ISBN: 978 1 945175 26 8
Published by Primedia eLaunch LLC
To my wonderful and supportive family who have been there for me through everything. Your love and support will never be forgotten and is never taken for granted.
I would also like to acknowledge the crucial, fundamental and outstanding support of the Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) for their continued push amongst the wider horror community to showcase Australian and New Zealand-based Horror Writers.
Your relentless works in the past, and vision for the future is refreshing and gives us all hope that more people will appreciate the hard work and toils that as authors in an almost forgotten genre in our region go through.
Steve Dillon (AHWA President) and Cameron Trost both stand out members of the AHWA have been tremendous and outstanding characters whose countless hours of work not only on the association itself but in their own private endeavours to enhance the Horror Genre in the region have encouraged me to continue my writing, aiming to get better with each and every story/book that I write and so hope this little mention shows how much I, and the wider Australian Horror Genre appreciates your work.
Finally, I would be absolutely nowhere, with no ideas, and with no filter if it wasn’t for my beautiful wife to be and children. One day hopefully this will all be worth it, and the countless nights of non-stop horror movies will prove worth it.
Behind Evil Eyes
I stood, staring, I had seen him before and yet here he was again looking at me with a blank expression, no tell tale signs as to what he was expecting or what he wanted from me.
Every day I had seen him, watching from a distance, everywhere I went he seemed to be there, watching my every move, the look of being very calculating as if a Private Investigator taking notes – but he seemed more sinister and obtrusive to be hired to follow me.
I had had enough of his constant watching and decided that today would be the day I got to the bottom of it all. Who was he? Why was he here? And most importantly why was he just watching my every move.
He looked at me, as usual just watching my every move, analysing me. Even though it was obvious that I watching him he made absolutely no attempt to disguise his actions, to avert his attention, or to look busy.
I concentrated on his very careful, almost robotic like moves, it made me wonder was he a robot? One of the highly talked about but rarely seen government agency known as the Men in Black? He just didn’t seem to fit the bill further adding to the overall hysteria I was beginning to feel deep inside.
Wanting him to know that I meant business, and that I was not taking a step backward I looked him straight in the eyes – I was a little taken a back with what I saw – eyes staring back at me, no emotion in them, it looked like pure evil.
I remember growing up and many ‘spiritual’ people talking about the eyes being the ‘Windows to the Soul’ something I had never previously thought about, or seen – although to be honest I had never really looked at another’ eyes the same way I was looking at these eyes who were now returning my stare.
The piercing blue eyes that were looking deep into mine had no emotion, looked like a lost soul, as if someone or something had gone behind the strong façade that confronted every person who had come across this menacing character and sucked all the life out of him.
Looking into these eyes it was like looking at death, as if the will to go on had been extinguished, that those who had once meant the world to him were no longer there for him, that the voices that played in his head had finally got the better of him.
I began to feel pity for the poor soul that stood before me, the feeling of resentment, of intrigue that had filled me earlier was now a mere distant memory. Although I still wanted to know why he was staring at me, the thought and idea of how his life must be upset me.
Deep down inside I knew that everything I had thought about up to this moment was just a series of small voices in my head, and that I wouldn’t really know what the truth was unless I spoke to him.
I wasn’t sure who this guy was, what he wanted, or even how he would react if I started to walk towards him, but the lost soul look on his face sparked the little voice in my head to give me the boost I needed.
“Just walk towards him, find out what is going on and put to an end all of the questions.” The voice told me.
Gathering all the courage up that I could inside me, I decided that it was time to find out, taking one last deep breath I took a step towards him.
That is when the chair I was standing on fell away from me, smashing the mirror into thousands of pieces, the man I was once looking at and questioning in my head all of a sudden gone shattered into shards of glass on the floor, the rope around my neck tightening… I never did find out why the Man in the Mirror was looking at me the way he was, but something now tells me that he is now at peace.
Stalker on the Roads
Sandra had just finished a twelve-hour shift at her job. She was an insurance assessor which meant many long days of reviewing applications for insurance payouts. Yet like many she hated her job, it was simply just a means to pay the bills, keep her electricity on, food in the pantry and a roof over her head.
It took just a couple of minutes for her to save the file on her computer, despite being one of the biggest insurance companies in Australia the company she worked for couldn’t afford updated computer systems and were stuck with old, out-dated and inferior systems that felt as though it took half the day to do the most basic of tasks.
As she clicked the buttons on her computer system to shut her computer down for the night she stood and pulled her coat from the back of her chair, placing her arms through the sleeves and slowly buttoning it up.
She pulled her handbag from under her desk and ensured she had everything she needed, taking one last look around her desk to ensure there wasn’t anything she would be leaving behind that couldn’t wait to be collected in the morning.
Finally, the chimes on her computer informed her that the computer was finally shutting down. It was company policy that no-one could leave the work stations until the system was completely shut off, this policy was brought into place about twelve months earlier when someone broke into the office and changed the outcome of various insurance claims costing the company millions and really damaging their hard-earned standing in the public eye.
Sandra had always been confused about what ‘standing’ the company bosses were talking about considering they were an insurance company meaning they were right up there with the most hated right alongside Lawyers and Used Car Salesmen.
It was a lonely job for Sandra, she had her cases that she worked on, while everyone else on her floor in the same roles had their own cases to go through. There was no consultation between them, the branch manager the only person on the entire level of the building in which anyone had any form of continued contact with.
However, on this evening, for some reason, her latest case seemed to take her a while to review and make a final determination on the merits and outcome of the case, everyone else in her office building had already left, some even hours before she had even been close to closing her computer system down for the night.
She made her way down the elevator where the lone company security guard sat with his feet up on the desk, a bag of chips in one hand, crumbs over his once white shirt from the handfuls of chips he was placing in his mouth, the other holding a can of coke with a straw protruding from the top of the can.
On the surveillance screens he had his favourite television show ‘The Amazing Race’ blasting as if he was sitting in the middle row of the local cinema, he hardly battered an eye-lid as the elevator doors opened and Sandra walked out offering him a kind-hearted smile and bidding him good night.
Pulling her keys from her handbag as she made her way into near deserted car park, she glanced around in an effort to remember exactly where she had parked her car. It took a few moments as when she first arrived at work earlier in the day the car park was full resulting in her driving around and around waiting for a park to become available.
Only three cars remained in the car park, one she knew would be the security guard, however a man sat in the only remaining car that wasn’t hers. She immediately became nervous, as it was definitely something out of the ordinary.
He sat in his car, with dark glasses on, watching her as she made her way across the empty car park to her own car. She could feel his eyes on her, as if his constant peering was burning a hole in her skin in the back of her head.
The uneasy feeling running deep inside her increasing with each moment that passed. Sandra immediately placed her hand into her handbag attempting to find her swipe card to enter back into the office building for safety – but she couldn’t find it. Her mind racing as to where it was and the image of it hanging on the hook next to her computer screen flooded into her mind.
There was no way out, she could only make her way to the car and hope that there was nothing menacing about the man in the car parked near her, despite his constant staring that she could feel.
She placed her key in the ignition and turned it, the engine purring to life as she placed it into drive lurching her car forward. Sandra wasn’t wasting any time in making her way to the exit of the Car Park.
As Sandra came closer to the exit she could see that outside conditions weren’t ideal, it was raining, and windy not the ideal conditions for the situation that she found herself in. Scanning her parking permit the boom gates opened, Sandra took this moment to sneak a quick glance in her rear-vision mirror.
Fear struck her when she saw the headlights of a car coming up quickly behind her. Once the boom gates to the car park fully opened Sandra applied the accelerator, a little faster than she usually did, in an attempt to build a gap between herself and the car that was fast approaching.
Constantly looking fearfully into the rear-vision mirror she was able to put a fair distance between herself and the pursuing vehicle. A sense of accomplishment came across her until the light in front of her turned red, always the law-abiding-citizen she stopped at the red light.
Sitting at the red light, that to her felt like they had been like this for hours with no one crossing through, Sandra couldn’t help but continue to look as the headlights from her stalkers car came closer and closer towards her vehicle, lighting up more and more of the inside of her car with the headlights shining brightly more the closer he came.
Just as the car approached the back of her car the light in front of her turned green and she once again started driving away, her tyres slipping and sliding in the wetness that had accumulated on the ground beneath her.
Her follower continued to gain on her, the shadowy man behind the wheel started to swerve side-to-side as if though attempting to confuse her, he started to flash his high-beams at her making it difficult for her to see outside of her vehicle with the light in her eyes.
She could hear the follower blasting his horn, it was a deafening sound and one that scared Sandra with every minute that passed by seeing how unstable this guy was becoming on the road.
With one hand on her steering wheel, her other hand found her handbag and snuck inside the zip compartment of it in an attempt to find her mobile telephone. Although she didn’t have the most cluttered bag, she did have important stuff within it that she had to lug around each and every day.
As each second passed, and her hands continued to fall on item after item, although she could identify each item that her hand fell upon none of them were the mobile phone she desperately wanted to find, as her hand frantically moved to the next item in her handbag.
She began to accelerate more, her car easily breaking the sign posted speed limit, hoping that her aggressive driving would stop her stalker from following. It had the opposite effect however, he replicated her moves and had increased his speed.
This time driving faster than she was and attempting to get beside her.
Finally, her hand touched the tip of the mobile phone she had been desperately searching for in her handbag, pulling it out she quickly dialled Triple-Zero for Emergency Services.
“There’s a maniac trying to run me off the road,” she blurted into the phone, almost bursting into tears knowing that she was finally going to be getting some help to get this lunatic away from her.
“What makes you sure that he is attempting to run you off the road?” the dispatcher asked Sandra, who continued to watch her review mirror at the aggressive movements the car behind her continued to make.
“He has followed me from my work place,” Sandra started to explain to the operator on the phone.
“Is a work acquaintance?” the operator asked attempting to piece together the puzzle that she was being told during the phone conversation.
“No, but he could be someone I denied the insurance claim of,” Sandra replied. Running the image of the guy through her head like some internal CIA Computer running face-recognition. He didn’t look like someone she had previous dealings with, however with her current work load she may have easily forgotten his face.
“I have dispatched police to your location,” the dispatcher on the other end of the mobile phone call finally said the magic words Sandra had been waiting for, a sense of ease coming over her.
“Are you able to make your way to the highway and continue along that to make it easier for officers to intercept?” the dispatcher asked Sandra.
She began looking at the signs on the road she was coming up to, recognizing it was easy to get to the nearest off ramp.
“Yes, On Ramp 37A” Sandra replied.
“Good, Officers will be awaiting to intercept.” The dispatcher said before the signal grew weak and the phone call dropped out.
Sandra made the right turn she needed to head towards the highway, she knew if she followed that for three hours she would be in the nations’ capital, she didn’t want to make it that far though she was scared, and worried about what this maniac wanted to do with her.
Hopefully police would be just ahead on the highway she thought to herself as she kept driving. The car following her made the same right hand turn, once again flashing his lights and beeping his horn in an attempt to run her off the road.
She glanced in the rear-vision mirror watching the drivers erratic behaviour, this was causing her more concern with the notion he would run them both off the road, she turned her eyes back to the road to see a kangaroo bouncing across the road.
Sandra pulled the steering-wheel hard to the left to drive around it, the car on the wet asphalt started to lose control, she quickly attempted to correct her mistake by turning the wheel to the right and slamming her foot on the brake pedal.
It was too little, too late, the car fish-tailed violently as Sandra’s car veered towards the medium strip, hitting the grass on its verge and spinning around before making heavy contact with the cement wall on the far side of the road.
Sandra fought hard to open her eyes, when she did she could see her windscreen smashed, she felt terrible and picked her arm up to rub her head. As she pulled her hand away she caught a glimpse of something on it, focusing carefully she realized it was blood.
It took a few minutes for her to remember what was happening, she frantically looked around. She could see the headlights of the car that had been following her, they had stopped about twenty metres from where she had crashed into the wall.
She heard the car door open, and saw the silhouette of someone walking in front of the car headlights, temporarily blocking them out as the man walked slowly towards her car.
“Please help me,” she screamed in an attempt to appeal to his compassionate side.
“Get out of the vehicle now,” the grizzly voice of her follower replied.
“Okay, okay” Sandra said admitting defeat, she reached across to unclip her seatbelt and started to open the door handle.
“Get out of the car now you psycho,” the man who stood near her car commanded again. Sandra thinking to herself it’s a bit rich this mental lunatic calling her a psycho after he had effectively run her off the road.
“Please don’t kill me, please,” Sandra begged, tears welling in her eyes as she slowly came to the realization that her moments were numbered.
“I’ll do anything, anything, just please don’t kill me.” Sandra continued to beg towards her attacker.
She could hear the sirens of the local police officers getting closer, and had hoped that if she could just stall her attacker for a few minutes that she could be saved.
However, at the pace the man, who she could now see clearly was carrying a shotgun, was acting towards her, and with the medium strip separating her from the bushland on the other side of the road, her next thought was to make a run for it, hide in the trees’ until the police arrived.
