“So the tweeker Rachel called it in?”
Chase nodded, lifting the police tape across the red door and gesturing for Drake to enter. He hesitated.
Another eyebrow raise, but Chase made no move to enter.
Chivalry really is dead.
He crossed the threshold first.
“Yes,” Chase answered, following him inside. “She’s down at the station now giving an official statement. Said that last night around three am, she was awoken by someone pounding on the back door, yelling to open up.”
Drake’s shoes crunched on the ground and he looked down. It appeared as if someone had laid a thick layer of sand across what he thought might be concrete.
“And she did?”
“She opened the door, then says that our vic pushed by her and went inside. Said he looked scared, eyes red, like he had been crying, maybe. Could have just been the rain though.”
Drake remembered the drying puddles in the alley outside.
“And then what?”
“Rachel says someone bopped her over the head, and she was knocked out cold. Woke up in the alley a few hours later, came inside and found the body.”
Drake cocked his head.
“She said that the man knocked at three and she was out cold for an hour or two… so why are we only getting here at—” he checked his Timex, “eleven-thirty?”
“She says she was scared, didn’t know what to do.”
“You believe that?”
“Rachel Adams is well known to the police—the uniform that took her to the station had arrested her twice himself: once for possession of crystal, the other for soliciting. The way I figure it, is that she needed to clean up some of her product before calling it in.”
Drake thought about this for a moment.
“Which would explain why she opened the door at three am instead of calling the uniforms right away. Probably expecting a custy or a delivery. She mention that she was waiting for someone? Her pimp? A dealer?”
Chase reached over to a small box on the floor and pulled out blue shoe covers. After putting them overtop of her flats, she offered a pair to Drake. He took them and slid them over his worn loafers.
“That’s what I was thinking. But no pimp. Uniforms say that she just turned tricks on her own in order to score—wasn’t a regular thing. A dealer makes more sense.”
Drake bit his lip.
“Did you ID the vic?”
Chase shook her head.
“Hmm. Give the station a call, get them to question her about a wallet. If she was turning tricks to score some dope, I wouldn’t put it by her to steal a dead man’s wallet.”
Chase stared at him for a moment, and Drake looked back, confusion washing over him. When her eyes darted to the radio on his belt, he realized why.
“Sorry,” he grumbled. “It’s just that Clay was always the one to call things in. We can talk to her directly when we get back to the station.”
Chase reached for her radio, and unclicked it.
“That’s alright, I’ll let them know to hold her until we come in.”
While she made the call, Drake looked around.
They were in what appeared to be some sort of warehouse. One of the officers had set up a bright light in the corner, which cast the entire space in an artificial glow with hard shadows.
He guessed the main room was eighteen to twenty feet long, but only about ten feet wide. The sand on the ground was disturbed in many places, and he saw long, flat depressions at regular intervals.
It was a crack den, he was sure of it; the deep indents were from people sleeping on the floor. Toward the back of half of the room was a white plastic sheet that ran floor to ceiling, behind which he could make out the bright halos of other lights.
There were several used condoms on the floor and a smashed bong by one wall, all of which had yellow tags with numbers on them placed beside each item. There were two uniforms inside the warehouse, and perhaps more behind the plastic curtain based on the shadows he noted within; one was busy taking pictures of the paraphernalia, while the other had his nose buried in his cell phone.
He kicked at the sand with his covered shoe. Then he turned to Chase, who had since reclipped her radio to her hip.
“Not going to find any usable footprints here,” he said. “What’s with the sand?”
Chase started to walk toward the plastic curtain.
“Junkies lay it down,” she paused. “You ever see someone deep in a k-hole?”
Drake shook his head. He was familiar with the concept: essentially, if you injected enough Ketamine, your brain would completely disconnect from your body and you were lost in a sort of void.
“Well, sometimes if you go deep enough, you can shit or piss yourself and not even know it.”
Drake screwed up his face, and then leaned down and adjusted the boot coverings so that they covered his entire loafers.
“So this is like some sort of kitty litter for crack addicts?”
“Something like that.”
When Drake continued to look at her, she raised a hand defensively.
“What can I say? Worked as a Narc in Seattle for seven years.”
Again, Drake was taken aback by this comment.
Seven years? She can’t be older than… what? Thirty-three? Thirty-five at most?
Chase looked away, clearly uncomfortable now.
“Anyways, there’s something else you are going to want to see.”
Drake had a feeling that this was coming.
“The reason why our vic was shirtless?”
“Bingo,” she replied, then pulled back the curtain, revealing the crime scene.