Tommy stared at the bloody handkerchief in his hand. He thought back to the night before. He remembered the trip to the pub with his friends, he didn’t think he had drunk that much. Shit, then it hit him the guy who had shoved him in the club for spilling his pint. His hands trembled and he threw the bloody handkerchief away like it had caught fire. A quick search of the clothes he had worn, revealed more blood. Tommy threw them all in the corner and tried to block them from his mind.
He went into the shower and let the warm water wash away the thought of blood and the effects of the alcohol. Tommy was still shaking when he finished dressing for work. His mind kept travelling back to the night before. Why had he drunk so much? His breakfast consisted of a mug of strong coffee and two paracetamol.
The train rocked gently on the way to work. The familiar clunking of wheels on the track started to calm Tommy’s nerves. As with commuting, everyone sat in their familiar seats all avoiding eye contact. It was a cold day, and Tommy pulled his thick coat around him to stop the draft from the window. Pulling the cuff of the coat over his hand he started to scroll through his phone.
Ten minutes before the train pulled into the station he saw the story. He felt the sweat start to pour down his back and shifted several times in his seat.
Police appeal for witnesses to a fatal stabbing last night outside Oasis nightclub.
Tommy’s eyes clouded over.
Police would like to talk to a six foot, blond man seen in the area.
Tommy looked at his six foot, blond reflection in the train window. It seemed the sweat down his back was now keeping time with the rain running down the train window.
You heard all the time about innocent men going to jail for crimes they hadn’t committed. Tommy found himself back in Oasis having an argument with a stranger over a spilt pint. He could almost feel the pressure of Dan’s hand on his shoulder, trying to calm him down.
The train stopped and the doors opened. Tommy came out of his daze and made his way towards the exit and work.
Everything that could have gone wrong at work did. Whilst filling his coffee cup it splashed onto his trousers. Pulling his clean, white handkerchief out, he dabbed at the stain. His mind travelled back to the bloody handkerchief still on his bedroom floor.
During lunch, he met Dan coming out of the lift. Dan punched his shoulder, laughing.
“Man, you were wasted last night,” he said.
Tommy tried to stop for a chat, to compare notes, but Dan kept walking.
“Sorry buddy, I have a meeting. Catch up tomorrow.”
Whether it was the effects of the alcohol or the anxiety over the description in the paper, he couldn’t eat the limp cheese sandwich. After one bite he threw it in the bin and left the canteen. He needed to find out what Dan remembered from the previous night.
For the next two hours, Tommy sat at his cubicle, whilst his stomach churned. At 3 pm he made his decision, he was going to report to the police station after work.
Two hours later, Tommy took a deep breath and pushed open the door to the police station. The door was heavy and creaked as he put his shoulder behind it. The reception of the area was stark and bare. It provided the normal crime posters and hard chairs. Walking over to the counter, he asked if he could speak to someone about the stabbing at the Oasis nightclub.
Fifteen minutes later he was shown into an interview room. The plainclothes policeman introduced himself as Detective Inspector Swift. The room was small and smelt of dirty feet. In the centre of it was a metal table bolted to the floor. The walls were covered by a metal grid, which hid the speakers for the interviews. The policeman indicated that Tommy should take the chair furthest from the door. He asked Tommy about the Oasis nightclub.
Tommy stubbled his way through his story. All the time staring at the bald head of DI Swift as he took notes. When Tommy mentioned the bloody handkerchief, DI Swift raised his eyebrows. Taking a moment he went back to scribbling in his notebook more ferociously.
When Tommy finished, his mouth was so dry it felt like he had been gargling with sand. He took the plastic cup from in front of him and gulped down the lukewarm water like a starving man.
DI Swift stood up and excused himself. Tommy then heard the lock engage in the door of the interview room. Tommy felt his blood turn to ice, he was locked in. Tommy waited in that room for what seemed like a day but was actually only ten minutes. When the door opened again, DI Swift was accompanied by a younger man who was introduced to Tommy as PC Smith. PC Smith sat down opposite Tommy and smiled. Tommy was not fooled by this classic good cop, bad cop routine.
“Tommy, do you remember me from last night?” PC Smith asked him, still smiling.
Tommy was not going to let the PC know whether he recognised him or not. He shook his head in the direction of the two men.
“I was the first responder when the victim was stabbed.”
“Okay,” Tommy answered.
“Tommy, when we arrived you were covered in blood and trying to save the young man’s life. Admitted you were drunk, but something in your memory must have remembered first aid. You were attempting to revive the victim. Unfortunately, he was dead before he hit the ground with the severity of the knife attack.”
Tommy felt the weight lift from his shoulders. He wasn’t suspected of killing the man. He had been helping out, that was where all the blood had come from.
“The blond man we are looking for was ruled out, as you, on the scene. We couldn’t interview you in the state you were in. Seeing as you had helped out we thought we would leave you to go home and sober up. I was on my way over to talk to you when DI Swift came in and said you were in the interview room.” PC Smith said, smiling again.
Tommy didn’t trust his voice at the moment. He could feel the tremor of fear that was still laying over his skin like a thin mist. He answered the rest of the questions using one-word answers. When they showed him his witness statement he signed it and was free to leave.
As he left the police station he stood on the top of the steps and wept. It was the first time Tommy could ever remember crying. The events of the last 24 hours had physically and mentally exhausted him. At this point, his stomach growled to remind him he hadn’t eaten all day. Tommy collected a takeaway from his favourite Chinese and went home for a long bath and relax.
Stood in nothing but his PJ bottoms, Tommy emptied the containers onto a clean plate and reached for the cutlery drawer.
Opening it, he smiled, his first real smile for 24 hours.
There was the bloody knife, he had used to stab the cocky northerner. No one ever suspected the first aider, trying to help the victim. Police always thought the blood came from trying to save a life, not from the attack. With his Chinese in one hand, Tommy walked over to the fridge and using the pen on top, put another stroke onto the chart. Three victims altogether, Tommy was now officially classed a serial killer. Today had been a very good day.