The air is stale and the smell of cigar smoke reeks in ever corner. Drunken men sing all the while grabbing for scantily clad women as they walk pass. The women giggle and tease the men who are looking for some company to keep them warm on this cold and rainy evening. The bouncers toss out two drunken men who had just been fighting. Adam Wilson, the bars owner, turns a blind eye to a lot of things, but he does not tolerate fighting and the destruction of his property.
As the two men are thrown out, two more walk in. They take a look at their surroundings. No one is paying them any mind as they are to into their drink and games. Others can barely see the hands in front of their faces. They look to the bar and see Adam Wilson behind it cleaning glasses. They begin their approach towards the bar.
Adam Wilson sees the two men approaching him and quickly recognizes the rain soaked faces under the hoods. “Well well well, Detective Morrison and Jacob Matthews, what do I owe the honor for this late visit from two such legendary gentlemen as yourselves?”
“Always the smooth talker you are Adam,’ says Detective Morrison with a smile. “And your pub is as lively as always with the usually type crowd and crew.”
“Flattery will get you everywhere detective, now what do you want,” says Adam with a more serious tone.
“Sarah Thompson, she was murdered tonight,” Jacob jumps in. Her body was found tied up and she had been stabbed and strangled to death. We have reason to believe that it might of been a sailor or someone who works in the shipyard that may have done it. We were hoping you might have some info for us.”
Adam looks up from the glass he was cleaning. “Sarah Thompson, the young beautiful blonde child to Joseph? That’s a damn shame, she was such a beautiful woman and would of made a wonderful wife to some lucky guy. I don’t have much information to give……… but, there is one thing.” Adam puts the glass down and closes his eyes as if trying to remember a distant thought. “There was this one sailor, I believe they called him Skippy. He came of the ship that docked several days ago. I don’t know much about him but he seemed to have a thing for Sarah. She walked passed here every night on her way back home.”
Adam nods towards a table of five men. “Over there, they’re off the same boat as Skippy. Guy was kind of a loner but he often walked in around the same time as them. If anyone knows something about Skippy then it would be those guys there.”
Jacob and Detective Morrison look at each other and then the table of sailors. They thank Adam and begin to rise up from the bar. As they begin to head towards the group, Adam yells to them, “hey, next time why don’t you two buy something. This is a business not a information desk.”
As Jacob and Detective Morrison approach the table, the five men begin to take notice of them. They narrow their eyes and now are on their guard. Jacob notices several hands begin to reach under the table. The men look to Adam at the bar and then at Jacob and Detective Morrison. They certainly fit the bill of men who had been stuck on a ship for several days at a time at sea if not a month or two. They looked gruff, their shirts stained and wrinkled. Hair was unkempt and four of them had rough beards grown out. Their eyes had a cold stare, hardened by years at sea and maybe something a little more. It would be easy to guess that at least one or two had been forced to join onto the ship, whether through fear of their lives or in order to avoid jail time. It would not be easy dealing with this group.
“We come in peace,” says Detective Morrison. He had to pause as he realized how cliche he sounded. “We are looking for some information on a man who may be part of your ship by the name of Skippy.”
The sailors look each other and then all eyes focused on one particular sailor. He was the only one without a beard. He looked to be a man in his late twenties. Despite his youthful appearance, one look into his eyes showed that he had been a man who had seen a lot and was highly experienced. He wore a wrinkled white shirt with a stained brown vest over it. A lump under his shirt hinted at a hidden weapon. Its placement made it so it wasn’t east to get in case of a sudden fight. So, he must of had a second weapon hidden somewhere else for quick and easy access.
He looks at his four companions and nods his head. The other four men get up and begin to walk away but not without shooting suspicious looks towards Jacob and Detective Morrison’s direction. “So what do you cops want with Skippy on this ugly evening?” asks the sailor.
“And what makes you think us to be cops?” questions Detective Morrison.
The sailor raises one eyebrow and stares down the detective. “Do you think me to be a fool. Most people wouldn’t dare come here, let alone come in asking questions. You don’t look to be debt collectors either so you must be cops. So, once again I ask you, what do you want with Skippy?”
“Why you arrogant little….” begins Detective Morrison before he is quickly interrupted by Jacob. “I apologize for our rudeness. It has been a long evening. We believe your friend Skippy to be a suspect in the murder of a young woman that resides in this town. We just wanted some information on him so we can talk to him.”
