Letters from a StalkerbyCinner©
"How long have you been receiving these letters?" Det. Anton Judge asked the distraught woman seated in the visitor chair in his office.
"About three months," she replied, clenching her fist and raising it to her mouth. "At first I thought that it was a sick joke from one of my idiot friends to celebrate Halloween, but after the second one I began to have my doubts and... these are the third, fourth and fifth ones. I threw the first ones away, but I've saved these. I spoke with two of my sisters in Italy and they advised me to either call the police immediately, or come home to Rome without further delay."
"Three weeks ago would have been early for Halloween though. When did you get these?"
"A week ago; but my husband and I sent out our Halloween party invitations three weeks ago. I have been very busy working on the arrangements since then. My husband pays the bills, but he does not take part in the planning of these things in any way."
"Three in one week? So why did it take so long to come in with them?"
"Look at them! Would you have been eager to show someone that you'd attracted the interest of a lunatic who could write something like this? It is downright embarrassing!" she said emphatically.
"I suppose not," Judge agreed, taking the letter up from his desk to have a better look.
My Darling Avril,
It is I, your Master. My Darling, you will obey me, and use a laptop positioned between your legs, the camera focused on your naked, cum-filled pussy to confirm to me that you've had sex and that the man, the shameless shemale that I send for you, came in your cunt!
Judge's eyebrows rose, but he said nothing. He turned to the second piece of paper, reading slowly to see if there was any clue there about the origin of the short missive.
My Darling Avril,
I am going to have you bring home a homeless shemale, who has not bathed in days, nor had sex in a long time. I want you to fuck him, plug his cum in your cunt, and keep it there until you reach the place of your torment to which I will send you. There you must pull out the plug, and let the cum drool down your long, luscious legs.
"Do you know anyone who might think this funny?" Anton Judge asked, glancing, casually, at the woman's legs.
Judge turned his attention to the third letter on the table. He read it slowly and then re-read the contents carefully.
My Darling Avril,
You have me so worked up and you are so naughty and sexy and hot. I want to strip you and lead you into the kitchen, drape you over the kitchen table, spread your ass checks and fuck your asshole until you launch yourself into oblivion.
The woman moistened her lips nervously, and for the second time, Judge raised his eyebrows. A slight smile played on his lips and his cock stirred. Even by the very high Italian standards of her homeland, Avril Corletti was a beautiful woman, and she certainly stood out in the Jamaican social scene. Judge had seen her every week in the reports of the happenings in the party circuit, and she had caused quite a sensation when she walked into his station demanding to see the officer in charge. He took that as a sign of how desperate she was since he knew for a fact that she knew the Police Commissioner and his wife personally, and he knew also that any careless word, by even the most junior member of his staff, would lead to publicity of another kind for her.
"I don't mind telling you that I'm afraid, Inspector Judge," the woman's voice cut into his reverie.
"Indeed, but don't worry, I will do all that I can to help you find this lunatic. At the very least, his sense of humour is in very poor taste; and he should be arrested for that."
Detective Anton Judge had worked with the Jamaican police for several years and he felt that he could have been forgiven for thinking that he had seen everything: drug running, extortion, murder. However, he had never seen notes of the kind written to the hapless victim of this stalker. Stalking was highly unusual for the tiny Caribbean island. In all his years in the force, Judge had only seen such a thing on television. The notes reminded him of bad porn, except that the promise contained in them to meet Avril Corletti in person made him take them very seriously. It would not do for one of the most celebrated women in Kingston, admittedly more famous for her beauty than for anything else, to find herself caught up in something like this. Even the most sex-scandal-jaded members of the public would probably draw the line here.
"Do you know anyone with a name beginning with X?"
"Do not insult me, Detective Inspector! I have thought of that myself! I know no one like that!"
"What about anyone named Cross?"
The woman seemed startled at that. She actually blushed!
"Cross? You know someone named Cross, Sig.ra Corletti?"
"Yes, I know someone named Cross, or rather Crossman. He is the man who runs my home."
