Monday 23 March 2015

Serial killer

The newspaper reported on three murders.

The police tried to keep it quiet as not to start panic in the area of Winterfeed, it being a small community with only a handful of police at the small station in this rural area. A population of only two thousand people not many crimes had ever happened here.

Our division asked to help as our chief was a close friend of the sheriff and he only admitted to our chief that he thought he had a serial killer on his hands. He did not want the FBI sticking their nose into his case. I was one of the people picked. I packed enough in my suitcase to last a couple of weeks hoping it would only take that long to catch this crazed person. They had found three women raped, strangled and left in a stream where a fisherman had come across the first victim three weeks ago. The second women was found a week later by a couple walking their dog. The third women had been found near the stream, she was harder to identify as she had been mauled by animals and dragged a short distant.

My partner and I drove up Sunday morning the sun was starting to warm as it was the last week of June. The town nestled in amongst a beautiful setting of trees with a steam running beside the highway until we turned off towards town. You would have thought this place was out of some movie scene, old buildings with bright colors doors and window coverings. With a few older men sitting outside a café, a look from them told us they knew who we were and why we were here. This town reminded me of where I grew up a small town similar bringing back good memories of my childhood.

It was not long until we spotted the police station, parking the car Bill and I emerged into the hot dusty street, it was not paved as we walked the dust covered our clean boots. The door was wide open and an elderly lady sat behind an old desk that had seen better days. Her smile was infectious as she moved towards us with her hand extended. Introduced herself as Mrs, Bolton, she let us know she only helped out the real police girl was off having a baby.

Her boss was expecting us, he had just gone down to the café for lunch and should be back in half an hour, if we wanted to get settle at the hotel across the way as he did not like being disturb eating his lunch.

Saying we would take her advice we headed across the street, the man at the desk, wore glasses with large dark rims making his face look smaller than it actually was. His shirt had mustard left over from lunch splashed down the front. Asking if we needed help with bags we told him they were still in our trunk and we would bring them in later.

Handed us keys he went back to watching the television, saying over his shoulder the café down the street closed at seven so to make sure we got there for dinner by six, as it was the only place to eat unless we drove out to Extern twenty miles away.

We had noticed a coffee pot at the station so headed back to wait for the sheriff to arrive. Asking to read the reports on the murders Mrs, Bolton handed over the files that sat on her desk, telling us to help ourselves to the homemade cookies from her kitchen.

Just finishing our coffee, we hear heavy footsteps on the stairs and a bulk of a man stepped through the door, noticing he certainly did not miss any lunches or the homemade cookies. His stomach hid his belt, his beard his jowls, but greeted us with a smile and firm handshake. He was obviously happy for our help.

After going through the files with him again, he told us he did not have any suspects, thinking it had to be someone not from the area, as he knew everyone that lived here in town and the surrounding area. They all were good folk.

We suggested that we were going to head out to where the bodies had been discovered to have a look around he offered to drive us so we all got into his car. As we were leaving another police, car arrived and a young officer came towards the car poking his head in the driver’s side window. The deputy’s name was Gary, he looked no older than twenty as he nodded towards us. Asking George the sheriff if he should come too, George told him to catch up on his paper work and we would see him later. His look showed disappointment not to be included, going up the stairs two at a time he turned then headed inside the door.

We headed back out of town along the highway I noticed a few men fishing so I was sure the bodies had been dumped at night the men agreed. George stopped at a pullover and we started down towards the stream. Many footprints scattered the area hopefully the team had cordoned off the vicinity before all these prints appeared. George stood back as Bill and I walked the surrounding area back and forth a few times.

Bill spotted a piece of cloth on a branch pulling a plastic bag out. I canvassed the tree closer slipping under the branches, a cigarette lay half-covered by a leaf, and I too put it in a bag. I was sure the killer stood here after he killed one of the girls having a smoke. Looking further under the leaves, I spotted a black button beside a rock, when I picked up the button I could see a faint red spot. Calling to Bill, he said it certainly looked like blood to him. George bent down losing his balance, Bill catching him before he landed on me. That man needed to lose some poundage.

It would take a week before the samples came back from forensic, we put a rush on them sending them to our station. Getting back, we realized we had not eaten except a cookie at the station, we headed out to the café before they closed.

A grey haired women who looked like she should be home with her grandchildren instead of waiting tables handed us the menu telling us the meatloaf was today’s special with homemade pie for dessert. Taking her advice, we asked for a beer as we waited.

The meatloaf was the best either of us had tasted, the apple pie as well, feeling too full we now knew why George was over weight as the portions were huge.

Walking back to the hotel, we got our bags from the trunk headed inside for an early night. There was a different man at the desk who gave us our keys asking if we needed anything before he went off duty. No one operated the desk after nine he informed us.

Guess if the place burned down you were on your own I quipped to Bill. Saying goodnight I headed for a bath to get all the dust and greenery off me. Setting the alarm for seven I was out in know time until the ringing of my alarm.