It was, in her head, decided, if she was going to die, she wanted to at least die attempting to stay alive rather than just accepting her fate. She took a deep breath, and in her head counted to three before jumping to her feet and making a run for the trees’ on the other side of the road.
“Don’t run from me. I will get you.” The attacker shouted before two shots rang out. Followed by another two, the sound of gunshots made Sandra duck and dive, tears filling her eyes yet thankful she was still alive.
“Ma’am it’s okay,” the man started yelling towards Sandra. He had to yell it a couple of times before Sandra hid behind a tree to pay attention to what he was saying.
“It’s okay you can come out now,” the man yelled. Sandra thought this was a trap to get her to come out so that he could finally do what he wanted with her, kill her.
The sound of sirens grew closer, Sandra could see the blue and red flashing lights begin to affect the evening sky this was her moment, the police were here and they would sort this mess out once and for all.
She slowly stood from her hiding place, behind a tree in the darkened forest lining. She made her way towards the road, attempting to time her arrival with the arrival of the local police who had been dispatched to her location.
As she arrived nervously at the road she glanced towards where her car had crashed, and saw her stalker standing with his gun. Sandra walked as slow as she could attempting to stay out of harm’s way and not provide him the opportunity to shoot her before the police cars came to a screeching halt at their location.
She glanced towards the road and noticed someone lying in the centre of it. Forgetting the entire ordeal she had gone through she walked towards where the person was laying on the road.
The man had been shot four times, he was dressed in dark attire and had a knife lying next to him.
“I saw him climb into your car and had to see what he had planned,” the mysterious man with the shotgun started explaining.
“I have been following you, trying to warn you that he was in your car, I couldn’t just let you drive off and something bad happen.” The man, who Sandra was once terrified off, continued.
At that point the police vehicles came around the bend and skidded to a halt, two police officers jumped out of their vehicle with their weapons drawn.
“Put the gun down,” one officer called out his command towards the man who had ended up being her saviour.
Sandra turned to the officer in an attempt to explain that this man actually saved her life by killing the psychotic person who lay in wait in her backseat. But as she started to talk two gun shots rang out.
Sandra jumped at the sound, and spun around to find her mysterious hero lying on the ground, he had been shot by the two police officers acting on the ‘out of date’ information Sandra had shared with them on the phone just minutes earlier.
Johnny was twelve years old, the only boy out of four siblings – the second youngest overall – and quite honestly had always been a little mumma’s boy, turning to his mum whenever he needed anything, and his mother more times than not would be all too happy to oblige his requests.
Attending intermediate school Johnny always liked to hang around his older sisters, they had the high school friends to whom he thought they were all cute, compared to his little sisters friends who would sit in her room when they came to play dancing around with Ken and Barbie dolls.
His older sisters on the other hand were trying on clothes, playing with make up and were doing such cooler things. Something that Johnny wanted to be around, secretly hoping that one, or a couple, would want to practice kissing and being the only boy around he would be all too happy to be the one to put his hand up and ‘take one for the team’.
While Johnny was all for this, and tried any and every excuse possible to be around his older sisters and their friends – to the obvious annoyance of his older two sisters.
Johnny had overheard his parents talking about his oldest sisters birthday and the fact that she was going to be having a sleep over, it was his sisters seventeenth-birthday party which meant a number of girls around the same age being around, and no doubt being so close to drinking age a fair bit of alcohol being consumed – this was probably his chance to live out his fantasy he had been thinking off for the past few-months.
“Please let me come,” Johnny began begging his sister soon after he found out about the sleep over that was just a couple of weeks away.
“No, I don’t want my dorky brother around my friends,” his older sister Amanda said.
“My friends are sick of your drooling over them, it’s kinda creepy really,” she continued slamming her bedroom door closed.
Johnny was disappointed his sister wasn’t giving him the time of day, and although many times in the past he had turned to his mother for help and she would somehow convince Amanda to let him do what he wanted to in the first place he knew that this time was different.
It was her birthday after all, and throughout their entire lives this was a day that belonged to the birthday child and so therefore there was no way mum would be able to help him this time get what he wanted.
After waiting a couple of days to let the initial tensions die down after they were sent to their bedrooms for the night he snuck out of his room and to Amanda’s door, quietly knocking and hearing Amanda jump out of her bed to come and answer.
“I know it will be your birthday Amanda,” Johnny started, Amanda’s eyes immediately beginning to roll finding it hard to believe that they were going through this again.
“But please let me come and hang out just for a little bit please,” Johnny almost begged.
“Look,” Amanda began her answer.
“You’re too young to do what we want to do,” Amanda said, short and sweet effectively putting an end to their discussion.
“No I am not, stop treating me like a baby I am older and more mature than you treat me.” Johnny said, this time a little angry that he was always treated like a baby when it came to doing all of the cool stuff.
“We are going to be telling ghost stories, scaring each other, you will be scared and crying out for mum,” Amanda said.
“No I wont,” Johnny retorted.
“Well come in, let’s find out, let me tell you a Ghost Story,” Amanda said stepping back from her door inviting her younger brother in. Her ulterior motive simply to scare her little brother and prove to him that he couldn’t handle being around her or her friends during her birthday sleep over.
Johnny made his way into the room, determined to prove his point and win his way into the birthday sleep over invite list.
Inside the room Amanda turned on her bedside lamp, they sat on top of Amanda’s bed, facing each other as Amanda began setting the scene.
“You know old man Cook down the road?” Amanda asked quizzingly.
“Um no.” Johnny said, he had heard the name but didn’t really know much about him or where this story was going exactly.
“He lives in the house at the end of the street, the one with the high grass and over grown trees,” Amanda continued her story.
“He never leaves his house, he is never seen, and even worse those who enter his property are never seen,”
“Old Man Cook works at the morgue, he has no qualifications, and doesn’t get paid, but for ages older people and young children were going missing and no one ever found out why or where they went.” Amanda continued, already Johnny was getting scared – the story was just beginning but he could feel the fear build inside him.
“It’s only a story, it’s not true,” Johnny continued to say to himself, in an attempt to calm him down.
“Some of the bodies of those who went missing would turn up months later, disfigured, hard to identify, but most importantly with their liver’s missing.” Amanda continued, breaking Johnny out of his trance.
“Because Old Man Cook never goes out shopping, receives no deliveries, and everyone who enters his house never leave many believe that to this day Old Man Cook is cutting people open at the morgue and taking their liver, cooking it up and eating it,”
“That the bodies of missing people, and missing pets are burnt in his fire barrel after he cuts out their livers and eats them for his daily meals,” Amanda continued, she seemed impressed with herself noticing that her younger brother was getting scared.
Amanda knew she should have stopped there and tell Johnny to go to bed, but she wanted to drive the point home thinking that if she really scared him he would well and truly stay away from her bedroom while she and her friends were having their sleep over.
“However, it is also said that in the quiet times at the morgue, he roams the streets looking for young children to snatch and take back to his house where he will slowly cut them open and take out their liver,” Amanda continued her story.
Johnny was really scared now however wanted to prove his point, he just wanted to be around his sisters friend so he attempted the best he could to put on his brave face.
“He will follow a young kid home, watch the house and see what room was theirs before breaking into the house and grabbing the kid,”
“No one knows exactly how he gets in, or how he gets out, but he is able to do so without leaving a trace, without leaving a mark that even suggests he was anywhere near there, he is like Santa – just an evil version.
“Instead of getting inside and leaving something old man Cook is getting inside and taking something, usually a kid all for their liver as he needs to feast on that to continue to live.”
Johnny was about to say something but Amanda put her fingers to her lips and shushed him, Johnny obliged and looked at her wondering what she was doing, or what she was about to say.
“Do you hear that?” Amanda asked. Johnny sat quietly, struggling to hear but was pretty sure there wasn’t anything to hear so he shook his head no.
“There it is again,” Amanda said, “Are you sure you can’t hear it?”
“It’s so loud,” Amanda put her hands over her ears as if trying to block something out.
“What is it Amanda?” Johnny asked never before feeling this scared.
“It’s him, it’s old man Cook,” Amanda replied her face dropping and turning white as if though she had seen a ghost. Johnny panicked and started to gaze around the room.
“Johnny – I want your liver. I’m at number one.” Amanda said with a weird tone to her voice.
“Alright Amanda stop!” Johnny said, he had had enough she could have her stupid sleep over.
“Johnny – I want your liver. I’m at number two.” Amanda said her voice continued to be distorted, the look in her eye was like she had been overtaken by some sort of evil being.
“Amanda you win, forget it.” Johnny said as he stood from the bed and headed to the door of Amanda’s bedroom. But he froze in his footsteps, too afraid to open the door to the darkness that awaited him outside.
Although he knew this was just a stupid ghost story they lived at the third house on the street and according to Amanda’s story he was already at the second house. Johnny stood there in a daze he knew it was a story and so there was nothing to worry about, but he did want his mum.
Johnny turned to Amanda, about to ask her if she would walk him to his room, but he stopped short of asking when he turned around and she was standing at the foot of her bed and her hair draped over her face, a look that he had never seen her with before.
“Johnny, I want your liver. I’m at number three.” Amanda said in an almost male demonic voice. Johnny immediately spun around and reached out for the door handle, but before he could put his hand on the handle it started to shake, the rattling as if an earthquake had just hit the house.
The door jiggling, and banging against itself, Johnny screamed as loud as he could putting his hand on the handle attempting to open it but it was like holding a stick of butter it wouldn’t turn at all and his hand continued to slip off as it continued to rattle under his hand.
“You kids shut up or I will come up there and tan your backside,” Bruce, the kids father called from downstairs.
Johnny paid no attention though, he was scared and wanted out of this room, Amanda stood there an evil smile on her face slowly taking steps towards where Johnny stood at her door.
Johnny began to scream again, banging on the door, dropping to the floor to try and hide despite there being nothing to hide behind or under.
Bruce had had enough of the continued banging, stomping and screaming and so put his coffee on the table that sat beside his chair, put his recliner down and started up the stairs. Why couldn’t they just go to bed when they are told. Why could he not watch his show in peace without these kids causing trouble.
He reached the top of the stairs and immediately walked towards Amanda’s room, he knew from the banging and where it correlated with the lounge room he had just come from that it was her room that all of the noise had come from.
Reaching the door of his oldest daughter he reached out to the handle and turned it, there was no sound, no movement what-so-ever.
They must be taking the piss, Bruce thought to himself as he reached out his hand for the light switch and flicked the button that fired the light into action – he was ready to find at least one of the children in there hiding out, or Amanda pretending to be asleep.
But the sight that confronted him shocked him and made him buckle at the knees. With the light on the scene in front of him was not what he was expecting, there were no kids hiding, no one pretending to be asleep it was much worse.
In the middle of the room were his oldest daughter, and only son, dead. Blood covered the roo, they had been cut open but Bruce was suddenly aware that it had only been about thirty seconds since he heard the screaming which meant that whoever had done this to his children must still be in the room, or at least the house.
Bruce checked through the room, trying hard not to look at the bodies of his children on the floor and not to mess up any of the evidence that blanketed the room. There was no-one else in the room.
Bruce quietly checked the whole house but once again he couldn’t find anyone, or any entry or exit point for that matter. He quickly woke the remaining two children and raced out of the house to wait for the police.
While he stood outside, trying to put on a strong façade in front of his remaining children who, he could hear the sirens coming a sense of relief that help was on its way, it was then that Old Man Cook walked up the street towards his house carrying his bag from the local butcher. He gave Bruce a wave who returned the gesture.
With everything going on, and desperate for the police to arrive it didn’t cross Bruce’ mind that it was ten o’clock at night and had been five hours since the local butchery had closed its doors for the night.
Angela had been a single mother to her eleven year old son Connor for the last six years, ever since her husband had left after running off with his secretary at work to have what he called a ‘fresh start’.
Angela and her son Connor had moved across town, into a new two bedroom apartment. Where over the last six years, as any parent does, Angela had gone without many of the luxuries in life to ensure that her only child had everything that he needed.
She had a full time job, and when being able to find a babysitter or family member to look after Connor allowed, she would pick up all of the overtime that she could, especially around this time of year as the Festive Season started to build in momentum and Connor had become accustomed to the fact that this was the only time of year that he got a little something extra, above and beyond what his mother could and would usually spend on him that altered from the budget they stuck to as if it was a spending bible.
Angela was very surprised after arriving home late from a double shift at work, as she wandered up the stairs to the front door of her apartment digging into her handbag retrieving her house keys from her bag, however stopping short from putting the keys in the lock when she noticed a parcel sitting at her front door.
She picked up the box, inspecting the label and seeing that it was addressed to her, she unlatched the lock on her door and entered, apologizing for being late to her babysitter before sitting the box on her kitchen bench and retrieving the payment to give to the babysitter as she departed for the night.
Saying goodbye to the babysitter Angela closed and locked the door behind her, before making her way to the doorway that led to her sons bedroom, standing there peering in on her little man as he slept peacefully.
Angela smiled to herself, despite all the set backs in her life having Connor and seeing the little man he had turned into was something for her to be proud off.
