Petshop of Horrors
~ Divide ~
We are the painters of unseen images, the singers of
unheard songs, the care-takers of that which has been lost.
We are that which you choose to ignore.
Officer Orcot was sitting in the police car, smoking a cigarette and musing. He stared out the window at the ruined house. All of the murder victims had been found within a hundred-yards of this property.
"Damn," he exclaimed under his breath. "Three murders in three nights in the same location and we don't have so much as a suspect. Damn!"
The house had been abandoned for ten years, after the fire. The entire family had been killed in the blaze, and no one had gone near the place since. The police department had received frequent and absurd reports that the house was haunted, which was annoying, but not worth considering.
It didn't make sense.
What serial killer in his right mind would kill here? Repeatedly? What was the connection?
The cause of death was always exactly the same… there wasn't one. Bodies were simply found, stripped of life for no apparent reason. The location was always within a hundred yards of this house. Otherwise, they had no suspect and no clues as to how these murders were occurring.
More importantly, why?
It was a quiet day. The sky was clear and light blue. Yellow tape surrounded the perimeter of the property. The structure had collapsed and was a mere pile off walls, rubble, and charred, black timbers. This was now overgrown with weeds and flowers. On this sunny day, the place seemed more sad that sinister.
Leon got out of the car, shut the door, and began poking around. He took a few pictures and kicked a few rocks. The house was so badly crumbled that there was no possible way in or out of it, and no space to hide among the concrete and timbers. There was nothing here to go on. No murder weapon. No blood. No footprints. The murderer was like a ghost.
"Forget it," he mumbled, turning around… and walking straight into a little girl.
She had round, lavender eyes and long, purple hair tied up in pig-tails. She couldn't be more than eight years old. Her little hands were clenched in fists holding onto the skirt of her dress nervously.
"Oh!" gasped Leon, taken aback for a second. "Well hello there, kiddo!"
She looked at him without fear or surprise and tipped her head a little.
He smiled, bent his knees, and put his hands on them to look at her. "What's your name, little girl?"
She twisted side to side a little, staring at him silently.
"Do you live around here?" he tried.
The child blinked.
He was puzzled, but he quickly smiled again, not wanting to scare her. "No?" he asked. "How old are you?"
She played with her skirt and moved her head, but continued to watch him with big, calm eyes.
"I'm Leon," he said, trying a new tactic.
He reached out to take her hand, but she walked away. A small, black cat had come out of the bushes. The child sat down, tugged the cat onto her lap and began playing with it.
Leon didn't like this at all. He couldn't just leave a wandering child by herself. He knelt down next to her. "Hey, kiddo, where are your parents? Are you lost?"
She played with the cat happily.
Leon watched her. Then, he sighed. Crap…
"Okay, then!" he said loudly, standing up and stretching. "I have to go to the petshop, now, kiddo… You probably don't want to come… but it was nice meeting you!" And he waved casually and walked away.
The little girl stood up, looking at him with her big eyes. She ran awkwardly after him.
He pretended to be surprised. "Oh! You do want to come?"
She quickly got in the car and crawled across the seat.