The hours of darkness cast its spell on me. I was pleasured by its company. I lusted for its companionship and so I found ways to intertwine myself with the dark. It was a space where I learned to feel safe, awkwardly enough. After my father, a police officer, died on the job, I could not bring myself to be sweet little Miley any longer. There was nothing sweet about this world. There was nothing safe about it. The world I lived in was cold and harsh, but instead of fearing it like most people, I decided to embrace it. Whatever happened – happened. If I lived or died, so be it. I didn’t have any siblings, limited family, and my mother, she was alive, barely. She had been addicted to drugs since I was fourteen. Dad did what he could do, but even that wasn’t enough. My mom promised me a thousand times she would get clean, but at last she was a permanent disappointment. When my father died, her addiction got worse and the last day I saw her was at my father’s funeral seven months ago. The one good thing I had going for me was my best friend, Roxy. She and I were in the same seductive business. She understood me. We looked out for each other. She was the only person that was there for me in the way that I needed.
I walked down O’Crest Boulevard all hours of the night. That night, I had on my black laced dress and purple pumps. My long brunette hair blew in the breeze as I walked passed all the closed stores, the gated windows, and locked doors. It felt free, not to be scared of the unknown. Free to do as I pleased, and wear what I like even if it was too revealing. Each night, I was greeted by women’s envy and invited by the gentlemen’s stare.
I loved the contrast of the stop light bouncing off of BMWs, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, and my favorite, Bentleys'. I enjoyed seeing the revolving tires that once trampled the road, come to a stop beside my feet. I let my hips sway to a Lexus car door. I leaned in, pushing my bosom forward in his face and stuck my backside out to remind those who waited in line what could be theirs for a few hours. My fingertips pulled on the handle of the door and I slid into the car.
As soon as I touched the leather seats I felt a clammy hand touch my knee. The guy seemed overly eager. He was a little overweight and he was breathing heavy like he was nervous or had asthma. I couldn’t tell which one. He was sporting a small afro, a plaid shirt and jeans. He flashed me some cash and I nodded my head to assure him he had a deal.
“So we are on for sex? Should we go to my place or yours?” he asked.
“It’s not a date. We can go down the street and do it in the car.”
He took out his badge and raised it in my face. It read “Officer Jones.” I was forced out of the car and then handcuffed and shoved in the backset. He slammed the car door. Officer Jones radio in, “I got my first one,” with a large cheesy commercial smile on his face.
As he drove off I declared, “There is enough room back here for the two of us.”
He did not respond, instead periodically his eyes would greet my light brown eyes and I knew he was fantasizing about me. I smirked at him and then blew him a kiss. When we arrived at the precinct, I strutted inside as the cop tugged me along. The precinct was covered with cream paint and old wooden desks. The police station was filled with cops, obviously, and junkies, other prostitutes, mixed in with your everyday thieves and killers.
“We have another one,” Office Jones announced.
He walked me over to booking and that’s when I saw him, Detective Nickolas Miller. He was tall, a little over six feet with dark hair and a slim face to match his sleek nose. He looked me up and down with shame then told the other officer he would take things from here. He grabbed me by my elbow and yanked me into his office.
“I like it rough too, officer.”
He shook his head then said, “Miley, please. This is the last time.”
“Nick, you always say that and yet here you are, always keeping me out of trouble.”
“Don’t push it. It’s not too late for me to turn you in.”
I leaned over the desk and met his face with mine and said, “As always, I encourage you to do what you want with me.”
“That’s hilarious. You couldn’t pay me to touch you.”
“Ouch, that actually stung a little.”
I was very attracted to Nick since I was seventeen. He was not as old as my father. In fact, my father trained him. He now was thirty-seven. His body was very fit. He had broad shoulders and a tight ass. I enjoyed playing with him, trying to get him to budge, but no matter how short the dress, he wouldn’t go there. He was too good and too loyal to my father.
I sauntered over to the window before asking, “So, Nick Miller, who is that trainee officer you have out there?”
“Who, Officer Jones? He is a good officer. He is very honest and observant. I am lucky to have him. Now as for you, I think it is time for you to go home.”
As I approached my apartment building, I noticed that the curtain was shifted six inches to the left. When I entered my apartment I also noticed everything was out of place. The coffee maker was on the wrong side of the counter, the couch had the miss fortune of a milky stain, and some of the chairs had been knocked over. I was very meticulous about my belongings. I got that from my father. It was important to put everything in its place, always. “If you are familiar with where your belongings are, then you will be aware when something is wrong,” my father would say to me. He trained me to pay attention to details and deduce? situations like an officer.