She quickly changes into her pyjamas and returned to the loungeroom where she poured herself a glass or red wine, something Angela thought she deserved after such a long day at work to help her wind down, and sat back on her couch scrolling through Netflix to find something to watch.
After finding something she hadn’t seen before she clicked for it to play and sat back downing the glass of wine in her hand and as her mind began to relax so did her body and she soon drifted off to sleep.
She awoke the next morning with her son Connor stroking her hair.
“You’re so beautiful mummy,” he said a smile on his face, the excitement of the Christmas season clearly beaming on his face.
“Thank your darling,” Angela said, a smile spreading across her face as she stretched and continued the usual battle with her eyes and mind screaming at her that she hadn’t had enough sleep but knowing she had to wake up and make breakfast.
Pancakes made and Connor happily eating the short stack that she had placed on his plate, dripping with maple syrup just the way the eleven-year-old bottomless pit liked it. Angela threw cartoons on the television and jumped in for a quick shower to help wake her up properly.
It wasn’t long before Angela was once again getting ready to work, Cynthia the babysitter was once again entering the apartment and Connor was preparing to continue work on his assignment that was due to be handed in at school in just a couple days time.
Angela felt lucky, as a few hours later she found out that she wasn’t required to work the double shift that she had been expecting and would be home early enough to see Connor before he went to bed – she wasn’t sure how long it had been but it had been a few weeks since she could remember actually kissing him goodnight.
Eight O’Clock came and Angela signed off from work and walked the block and a half home, excitedly she put her key in the door and made her way inside, Connor was very excited to see her and after saying goodnight and paying Cynthia for her work Angela and Connor began to share stories from their day.
“Mum what’s this?” Connor asked picking up the package Angela had brought inside the previous night. Angela had completely forgotten about it and told Connor that he could open it for her.
Connor couldn’t believe his luck and quickly ripped open the parcel that Angela had brought in the night before and placed on the counter. It was a brand new iPhone. Angela was just as excited as Connor when she saw what the parcel contained, she hadn’t had anything that was really ‘for her’ since her husband had left.
“Mum can I set it all up for you?” Connor asked filled with excitement. Seem he had completed his assignment, and had done all of the chores that are constantly on his list, she nodded – after all she wasn’t sure how to set it all up technology wasn’t really her strong point.
Angela could only smile as Connor ran off excited, she continued her nightly routine by grabbing a glass of wine, settling down in front of Netflix and pressing play on yet something else she doubted that she would actually see the end off.
After predictably falling asleep Angela bolted awake an hour or so later she jumped up to send Connor to bed, but first glanced at the time and saw with the time zone differences now was the best time to give her mum a call.
The phone rang just a few times before the familiar motherly voice answered the phone. After making small talk about work, and Christmas, Angela’s mother brought up about Connor which reminded Angela the reason for her call.
“Oh Mum forgot to say thanks for the present I absolutely love it,” Angela said thinking of her son upstairs playing around on her new iPhone.
“What present?” Angela’s mum replied sounding confused.
“The Christmas present you sent, it arrived yesterday I have just been so busy I didn’t get the opportunity to call earlier,” Angela said almost laughing off her mum’s confusing tone.
“Angela, I have both you present and Connors present here, I was going to send them off tomorrow,” Angela’s mum replied still confused about what her daughter was talking about.
“Mum, I will call you back,” Angela said, this time her turn to sound confused as she hung the phone up and ran upstairs. Her mind beginning to race. If her mother didn’t send the phone then who did?
She ran into Connors room but the light was off, she flicked the switch as she entered and found that his room was completely empty. Angela began to panic and called our Connors’ name a couple of times but there was no response.
She could see that both the toilet and bathroom lights were also off, meaning that he wasn’t in either of them, still calling his name she ran into her room and once again turn on the light as she entered.
A brief of relief escaped her as she saw her son Connor fast asleep on her bed, the phone laying next to him. He must have fallen asleep while setting it all up for her. She walked over to where he lay, and picked up the phone.
She glanced through to see how far he had actually gotten in the set up process and was surprised to see that the phone was completely set up, he had even begun to download some apps.
Angela laughed when she saw that her son had taken almost twenty photos, all looking like they were the same photo just with different filters used. Although she loved her son Angela was pretty sure that she didn’t need twenty of the same photo and so decided to delete all but the last photo so that she had plenty of space for other photos.
One by one Angela deleted the photos, she had deleted nineteen of the twenty before the photo that confronted her froze her as she stood. This photo wasn’t of her son doing the duck lips for a selfie, instead the photo that confronted her was of her son fast asleep, as he currently lay, fast asleep.
At first Angela thought he had taken a selfie like that and then realized that you could see both of his hands caressing his head as if they were his pillows.
The realization hit her, he couldn’t have taken the photo. Someone had to have taken the photo of him but who. It was then that her bedroom light flickered before turning itself off. Angela was startled when she heard footsteps running in the hallway from her bedroom door towards Connors room before stopping.
Angela raced and turned on her bedroom light before following the path the footsteps she had heard just moments earlier make, and threw open Connors door switching on the light to see who had taken the photo of her son.
Once again Angela froze, paralysed in fear, Connors bedroom that she had chased the footsteps into was empty.
He was sitting down on his front porch, his wooden rocking chair that he had passed many afternoons in the blistering sun in, keeping him company as he sipped on his cold beer – nothing tasted better after a hot day of chores around the house.
Throughout the day John had finished painting the new fence, mowed the front and back lawn, and had cleaned up the carport, and just to add good measure he had also washed and detailed his car.
Retired at 83-years of age there was nothing better for him than to do what he wanted to do, and most importantly do it when he wanted.
With cold beer in hand he watched as his neighbours one-by-one returned home from work, from school, or whatever else they did during the day. To be honest John no longer recognized many of his neighbours, it wasn’t that he was losing his mind at his age or anything like that but the neighbourhood had changed dramatically over the recent years.
The neighbours that he had grown to love over the last fifty years that he had been living in the house with his wife June, the neighbours that they once used to catch up with once a week sharing around the cooking duties as they took turns hosting.
People he was proud to be calling friends had sold off their properties and had long packed up and moved to the sunny coast lines to enjoy their retirements, their properties mostly torn down, sub divided and new apartment blocks built in their place.
Apartment units sitting where his neighbours pools that he sat next to, dangling his feet into while enjoying a cold beer in years gone by, the once vibrant community spirit now long forgotten as everyone became too busy caught up in their own lives.
Taking another swig from the cold can in his hand John still made the point of waving to each and every neighbour that drove past returning home, many too busy or preoccupied to return the friendly gesture.
“John,” he heard his wife June call out to him. Shit John thought she’s still nagging at me, John thought as he ignored his wives call and continued to swig out of can that was moving closer to empty with every hard earned mouthful he was taking.
He couldn’t believe it as he saw yet another couple drive past, John once again waiving this time the couple looked directly at him and completely ignored him as if they couldn’t see him, like he was invisible.
How Rude, John thought as he finished off his can.
“John,” he heard his wife call again, John choosing once again to ignore her beckoning even though he could do with another cold can. But he didn’t want to go in ranting and raving about the obnoxious neighbours and how far downhill the neighbourhood had gone.
To be honest John continued to ask himself why they still had the house, he hated living there it was depressing to see the world around him deteriorate, and he just continued to ask himself why.
“John,” Junes’ voice called from inside the house again, her voice was actually getting on his nerves, he loved her to bits but once it got to the shrieking stage it was almost too much to bare.
Finally John stood up from his chair, it rocking behind him in memory of the last twenty minutes they had spent together relaxing the afternoon away, and made his way inside. The flyscreen door banging as he entered the house.
He walked part way up the hallway towards where his wife had been calling him, when out of nowhere he heard a loud crashing sound.
John raced back towards the front porch where the loud sound had come from and saw that the rocking chair he had been sitting in just moments earlier was crushed under some of the cast iron roofing.
Undoubtedly if he was still sitting there he would have been seriously injured, if not killed. John was shocked, knowing how close he had just come. He wandered away from the front porch and back into the hallway.
Halfway up the hallway he stopped once again. Turned towards the bookcase on the far side of the wall at the picture of his wife that sat proudly and lovingly beside the urn that carried her ashes, what she had become reduced to two years earlier after losing a long battle with cancer.
“Thank you,” he said, his voice still with love, the same level he had always had towards her the day he met her and the love he still had for her despite her being long gone. She had always been his rock, and even in death she had been there for him.
It just wasn’t my time, he thought to himself as he blew a kiss towards the photo and made his way towards the fridge for another cold can of beer.
Detective John Stephens couldn’t believe it. Here he stood in a glum, poorly lit ally way, in the middle of a cold winters night, surrounded by rubbish bins from the nearby Chinese fast food restaurant, laundry mat, with the stench of faeces making him ever so cautious of where he stood or placed his foot when taking a step.
He once again looked at his watch. He had been handed that watch just two months earlier by the department to celebrate his thirty-years on the job. He chuckled to himself, thirty-years on the job, all those cases solved, families reunited with loved ones and cherished keepsakes and yet he had obviously been the one to draw the short straw as he was the one standing where he was… looking at the footpath that crossed the ally way in front of him, doubtful about what he really was doing there, yet for some reason he was the one assigned to the task of being there.
Today was meant to be a rewarding day for Detective John Stephens, he had been part of the New York Police Department establishment for thirty years, the first ten as an officer followed by the next two decades as a Detective, albeit in a number of different divisions such as homicide, armed robbery and for the last five years the special crimes unit.
After thirty years it was time for Detective John Stephens to hang up his badge and check in his gun for the final time, he was going to retire and take up a position working within the private sector in which he had been promised a payload that was almost double his regular take home income from within the NYPD.
At fifty-years of age it was time for John, who was married to his wife Maureen, and had three grown up children, to start thinking of his retirement and this latest job offer was a nice little increase to his regular savings in the final years of his working life.
He picked his wrist up and had another look at the cheap arse gold plated watch that now donned his wrist. Tick… Tick…. Tick…. The time continued to tick over, Detective Stephens thought to himself that instead of being back at the station enjoying his retirement party from the force, or instead of spending his last day on the job chasing down petty criminals to have one last burst of activity with the badge he instead was standing in this dungy ally way, a note in hand, and being able to watch as time, his career in the force, and most importantly his life slowly ticked by.
Surely someone of his calibre could be utilized better in his final assignment than to be standing in this ally way awaiting for something that probably wouldn’t happen, or materialize. And yet the captain thought this was the best use of his time, it made John happy that this was his final shift if this is what the captain had in mind for him.
You see eight-years ago the five-one at One Police Plaza had received an anonymous letter claiming to be that from none-other than ‘Jack the Ripper’ himself, yes the serial killer from England’s Metropolitan region who is believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least six prostitutes between 3 April 1888 and 13 February 1891 – some 123-years earlier.
The letter shared information in relation to the murders of six prostitutes in Whitechapel, and had claimed that he had always wanted to visit New York City and would make his return on Friday 22nd August 2014 at three-thirty am. Exactly 123-years to the day that the first confirmed Jack the Ripper victim, Mary Ann Nichols, body was discovered…
While many looked at this as a hoax, including Detective Stephens himself, being one of the detectives of the Special Crimes Unit it was his role, and that of the others that made up the unit, to investigate the case to see if it warranted further investigation.
The Special Crimes Unit had determined that it was in fact a hoax, and the information in which the letter contained after 123 years was effectively common knowledge and information that had been released over time following the countless amounts of books, websites and television specials that had been run on the ‘Jack the Ripper’ case.
However before officially closing the case as a hoax it was decided earlier on in the investigation that no matter what the Special Crimes Unit would have a detective on-scene at the proclaimed time and date to see what, if anything, would happen.
Detective John Stephens once again looked at his newly acquired watch, it was just one minute before ‘the ripper’ was due to return to action. Being honest to himself John admitted that he was on edge, not knowing what to expect, and although they had determined the letter to be a hoax what if there was a copycat killer who was lying in wait and doing the same thing John was, counting down the moments until his killing spree was to begin.
While already dismissed as a hoax by the Special Crimes Unit (SCU) there were some glaring points in the letter and evidence that had warranted a detective to be staged where Detective John Stephens stood on this cold night as rain started to fall again.
The fact that it was 123-years to the day since the first confirmed Jack the Ripper victim had been killed, that Detective John Stephens was standing in an alley way on Durward Street, which is what Buck’s Row where the first murder victim was found is now called in Whitechapel and that the area in which he stood is known by locals and many visitors as Ol’ England town due to the nature of the pubs, club and dinning venues – in fact the alley way in which the detective stood lay right beside the Whitechapel Hostel.
It was mainly for all of those coincidences that the team at the Special Crimes Unit had opted to play it safe and have a detective standing there at three-thirty in the morning to help determine once and for all that it was a hoax, or possibly a copycat killer before closing the case officially.
Detective John Stephens looked at his watch again. It had moved to three-thirty five, the ‘return of Jack the Ripper’ was now, in his mind, a hoax. No one was around, there was no appearance of a gentlemen out of thin air as if though somehow teleporting from another planet or dimension in the confusing layers of planet earth.