"He is the man who runs your home?"
"Yes, I don't want to call him a butler. That seems too pretentious in Jamaica, but he takes care of things for my husband and me."
Judge continued carefully through his slightly fading smile and slowly rising eyebrows. He was aware that he would have to think later if his sudden dislike for the woman was because he now saw her for the vacuous parasite that she and her friends were, or if it was because he was beginning to form a theory about the origin of the notes that she had been receiving.
"And how well do you know this man? Now that you think about him, would he strike you as someone who would do something like this?"
"No! My husband and his family have known him for thirty years! I have known him since I moved here fifteen years ago after my marriage."
"So you're not having an affair with him?"
"I just need to be sure that he could be under no misconception about the nature of your relationship."
"I don't see how he could be."
"Does this Crossman have a younger relative who may have seen you, and been tempted by your... personality?" If it killed him, he wouldn't tell this woman that she was a "beauty".
"There is a young man who has come to stay with him on occasion on his days off. I think I heard that he was a nephew."
"Then that is where we will start, unless you have any ideas about these references to a shemale."
Judge watched Avril Corletti as she left the building, striding purposefully toward her BMW, carefully oblivious to the fact that most of the men whom she passed on her way turned to look at her. Judge shook his head annoyed. Some people definitely had too much. He was surprised at his attitude toward the woman. He had only just met her in the flesh. The fleeting thought of the word "flesh" ricocheted through his mind and he felt himself stir again. He frowned. Hell; was he missing Thalia that much?
He called his assistant, Hector Milner, to his office and showed him the letters. The man had been in the force for nearly as long as Judge was himself. They were friends, though to look at them one would never suspect this since neither man was given to smiling or socialising too often, and they usually took dipole opposite views on most issues.
"Do you think that the note could have been signed with a kiss? That doesn't have to be an X" Hector Milner asked.
"Could be, but she denies having an affair."
"She did." It didn't sound like Milner was asking a question.
"Well she said that she wasn't having an affair with her butler, but one never knows about anyone else."
Both men contemplated the possibility that Avril Corletti was not being as forthcoming as she could be with them in a morose silence. Each man had spent a lifetime studying the human mind, plumbing its depths for understanding; but for each of them women were still a mystery.
"In any event that seems a little whimsical for someone who is otherwise so threatening."
"Do you think that she could be lying about her butler?"
"No the one doing this seems to be a younger man. Look at the reference to her as being hot. If this man Crossman has been with the family for thirty years then he is no longer young."
"Hmmm. He could still be in his forties. That's not so old," Hector Milner said defensively. "And I still think of my wife as being..." He broke off the sentence belatedly. "Sorry..." he muttered.
"Mmmmmm. Forget it."
"What about the husband? It's always the husband, you know."
"I'll pretend you didn't say that. This is real life, not a police drama on Masterpiece Mysteries."
"I'll try to bear that in mind. Are you sure that you don't want me to take the lead on this case?"
"No man, I'm fine."
"Any ideas about these shemale references?"
"Not at all! I've been wondering about that myself."
The Corletti home was situated in the posh Jack's Hill enclave. Security-guarded mansions with carefully laid-out and golf-green-like manicured lawns, the occasional peep of a private tennis court or swimming pool, quite often both in the same property, and the stable of SUVs and luxury cars parked in front of automatic garage doors proclaimed Judge and Milner's unworthiness to be there. Neither man gave a damn. They paid their honest taxes, unlike, they surmised, some of the residents there. The actual house looked like something out of a magazine or television programme about the splendidly rich and famous. A tasteful blend of the traditional and modern spoke of someone who had both time and money being the decorator. Judge was impressed. He recognised class when he saw it.
