The first crime scene he appeared at I didn’t think much of it. I thought he was some kid passing by who aspired to be a police officer or detective but there was something in his eyes. He gave off this, I don’t know. It just felt like he knew something. But I ignored it. What would a kid know about the thirty-three-year-old man who was hacked into pieces and left to decompose in the trash as food for the flies and street cats?
But when I saw him at the second crime scene of a similar crime I started hearing whispers from the CSIs. They were making up tall tales of a teen murderer, it wasn’t unheard of but it wasn’t common. Most serial killers didn’t act on their urges until their early to late twenties.
I had my own suspicions about the boy. That he knew the murderer or knew something about the crimes that we didn’t. But every time we packed up to leave, he’d disappear without a trace, like a ghost. Nobody we talked to at the scenes seemed to recognize the boy, which meant he probably wasn’t from the area.
By the time the third crime scene showed up we were watching for the boy. He showed up to watch behind the yellow tape. Except for this time, he had a pair of binoculars and seemed to be judging me and my team like we were missing the important aspects of the crime. He looked from one piece of evidence to the next as if studying them but whatever answers he came up with weren’t shared.
I tried to make it look like I hadn’t noticed him. I didn’t want to scare him off. But no matter how hard we tried to keep our eyes off the boy he always left before we did and always arrived right after we did.
We knew we had a serial killer but we didn’t have any evidence to link us to whom they were. No fingerprints or DNA. Nothing. This was looking like one of those unsolved serial crimes, like Jack the Ripper or The Zodiac Killer.
Most murderers returned to the scene of the crime to relive their murders and that’s what most people were starting to suspect of this boy.
“Lieutenant, the boy’s here again,” informed one of my CSIs at the fifth crime scene.
All the victims had been male, middle-aged, and white. I could see one of them being the boy’s father. Maybe he was out for revenge but I’d interviewed most of the victim’s families and none of them had a teenage son.
The boy looked about fifteen. Brown hair, green eyes. His presence was almost invisible; you couldn’t tell he was there until you saw him.
At the next scene, I stayed behind the tape, watching for the boy. Hoping to talk to him, to learn of what he knew.
The boy of course came but was quick about his visit. I didn’t see him until he jumped in a cab to leave. The pursuit would have been futile with all the cabs in use in Salem, Massachusetts today. I stuck around after everybody left to see if the boy would return to collect any evidence we may have missed. He did come back.
“Son, what is your name?” I ask approaching slowly.
“What’s it to you?” he counters.
“I’ve seen you at five of my last crime scenes. Would you like to tell me why you hang around these places?” I patiently question.
“You’re very ignorant, you know that? You know nothing about the monsters that commit these crimes. Nobody does,” he replies.
“You say ‘monsters’. Do you not consider this murderer human?” I inquire.
“This killer is not human, Cannto. He’s a demon. A murderous demon. And you foolish authorities won’t catch him, I might not even catch him at this rate,” he replies his voice drifting off as he focused on the alleyway.
“How do you know my name?” I ask.
I was thinking maybe the news or a website.
“Raymond Cannto, son of the now old, retired and dead police chief. Single, has a younger brother by the name of Caine. You’re lucky your brother lived to be born. But if I don’t hurry up you might be found dead next,” he replies.
I wasn’t the killer’s MO, (Method of Operation). I was in my early forties. Most of the men had wives and children, I didn’t.
“Your name, son? You know mine it only seems fair that I should know yours,” I reply.
“You’d be better off not knowing it or you will end up dead in a plastic bag on one of Salem’s streets, Ray,” he says quietly looking down the alleyway where we found the sixth victim.
“Why is that?” I ask.
Did the killer know this boy? Did he have a grudge against people the boy knew?
“He killed everyone I knew first. Then he killed everyone they knew and you can imagine what he’s been during for the past five years since then. Everyone that has had ties with me has been murdered, Lieutenant. You shouldn’t have to die,” he answers.
He walks down the alleyway looking around and stepping cautiously like the scene might shatter if he walked through it without a care in the world.
I watched the boy, he reminded me of when I first became a police officer. I still didn’t have a name to go off of.
“How about just a first name?” I ask.
“Even that will get you where it got this guy,” he replies nodding at where the body had been found.
“What are you afraid of? Tell me. I promise I won’t tell anybody,” I ask.
"That third thing is a lie. I’m not stupid, Cannto. I don’t want you to be the next body I see at a scene, now leave,” he replies, threateningly.
“You know I can’t do that, son. I want to catch this guy as much as you do but I can’t if you don’t tell me what you know,” I reply.
“I am not gonna be responsible for another person’s death, now leave, Ray,” he says waving off in the direction of my jeep.
I had already lost everything; it didn’t matter if I died on this case. My colleagues would miss me but my parents were already dead and my brother was in hiding for something he did years ago, I highly doubt whoever was murdering these men would be able to find him but the killer was intelligent, I knew because he left no ties. This kid must have known that, too. What was he expecting to find that my team already hadn’t?
“I only want to help,” I reply.
“Apparently you want your brother to see you dead at the age of forty-three, too,” he counters annoyed. “You have no value on your life, do you? Your brother and friends in the unit would miss you.”
He’d just quoted what I was thinking, who was this kid?
“If you won’t tell me, I’ll have to bring you in for questioning,” I comment.
“You do that and you’ll have a handful of new bodies and no killer. More will die if you lock me up and one of them will either be you or somebody you know. For the record, you should know who I am,” he replies.
“Why is that?” I question.
“You were at the scene of my family’s murders. Don’t worry it’ll come to you and if you don’t want to end up dead like my parents and brother you’ll leave and let me solve this on my own," he replies in return.
At the scene of his family’s murders? It couldn’t be…
"Damin Colt?” I ask.
Damin Colt’s parents and younger unborn brother had been brutally murdered five years ago. I barely recognized the then nine-year-old boy I had found hiding in a cupboard five years ago. His parents had been tortured, stabbed, and shot. In the process, his younger brother had died as well. We’d never been able to catch the culprit who took the lives of the young boy’s family.
"The one and only,” he replied sarcastically. “And now, Raymond Cannto, you are a dead man. Congratulations.”