Summary: Sam is arrested for murder
Rating: M - Mature Adults only (may contain drug references, violence, nudity, coarse language, sexual references, adult themes)
Warnings: Loosely based season one
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended
“You’ve never told me, you know, what happened to you before you came here. You know, Hyde. I didn’t want to ask, but it could be important.”
“Can’t or won’t?” Gene demanded, exasperated from dancing around in circles, backwards, just once too often.
“Can’t,” Sam pleaded. “I can’t tell you because I don’t know what happened to me. I don’t know and I don’t think I want to know. I just know it must have been bad, for me not to remember how or why I ended up here.”
He spoke so forcefully Gene knew that Sam was at least trying to tell him the truth, or whatever version of it he could grasp at.
“This isn’t part of your stupid game,” Gene snapped. A second later the thought occurred to him that this was a game, only that Sam was the pawn, not the player. But whose game? Who had the most to gain from seeing Sam banged up and humiliated?
Warren? Rathbone? Ray?
The offices of the CID were awash with tarts, but at least Ray had a smile on his face. Gene Ray engaged in the laborious task of questioning all the local slappers in the hopes of discovering more about the dead girl and her habits, or possibly even finding a witness. Gene had meant to pre-occupy Ray, not reward him, but Ray could only see the sunny side.
At least it was keeping him busy. Hopefully too busy to spread the vicious gossip that even Chris had felt driven to complain about, by way of sidling up to Gene’s desk and looking very uncomfortable until Gene told him to sod off.
Gene was fairly certain Ray was in the clear. A good kicking was more his style. Not that Sam hadn’t been given a good kicking, but as for the rest…Ray and someone else? No, he didn’t want to think about it. He didn’t want to think like that about his own team.
Funny how Sam had been the making and the breaking of it, at the same time. Funny how Sam had a way of getting under everybody’s skin.
Gene tried to push unbidden thoughts of Sam and skin from his mind. Now, as always, was not the time. Not in the middle of a murder case, though it was almost always in the middle of a murder case. When they were on the hunt their blood was up, and one thing would always lead to another.
He tried instead to think of what Sam had said, or hadn’t said, about his life before he’d walked through those doors. Perhaps Gene wasn’t thinking outside the box enough. He’d been so concerned with the enemies Sam had made here, he’d not really given any thought to the ones Sam must have made elsewhere. Trouble seemed to follow Sam around like a shadow.
He reached out to the phone, meaning to ring and ask to have all of Sam’s paperwork on his desk by the end of the day, but he paused for a moment, wondering if he should. As a DCI in charge of this case, of course he should. But as Sam’s lover, well, the sort of squirming he was doing now was exactly why such relationships were considered unhealthy and unproductive.
He also knew how prickly Sam could be when asked about Hyde, which told him that there were really things there that he probably didn’t want to know.
He remembered the last time Sam had sulked about going home:
Gene had slumped forward, tired, and moment’s later had felt Sam’s thumb and forefinger pressed warmly against the back of his neck, rubbing up and down firmly. Gene sighed and leant back in his chair, visibly uncoiling.
“Is there anything you can’t do?” he joked.
“Go home,” Sam answered without thinking, but too late, the words were out of his mouth and hanging, damning, in the air before him.
Gene tensed and moved forward, away from Sam.
Sam wanted to say he was sorry, wanted to say he didn’t mean it, but Gene knew better. Out of the mouths of babes and DI’s and all that.
And there Sam was, perched as ever on the horns of his dilemma. All he wanted to do was go home, but that would mean leaving Gene, and every day that became more and more difficult to even think of. Like he’d told Annie, he’d not come here looking for a fuck, or love. But love had found him, and snared him in its net, and now the only way to claw himself free was to lose Gene. And a few more thoughtless outbursts like that just might do it.
Fortunately Gene knew something of Sam’s troubles, and he was just wounded rather than angry, but still, the moment had gone, and Sam deeply regretted it, as moments were precious and too few, he’d found.
Gene was snapped back to the present, and away from all thoughts about Sam’s background momentarily as a shadow fell across his desk like death itself.
“Slumming it, Sir?” Gene asked, glancing up as the Superintendent loomed over his desk.
“This Tyler case.”
“I want it wrapped up. Now.”
