going to go through this one more time. Just for you. In the hope that you’ll regain your memory. Let’s go through the facts one by one. Sara Walters. Female. Age thirty-two. Stabbed twelve times in her apartment with a thin 6,5 inches metal chisel. Which led the victim to bleed out in less than 20 minutes and die in the process. The possible time of death, 2:30 a.m. Wednesday night, August 23rd.
Are you still with me Mr. Clark? Good, I didn’t want to lose you there - know, as I said before. The victim dies of multiple stab wounds in her place on Eastwood street, apartment 24B. The woman has been found by the her landlord at about two hours later due to the “strange noises coming from up stairs and an open door to Miss’s Walters apartment".
It wasn’t me, I promise you. I would never kill her - I can feel my heart start to pound faster as I realize what I’ve just said - I mean kill anyone, I was at home, sleeping. I couldn’t have even been there...
The detective says in a tired voice, like he has been here before, hearing the same statements over and over again.
Do you take me for a fool? Besides...
He smiles in nasty way, like he knows something that I don’t.
You didn’t let me finish. After the police arrives at the crime scene and checks for evidence, they find a couple of very interesting items. The murder weapon - as mentioned before - a metal chisel, all in blood and finger prints. Guess who’s? That’s right. Yours. Strange isn’t it? And there are even more “fun” surprises. The last person to call Miss Walters, was you! Isn’t that just amazing? But it doesn’t end there, oh no. There is a lot of personal correspondence on the victims laptop between you and her. Not to mention the projects to the “Landbery House Design”. Any comments ?
I don’t know, and never knew, anyone of the name Sara Walters.
I say in a strained voice, training not to drown and stay up float.
I don’t know how my finger prints got on the weapon - and yes, I corresponded with a woman I thought was named Mandy... and yes, at one moment it got more personal, but I didn’t know it was this woman.
And the project for the house? - He asks calmly, not at all convinced.
I don’t know how she got that... I can promise you it wasn’t from me. I would never do such a thing. I’m obviously being framed.
Obviously mister Clark... Oh, and one more thing. Let me remind you that you have no actual and reliable alibi for last night.
I was at home.
Of course you were. But let’s face, as alibi’s go, yours is not a very strong one. Tell something, do you know how we got to you, so fast?
No, I don’t really...
A very interesting fact indeed. We received an anonymous call from a woman, claiming she saw the whole thing from outside of the building. Apparently you like to keep the light on while performing.
That’s impossible! I’m being framed ! You have to see it.
I see a lot, Mr. Clark. Especially, that the woman called again... that’s right. Not so anonymous this time. Decided to speak in court.
She what ?!
I ask, finding it difficult to think straight. The witness was real? I could feel my mind starting to go fuzzy, on the verge of insanity. None of this seemed real... was this a nightmare in the end ? Was I belong in an institution ? Because I do not remember stabbing anyone, or the blood, or the victim. And yet, everything states against me. EVERYTHING. I stare at the detective and notice his face expression. He looks like the cat, that just got the cream.
Oh yes. Prepare yourself Mr. Jamieson. You have your first trial tomorrow. Be sure to think of a better alibi by that time. Some judges are very eager for the death sentence. I know that yours is. But don’t worry, I’m sure you are innocent after all...
For now. End scene.