Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Chapter 15: Complications

Detective Eric Graham closed the door quietly behind him, walked quickly to the restroom, and proceeded to quietly and calmly lose his lunch. He wasn't particularly surprised that it happened: in the five years since his promotion to the homicide squad, Graham had investigated many cases that left feeling queasy. More often than not, cases with children involved particularly sickened him... and motivated him to pursue suspect with an enduring vigor that rivaled obsession.

From the moment that the desk sergeant shouted for the station to go quiet and piped in the first reports from the officers on the scene, Graham had both anticipated getting the bank robbery and dreaded receiving the case. Everyone in the station knew that he was bound to get the case—his closure rate was almost the highest in Metropolis and the conviction rate for cases he investigated was close to 100%. Some in the precinct thought he was simply lucky, but he knew that it was actually, because he refused to let go of a case until he investigated every potential detail, regardless of whether they condemned or cleared the leading suspect.

Graham dreaded these cases—not out of fear for his personal safety or hesitation to follow a case through to it’s end. Instead, he dreaded these cases due to a niggling fear that he was beginning to harbor a dangerously vengeful attitude, which recently seemed to feed off these cases. Barely a month before the news of the burglary, Graham had narrowly averted killing a suspect that he knew to be unarmed – with a last-nanosecond-rapid jerk that skewed his aim, sending the bullet into the ground between the suspect’s running feet.

Afterward much of the stationhouse had drunkenly celebrated the supposed skill of his warning shot while Graham left the precinct bar early, went home, and quietly drank himself into a stupor for an entirely different reason. Between that case and the burglary, he had maintained a stiff wariness toward every case – guardedly watching his every reactions, ready to ask his captain for re-assignment if needed. But, as soon as he heard the first on-scene reports, he knew the burglary would be a different story; there would too much public pressure on the department for him to request a reassignment without virtually ending his career. So, Graham knew he had only one choice—to work the case and pray that he could keep control of his growing thirst for vengeance.

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