Although relieved, John was a little disappointed as he radioed in that all was clear and began to leave the alley way. Kicking a stone that lay on the ground in front of him he watched as it bounced and jolted its way across the alley way and down a drain pipe.
The detective reached the end of the alley way and turned towards where his car was parked nearby. As he turned he heard a commotion behind him, the hustling and buzzing patrons on the walkway gave way like Moses parting the red sea.
It took a few brief moments for Detective John Stephens to understand what was happening, as more patrons made way the detective could see a young lady who was obviously a working girl stumbling towards him – her neck had been slashed and a deep cut to her abdomen area meant that she was losing allot of blood.
Detective Stephens immediately called on his radio for back up and for an ambulance to be dispatched to his location, one victim, minimal breathing.
The young victim dropped to the ground and into the arms of Detective Stephens, with thirty-years of experience he could tell that she wasn’t going to make it. Her neck had been cut open with two separate cuts, her abdomen was partly ripped open by a deep, jagged wound, with a number of other incisions made to her abdomen – while Detective Stephens would need to wait for forensics to determine whether they were from the same knife by the looks of things all of the wounds had in fact been done using the same knife.
A crowd had gathered around the fallen girl and detective. Detective Stephens held the girl in his arms attempting to reassure her as her breathing dramatically reduced to a rattling breath, which sounded a lot like a spray can being shaken by some hoodlum about to spray his tag on the underside of a bridge. The detective looked around attempting to look at all of the on-lookers to see if any of them could in fact be the young working girls attacker – no one immediately stood out.
Paramedics arrived, as they rushed to where the working girl lay Detective Stephens noticed something clutched in her hand, it was a small piece of paper which he removed before the victim was placed on a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance.
The doors to the ambulance were closed with the lead paramedic in the cab with the young working girl, while the assistant paramedic rushed to the driver’s seat. It was at this point, with the area now cordoned off, that Detective Stephens looked at the scrunched up piece of paper he had retrieved from the victim before she had been loaded into the ambulance.
“I am Back…” three simple words that sent chills down the spine of Detective John Stephens, in old English handwriting and on a piece of paper that certainly looked old and similar to that the Special Crimes Unit’ had received their letter on.
He immediately pulled an evidence bag from his back pocket, he had learned to always carry one after all of his years on the force, and placed the letter in it making a mental note to ensure he sent away for fingerprint and handwriting analysis.
The ambulance, which had only driven about twenty metres stopped. Detective Stephens jogged up to the assistant paramedic who professionally walked to the detective and quietly informed him that the patient had deceased, and while they are able to take her to the hospital as she was already loaded into the ambulance that he may want to make contact for the Medical Examiner to be placed on standby.
“Sir, with all due respect I’d like to put off my retirement until I can close this case,” Detective John Stephens spoke to his superior officer as he arrived at the scene. Captain Griggs had always been a big supporter of the Special Crimes Unit and had been an advocate against Detective Stephens’ retirement plans.
“I will make a call to One Police Plaza,” Captain Griggs said a smile growing across his face knowing that he hadn’t sent the paperwork in the hope of one of his most experienced detectives would change his mind.
“What do we have here?” Captain Griggs asked.
“Well sir, this is the case of the return of the Leather Apron,” Detective Stephens started, ensuring to use the nickname the case had been filed under to avoid reporters or Freedom of Information snoops getting wind of the ‘time travelling’ Jack the Ripper and possibly ruining the fundamentals of the investigation.
“At approximately three-forty this morning I left my post across at that alley way, to head back to the precinct when the young twenty-two year old sex-worker caused a scene forcing sidewalk patrons to separate.” Detective Stephens continued to brief his captain with the updated information he had received.
“The worker had obviously been attacked, suspected that all injuries came from the same knife, she collapsed in my arms and passed a short time later, this note was retrieved from the victim,” the detective said pulling the evidence bag with the note in it from his back pocket and handing it over to his captain.
“Is it… Is it real?” the captain said in disbelief after reading the note.
“I’m not sure sir but will be sending it with forensics for fingerprint and handwriting analysis.” Detective John Stephens informed his superior officer.
“Very good,” Captain Griggs said as he began walking around the scene.
While forensics processed the scene a bigger issue arose in the mind of Detective John Stephens, it had nothing to do with the case however something that was just as serious was. How was he going to explain to his wife Maureen that he wasn’t retired, that he had one more case to work and that it was he that had requested to work on it, unlike previous cases that had been dumped on his desk.
“Call me the moment we hear anything,” the detective instructed those still processing the scene as he entered his car and drove home. The entire way home he was attempting to work out through his head how he was going to explain to his wife he was still working.
He pulled his car into the driveway, all the lights inside were turned off with only the front porch light left on, this was the usual nightly routine to assist in him being able to easily locate his keys and unlock the door.
Detective Stephens entered his property, his wife Maureen was already in bed and fast asleep. He walked straight to the kitchen and poured himself a scotch, throwing some ice in and sitting back to drink it all in one go. He noticed an envelope on the table addressed to him, he opened it and as he pulled the piece of paper from inside the envelope his mouth dropped open, and he struggled to swallow the scotch that remained in it.
The piece of paper was once again of an older style, the handwriting was once again an old English styled and it read;
“Dear Boss, I new [sic] you would take this case. I have been here and seen it all. They coppers couldn’t catch me last time, and I know you wont catch me this time, but I like to play ha. Ha. So let the games begin.” It was signed by non-other than Jack the Ripper.
“Honey is that you,” Maureen called from the top of the stairs, she had been awoken by the sound of her husband coming in, which she thought was the final time. She made her way down the staircase in her floral nightgown and walked to the kitchen where she found her aging husband sitting. She took one look at him and knew immediately what he was about to say.
“Don’t John, just don’t say it, tell me I am wrong.” Maureen almost begged her husband.
“Listen love,” John said getting to his feet and turning towards his wife, who despite being married for the better part of thirty years he still thought looked as beautiful as the day he had met her.
“John, no. Today was your last day.” Maureen said almost pleading to her husband to tell her that her reading on the whole situation was wrong.
“A young girl was murdered tonight, I was there…” John started. Maureen started to shake her head, this wasn’t what she wanted to hear and she wanted him to stop speaking. It was at that point John threw the letter he had just finished reading towards her.
“He is taunting me, he knew I was going to get the case, he somehow knew, this has turned personal.” John said motioning for his wife to read the letter. As she read through the letter it was as if though a calm understanding came across her. Then she screwed her nose up.
“Jack the Ripper?” she asked almost bursting out in laughter at the thought a 123-year-old serial killer was coming after them.
“Yes, we know it is a hoax however after tonight’s events it is clear there is a copycat killer out there, and it doesn’t explain how he knew I was the one that was going to get the case in order to send me the letter before the murder.” John attempted to explain to his wife in the most uncondescending tone he could.
“Unless he is time travelling,” Maureen said with a laugh. “Okay John work the case, the family of the girl need answers but please promise me though that this is the last case. I mean it John after this your badge and gun get handed in and we move on from here.”
“I promise.” John said leaning over and lovingly kissing his wife, thankful of her understanding nature and making a mental note to himself not to abuse it as he had done many times in the past.
Their embrace was broken with the sound of John’s mobile phone ringing, he looked at the number and motioned to his wife that he had to take the phone call.
“John, it’s Kate Ozito from the Crime Lab, I just wanted to update you with some of the forensics that have come back already,” Forensic Investigator Kate Ozito said on the other end of the phone.
“We have determined that all of the injuries on the victim were done with the same knife, there were two cuts to her throat which resulted in massive blood loss, and the numerous cuts to her abdomen, which were done with the same knife as those to her throat, meant that she bleed out and died from the result of massive blood loss due to the trauma her body had gone through,” the Forensic Investigator continued.
“In addition to this we have determined that the paper used to write the letters and the notes are relevant to the Victorian age, so we are looking around 1880-1900, there are no finger prints on record to match those found on the paper and we have a handwriting expert from Scotland Yard travelling to compare the handwriting – he should be arriving in the next hour but will not be making his way to the precent until the morning.”
“Thank you very much for the information,” John thanked Kate Ozito before hanging up the phone. Knowing all too well that this meant that there wasn’t allot to go on, he had predicted that Scotland Yard would send someone, they always do when there is anything to do with Jack the Ripper, the serial killer they were unable to catch.
He filled Maureen in on the information, before the pair retreated to the bedroom for John to grab a couple of hours sleep before what would not doubt be another hectic day at work the following morning.
It was a sleepless night for John Stephens, every time he closed his eyes he could picture the young female sex worker staggering towards him, her throat clearly cut open, her abdomen in bad shape. He remembered that for those initial few seconds when she first appeared to him he knew that there was no chance for her and fought hard to try and save her knowing he was fighting a losing battle.
In the brief moments that he found himself in a deep sleep he found himself dreaming of the 123-year-old sensation that was Jack the Ripper, his dreaming thoughts allowing him to consider the possibility that he was in fact time travelling through life, was this the reason Scotland Yard couldn’t capture him over a century ago, was it he who had returned to kill the female sex worker.
John awoke just a few moments before his alarm clock buzzed, having his shower the thoughts of the final moments of the young sex worker rushed through his mind once again, she was young and her family deserved answers – he would do what he could to get answers for her friends and family.
Pulling his suit on for what could be one of his final times, he ensured his badge was clipped to his belt, his gun stored safely in its holster, he descended the stairs to where his wife had prepared breakfast and coffee, he hugged her from behind, picked up the piece of toast she had prepared and drank his coffee.
He pulled the letter ‘from Jack the Ripper’ from the table where both he and Maureen had left it the night before and placed it back in its envelope before placing it in his pocket to hand over to the forensic department upon arriving at work this morning.
Detective John Stephens arrived at the five-one precent with a new found spring in his step, he was determined that he would get to the bottom of this copycat killer and end his career with the New York Police Department on a high, ensuring himself and the general public that they were once again safe.
“I am Chief Inspector Lemaar from Scotland Yard,” an aging gentlemen, approximately late sixties with silver hair, which looked to be scared of his eyebrows as it receded away from them, said with an out-stretched hand when Detective Stephens walked into the Special Case Unit.
“Good Morning, I am Detective John Stephens,” the NYPD Detective said with his out-stretched hand to the Chief Inspector who had made the journey from England to assist in the case.
“I hear we may have a Jack the Ripper copycat operating around these parts,” the Chief Inspector said, taking John Stephens by surprise at his directness. However understanding that he was here to do a job and probably had family that he wanted to return to.
“Yes, either that or the real Jack the Ripper knew how to time travel,” John said jokingly, Chief Inspector Lemaar looked unimpressed by the quick witted response provided to him by this New York Police Department Detective.
“So what have we got?” Lemaar said once again attempting to direct the conversation back towards the case at hand.
“Yes Sir, we have this letter received eight years ago, paper had been confirmed to be from 1880-1900 in which it told us that ‘he’ would be here last night and where to be. I was the detective assigned to be at the nominated meeting point in which at 3:40am, twenty-two year old Louise Ruby presented with cuts to the neck, and the abdomen,” Detective Stephens informed the Chief Inspector from Scotland Yard.
“The victim die at the scene, forensics found fingerprints but nothing in the system matches. This letter however was sent to my residence through the American Postal Service arriving yesterday while I was on duty. You can clearly see that whoever sent it knew that I would be handed this case.”
“We are sending this letter, along with a note clutched by the victim last night, off for handwriting analysis which is why I believe they called you in sir,” Detective Stephens said summing up the case so far.
“Well I did bring with me the ‘Dear Boss’ letter reportedly written by Jack the Ripper back in 1881, this was brought in order to provide finger print analysis and handwriting scrutiny.” Chief Inspector Lemaar said handing over his own ‘evidence’ document for the processing to begin.
With Chief Inspector Lemaar brought up to speed with where the case currently sat Detective Stephens’ motioned for his guest from Scotland Yard to follow him into the evidence review room, a brightly lit room with rows of shelves filled with evidence, and working tables scattered around the room.
“Return of Leather Apron” Detective John Stephens said to the property clerk as entering, the property clerk directed the two investigators into a secluded working space towards the far end of the Evidence Review room and informed them that he would be back in a few minutes with the evidence – Detective Stephens’ signed the request form to go on record that he had requested the evidence and the property clerk entered a small elevator to travel to the stations underground evidence storage section, returning a few minutes later with all of the evidence and case files collected to date.
Immediately upon receiving the evidence kits Detective John Stephens opened the box and retrieved the note that the victim from last night possessed, and also turned over the letter that had been sent to his place of residence that was supposedly from Jack the Ripper.
“This letter is one of thousands of letters received from Scotland Yard and various other police departments across the country during the Jack the Ripper murders. While some do deem this as a hoax by a journalist attempting to encourage a higher distribution rate for his magazine it is the only piece that we at Scotland Yard believe may have actually come from ‘Jack the Ripper’ himself,” Chief Inspector Lemaar explained once again retrieving the 123-year old piece of paper from his pocket and placing it on the evidence review table.
First looking through a monocles, before loading the writing example onto the screen and the letters that they were investigating underneath it the mouths of both men soon dropped as with the naked eye they could clearly see that the writing was very similar.
