Dark Soul

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The air filled with the piercing sound of a rhythmic alarm clock and Greg’s hand swiftly silenced it as he opened his eyes to stare at the digital display showing him it was displaying a fuzzy image he could just make out as 4pm. At a little after 5 pm Greg pulled into the station car park at New Scotland Yard and headed up to the incident room. The station was bustling with the usual activity of officers and radio’s broadcasting the latest incident to all within earshot. Opening the door to the incident room he stepped inside and closed it firmly behind him. Greg could almost feel the buzz of activity that was going on in the room. Several detectives were having conversations with people over the phone who he greeted with a nod before heading toward the end of the long rectangular room where he could see the duty sergeant briefing some of his colleagues. Moving into a position so he could hear the sergeant he listened to the brief summary of what the Major Incident Team had been doing for most of the day. It appeared that there had been no new progress in the case so far and that all the usual inquiries of house to house interviews and background checks were at this stage drawing a blank. The duty sergeant finished his briefing with the words

“The next of kin has been informed and a further press statement is being organized.” before looking towards Greg and calling him over.

“Detective Lawrence isn’t it?” he said in a quizzical manner

“Yes Sarge” replied Greg.

“That’s good, hope you are keeping well. I have something here for you, a message from forensics.” The sergeant said as he handed Greg a half folded note of paper.

Greg took the note and unfolded it as the duty sergeant walked off to deal with the press liaison officer who had just stepped into the office. The note simply read

To: DCI Lawrence

From: Emma Colbeck

‘Come see me in my office.’

Folding the paper away and slipping it into his pocket he knocked on the door at the end of the room with the lettering ‘Detective Chief Inspector’ engraved upon it before gingerly trying the handle and pushing the door open.

John Williams looked up from his desk as Greg entered his office and placed the report he was reading down upon his desk.

“Ah Greg, feeling rested I hope, take a seat.” John said warmly as he motioned for his colleague to take a seat. Greg pulled up one of the easy arm chairs and positioned it opposite his governor before settling into it.

“I have decided to make you lead detective on this case and to bring in a consultant. His name is Professor Marcus Tremane. Have you heard of him?” The Chief Inspector inquired as he peered over his spectacles.

“Can’t say I have, no. Who is he?” Greg asked while settling into his chair.

“He has done some good work with me and the department in the past. He is good at profiling and forensic work and I’d like you to use him as an invaluable source of information as far as these matters are concerned.” John paused a moment as he reached into his draw and pulled out a sheet of paper before handing it to Greg and saying

“I also have a task for you. I need you to check out this address. The usual background checks on who is living there and speak to the neighbors.”

“Anything in particular I’m looking for?” Greg asked as he picked up the sheet and began scanning it with his eyes.

“Its 112 Hornsbury Avenue. A former residence of a Mr. Ian Cain who thirty years ago was chief suspect in a series of murders until he himself was killed.”

Greg shifted in his seat and replied quizzically

“You suspect there may be a connection spanning back thirty years?”

Williams stood and handed Lawrence a folder before replying

“Let’s just say it’s something I would feel happier that I ruled out now rather than later.”

Greg stood and paused before leaving the office to say to his Inspector “As soon as I have something Guv I will let you know.” Grabbing his work belt, radio and a torch from the charging stand Greg headed down to the forensics lab that was located in the basement. The lift doors slowly slid open and Detective Lawrence stepped out into a long corridor. He could see various shapes behind frosted glass doors which mainly had key coded entrance locks and warning signs upon them. Making his way along the corridor he pushed open a large plain wooden swing door and found himself in a large open area which was divided up by supporting structural pillars into what seemed like different areas that various people were working in. In one corner of the area was what appeared to be an office and hoping to find Emma there he headed towards it but before he could reach it his attention was caught by a woman’s voice calling his name and beckoning him over. Greg turned to the sound of the voice and could see someone in a white laboratory coat with a face mask on walking towards him. As the figure neared they pulled the mask down and Emma smiled as she reached out a hand to greet Greg. Shaking Emma’s hand Greg caught himself smiling just that little bit too long again before letting his hand fall away from the soft touch of her hand upon his then saying

“I received your note”.

Emma smiled and replied

“So I see.”

Greg stood there almost transfixed still holding the note before him like some sort of trophy offering. Emma coyly took hold of the note and said

“Here let me get rid of that for you” She casually slipped the note into the pocket of her lab coat before speaking again.

“I’m glad you came. I have something that you may find quite interesting.”

Emma said as she started walking towards a corner of the basement. Greg’s composure returned to him as he began to follow Emma with his mind fixed back on the case once again.

