21 October 2014
It was a pale cold morning in the small town of Alford, Massachusetts, The year was
1974, and the streets were empty and silent. Martha O'Hara sat at her desk in the county police station. She had been transferred from Boston homicide to the small town because her superiors said “she needed to get away from the stress for awhile until she was better.” Martha was always certain it was some kind of punishment, sending her to this crummy little town. She did wonder if her skills would be of any use to this peaceful little town; after all, she had 8 years in homicide.
Right then, the Chief of Police, Alex Morton came through the door and asked if she would come into his office for a moment. She quickly followed him there. The chief asked her how she was settling in, and she replied, “just fine, sir”; he then quickly got to the point. Morton explained that he was officially handing over the Edmond’s Tree Suicides to homicide, and that the suicides are just too similar to play off as unrelated. He said she should take the lead on this case. Martha thought to herself, I have nothing better to do until I go back to Boston. She look directly at The Chief and accepted the case and headed down to the crime scene. She got her coat and got in her Monaco Bluesmobile and drove down to Seclusion Park. The roads were snowed over completely due to a recent snowstorm, and there was a strange humming in the air, a humming you can only hear ringing in your mind, like some kind of chime was echoing through the halls of the town. Everyone could sense it, but no one acknowledged its presence. Edmond's
Tree was located in the very middle of Seclusion Park, which was a quiet little place where tourists and citizens visited alike. The tree is said to have always stood tall ever since the town was settled. It’s always been the silent watchman of this town.
Upon arrival a crowd had gathered and many policemen were securing the scene. She exited the vehicle, the crowd was not loud or talkative, but totally silent, as if all that could be said was told by the scene. She approached traffic cop, Hal Reets. He quickly turned to her, and gave her a debriefing of the scene.
“The victim’s name is Roger Payton, he is 37 years old, married, and owner of Payton mechanics. Also the forensics team suspects he has been hanging there since at least 10 am last night considering his cold temperature and sealed eyelids, though we have no witnesses to confirm this.” He read off of a forensics report. Then Norton said “right this way, you should take a look at the victim” As they were walking toward the body, suddenly a shout from the crowd emerged:
“Cut him down from there, for Chrissake!”
The body still hanging from the tree. The forensics team wanted to preserve the scene a bit longer to gather clues, though, so Rogers remained hanging for the time being. Before reaching the tree, Martha asked about Roger’s wife. Norton told her a squad was already dispatched to tell her the news, and that she had agreed to questioning. So Martha grabbed her notes and turned to Norton one last time
“This is now my crime scene, nothing gets in or out, you got that?”
Eyes forward, he nodded slowly. Martha took a long look at Edmond’s Tree standing there with old snow white leafs and that old hard trunk before she left to question Mrs. Payton.
She got in her Monaco cop cruiser and drove to Roger Peyton’s home. She knocked on the frosted over front door, and Mrs. Payton answered. Her eyes were red and watery, Martha asked if she could come in to ask her a few questions about her husband. Mrs. Payton said,
“Of course,” reluctantly in a sobbing voice. They sat at the living room, and Mrs. Payton explained to
Martha how outgoing Roger was and showed Martha picture of Roger in front of his numerous mechanic garages. Her tone quickly shifted as she told Martha…