From the Redwood Police Department office desk, forty-five year old, Detective Robert Maxwell, was looking through photographs of victims from the table. Despair was on his face when he stared at the images of ten men and women that were horribly disfigured. Humidity stifled the air.
Robert’s face was sweaty. He rubbed his forehead in frustration, his fingers curved against his short black Caesar haircut. The killings were ritualistic and they followed a particular pattern. He had sat and thought for a moment. Looking at the pictures, Robert noticed a letter “a” carved into the victims head. Some missing arms and legs, some were missing their eyes or tongues. He felt the killings were done by a copycat that mimicked the Scavenger of Redwood, Washington. This killer was notorious for his heinous crimes, evaded capture for the past decade.
Detective Maxwell heard a knock at the door. “Come in.”
An officer opened the door and walked in. “You got a visitor.”
“Okay, send them in,” Robert replied, placing the images back into a folder while closing it up.
A young woman came into his office. It was someone he recognized. It was Jennifer Myers, his son Jordan’s girlfriend, whom he hadn’t seen in two years. She was wearing a brown coat that covered her Diner outfit. Her brown hair wrapped in a bun, her brown eyes spoke of fear and worry. She sat herself down on a brown chair. This was the first time Jennifer entered Robert’s office. Her awkward glance at him was clear.
“Jennifer, what brings you here?” Robert asked. “It has been a while since I last saw you. How’s that grandson of mine Kevin?”
“He is getting bigger,” Jennifer said. She showed a picture of Kevin from her cell phone to Robert.
“Kevin asked about you,” Jennifer said.
Robert smirked, taking her cell phone to look at the picture. “Handsome little devil. He got my nose. How is Jordan?”
“Yeah, Kevin is,” Jennifer gasped for a moment. “It’s about Jordan he is missing.”
“Missing, what do you mean?” Robert inquired, handing back her cell phone.
“Someone kidnapped him. He hasn’t returned my calls. He has been gone for days. I am really worried Robert. Kevin cried, missing his Dad. It is hard for both of us.”
Robert felt a sudden sense of dread. The idea that a maniac kidnapped his son put him on edge. Though he never revealed his feelings to Jennifer, Robert remained professional.
’Where is Kevin now?” Robert asked curious about his grandson.
She was wiping away her tears. “He is over at my mother’s house.”
Robert brought out his yellow notepad and blue pen from the desk drawer. “Can you tell me when was the last time you saw Jordan? Any details you offer me will be helpful.”
“Okay, Jordan and I were invited to our neighbors Mark’s Birthday party. This took place yesterday at 6pm. There were at least seven people there.”
“Can you tell me their names?”
“Yes, there was Tori, Larry, Greg, Henry, Nancy, and Irene. We were all close.”
“Do you know if Jordan had any enemies?”
“No, Jordan was well liked among people. He never had problems with anyone.”
“Can you tell me anything about Henry?”
“Henry White was a new neighbor that recently moved into the neighborhood.”
Robert scribbled notes on his notepad. “Tell more about him.”
There was a knock at Robert’s door. “Come back later. I’m doing a follow-up.”
“You have a letter Detective Maxwell,” the officer said.
Robert closed his eyes and rubbed his head. “Okay, come in.”
Robert saw a male officer open the door. He walked in with the letter and handed it to him.
“Thank you,” Robert said. The male officer left and closed the door.
Robert examined the white envelope of the letter.
“Aren’t you gonna open it?” Jennifer asked.
“I will later. Please, tell me about Henry White.”
“Henry White is a real estate agent. He actually helped me and Jordan find a nice home for our family.”
“Can you describe your relationship with him, Jennifer?”
“We are friends. He came by the house on the holidays with his wife Nancy. We would spend time playing trivia games for entertainment and had a couple of drinks. It was the usual.”
Robert wrote more notes on his pad. “Do you know where he lives?”
“Yeah, he lives on Sunnyside Ave on 9 Street.”
Another knock interrupted Robert. He sighed. “Yes?”
“Detective Maxwell. We got another murder, sir,” One officer announced. “We need you to come to the scene.”
“Okay, I will be there,” Robert said. “Jennifer, I would like to talk to you some more. Here is my number. Please, feel free to call me. I will do everything in my power to find Jordan.”
Jennifer nodded. “I will hold you to that.”
Robert picked up the letter and walked Jennifer out of the office. “You know Jordan talks about you.”
“Good, I hope.”
“No, not good. He told me that you abandon him for another woman.”
“That was a long time ago. I know what I did was wrong and I spent years trying to connect with Jordan and he rejected my letters, excluding me from his life.”
Jennifer walked away. “Good night, Detective Maxwell.”
Robert walked toward his car. He took his time opening the letter. His eyes lit up at what he saw. Robert’s heart was pounding fast that made his head spin. It was a picture of Jordan bound by rope on the table with a white gag over his mouth. At the back of the photo, was a phone number to call. He quickly called the number and it rang two times.
“Hello, Detective Maxwell. It is so good to hear your voice. I hope you enjoy the present I sent you,” the Masked killer said.
