Detective Sergeant Sampson enters the hallway first, then Genie and Inspector Coch. Seven follows, his head is lowered.
“This is the it, room 217.” Samson stops and pulls the crime scene seal off the door. He inserts the key.
“Y, ye, yessss.” Genie is shaking. She remembers it, but the smell is not fresh pine like before. It smells of spoiled meat and her throat closes up. The blood drains out of her face, and before the blackness, Inspector Coch catches her arm.
“Open a window Sams.” She helps Genie to the bed. “Sit.” Genie turns to Coch her eyes are wide and she stops breathing. “It’s OK. Sit, breath.” She lowers her onto the edge of the bed, and Seven come around the other side to help calm her.
“Damn things painted shut.” Sampson strains at the window lip.
Seven stands and walks over to the window. He removes a multi-tool from his inside jacket pocket and retracts a flat-edge. He leverages it against the paint frame lip. The windowpane cracks.
“B&E, smart-dick. You’re paying for that.” Sampson half-shouts and grins like shit-eating-cat-bird.
“Fuck.” Seven pulls the edge out of the paint and spins the tool in his hand. He knocks the window out and glass shatters in the parking lot below.
“IDIOT. You’re going to hurt someone.” Sampson shouts.
Seven sighs, shakes his head, and looks down and out the window. “There’s a flowerbed Sergeant, and if who-ever is in the bushes, well…” Seven shuts his mouth; Inspector Cochran is staring at the two like a mom ready to bash two knuckleheads together.
“Breathe slowly.” Inspector Cochran says to Genie. Her color returns from the edges first. Detective Sampson and Seven stand at the window. Sampson’s attention bounces between Genie’s face and Seven’s.
“I can’t believe I am in here again.”
“Take your time, just tell us what happened.” Cochran has her arms around Genie’s shoulders.
“Well. We came over from the lounge. Sal was closing like usual on Tuesday night, and I was the last one there.”
“No one else is in the bar?” Cochran listens intently.
“Yeah, it really slow and Sal made me a nightcap, a white Russian. He said the it was the last day for the milk and I could keep him company while he checked the toilets and he wiped the tables and bar.
“Was the door locked?”
“No.” Genie says, “but he locked it after I came in.”
“You were the only one in the bar?”
“No. No I wasn’t.” Genie turns to the officers.
“No, he was strange.” Genie’s averts her eyes as the memory returns. He was standing near the door, and he left as soon as I came in.”
“Do you remember how he looked?” Cochran says as Sampson pulls out his notepad.
“No, not really. I didn’t see his face and he strange.
“How?” Cochran asks.
Um, like Halloween, like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz. I wonder why?” Genie ponders.
“Hum, was he tall, short, fat, thin, color of hair, eyes?” Sampson writes in his notebook.
“I told you. I didn’t see his face. It was dark and didn’t pay him any attention.”
“Relax Genie, don’t get excited. Just close your eyes and put yourself in the doorway.” Seven says and moves closer to her.
“No, he moved strangely, stiff and slow.” She takes a deep breath and concentrates. “His clothes hissed when he walked, like paper sacks rubbing together.”“White, Black, Hispanic, Asian?” Cochran asks.
“I can’t see, he turns and leaves.” Genie opens her eyes, then her draw drops. “OH MY GOD.”
“What Genie?” Seven sits next to her on the bed, and she almost knocks him over as she jumps up.
“What is it?” Cochran stands up and turns Genie toward her.
“My God, my God, it was the same sound here.”
“You mean here at the motel?”
“Yes.” Genie begins to sob as the entire scene unfolds again in her head.