“I’m just trying to be thorough, Sir. Shouldn’t want the case to be thrown out on a technicality.”
“It’s tying up men and resources.”
“And column inches. I understand, Sir. I’ll do my best to wrap it up as quickly and efficiently as I can.”
“See that you do, Gene. He was one of yours. That isn’t being overlooked.”
“Understood, Sir,” Gene answered blandly.
As he was turning, the Super caught a glimpse at some of the paperwork Gene had stuck up on his walls. Or rather, bits of paper Sam had stuck on Gene's wall, cases they'd been working, and Sam had insisted on plastering the walls with all sorts of detritus from identikit images to bus tickets. Sam had called it something ridiculous, but after a while Gene could see his point, it was easier to see everything and how it all fitted together, even if it looked like a school project, than it was when all the bits were stuffed away in a file.
The Super had been about to remark on the untidiness of it all, as well as the marks Sam's collages were no doubt leaving on the walls, when he spied the hazy blow-up of Vic Tyler.
"That Tyler, he isn't any relation to your DI Tyler, is he? Only I have heard scuttlebutt that your Tyler hindered the case and let him get away. I won't have any officers with criminal connections in my police force," he warned, darkly. As though Sam's current predicament wasn't enough to end his career.
"Just coincidence. Common name, Tyler," was all Gene said, not wanting to delay the Super a second more than necessary.
The Super nodded and walked out, but now Gene was staring at the photograph. Dad, Sam had called him. And Vic Tyler had remarked how he had a son named Sam. No, it simply wasn't possible. Sam had been upset, confused, and the coincidence of the names had just further addled him. There was no way Sam could be who or what he said he was. And besides, Vic Tyler was a vicious killer and Sam...Sam was charged with murder.
That was an unhappy thought, and Gene sulked over it, sitting on the edge of his desk now, arms folded as he studied the photograph. Sam had said something about some people ended up as villains because there was something wrong with their brain chemistry, it messed with their impulse control. He'd also said something about it being hereditary. Gene stared hard at the photo. Tyler had seemed like a cold calculating bastard, but he'd also seen him lose it. He'd also seen Sam lose it, snapping into a wild temper.
Gene tore down Tyler's photo. He didn't like where his thoughts were leading him.
Yet he couldn't let it be.
Caught and cornered at every turn. He spread his most recent notes out again. Somebody had it in for Sam, or, worse, were using Sam to get at him. Those photos of himself and Sam had raised that awful spectre, as well as the real possibility of blackmail, or just a simple detonation of his career, if he got too close. And he was getting close, why else bother to post him a warning?
The problem was, whoever it was, they could either be within or without. Neither he nor Sam lacked for enemies, especially lately. A couple of showy arrests made for sour faces on both sides of the wall. He had to narrow down the field. It was somebody smart, cunning and patient, which discounted most of CID in one stroke, at least. Someone they’d really pissed off, someone with contacts, someone who had been planning this for several weeks, at least. Someone who preferred conspiracy and sick games to a nice clean kneecapping. There were hundreds of ways he and Sam could be got rid of, hundreds of easy, direct ways, like a car bomb, a long shot or a fast car while they were crossing the road, but none quite so nasty as this. Somebody wanted Sam to suffer. Really suffer. They’d wanted to break him, piece by piece. That made it personal. Very personal. An eye for an eye, that sort of thing. He crossed several more names off his list. That left him with just a few, and at the very top was Warren. In fact, the whole grubby set up had his fingerprints all over it.
Gene picked up the phone. “Any news on those dabs yet?”
“No, boss,” Chris answered, chewing on his pencil.
“Let me know when they’re here.”
“Right, Guv,” Chris answered again, not wanting to get into a conversation about it.
Gene let the phone drop and went back to brooding. There had to be more, something he just wasn’t seeing. What was that Holmes quote Sam liked using? Something about once he’d eliminated the probable, it was time to start with the improbable.
Evening found him by Sam's bed, studying the photo in his hand with the man lying in that hospital bed. It was just a blow up from a frame of that film, the porno, too indistinct for detail. He'd really needed a family snapshot, but Sam had cut across his thoughts, telling him there weren't any, when he'd mentioned it before. He'd assumed Sam had already asked. Now he wasn't sure. He wasn't sure at all. Sam had completely lost it trying to protect Tyler. Gene could never understand why. Maybe Rathbone was right, maybe there was a connection.
