Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

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When they got to the squad room they noticed a package on Leverette’s desk. The box was a twenty inch, perfectly square box.

“You order something?” Marsden asked.

“No,” Leverette said and examined the label on the box. “I don’t recognize the return address either.”

Instinctively he pulled a pair of gloves from his desk and began to carefully open the box with his pocket knife. It cleared the scanner so there wasn’t anything destructive in it.

Inside the box was a Styrofoam box that was cold to the touch. Something inside Leverette told him this wasn’t going to be good.

Marsden also put on a pair of gloves and helped pull the Styrofoam box out. They both looked at each other.

“I think I want the chief here,” Leverette said.

“I’ll go get him,” Marsden said and headed for the chief’s office. Within a matter of minutes Billingsley and Marsden were at Leverette’s desk.

“What’s this all about?” Billingsley asked.

“Don’t know chief,” Leverette said. “I just have a bad feeling about this.”

“Okay, open it,” Billingsley said, his curiosity building.

Carefully Leverette pulled the tape that was holding the top and bottom together.

The three men gasped as they saw a human head in the box.

“All right, don’t touch anything. I’ll get the lab here to take this, and call the doc.” Billingsley said.

Billingsley went into his office and stood behind his desk. He dialed the lab and waited and watched Leverette knowing all too well that he was going to look into the Styrofoam box. He watched as Leverette opened it and the reaction he had to its contents. When he finished the calls and wrote up the transfer of property, or TOP, papers he went back to Leverette’s desk.

Leverette wanted to see if he knew who the head had belonged to. While Billingsley was in his office Leverette carefully tilted the head to see the whole face.

“Oh my god!” Leverette said as he gently tilted the head back toits original position.

“What?” Marsden asked. “Who is it?”

“Philip King,” Leverette said and sat down heavily in his chair.

“The kid?” Marsden asked.

“Yup,” was all Leverette could say.

“Who is it?” Billingsley asked, not really wanting to know.

“Philip King,” Marsden said. “There’s a note with it.”

Since Billingsley didn’t have any gloves on, he read over Marsden’s shoulder. He let out a long whistle.

The note said “You’ll never catch me.”

“That bastard,” Billingsley said. “He’s playing a game now.”

“I wonder if we’re going to find body parts all over the place again,” Marsden said. They both looked at Leverette who just sat there staring. He felt like shit. “The poor kid,” he thought.

Two men from the lab, Mark and Doug, came up to the desk from the elevator. They knew it was a small box but didn’t want to handle it any more than they had to.

Doug took the TOP paper from Billingsley and signed the bottom of it, took his copy and handed the top sheet back to the chief.

Mark, in the meantime, carefully picked up the box and put it on the stretcher. He already had gloves on.

“Carrington will send the Styrofoam box to you once he removes its contents,” Billingsley told them.

“No problem, chief,” Mark said. “We can pick it up from the morgue. Just let the doc know. If you guys are done we’d like your gloves, too.”

Marsden and Leverette carefully removed the gloves and placed them into the evidence bags they were handed.

“Okay,” Billingsley said and turned to Leverette. “You gonna be okay, Joe?” he asked in what sounded like a gentle voice.

Leverette looked up at the chief; he had moist eyes, and nodded.

“That son-of-a-bitch isn’t going to get away with this,” Leverette said through clenched teeth and pounded the top of his desk. “He was just a kid!” Leverette stood up just as Marcie walked up to his desk. His demeanor frightened her for a second and she decided not to flirt with him this time.

“I came for the,” she stopped a second, “For the Styrofoam box.”

Billingsley handed her the TOP paper and after she signed it she put on a pair of gloves. Carefully, almost lovingly, she picked up the box and headed back to the elevator. Marsden followed to push the buttons for her.

“We’re going to get him, Joe,” Billingsley said and walked up to him. He placed his hand on Leverette’s shoulder but Leverette didn’t feel it. He was lost in thought trying to figure out how he was going to stop this asshole.

“Do you think he’s going to go through all the others?” Leverette asked in a low, angry voice.

“Hard to say, son,” Billingsley said. “We’ll have to get in touch with them all and see if they have some other place to stay until we catch him.”

Leverette nodded thinking about Carole. If he touches her he’s going to regret the day he started all this shit.

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