The sailor leans back in the chair and closes his eyes. “Was she a slender blonde, young and very beautiful, shy but full of energy,” he asks.
Jacob pauses for second before answering. “Yes, Sarah Thompson. She was seventeen and was found slain nearly three hours ago. Did you know her?”
“No,” answers the sailor, “but I had seen her around. She passes by here every night. And for the record, Skippy is not my friend, we just work on the same ship together. Skippy was always kind of a loner and weird. It’s believed he joined the ship because he was in serious debt where he came from. He had a crush on your little victim though. The first night we saw her, Skippy approached her. She stopped to talk to him, most likely just out of kindness trying not to be rude. The conversation didn’t last long though. You could tell by the expression on her face that she had begun to get a little put off by Skippy, which really isn’t that hard to believe.”
The sailor takes a drink of his beer before he continues on. “The next day, we saw her at the docks with her father. It seems that he was discussing business with the captain. She was on the side accompanied by her fathers bodyguard. He seems very protective of his daughter. The way he kept looking back at her, he obviously had his doubts about bringing her with him but she probably convinced him to let her tag along.”
“Skippy saw her and instantly began to approach her. As he did, her bodyguard immediately jumped in the way and grabbed Skippy. Skippy tried to fight back but ended up getting tossed over into a pile of crates. This caused an instant reaction from her father who rushed over. In response to the Thompson mans anger and Skippy’s stupidity, the captain punished him by flogging, fifty times in front of the whole crew.”
Jacob was taking it all in. It had made sense so far. The Thompson family was very protective of the miracle child. When Sarah was nine, Joseph Thompson had beaten a man down in the streets who’s son had made his daughter cry. Part of the reason why Sarah had not had many male suitors was of course her shyness but also because many of the towns young men feared her fathers wrath.
“How did Skippy react to that,” ask Detective Morrison obviously getting impatient.
“Oh he was ecstatic,” the sailor answered sarcastically. “How the hell do you think he felt! After the lashing, he went to his quarters and didn’t come back out till later that night. During the evening, Ms. Thompson came by, walking her usual route. Skippy once again approached her. You could see the uneasiness on her expression. They talked for a few but before long you could hear Skippy yelling. She tried to move away but Skippy suddenly grabbed her arm and held her tight. She was obviously scared. A few of the guys had to rush over there and pull Skippy off of her. Skippy would leave the bar and not return that night.”
“I see,” says Jacob. “Can you answer me this. Did Skippy show up back at the bar tonight? And did you happen by chance to see Ms. Thompson walk by?”
The sailor paused for a second before replying. “Yeah, he was here but left around 3 hours ago in a hurry. I was inside so I didn’t see her come by or not.”
“I see, thank you for your time,” says Jacob as he begins to leave the table. He looks to Detective Morrison. “I think it’s time to formulate a plan,” he explains. “Oh, and one more question if I may ask, do you by chance know where we can find Skippy at during this hour?”
The Sailor stops to think. “I can’t say,” responds the sailor. “With the captain away, the ships tends to stay empty but your guess is as good as mines.”
Jacob and Detective Morrison say their thanks and begin to walk away towards the door. They take in everything they heard from the sailor and think about what their next move is going to be. The rain is still coming down hard outside as the wind begins to howl as if calling home it’s lost children of the night.
Before they step out into the night, Detective Morrison stops before the door. “Jacob,” he begins to say, “I think I should head back to the station. We don’t know if this Skippy character is back at the ship or not. If he truly is our killer, he could be hiding or preparing to leave town. We’ll need more man power to catch him before he can sneak out and from what I know, that boat ships back out in the morning as well.”
Jacob looks at his old partner. He was always the worrisome one of the two but he did have a point. The two of them could never cover the whole town in the few hours before morning. “Alright John, you’re right. We will meet back up. While you head back to the station, I’m gonna head to the docks and see if I can get lucky,” says Jacob.
“Alright Jacob, be careful out there,” replies Detective Morrison. The two men shake hands and head back out into the rain and into their separate directions. Jacob takes another look at the night sky. Even as they get closer to their possible killer, he can’t shake the eerie feeling he has and the moon is still no where in sight. It is as if the night sky has devoured it and all the stars.