It’s snowing again. Big wet flakes plunge from the evening sky to the streets below. From my fourth floor window the scenery looks as peaceful as the pictures on the Christmas cards Emma keeps on her desk. For me, it’s the season without reason. The new layer of snow only reminds me of the bodies piling up in the city morgue. When the hell did I start to count down to the holiday season by the hike in the crime rate?
I close my eyes—each victim’s face flashes before them. I curse under my breath and try to make sense of the killings.
Superstitions and biblical prophesies—old wives’ tales told to scare the shit out of weak men, and innocent children. Delusions of twisted beliefs rule the mind, poison the heart, and push unsuspecting fools to the brink of insanity.
To hell with what anyone says. There’s nothing supernatural about those boys we pulled out of the bay. They were dead long before their bodies washed ashore. The kicker? Assuming the bodies decayed at the same rate, he’s killed one kid every week. If he’s still at it, we’re already too late to prevent ... Jesus, who knows how many more. But it was the water and natural processes, not demons that left us with little more than the discarded remnants of a madman’s fury. Yet the crimes are precise, planned like a well-choreographed dance I didn’t agree to, but even the most deliberate acts of violence are rarely perfect.
On the streets, tinsel and bright colored lights can’t mask the undercurrent of fear that has spread through the city and reporters are pressing for answers. All I need to hear is a slip of the tongue—just one mindless deed and the killer is mine. But solutions are in short supply and the knot in the pit of my stomach is more in tune with each tick of the clock that measures another segment of time without answers. One inaccurate statement from me is all it would take to feed the media frenzy. That pack of journalists can lick their lips and starve before I’d give them a crumb to feed on.
Damn, it’s after eight. Later than I meant to stay. I’ve thumbed through the case file a million times and the lack of evidence stings like a sharp blow to the jaw. Facts are distorted, leads haven’t panned out. Just when I think I’m close, the evidence points in a different direction and makes it impossible for me to wipe the case from my mind. This time, capturing the guilty won’t begin to make anything right. The killer’s obsessions have destroyed lives and shattered beliefs.
A familiar, unsettling jerk in the pit of my gut yanks harder with each ring of my cell. I know exactly what’s coming. Don’t need to answer the call to know the killer has struck again. This time, that nagging little voice in the back of my head tells me I’m in for a long ugly chase down a narrow path that leads straight into hell.