He stared at the photo again. Maybe there was something there, but he couldn't tell what was real or imagination. He could only remember shared mannerisms, that he'd thought the two Tylers must be related somehow, but distantly. Maybe not that distantly after all, In which case, naughty Sam for keeping that from him, though it would explain Sam’s actions that day, well, most of them, very neatly indeed. He wondered why he’d not really thought of it before.
He glanced up and Sam that Sam was awake, watching him closely.
"I thought you were asleep."
"I could feel someone watching me," Sam retorted, rubbing an eye.
"Paranoid bugger," Gene served back, but there was gentleness in his voice. He slipped the photo back in his pocket, trying to pretend it was nothing, which only made Sam sit up a little on his pillow, curious.
"What's happening?" he asked.
"Nothing much, everything's still at the lab. No witnesses have come forward."
Sam snorted, not surprised. Who in their right minds would volunteer to be interviewed by a bruiser like Gene?
"Are you going to try running this case from your hospital bed, with you the main suspect? Bit unorthodox, that," Gene continued, prickling at Sam's implied comment that Gene just might be bungling the case, ever so slightly.
"No," Sam admitted. "But I've made some notes..." he waved vaguely at the table beside him.
"How could you...?" Gene wanted to know, with Sam's left hand still bandaged and his right not much better.
"I dictated them to Annie." Sam answered, pleased with himself.
"So now my WPCs are your bloody secretaries?"
"Gene," Sam cut across his indignation. "Just look at them, please. I've tried to put down what little I could remember, and some ideas, you know, how we used to do things back in Hyde."
"Everything's always better back in Hyde," Gene sulked, feeling a little bruised at having his ability to handle the case questioned twice in one day.
"Not better, different. New ideas. It might help," Sam placated.
Gene snatched up the notebook, glanced at it and tore off the pages, putting it in his pockets for later. He really didn't want to talk further about the case with Sam, it didn't seem quite proper, with him being the accused and everything.
"You're not supposed to be working," Gene groused. "Especially not on my investigation. There's a word for people like you."
"It had an A in it," Gene agreed.
Sam grinned and a look flickered between them. Even with everything going on, they were still mates, and it was a relief to both of them.
Gene wanted to ask about Tyler, he wanted to ask about that day, about the real reason as to why Sam had pulled a gun on him, but he just couldn’t do it. Not with Sam looking up at him like a big eyed baby seal.
Sam raised an eyebrow, asking Gene to spit it out, whatever it was that was bothering, but Gene shook his head. It would keep. It wasn’t as if Sam was going anywhere.
They appeared in his office like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, each one of then slightly pushing and shoving the other, the loser being the one who spoke first.
Gene glanced up from the desk to the two of them, and dismissed them with a glare.
They didn’t take the hint.
“I’m busy,” he spelt it out for them, not even bothering to look up.
“I know,” Chris pressed on, daunted yet insistent. “But Ray has something to show you.”
Gene looked up at that.
“Have you, Constable.” That last was a sneer. “Well, go on.”
Chris nudged him forward and Ray glared at him, wanting to shove back, but he was past the point of no return and he had no choice but to take what he’d been holding behind his back and place it down on the Guv’s desk. It was a canister of film.
“What’s this then? A training film? Mickey Mouse?”
Ray pushed on, regardless. “It’s one of them girlie films. From that porno case. I kept it. I was watching it last night…”
“I don’t think I need to hear this, Constable,” Gene warned.
“Show him,” Chris interrupted, impatient.
“Show me what? Tits?” Gene was cranky now.
Chris just picked up the film and led them out to where he’d already set up the projector. He carefully threaded the film through and started it clattering away.
Gene glanced at the screen and then looked away, arms folded.
“I don’t see what this fanny festival has to do with”
“Look.” Chris stopped the film, and Gene looked.
It was the dead tart. In one of the Morton’s little speciality films.
“She was one of their girls,” Gene realised. Or, if his theory was correct, and he was damn sure it was, one of Tyler’s girls.
Tyler. There was something weird between Tyler and Sam, and slowly Gene could start to see that there was still something going on. Sam had pretty much run the bastard out of town, away from his family, away from a lucrative business. That was likely to make someone a bit annoyed. It certainly put Tyler in the frame for the frame. Means, motive and opportunity.