Gary was in the office alone, drinking coffee when we arrived from the café after consuming eggs bacon and hash browns. George had told him of us finding some evidence yesterday and wanted to hear what we thought of it. Small towns are inclined to gossip so we did not elaborate on our findings telling him it was a wait and see. A look of rejection showed on this young man’s face. I felt guilty not letting him in on our find telling him he would be the first when we knew, a smile crossed his face as Mrs. Bolton arrived with a basket fill with scones and cookies.   

Bill and I decided to question some of the town people who lived close to the area where the bodies had been found. We got a list of names and addresses from Gary headed out into the sunshine, it was going to be a very hot day as the temperature was already at 70 degrees and only nine o’clock. Gary offered to drive us and when we said it was fine we would wander on our own, again a look of rejection.

The first four houses we visited had not heard or seen anyone in the area, two had small babies that had colds so they were busy with them. One woman thought she heard a cry for help but though it was from the television. Her husband had been working that night. The fourth no one was home except a teenage girl that was afraid to open the door to us speaking with the chain on the door. Saying her family was in Extern shopping they had not heard or seen anyone around, that did not live in the area. Her parents would be home at six, if we wanted to talk to them.

The fifth house lay back in a clearing surrounded with trees and a man was gardening out front hoeing rows of what looked like vegetables. He stopped as we drove up walking towards our car introducing himself as Jack. His wife worked the day shift him the night shift at the local bar. He said he now went to pick up his wife before he started his shift telling her not to answer the door when he was not home. He could not add anything to our investigation, thanking him and left.

One house sat alone near the end of the road, looking rundown a man answered as we knocked, he looked as unkempt as the house and yard with garbage and tools lying on the porch. Before we said a word, he told us he was a busy man and did not want anything we had to sell. Bill showed his badge, saying we just had a few questions. He had nothing to say to us and closed the door yelling not to bother him again. We would have to follow up with the sheriff on this one. Guilt all over his face.

Both of us were sweating, our clothes-soaking wet so decided to head back to town for a cold shower and change of cloths before talking to any more locals and checking in with the sheriff. Dark rim small face was on duty when we arrived, getting our keys, he asked if we had found any clues yet. I noticed his shirt was different no mustard to be seen but blotches of catsup instead, he was one sloppy eater. Harry had a badge on his shirt today with supervisor written with a black marker on it.

Bill and I planned to shower and meet at the sheriff’s office in an hour. Someone had been in my room, as I always put a strand of my red hair on the door, it was on the floor. Just a habit of mine I picked up from my early days of undercover work. Slowly I went over the room found my suitcase had been gone through as well as my lingerie in the drawer. One pair of my panties missing someone weird had been visiting. I looked to see if any camera had been installed, nothing.

Showered and changed I headed out to meet Bill, he was sitting having a coffee and scone talking to George and Mrs. Bolton she offered me a scone, declining I poured myself a coffee. I would wait for dinner at the café or I would need to go on a diet before I left this place, with the large portions that they served.

The phone rang and you could hear a frantic voice, his daughter had not come home last night, he thought she was staying over at a friend’s house until the friend phoned today asking for her. We all headed out the door, Gary standing waiting for directions, I said I would ride with him, his face showed appreciation.

The man lived not far out of the town and we arrived ten minutes after the call. His wife was nowhere to be seen George introduce us, telling us his wife was away helping her sister out.

Mr Bailey was trying to hold his emotions in but broke down, explaining about his daughter, who he had not seen since her babysitting job that ended at 6 pm the day before. Sally was a sixteen year old a good girl who did not have a boyfriend and was more interested in her music.

We all headed for the steam that went passed his property, Mr Bailey insisted on coming with us. We must have walk for about a mile when we came across the body laying half in and half out of the water. Her neck had a bright scarf wrapped tightly around it. Her naked body sprawled, crawling insects already aggressive. Mr. Bailey went to go to her as George held him back whispering we need to get the forensic people here to catch this animal.

Bill and I carefully walk around looking for any clue spotting a cigarette butt on the ground the bastard had stood here just hours ago. George made a few calls as we waited for the doctor to arrive, I asked Gary to drive Mr. Bailey home and call his wife to come home. He nodded and took Mr. Bailey gentle towards his home.

After the crew had arrived and we combed the area, we headed back to the station. George pulled out a bottle of scotch from his drawer pouring us all a stiff drink I told Bill and George someone had been in my hotel room. I thought George was going to choke as his drink came spurting out of his mouth, asking how I knew that.

George looked at us both saying then it was someone from his town, the tears welled up in his eyes. We sat in silence wondering what are next steps would be. Four women dead and we were no closer to finding this killer. Bill put a call into our station and wanted the results from forensic by morning. Neither of us was hungry so headed back to the hotel.

Harry was standing talking to his co-worker stopped when we came in the door. He had a smudge of dirt on his pant leg when he saw me looking he said he had to be on his way. Getting our keys Bill followed me up to my room, checking to make sure everything was in order. Suggesting we shower, change, and go for a light dinner before the café closed for the night.