“Is that… is that a match?” Detective John Stephens asked, a little unsure about what he was looking at.
“Considering my area of expertise, looking at the three forms of letter I’d have to point out the obvious and say it is all written on the same piece of paper, in the same language as each other, and looking at writing preferences such as the loopy Y’s I’d have to say that yes the writing on the notes and letters you have received recently is an exact match for Jack the Ripper hand writing that Scotland Yard received over one hundred years ago.” Chief Inspector Lemaar said, the shock still on his face effectively describing the feelings both he and John Stephens were feeling inside.
“So um… in your professional opinion what are we looking at?” Detective John Stephens said breaking the awkward silence that had arisen between the pair due to the results of the fingerprint analysis.
“Well before I can really say anything I’d prefer to be able to look at the crime scene,” Chief Inspector Lemaar said, the nervousness of his response making the mood very uneasy.
It was at that moment the mood in the room shifted when they were interrupted by Captain Griggs who had entered the room.
“I attempted to call however the mobile phones have no reception down here,” the Captain explained upon entering.
“We have another one,” the dull loon on the captains face explaining everything. Immediately Chief Inspector Lemaar stood from his sitting position, pulling on the coat he had placed on the back of the chair when first sitting down. Detective John Stephens reaching out for his mobile phone and picking it up from the table placing it into his pant pocket as they both followed the Captain receiving further information as they walked their way through the police station heading to the front door.
It wasn’t long before the car was pulling into a cordoned of car park not far from Old England Town which for the second day in a row was the scene of a traumatic murder. All three of the men, Captain Griggs, Detective John Stephens and Chief Inspector Lemaar followed a uniformed police officer who led them to where the latest body lay.
As Chief Inspector Lemaar approached the crime scene his face filled with complete horror, he stopped in his tracks. Noticing the change in demeanour from their overseas counterpart Detective Stephens stopped beside him offering a questionable look.
“I have to say it. You guys either have the real Jack the Ripper which I know is completely impossible considering he was around over a century ago, or you have a really REALLY good copycat killer.” The Chief Inspector said as he looked directly at the latest sex worker who had become victim to the area’s serial killer.
On the landing of a backpackers hostel lay the body of the sex worker. She had been found by a tenant of the property at approximately six in the morning, as with the victim from the previous night her neck had been slashed with two separate cuts made, with the blood from the heinous scene one that even made the most seasoned police officer feel like throwing up.
The abdomen of the latest victim had been completely cut open, with the on scene Medical Examiner declaring that the women’s uterus had been removed, and that the victim had died from a direct result of the large amount of blood lost through the slit in her throat.
“This is just like the scene of Annie Chapman, the Rippers second victim in Whitechapel,” Chief Inspector Lemaar said.
“Obviously I wasn’t around when those murders occurred, however I am the leading most investigator into Jack the Ripper, I have seen the crime scene photos countless of times they are forever burnt into my memory.” The overseas investigator announced.
Once again an overview of the case was handed to Detective John Stephens, where it worked out that half an hour before her death the sex worker had been talking to a potential ‘John’ who had been wearing a suit with an overcoat, the witness stated that they thought the person was dressed up from the Old England era, to fit in with the region they were currently in and to have a laugh alongside fellow patrons of the area.
John Stephens ordered the body to be taken back to the precent, and ordered full copies of the crime scene photos to be sent to him once the scene had been processed.
On the way back to the station Chief Inspector Lemaar asked to be dropped at the airport, his plan was to return to England to Scotland Yard, gather the team he had previously worked with in relation to the Jack the Ripper case and bring them back to the United States to work as part of a task force established between the two operatives to bring this very technical, and precise Copycat killer to justice.
Detective John Stephens immediately went to his work station, where after calling ahead, all of the files the New York Police Department had on the recent murders, and the eight year old letter, awaited him.
Forensics had left a message for him that finger prints at the scene matched the finger prints found at last night’s scene, however there was still no match on the computer databases to identify who the finger prints belonged to.
John picked up the phone and dialled the number of his wife Maureen, he wanted to let her know that it was going to be a long day as he wanted to review the entire case to date and try and make the much needed breakthrough. She wasn’t home and so he left her a message vowing to be home as early as he could.
He programmed the phone not to ring, putting it into busy mode, to ensure he was disrupted and began his process of pulling up a map of Old England Town on the computer and printing it out to hang up on the wall.
Detective Stephens then took two thumb-tacks and put them on the map identifying the two locations of the crime scenes, he picked up a third thumb-tack, this time a different colour than the original two, and placed it on the map to represent the location that local police were instructed to meet the mystery attacker in the letter.
Immediately upon placing the third thumb-tack on his map Detective John Stephens the bigger picture began to emerge for the veteran detective, from where they were instructed to meet in the letter the two murders had taken place no more than 500 yards from each other, one at each end of the alley way.
The alley way held the key to this whole mystery. While it was still early and he couldn’t prove it the hunch deep down inside him told the detective that the alley-way was playing a massive role in this case, but how? And why that alley-way?
For an area that was built almost forty-years ago it was developed to provide visitors from the United Kingdom an area in which they could go and feel like home, the beer was room temperature, the food was sloppy pub type of meals you could find over the ditch, street names along with hotels and hostels had been given names of prominent iconic areas of England and it was a nice cheap alternative for backpackers.
There were four hotels or hostels immediately surrounding the alley-way, which resulted in approximately one-thousand separate rooms that Detective John Stephens would have to knock on each if he wanted to question everyone, and with many being hostels it meant they were changing tenants daily which means if he wanted answers he needed to get to work now.
With no spare man power to spare the Detective spent the best part of three hours going door-to-door of each of the rooms that had been occupied over the last twenty-four hours or so with next to no-one being able to provide any valuable leads into the case.
It was a long and tedious task, especially when combing the area by himself meaning he had no one to even share a ten minute break with.
However his luck soon turned when he entered the third building on his list to examine. The clerk there had remembered a weird guy who checked in the night before, he was dressed weird, and even spoke weird. The clerk remembered that he had even the basic trouble of reading the policies of the hostel, and didn’t know how to spell as was evident on his registration form.
The man was described as being in his mid-to-late twenties, wearing a suit, and always wearing his overcoat. His fashion sense, the clerk laughed, was olden style.
“This was the man,” Detective John Stephens thought to himself, a grin spreading across his face thinking that he was one step closer to solving the case. This weird man who arrived in town just mere hours before the killings started must have something to do with the two murders that had happened within the last 24-hours. He fit the description of the man a witness had seen the latest victim with shortly before her death.
The detective immediately exited the hostel and picked up his mobile phone to call the Captain.
“It’s not enough,” Captain Griggs said on the other end of the line, immediately deflating the good feeling Detective Stephens had had before he picked up the phone.
“You cannot get a search warrant because someone wears weird clothes, you need to have witnesses that put him in the region of the murders around the times they were committed,” the Captain informed the detective who could not believe what he was hearing.
“But what about the eye witness?” the detective asked, almost clutching at straws.
“Bring in him to make an official statement and we will see how it goes from there,” the Captain said.
Immediately the detective made his way to where the witness had said he had been staying for the best part of the last week. It was a higher class hotel than the hostel he had just been in, however the clerk had absolutely no record of the witness name that had been given to Detective John Stephens.
“What do you mean there is no record of him, does that mean he has left?” the detective asked, growing agitated with each passing moment.
“No,” the clerk said “it means that no one by that name has been here, registered here, stayed here.”
Baffled the detective thanked the clerk for their time and excited the building still confused over the situation and what was happening. It was as though the case was there to be solved but there was no way of picking up the final piece of the puzzle to be able to take the steps required to solve it.
Refusing to admit defeat the Detective made his way back to the alley-way he had been standing in just over twenty-four hours earlier, going back to the beginning and focusing on the basics in case there was something he had missed or overlooked.
He stood where he had been, looking at his watch and looking around the alley-way. It then dawned on him. He wasn’t there to watch what was happening, he was there to be watched. The last hotel he went to overlooked the alley-way, only two bedrooms on the top two stories could oversee the alley-way.
The detective ran back around the corner to the hotel he had just been in.
“I need to know who was in the two bedrooms at the back of the hotel, on the top two floors over the last twenty-four hours, and I need to know if they are still there.” A short-of-breath Detective John Stephens said as he entered the hotel building.
“Sir, we cannot disclose the details of our guests without a warrant,” the clerk once again explained to the pushy detective, the clerk obviously getting more annoyed by the constant barrage of questions coming from the eager detective.
“Can you just tell me whether they are still here so that I can call in the warrant,” Detective John Stephens almost begged the young female clerk at the hotel. Seeing the importance of the question the clerk tapped the keys on her computer and looked at the register.
“Well obviously you didn’t hear this from me, but I can say that the two occupiers of the far back rooms on the top two floors are still current guests of this hotel,” the clerk said at her best attempt to share the information the detective wanted was shared without her breaching the occupants privacy, or any other federal laws she wasn’t immediately aware off.
Running towards the elevator as the doors closed Detective John Stephens pressed the button for the second to top floor. He had attempted to call the captain for a warrant, although he knew that his chances were small considering he had absolutely no evidence of anything apart from the fact that they could overlook the alley-way he was standing in – there happened to be no reception in the elevator and so he gave up on the call.
With a ding the elevator doors opened on the floor he had requested, he hurriedly pushed past the other hotel guests who were standing at the front of the elevator door and ran around the landing to the last hotel room on the back side of the hotel. Finally reaching it he banged on the door in the typical police knock.
A petite female answered the door, taking the Detective by surprise. He immediately knew that the female was not the person he was after and excused himself explaining that he had the wrong room.
He ran to the fire exit, kicking the door open, and looking up the flight of stairs he started to run as if in pursuit of a suspect, he reached the level above and repeated his sprint to the back-most-facing room and started to bang on the door.
A male occupant in his mid-to-late twenties opened the door, Detective John Stephens immediately thought he had his man. He reached into his pocket and produced his badge while introducing himself and asking the occupant if he could ask him a few questions.
Before the occupant could answer a female came from a bedroom inside the hotel room and draped her hand over the man standing at the door,
“What is going on here?” the female asked.
“Oh, I just wanted a word with the occupant here,” Detective John Stephens said motioning towards the gentlemen at the door.
“Daddy whose there?” a little girl, no older than four years of age, asked while walking out of the same room the female occupant had come from just moments earlier.
“Just a police officer wanting to ask Daddy some questions,” the confused male said while attempting to get his partner and daughter away from the door.
“What have I done wrong?” the male occupant asked curiously to the detective at his front door.
“Um… there have been a couple of murders nearby and we are doing a door-to-door search to ask where everyone was last night on the off chance they may have seen something of importance to the investigation.” Detective John Stephens said, coming up with the excuse quickly.
“Well Detective, my wife, daughter and myself weren’t in the area last night. We checked in yesterday afternoon and then attended a funeral and wake about fifteen minutes away and didn’t return home until about fifteen minutes ago.” The occupant explained to the detective.
“Okay thank you for your time,” the detective said as he turned and began walking away from the door. He had been wrong about the murderer, maybe it was the pressure of wanting to end his career on a high that was getting to him and forcing him to come up with a result.
Detective John Stephens made his way home that evening and as he did on cases that confused him spoke about what he knew with his wife Maureen, she could see how upset and confused her husband was with the case – this is why she couldn’t wait for him to retire and put all of this behind them and begin to move on, early nights to bed, decent sleeping hours, but this case meant to much to him and she was there to support him through it.
“Let’s go to bed honey,” Maureen said attempting to take her husband’s mind off the case.
“You never know a good night sleep could be exactly what you need,” with that John looked up with defeated eyes. He knew there was no point arguing with his wife, she was always right anyway and knew what was truly best for him and his every worsening health.
He stood up from the chair he sat in, kissed her as he always did, and took her hand leading her to their bedroom where he lay his head for the night.
“Detective we have another one,” this was not what Detective John Stephens wanted to hear when he woke first thing in the morning. His restful sleep had been interrupted by his mobile ringing, on the other end of the phone was Captain Griggs.
There had been another murder, and sure enough it was back in Old’ England town. Immediately Detective Stephens jumped from his bedroom and grabbed his pants and shirt that his wife had laid out for him.
He put them on, and ran down the stairs, by passing his routine breakfast and coffee and headed straight to his wife, kissed her on the cheek and then headed for his car. It didn’t take long before he arrived at Old England Town and saw the police cordon.
It was right outside the hotel he had been at the previous day, where he was following up his own leads however was completely wrong. The detective was ushered through the police tape and waiting newspaper reporters who had finally caught wind of the serial killings happening in their own neck of the woods.
Captain Griggs pulled back the blanket that covered the body and immediately Detective John Stephens felt sick, he turned a new shade of pale as the newest victim was the same lady that he had met at the first hotel room door he had knocked on the previous day. The same lady he immediately turned his back on because she was a single female in the room.
“This my friend is sixteen-year-old Jessica Taylor, an underage sex trade worker who due to her age specialized in in-calls only. Her body was found approximately five thirty this morning by the morning clerk, as with the others her throat has been cut and her abdomen destroyed by a knife,” the first police officer on the scene walked the detective through the details that he knew.
