There was a gaggle of onlookers huddled about Mr. Rip’s door. Joakim was a bit nauseated and hardly pleased as he approached the group. Beyond the gawkers, he saw the Capt Scal and Chief of Security, Ronnnie. The Captain saw Joakim’s head above the others and barked, “Let that man in,” to the guard filling the doorway. The crowd obediently parted and Joakim entered the cabin.
The scene was grim. On the floor laid one dead Mr. Rip. There was blood on his person and the floor. Joakim observed the scene in regretful reticence.
“What do ya make of it?” the Captain spoke up after the moment of silence. “Looks like a fight ending in a stabbing,” the Captain answered his own question. The crowd on the fringe let out understanding noises like, “Ahhh,” and, “Ohhh,” while nodding noggins.
Chief Ronnie said, “Yeah.”
Joakim’s right thumb and index finger swept across his lips. “There is no sign of struggle,” Joakim started. “The room is orderly. The stab wounds appear to have come from the back. It was a stealth attack. The assailant was probably hiding – behind the door, possibly – while the victim entered the room. He came from behind stabbed him and ducked back out.” Joakim’s tone was calm and calculating as he offered his early conclusions.
Capt Scal did not like getting one-upped. He puffed out his chest a bit, as he thought, I am every inch of man and I will show you somehow. “If he ducked out, why did he first drag the body across the floor,” he countered, pointing to the smeared blood on the floor.
Chief Ronnie backed it up with another, “Yeah.”
Joakim’s eyes searched the path of the blood, then Mr. Rip’s corpse. He offered, “He was not dragged. The killer did not do his due diligence in making sure Mr. Rip was dead. The pool of blood over here,” he said, pointing to where the blood’s path began, “suggests that the victim was laying there for some time. He then willed himself across the floor, but eventually ran out of energy and passed where he now rests…” Joakim trailed. He was looking at the corpse’s extended hand and nonchalantly followed the direction it pointed. He saw something on the dresser. Thinking quickly, he turned his attention to the door and exclaimed, “Judas!” Everyone’s attention focused on me.
I waved at the large, frizzy-haired man and greeted, “Hey, Jo! What’s the good word?”
Joakim’s voice was a bit hurried as he responded, “Oh, nothing.” Then he addressed the group as a whole when he announced that he must be leaving. It was a peculiar exit. The reason being, Joakim used me as a distraction as he grabbed a small book off of the dresser. The book was Mr. Rip’s journal. With his last bit of energy, Mr. Rip stretched out his arm and pointed to what he wanted his friend to find.
I gave Joakim a thumbs-up and wink during his exit. As he brushed past me, I could hear the Captain remark, “I never thought the man would live long, but I thought his body would simply give up, not something like this.” It was followed by a, “Yeah.”