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Chapter 8

“Alright, it was the morning of May 22nd, 1998. It was a shit day for spring. Low 50s, cloudy. The rain had just stopped when I got out to the murder scene. And it was a murder, that was obvious from the start. Young gal was jogging by the house, said she’d heard screaming. She was too scared to knock on the door of the place, but she managed to wave down a passing patrol Deputy after a short time. Jacobs was his name, Arnold Jacobs. Local grown fella, short, burly framed, but friendly enough. Anyway, Jacobs got up to the porch and knocked on the door. Nobody answered. He went around back, there was nobody in sight. Back to the front door he went and knocked again with no luck. Young Deputy Jacobs decided he didn’t like the feel of the thing so he tries the door. It was locked. He gave it a kick and let himself in. Short time later, he found the two victims bled out on the floor and started calling for the ambulance.”

“I’d seen a few things by then and I’ve seen some things since, but nothing that quite sticks with me like the desperation of that living room where they died. Sorry…forgive me boys. I don’t mean for the waterworks. Excuse me…I’ve a daughter of my own, she was just a little one at that time. But damn if I didn’t see my little girl instead of that young woman on the floor. There was such a hatred for the monster responsible that boiled up in me, you cannot imagine.”

“I say the desperation of the room because it was evident the young pair had tried to fight back. The walls were littered with blood spatter, cracks, indents, and holes throughout. None of the furniture was upright, some of it was broken or ripped. Especially disturbing to me was a lamp pole, a tall one mind you, snapped in half like a thin branch might break over a knee. Plenty of blood on it too.”

“I spent hours in that house. Best I could figure it, the case was a burglary gone wrong. A rear-facing window appeared to have been pried open from the outside, I believe that would have been the east side of the house. Save for the horror of the living room, the whole place seemed to have been rifled through. Dresser drawers, cupboards, even the bathroom vanity had been ransacked. I also found a jewelry box, a few suit cases, and some storage bins that had been opened up and dumped. I’ll point out to you that the victims’ wallets were on their person in the end and that I could not find a damn thing which might have been taken from the house. At some point during the burglary, Zach and Erica Landry came home. Sorry, Zach and Erica, those would be the victims. The burglar must not have found what he was looking for yet, or surely he would have tried to leave when he heard them pull in. I figured he hid somewhere in the house or the couple would not have made it far into the place without noticing him. Surely they noticed the mess though.”

“It was fairly clear to me what had happened next. Somehow, the Landry’s became aware of his presence, violence ensued. No way to know the aggressor, but the burglar was their better by a long shot. I tried to reconstruct the scuffle best I could according to the disorder of the room. I figured the men came to blows first, Zach must have put up some kind of a fight for the furniture being turned over, but he was overpowered in the living room and knocked to the floor near a tossed night stand. Found a tooth there that belonged to him. Somehow, Erica Landry is stabbed with one of the kitchen knives. Likely, while the men fought she went to the kitchen, grabbed a blade from the countertop, and then returned to the living room to help her husband. Zach was probably only just knocked down when she entered. Burglar must have seen her in time, taken the knife from her, and stabbed her several times before sticking it in her leg. Fair to say that Zach caught a second wind at this point and resumed his attack only to be raked across the walls and tossed around the room like a rag doll. His blood and a few more teeth left a trail mostly in a clockwise direction around the exterior of the room. The burglar beats him nearly to being unrecognizable, likely with that lamp pole I mentioned earlier. The burglar, not sure I need to say it, but he must have been some kind of ungodly strong to turn the place up like that.”

“About ten minutes passed between the jogger’s report of screaming and Deputy Jacobs knocking on the door. I had no idea if the killer had found what he was looking for, no idea if anything was missing, and no idea where he had gone. We couldn’t find any blood in the place that did not belong to one Landry or the other. Except for the screams, nobody had seen or heard anything. Canvas of the neighborhood was pointless, it was your typical 'ain't nobody seen anything' story from all the neighbors. K-9 track could not even find a scent, it seemed hopeless. The only thing we found out of place really was half a slip of paper with the Landry’s address scribbled on it. Just the address mind you, not their names.”

“Well, a few days went by before there was another murder of like ferocity not two hours up the road from the Landry place. Facts of the injuries to the victims were similar except that this act had been carried out in public, in a liquor store. Four dead, no witnesses. Security cameras weren’t so common then as they are now. Soon as I saw it on the news I figured my man was running north, more likely than not on limited funds or so I hoped. Again, there was no trace of him. I began to give up on the idea of catching this bastard. Lucky for me help came along, albeit in a strange way.”

“I say help now, but that’s not what I thought then. About a week had passed since the murder when a stranger showed up at the office. Middle-aged white male, combed back hair which grayed at the sides, clean shaven, tall, thin build, and in a suit no less. Introduced himself as a college professor. Most noticeable feature was the eyes, they were strange. How so? Well I reckon the feeling they gave was akin to what one of them astronauts feels when they look out into the vacuum of space. Sure, smile if you want, but that's how he looked to me.”