Detective Stephens couldn’t believe it. Just hours earlier when he saw her at that front door of the hotel room she looked allot older than sixteen, but he supposed they all did now-days. He couldn’t believe though that just hours later she would be dead. This one had hit him hard.
“I know who he is,” Detective Stephens said to the Captain, “Grab some uniformed officers and let’s get this son of a bitch.” He said as he withdrew his weapon and immediately started to the elevator.
He went straight to the room he had seen the young girl at yesterday afternoon, explaining to his captain along the way why they were heading there. When they arrived at the hotel room the officers panned out, with a nod of the head the Captain gave the approval to gain entry.
Detective Stephens banged on the door once again, this time in his most authoritative police knock he could.
“NYPD Open the Door!” he yelled. There was no answer.
Detective John Stephens took a step back while other uniformed officers kicked the door open, it took three attempts but finally the door burst open and the Detective and Captain were the first two people inside the door.
The room was absolutely empty. There was absolutely no sign that anyone had even stayed in the room. A card sat partially opened on the table – putting his gloves on before picking it up Detective Stephens read it aloud.
“Dear Boss, you was so clos [sic] to catching me this tyme [sic] if only you had come in yesterday ha.ha Been real fun playing this game with you but you lost. Better luck to the next coppa. Jack”
The detective hung his head in shame. He had failed to get answers for the murder victims and had failed to find the murderer. As forensics scoured the crime scene they found a number of fingerprints that matched those taken from the murder scene, and in the middle of the lounge-room floor, where unexplainably furniture had been moved around, they found an 1889 minted shilling that by their best appraisal had not been in circulation.
Knowing that he had been defeated in the game of life by the serial killer who appeared without a trace and disappeared without a trace Detective John Stephens once again retired from the force, this time with immediate effect.
Although he happily took up the role in the Private Sector, and enjoyed having the additional money such a job brought to him the feeling of dread continued to plague him. The fact that out of all of his cases on the force he had never given up, he had never been defeated and he had caught murderers years, in one occasion a decade after the murder took place however this time it wasn’t to be this time the murderer had escaped him.
Fifteen years passed, many books were released on the New York Ripper, followed by straight-to-DVD movies, and Detective Stephens was continuously hounded with requests for interviews, or requests to put his name behind a certain project which he continuously declined.
And when age started to get the better of him, he quit his private job, and began to see out his days at his house. Watching day-time television, listening to talk back radio and spending much cherished time with his wife Maureen – god knows he owed her time and companionship after she supported him for so long in his job.
That was until one day when he suffered a debilitating stroke, that left him effectively paralysed, he couldn’t walk, or talk, he had small movements in parts of his arms and in his head but it became all too much for Maureen who had tried her best to look after him however age was now setting its eyes on her and she reluctantly decided to place John in a retirement village.
There he was set to see out his days.
The health of former Detective John Stephens began to deteriorate and many of his family had started to come and say their final goodbyes which is why it was no surprise for medical staff to see a young man in his mid-to-late twenties enter the facility to visit the former detective.
He walked into Johns’ room, the former Detective immediately recognized him as the witness from the murders almost fifteen years earlier. However he hadn’t aged a day, whereas Detective Stephens had aged what looked like a life time.
“You were so close to catching my boss,” the young man said upon entering the room.
“You almost had me if only there wasn’t so much red tape to go through in getting a warrant, the coppers back when I first started murdering those sluts in Whitechapel had the same issue.”
“Too many cooks in the kitchen, you my friend though knew who I was, knew where to find me you just couldn’t get there. It’s hard to believe. I mean even I find it hard to believe. Time Travel, who would have thought how easy it was if you read the right books, can you imagine travelling through time boss?” the young man asked staring into the eyes of the former detective.
“It doesn’t take much to make your own machine, sometimes I travel back to watch how it all started, then travel forward again to start it all again. Every time I drop a clue or two to confuse people as to who I really am. But you knew. Deep down inside you knew it was me you just didn’t want to believe it boss.”
John attempted to call for help, however with his weakened body state he couldn’t reach the buzzer.
It was then that Johns’ ever loving wife Maureen walked into the room carrying her trusty coffee cup, she couldn’t go more than half an hour without a coffee. John attempted to signal to her to get out however she was too busy attempting to give the two men space to realize her husband’s desperate pleas for her to leave.
“Anyway old timer, it’s time I head off. Oh but just one thing before I go. Something for you to remember me by.” Jack said with a mischievous grin appearing on his face. John looked in fear as the young man pulled a long serrated knife out of the pocket of the coat he was wearing.
He walked straight up behind where Maureen was fluffing with some of the former detectives personal property, John attempted to call out for help but no noise would escape his lips. He watched in horror as Jack lifted the knife towards the neck of Maureen, grabbed her head and with two hard, fast, and deep thrusts had cut her neck wide open.
Maureen grabbed at her neck and immediately dropped to the ground, her blood spurting everywhere.
“Don’t ever forget the name – Jack the Ripper.” Jack said with a sadistic smile, before placing his knife back into the coat, drawing the curtains to the room and making his way from the nursing home never to be seen again… Yet!
It was a gruesome scene confronting them, the blood spatter was everywhere, however, despite what they hoped for every time they received a phone call like this, it wasn’t the first time they had seen the grotesque scene that lay in front of them.
“Damn it,” Homicide Detective James Kirby said as he shook his head in disbelief. At 26-years of age and just a handful of months on the job he had been promoted to the homicide division due to his work ethic and exam results from the police academy.
Still wet behind the ears and learning his new role, this was the first major case he was working on, and looking at the scene that lay in front of him he still wasn’t sure whether he would actually survive in the job if this is what he was confronted with each and every day.
At 6 foot 1 (185 centimetres), and weighing in at slightly over 97 kilograms these type of scenes that he and his partner were called to still made him sick to the stomach, his knees buckle, and brought back memories of coming home from school years earlier and finding out that one of the mongrels in his street had killed his pet cat ‘Socks’ and strung it up in the tree in his front yard.
Despite getting basic training before joining the homicide department most of the work was ‘on the job’ training, learn-as-you-go, and seeing the body that lay in front of him still made him feel green.
“Come on, let’s get to work,” James’ partner Lily Hammond said as she nudged her much younger partner. At 45-years of age and on the force for twenty-years she had become accustomed to the sights that lay in front of them, however she had a soft spot for James.
James had been hand-picked out of the latest recruits to hit the station when her partner for the bulk of her twenty-years on the force retired two months earlier, it was an unexpected assignment however one that was done purely as a cost cutting measure with budget constraints meaning every department had to scrimp and save to satisfy the pencil pushers at head office that had lost touch with the realities of being out in the field.
The pair reached into their pockets and retrieved the pure white latex gloves that policy dictated that they wear, the had received a phone call just twenty minutes earlier of a lady in distress by the time that the first responders had arrived on scene the entire Cherry Grove Alley Way was covered in blood and immediately led to the call for the homicide department to be dispatched to the location.
Before them, a scene they had unfortunately seen many times in the last month or so, the body of a young lady lay naked, stab wounds across her chest and abdomen resulting in her bleeding out, the victims head and hands cut off and the teeth completely removed just to make identification of the victim just that much harder.
Their first scene like this has happened just a small number of kilometres away, and since then there had been six such attacks all resulting in the same way all within a fifteen kilometre radius and police were now certain they were dealing with some sort of sadistic serial killer.
Now onto their seventh victim due to the maniacs’ technique of removing the head, hands and teeth they were still struggling to identify the first victim and were running whatever tests they could order, yet as usual they were getting the questions from the pencil pushers upstairs worried about the departments bottom line on their budget, after all these tests were not cheap by any means and now the bodies were mounting.
“Female, Caucasian, mid-to-late twenties, as with other recent cases head, hands and teeth removed, immediate thoughts that this case is related to other cases that remain in the recently unsolved pile,” Detective Hammond said into her digital voice recorder that was attached to her power suit that she wore each and every day to attempt to show her sophistication and superior standing amongst her fellow co-workers.
James went through his routine of co-ordinating with the uniformed contingent of officers that had gathered at the scene and started a walk through the alley way looking for any clues that may have been left from either the victim or the perpetrator, he wasn’t hopeful there had been nothing at the last six scenes, however he knew that the one time he didn’t go through the routine would more than likely be the one time there is something that he would miss and let the sadistic killer continue on his spree.
As he had expected after almost an hour of pain-stakingly looking at every inch of the crime scene there was no evidence left behind, just a lot of blood and a gruesome sight that the Medical Examiner was finishing up their duties in removing the body, no doubt to be autopsied and then placed in the freezer next to the other six victims.
“Come on partner lets hit PJ’s,” Lily said.
Considering that neither James or Lily were drinkers they had developed a routine of heading to the local fast food outlet PJs where they would get the Big Breakfast that is served all day every day, and talk about the case in an attempt to see if bouncing ideas off each other would get them somewhere – although neither admitted it they knew they had nothing and the longer they took to make a breakthrough the more their killer would strike, and both were sick of turning up to crime scenes as gruesome as the one that had greeted them that morning.
Even though PJs fast food place was on the other side of town they made the journey, they had gone there every day for the past few months ever since James had been promoted into the Homicide Division and it had become a good ritual for them.
The plate was sat in front of the two detectives and Lily immediately started to tuck into her big breakfast, for James however it wasn’t as easy to eat this morning as it had been other mornings.
Using his fork he pushed the burned piece of bacon that topped his eggs and sausages around the plate, feeling as though the weight of the world was on his shoulders, Lily could tell something was bugging her much younger partner who usually had a big appetite and could eat the Big Breakfast and half an hour later be hungry again.
“What’s up partner?” she enquired as she picked up the salt and pepper shakers sitting on the table between them and shaking them over the top of her meal, probably more than her doctor would recommend but it added the extra flavour she hungered for.
“We are no closer to catching him,” a dejected James responded, the excitement of the job promotion had long left him, and although they had had previous cases in which were straight forward and they had solved this was his first big case.
“Are we making the right decision?” he asked his partner as she shoved another mouthful of the eggs and bacon into her mouth. After what felt an eternity she finally answered the young man.
“The right decision about what?”
“Withholding information from the media, I mean they know a lot but we have withheld a lot of information from them in relation to this case, maybe it could help, maybe one of the details that we aren’t telling them could be the key someone out there needs to be able to help us piece this together.” James responded as though pouring his heart out to a church clergyman.
“I get it James, I really do, and I question that every time a new body winds up on our desk. But we need to have some cards up our sleeves in order to know that when we catch the mongrel that is doing this it is our ammunition, it is our way to know that he is the one that is doing it all, because we have this information and at the moment no one else but him does.” Lily answered her partner, seeing the obvious distress on his face as he placed his knife and fork on top of his untouched food and pushed it away from him.
The pair sat in silence contemplating the case, the only sound coming from them that of Lily chewing more of her big breakfast and swallowing, James watched intensively. Did she always chew this loudly?
He had never noticed it before but the more he sat there in silence hearing her chewing and swallowing sounds the more agitated he came at how loud it actually was.
James stood from his chair across from Lily and dropped a twenty dollar note on the table, enough to cover the pair’s meal and providing a tip to the server as he walked outside. He glanced behind him as he left, back to where Lily continued to devour her meal.
As he left the front door of PJs he reached into his top pocket and picked out his packet of Bond Street Red cigarettes, he hadn’t smoked before taking up his new job appointment but seeing just how gruesome this town really was he had taken up the bad habit to take some of the edge off.
He lit the cigarette that hung from his mouth and took his first drag, rolling his head back as if though he had just taken a big toke from a joint, letting the nicotine and all of the other bad chemicals flow down his throat and into his lungs before exhaling.
“Excuse me sir,” James heard a small squeaky voice come from behind him, he was startled a little as he turned around.
In front of him stood a petite red headed lady, no taller than five-foot three, with a moon tattoo underneath her left eye.
“Can I help you?” James said reaching into his pocket expecting to be asked for a cigarette as he normally was whenever he smoked in public.
“She said to look in the park,” the young lady said before turning and walking away.
What a whack-job James thought to himself as he watched her slip around the corner of PJs and disappeared. Who said to look in the park? He wondered, and what park is she talking about?
His eyes grew big, he threw the cigarette to the ground and ran back inside the building where his partner had just finished eating her breakfast.
“Come on,” he said grabbing her coat for her and more or less grabbing her up from her seat.
“James where are we going?” Lily asked her all of a sudden excited partner, he was bouncing around like a little puppy waiting for the tennis ball to be thrown for him to chase.
“We need to go back to the scene from this morning,” James said, he had no idea why he was listening to a random lady from the street, but it was too the point that both he and his partner were out of options and he was willing to try anything to get the breakthrough that the needed in the case.
“We checked everything out this morning,” Lily started to protest before realizing the eagerness on the face of her partner and coming to the realization that he wasn’t going to back down.
After all since they had been to the scene earlier in the day James had not been himself, Lily could tell that he was disheartened at yet another death ‘under his watch’ and thought by amusing him and going back to the scene for whatever reasons he had could help bring the spark of eagerness back into his worth ethic.
