Chapter 1 - Martyr
Kim West put the coat on and then, with a firm movement, she released her hair from under it. Right when she was ready to leave the apartment, she heard a knock on the door. After looking through the door sight, she opened it.
“Ace,” she said with an annoyed smile. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, you know, it’s always a pleasure to make you be late for work”
“Cut it short, Ace, we work together. Tell me now what exactly couldn’t wait 30 minutes.”
“Well, the press doesn’t wait for the detectives to come to work, to give spill the info, does it?”
“We have a serial killer. I mean a future one.”
“You’re terrible at explaining...”
“Alright, alright. We received a letter from him. He calls himself the “Martyr”. He confessed a murder, the one of Clarance Evans.”
“How do we know he is not just bragging?”
“He told us how he killed him. In detail.”
“Anyone could have invented a matching story.”
“I think you’re the only one who could and would do that,” said Ace.
“I swear to God that if you don’t tell me right now...”
“Calm down, Kim, I was just joking. He told us how he kidnapped Clarance, and after all the disgusting details, he said where to find the missing part.”
“Shit...missing part? We have to get to the station fast” she said, looking are her watch.
The two left the apartment and after descending thousands of stairs, they got to Ace’s car. As always, the weather was really cold, so the warmth made Kim feel relaxed. After some time, they arrived at the police station, where they snicked into their office, hoping no one would bother them.
“Clarance Evans...” murmured Kim.
“He first went missing for 5 days, but a priest found his body a few days after.”
“Yeah, I remember that case...it was declared cold one month later. I still wonder how he was able to put the body in the church.” Kim felt some cold shivers going down her spine.
“Kim, you know who Clarance Evans was?” Ace asked preclusively.
“The name sounds so familiar...I can swear I heard it at the news...”
“He is the president of the UN”
“Now I remember! Dear Lord...the president of the UN” she repeated slowly, as she didn’t believe it yet.
“Yeah, he was basically everything that stands for a “good guy”. Do you want me to tell you about the...”
“Missing part? Yes.”
“Alright, so prepare for a really gross macabre thing...”
“God, Ace, you are a detective, you saw worse things!” Kim said exasperated.
“No, correction, you saw worse things, for me, it’s traumatic!”
Kim looked at him with disbelief. She still didn’t know how he became a detective.
“Let’s get to some real work, Ace.”
“Yeah...so,” he said with a teacher tone, “The Martyr kind of scalped him...”
Kim made a disgusted face.
“I told you...”
“Sure, you can brag about getting me disgusted later, but for now you should tell me more about that Clarance.”
“Clarance Evans was supposed to participate at this meeting...the one from 1 September. He may have been kidnapped in the morning or the night before. Or maybe he went somewhere else and met with his killer.”
“Good, I see that your brain works,” she said grinning.
“Thanks, I didn’t know that” he responded ironically. “Do you want to give me more compliments or should I continue?”
“Alright, so tell me about the missing part - the scalp. How was it cut?”
“With a knife, like the Indians from tribes did in the past...”
“Interesting. So he calls himself a martyr and uses the Indian technic.”
“It’s a weird combination, don’t you think?”
“If you really think about it, it makes sense. The Inca trib, for example, scalped their defeated enemies to show that they were sinful people.”
“So what, he just read Winnetou and decided it was a great way to kill people?”
“Clarance was scalped after he was killed, genius.”
Ace swallowed dry. He couldn’t stand imagining the scene.
“Yo, West!” a man’s voice resounded from behind the door, and then a tall, well-built guy entered.
“Cass...always a pleasure,” said ironic Ace. “What brings you to our humble office?”
“Oh, Ace...” he said disappointed, “It never gets easier to see your face.”
Kim laughed and smiled at Cass.
“What’s going on? You always make possible to not come where Ace is” she said, grinning.
“Boss’s orders. His exact words were “Bring the people I hate the most, my submissive servant”.
“Very funny big guy, I almost laughed,” said Ace, annoyed.
Cass ignored him, and only waited for Kim’s reaction. She stared a bit into his eyes and then stood up, walking towards the door. Ace followed her quietly, not knowing what just happened.
They arrived at the boss’s office and knocked at the door. Ace opened the door and saw the short, bold man they all knew, and as always, he was dressed in a light brown suit.
“West, Booth” he greeted and smiled awkwardly.
“You wanted to see us, Mr. Howkes?” Ace asked.
“Yes,” he said turning his face to the window. “You’re taking care of the Clarance Evans case, am I right?”
“Well, yes, but it’s not an isolated incident, it’s about a serial killer that calls himself...”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I don’t care. I just wanted to make sure you know how much importance this case has.”
“What I was saying is that there are gonna be more. I think he’s gonna kill other people like him”, said Kim.
“What do you mean, West?”
“Other important people that seem...alright.”
Mr. Howkes thought for some time that continued.
“Don’t talk with the press, and tomorrow, I want you to have something.”
“We’ll do our best, sir”
“We’re talking about the president of the UN, West, your best is not enough.”
Kim rolled her eyes subtlety, and Ace assured him that they are going to solve the case. After they left the room, Kim gave Ace a look.
"There's something wrong with that guy."
"Oh, you mean the guy you're working for? For how long? Two minutes?"
"Just a year, Ace. Don't tell me that you don't think the same..."
"I'm not paid enough to suspect my boss for being corrupted, Kim"
"Ha! So you do think he's dirty!"
"No, I didn't...wait, you think that he's...God, Kim, you can't think that! He is just a little weird, it doesn't mean..."
"I know to make the difference between corrupted and weird!"
"Yeah! Every person is a little weird and a little corrupted, but he's more than just <a little> "
"If what you say is true, then, this rule, does it apply for Cass?"
Kim stopped herself in time for getting red.
"Yes," she replied coldly.
Ace rolled his eyes and he arranged his dark brown hair with one move of his hand.
"And this Martyr, is he weird?" asked Ace, ready to annoy Kim again.
"No, he's a gentleman," said Kim.
"So you say that the one that killed the president of the UN is a gentleman?"
"Ok, can you enlighten me a bit?"
"It would be my pleasure. The Martyr thinks that he is a gentleman, I don't agree he is, but if you think like him, I mean that this person was corrupted and sinful, then you would agree he is."
"And you think that makes sense..."
"Listen up. The only way to catch this guy is to understand his victim...future victims. If we find out in what way Clarance was sinful, we will be able to make a list of the possible victims and..."
"You should get some sleep," he said with an innocent voice. "We'll talk tomorrow about your gentleman."
Kim smiled shortly.
"Or, if you want, you can come with the rest of the crew to have a drink," said Cass, catching up with them. "God, you guys know how do walk fast, don't you?"
"It's part of the detective work" joked Kim.
"You wouldn't understand," said grinning Ace.
"So, that means you won't come with some poor officers for a drink?"
Ace rolled his eyes. "I will come...for the free beer".
"What about you, Kim?"
"Yeah, sure, why not"
After waiting for what Cass called the crew - he's two colleagues - they left the station. Cass was really thankful that there was a bar right across the station. It was a small place, mostly full of cops, but it was nice and affordable. The five entered the bar with confidence and sat down on the chairs that were spread in front of it.
"Are you alright?" asked Cass.
"Yeah...I just had a tiring day, so I'm gonna go home"
Cass knew he can't convince her to stay, so he just smiled and watched her leave. "Here we go again..." he murmured.