As we approached the café, a car sat outside,  as passed we both noticed the dirty tires, Bill and I both moved closer as he bent  down pretending to tie his shoe and scraped some of the grit into a baggie. Whoever owned this car had been near the steam, could be a fisherman.

Harry sat at the counter talking to the young waitress drinking a coffee, nodding as we slipped into a booth. She looked relieved to have more customers to deal with. Bringing over the menu telling us roast chicken mashed potatoes and salad was today’s special. Bills appetite returned I opted for the salad.

Harry left as we watched him get into the car outside, asked the girl whose name was Jen on her name tag how well she knew Harry. She had gone to school with him until he quit a few years back, she said he was always trying to hit on her but she had a boy friend and was not interested but he kept trying. The bell sounded as she went to bring our food.

Walking back, we spotted Harry in his car parked down the street from the café, no lights on, his silhouette in the driver’s side. Turning the corner out of sight, we waited, about twenty minutes Jen came walking past his car he was asking if she wanted a ride, we could see her shaking her head and carry on towards us. Harry started his car and came towards us, seeing us he just kept going past. We had tipped our hand as he now knew we were there watching him.

We walked Jen to her house and suggested she have someone meet her after work to walk her home. She was unaware that we had seen Harry ask her for a lift. Bill told her she should not get into any ones car even if she knew them until the killer was found.

The next week there was no more bodies found which we were thankful for and the samples came back, no saliva showed on the cigarettes, too much dirt, they did have a small DNA sample on both. The button did have a speck of blood of one of the girls on it. Now we had to place the killer at the scene, as the areas were frequented by most of the population from fisherman, to picnickers to people just out for a walk to cool off.

Walking back we dropped into the station Gary sat alone head down writing. He smiled as we came in happy to have someone to talk to. Offering us coffee declining we sat. The first question out of my mouth how well did he know Harry from the hotel? Bill sat letting me ask the questions. Had he ever been in any trouble, did he have family living in the area?

Gary sat a bit in shock, then gave us a complete background, he was a troubled teenager, his father kicked him out when he quit school, his mother left them both when Harry was six years old. His Dad died a year ago, Harry lived in the old house off Drayton road, he had let the yard get overgrown, and the house was slowly deteriorating over the last year. He thought there had been a bit of money, a car as there was no other kin. Did we think Harry was the killer? Just keep an eye on him until we get a DNA sample to-morrow.

Bill checked my room again for any disturbance I told him was unnecessary as my hair was still in place at my door, saying goodnight we would meet for breakfast tomorrow.

After my bath, I felt restless putting on a pair of shorts and top I thought I would go over my notes, remembering leaving them in my car I headed down stairs, The lobby was empty and dark. The door was locked slipping the bolt I stepped out on the veranda the night was sultry with no breeze. I opened the car door leaning over to pick up my notes I heard a noise turning was the last thing I remember.

I could hear the stream roaring past as I came awake, he had brought me to the deepest part of the stream, I saw the outline of my car up on the layaway the headlights going out. Harry coming down towards me the moon high in the sky shone on the fast flowing water I could make out he had a bright scarf in his hand. I rolled into the cool water letting the moving water take me down stream. Floating, it brought back memories as children we would float for hours starting at the top to the bottom seeing who could stay the longest in the cold water. I was the winner every time out of pure stubbornness.

The water was starting to chill my body I was not a kid anymore, so should try to get out soon. I could hear Harry thrashing through the trees, a flashlight scanning near me, when it came close I went under. The other side of the stream had a high sheer bank the incline was far to steep so I had to get ahead of Harry before I emerged from the water. Still hearing him over the gushing water he seemed to be farther behind, now was my chance, pulling myself towards the edge I crawled out onto the ground, something moved under me, just a mouse or rat I thought. Bending low against the ground I moved towards the trees, A branch broke he was close, I had nothing to protect myself, looking for a fallen bough or rock my hand came on a boulder.

I waited shivering, he emerged shining his flashlight into the water, he thought I was still in the stream. I came cautiously up behind him, he turned saw me and  tried to hit me with his light, I got him right in his face sending his glasses to the ground, he yelped going down, giving him one more hard hit to the head he was out.

He had the scarf hanging out of his jacket pocket I tied his hands tightly wishing I could put it around his neck. I gave him one kick to the groin and headed towards a house nearby with the lights on. Then phoned my location to Bill and went back to wait to make sure Harry was not going anywhere. As I approached he was trying to stand up, groggy as he swayed I swept his feet from under him down he went. That is when he told me if I had not come down to my car he had been waiting outside the hotel until my lights went out and he was going to come up and strangle me in bed. He cried that I had ruined everything for him. 

The piece of cloth found matched a coat of Harry’ s in his closet with the button missing, he would never see the outside again and would spend many years on death row before getting the injection.

Maybe I would revisit my old town, maybe not.

1 comment:

  1. Chilling, I think you should be writing a murder mystery series and start publishing them!