Elijah walked into the station at one in the morning. There has been a call about a missing person so now everyone was going out to find them. It was hectic as others ran around, trying to keep the place stable as others had things to do. Was everyone really going to be going out? Elijah seemed rather serious about everyone going out.
“I want everyone covering this entire city.” he yelled, people running by him. “I want this woman found tonight.” Elijah stressed as the others grabbed vests and weapons. He was sure that one of the killers had her.
He was sure that if they didn’t find her in time, they would lose them.
“If you find either of the killers, do not engage alone. The last thing we need is someone dead.” he said as May motioned for them to move out.
They had to find the missing woman. Elijah hoped that she wasn’t murdered. He hoped they would find her alive. If they didn’t then it was another loss on their part.
Everyone was out searching for her in the night. They cleared out large areas at the beaches and strip malls, clubs and restaurants and neighborhoods, everywhere just for one person. Not a lot of people were able to help. Who was going to know this one woman? Every officer and investigator tried anyway.
They searched and searched for hours.
Until they stumbled past an alleyway between two older buildings that were marked with graffiti in an abandoned neighborhood. It wasn’t too far out of the city. Though it was far enough that they didn’t get there till last.
And it was way too late.
There was a body strung up by rope from a window sill on the second floor. Her arms were up over her head, tied at the wrists. One of her legs was held up by another piece of rope, bent at the knee. The other leg just dangled. Her fresh blood spilled and puddled at the ground. Her throat was cut, her blood oozing down her chest and staining her white dress. Her eyes were open and she stared lifelessly into the darkness.
She was placed in this position, but for some reason, it fit so well. Like she was in motion. And if she could move, she would be twirling.
“A ballerina.” Elijah said quietly to himself.
A dead ballerina.
A bloody ballerina.
“Check the room.” Elijah turned to the others. He figured that he would need to get answers and be amazed by how brutal the murderer is later. “I want to know who lives there, why she was there, and what happened.” He told forensics. A few of the officers were setting up the scene to take evidence.
The others were going up to that second story room to try and find something going on. Elijah continued to stare up at the dead body as he stepped closer. He could see her blood dripping under the moonlight. A few drops at a time left her fingers and her toes. He dress became more red as the seconds went by.
Though her blood looked black as it dripped to the ground.
More and more people were showing up to work on the scene. Pictures were taken and certain areas were marked. The body was pulled down from her gruesome hanging.
There was a lot to get from the scene, but it wasn’t enough to finally say who did it. Elijah wouldn’t get much, like usual. It’s not like the murderer would slip up for no reason.
“She was killed about two hours ago.” A woman said. “Her cause of death was definitely the blood loss from her throat.” She explained. “Though, Joe wants to refute that.” She looked to her colleague.
“She does have head trauma but it seems like she did fight to save herself.” He sighed. “She fought hard by the way.” he added.
“In the room, her blood was on the coffee table and the floor. She received a hit on the table and fell, bleeding on the floor.” Another examiner said.
Elijah thought this may have been a group two murder but she wasn’t strangled, she just had her throat cut. It wasn’t to make her drown in her own blood, it was just to kill her. The theatrics make it a group one kill. She was brutalized.
“We found some makeup traces that’s not the same as the make up on her face.” The woman said. “They’re two different brands. We might be able to find something else but we have to bring her in.”
“A woman is doing this?”
“Or a man who just likes makeup.”
Elijah and two of the examiners looked at the third one. He shrugged because he didn’t think he needed to validate his point. All he did was say the shade, hoping it might lead them in the other direction.
“Brittany worked as a server at the Opal Hotel. She had on a dress that the dancers wear during some of their performances.”
“Someone put it on her.”
“We found no finger prints, we suspect he was wearing latex gloves. There was no skin sample, hairs, nothing.”
“They’ve been a killer for longer than a few months.” Elijah said.
It was an unfortunate death, just like the others. How could someone be so cruel? No one would ever understand. They were dealing with a real psychopath. That was for sure.
For now, all they had to go on was the makeup.
The next morning, Elijah wanted to pay a visit to the hotel. It was near the beach front and it was filled with tourists. This would be the perfect place to abduct someone. This time though, it was a resident. No one knows about the server’s murder yet, all they knew was that she was missing.