“Where is my son you sick fuck?” Robert demanded.
“Wow, Detective, I didn’t know I would get a rise out of you so soon,” the masked killer said, chuckling with a disturbing laughter. “Your son is alive for now.”
“Put him on the phone!” Robert demanded.
“No, he can’t come to the phone now,” the masked killer said.
“I will find you,” Robert said. “When I do, I’ll put a bullet in your head.”
“I would like to see you try. But first, I want you to play a game for me. Think of it as “hide and seek.” I just texted you an address where I want you to go. There you will find a clue. If I don’t hear from you in the next hour, I will be mailing pieces of your son to you the next business day. We will keep in touch, Detective Maxwell!” The Masked killer hung up the phone.
Robert was beside himself. If he didn’t play the killer’s game, he would lose his son. Jennifer would never forgive him and his grandson would be fatherless. He had to act fast. Time was running out for Jordan. He couldn’t fail his son and he would do what was necessary to save him.
“I will find you Jordan,” Robert said, promising himself. “I will get you back to Jennifer. I won’t fail you son.”
Darkness surrounded the room. Jordan Maxwell woke up hands and ankles bound by rope on the cold wooden table as if ready for a sacrifice. He yelled for help. Fear echoed in his rasped voice. How he regretted going out to a neighbor’s birthday party and ended up in a place like this.
The lights came on. Jordan noticed plastic covering the floor and walls. Baby doll heads painted in white, hanging from the ceiling on wire. There were many disturbing photographic images plastered on the wall. They depicted images of mutilated bodies. Jordan almost vomited. What creeped him out the most, was that the victims from the photographs were missing eyes and had deep cravings of a letter on their heads.
Jordan heard heavy footsteps, coming down the steps. He lifted his head and saw a man dressed in blue Jeans, black sweater, with a black hood. He had a golden mask on his face that showed no expression. In his hand, he held a big kitchen knife with a brown hilt. The blade glistened against the light.
“Please, don’t kill me,” Jordan pleaded. “I have a girlfriend and baby boy. You can take my money and call it a day.”
The Masked killer walked up, observing him. He watched him breathe heavily as he placed the blade against his throat. Jordan didn’t say a word, sensing if he uttered a word, he would die.
“I don’t want your money,” the Masked killer said in a mechanical voice. “My needs are much more in-depth,” The Masked killer said, teasing Jordan’s right face with the blade.
“Please, I have a family,” Jordan said, trying to plead with him. The masked killer put pressure on Jordan’s throat with glaring cold eyes.
“Say one more word. One more word that comes out of your mouth, will be your last,” the Masked killer said.
Jordan remained silent. He heard a shaky man’s voice and banging from the other room. The Masked killer took the knife off of Jordan’s throat. He walked away to open a brown wooden door to the other room. The Masked killer closed the door behind himself. Jordan gasped for a moment. He struggled to break free from his confines. Jordan grunted in frustration.
Jordan heard something familiar. It was his cell phone ringing by the table next to him. He knew his girlfriend, Jennifer Myers was calling him. Jordan strained, reaching the table with his right foot. It was three inches from the table. Jordan swung his right foot, hitting against the table with his shoe.
The cell phone fell on the floor. He cursed under his breath. The man in the other room screamed louder with a cry. It sounded as if an animal was put to death. Jordan heard silence from the man in the other room. There were several loud thuds that sounded off with squishing noises. It made him nervous and started to freak him out. Sweat was forming on his face as he squirmed to break free of his restraints.
Jordan heard something close to him. He looked over to his left. He saw someone come out of a crawl space. It was a boy about ten years of age that had pale skin. He was dressed in tattered dark clothes. He had brown shoes with holes in them. The boy walked over to Jordan.
“Hey, what is your name?” Jordan asked in a level tone.
“My name is Sam,” the boy said with curious eyes.
Nice to meet you, Sam. Can you do me a favor? I’m a bit tied up. Can you get me my cell phone for me,” Jordan said pointing to the cellphone that was two inches from his foot.
Sam stared at Jordan. He picked up the cell phone like it was foreign to him. “Okay.” He walked slow to Jordan.
Sam heard footsteps. “I am not supposed to be here.” He dropped the cell phone on the corner of the table and went back into the crawl space.
“Wait I need my cell phone,” Jordan whispered.
Without hesitation, Jordan with all his strength, kicked his cell phone under the table. He took a moment to breathe. Fearful of what’s to come. The door opened. The Masked killer walked in with blood, covering his sweater and pants. Droplets of blood leaked from his hands. Hope was fleeting for Jordan. His only move was to keep the cell phone out of the Masked killer’s sight. Jordan had to swallow his pride. He only thought of one simple intention, calling his father. But could he keep the Masked killer busy enough to do it? All Jordan had to do was stay alive long enough to do just that.
“Now, we are going to have some fun,” the Masked killer said. “Just you wait and see. I don’t get to kill you tonight.”
“So, does that mean you will let me go?” Jordan inquired.
“Why would I do a thing like that. I can’t have you running around to the police,” the Masked killer said. “I have other plans for you.”