Arthur Smith Point of View
The fall day has been unproductive. He attended a boring garden party and was still starving. The finger sandwiches offered at the event didn’t appeal to him. There is only a bit of his special roast left at home. The meat he craves is rare and difficult to procure, but luckily, he has a line. They are on their way to get some more. His henchman Cyrus sits silently across from him. As they arrive in Huntington, rain begins to fall, and his carriage stops outside of a butcher shop. Entering the shop, he can smell what he desires.
“My Lord, it is good to see you again.”
“Likewise, I would like another butt to roast.”
“I am sorry, my lord, but that is out of stock,” the butcher replies.
“Don’t jerk me around. I can smell the meat,” Arthur snaps. He won’t be denied his meat.
“Those are just fried and battered fingers, from a mature heifer. Plenty of meat but chewy.”
Blast, an old woman wouldn’t be as tender. He didn’t know what else to do. He got the fingers and paid the butcher. The rain had stopped by the time he and Cyrus make it back to the carriage. Arthur wants to eat his meal, so his driver pulls the carriage over at a nearby park. Arthur desires to stretch his legs, his henchman following behind. He takes a seat on a bench, eating three of the ten fingers in peaceful silence. The white skin had been stripped. In truth, human fingers look like mozzarella sticks once battered and fried. All too soon, his meal is done. Getting up to throw out the basket of bones, Arthur’s attention is drawn to a playground. The sound of children laughing makes him move closer.
There are dozens of little children, and judging by the clothes, they are common children. Someone in a red jumper catches his attention, a little fat boy playing by himself, no older than ten. Arthur, hidden by a tall bush, looks around at the mothers, and among the chatty women, he spots a very large woman sitting by herself, her face buried in a magazine.
“Cyrus,” Arthur whispers. “Bring that child to the construction site.” Looming in the distance, a shopping center is being built.
Phil’s Point of View.
“Lord Inspector, good to see you, given the circumstances,” Chief Duffy says. The Monday morning sun shines off Duffy’s bald head. They are standing inside of a construction site near a park.
“Duffy, what do you have for me?”
“This way, my lord.” There are dozens of forensic scientists around, some taking pictures of the crime scene. Near a large oil drum, a tent has been erected to keep the sun off the corpse.
“Victim was ten years old. His mother took him to the park on Saturday, and an hour after they arrived, he went missing. The foreman found the boy naked, tied to a drum.” Duffy hands Phil a picture of the boy as Phil ducks under the tent. He is shocked. The little boy in the picture is chunky, but the corpse looks to be barely human. Nearly all the flesh has been stripped from his body, his genitals are missing, and his eyes and tongue had been ripped from his head.
Phil chokes back vomit as he leaves the corpse, seeing all he needs to.
“Chief canvas the neighborhood with plain clothes officers. When the corpse gets to the morgue, have them evaluate him immediately.”
“At once, my lord,” Chief Duffy answers. the man used to outrank Phil before Phil was given the rank of lord following the Great War. With tasks like this one, he would give up the title in a heartbeat. Leaving the construction site, Phil moves toward a group of reporters, who work for the dozen media outlets in Smithtown.
“Lord Inspector, do we know who the victim is?” The question is from a professionally dressed woman with brown hair. Phil has had many interviews with her before.
“We have identified a victim; however, we are keeping the details and identity concealed for the privacy of the family. I will brief the press when I have more information to share.”
Phil ignores the reporters chasing after him for follow-up questions. A uniformed officer holds his horse, and Phil mounts, disgusted by what he witnessed. It was almost as though the boy was butchered as if he was livestock, but why? Phil’s communication device on his belt goes off. Holding it to his ear, he listens to the frantic voice.
“Lord Inspector, we have found another body, a fisherman in the bluff.”
“Rope off the scene. I am on my way.” Already riding his horse in the direction of the bluff, Phil increases speed, and combined with a few short cuts, he is able to cover the ground in a short time. The horse is winded as he slows entering the hamlet. A few people move about in their gardens outside cute and organized cottages. Slowing his trot to a walk, his horse pushes forward down the cobblestone street. Phil is moving toward a massive wall, its gate open. Outside is a ramp where the tide comes in and out, and far off on the right is a short beach. The wall snakes along the coastline and continues out of Phil’s line of vision. Moving closer to the wall, he spots a man in a blue police uniform, waving his arm to signal Phil. Dismounting, the police officer who flagged him down holds the horse in place.
“I got your horse, my lord. The chief is just inside the bluff.”
The tide is very low, which allows a set of stairs below it to descend twenty feet. The tide will rise soon. On a small concrete lip at the foot of the stairs, five officers in uniforms are huddled around a corpse.
The men hear him approaching.
“Lord Inspector, we have one male, thirty-seven, white with multiple stab wounds. We will need an autopsy to confirm the time of death and the full extent of injuries, but there is something we noticed.” The officer removes the sheet covering the corpse, and Phil cringes—the genitals had been removed, like the earlier victim earlier. Could it be a coincidence?
“Get him to the morgue.”
“Yes, my lord.” The officer bows his head.
The entire day he ponders the case. Back in his office, he pours over reports to see if there had been stabbing victims. On his computer, he finds a cold case from twenty years ago, an article about a little girl who was kidnapped. All they found was her head, washed up on a short beach. They suspected the head was tossed in the Nissequogue River but could never prove who did it. The report said stated eyewitnesses saw a tall man with a black mustache struggling with a child. They never put the full profile together. Phil takes the police sketch of the criminal to a corkboard.
On the right side of the board are a picture of the boy and the other of the man. He will need to discover if there is a connection between the two. He would start by tracking down the details about the man. It says he was a longshoreman on the docks. Phil knows people who might know something. Picking up his phone, he waits for the call to connect.
“Hello, Smithtown Shipping and Freight.”
“Hello, this is Lord Inspector Phil George. I am calling to speak with Adrian Dixon.”
“Hold one moment, my lord.”