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Monster Hunter

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Crime Scene

Most serial killers kill in the same way every time. The Monster Hunter was not typical; the only common denominator for his methods was the pain he inflicted on them. The psychologist didn’t know what to make of him, except to say he was well-read and prepared when he arrived. The smart ones were the hardest to catch.

Previous victims of the Monster Hunter died during different forms of medieval torture. Child abusers were his target, and the men had been burned alive, boiled in water, impaled, quartered, and slowly crushed under a heavy stone. Any of those were preferable to how these men died.

“I’m going to be sick,” Mark said. He’d seen some shocking crime scenes, but this was well past those.

“Go upstairs,” Angel told him. She started her phone recording video and her comments for her walk-through of the scene. The two men had something stuffed in their mouths, and their eyes were open in silent agony. Blood was everywhere, so she watched where her booted feet stepped. She would come back to the dead men later.

Instead, Angel went down the hallway towards the far end of the basement. There were two rooms on the left side, both of the heavy metal doors open. The cells had cement floors, a mattress with a thin blanket, and a bucket. The ceiling-mounted closed-circuit cameras in each corner facing the door provided full coverage of the cell. Fingernail scratches and vertical smears of blood on the door were evidence of the child’s extended imprisonment.

It must have taken him months to build this out. The original egress windows were filled with concrete, leaving the stairway as the only entrance. He’d covered the walls and ceiling with multiple layers of overlapping sound insulation. He could be down here for days, and no one would hear the screams.

It was a design-built torture chamber and the playground of a professional child abuser. “I’d bet a paycheck there’s a burial ground somewhere in the basement,” she said as she reached the back wall. Once a victim came down those stairs, she would never go back up. Daniel could hold his victims for months, even years, until they finally died.

He planned for every eventuality, except being found by a man sicker than he was.

His labors enabled the Monster Hunter to torture the pair for hours without his neighbors knowing a thing.

Across the hall from the cells, Angel found a bathroom/shower room and an office area. The camera feed was still on the monitor. The monitor showed the two cells, the upstairs and the front and back of the house. There was no computer and no recording system, which was a surprise. Many of these pedophiles liked to tape their victims so they could replay them between victims. “This fucker didn’t have any ‘between victims’ time,” she muttered to herself.

(If you are squeamish, you might want to skip five paragraphs.)

Heading back to the main room, Angel used her flashlight to inspect the bodies. A discarded scalpel lay in the pool of blood below them, obviously the murder weapon. It was a disposable model, available in any medical supply store or hospital.

The Hunter sliced through the skin around their wrists, following that with a vertical slice down to their armpits. The killer then peeled back the skin from their arms like you might remove a long dish glove, exposing the underlying muscles and tissue. Two empty bottles of rubbing alcohol and some smelling salts floated in the puddle of blood. The disinfectant would amp up the pain, and the salts would revive them when they passed out from it.

The Monster Hunter got his money’s worth. The pain must have been beyond imagining.

The bloody skin tubes hung down along their sides, but that was just the warmup. The next cuts went from shoulder to shoulder just below the neck and along their sides to their hips. The skin of their chest and abdomen were peeled away and hung down to their knees. Another incision in their stomachs allowed their intestines to spill out below them.

“Victims likely died of shock and blood loss,” she said into her phone. Using her flashlight, Angel took a closer look at their mouths and wasn’t so sure. She used a pen to lift the flap of skin over Daniel’s hip out of the way, enough to verify where the object in their mouths originated. “Or perhaps they choked to death when he stuffed their cocks and balls down their throats. Damn, he’s raising his game,” she said quietly.

She backed away from the bodies, careful not to step in blood. Once clear, she swapped out her booties to be safe and headed up the stairs.

Angel met the Crime Scene guys in the kitchen. The team leader recognized her. “Is it as bad as they said?”

“Worst I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot,” Angel said. “There’s also no sign of forced entry, and the footprints in the blood are probably from the local cops. Make sure you get pictures of the shoes of every person who went down there, including me,” she told them. The soiled Tyvek suit went into a garbage bag by the door, and then she was done. She walked out the door, meeting Mark and Mandy outside. “We need cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar out here as soon as possible,” she told her partner.

“What’s going on,” Mandy asked.

“There are two general types of child molesters,” Angel replied. “I call them Opportunists and Collectors. The opportunists see someone, take them, use them, then kill or release them. It might be a day or a decade between victims, as the need builds until they see a chance to do it again. This guy was a Collector. They kidnap their victims and hold them, using them whenever the urge strikes. He’s built a soundproof bunker down there, and he lives in a suburban neighborhood, and he probably did this to more than one girl. Once Daniel is done with a girl, he has to get rid of the body. It might be in the back yard, but it’s more likely it never left the basement. He might have a grave under the concrete down there.”

“Sick fuck.”

“Yeah.” Angel knew all too well what life in that basement was like, and the rage burned inside her. “Do we have an identification on the other guy yet?”

Mark rolled his eyes. “Yeah, and that’s a whole other shitshow.” He pulled out an evidence bag from his pocket; inside was a passport, wallet, and diplomatic credentials from the Turkish Embassy in Washington. “Colonel Ishmael Akpakar, age forty-five, Military Attache’ at the Turkish Embassy. I called it in; the State Department will be here with a representative from their Embassy shortly.” He looked over at the press vans and groaned. “And the shitstorm will continue.”

Angel glanced at the press. It was five in the morning, and there were six news vans parked down the street. The “Have you given them anything?”

“Hell no. I don’t like cameras, and it’s well above my paygrade now,” Mark said.

“We’ve made no official statements, but some of the details have leaked out,” Mandy said. She showed the news feed on her phone. “MONSTER HUNTER TORTURES TWO AND SAVES ONE IN FALLS CHURCH,” read the headline over a photograph of a small girl coming out in a gurney. “We’ll be referring all inquiries to the FBI’s Task Force.”

The three heard a buzzing sound. Looking up, they saw a drone circling the house taking video. If there was any doubt as to who was responsible, our presence here cleared that up. Angel pointed to the quadcopter. “Can we do anything about that?”

“Judge says the FAA has jurisdiction over the airspace; it’s no different than that news helicopter over there,” Mandy replied.

Monster Hunter’s latest murders would be today’s biggest story, and it had two sides. Some people thought the Monster Hunter was a sick serial killer who needed to be caught and thrown in prison for life. The majority agreed he was a sick bastard but didn’t mind him taking out the trash that the police couldn’t.

“There’s nothing more we can do here until the scene is processed,” Angel said. “Any good places to eat around here? I could use some breakfast.”

“I’m not hungry,” Mark replied.

“I know a place with decent coffee,” Mandy said as she led them off. Reporters shouted questions at them as they climbed back into their cars and drove out. Some yelled at Angel by name, asking when the FBI would bring him to justice.

Mark had a news talk station playing on the way, and the story dominated. Callers were of two minds on the topic, the majority saying the dead men deserved every bit of pain and suffering they got. “If MY daughter had been in there, I’d shake his hand and buy the guy a beer,” one caller said. Another caller said the police should be arresting these sickos first, “so the sick bastards can get shanked in prison with the other rapists and abusers.”

If you are a serial killer who wants the public behind you, make your victims rapists and child molesters.

I’d had no sex, no sleep, and the regular workday would start soon. It was going to be a circus, and I had ringside seats.

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