Serial Saturday #2: Sympathy
Part two of Murder In Kinmen also began life as a Theme Thursday response over on r/writingprompts... it's been revised and expanded to 750 words for Serial Saturdays, so I hope you enjoy... Sympathy.
The weariness had settled into his bones by the time Wei-Ting stood up for the last time that morning (now afternoon) and watched as the coroner's van awkwardly made it's way up the Nanshan Path toward the main road. Detective Pei-Shan was over talking to the Chief and the Colonel, neither of whom looked all that happy, so Wei-Ting was content to stare at the retreating van.
It had been a long morning. Wei-Ting was still trying to figure out how he felt about it all. They had warned him about his first dead body. About the smell and what rigor mortis looked like, but-
"Kid?" Wei-Ting blinked and turned. He hadn't heard Detective Pei-Shan walk up behind him.
"Sorry," she said. "Didn't mean to make you jump."
"That's all right," Wei-Ting said. "I'm just-"
"Yeah," Pei-Shan said. "I get it. You got your keys?"
"Um, yeah," Wei-Ting said, digging in his pocket, he pulled them out and handed them to Pei-Shan.
"The Chief got a ride out here with the Colonel, so I'll let him drive your rig back to the station. You get to ride with me for a while."
"Yeah," Pei-Shan said. "The Chief says you're with me for this one. Be some good experience for you before Vice gets their claws into you."
"Oh," Wei-Ting said. "Where are we going?"
"I don't know about you," Pei-Shan said, "but I could really use a good Reuben."
Twenty minutes later and Pei-Shan sighed as she put the squad car into park outside the cafe. It had been a long morning for both of them and she had a certain amount of sympathy for the kid. Your first murder was one you never forgot- even if they did happen so rarely here.
"It just doesn't make any sense," Wei-Ting said.
"She was murdered, kid," Pei-Shan said. "In my experience, murders rarely make sense." She turned the car off and opened the door. "Come on, lunch is on me."
The cafe was along the main boulevard, just a couple of blocks away from the Police Bureau. Pei-Shan opened the door and breezed past the hostess stand to her usual table at the back, catching the eye of the proprietor and holding up two fingers. The old man nodded and made his way back into the kitchen.
Pei-Shan sat down and glanced up to see Wei-Ting looking uncertainly at the chair opposite her.
She rolled her eyes. "Would you sit down?"
Still looking uncertain, Wei-Ting pulled out the chair and sat down. "Do we need to order?"
"No," Pei-Shan said. "I took care of it." She leaned back in the chair and sized up Wei-Ting for a long moment. "Have you ever seen a dead body before?"
Wei-Ting shook his head.
Pei-Shan sighed. "When you get home tonight, you'll probably want to drink a little bit. Lean into that. It'll help with the nightmares." She tried to sound as sympathetic as possible. "Every officer remembers their first dead body."
"What was yours?" Wei-Ting asked.
"Mine was a suicide," Pei-Shan said. "He used a shotgun. I still have nightmares about it."
The awkward silence between them was interrupted by the arrival of their food. Wei-Ting looked at the sandwich. "What is it?"
"It's a Reuben," Pei-Shan said. "It's corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, rye bread and-" she lifted up a slice of rye. "Looks like Russian dressing today."
"Don't worry so much, kid," Pei-Shan replied. "It's American. The old man will put on baseball in a minute, so we can take our time." She waved a hand at Wei-Ting's sandwich. "Eat!"
Looking somewhat dubious, Wei-Ting picked up the sandwich and then took a bit. With a shrug and a smile, he began to eat. He turned the events of the morning over in his head as he did so. She came from Xiamen, but the question was how? There was no evidence of drowning which meant she had to have been dumped in the channel and washed ashore with the tides.
His mouth dropped open as it hit him. "She was murdered here."
Pei-Shan smiled as she took another bite of sandwich. "There's some hope for you yet, kid. Now tell me why."
"Every beach in Kinmen has defenses along the shoreline to slow down amphibious landing craft. If she'd been killed over there and washed ashore here, we'd have found her further out," Wei-Ting said. "That's why the Colonel was so unhappy. This is..."
"A shit storm waiting to happen," Pei-Shan finished.