Tyler. Gene had been so busy looking at Warren as the most likely suspect, as a set up like this had his dirty fingerprints all over it, he’d forgotten entirely about Tyler, a man who seemed to have been schooled in all things nasty by Warren.
Gene stood and walked around his desk. The more he thought about it, the more he liked it, the connections between the two Tylers tumbling neatly into place. Means, motive and opportunity.
Gene sat on the edge of the desk and considered all the pieces of paper he had stuck to his wall. The cab driver and the dead tart had both worked for the Mortons. Gene had thought the Mortons were a front for Tyler. But what if they weren’t. What if they were back?
Suddenly, he stood. Or what if it really had been a front for Tyler? What if he was back?
“Oh yeah, one more thing, Guv,” Chris interrupted, flipping over pages in his notebook and chewing gum nervously. “We went door to door like you asked. Two neighbours heard a noise and one says he saw Sam being dragged up the hallway by a couple of fellows. He looked drunk. They said he was drunk. One of them had a key to Sam’s flat. Must have taken it off Sam. Nobody reported anything because Sam’s in and out of there at all hours. Nobody knew he was a copper, they thought he was a dealer or something.”
“Did you show ‘em a picture?”
“Yes Guv. One of them was Vic Tyler. They were certain. Guv, why would Tyler bother setting Sam up like this? Why not just shoot him, if he were that annoyed?”
“Sam pissed him off. It’s personal between those two, I think he wants Sam to know who it was who dropped him in the shite. Well, we won’t play his game. Not a word to this about Sam. He doesn’t need to know. He’s got enough problems as it is.”
“Yes, Guv.” Chris nodded, understanding. He waited a moment for some sort of pat on the head but Gebne was still sitting on the edge of his desk, arms folded, deep in thought, and Chris knew better than to press his luck. They left Gene to it, knowing damn well that the mess he’d let side had come back to bite him on the arse.
Tyler. Gene could have slammed his head against his office wall. He’d been so busy trying to think like Sam he’d forgotten how to think like himself. The first thing he always did was start with the victim. He should have done that. He should have started with Sam. Properly, none of this tip toeing around Sam’s sensibilities. He should have gone hard at it, boots and all, not gotten squeamish every time Sam teared up.
Gene started carefully removing all the pieces from his wall, now that he could see where this case was going. He’d never dealt with what Sam had done, letting Tyler get away like that, and he didn’t want to have to answer questions now. It was bad enough everyone else thought the case involved Warren, thanks to whom Sam was already involved with one dead prozzer, giving him form, in the eyes of the press, at least.
The powers that be were not happy, and they’d be less happy to know about the incident with Tyler. It was too ironic that Sam, of all of them, was the most likely to go down for being a bad cop. In fact, it was too perfect, too clever, too well staged, and who did Gene know who liked playing games, and who no doubt had it in for Sam? Sam should have run the bastard in, not run him out of town. Tyler was back in town. Gene knew it. It could only be him. One dodgy ID notwithstanding, he knew it was him.
“I still don’t know what you want.”
Mrs Tyler flushed attractively in frustration at this latest invasion of her home. As if the police hadn’t done enough to ruin her family already.
“Something of your husband’s that he might have touched, something you haven’t washed. Something you’ve kept back of his.”
“We’re trying to find him. Missing persons and all. Fingerprints would help.”
“How?” she asked, suspicious. He was too glib for her liking.
“I don’t know. Those science boys, they’re just so clever these days.”
He smiled at her, but the smile stopped at his teeth. His badge impressed her, even if he didn’t, and she was soon rummaging up the back of the cupboard while he tried to wait patiently.
He was thinking of Sam, what Tyler had done to Sam, and he could have broken through the cheap Formica kitchen counter he leant on with his bare hands. Things would never be the same again with Sam. Even if Sam never remembered, he couldn’t forget. He could kill Tyler for what he knew Tyler had done.
“Are you a policeman?”
The question came out of nowhere and Gene swung around and looked down and was instantly struck by those eyes, those eyes studying him so intently. No. No, it couldn’t be. It was impossible.
“Sam,” he mother scolded, trying to shoo him out.
“No, it’s alright.”