Without another word being exchanged she rose from her seat and followed him to the car that was parked just metres from the front door of PJs. After struggling for a second or two the engine roared into life.
Lily knew it wouldn’t be long before the starter motor completely gave out, yet another case of the budget restrictions the department were facing. After all she had put in numerous requests for the starter motor to be looked at by the in-house mechanics and nothing had been done as their hours were better spent repairing the patrol cars that were essential to crime prevention in the area, if their car broke down it would be either her or James’ car that they would have to use until the department determined that it was worth the time, effort and most importantly funds to fix it.
James hardly spoke a word as they once again raced across the town to the crime scene they had attended earlier in the day.
Meanwhile James wasn’t sure why he was actually listening to a complete stranger, someone he had never met, and someone who just simply came up to him off the street and said just one sentence “She said to look in the park”.
He had no idea what she actually meant but surely it was worth trying. They were almost back at the scene when the thought crossed James’ mind ‘what if I find nothing?’, ‘is this even what she was talking about?’, but it was too late to second guess himself as his partner Lily pulled up at the crime scene and placed the car in park just a short distance from the alley-way they had earlier been called to the dismembered body.
James stood in the exact place the young ladies body was laying, he knelt down placing one knee on the ground and closing his eyes.
He really had no idea what he was doing but he wanted answers, this victim and the other six that remained at the morgue deserved answers and that’s when he saw it, in his head a row of bushes.
James opened his eyes, had he just imagined something because he desperately wanted to believe that somewhere lay a piece of evidence that could blow this case wide open.
He looked around but couldn’t see any sort of bushes, or even a park, it was a total bust. Or so he thought.
As he rose back to his feet he remembered earlier in the day as they first departed the scene to head to PJs they had driven past a park on the other side of the road, it wasn’t a big part just some swings and coverings for children to play in but it was surrounded by bushes exactly like the ones he had just seen.
But the thought crept back into his head, what if he had just imagined it, what if subconsciously his mind played the picture of the bushes but instead of it being some sort of sign it was just replaying what it had seen this morning.
Either way he wasn’t going to leave it to chance and immediately started to walk to the small park about half a block away arriving at the playground in just a few short minutes, his partner Lily Hammond in tow.
Lily was still confused as to what was happening. James hadn’t said a word since they had left PJs and she was not used to it, partners are meant to talk things over – however it seemed as though James was focused on something and she had decided that she would let him continue for now but would confront him later about keeping her out of the loop.
James, upon arriving at the park, reached into his pocket and pulled out yet another pair of the plain latex gloves, he glanced over at his partner giving her a knowing look. Lily copied her partner and pulled on a pair of gloves, still wondering just what the hell was going on.
“You look in those bushes over there, I will look at the ones on this side,” James said indicating to the bushes that lined each side of the children’s playground they stood at. The bushes were located on each side with an covered seating area located next to the water bubbler, a grassy area for the children and families to kick a ball around and a small array of play equipment such as swings, a slide, and some sort of plastic helicopter mega toy which was the parks highlight taking up the remaining space the little park had to offer.
“James what are we looking for?” Lily asked, curious and confused as to what exactly they were doing there.
“To be honest I don’t know,” James admitted.
“But when we will know when we find it.” James said as he headed towards the bushes he indicated he would search through earlier.
Shrugging her shoulders Lily walked towards the line of bushes that James had directed her to, and using her hands brushed some of the branches of the bushes back, looking at each branch and the ground that held the bushes in place as she went.
James followed the same progress as his partner, looking through the bushes, this process continued for the best part of fifteen minutes as both ensured they checked every aspect of the line of bushes until he saw it.
Pulling one of the branches back he almost over looked it, and it wasn’t until he pulled the same branch back a second time trying to work out whether he had imagined it that he realized he was staring at a women’s purse.
“Here,” James shouted excitedly to his partner, who immediately stopped her search and ran to where James was standing with a broad smile on his face.
Lily looked in to the branch that James was holding, and sure enough in the branch system was a ladies purse, knowing that everything needed to be documented Lily immediately pulled her cell phone from her pocket and snapped a couple of pictures to have on record where exactly they had found it.
Once she confirmed to her partner that she had the required photos James reached in and carefully picked up the brown purse, it had some sort of design on the outside of which Lily photographed before James carefully unzipped the purse, exposing the secrets that it contained.
Inside the purse James slowly, yet excitedly, pulled out a small number of bills – thus ruling out a robbery gone wrong – before pulling out what he believed to be the Holy Grail, a driver’s license for one Cindy Barnsworth.
The information on the driver’s license matched with what they knew about their most recent victim, a smile grew across his face, had they finally made a breakthrough and had a name for one of their victims? He knew they truly wouldn’t know until they had forensics go through the purse properly and compared it to the latest body to join the morgue, but surely this was a start.
“James how did you know?” Lily asked her partner, confused about how he knew to look in the park, to look in the bushes, but at the same time growing as excited as what James while thinking the same thing that they had finally picked up their first real clue in the case that was driving not only the two detectives working it, but the entire department and the city crazy.
“I don’t know, I guess my gut instinct is kicking in,” James replied, not wanting to sound crazy or to tell her that he had been tipped off by a complete stranger to whom he had received no details at all from.
“Let’s call it in,” Lily said picking the phone out of her pocket and making the call back to the station to let them know about their discovery, and potential case breaking lead in the serial killer murders that had plagued everyone.
Uniformed officers attended the scene and immediately started door knocking to see if anyone in the surrounding buildings saw or heard anything strange overnight, or earlier that morning – all of the people that were spoken to claimed they hadn’t seen or heard anything however another piece of good luck fell the way of the police when one man stated he had just installed security cameras around his property after a number of vandalism incidents.
The officers seized the tapes, placing them in a clear re-sealable plastic bag before returning them to the investigators that stood close by directing the investigation. Receiving the plastic bag and being told what was contained inside both of the detectives grew a smile with their minds racing as to what could be on tape – could they actually catch something on the camera’s that could lead them to the identity for their murderer do many ideas and possibilities had just been opened by the first break through in the case.
James had a hard time coming up with a reasonable, or even believable excuse as to why they he was so passionate about the pair returning to the scene, however when confronted by the Super Intendant back at the station he stuck by his story that over breakfast he realized the park was down the road and if the victim had come from that direction that there could be evidence in the park.
Deep down he knew that he had been tipped off by a complete stranger, and that he was just following through – there was absolutely no guarantee that they would actually find something near the original crime scene, they hadn’t at any of the previous ones.
Sitting back at their desk in the police department it seemed an eternity for James and Lily as they awaited word from forensics, and the medical examiner in relation to the potential evidence that they had found.
Staring blankly at his computer screen James jumped for the phone the moment it started ringing later that afternoon, through comparing medical records obtained on Cindy Barnsworth the medical examiner was able to determine that she was in fact the victim they had discovered that morning.
It was a bitter sweet moment for James, they for once had found a piece of evidence and was able to finally identify one of the victims, however it at the same time meant another young woman, who was just 22 years of age, had lost her life to a serial killer that he to date had failed to catch and lock up for the crimes he had committed.
Lily sat at her desk watching the security camera footage the uniformed officers had taken possession of earlier in the day, while both she and James had hoped there would be additional evidence on the system all it showed was the young victim entering the park before going out of shot, she had gone back a number of hours and even gone forward an hour or so on the video looking for anyone to have entered or exited the park but there was no sign of any sort of movement.
This meant that whoever attacked their victim had entered the park from the same entrance that they had and was unfortunately out of camera range. Residential buildings surrounded the far side of the park and uniformed officers had already door knocked there and struck out with any sort of footage from that side.
It meant that while they had identified one of their victims, unfortunately they at this stage were left in the same boat as previously with no real evidence as to who the perpetrator was, or any sort of clue towards who their other victims were.
Both Lily and James agreed to call it a day, they had already worked for fourteen hours, and uniformed police officers were already on route to the next of kin for Cindy Barnsworth to make the death notification. With no new evidence there was nothing more that they could do.
After waiting what felt an eternity for his computer to shut down James reached forward and turned the screen off, Lily by this time had already retrieved her coat and was waiting for him by the door heading into Homicide room.
The pair began walking towards the exit, which considering homicide was located on the second story of the building meant they had to walk through the main foyer of the station to exit.
Making small talk as they walked James suddenly stopped in his tracks as they reached the bottom of the stairs.
There in the lobby of the station, handcuffed to one of the seats was the young red head who had given him the one line tip off earlier in the day.
“I’ll catch you tomorrow morning,” James said to Lily as they walked towards the exit. Lily looked confused but it had been a long enough day and agreed to meet him at six the following morning as she pushed opened the doors and exited.
James made his way to the clerk on duty.
“What’s the story here?” he asked the clerk motioning towards the red head that sat in the chair.
“Sadie Williams brought in for fraud,” the clerk on the desk responded, as James turned and looked at the red head again.
“Why is she handcuffed out there?” James asked.
“Edwards and Jones are busy with another interview about a different case, with all the drunks and stoners this was the only place we had that we could keep her.” The clerk responded.
“I need to speak to her,” James said to the clerk who looked a little confused and uncertain.
“Sir with all due respect are you not homicide?” the clerk said breaking the awkward silence that had developed after the unusual request. James thought for a moment then replied.
“Yes and she is a key witness to our latest case,” this time speaking with a little more authority. The clerk, not one to argue, knew that any homicide case took priority and handed over the file and the key that allowed James to unlock Sadie Williams from the handcuffs that held her hostage to the chair.
“Do we have an interview room available?” James asked still racking his mind as to what he was actually doing.
“Nope, as I said this was the only spot we had left for her,” the clerk replied. Prompting James to think a little more about what he was doing, was he really going to interfere with the ongoing fraud investigation case? Did he really want to speak to the red head who looked so innocent there looking at him?
“I will take her to the homicide office and speak to her there,” James said without fully comprehending what he was saying, however somehow coming to the decision that he was going to speak to the young lady.
He walked over to where she sat,
“I am Detective James Kirby,” he said as he unlocked the handcuffs, Sadie smiled, rubbing her wrists where the handcuffs had been attached.
“I know,” she said with a smile.
“Could you please follow me?” he asked before leading her into the homicide room where he sat her on the opposite side of his work station, while protocol says all suspects are meant to be handcuffed he looked at the young woman and determined she was no real threat, and he backed himself to be faster than her if she attempted to make a run for it – which really would be a silly thing considering she was in a police station.
Sadie sat there just staring at James as he sat on his side of the desk, a finger from each hand combined like a triangle under his chin as he contemplated first of all what exactly he was doing, and secondly how he was going to ask the questions.
“She spoke to me,” Sadie said in the squeaky voice that had startled James earlier in the day outside PJs Fast Food.
The sudden noise that pierced through the silence they were both sitting in startled James and prompted him into action.
“Who did?” James replied exquisitely.
“Cindy, she has speaking to me all day,” Sadie replied, this was an answer James wasn’t expecting. This is what you get, he thought to himself referring to the fact that he had gone out on a limb thinking this young person could help with the case and she turns out to be either a drug addict who is high on something, a complete nut case or even worse both.
“Okay I think we are done here,” James said as he stood up convinced that this was a bad idea, and the interview wasn’t going to go anywhere.
“You’re investigating the serial killer aren’t you?” Sadie asked, James made the conscious decision to ignore the question and continue on his way around the work station ready to return Sadie to her chair in the lobby where she could await the investigators to speak to her about her fraud issues.
“I know about the missing teeth,” Sadie said desperate to get James to listen to her. The missing teeth was something that he and Lily had kept from the media. They had made every excuse under the sun to not give those specific details out, and to cover for the fact that they hadn’t yet identified the victims of the serial killer.
“How do you know about that?” James asked stopping in his tracks and sitting on the edge of his computer desk on the same side that Sadie was sitting on.
“She told me,” Sadie replied, once again James was confused and wasn’t sure what to believe of what to do next.
“He takes them to ensure that you can’t identify the victims, and by the time you do they are long off the news headlines and he has long disposed of the other body parts,” Sadie continued.
“Who is he?” James asked. Sadie sat there as though thinking for a minute, she started nodding and then opened her mouth.
“I don’t know, and Cindy doesn’t know who he was, he just attacked her in the park before dragging her to the alley-way.” Cindy answered James’ question and provided some vivid details of the assault on Cindy Barnsworth.
“Hang on a second, are you telling me that you are talking to Cindy?” a voice from behind James asked, Sadie looked over James’ shoulder, while James was reluctant to turn around, he had heard that voice before and he knew exactly who it belonged to but he had no choice and turned around to see his partner Lily walking back in.
Lily had walked all the way to her car before realizing something wasn’t right with James and returned to the station where the desk clerk had told her of him taking the young woman upstairs to the homicide division headquarters.
She had been standing outside the main doors the entire time and had heard everything to date but she had heard enough and had to but in before the young red head completely sucked her partner into whatever trap she was attempting to set.
“To be honest with you yes,” Sadie replied, James dropped his head in his hands knowing exactly where this was heading.