I scoured the room while I searched for my roommate, Roxy. I ran into her room only to find her bare, hunched over on her striped yellow and green bed preparing to get high. Her sheets had been balled up and tossed on the floor, and her lamp was one flicker away from going out.
“You had some one here, didn’t you?” I asked.
“No, you… you hate that so I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t do that.”
“You’re lying. You totally messed up the couch.”
“Miley, don’t be mad, how about I make it up to you?”
She shoved the heroin in my face. I raised my chin and then looked down on her before my questions poured out of my mouth, “How dare you? How can you bring a drug into our home? When did you start doing this? Who gave this to you?”
She just looked at me, puzzled, like she was too high to process my questions. Her body was sweaty, her hair was matted and her mascara had run down her face. I stormed out the room, slamming her door. I could hear her racing to put a t-shirt on so she could follow me into the living room.
“Miley, wait I’m so sorry. I love you.”
I had nothing left to say and even less to give. We needed to talk about this but that time was not now. I tuned her out to the movie Show Girls. Roxy's long sleek body fell to my knees. She smoothly moved her face onto my lap and then gripped my legs. I massaged her bottled blonde hair. Roxy was my best friend and this was my first time seeing her like this, but it could not happen again. I could not be a hypocrite. It would be wrong of me to accept Roxy doing drugs and not my mother.
Early in the morning Nick decided to make a surprise visit. This time he was not wearing his stupid cop uniform, but some faded blue jeans, a grey t-shirt and a black leather jacket. When I greeted him at the door, he shoved his way in. He glanced around the apartment with his big blue eyes looking at the yellow chipped paint on the wall and the left over takeout on the kitchen counter and the various clothes all over the apartment. I loosened the string on my red silk robe to give him a peek of my tanned cleavage.
“Nice try,” he said as he brushed right pass me. “Get dressed. I’m taking you out.”
We grabbed coffee at this place called Griffons. It was a small coffee shop covered with old purple and beige curtains and dingy carpet. Nick studied my body and stared intensely at my lips while I spoke. I guess he thought he was being inconspicuous. I was flattered. This was the most attention I’d seen from him, ever. It seemed he was more attracted to me with more clothes on than less.
“I took you out because I think that it is important that we talk. I promised your father I would look out for you like you were my own-”
“Please, please don’t say daughter. I am twenty-three. I am not a kid and you know of all people I don’t want you to see me that way.”
“I know,” he said softly. Then he continued, “I can’t go there with you. You’re too special. I can’t risk hurting you. I can’t be less than perfect with you.”
“I cannot want nor need what I am not. I am not perfect either, Nick. I would not expect it from you.”
My eyes watered. My emotions where so strong for this man it made my bones quiver. This was the closest conversation to us that we ever shared and well, he was turning me down. No guy has ever turned me away.
“Miley, I just can’t. Please don’t make this harder for me. I hate myself for the sadness I see in your eyes.”
“Then take it away:”
He paused for a moment like he really contemplated the idea, but then brushed pass my plea and responded, “Look tonight is all clear." The station doesn’t plan on making another bust until a week from now. Miley, I can’t keep giving you heads up like this. I’m up to make captain which is big for a guy my age. It’s down to me and one other officer. So stay out of trouble for me.”
I heard the crickets music play outside my apartment, which always signaled it’s time to go to work. I wandered through the streets with my hands flapping in the air. I twirled around with my face to the sky sucking in all dark. Roxy was already on the corner. She had just hopped in a car as I was approaching her. Another car pulled up.
“Hey, you,” a man shouted out then pulled out his money.
We pulled off and the distance grew. When I was done I had to call Roxy. We had this deal; we’d call each other after every score. Only that night when I called her there was no answer. My night flew by because before I knew it, morning arrived.
I rolled over in my bed and reached for my watch which was buried in my dresser drawer. It was almost noon. I booked out of my room and knocked on Roxy’s door. She didn’t answer. I yelled her name and still no response. I barged into her room ignoring what I might see but it was empty. It was kept exactly how she had left it the night before. This was strange, Roxy always returned home, and if she left out before I woke, she would leave a note on my door. I called her cell phone again, but there was still no answer. I waited a few minutes then called her again, this time leaving a message. Hey, Roxs, it’s me, I’m worried, please call.
I raced over to the police station and immediately tried to file a missing person’s report, but the same officer who attempted to arrest me said, “Your friend has to be missing for forty eight hours to file a missing report.” He’d actually seemed sincere. “Come back tomorrow and we will file that report.”