No one seemed bothered by the other news though. If anyone ever talked about the murders, it was more for attraction than fear. It made Elijah think that people were here to get up close, which is not a good idea.
It was loud and crowded with people checking in and walking around. Elijah didn’t want to be bothered with the distractions. He was here for a reason.
Would he really find answers here?
He walked to the bar first and asked to speak with the hotel manager. A young blond woman came from the elevators to speak with him. She wasn’t surprised that she was talking to an investigator. She needed answers herself.
“Good morning, Mrs. Hobbs. My name is Elijah, I’m currently investigating Brittany’s disappearance.” He showed her his badge and looked around.
There was a lot going on, but Mrs. Hobbs didn’t mind it.
“She missed three shifts, and that wasn’t like her so I called her personally to ask if she was okay.” She explained as they both walked from the bar. “I left four messages. So after that I decided to file a missing persons report.”
“They’re in Canada.”
“Did she live with anyone? Roommates or maybe a significant other?” He asked.
“Not that I know of. You’ll have to ask the other servers and dancers that knew her.” She explained.
There were different dancers on the balcony dressed in white and black, the men in suits and the woman in white dress with black belts at the waist. They looked elegant. That was to be expected from a rather expensive hotel.
Immediately, Elijah recognized one of them. It was the young man with bleach blond hair and powerful eyes. He was a dancer, too.
“This may be random, but who is that blond man outside?” Elijah asked.
“That’s Sorrel.” she couldn’t help but smile. “He’s one of the team leads. That boy has a passion stronger than anything I’ve ever noticed from anyone.” She seemed rather entranced for some reason. Elijah narrowed his eyes. “He’s very enthusiastic.”
Was enthusiastic even the word she wanted to use? Elijah didn’t believe her. “Does he know you speak so highly about him?”
“Well he should. He does a great job here. Everyone likes him.” That may have been true.
Everyone likes him.
Elijah shouldn’t get off track. He was here about a murder case, not to try and profile someone. He didn’t get the same chills he got days before. He didn’t get any at all. Watching Sorrel dance was different.
“Could you point me in the direction of the servers?” Elijah asked, changing the conversation again.
“Of course. Right this way.” She walked with him.
They walked together towards the kitchen to the hotel’s restaurant. It was busy this morning so it may be hard to get all the answers Elijah was looking for.
The servers were in black uniforms and black aprons. Mrs. Hobbs gestured to a young woman with her hair in two braids that went passed her shoulders. She was tall and slender, and she held her large tray with one hand.
“Shanice was closest to Brittany. You might be able to get something from her.” she said politely.
“Thank you.” Elijah said before making his way to Shanice before she could go out. She paused when she saw the badge in Elijah’s hand.
“Listen, my guy, I swear I was not smoking-”
Elijah narrowed his eyes, something he does when he doesn’t understand or believe what people are telling him. How is it that the first thing people say to him is that? “No- I just wanted to ask about Brittany.” he clarified since he hadn’t said anything. All he usually focused on were murder cases.
“Yeah, where is she? I haven’t seen her in four days.” She asked and set her tray down.
Elijah motioned for her to walk with him so they could discuss this privately. He was going to tell her the news before she finds out on TV. It would be better to hear it from him without all the theatrics. They went off to a quiet place where not a lot of people passed by.
“We found your friend’s body early this morning.” he said.
Shanice moved her hands to her face to cover her shock. Immediately she knew that her friend was dead. She didn’t think that Brittany would be dead. Everything was fine four days ago. She couldn’t even ask what happened. Her dark eyes were filling with tears.
“Is there anyone she was with before she disappeared? Anyone you could remember her being with?”
“W-well...I-I don’t know. The last time I remember seeing her was at the employee party four nights ago.” she tried to remember as much as she could. “She was, uh, getting friendly with some of the dancers but she was incredibly drunk so I mean...”
Elijah didn’t think she was taken that night then. All the alcohol was clear from her system. There weren’t any drugs on the toxicology screen either.
