Short Stories

Who Is The Killer?

“Giles, what do you make of it?”

Detective Giles Walker bent down over the young girl’s body. His face wrinkled as he examined the torn skirt, bruised thighs, and the partially separated head.

He turned to Steve, “This is the second victim this month. Look here, in the mud. Our murderer intentionally dragged his own feet to destroy his footprints to the asphalt.”

Steve pulled out his cell phone and took several photos of the drag marks. He then began to photograph the scene —first, the cracked and ignored asphalt road that led to the old mill. Next, the piles of old bricks, rotten boards, and partially caved in mill roof.

He turned back to Giles, “Do you think he took her in there and then brought her out after he’d raped her?”

Giles stared at the girl for several seconds and then answered. “No, I think he did it out here in front of God and everyone. He knew nobody would come down that road, and he was proud of his actions.”

Steve raised an eyebrow and then walked towards the partially collapsed doorway. There were no signs of blood or drag marks. He turned to see Giles taking several pictures of the victim’s body. Steve ambled across the overgrown ground and joined the other detective.

“I think the lab boys will take plenty of photos of our victim.”

Giles responded, “They never do it right. If we’re going to catch this killer, we need to step outside procedure. Besides, I keep a collection.”

Steve’s voice went up an octave, “You keep a collection of victim photos?”

Giles nodded, “Sure. It helps me think whenever we come across something like this. After all, there are only so many ways a killer can murder someone.”

He pointed to the young girl’s throat, “Take this cut, for instance. It’s smooth and even. The killer probably considered it a work of art since he made a point of tilting her head back. What do you think caused it?”

Steve crossed his arms, “A depraved mind?”

Giles smacked Steve on the chest, “Lighten up, buddy. No, some sort of wire, like piano wire or one of those razor wire devices.”

Steve took a step back, “So, you’re saying our killer is what, a perverted spy?”

Giles shrug and then took two photos of the girl’s neck. “No, I think he’s pretty smart. If I didn’t have a dozen murder scene photos like this at home, I would have assumed it was a sharp knife. I’m guessing our killer is intentionally using strange items we don’t normally find in this sort of case.”

Steve answered, “And you think writing her name in the grass with her blood is a sign of genius.”

“Throws us off the trail. It has all the markings of some lonely, depraved individual who searches for his victims on the internet and then lures them out to rape and kill them.”

“But you don’t think that’s what happened,” answered Steve.

Giles slipped his phone in his pocket and answered flatly, “No.”

Steve asked, “What about the schoolgirl outfit?”

Giles pointed towards the weeds near the factory, “There are some books and a book bag the patrolman found before we got here. I just haven’t made my way over there yet. I think she was on her way to school and was picked up by somebody she trusted.”

“What, like an Uncle?”

“Maybe,” answered Giles.

The two men walked among the tall grass to see if they could find anything else. Steve took a deep breath of fresh air to clear his mind and process the murder collection at Giles home.  Giles’ voice broke his train of thought.

“I suppose I should get those books. Do you have any gloves on you, I forgot mine?”

Steve answer, “We can let the lab boys do it.”

Giles stopped, “No, I want to handle this one personally.”

Steve pointed to his car. “I don’t keep them in my pocket. They’re in the trunk.”

“Okay, I’ll get them,” responded Giles.

Steve watched Giles open the trunk of his car and disappear. For several seconds, the rear of the car gently rocked up and down.

Steve hollered, “They’re in my bag.”

“Sorry,” answered Giles.

The trunk lid closed, and Steve turned to make his way back towards the books. The sound of Giles clearing his throat and the distinct chambering of a round in a service pistol caught Steve’s attention.

Giles’ voice was stern, “Keep your hands up.”

Steve put his hands up, and his chin dropped to his chest. “You won’t get away with this.”

“I suspected something when you seemed annoyed by my piano wire observation. Your expression gave away your guilt.”

Giles stopped talking, and an officer removed Steve’s pistol and put him in handcuffs.

Giles continued, “Of course, I couldn’t be sure, that’s why I looked in your trunk. Our victim isn’t completely cold, so the murder could not have happened too long ago. Dispatch told me on the way over that it was an anonymous call. I suspected that you might still have the evidence in your car, most likely the trunk.”

Steve grimaced, “You think you’re pretty smart, don’t you?”

“Most people don’t think to look in the spare tire well unless they have a reason. I might have missed the bloody piano wire if you hadn’t stored it in a plastic bag. Officer, please take him away.”

Steve walked with the officer towards his car. The patrolman put Steve into the back seat of the cruiser.

Steve looked up at the officer, “You can’t be serious.”

“I’m not a judge. I have to go with what the senior detective says.”

The officer got into the front seat of the cruiser. He typed in some information into his laptop, punched a button on the console, and then left. The uniformed officer mumbled into his shoulder mic as he headed away from the crime scene and stopped at the bend in the private road. Steve watched Giles snap more pictures of the factory, the roadway, and the girl. Then he approached the cruiser and opened the back door.

Giles said, “I don’t understand you.”

Steve looked quizzically at Giles, “What do you mean?”

“You know.”

“I really don’t.”

“You know I framed you.”

Steve sat back and looked up at the car ceiling, “Well, I am wondering why you went through all the trouble of digging around my trunk when you had the evidence already on you.”

Giles started tapping the top of the car, “Dramatic effect. Officer Jones, over there, needed to believe I was digging for evidence. It’s just too bad nobody will know about my genius today.

“I like you, Steve. You’re a decent guy, but I didn’t like your report on my last murder. You referred to me as a pervert who can’t get a real woman. It’s not about sex; it’s about control. I had to respond.”

Steve nodded and then said, “Ya, I can see you’re all about control. Still, you’re taking a pretty big chance talking to me.”

Giles looked over his shoulder. Officer Jones was slowly making his way to the vehicle. He looked back down at Steve. “I’m almost done. The good officer is in no hurry.”

Sirens began to wale in the distance and got louder.

Steve spoke up, “You’d think they would know the scene is secure. Those lab boys, always wanting to make an entrance.”

Giles smiled, “You won’t have to worry about them anymore.”

Steve cocked his head, “Why?”

“Nobody knows about this little conversation, but you and me, and the murder evidence was in your trunk.”

Two black cars came to a skidding stop, and two senior detectives quickly left their vehicles with their weapons drawn. Officer Jones had his gun cocked and pointed six inches from Giles’ head.

Giles stammered, “What?”

Steve shoved his body against Giles as he rose from the cruiser. Giles fell to the ground, and Officer Jones jumped on top of him.

Steve spoke up, “You should have checked to see if the camera was on in the car.”

Officer Jones spoke up. “You should know your target’s friends.”

A senior detective uncuffed Steve, and he continued. “The good officer is my son-in-law. Today is my day off. I was over at my daughter’s house painting their fence when the call came in. I couldn’t be the murderer, but you didn’t know that.”

Giles screamed into the dirt and then the air as he was lifted off the ground and tossed into the patrol vehicle.

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