Basil Crossman, the butler, was there. Once it was established that neither of his employers was at home, but that the police did in fact wish to speak with him, he was unable, he said, to account for his nephew's whereabouts. Judge believed him somehow. The man looked too self-important to be in servitude to these people to allow a small thing like kinship to ruin it for him. He would have turned his nephew in if he really suspected that the young man were any threat to the Corletti's, and by extension, his lifestyle. Judge did not think that there was any point in asking him if he had any inkling who it could have been sending the notes since he did not expect the man to say anything out of turn that would reflect badly on his employers.
A shot in the dark revealed that he could still be wrong about people. Crossman was willing to point a finger at the hairdresser who roved the neighbourhood plying her trade to the neighbourhood wives. He felt that the girl had her eye too firmly on a chance with the gentlemen of the community and that she would stop at nothing to land herself one of them. Sig.ra Corletti was indeed an occasional patron of this woman but she had not used her services recently. The woman lived in the community at the foot of the hill from where the household help and gardening man came as well. Det. Judge would do well to make inquiries there. And yes, Basil Crossman did happen to have the address, and a warning that Ms. Earle was not what she seemed to be.
Sylvia Earle surprised Judge very much. She was a statuesque, fairly muscular woman with kind, gentle face and a low, sexy voice. There was something about her that appealed to Judge, however. This surprised him since Crossman had poisoned the well, and he thought her to be an interloper of the worst kind. He really didn't like people who interfered in other people's marriages.
For her part, Sylvia was horrified to think that Detectives Judge and Milner would suspect her of any impropriety. The six gentlemen from the community with which she had liaisons were all just good friends. No, she did not care to mention any names. The gifts that they bestowed on her for her company were tokens of affection, not appreciation. She had no need to usurp anyone's wife since she received the benefits without the responsibilities of such an arrangement. She smiled sadly to herself as she said this. She only wished that the wives understood this fact some more. Marriage with any of these men was an impossible dream.
Judge had the uncomfortable feeling that she looked at him speculatively. He excused himself quickly since he found that despite his disdain for Sylvia Earle's alleged lifestyle, he believed her when she claimed that she knew nothing about any letters, and he liked her. Her kind was not good at hosting large society parties. She specialised in throwing parties for one or two persons at a time. He suspected that none of Sylvia's six friends had any use for her beyond their private sessions, and was happy to think that Sylvia knew this too.
Judge sat in the car and pulled out a cigarette. He thought about lighting it but realised that it would have been a reaction to his surroundings and the situation, and so managed not to. He was at a dead end; no closer to finding the stalker than he had been that morning when he had left the station. He figured that he could always investigate Avril Corletti's husband, see if he was one of Sylvia Earle's clients and see if Sig Corletti had any motive to terrorise his wife.
This idea, once lodged in his head brought with it a more sinister speculation. Judge drove back to the Corletti residence on his way to the station in search of Basil Crossman and his nephew.
Basil Crossman had been very cold toward Anton Judge and Hector Milner when the two detectives showed up for a second time. The police coming to the house once could be seen as "helping with an inquiry", but twice smacked of "being suspected of something". Again, neither man cared. Judge had been wrong about Crossman once today and was not too proud to imagine that he could not have been mistaken about the man twice in a single day.
As it turned out Crossman did know where his nephew was, and he knew that Avril Corletti's husband was one of the clients serviced by Ms. Earle. Judge noted the frown on Crossman's face as he related this fact.
"So much for loyalty!" Judge thought. The man had worked with the Corletti family for over thirty years, but his loyalty was with Sig.ra Corletti. Judge wondered why this was. Not for the first time, Judge wondered at the mysterious ways of the heart. Why would Giancarlo Corletti have an affair with Sylvia when he had Avril at home? She seemed pleasant enough, but she was not the trophy that Avril would have been. His thoughts were interrupted by the entrance of a young man whose resemblance to Basil Crossman proclaimed his relationship to the man.
"David Crossman, I presume?"
Judge had never actually heard a man squeal, or see one turn on his heels, knock a chair into his path and run from the police. From the expression on his face, neither had Milner. Together, they managed to subdue the nancing man before he managed to leave the house.