“I now see why you have been arrested for fraud,” Lily said as she picked Sadie up from where she was standing and placing her handcuffs around the red heads wrists, giving them an extra click on the locking mechanism just for extra measure.
“Wait,” James said holding his hand out to stop Lily from walking Sadie out of the office, he knew that he was going to come to regret it at a later stage, but he wanted to hear more, and the only way he was going to do that was to come clean.
“Remember this morning when I got the idea of going back to the crime scene?” James asked before continuing without waiting for an answer.
“I was outside PJs and this young woman came to me and told me to check the park before disappearing, that is why we went back there and that is where we found our evidence.” James attempted to explain.
“Really?” Lily asked interested, James was excited that Lily was actually open to this and he nodded in agreement that what he had said was the truth.
“Well in that case Sadie Williams I am placing you under arrest for suspicion of the murder of Cindy Barnsworth and six others, you have the right to remain silent…” Lily said with a smile on her face as she continued to read Sadie her rights, both James and Sadie tried to protest by Lily wasn’t letting anything stop her as she marched Sadie out of the room and back down to the front lobby where upon explaining the situation she was told an interview room was available, she marched Sadie straight to the available room.
The room was dimly lit with just a small window covered in bars, a table with three chairs – two on one side of the table and one on the other – on the side in which there was only one chair there were bolts in the ground for the dangerous criminals to be shackled to during the interview process.
On the far wall a two way mirror, where no doubt the supervisor would sit on the other side to listen in to this interview, the room really was something you’d expect to see on the Law and Order television show.
“So talk,” Detective Lily Hammond said after placing Sadie into the shackle restraints, this was what anyone arrested for murder would face, but James was against this act, looking at Sadie he thought there was no way that she could carry out the acts his partner had just arrested her for.
“I… I… I don’t know what you want me to say,” the suspect Sadie Williams said, obviously nervous and not what she expected when she was originally brought in for fraud.
“How about you tell us everything you know,” Lily replied sharply.
“Well I know I was arrested for fraud because I am a psychic medium and people don’t believe in what I do.” Sadie began to explain.
“You can say that again, so what you’re telling us is that you rip people off to feed them bullshit about dead people?” Lily who was obviously not a believer said straight away.
“You know that’s not what we are talking about, tell us what you know about the murders,” Lily said this time being more specific about what she wanted to hear.
“I don’t know anything, all I know is about six this morning I was contacted in my sleep from someone I had never met before,” Sadie began to explain.
“She told me that she had been murdered, she gave me a description of the person who did it and that was it,”
“That was until later in the day where she told me I had to approach the man smoking outside of PJs and tell him to check in the bushes at the park,” Sadie continued, Lily shot an evil glare the way of James, she didn’t know he smoked and now the secret was out.
The look also doubled as her look of disapproval that James had lied to her about what prompted him to go back to the crime scene. Although she probably wouldn’t have gone back if he had told her the complete story, and that is when it struck her that it was the information from this lady that prompted them to go back and helped them find the purse that identified their victim.
A change of tactic was needed, Lily knew this and so she changed her direct approach towards Sadie.
“You said that she gave you a description are you able to repeat this description to us?” Lily asked.
“I can do better, if you accompany me home I drew it as she gave it to me, she told me what to change as I was drawing it and then told me when it was ‘perfect’.” Sadie said encouraged by the turn of events.
“Well that solves it then, let’s go,” Lily said as she unshackled Sadie and led her and James towards the car in the police parking lot. Helping Sadie into the back before shackling her in to avoid any chance the young red head had of jumping out the car during the journey.
The trio were almost at Sadie’s residence when she broke the awkward silence and glares that were being passed between the two detectives.
“She came to me because she believes,” Sadie said.
“Who came, and believes in what?” Lily shot back at the silence breaking remark.
“Cindy came to me because she believes in spirits, she believes that those who have passed have the ability to communicate with us in the living realm, she had read about me on the internet and knew that if anyone was going to believe the story that was to be told that it had to come from me,” Sadie elaborated, passing on information she had received from Cindy Barnsworth.
Lily rolled into an available car park located near the front of Sadie’s building before putting the car into park and the two detectives exited the vehicle, before James reached in and helped unshackle and unbuckle Sadie.
He helped her from the car and they headed towards the apartment building, strolling through the lobby of her apartment some of Sadies’ neighbours glanced at their apartment building neighbour who was handcuffed and leading police detectives to her unit on the third floor.
They entered the apartment building and Sadie directed the detectives towards her work desk, there were a number of books on Psychics sprawled across the desk, Detective Hammond just looked and rolled her eyes as she moved them aside and then she stopped, as if frozen in time, her face one of shock, and terror. She had found the drawing.
“Is this some sort of sick joke?” she almost screamed at the suspect.
“No that’s the face Cindy had me draw,” Sadie replied confused as to what was happening.
“What’s going on Lil?” James asked his partner who was still frozen in time, she had picked up the paper and was looking at it as though looking the suspect in the eyes.
She either ignored his question or didn’t register that he had asked one as she continued to stare at the picture that was hand drawn in front of her.
“Detective Hammond!” James said with a little more authority in his voice, breaking his partner out of her frozen stance.
“Is this the man Cindy had you draw?” Lily asked the apparent psychic, who had a worried look on her face, not knowing what was going on.
“Yes,” she simply replied.
Lily immediately retrieved the two-way radio from her back pocket and radioed in for the Armed Defenders Squad to meet her at an address, she folded up the piece of paper and placed it into her pocket before heading to the door.
“Stay here,” James instructed Sadie, who smiled and nodded, before he jogged to catch up to his partner who had already made her way out of the apartment and was making her way down the stairs.
“Lily… Lily” he called but she wouldn’t reply. They reached the car and immediately entered, firing it to life before pulling out from the car park with a squeal of the tyres.
It took just a matter of minutes before they were pulling up to the address Lily had radioed through to the Armed Defenders Squad moments earlier, she jumped from the vehicle, James copied, and grabbed her gun cocking it as she did.
In situations like this the Armed Defenders Squad would enter the location first, and either clear or apprehend the suspect with the detectives following immediately behind to place the suspect under arrest and to read them their rights.
With a loud bang the front door to the property burst open, one of the members of the Armed Defenders Squad threw in a flash-bang canister which burst to life with a bright flash accompanied by a deafening bang before the room quickly filled with smoke, this is designed to distract any occupants in the house while the squad entered the property with their guns locked and loaded.
In teams of two they members of the Armed Defenders Squad raced from room to room clearing it, the suspect they were after to this point was nowhere to be seen, they continued their duties of clearing the house.
A team of four broke away and climbed the stairs to clear the rooms that were situated in the upper section of the house, while the remaining four continued on the bottom level of the property clearing room by room.
Lily stood outside, her gun drawn and looking more agitated the longer the raid went on, she knew that this was protocol but being outside while everything was happening inside wasn’t helping her mind set.
“Lily what’s going on,” James asked his partner, sensing her tension rising he wanted to try and find out what had freaked her out at the house of the little red head who had earlier in the day tipped him off to the location of their first piece of evidence.
Before Lily had the opportunity to answer they heard yelling from inside the property, immediately Lily looked on edge knowing that the all clear to enter the house wouldn’t be too far away.
“Get down,” they could hear one of the Armed Defenders Squad call out, they had obviously found someone in the house and they were yelling at them to get down. They repeated this request a number of times, Lily closed her eyes and it looked as though she was praying.
“All Clear” the call that Lily and James had been waiting for finally came, letting them know that either the house was cleared or they had the suspect in custody, Lily burst through the now busted open door and found her way to where all eight of the Armed Defenders Squad members were standing, on the ground with cable ties restraining his hands Lily came face-to-face with the serial killer they had been hunting.
The Armed Defenders Squad team leader sat the suspect up, making him sit on his own legs to remove the danger of his attempting to run, the suspect rose his head and not for the first time looked eye to eye with Detective Lily Hammond.
“Oh Simon,” Lily said, a look of anguish crossing her face.
“Lily what’s going on?” James asked when he finally caught up to his partner.
“This James is Simon Cooke, my former partner in the homicide division,” Lily said the look of disappointment obvious on her face which was slowly turning red either through embarrassment or anger.
James began to read Simon his rights, but was cut off by Lily who took over the reading of the rights, the entire time unable to look at the man who had been her partner for the previous eighteen years before recently retiring.
Throughout the entire routine Simon continued to talk, he spoke about spending so long seeing mongrels doing this type of thing that it made him so angry and he wanted his revenge, his story soon changed to be that he thought he could get away with it after having so much experience in the homicide division.
“Would you just shut up and exercise your right to remain silent,” Lily snapped at her former partner after she finished reading his rights to him.
Simon sat with his head bowed, James went to speak to Lily to try and make sense of everything that had happened while uniformed officers began searching the house for evidence to ensure a conviction in court.
“Don’t move,” James and Lily heard before a gunshot rang out. They raced back into the room that Simon and members of the Armed Defenders Squad were previously in, Simon lay the floor on his back with a gunshot wound to his chest.
Immediately Lily dropped to her knees and applied pressure to the wound, reaching into her other pocket and calling an ambulance to the location.
It wasn’t long before paramedics were entering the property and placing Simon onto a stretcher, he was semi-conscious and all he could do was softly apologize to Lily. She had been told that while her and James were out of the room Simon had somehow escaped his zip-ties that had bound his hands together and rushed towards an Armed Defenders Squad member grabbing for his gun, in self-defence they were forced to shoot.
“I need to go with him,” Lily said to her partner as Simon was loaded on board the waiting ambulance.
“Are you sure?” James asked, worried about his partner and her state of mind.
“Just pop around to my apartment later and we will debrief,” Lily replied as she climbed aboard the ambulance, the paramedics closed the back doors to the ambulance and it pulled away from the house.
James remained at the house to catalogue the evidence he and the uniformed officers were able to find, ensuring that the chain of evidence remained intact.
James walked into the shed located in the back yard and found a freezer that was bolted closed, he immediately had a suspicion of what he may find in there and he really didn’t want to open it but it was his job.
James looked around and found bolt cutters that he used to cut the bolt keeping the freezer closed off, he called for the photographer to come and take photos to document any findings.
Eerily James reached out his hands to be on top of the freezer and pulled it open, he jumped back in horror at what met him. Located inside the freezer, all in their own bags were human heads, human arms and teeth kept in separate ice trays.
The medical examiner was called to the scene, and after what felt like an eternity finally arrived and slowly opened each bag, where under quick review he was able to link to each of the bodies that lay in the morgue.
James attempted to look at the positive side of things, by finally having faces they would be able to look through the missing person’s database or create computer generated images to release to the media and hopefully find the families of these women who had been killed.
As the Medical Examiner determined which human arms belonged to which head, and thus what body at the morgue, James couldn’t help but notice some distinguished tan lines on the bodies.
One, in the place that a ring went had a tan line of the ring, it had a love heart shape, while another had a butterfly type of look to its tan line.
Before he knew it a few hours had passed, the body parts were removed and returned to the morgue, while police had collected some evidence to link Simon to the attacks including a number of knives they weren’t able to find the jewellery.
James called everyone together and called it a day, determined to look at all of the local pawn shops the following day to see if any of the missing jewellery had been traded in there which would help provide an additional link between Simon and the dead women.
He took the car that he and Lily had arrived in hours earlier and immediately drove to Lily’s house, exiting the vehicle he approached the door and knocked on it, as he knocked the door slowly slid open.
“Lily, Lily” James called out there was no answer. He drew his gun and went around checking the house, it seemed to be deserted, and the only room left to check was his partner’s bedroom.
He knocked on the door first in case she had been sleeping, but there was answer, he reached out his hand turned the handle and gently pushed the door open, the room was empty.
‘She must still be at the hospital,’ he convinced himself and turned to leave but something caught his eye, on the dresser was an open jewellery box with a number of pieces hang out, while these pieces were necklaces it peaked his interest into what type of jewellery his partner liked.
He looked at the jewellery and that is when he saw a love heart ring, and a butterfly ring sitting side by side next to the jewellery box, James could immediately tell by the size of them they matched the same size as the missing items from the murder victims.
He couldn’t and didn’t want to believe it, maybe it was just a coincidence, but he had to find out for himself he picked up his phone and called Lily’s phone it was turned off, something that never happens as part of the homicide squad your phone needs to be on at all times.
James thought to himself that the news from the hospital must not be good and maybe Lily wanted to spend time with her long-time partner, so he called the hospital to enquire about the gunshot victim.
“Sir, I’m not sure how to tell you this but we haven’t had a gunshot victim brought in tonight,” the receptionist on the other end of the phone responded to James’ request for information, shocked and shaken James hung up the phone as his arm carrying the device dropped to his side, all of a sudden feeling like it weighed a ton.
Australian Horror Author Brendon Meynell returns with 'Nightmares - Short and Sweet before you Sleep' a collection of short horror stories perfect for bedtime reading, or on the daily commute to and from work. From battling inner-demons, to deranged stalkers, this book has absolutely everything you need to ensure you check under your bed before you rest your head.