Gene crouched down, bringing himself eye level to a child.
“Yes, I’m a policeman.”
“Are you looking for my Daddy?”
“Yes I am. Very much so. I really want to find him very quickly, and I’m asking your Mummy to do everything she can to help me.”
“Do you have a badge?”
“Yeah.” Gene started to reach for his own, then he had a thought and reached for another, the one he kept in his coat pocket, close to his heart.
“This is my friend’s badge. He’s a very good policeman. Can you read the name?”
The child held the warrant card closely in his little hands, reading it carefully.
“Sam Tyler. That’s my name.”
“Yes, it is. And one day I bet you’ll have a badge just like this one when you’re all gown up,” Gene promised, taking the warrant card gently from the child and replacing it in his pocket.
The child smiled up at him, and it sent another shiver down Gene’s spine. He knew that smile. There was no way it could be, though It was just a coincidence, some distant family resemblance.
“Here.” Mrs Tyler was handing him an old brown patterned mug.
Gene snapped back into the present and took the cup off her without even a word of thanks, pinching it between his thumb and forefinger as if he had a dead rat by the tail. He flicked a plastic evidence bag out of his pocket and dropped the cup in it.
“Is that all?”
“Will it help?”
“I hope so.”
She went about filling the kettle while little Sam watched them both with keen interest. It was almost creepy and Gene was glad to be distracted by adult conversation.
“I read about your Sam.”
“He didn’t do it.”
She gave him a look.
“How can you be sure? How can you be sure what anyone is capable of?”
“I know he didn’t do it. He’s a good lad, my Sam. A good copper, straight as an arrow, and the more I learn about his background, the more impressed I am.”
“A bad home?”
“A bad father.”
Gene was looking at little Sam as he said it. He didn’t was to believe it, but by God, there was a resemblance. He could have been staring at Sam’s own son. Maybe he was, then he chased that thought away. Sam wasn’t that sly, surely.
Still, there was no denying it was there. It wasn’t the face, still babyish and round, but the eyes, the way he cocked his head sideways, deep in thought, lost in his own little world. The two Sams were definitely related, which would explain the blood they’d found, he realised. It didn’t have to be Sam’s. It could have been his father’s.
He slammed his cup down, sloshing tea. The two Tylers were related. He was right. It was Tyler, and it was personal.
Gene raced back to CID, dropping off the cup at forensics first, then locking himself in his office and drawing thick red lines through everything that connected the Tylers, and drawing a line through everything else that didn’t.
He sat back on the sofa, staring at it, wondering how he could have been so blind before. He thought again of Sam.
There on that old sofa, Sam had been sitting, not like an adult, but like a child, curled up, legs tucked up, reading a file, oblivious to all else. When at last he glanced up to see Gene, his face had broken out with such a smile of innocent joy. It had fair made Gene’s heart go pitter pat.
Then Sam had cocked his head to the side, ever so slightly, watching and waiting for Gene to make his next move. Gene remembered the kid pulling the very same move. It was uncanny.
Oh, Sammy Boy, he thought, shaking his had. You’ve not been having it away with a villain’s missus, have you? That was naughty, and very likely to land him in trouble. Was that what this was? The cuckolding of a dangerous bastard? Did the whole world turn on the paternity of a little brat?
“Sam, there isn’t anything you’d like to tell me?”
“Like what?” Sam wasn’t in the mood for these guessing games.
“Oh, I don’t know, how about whether or not you had any kids. You’d tell me, wouldn’t you, if there were any little Tyler bastards running around?”
Sam’s face twisted in exasperation.
“No, and no. What’s all this about, anyway?”
“Just following every lead. I went around to the Tylers. That kiddie is the dead spit of you.”
Sam couldn’t believe he was hearing this.
“There’s a good reason.”
“There usually is. No wonder you kept going back round there, you sly dog. Named after you and all.”
“Don’t. Stop.” Sam hissed. “It’s not like that. He is not my son. He’s me.”
Gene just stepped back, defeated. So they were back on to that again, were they? There hadn’t been one peep, not one, since that night and Gene had been clinging to the obviously false hope that the doctors had somehow managed to cure Sam of his delusions. Obviously not.
“Sam, please, just tell me the kid is yours.”
