Crystalline Geo, Planet 44
I executed an innocent citizen today. A Person of the Rock. A real nice gem, who worked hard out at the harbor by the Sea of Glass, hauling sand and harvesting shells. He paid his dues like any normal citizen in the city.
Of course, I didn’t flip the switch. I wasn’t the one to physically crush his rocky exterior into sand. No, but metaphorically my shiny, translucent hands were stained with his molten blood. And I would live with it for the rest of my life.
I flexed my hand and grabbed the tumbler in front of me, taking a long swig from the cup. Hot liquid gold ran down my throat, heating my body and changing the color of my glass skin from a pearlescent rainbow of colors to a glowing yellow. The drink made my thoughts hazy and the distraction was quite welcome.
“No need to drink yourself solid, Licon.” A familiar chiming voice intruded on my thoughts.
“I’ll drink as much as I want until our next case,” I mumbled into my cup.
My partner heaved a sigh that whistled in his glass throat and tapped on the bar to gain the barkeep’s attention. “Get me a Titanium Smash, yeah?”
I turned to watch Oda as he ordered his own personal poison. Something I had never expected to see him do before today. But I wasn’t really one to be pointing fingers at the moment.
Oda was high society like most People of the Glass, but he understood the way that our beautiful city worked unlike most. He also understood its flaws. He may be ruthless in pursuit of criminals and downright scary in the interrogation room, but he had always had a keen sense of what was right and wrong.
His aqua tinted eyes glanced at me as he accepted his drink. “We did all that we could, Licon. The evidence was as clear-cut as I am. Gabbro Basalt was going to die either way.”
The evidence may have been clear, but it was too perfect. Cate Sio had fallen from her home balcony, ten stories above and shattered on the path below. There had been many witnesses to her death, but no one saw specifically who had pushed her. Her rosy tinted glass littered the path and her life’s molten sand spilled onto the ground, staining it a terrible bright orange. The only evidence of foul play, other than her demise, were the scratches all over her body. This type of mark on a Person of Glass usually indicates rough handling from someone with a sturdier skin, like the Porcelain family, or the Crystals. But the grain inside of the scratches pointed to someone who worked in the harbor by the Sea of Glass.
Madame Corro Sio, the deceased’s mother, had given us information that she had been seeing someone across the magnetic barrier that separates the city and protects the fragile Glass citizens from the brutish Rock people. A dangerous place for a fragile Glass dame to be walking by herself. It was nearly impossible for a Person of Rock to cross the barrier without special permission. And if they had consent, their actions would have been scrutinized. But a Person of Glass could cross into the lower parts of the city without needing that permission.
Along with this evidence, Madame Sio also provided letters to Oda that she had found in her daughter’s rooms. They were from Gabbro Basalt himself, and they were confessions of love. There was no evidence that stated Cate had returned the feelings, and even if there had been, romantic relations between Rock and Glass people were forbidden. Glass people were beautiful and fragile, while the Rocks were strong and ugly. A coupling between the two would prove fatal to a Person of the Glass.
But the letters spelled Gabbro’s own demise. Even if he had been proven innocent in Cate’s murder, he still would have been executed for courting a Glass citizen.
“Yeah, I know.” I took another pull from my drink. “But it doesn’t sit right, Oda. Gabbro didn’t do it.”
“What do you expect? Nothing in our perfect city is perfect.” Oda gulped down his own drink, his blue hue shifting to a solid white metal that glowed in his throat. He slammed the cup down, damn near splintering his own glass hand, and called for another. Despite what he says about the case being closed, it had obviously affected him too.
“Who do you think did it then?” His chiming voice had dulled from drinking and slurred his words. “What does the great Detective Oxid Si Licon think really happened?”
“There were more letters,” I replied instantly. “Letters with her side of the story. And the markings on Cate Sio’s body? The scratches were too fine.” I pushed my cup away as my mind kept churning out the possibilities. “Gabbro’s fingers were too wide! Evidence was planted, and the real clues were stolen! This whole thing was set up and Gabbro was just some poor lump mixed into it. We weren’t even completely sure how Gabbro would have made it through the Barrier without anyone noticing!” I paused, thoughts catching on a snag and turned to Oda. “A Person of Glass made the scratches.”
He hadn’t looked at me the entire time I had come up with these theories. And now they seemed more than just theories.
“Who did it?” he asked again. He kept staring at the bar, his tumbler empty and molten sand spilled from his eyes, sizzling onto the bar. “Who killed her?”
I watched him cry quietly and could not feel any sympathy for my partner. We had known one another for ten sun-years. I thought I knew him. But I was wrong. The greatest detective in this city couldn’t even see what was right in front of him. And I had been too late to solve this one.
Hyle is a book-loving, coffee ingesting, daydreaming nerd. She has been an avid reader since she was in grade school and never imagined that she would gain courage enough to begin writing stories of her own. Now, as she cashes people’s checks and makes deposits throughout the day, she builds characters and worlds during the night. With the loving support of her almost-husband and her son, she continues to write and is working on her current book project Hollow.