The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Thirty Six
Billy Singh looked nervous when the headmaster escorted him into the lounge to speak with Barnes.
“I’m Detective Barnes.”
“Sir.” His hands were clasped in front of him, his knuckles white. His eyes could have given Bambi a run for his money.
“Did you kill the man in the pool last Thursday night, Billy?” Barnes asked harshly. Better to rip the band-aid off with this one.
Billy gasped out, “No.”
“Then you have nothing to worry about. Take a few breaths, calm down.”
The kid tried to comply. His breath stuttered in and out of his nose. It took a few more before Barnes noticed his hands relaxing their grip, his shoulders lowering a little.
“Thursday. A little late night bird watching?”
“It was Parker’s idea. Please, my dad will kill me if I get kicked out of another school.”
“I’m not planning on expelling you. I need to know what you saw.”
“Curt left to go meet up with Stacy as soon as the security cameras went down. Parker started in on me to go watch them. It’s my first year here. I don’t really have any friends other than my roommates.”
“I can see that would be hard,” Barnes attempted a sympathetic tone.
“I didn’t really want to go. It took him a while to convince me. And then we didn’t know where they had gone. So Parker thought we could look for them from the windows with binoculars. So we did.”
“Did you see anything?”
There was a long pause before Billy answered. “We never found Curt and Stacy. They must have been too deep in the woods.”
Barnes looked at the young man as time ticked by. Billy would not make eye contact. His hands were gripping tighter again. He fidgeted in his seat.
“You saw something.”
Finally Billy blurted, “I’m so sorry I didn’t report it then. Parker said it was just a bear but I knew he was wrong but he was so mean about it and I knew we would get in trouble for breaking curfew.”
Barnes checked his irritation. “You aren’t in trouble. What did you see?”
“I saw someone with like a wheelbarrow I think over by the woods.”
“Was the wheelbarrow empty?”
“I think so. It was really dark. Something small could have been in it.”
“But not a man’s body?”
Billy’s eyes popped wide enough Barnes wondered if the kid had done himself permanent damage.
“I didn’t see a body.”
“Okay. Did you see anything about the person wheeling it?”
“A shape in the dark. Parker’s binoculars aren’t much good.”
“You won’t tell my dad will you?”
“No. We won’t tell your dad.”
“Thank you. Thank you so much.” Billy scrambled up from the couch and headed for the door.
“Can I give you a little advice kid?”
Billy stopped with his hand on the door and turned to look at Barnes.
“Find some new friends.”
Barnes stepped out into the hall after him. Spence was escorting Curt into the lounge on his side of the foyer. Barnes walked a few steps towards them. Spence held up a hand. Barnes nodded and stepped back to lean against the wall and wait.
“Why did you drag my friends in here?” asked Curt angrily. “I thought you were cool man.”
Spence raised an eyebrow. Were they supposed to be friends now? “Look Curt, I’m sorry to be the bearer of nasty news, your friends were at every window in this place Thursday night trying to catch a glimpse of your girlfriend with binoculars.”
“I’m gonna kill ‘em both.”
“Probably not the kind of thing you say to a homicide detective.”
Curt shook his head. “Right.”
“We needed to know what they saw. Not about you two, which incidentally was nothing, what they saw otherwise.”
“I can see that. Sorry I was…rude.”
“No problem. While you’re here, did you think of anything else since we spoke last week?”
“Sorry, man. I wish I could help you. I was really all about Stacy. If a dead body hadn’t landed in our path, I wouldn’t have noticed anything else that night.”
“I remember those days. Go on back to class.”
Curt reached forward to shake the detective’s hand. They shook and then Spence texted Tess. Hope you’re resting after your big morning. Love you.
He pulled up open the door to the hall. “Barnes, what you got?”
“We’re still waiting on Melanie.”
“Still?” Spence pulled his phone back out and texted her now. How long does it take to mother dirt out of a suspect?
“You get anything from the kid?”
Barnes lifted his hand and wiggled it. “He saw someone, can’t give any details other than the wheelbarrow they were pushing.”
Spence stood stone still, his phone buzzing in one hand, his mouth half open.
Melanie came around the corner from the hallway. “Sorry that took so long, after the headmaster spilled, I stopped in to talk to the security guards. Turns out Doctor Wallsgraf is the one who put the special security system in the conference room. He didn’t trust the Board of Directors, thought something weird was going on and afraid he might get the blame he took steps to have proof on hand.”
When neither man responded, she asked, “What?”