The red Plymouth lay on its side, and smoke from the radiator lightly wisped through the air. The car was slightly wrapped around the pole, broken glass glistened across the street, and a bark from a large dog sounded out not far away.
Reed and Hudson got out of their car and quickly ran to the wreck, hoping the driver was still alive. There was a soft moaning coming from inside the car.
Hudson reached the car first, climbed onto the fender and peered inside. Reed went around to the hood of the car to see if the driver had crawled out. Mr. Bennings was in the driver seat, with his back to the pavement, looking up into Hudson’s flashlight.
“Hail Mary, full of grace,” Mr. Bennings prayed, while softly choking on his own blood.
“Hold on, pal, we are gonna get you out!”
Mr. Bennings stopped praying, “You move me, I’ll break into a hundred pieces.”
Hudson worked a thought around in his mind and looked over his shoulders up and down the street, trying to think about the right question to ask. Benning’s time was short, and they needed an answer about Wright’s death. It may not have been ethical or sensitive, but he had to do it.
Hudson could see Mr. Bennings starting to drift away, and blood was pooling under him. Reed knelt down in front of the windshield, close to the dying man.
“Look at me,” Hudson said loudly, “you hit a man with your car tonight, and he is dead. Am I right?”
Mr. Bennings came back from Saturn and slowly looked up at Hudson and nodded.
“Ok… alright. Hold on we’re … we’re gonna get the ambulance and …”
Mr. Bennings interrupted, “You’ll forgive me, won’t you?”
Reed looked at Hudson like a child who just witnessed the burning of his favorite stuffed animal. Hudson said, “Sure.”
With that, Mr. Bennings died, at 3:36 a.m. Hudson and Reed used a police phone on the street and called for the ambulance. Both detectives went home after the street had been cleaned up to search for sleep.
After the accident, despite the hour, sleep eluded them both.
A phone call awoke a dreary Reed at 9:25 a.m. A voice spoke, and Reed did his best to comprehend. “… yeah? What? Just now? … ok. She’s what?!”
Reed became fully awake.
“… alright I’ll get Hudson and meet you there in 20 minutes. Right.”
Reed hung up and sat up in his bed. He reached for the lamp and quickly turned it on. A quick glance at the phone again took Reed’s mind to calling Hudson, and he dialed.
“Hey Hudson … yea I just got a call from the chief. A woman has been found murdered … yea. It’s her; it’s Baker, the broad Wright was with last night … yeah, I told him we’d meet at the park. Hudson, she was found nude … yeah, I know. I’ll be over at your place in ten … five? Okay.”
Reed hung up and quickly got ready for another long day for which not even the blackest coffee could prepare him.
To be continued …