This story is by Leo Perez and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Evandor sat reclined in his black chair watching the rainstorm outside. The rain thumped on the window in a rhythmic pattern, creating an angelic tone. The window was large and spanned the entire back wall. It was dark out and Evandor had the shades pulled nearly shut, leaving a small opening for him to view the rainy nighttime sky.
Evandor sat behind his mahogany desk, sipping on scotch. He spun his chair around to face the rest of his boxed office which was large enough to fit two king size beds with room for a couch.
The rainstorm strengthened. It’s hard inconsistent pounding on the window replaced the rhythmic, angelic tone.
A loud buzzing emanated from under his case files. He sat upright, chugged his scotch and began searching for his cell phone as it violently vibrated on the desk. The phone was buried under a litter of documents and legal notepads. He found his cell phone and answered.
“Evandor, are you still at the office?” asked a soft voice on the other end, sarcastically.
“I live here,” he chuckled. Evandor grabbed his empty glass and walked to his right where his decanter sat on top of a black table.
“What’s up, Rahndee?” Rahndee was Evandor’s investigator. She had been with him since he opened his law firm three years ago. He poured himself more scotch, standing by the table admiring his diplomas, certificates, and awards that hung on the wall over the table and his charcoal plush sofa.
“You haven’t seen the news tonight?” she asked.
“Why would I? I have you for that.” He said, absentmindedly. Evandor walked over to the front of his desk and pulled a document from the pile. “Plus, Suraez was here earlier reviewing the discovery. The Prosecutor finally disclosed their witness list.”
“So, was he listed?”
“No, he wasn’t,” Evandor said with the witness list in hand. They had waited weeks for the Prosecutor to disclose their witness list, becoming more desperate each day after learning–through their own investigation–of an eyewitness to the murder his client was accused of. “Another half-ass investigation by the Police and the Prosecutor’s office. Not my problem.”
“Eh, Boss. Hate to break it to you,” Rahndee said, ominously. “But it might be your problem.”
“What happened?” Evandor walked across the office to the three-piece bookcase wall. The bookcase stood from ceiling to floor, constructed of hardwood and cherry veneer. Each time he stood in front of it, Evandor could smell the sweet vanilla flowery scent of his books.
“Well,” she hesitated, “Mr. Khan was found dead in his home an hour ago.”
Evandor’s mind raced. This indeed was my problem, he thought. It was only last week that we found the eye witness. He was losing his grip on the scotch and placed it on one of the shelves.
For days they searched the neighborhood near the murder scene looking for potential witnesses to the murder. They knocked on doors, approached people at stores or on the street. No one had seen anything. They were becoming excited, believing the Prosecutor had no witnesses to the murder. That was until Evandor bumped into a man at the Quick Mart down the street from the crime scene.
Evandor saw his face go white, eyes of fear as if Evandor was the devil himself. The man rushed out of the store and Evandor instinctively followed, tailing the man to his two-story townhouse. The man ran inside and slammed the door closed. Evandor knocked on it, hoping the man would answer some questions. That was when Evandor realized the house had a clear view of the murder scene. He left, but not before he wrote the address into a small notepad he had in his pocket.
It took Evandor and Rahndee several days before they were able to convince the man, John Khan, to answer some questions.
Writing in his small notepad, Evandor asked, “Did you see anything that night?”
“I was in the living room, reading when I heard a commotion outside. I peeked through the blinds to see what it was.” Mr. Khan was sixty. He had a bald head and a neatly groomed white beard. He wore a white shirt under a blue fleece jacket with tan slacks and black shoes. “What I saw will haunt me forever.” He was staring at the closed window in his living room, visibly upset. “I saw this beastly man stab this poor woman over and over and over…,” His voice trailed off.
“What was he wearing?” asked Evandor.
Mr. Khan said, “he was wearing black and his face and arms were covered with hair.”
“Did you see a knife?”
“No! He stabbed her with his hand!” Mr. Khan was adamant about it.
When asked why he did not speak to the Police or the Prosecutor, Mr. Khan told Evandor and Rahndee he was frightened. That night he had hidden upstairs in his bedroom closet till the morning and went back there each time someone knocked on his door. Including when Evandor and Rahndee stopped by.
“Why speak to us now?” Asked Rahndee.
“I can’t hide in the closet forever,” Mr. Kahn said.
“Do you plan on speaking to the Prosecutor?” Asked Evandor, eagerly.
Mr. Khan said, “If that is where God takes me.” With that, Mr. Khan ended the conversation.
The rain’s intense pounding on the window jolted Evandor back to his conversation with Rahndee. He walked back to his desk and began to search for a document. “Cause of death?”
“My source said that Mr. Khan was stabbed numerous times with a sharp object.”
“Shit!” exclaimed Evandor. He had found the document he was looking for: the autopsy report of the murdered woman. She had died after suffering multiple stab wounds from an unidentified sharp object.
“Exactly!” agreed Rahndee.
“I’ll call you back later,” Evandor ended the call.
He reviewed the report repeatedly, thinking about Mr. Khan. It was no coincidence he died in the same manner as the woman. The connection was there—similar stab wounds, same neighborhood. It wouldn’t take long for the Police and the Prosecutor to connect the dots.
How did Suraez find out about Mr. Khan, he asked himself. Only he and Rahndee knew about the witness. He doubted the Prosecutor knew about Mr. Khan, or else he would have been listed. He had briefly mentioned to Suraez that there might be a witness who saw the murder, but never referred to him by name.
“Oh, fuck!” He vigorously thrashed the items on his desk aside. Where is the notepad with Mr. Khan’s address? Evandor began to have cold sweats as he panicked when he could not find it. He ran over to check the bookcase, violently throwing books as he searched—it wasn’t there. He shifted his attention to the sofa. He explored every corner of the sofa, hurling cushions all over the office, and also found nothing.
Evandor stomped over to his desk and flopped down onto his chair.
Suraez has the notepad. “Fuck!” Evandor screamed. He loathed himself for having left his murderous client alone long enough for him and his filthy, hairy paws to find and steal it. Evandor had used that small notepad often in front of Suraez. He knew Evandor wrote important notes in it. All Suraez had to do was look inside, he told himself. He would immediately see the address and my notes about what Mr. Khan saw the night of the murder. Suraez found that information and killed another innocent human because of it. Evandor stood up from his chair and meandered to the decanter.
As he filled up another glass with scotch, Evandor looked at his diplomas and legal certificates. Was this my fault? Will I get arrested and charged for this? He wondered if his stupidity broke any ethical rules. He assured himself it didn’t. Yet, he knew there was going to be a Bar inquiry once it got out. A likely suspension. Mr. Khan is dead because of me. I deserve to be disbarred, immediately.
First, he had something to do. Evandor picked up his cell phone from the floor. He opened it and quickly found the number he wanted to call. It rang twice.
“Evandor. My favorite lawyer!” Boomed the raspy voice of Suraez. Through the phone, Evandor could hear the heavy pounding of rain on aluminum. Suraez was inside his car.
“Suraez, get yourself another attorney, asshole. You’re fired!” Evandor roared and ended the call before Suraez could utter a word. Evandor threw his phone at the sofa and walked over to his desk. With his scotch in hand, he sat down on his chair and gazed out through the window. Evandor wondered what would happen next as he admired the sky’s gloomy, devilish quality.