“I can’t wait until then. I need to speak to Detective Miller. Where is he?”
Officer Jones threw is arm out and pointed me in Miller’s direction. He was all the way at the end of the precinct. I had to scamper by all the officers with dirty stares and remorseful eyes. I didn’t care. I finally got to Detective Miller. He was on a call at another officer’s work station. I could see his eyes already rolling to the back of his head before I could even speak but I didn’t care.
I blurted out, “Roxy is missing.”
He clinched the phone between his ear and his shoulder while he tightly held his hand over the end of the receiver and said, “Miley, wait in my office for me.”
I paced back and forth waiting anxiously for Nick to join me. I became increasingly aware that Nick was an over achiever. He dedicated an entire wall to plaques he had received as an officer and he also had clippings of newspapers that mentioned his name. Right beside that wall, he had taped up pictures and little side notes of the cases that hadn’t been solved yet in order of occurrence. His current cases were scattered all over his desk. There were so many papers. I went to pick up a sheet and in came Nick.
“Roxy’s gone,” I hollered.
“Okay. Calm down. When was the last time you saw her?”
“Last night, she was about to do a job.”
“I will keep an eye out for her, and if I hear anything I will let you know. Do me a favor, don’t mention this to anyone okay and don’t do anything stupid.”
“Yeah, sure, I guess. Don’t you want to know what type of the car it is? Don’t you have questions?”
I was panicking. The more I spoke the louder I got. The angrier I got.
“Oh, of course. What kind of car was it?”
“A 2009 black Chevy Impala.”
“Alright, I will do what I can.”
When night approached, I went back to the Boulevard to search for clues, pass out flyers of Roxy, and ask if anyone saw the man she got in the car with. Everyone said no. I stood at that corner all night and through the early morning, hoping to see the car again. Then out of nowhere I heard a man’s voice speak out to me. I turned around only to see it was Officer Jones standing in the alley between two buildings.
“Officer Jones? What are you going here?”
“I don’t have much time. I just came to give you some information. It may help you find Roxy.”
“But why not tell one of the officers?”
“Because I don’t trust all of them. Just listen. There are four girls that have gone missing from this street in the last ten months and one girl from the strip club down the street. Roxy is the sixth girl to have gone missing. I think you should be careful as to who you trust in that precinct.”
“Now you are wrong. No one there is capable of this, you’re mistaken and new.”
“Believe what you want, but don’t say I did not help.”
I ran down the street in my red heels to the strip club. When I walked in, I noticed a woman standing in front of what looked like a podium, smacking on gum and twirling her hair. Her makeup was overdone, and she looked like a dead corpse that belongs in a coffin. I asked the girl if she had an idea who could have taken her.
The hostess looked at me crazy before saying, “Any person in this joint is good for a crime like that.”
“Well, who causes the most trouble?” I asked.
“Honey, they all do, but the ones that have been banned are on the store’s back wall.”
“Well can I see?”
“Please, my best friend is in danger.”
“When are they not, honey?” Follow me.”
We squeezed passed all the greasy men throwing their last dimes away on the strippers. My eyes reached the stage and there were two women dancing topless with a poll. We escaped the loud music and reached the back room where I saw taped to the wall several different men. Then I came across one apprehensive face. It couldn’t be.
“Why did this one get banned?” I asked.
“Oh him, he used to be a regular. He would sneak in at about eleven o’clock and stay until we closed. Some of the girls were complaining that he was getting too frisky with them. This one girl, Carla claimed he raped her.”
“I don’t know. She never showed up for work.”
I fled from the club and immediately returned to the police station. Nick wasn’t there. I snuck into his office to look around. I went through his papers on his desk and I looked through his pockets on his jacket he left in the chair. I periodically peeked out his office to make sure no one was coming. As I opened his drawer that is when I heard someone coming.
There weren’t many places to hide in his office. It was only a desk and a few file cabinets. I hid underneath the desk. I heard the thump of someone shoes stomping the floor as they came closer and then a loud whack. One of the officers must have dropped a stack of papers on Nick’s desk. The sound made me look up and that’s when I noticed a collage of pictures. I waited until I heard the door shut and then I quickly got off the floor and searched for a flashlight. I pulled open the first top drawer on the left side and saw my name written all over a piece of paper in red ink. I picked the paper up and I saw another sheet with my name in the middle circled three times. I jumped back as if something had jumped out. I didn’t understand. I didn’t know what this meant. Maybe he was bored, or he really likes me.
