The Apartment is a three-part story. It is a mystery that can happen to any of us. Let’s hope it does not. Enjoy part three.
TWO UNIFORMED POLICE OFFICERS stood in my doorway. Their facial expressions were difficult to read. For getting a distress call from a citizen, they did not appear ready to help me.
“Ma’am, are you Francis McCray?” the African American officer asked. His name tag read Beacon. I told him I was and that I had called the station about the apartment across the hall. His brow furrowed. The other officer glanced at him and back to me. At least four more officers were behind them moving back and forth in the hallway.
“Where is this body that you claim to have seen?” Officer Beacon asked. I pointed across the hallway to Stephan’s apartment and told him Stephan’s name. “It is?” He stared at me. “You told the operator you saw a body in the apartment across the hallway?”
“Yes,” I said, wondering why his tone was more accusatory than factual. “I’ve already talked to the other officers that were here. They may have been detectives. They were in suits.” All the suits were gone. “Instead of questioning me you should be asking your fellow officers about what they did. They were treating Stephan. I’m sure they’ve taken him to the hospital already.”
“Miss McCray,” Officer Beacon said. “We are the police. There have been no other officers dispatched at this scene.” I was speechless. He looked over his shoulder down the hallway toward Stephan’s apartment. I told him I could show him where Stephan was lying. “Ma’am, stay here, please. I’ll talk to you again in a few minutes.” He turned and casually walked across to Stephan’s apartment. Other officers had come onto the floor. There must have been ten in the hallway. They were blocking my view of Stephan’s apartment.
I heard Officer Beacon say to other officers, “Go ahead.”
I was halfway in the hallway and leaned to see what was going on. Three officers entered Stephan’s apartment. One of them said, “Police Department.” He repeated this three or four times. Several officers in the hallway looked around at me. One told me to go back inside my apartment.
I sighed and went back inside my apartment and closed the door. I felt like a prisoner in my own home. I looked through the peephole. I could not see much. My view was blocked again. I anxiously waited. I wanted to know how Stephan was doing. But, I was a bit confused. Why did Officer Beacon say claim to see? That was an odd thing to say. There was no claiming to see anything. I saw it. I had the blood on me to prove it. I looked at my hands and clothes. There was no blood on me. It did not matter. Stephan was badly hurt. Officer Beacon needed to have his officers talk to those detectives that were there earlier. He acted like he did not believe me.
I could hear the officers calling out, “Mr. Oden,” inside Stephan’s apartment. That was Stephan’s last name. I looked out the peephole and waited. A few minutes went by and Officer Beacon was back at my door. I opened it before he knocked. I was ready to give my statement. The last officers did not take it.
Officer Beacon stared at me with a stern expression. I asked if Stephan was gone.
“Ma’am,” he said. “There’s no one there. He’s not home. We checked the entire apartment.”
I could not comprehend what he was saying. Stephan was home. He was on the floor. Or, he had been home and was on the floor. Clearly the detectives had taken him to the hospital.
“He was home,” I said. “There was blood on the floor.” He looked at me. There was no change in his expression or demeanor. “I’ll show you.” I walked out of my apartment and accidentally, out of frustration, brushed by him and ran to Stephan’s apartment.
I stopped cold in my tracks at Stephan’s doorway. Other officers were standing around. Some were looking inside Stephan’s apartment. Stephan’s body was gone. There was no blood. The floor was clean and dry. I was speechless again.
When I turned around Officer Beacon was standing there. He looked at me like I was crazy. I promised him and the other officers that Stephan was on the floor. I told them about the big holes in his chest. Their glances at one another told me they did not believe me. I kept pleading with them to ask the other officers, the detectives, the ones in suits. They saw Stephan, I told them.
“Miss. McCray,” Officer Beacon said. “You could go to jail for making a false police call.”
“I’m not lying,” I said, angrily. I told them about the detectives again. “You need to go talk to them.”
“There are no other detectives to talk to,” Officer Beacon said. His tone sounded as if he was irritated. “No police officers have been here. I’ve already called to verify that. No one from our station has been here tonight.” He took his card from his pocket. “If you see something else that’s suspicious and legitimate, call us.” Reluctantly I took it. “But I would advise you to not make anymore false calls.” I told him I did not do that. He did not respond to me. “Miss McCray, call us if you need us. You have a nice night.”
Just like that, the officers left the hallway.
I would call the station and the hospitals every day to find out where Stephan was. I could not find any numbers for his family members to let them know what happened. Even internet searches did not turn up information on Stephan or his family.
It would take a week of Stephan missing before the police took it seriously. It helped when Stephan’s family ramped up the pressure on the police from their end. They were on the news and talking to newspapers. The fact was that Stephan had disappeared.
It was the eighth day after Stephan went missing that the police wanted to know more about the people in suits who I had seen earlier that night. And, they wanted to know more about Stephan.
I hope you enjoyed part three of this short story. If you did, send it to a friend and follow me on my blog. I look forward to seeing you next time. Have a great weekend.