“Anyhow, he said to me, ‘Seems you may be in need of my assistance Detective.’ He wasn’t from Texas, European accent if I had to guess.”

“‘Is that so?’ I said.”

“‘With the Landry murder,’ he said.”

“‘What do you know about that?’ I asked. So he went on to tell me that he’s been to the crime scene and had himself a look around. He told me that Korbin Drake was my man. ‘Who’s Korbin Drake?’ I asked him.”

“‘Why Detective,’ he said in his demeaning voice, ‘he is the man who murdered the Landry couple and the four additional victims only three days ago!’”

“‘You can’t go accusing folks just like that!’ I told him. ‘You need evidence! Proof!’”

“‘Indeed,’ he said. ‘And evidence you have.’ He held out to me a small cut out scrap of carpet. The smallest red spot was just visible in the center of the piece.”

“‘Where did you get this?’ I asked him.”

“‘The Landry residence, from the living room of course,’ he said.”

“‘You took this from the crime scene?!’ I shouted. I was furious. It occurred to me to arrest him then and there. Trespassing, obstruction, the charges raced through my newly promoted mind.”

“‘I think you mean to thank me for collecting the incriminating blood spatter you failed to notice from your own investigation of the scene sir. You are welcome. Lucky for you someone struck the fiend, if only barely so.’ He was still holding the piece of carpet out to me.”

“Now boys, I was beside myself. The man was speaking nonsense and doing so in a tone that an angry father might use to belittle a child, but what if he was right? The picture of the girl in my mind haunted me at the idea of passing up any lead, however ridiculous it sounded. So I took the piece of carpet from him. ‘Alright,’ I said. ‘I’ll look into it.’”

“‘No need at present Detective, I am prepared to take you to the man now and resolve the matter,’ he said.”

“I was a greenhorn detective then and matters had developed too fast for me to make decisions in my right mind. Somehow, we ended up driving south on the highway out of town in my squad car. There was a small campground near the county line then. I suspect it must be gone by now, but that’s where he directed me. Soon enough we were walking up on this bench by the pond that’s out there. There was a fella laid out on it. He had jeans and a torn coat on, looked like the stereotypical homeless veteran might given his dress. Spooky looking too. His skin was weird. Obviously a white guy, but the color was off – dark and kind of reddish. I don’t know, never seen anything like it.”

“‘Mr. Drake!’ the professor shouted.”

“The man on the bench stirred.”

“‘Mr. Drake, I daresay your hunting has come to an end! And none too soon I might add.’ He shouted.”

“The man on the bench sat up and looked at us. ’Alright son, keep your hands where I can see ‘em.’ I said, ‘I need to talk to you.’ I had my revolver on him already. The man on the bench smiled at me. I’m not embarrassed to say that I had a few hairs on end. The man stood up. ‘Don’t do anything rash boy,’ I said. I pulled the hammer back. Last thing I recall was him leaping over the bench towards me. There was some flashes, a ringing, I think I blacked out.”

“When I came too I was on my back, still in the park and the European fella was standing over me.‘What happened?’ I asked.”

“‘A fine job sir,’ he said. ‘There are none your equal in Scotland Yard!’”

“‘What are you talking about?’ I asked.”

“‘Well Detective, it seems you got your man despite being overcome by exhaustion directly afterwards,’ he said.”

“Sure enough, Korbin Drake was face down nearby with my handcuffs on him. Bastard looked like he was in a lot of pain too. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but the European insisted that I had laid the murderer out and wrestled him into handcuffs. He said I got pale when I stood up and toppled over. ‘Don’t be embarrassed,” he said, “anatomy is a strange thing, quite so when the body is stressed.’ I didn’t know what to do but take his word for it. Then was the funny thing, he told me that the blood on the carpet was surely from this man, Korbin Drake. ‘Hold him for assaulting a police officer until the test if you doubt me, but rest assured sir that the blood is his,’ he said it very matter of fact.”

“‘Will you answer a subpoena when it comes to that?’ I asked him.”

“‘Unnecessary,’ he said. ‘You may have the credit Detective. I have no doubts that you would have come to this point on your own.’ Then he just walked away. I couldn’t very well go after him with Drake on the ground. By the time I had the killer in my squad I had lost sight of the stranger anyhow, never heard from him again.”

“What did I do? Charged the bastard with assaulting a police officer for starters. He was still in our jail when the blood test came back, it was just as the European said it would be. Got him to admit to most of what had occurred. He was awful sick for the first few months and became quite agreeable to answering questions. Never did tell us why he broke into the house, but he did not dispute that he had killed the Landry couple and the four in the liquor store. Didn’t give us a reason for it, just said that he did it. I thought maybe he was so sick because the guilt had finally caught up with him, but I couldn’t be sure. It was a very physical illness, whatever it was. He had the sweats, discoloration, everything.”

“The rest you know I reckon. He’s been in prison far as I know until you boys told me otherwise. Not sure I’ve got more to add than that. What was that? The European’s name? Professor something…wait…Professor Elder, that was it. He could have made that up though, never saw an ID.”

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