I found the flashlight and then went back underneath the desk. Nick had cut out pictures of my face from the time I was a baby until recently and clumped them together. Next to it, he had different photos of my breast bunched together. The pictures went on from there to other parts of my body, and then at the end there was a picture of Roxy and five other girls. I overheard someone shout Nick’s name. I rushed to get up and I accidently hit my head on the desk. I was just standing as Nick walked through the door.
“Miley, what are you doing in here?”
I’m not sure if that was my imagination, but his tone seemed sinister.
“Um, looking for you.”
“Well, how can I help you?”
“I just wanted to see if you had a lead on Roxy,” I answered holding my head.
“Actually I do, I was just about to check into that. Give me a few and we can go together.”
“I’m not sure that I need to be there, it could be dangerous, right?”
“Since when have you been afraid of anything?”
Nick took me to an abandon parking lot that was covered in graffiti and drowned in liter. There were weed bags everywhere and beer bottles too.
“So, is this the car?” Nick asked.
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, I recognized the license plate. How did you find it?”
“That is official police information.”
“We put on a pair of gloves and looked all over the car to see if we could find anything that would point us in the right direction. It was completely spotless. That did not sit well with me like consumed spoiled food. Someone had taken the time clean the car leaving no trace of evidence.
That night, I rested in bed, bare with my face towards the ceiling just contemplating. Why would someone want to take Roxy? Is this someone the same person who took the other girls? Could this be Nick’s doing? I wanted to smack myself for believing for one second it could be Nick. I was sort of in love with him and yet I was accusing him. Nick was a good man and a man that I knew and trusted all my life. I turned over on my stomach and contemplated more. The Nick I knew would never let me go on a led with him. I turned on my side, and threw the pillow between my thighs. It was his face in the picture at the strip club, which was undeniable. The woman was sure.
When I go to the jail, I did not see Detective Miller or Officer Jones which was good. Instead, I spoke with Detective Reeves. He was close with my father as well. I was apprehensive at first to share this with him, but I sat him down and told him about my suspicion.
“Miley, I can’t believe you would say such ugly words.”
“It’s true! I think Detective Nickolas Miller kidnapped my best friend, Roxy.”
“After all Miller has done for you and after everything we all have done for you. You accuse him of a crime? We all try and give you slack around here because of the respect we have for your father, but you are pushing it. Detective Miller and your father were partners and very good friends.”
I swallowed hard before saying, “I know that’s why I wouldn’t say if I didn’t believe it was true. Fine, you don’t believe me? Come with me.”
I took him to Miller’s office. I opened up the top left drawer, but the papers were gone.
“You’re wasting my time,” pronounced Detective Reeves.
“No, wait, check underneath his desk. There are pictures.”
Detective Reeves eyeballed me as if I was trying his patience. He bent over, and his pants slid down revealing part of his butt.
“There is nothing here.”
I looked underneath the desk and the pictures were gone.
“He must have moved them.”
“Or they were never there.”
I dug in my purse and pulled out the picture that I had gotten from the strip club of Nick. I told him to go to the club and to ask for himself. I also gave him the licenses plate and the model of the car, then from there I hoped he’d come to his senses.
As I walked past Detective Reeve’s desk, I saw a picture of my father, Reeves, and Nick. They were standing in front of a small cabin in the forest. That’s it! Nick had this old small house up in Forrest River, just outside of Virginia. He would go there when he and my dad went fishing about once a year. It would be a good spot to hide the girls. The area is extremely isolated and people come there every blue moon.
It didn’t take me as long to get to the house. Autumn was on its way and the leaves had already started to fall. The down side is that it didn’t make for a quiet get away or a sneak attack. With each step I took, I could hear the leaves crunching underneath my heels.
When I got to the house, I looked around the outside perimeter just like dad had taught me. I checked for noise or conversation and then picked the lock on the door. When I opened it, the stench of something awful caught my noise. When I stepped in the house, I could barely see anything except for the rays of sunlight seeping through the open spots of the windows that had been painted black. For the first time in a long time I was scared of not knowing what was ahead of me. I tiptoed, trying to find evidence, like her heels or her black leather skirt she was wearing last time I saw her, but I couldn’t find anything. I walked down the narrow dark hall where the smell intensified and proceeded to enter the next room. It was locked. I twisted the door knob and that’s when I heard screams from the other side.
“Roxy, is that you? It’s me, Miley.”