“No. I kept texting and calling. I was the one that dropped her home that night so I know some guy didn’t just take her.” Shanice was sure of it. “I should’ve stayed...” her tears fell over her cheeks.
“It’s not your fault, Miss. We don’t think she was taken till last night.”
“W-well, I h-have no idea who-who would’ve-” She didn’t know. “Um, she was talking to Will, I think. They had a thing.” she said, hoping that would help.
“That’s plenty. I’ll be sure to talk to Will.” Elijah said.
Did he even want to talk to this person? He still has no leads, and Will was the only person he could get answers from at the moment. He might’ve been the last person to see Brittany before going missing.
There was a lot to think about. The last time anyone saw Brittany was a few nights ago. Elijah was sure that the young woman had been abducted just hours before her death so it didn’t make sense. What happened in between? Was she with the person that killed her?
Maybe he was thinking about this too much.
Elijah left the hotel and continued to think about the murder, despite believing that he was too deep into it. He didn’t want to miss the clues right under his nose. He had a feeling that the two killers were together last night. Though, he knew it was only killer one that did it.
What if they’re always together?
He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he just felt like the two of them were present. It was a gut feeling. The two murderers might be playing games with him, and it’s only about to get more difficult.
Elijah needed to know how they do it, who was doing it, what else they were capable of.
As he walked the streets. Elijah saw James again, but he wasn’t in close proximity to say hello. It also looked like James was meeting up with someone. From the two times he met him, Elijah didn’t think that James was a happy person, he’s only seen him smile once. He wondered if he had friends or if there were other people James had in his life.
From the distance, he could see bright blond hair.
It was the young man from before. The dancer. He was still in his uniform as he went over to James. They talked for a few seconds before James turned to walk away, Sorrel tagged along closely, still saying something. He was smiling while James was not.
Elijah was curious about what they were to each other. From what he saw, he thought they were close, but just not close enough. Seeing them walk away together was odd. He didn’t know how to explain it, all he got was this feeling, like them together is worse than seeing them apart. He really had no idea how to explain it.
He turned away to leave to go back to work. He had things to focus on, though he was still curious about the young blond man. There was something not right. Elijah could feel it. But he chose to focus on the murder cases first.
He walked into the conference room to see a few officers getting a report from May who was frustrated and constantly sighing as she explained how things were going, and things were not going good.
“What happened?” Elijah asked as he took a seat. Their faces were grim, like they just received bad news.
“There was another body found later this morning.” She said. “In broad daylight. For everyone to see.” May emphasized.
There were so many photos on the table.
“Beverly Winston was found displayed on the beach, stabbed all over her body, and her eyes were gauged out.” She said angrily, slamming down a folder autopsy had given her. “And guess what this killer did to the wound?”
“Uh.” Elijah dragged on because he could give a good guess. And he didn’t want to. “I’m going to pretend that he didn’t-” Elijah interjected.
“Well he fucking did.” She said to him.
“So we got skin samples?”
“No, the guy is not an idiot.”
Elijah wasn’t surprised. The killer was wild enough to defile a dead body but not enough to actually want to put himself at risk. There was protection. Apparently, he couldn’t help himself. Elijah wasn’t shocked, but at the same time, he knew that this might’ve been the gateway to something that might be worse.
“Group one kill.” Elijah said to himself. This killer disrespects the dead. “Are there motives for any of these? I know we said they were random but are they really?” He asked.
“Well, she was a dancer that graduated from one performing arts school up north.” May paced around the room as she glanced at the board with all the victims. “The school has had...an interesting reputation considering that the family that owned it was murdered.” she said.
“What was she doing here?”
“Looking for work. She applied to numerous hotels and clubs down here apparently. One thing in common with the other murder was she planned to work at the Opal Hotel.”
Elijah was just there.
“Someone get over there and get some answers.”
“I’ll do it.” Elijah said quickly.
He had another reason to go back. He had two people to talk to anyway.
He knew exactly who to ask. Beverly planned to be part of the staff at the hotel. Elijah planned to ask a few people about her, maybe if they’ve seen her before she was murdered. It seems like that was the last place she was before she was killed anyway, so this killer has to be in close proximity.
The killer has to be in close proximity.
He finally narrowed it down.