“He’s not. He’s me. I’m him. Don’t believe me if you don’t want to, but that’s the truth.”
“Sam, please, I’m trying to get you off a murder charge.”
“This has nothing to do with that.”
Gene said nothing. He wasn’t so sure of that. In fact, if anything, he was very sure it had everything to do with it.
“Right. Fine. You just sit there and talk to your invisible monkeys, while I go and try and save your bacon, though fuck knows why I bother. Just once Sam, just once, I asked you a direct question.”
Sam wasn’t speaking to him. He’d told him the truth, and there was nothing more he could do. Gene didn’t believe him, and if Gene didn’t believe him about that, why should he believe him about anything else.
Gene was wondering the very same thing, but he had too much now to dismiss it all and buy into the more popular opinion that Sam was indeed a homicidal lunatic. There were too many coincidences, too many connections, too many things that didn’t make sense, or made the wrong sort of sense. The evidence didn’t quite match the presumed sequence of events, and that was enough for Gene to keep pursuing it. It’s what Sam would have done, in his place.
Chris dropped the reports on Gene’s desk. Gene’s understanding of forensics was rudimentary compared to Sam’s, but he could read a lab report well enough, able to pick out the most important parts from years of experience, and if that wasn’t enough, Chris had left a hand scribbled note highlighting what the chief pencil-head down there thought should be brought to Gene’s attention.
Chris had been thorough, too thorough, perhaps, and it’d take ages to sort out all the evidence, but there were anomalies.
They had found a print from Vic Tyler inside Sam’s flat and, equally interesting, none from the dead girl. The lab had also queried inconsistencies in some of the blood patterns on the clothes, especially Sam’s. There had been bloody handprints all over her dress, but Sam's hands had only been grazed. His hands had not been covered in blood, not enough to have made those smears. He probably hadn't even been there at the murder. Everything had been planted, carefully arranged, set dressed like a bloody stage. It was a fit up, good and proper.
The blood was real, but the splatter was all wrong. Sam would have loved that, Gene thought, him and his blood patterns. If not for Sam, Gene wouldn’t have asked. Sam was right. Getting up the noses of the lab boys was the only way to break the case open.
The worst of the bandages had gone, and some colour had returned to his cheeks. Sam still looked like a mere shadow of his former self, but at least he was looking more alive than dead.
Chris was supposed to be on guard duty but he was deep in a game of cards with Sam, so deep he barely glanced up from his hand as Gene walked in.
Gene took in the scene in one glance: Sam looking brighter, the discarded cards spread on his lap, a half eaten hospital meal sitting on the floor by Chris, Chris’ coat slung over the back of his chair and the gun lying out in the open on Sam’s bed.
Gene picked it up and handed it back to Chris, giving him his not pleased face.
“This is supposed to remain in your possession. It’s supposed to remain within your reach in case of emergencies. That means holstered, you git.” He tucked it away in Chris’ holster for him. “It is not supposed to end up where the prisoner can get at it,” he continued his lecture. “Not that I’m expecting you to shoot your way out of here, Sam.” He swung his attention to the man they had in custody.
“The thought had crossed my mind, but I’m still feeling a bit peaky,” Sam replied absently, also concentrating on the cards he held.
“Sorry, Guv,” Chris mumbled. “I forgot he’s still under arrest.”
“Guilty until proven innocent, I’m afraid.”
“Sorry, Guv,” Chris offered again, contrite, but Gene’s attention was now focused wholly on Sam.
Sam’s short hair was all mussed and spiky, except for the near bald patch they’d roughly shaved behind his ear, which was covered with a large wad of bandage.
“Always said I need you like I needed a hole in the head, and now you’ve got one,” Gene teased, prodding at the bandages.
“Ow! Don’t poke it. Bloody hell, do you always have to poke things?” Sam complained, and Chris pretended not to hear the bickering.
“Any news?’ Sam had to ask, if only to stop Gene from messing with his head.
“Some. I’ve got a few new leads I’m following up. I’ll tell you if they come to anything. I just stopped by to see how you were doing, but I can see you’re doing fine.”
Gene had been feeling up, he felt as though at last he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then someone had upped the ante. Or was that mixing his metaphors again?
It arrived on his desk without fanfare, a plain brown envelope containing a single canister of film. Gene knew who it was from and why. No more games. Tyler was holding two fingers up to him now. Tyler had made another home movie, a family piece this time, and he knew exactly what it would do to Gene if he played it.