A coward, David Crossman admitted without too much duress, that it was he who had penned the notes to the lady of the house. He did not know who it was who deposited money into his bank account to do this. The instructions came in the post from the Central Sorting Office in Kingston. He had never been asked to hurt Avril Corletti! He drew the line somewhere! In fact, he had decided to stop sending notes to his uncle's employer's wife when he received instructions to begin sending them to two other women as well!
Judge froze. He had been completely wrong about everyone involved in this case!
"May I see these instructions?" he asked.
"I'm not sure that I should show them to you, officer. Should I be retaining a lawyer? These would be my get out of jail free cards!" David Crossman said, slyly.
Judge glanced around the room and noted the various paintings, abstracts and tasteful male nudes mostly, and large mirrors. He wondered which of these formed a part of a discrete surveillance system. He thought better of beating the information out of David Crossman since, although there were no actual witnesses in the room, he doubted that he would get away with it; as these society types had a way of asserting their moral consciences at the most awkward of times.
"I should regard it as a favour if you would help us with our investigation, Mr. Crossman. As you can imagine, Sig.ra Corletti is very upset by the notes, but it seems that you have been unwittingly helping a very sinister person who has designs not only on this lady, but on others as well. Surely you see that it is your duty as a citizen to help us? Naturally, in return I can promise you that Sig.ra Corletti will never hear it from me that you were the person who sent the notes to her. I give you my word on that," he said glancing at his partner.
Judge actually shook David Crossman's hand to signify their gentleman's agreement. David Crossman furnished the set of instructions about the other two women, and promised to advise Judge and his team if he got fresh directives.
"Can you believe him?" Milner complained when they were safely back in their car.
"Yes, I can. When you tell Sig.ra Corletti that it was he who has been stalking her, be sure to mention that he cooperated with us in our investigation."
"Will do," Milner said, starting the car." Sylvia Earle's again?"
Sylvia Earle confirmed that the husbands of the two women named in David Crossman's notes were friends of hers. In the public interest, she then furnished the two policemen with the names of her other special friends and confirmed that they knew about each other since there were certain parties at her home in which they all met from time to time. She accepted police protection in return for her cooperation.
Judge shook his head sadly when he heard that Avril Corletti was seated in the front office, awaiting her appointment with him, patiently. He wished that she would make a scene so that what he had to do would be easier. As yet, she was guilty only of public mischief, but Judge and Milner suspected that if they did not step in quickly that she would be capable of murder.
"Sig.ra Corletti," Hector Milner began, "we believe we know who has been sending you these nasty notes."
"This is wonderful news, Inspector!" the woman beamed. "Please tell me so that my husband and I may confront this scoundrel."
Neither policeman could look at her for a few minutes. They did not want to actually laugh in the woman's face.
"We've sent for your husband and he should be joining us momentarily," Judge was finally able to say.
"You've sent for Giancarlo? Why?"
"We believe that he has to hear this as well. We're sure that he loves you and will take every step possible to protect you."
Avril Corletti seemed startled. She smiled bravely.
"Are you saying that he sent the letters to me?"
"I'm saying nothing of the sort."
"I'm happy to hear that because I can assure you that he did not!"
"We know that he didn't, but we're certain that you got them because of him. We believe that they were designed to attract his attention; to make him take notice of the fact that he was, shall we say, leaving his business unattended to?"
Hector Milner offered the woman a cup to tea. She declined prettily, and eyed the doorway nervously. Judge studied her covertly. The carefully manicured fingernails, the tailored dress that fit perfectly over what must be a beautiful body underneath, the long neck, the kissable lips, the strong nose, the doe-like eyes, the beautiful arch of her brows, the fantastic mane of hair cut into a trendy hairstyle; elegance personified, and yet her spouse needed more. Judge wanted to run his hands through Avril Corletti's hair but distracted himself by wondering if it had been Sylvia Earle who had cut it for her. He doubted that very much. Crossman had said that she hadn't been Ms. Earle's client in a long time. Judge wondered if it was because she suspected a relationship between her husband and the woman.