Prologue One: The Murderer
This city is not a quiet city.
There’s a lot that goes on, a lot that people have no clue about. Only a percentage of it gets highlighted for us to see. Even then, only a smaller percentage does something or says something.
It’s easy to get lost, to be overwhelmed, to be drowned out.
There are a lot of crimes in the city. Some goes unheard of and others get reported fast enough for the police to handle it. In a place swarmed with people, it’s easier for others to mind their own business. And that’s the better option.
A murder is not uncommon.
But today, I had the pleasure of finding myself as the lead on a gruesome murder case.
The chief decided to slap fresh evidence on my desk and said “you’re taking this, Caverly,” as if the other cases I was investigating wasn’t enough. Now I was staring at a woman that was hacked up to pieces.
The photos were horrendous. Out of the years I’ve been working, I’ve never seen anything more terrible.
Harley was the one to get the facts first. As she read it to herself, the rest of us in the room could see the shock on her face. This kind of murder was uncommon. We were next to find out what’s going on. She looked up at us slowly, her hazel eyes warning us that it wasn’t going to be good but we knew that from the beginning.
“The woman’s name was Linda Bullock. Forty year old female, not married, no kids, brunette and green eyes.” She read out for us.
We just got most of everything this morning. For some reason, the people in the lab worked quicker than usual. The autopsy was rather quick too.
The woman was hacked up with an ax as the murder weapon. The cuts were not clean cuts but the death was not done in a rush.
“She suffered extensive full body trauma. It was immediately ruled that she died during the act. Cause of death was obviously the trauma but chances are she went into shock while...she was having her body chopped to pieces.”
There were also stab wounds present on the body pieces. And of course, that knife was stabbed into her face.
I heard a few stressed sighs around me. “I’ve worked here for twenty years and I’ve never heard of that happening.” Charlie said beside me as he spun back and forth in his chair. “Clearly we’re dealing with a hostile person.”
Hostile is an understatement.
“Well obviously.” Harley rolled her eyes. “Bullock was a dance instructor at the performing arts school downtown for fifteen years.” She continued to read off the folder.
Immediately I thought there was a serious motive involved with this murder. Someone did not like her. At all. That’s the only motivation for the killer to have enough patience to go through with cutting her up this way.
“What do you want us to do, Morgan?” Harley asked me.
I forgot I was leading this investigation.
“We should talk to people at the school first and her family to see if anyone hated her.” I said bluntly.
This was a gruesome murder, and no one does it unless they have built up rage in them. The only thing I could think of was looking at a loved one or a member of the performing arts school. It’s either someone wanted her dead or they did this for fun. It couldn’t be the latter.
“Good gosh, how are they going to report this?” George asked as he looked over Harley’s shoulder to see the photos. “Usually when things like this happen, there tends to be more.” He said.
“We won’t know for sure-”
“Until it happens.” He finished for Charlie, who immediately thought this would be the only interesting murder.
So we should look out for a second victim? What if the next murder doesn’t connect? I think we should focus on the one we have now till new evidence comes up.
“Hey, Morgan?” Charlie glanced at me again. “Coming out with us tonight?” he asked, and by the look on his face, it was one of those nights again.
There’s a history with this city’s corrupt police. It’s a problem when we just find our workers going on probation or being fired because they can’t control themselves. It was no surprise that I was asked but after a while I would hope that I would be left alone just because I always reject the offer.
I’m never interested.
I stared at Charlie for a second before I looked down at the papers in front of me.
“I’m not interested.” I said like I do everyday.
“Where y’all headed?” Harley finally asked for the first time because she’s never invited.
“Nowhere a nice woman like yourself needs to be hanging out.” Charlie answered quickly and got up. “Trust me, you wouldn’t like it, Harley.” He said and walked out with George.
Harley slumped down in the seat next to me, pouting miserably because she’s never invited to anything when the others go. And she should honestly be happy she doesn’t know the kinds of people she’s working with because sometimes I get a little struck.
“They’re going to the trash part of the city, aren’t they?” She asked because she knew.
I guess she’s aware then.
“They always go, Harley, and they’re basically risking their jobs and their marriages so let’s not bother with it.” I said, hoping that eases her stress but it didn’t look like it did.
As she tied her brunette hair up, she sighed quietly again, a little frustrated that our team was more concerned with having a good night than the case we just got. “That’s the party side of the city, isn’t it?”
“It’s the crazy side.” I corrected, though she wasn’t wrong.
When there’s festivals and holidays, we can count on having to be out there to that side of the city because everyone loves it. It can get a little wild with the clubs and bars that are around there. They’re mostly performers out that way and the entertainment really is not sub par. However, it’s not in my taste and I do my best to avoid being there.
Harley continued to go on about the city and how she would just appreciate being invited even if she does say no. I stared at the picture of the evidence, trying to see if I noticed anything.
“Where did this happen?” I asked her abruptly and pointed down at the photos.
“Uh,” she reached for the folder at the end of the table. “It was near Bolder Avenue, at the corner of Ways Circle.”
That’s the crazier part of the city.
Either it’s someone who’s always there, working there, conducting business there, or they brought her out there and murdered her.
“If you were to ask me, I would definitely say she was alive to feel most of this.” She turned the picture sideways and pulled out another photo of the deceased woman. “These photos are rather fresh too. You can see the strain in her face.”
Well her head wasn’t on her body.
“She died of the shock.” I said quietly.
“Or the blood loss,” she added on right after, “or you know, being hacked to pieces by an ax.” She sat back in her chair and crossed her arms.
The others are still searching for finger prints and anything that might have the DNA of the murderer. We were both stuck for a second, thinking of possible scenarios that could’ve happened. But we really just want to know who could’ve been this crazy to do that to Ms. Bullock.
“Who could’ve done this to her?” She asked to herself, still looking at the photos.
That’s what we have to find out.
“Do you think it’s someone from that side of the city?” I asked.
“Well they wouldn’t break her to pieces then bring her over there.” Harley said bluntly, trying to make it obvious that it did seem absurd.
“Or maybe she was in the wrong spot at the wrong time.” I said to myself, ignoring how she responded to me.
I still feel like this is still an emotional murder. Someone hated her. It was enough to set this person over the edge and kill her. If we talk to some of the faculty, we will know much more about what happened.
“I hope we figure it out before it gets worse.” I sighed and got up from my chair.
“Think it can get worse than this?”
I don’t know and that’s one thing I don’t want to find out while on this case.