Regardless, Gene pulled his blinds shut and started it rolling, telling himself he had to watch it, he had to see all the evidence. It was filmed in some factory or warehouse, Gene was sure that he knew it, with thick, old brick walls, all the better to muffle the screams. This is where they’d done it, before they’d dumped Sam back at his flat. Sam was brought in, looking already the worse for wear but still struggling fitfully. There was a lot of blood trailing down his neck and onto his collar from that near fatal blow to the head, and he was very unsteady on his feet. Maybe they’d already started to tip alcohol down him. A blow to the kidneys brought him to his knees and Sam was told to strip at gunpoint. Sam told them to sod off. Gene had to smile at that. His Sam was a fighter, but Sam soon had his bravado slapped out of him. They kicked him into next Sunday, pulled his trousers off, cuffed his hands behind his back and threw him onto the bed. He tried to kick at them and they punched him hard, in the stomach, where it would show less then the hooker was brought in.
“I brought you a bird.” Vic dragged the poor girl roughly into shot, holding her tightly by the wrist, them throwing her at Sam, who recoiled at having the girl land on him so hard.
“Pull his pants down, sweetheart,” Vic instructed, directing the action with the truncheon.
“No, please, no,” Sam begged as he was dragged to his feet again, exposed and humiliated.
“Shut up!” Vic screamed at him, hitting Sam so hard across the stomach with the truncheon he yelped as he sagged to his knees and doubled over. “Shut up, you fucking little fairy. A poof and a cop and a liar.” He grabbed Sam’s hair tight in his fist, making Sam look at him. “You’re a fucking disgrace.”
He shoved Sam’s face down hard into the floor. “How many birthday’s did I miss? Let me give you something now. Something you’ve always wanted,” he hissed in Sam’s ear.
Sam’s scream would haunt Gene for the rest of his life. He ripped the reel off the projector and threw it in the corner, shaking, wanting to be sick.
He sank down in his chair with his head in his hands. He’d known Tyler was a vicious psychopath, but that…to his own son. Gene wanted to be sick again. No wonder Sam couldn’t and wouldn’t remember, and Gene hoped the doctors had cut those memories out of Sam for good when they’d been at him, for Sam’s sake. He hoped Sam never remembered.
Gene couldn’t bear it. Jesus Christ. His own son. Afterwards, Sam must have taken a few more beatings, even if he was no longer fighting back, and doped into unconsciousness, just to keep him down while the hooker was gutted and both the body and Sam artfully arranged in twisted tableaux for discovery by the law in the early hours of the morning
Gene dropped the film into his paper bin and threw a match down after it, carefully placing a phone book over the top and just letting it burn. The sick bastard. He’d wanted to destroy Sam, Gene could see it in his eyes. Not just kill him, but to strip away every part of Sam, to tear him apart. To destroy what he had created.
The moment Gene pushed open the door he knew he had the right place. The smell was pungent, and there was blood on the floor. A lot of blood. This was where it had happened. This was where it had all happened. Sam and the body had been dumped, afterwards, or rather artfully arranged for discovery, but this, this was the scene of the crime.
Gene was going to get the lab boys over here, but for now, something caught his eye. Something glinting in the far corner. He carefully stepped around the blood and the ruined bed, not wanting to even look at it, knowing all too well what had happened in it, to crouch down and pickup carefully with the tip of his pen what had caught his eyes.
It was a gold chain. It could probably be called a bracelet but Gene would never call it that. It was just a gold chain, nine carats. He knew that because he’d been the one who’d bought it. For Sam. Sam had never taken it off, except the day Gene had arrested him. Gene had noticed, and had made assumptions as to why Sam might have stopped wearing it. But Sam hadn’t taken it off. Not by choice, anyway. It had been broken and flown off and landed here. Gene grimaced, imaging what they must have been doing to Sam when the bracelet had broken. The film images played over and over in his head, relentlessly.
He stood and slipped the chain into his pocket. God help him if the Missus ever found out he’d been buying trinkets that weren’t for her. God help him indeed.
And God help the man who’d broken the bracelet, because nobody else would. This wasn’t about murder any more. It was about revenge. It always had been.