“What have you found?” asked Greg with a genuine hint of intrigue in the tone of his voice

Emma motioned him towards a microscope and said

“Take a look at this”

Grasping the eyepiece carefully and positioning himself above the microscope Greg peered through it onto the small slide that was positioned at its base. His gaze rested on a small pale fragment which appeared to him to be just that and nothing more significant than if he had picked a piece of fluff from the floor and was examining it but he knew of course Emma wouldn’t be showing him it if it didn’t have some significance on the case. Greg now realized though that he had been staring intently at the object for longer than a layman should have cause to and clearing his throat looked up at Emma with the most serious face he could conjure and inquired

“What exactly is it?”

Suppressing the desire to smile Emma took the slide from the microscope and slid another one in its place motioning for Greg to look again whilst opening a large leather bound book onto the table next to them and saying

“The first slide contained a scraping of a bone fragment from the scene that I visited last night. That in itself wouldn’t be unusual but running a micro cellular scan on the fragment revealed it belonged to the family of Canis Dirus. An extinct species related to the Canis Lupas or wolf which I am sure you are aware of is related to our common canine the family pet dog.”

Greg looked up and nodded digesting the information if still somewhat bewildered by what Emma was getting at.

“On that slide in front of you now is a sample of blood taken from the fingernails of the victim at the scene which contains a mix of two human DNA cell structures and a third which I have yet to be able to identify.” Emma slipped her hands into the pockets of her lab coat as she finished speaking.

Greg looked at Emma with a perplexed expression upon his face and mutely stated

“Two human DNA samples? Then we have the killers DNA! Have you run it through our database yet?” Greg asked before suddenly pausing and looking solemnly at Emma before saying

“Wait. Did you say a third DNA sample? From what?” Greg’s face was still a picture of perplexity.

“My point exactly” replied Emma as she moved her gaze to the large leather bound open book on the desk next to them and then ran her finger down the page to a chapter headed ‘CANIS DIRUS’. Greg followed her finger as it traced its way down the page to read the following excerpt from the book.

Canis dirus, the Dire Wolf, looked much like our modern day wolves, only heavier and with more massive jaws and teeth. It had relatively shorter legs, as well as larger shoulder blades and pelvic bones. The Timber Wolf or Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) of today is leaner, usually weighing between 66 and 145 pounds (29.4 -65.8 kg), whereas Dire Wolves weighed between 125 and 175 pounds (56.7 - 79.4kg).

Domesticated dogs had probably already begun living with humans around 14,000 years ago as revealed by scientific research at archaeological sites in Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico. This is also about the time that the Dire Wolves died out.

Lifting her finger from the book and turning to look at Greg as his gaze switched from the chapter to her she said

“I would suggest that you have someone who is quite a complex killer in that they are meticulous enough to observe their victim to know their comings and goings but then show an almost brutal animalistic side in killing them then reverting back to a cold ritualistic side in placing evidence at the scene for you to follow.” Emma’s eyebrows furrowed together in concern as she finished her description of the killer

“So you think they want to get caught?” Greg’s face took on an almost quizzical expression as he spoke.

“In as much as they see it as a challenge to themselves that they believe they are better than you or rather the organization that you represent.” replied Emma with a slight nod of her head.

“Wait. So we have three DNA samples. One is the Victims and another belonging to the suspected killer and the third is from the bone fragment you found which you believe was put there by the killer?” Greg stood upright and leaned in towards Emma as he spoke.

“I’m still waiting for a couple of tests back from the Lab but yes in principle that is correct.” Emma paused and tapped her pen gently to her lips before continuing

“The victims DNA is clear enough and that can be discounted obviously.” Emma then removed the slides from the microscope and placed them back into their containers as she continued to speak

“The other human DNA was found under her fingernails presumably from when she has tried to fight off her assailant however there is not enough to build a complete genetic profile.” Emma paused a moment before continuing her sentence

“The third as you say is from the bone fragment which could prove to be your best lead as something that is clearly a museum piece would be missed by someone. I would suggest checking recent or past thefts form natural history museums that in turn can put you in touch with private collectors.” Finishing her sentence she lifted half the leather bound book and let it fall shut upon itself with a gentle thud before turning back to Greg. Glancing at her wrist before looking up at him she asked

“Have you eaten yet?” Greg wasn’t sure what took him aback more the question or the way Emma looked when she asked it. Her right leg was slightly poised behind her left and her head ever so slightly tilted to one side so her hair fell around her face like a silk scarf in the wind. He suddenly felt a gnawing pang growing in the pit of his stomach but his mind was struggling to get to grips with whether it was from the thoughts of a meal or the vision of a beautiful young woman in front of him.

“No” was Greg’s simple answer. Emma smiled and said “Good. I know a lovely Italian place that opens very shortly.” and with that she let her lab coat fall from her shoulders and threw it onto a peg lining the wall before pushing open the lab doors.

“Are you coming?” she called back to Greg as he stood there trying to hide the rather large grin that was spreading across his face. Composing himself he hurried after Emma letting the double doors slowly swing shut behind him.

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