When he got there, he asked for Will first. Mrs. Hobbs complied easily and brought out the young man Elijah wanted to speak to. He was fairly tall with red hair. He had freckles too. This boy was too lanky to kill anyone.
“Let’s talk about Brittany.” Elijah said, but Will seemed a bit hesitant about that. He didn’t want to be a suspect. “Someone said you were the last one to see her.”
“I went out to have coffee with her three nights ago. I was interested in her, but she liked someone else apparently.” Will said. “She immediately friendzoned me the second we got to the coffee place.”
“Who was she interested in?”
“She didn’t say. Guess he was another dancer cause that’s what I guessed.” He gestured to the others outside. “Is she...”
“Yeah.” Elijah looked away.
“Oh.” Will didn’t think she would’ve died. He remembered spending time with her that night and it seemed so real.
Now she was dead.
“I don’t have anymore questions for you.” Elijah said as he looked outside again.
He couldn’t forget to question someone else about Beverly.
He left Will and decided to go outside to have a talk with the young man with bleach blond hair. It wasn’t till today that Elijah noticed that Sorrel had contacts in. Seeing his eyes under the light, one eye was darker. Why wear the contacts? And he also had a tongue piercing. Elijah didn’t notice before.
He walked up to Sorrel while he was talking to another coworker. The two of them slowly turned to look at Elijah and watched him pull his badge out.
“Could I speak with you, Sorrel?” Elijah asked.
The other dancer quickly turned to walk away to not get involved with whatever was going on. Sorrel didn’t answer the question but he smiled. For some reason, this was the most intimidating moment. Elijah felt like he shouldn’t face off with him.
“Heard of Beverly Winston?” Elijah tucked his badge away in his pocket.
“I know her. I hired her yesterday.” Sorrel said and crossed his arms.
“Well she was killed early this morning. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”
Sorrel was about to say something he shouldn’t. It seemed like he had to bite his tongue to keep in the outburst. Apparently it isn’t the first time he’s been accused of something by law enforcement.
“The only time I saw her was the past few days. I don’t know where she went after yesterday.”
Sorrel seemed to not be bothered by the fact that this woman was killed. Usually people express remorse or shock about the news but with Sorrel it was like he already knew.
Did someone else ask him questions?
Or does he know who did it?
“She was a nice girl, so it was a shame that this happened to her. But if you’re insinuating that I had something to do with it, I won’t be able to answer anymore questions.”
Immediately, Sorrel had a feeling of disdain for the investigator. He doesn’t like being asked incriminating questions without getting something in return. He was no longer pleasant.
“Not fond of law enforcement, are you?” Elijah picked up on it quickly.
Sorrel did not like Elijah for absolutely any reason. What could have set him off so quickly? He wasn’t necessarily being defensive about Beverly’s murder so much as just being talked to by someone with a badge.
“Don’t worry about what I’m not fond of, detective. If you have anymore questions, I’m gonna have to call my lawyer.”
Elijah had to stay away from this one before he causes problems.
Sorrel turned away to leave and go back to work. Elijah was stuck with a confusing feeling. Of course he wanted answers and he thought Sorrel might give it to him but he wasn’t going to get them unless in a control environment.
Would Elijah incriminate someone falsely? He just had a reason that it wouldn’t be false.
He turned to watch Sorrel walk away, going inside and he met with someone. It was James again. He had a white bag in his hand with takeout boxes.
Elijah wanted to know if they were together.
They were close enough that James brought food for him. They met with each other earlier. Clearly they have to be close. Elijah rethought about his previous assumptions.
Maybe he should talk to them together. Would he get answers from them?
For someone who had a hard demeanor, Sorrel gets happy rather easily. The way he got so excited to see James was endearing. They had to be close with each other. And as sad as James usually is, he didn’t look that miserable today. However, he did look a little pale.
Was he sick?
Elijah thought he needed to be more productive, so he went on asking others questions about Beverly’s and Brittany’s death. A few of the dancers had the opportunity to meet the girls but no one talked to her the previous night.
It was unfortunate.
Elijah didn’t have pieces to put together.
The one thing he knew though, he felt close. It’s someone nearby.