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“Nice job on the Routledge case, Detective,” Myers called as Detective White shrugged his coat on. “I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times. Never known anyone to catch a killer as fast as you!”

White turned back to smile at his colleague. “Nothing special Myers, just the usual mess over in that side of town. Abused wife kills husband. We’ve heard it all before.”

“Aye” Myers replied, sitting down at his desk. “Poor bitch. Never mind, ey? See you tomorrow.”

Detective White nodded, and left the office. He did his buttons up on his long black trench coat as he descended the two flights of stairs. As he emerged from the building, he pulled his trilby down low, to guard his face from the cold winter gale. The sun was fast setting over the police station.

From a distance, the detective was nothing but a black shadow against the blinding white of the winter snow which blanketed the road. But all the locals knew who it was just from his silhouette, and the slight limp in his right leg. The story goes he got that limp from being pushed down the stairs by his ex-wife, who had a drug addiction and is still in rehab to this day. They say that’s what made him join the force. The famous Detective White. The local prison was filled to capacity because of him. Not one murderer had yet slipped from his grasp. His colleagues adored him, but yet envied him as well. No one knew how he did it. And no one ever would. Detective White was a very private man.

The detective turned the key in the lock and opened the door of his black Falcon Coupe. He got in and slammed the door behind him, making the lemon-scented air freshener which hung from the mirror swing back and forth. His breath visible in the cold air, the detective put the keys in the ignition and immediately turned on the heating. His fingers had gone numb with the old, and he flexed them to get the blood moving. He would have to wait for them to warm up before driving.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out the photo of Mr and Mrs Routledge. Mr Curtis Routledge was now deceased, and Mrs Leah Routledge had just been sentenced to ten years in prison. The photo he held was a wedding photo. Mr Routledge was grinning widely, revealing a missing front tooth, and the letters ‘H.A.T.E.’ were visible on the knuckles of the hand which clenched a pint of beer. The detective had laughed aloud when he had discovered these tattoos on the victim. Despite his dealings with numerous criminals, he had never encountered them before. He thought it was just a stereotype that Hollywood used in crime films. Mrs Routledge also looked very happy in the photo, looking up at her husband, her hair was shiny and long, and her cheeks were flushed. It was hard to deny she was a very beautiful woman. She had looked very different when the detective had last seen her. Her cheekbones had stuck out at a worrying level, she had black bags under her eyes and her hair was thin and greasy as though it was falling out. Detective White had taken this photo from their home when he was investigating the murder scene. Not strictly allowed, but he was the famous Detective White, and he liked to have a little keepsake of all his investigations.

Detective White pulled away from the curb and started his route home. The journey was slow due to the snow, but he didn’t mind. He turned on the radio, and an up beat jazz song blared out. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel in time to the music. He turned his headlights on as the dark descended on the town.

Mrs Routledge had been a mess when he had arrived at their tiny flat, which was located in the ‘rough’ part of town. Detective White liked to call this area ‘the pits’. The flat was a studio flat with the kitchen and bedroom all in one, and the smell of marijuana which emitted from it could be smelt from across the road. Curtis Routledge had been lying on the floor in a pool of blood, eyes staring, and his mouth open in a perfect O. He had been stabbed thirteen times with a kitchen knife.

Leah Routledge had been waiting on the doorstep to the block of flats, with a Richmond cigarette hanging out the side of her mouth, and eyeliner streaked all over her face. She was wearing loose blue jeans, and a large Jimmy Hendrix t-shirt. Her hands and clothes were caked in blood. When she spoke, her breath smelt like rotten cabbage and her teeth were brown and decaying.

“I came home and he was dead!” She had wailed. She was taken in for questioning. Four weeks later, she was convicted of murder. Forensics had done tests, and although various other prints had been found around the flat, the only prints found on Curtis’s clothes, and on the murder weapon itself, were those of Leah Routledge.

Large quantities of marijuana, cocaine and ketamine had been found in the Routledge’s flat, so it could only be assumed that one, if not, both of them, were drug dealers. Detective White had questioned a number of neighbours and friends, who had confirmed this. When questioned on the couple’s relationship, the impression given was an extremely negative one.