The scream got louder. I burst through the door and saw Roxy tied to the bed, each of her arms stretched out to the edge of the bed posts. Her body was sweaty and bloody. I also noticed she had a lot of blood, most of it coming from her thighs. She had two black eyes, a swollen lip and cuts on her face. I jetted over to untie her, but she started screaming again.
Her eyes grew wider and that’s when I turned around and saw Detective Reeves darkening the doorway. Coincidentally his arms were stretched out to each side of the door.
“Detective Reeves, you made it.” Then I thought, “Wait how did you find me so quickly?”
“I am very good at my job,” he answered as he slowly walked closer to me.
“Stop right there.”
I glanced at Roxy. The terror in her eyes told me Detective Reeves had done it. Otherwise, she would have looked relieved. But was Nick in on it too?
“I knew you would figure it out. I knew you had the instinct just like your old man.”
“You don’t talk about him.”
Detective Reeves leaned forward as if to grab me and that’s when I sprayed him with mace. I ran over to the other side of the bed and untied Roxy’s other arm. As soon as I helped Roxy out of bed, Detective Reeves had already fought through the pain.
“That’s all you have, Miley? You know they train us to overcome the pain of mace in the academy.”
“Yeah, but it still will slow you down.”
Detective Reeves yelled and then jolted over to us. I kicked him in the groin with my four inch heels and then smacked him with them across his face.
“Son of a-”
Roxy went around Detective Reeves and then I tried, but he grabbed a hold of my leg which caused me to fall to the floor and hit my chin. There was blood on my face and the floor.
“Miley.” Roxy shouted out.
Detective Reeves dragged me across the floor, bringing me out into the kitchen close. He flipped me over and then sat on top of me and smacked me across the face before licking my cheek. Roxy stood in the doorway screaming.
“Run, Roxy, run,” I hollered out. Then I continued, “Why are you doing this?”
“Your father and I were partners first. We were the best in the entire district and then they separated us so we can train rookies. Your father’s rookie was Nick Miller. They went on to have the most solves cases and arrests. That was my spot. That was supposed to be me. I’ve been a cop a lot longer than Miller and this is my last opportunity. I am not going to let anyone ruin that. That’s why I had to get your father and Miller out of the way.”
“Wait, you killed my father?”
“Well, I’m going to kill you anyway so yes. I made it look like the perp did it, but it was me. You should have seen your father’s face. He didn’t see that coming. Your father should have quit the force like you asked.”
I could feel Reeves hands clamping down around my neck. I was losing oxygen. The room was spinning and it was getting darker. I knew that was my moment. It was my moment to die, but then Roxy saved me. She charged over with a knife she grabbed off the kitchen counter and thrust it into Detective Reeves back. As he tumbled off of me, I saw a little life release itself from his body. After that it was so silent I could hear my heart racing. I rushed up from the floor. Tears were streaming down my face. I got angrier. I kicked Detective Reeves repeatedly until my heals left opened wounds on his white skin. I just kept going as I saw the blood splattering out his body, but all I could think of was my dad.
Finally Roxy pulled me away. Just as we went out the house, Detective Reeves was on his feet and this time with his gun pointed at us. We knew we couldn’t out run a bullet.
“Miley, go, you may have a chance without me,” uttered Roxy.
Roxy feared she was too injured to run fast enough and thought she would slow me down.
“No, I won’t leave you.”
A shot was fired and at that same moment I shut my eyes and released a tear. After the shot went off, to my surprise I was alive and so was Roxy, but Detective Reeves wasn’t. Nick shot him. I gasped for air like it was my first time breathing. After all, it could have been my last time.
“You came,” I said.
“Are you girls alright?” asked Nick.
“Now we are. How did you find us?”
“Well for starters, I looked into the car which was stolen from the police impound lot and then I did my own research.”
“I told you to leave it to me.”
“So you didn’t kill all those girls?”
“What?” he shouted. “You thought I could do this?”
“Well there was some compelling evidence.”
“Yes, so I’ve been informed by Officer Jones. Still that stings.”
After we cleared the scene, forensics came in and discovered five dead bodies that were said to have been missing.
The next day I went to Griffons to meet up with Nick. I’d realized I never thanked him for
saving my life.
As soon as he sat down I came right out and said, “Thank you.”
“For you, anything.”
Close your eyes.”
“Just do it.”
He closed his eyes and I leaned over the table and kissed him. He actually kissed me back. He lips felt supple and gentle. He grabbed my head and pulled me in closer. Then he pushed me away looking my eyes.
“We can’t be really doing this.”
“I want this, Nick.”
He gave in and replied, “Okay.” Me too, but on one condition – stop prostituting.”
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