I told the cops the truth. I didn’t see anything. But yes, the murder happened right in front of me. And yes, the killer grabbed me and pushed me out of the way to leave. But like I said, I didn’t see a thing. Nothing at all.
And then my hard, angry voice screamed the killer was a white male, an inch or two under six feet tall. A grown man, not a juvenile. And if I had to guess his age, I’d guess he’s much older than me, probably over forty. Raised in the upper Midwest. Chicago or Minneapolis or someplace like that. A strong man with a wiry build. A heavy smoker hobbled with a limp from an old injury. A regular guy with a high school education. Works with his hands, maybe construction but definitely manual labor.
And whether you believe me or or not, I guarantee you I didn’t see a goddamn thing. Because twenty-two years ago I was born blind.
I was walking to the bus stop when the murder happened, counting the steps, like always. Worked late. Long into the night. Ready for home.
I heard them as soon I stepped around the corner.
First man: “You think you can get away with that shit? Enjoy your last heartbeat, asshole.”
Second man: “I didn’t have a choice! Please don’t! I’m begging you.”
Then gunshots. Six of them. BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!
I gasped and my white walking cane slipped from my hand. Clattered onto the sidewalk. I heard footsteps, running. Coming right at me. An odd gait. One shoe scraping the sidewalk, just a little bit.
Someone grabbed me, pulled me close, hands on the back of my head and neck, squeezing hard. I felt the heat of a face, inches in front of mine. I guess looking at my eyes. Then I heard the same man as before, the first man: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Nothing to worry about from you, is there?” Then he coughed sour breath and walked away.
The cops who interviewed me, Detectives Jackson Kirkwood and Yazmina Linch, sounded skeptical, especially that fucker Kirkwood.
“You gave us an extremely detailed description of the man you think did this,” he said to me. “Unusually perceptive.”
My gentle and understanding voice explained. “Sightless people perceive more than you can imagine, Detective.”
I heard Kirkwood flipping through pages of a notebook before he spoke again. “You said you estimated how tall the killer is by comparing the height of his voice to your own height. You guessed his age and race just from the sound of his voice. You said you recognized an upper Midwest regional accent because every week you talk to your cousin in Illinois on the phone. You claim you felt the killer’s strength and could guess his physical build and occupation when he grabbed you and placed his hands on your head and neck. You smelled stale cigarette odor on his clothes and breath, so you inferred he’s a heavy smoker. You heard his shoe scraping when he ran and deduced it was from an old leg injury because you think a recent injury would be too painful to allow someone to run that fast. And you surmised his education level from his vocabulary plus your initial guess about his occupation. Anything else you want to mention?”
The hard, angry voice again: “Yeah. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s Catholic.”
“Excuse us a minute,” Detective Linch interrupted.
She and Kirkwood stepped away and whispered to each other. I could hear every word. And, of course, I recognized their individual voices.
Detective Linch: “You realize who he described.”
Detective Kirkwood: “C’mon. Half of it was bullshit and the other half could describe a dozen guys we know. Waste of time.”
Linch again: “Except the coroner ID’ed the victim and it fits.”
I was home, alone in my personal darkness, when I heard the news on the radio the following evening:
“Police apprehended a suspect in last night’s brutal gunshot murder downtown. Based on what they described as ‘reliable information,’ Detectives Jackson Kirkwood and Yazmina Linch detained ex-convict Dawson Roarke for the murder of Grady Tyrell, a police informant who testified at Roarke’s trial and then fled to avoid retribution. Roarke, who was released last month from the Sheridan Correctional Center near his hometown of Chicago, was taken into custody near a local construction site where he recently worked as a day laborer.”
I turned the radio off and listened to the two voices whisper to me, inside my head this time.
Hard, angry voice: “Good job. You fooled those cops into thinking you know what the fuck you’re talking about. Always show that kind of confidence and you’ll do fine, blind or not.”
Gentle, understanding voice: “You tried your best to interpret a confusing situation, dear. Who knows, maybe the police arrested the right man.”
“Yes, father,” I mumbled. “Yes, mother.”
Peter DiChellis concocts sinister tales for anthologies, ezines, and magazines. He is a member of Friends of Mystery and the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and an Active (published author) member of the Mystery Writers of America, Private Eye Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. For more visit his Amazon author page or his blog about short mystery and crime fiction, A short walk down a dark street.
This story is an original work of creative fiction. All people and events described or depicted are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual individuals or events is unintended and coincidental.