My name is Adam Moore, and I am not a happy camper at the moment. Someone is killing the residents on Rainbow Lane cul-de-sac. If that wasn't bad enough, they're trying to frame me for the murders.
My only hope of proving my innocence? Detective Steve Jarrett ... if I can convince him I'm not the man he's looking for. Although he may be the man I've been looking for all my life.
I got off work at ten. The fireworks over the lake on the east side of the city were impressive. The reporter's story about them -- not so much so. Not really her fault. After all, there wasn't much she could do other than interview people watching while I filmed them.
I was tired, so I decided to forego stopping at a bar for a couple of beers and headed home. As I pulled into the cul-de-sac, I saw two police cars, a CSI van, and an ambulance in front of Jake's house, which is on the turnaround circle at the end of the Lane. I parked my car and walked up to see what was going on. Half the residents of the Lane were milling around, on the outside of the crime tape the cops had put up. That included Brent. I corralled him, asking, "Trouble?"
"Yeah. Jake's dead."
"What the fuck! You're shitting me. What happened?"
"From what Dave said, Jake came home with him and Luke after the party ended, around six. They had a few more beers, watched the fireworks on TV then Jake took off for home. About fifteen minutes later, Luke found Jake's phone beside the sofa. He went to take it back, but when he rang the bell, Jake didn't answer. He tried the door and it was unlocked. Figuring maybe Jake had gone inside then passed out, because he definitely was feeling no pain, Luke checked." Brent paused, taking a deep breath. "According to Luke, Jake was lying face down in the middle of the living room floor. His head was bashed in."
Shocked, all I could say was, "A burglary?"
"The cops haven't said. They showed up about ten minutes after Luke called 911, along with the ambulance. A few minutes ago the CSI people arrived."
For a second, I considered calling the news desk at the station to let someone know what had happened. After all, I worked for them so technically it was part of my job to phone in any breaking news. I quickly reconsidered. My loyalties lay with the people who lived here. Beside which, the news outlets probably knew already and reporters would be showing up soon -- from the TV stations and the paper.
"Have the cops begun questioning people?" I asked Brent.
"Not yet. Well, probably Luke and Dave, but not the rest of us. Hell, what can we tell them?"
"We're talking murder. They'll want to know if anyone saw someone around who didn't belong."
By then, Tyler and Owen had joined us. Tyler asked, "Have the police said anything to either of you?"
"I just got here," I told him. Brent just shook his head.
"He must have surprised a burglar. Right?" Owen said shakily.
"Of course," Brent assured him. "What else? Probably some punk looking for the main chance. He didn't see any lights on and decided break in and take what he could get his hands on. Jake surprised him and paid for it with his life." He turned to me. "You might want to check your place, since you were gone."
"I think I'll leave that up to the cops," I replied. "The same goes for Chase's place, since he's working."
A man, I presumed one of the detectives, since he was wearing a suit and tie, came out of Jake's house at that point. He paused on the stoop, then came over to the four of us.
"Good evening, gentlemen. I'm Detective Warren Irvin. I have a few questions for you. First, who are you and do you live here?"
We told him we did, and he began taking our names and addresses. As he did, I realized I recognized him. Undoubtedly from some story I'd filmed when he was working another murder. He was older, in his fifties I estimated, with short graying hair, dark eyebrows, and a five o'clock shadow.
When he got to me, he apparently recognized me as well, because he frowned momentarily before saying, "You work for KQBD."
"Yes. I'm one of their cameramen. Was it a burglary? I'm only asking because I live here. Not as part of my job."
"That has yet to be determined," he replied, adding my name and address to his list. "My first, obvious question is, did any of you see anyone hanging around in the last hour or so who didn't belong here? I understand there was group barbecue earlier today. Did someone try to join in who doesn't live here? Or watch from across the stream? Someone who seemed overly interested on what was going on?"
"Not that I saw," Tyler replied. "But then I wasn't really looking. Beside which, the barbecue ended hours ago. When it broke up, we all went home.”