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A Melody Born From Fear, Anger, and Broken Bones.

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

When Daniel stepped into the house his senses were immediately overwhelmed by a sharp metallic scent, he could almost taste it on his tongue. A few feet away, the camera lights shuttered on-and-off as the Medical Examiners busied themselves with immortalizing the contents of the room with their lenses, a feat that wasn't possible years ago. Science truly was life-changing.


“What the fuck?” Daniel muttered to himself as his eyes finally settled on the source of the putrid smell. He had training at the academy, he ran a year of patrol and he had seen a few deaths and murders in his time, but nothing could have prepared him for the sight in front of him.


The victim’s body was mauled under the strength of a chandelier that previously lighted up the room, dried-up blood colored the silver of the chandelier’s bulb, and the blood pooled around the victim even though the edges had darkened from how long they had been exposed to air.


“Well, you don’t see that every day,” Detective Maxwell said from beside him while he dropped his cigarette and killed the stub underneath his feet. He signaled to Christine, a blonde lady that worked with the Medical Examiner's Office. “What do we have?”


“The victim's name is Wayne Mullins. A single man in his forties. He runs a small school for black children in the neighborhood. One of his neighbors called in the death when she came in to check on him after she claimed she hadn't seen him the entire day,” Christine said as she approached the detectives.


“Cause of death?” Daniel asked.


“You do realize that there's a giant chandelier crushing his torso, right?” Detective Maxwell asked with a raised brow.


“Well we still haven’t determined if the chandelier killed him, there seems to be a lot of blood, and the chandelier could only have caused a concussion with its weight at most,” Christine said.


“So someone killed the victim and dropped the chandelier on him to hide the cause of death?” Daniel asked.



“Or maybe it’s just an accident,” Detective Maxwell muttered as he fished out another cigarette from his jacket.


“What?” Christine asked, her brows drawn together in confusion.


“Yeah, What?” Daniel asked as he turned to face his partner.


“Let me speak to you for a minute, Kid,” Detective Maxwell said as he stepped back.


“What are you talking about? There's no way that could have been an accident,” Daniel hissed at him.


Detective Maxwell took out his lighter and the flame flickered and danced above it before he brought it against the cigarette. He took a long drag, deliberately taking his time to puff out the smoke against Daniel’s strong face. The young detective was what most ladies would consider eye candy. He had piercing brown eyes and a slender nose that sat on a long tanned face. He was often the tallest person in the room and Lester knew he spent more time styling his thick, black hair than any man should.


Daniel continued to stare back at him, unamused by the old man’s antics.


“What do you see?” Detective Maxwell asked and nodded his head in the direction of the victim's body.


“A man that was robbed of his life—”


“A black man,” Detective Maxwell cut in.  


“Really? We're doing that? Really?” Daniel asked and arched an eyebrow.  


“You know how it is with these black neighborhoods, they are always attacking themselves, robbing themselves. It's the South side after all.”


“Don’t you want to bring the killer to justice? That’s what we do—it’s what we're supposed to do.”


“Look, Kid. I get it, you're new at this and you’re itching to get some action, but we're not superheroes. I'm having a migraine just thinking about all the paperwork this case is going fill my table with,” Detective Maxwell said, his hands reached for his temple, massaging it as if he was trying to sell the fact that he truly had a migraine.


He noticed Daniel’s features were still contorted by a frown and he continued, “It's not that I'm nonchalant, I'm just trying to retire without any work stressing my last month at the precinct. There's no need to blow this thing’s ass wide open.”


“I’m not writing off a murder case as an accident for your own comfort, Detective,” Daniel hissed, spitting the last word more as an insult than a title.


“Fine. Have at it,” Detective Maxwell shrugged and flicked his half-smoked cigarette against Daniel’s shirt. “You won't find what you're looking for though—that big case that's going to be the talk of Chicago. This, at best, is just a case of a mugging gone wrong,” Detective Maxwell said and gave Daniel a humorless smile as he walked out.

(An Excerpt from the Manuscript: Death Of The Jury)

Author: Nsikan Hilary

Author’s pen name: Sir. J. L. Milford.


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