“Yeah, well you know how it is, they were struggling with money. And they both slept around a bit,” A male friend who went by the name of ‘D’, had said. “They had a few fights, both of ‘em would have bruises every now and then, but that’s just what they were like. They still loved each other though.”

A female friend had confessed that she believed Leah had been afraid of her husband. “One day, a couple weeks ago, she had said to me: “He’s gonna kill me soon. If I don’t do something, he’s gonna kill me.” Curtis was a bad man.”

Background checks on both of them had come back extremely fruitful. Curtis Routledge had several charges of possession, driving under the influence, and petty theft. His ex-wife also had a restraining order against him. He had previously served time in prison. Leah had a GBH, a number of charges for being drunk and disorderly, and had also served a short time in prison.

It was the typical story, especially in a town where the drug trade was rife. A couple who had had a rough time of it had turned to drug dealing, and because of their struggles had grown resentful of each other. They began abusing one another, but one day the man took it too far, and so the woman felt she had no choice but to kill him. Detective White had seen it too many times to count.

The detective pulled up outside his block of flats and turned the ignition off. He stuffed the photo back into his pocket and got out the car. He looked up at the block, smiling. He couldn’t help but feel slightly smug when thinking about how successful he was. The block was one of the tallest in town, and also one of the most expensive. It was the opposite side of town to the Routledge’s flat. People weren’t afraid to walk down the road at night here. If they did see someone else, they would say “hello, isn’t it a nice evening?”, rather than getting mugged, raped, or stabbed.

Detective White entered the building, and got into the mirror-walled lift, which took him up to his twelfth floor flat.

Once in his flat he removed his coat and jacket and hung them on the coat stand by the door. Loosening his tie, and slipping off his shoes, he went over to the coach, from which he had a view of most of the town through the floor length windows. He could see the area where the Routledge’s flat was - the pits - and gazed at it as he got out his silver cigarette tin. Lighting a Marlboro gold, he leant back and rested his feet on the black coffee table.

He reached for the wooden box which sat on the table, and using the key he had in his trouser pocket, he unlocked it. It was filled with photos. His souvenirs. He flicked through them slowly. A young black man, with an older man’s arm around his neck. Two young girls hugging each other. An old man with a young scantily-clad woman on each of his arms. Lots of couples. On the back of each photo he had written the names of the people in them, and the dates each crime had taken place.

With each photo came a memory, and Detective White let them wash over him as he toked on his cigarette, the large living room slowly filling with smoke.

The detective replaced the photos and added his new one to the collection, at the front. Mr Routledge smiled out of the box at him as he closed the lid, and turned the key in the lock. He placed it back where it belonged – as the centre piece to his table.

This one had been almost too easy. Sometimes easy was good, but the detective was getting bored. He needed a challenge every now and then. Something to keep him on his toes.

He got up and walked to the window, and looked towards the pits. A few lights could be seen from here and not much else. But the detective knew what was going on there. There would be drug deals, fights, car chases, rape, stabbings. You name it, it would be happening there.

The pits. A disgusting place filled with the dregs of society. Detective White had made it his own personal mission to get rid of each and every one of them. Then maybe one day the pits could be bulldozed and built up again into blocks of flats like his own, or maybe a shopping centre. If that happened, people wouldn’t turn their noses up when he told them what town he was from. He would be proud to be from such a clean and well to do place.

That’s why he did what he did. Maybe some people wouldn’t understand. They would think it was immoral. But he knew he was going the right thing for everyone.

Curtis Routledge had deserved to die, and that’s why he had killed him. Leah Routledge had deserved to be locked away, and that’s why he had framed her. He had done it to all those people whose photos he had locked away in his special box, and he would keep doing it until his town was a safe and happy place to live.

Detective White stubbed his cigarette out on the ashtray on the coffee table and smiled to himself at the thought of the future of the town, without the pits.




I am an MA Creative Writing School in Manchester, UK, and hope to one day become a published author. I am writing a novel, and also enjoy writing short stories. I have been shortlisted for a number of writing competitions, and have been published in the Wicked Young Writer Awards 2017 anthology.


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