At the twins’ village apartment, the girls prepared themselves for bed. They got down on their knees—at the foot of the bed—and pressed their foreheads together. Stacey and Jannifer slept this way every night. They slept in this awkward position for a couple of hours before they were jolted from their sleep by a horrific nightmare. The same nightmare that they’d had for the past three years. The twins got dressed. They loaded their backpacks with crazy glue, two stun guns, five rolls of duct tape, and two razor sharp scalpels. Stacey and Jannifer left their village apartment at 2:33 am and headed toward the subway. They jumped on the uptown #5 train and got off at 42nd St. and Grand Central Station. They were headed towards the West Side Highway. Fog rolled in off the Hudson river. A half an hour later, the twins found themselves on West 28th St., near Air Pegasus—the 30th St. heliport.
On 28th St and 12th Ave., several Norway rats were feasting on some kind of organic matter. The sound of the approaching humans disturbed the hungry rodents. Their screeching would’ve sent a cold chill down the spine of a normal person, but not Stacey and Jannifer McHill. The twins approached the rodents. One of the rats stood upon its haunches and hissed at the girls. Jannifer kicked the rodent as if she were an NFL punter, contents from the rat’s stomach expelled from its mouth and landed on Jannifer’s sneaker. And without missing a beat, the twins marched on.
Thirty yards away, the rodent struck a homeless man in the face. His partner flinched. “What the hell?
“It’s a freakin’ rat, Joe.”
The twins had emerged from the fog like two apparitions. Jannifer and Stacey made a beeline toward the homeless men. One of the men was licking his cracked lips as the twins approached. The smell from the men’s clothing was overpowering, and they looked as if they had slept in the bowels of the city.
“What can I do for you ladies? Y’all lookin’ for a little action?”
Stacey and Jannifer said nothing.
One of the homeless men was dancing from foot to foot. “Joe, I’ve got to go and pee. Don’t start the fun without me.”
Homeless man number one escorted the twins to a building near the corner of 12th Ave. and 28th St. He beckoned the girls over and they followed. Homeless man number one untied the rope that held up his piss-stained pants. They fell around his charcoal colored ankles. Stacey and Jannifer glared at their next victim.
“Now, let me see what you two got.” He’d reached out his hand to touch Jannifer’s breast--then it happened. In a fraction of a second, Jannifer grabbed the would-be rapist by the wrist and yanked it down. At the same time, Stacey—who was standing directly behind her younger sister—threw a powerful left jab, catching the homeless man squarely in the mouth, knocking his upper and lower incisors down his throat. Before the homeless man could scream out, Jannifer slammed the ridge of her left hand—the part between her thumb and index finger—into the homeless man’s face and squeezed. The homeless man’s back molars popped out of his infected gums. She lifted the homeless man up onto his toes and spat in his face. Stacey screamed like a demon from hell as Jannifer slammed the man to the ground. She banged his head on the sidewalk, destroying his occipital lobe. Stacey removed the backpack and retrieved her scalpel. She began stabbing the man in the genitals. The twins were both screaming as if they were being attacked.
“What the hell are you doing to Joe?” homeless man number two shouted. Stacey and Jannifer froze like a deer caught in headlights; they glowered at the man. “What’re you doing to him?” Homeless man number two caught sight of his friend. “Oh. My. God...Joe...you killed him!” Homeless man number two looked straight into the twins’ eyes. “You fucking crazy bitches, leave him—” Homeless man number two’s words were cut short when he noticed that the killers were—ever so slowly—moving in his direction. The homeless man tried to move his feet but could not. “Sweet Jesus! Help me, I don’t wanna die.” As soon as he finished his prayer with Jesus, the man bolted from the scene and disappeared into the fog.
Stacey and Jannifer returned to their victim and continued their savage attack--screaming all the while, “You motherfuckin’ fatherfuckin’ pig! Stop killing our mommy...stop killing our daddy!”
At 8:54 am, Isis was sitting in a wing chair in Lt. Stone’s office. Also present were Detective Gomez from burglary and Detective Leroy Chalk Jr., who was a part of the homicide division. The group was all waiting for Taylor. Isis removed her Smartphone from her pocket and speed-dialed Taylor’s number.
Two seconds later Taylor tapped on the door. “Sorry I’m late, but I was having a little car trouble,” he said as he gently closed the door.
“We’re just glad you’ve blessed us with your presence,” Lt. Stone said sarcastically. Have a seat and let’s get down to business.” Lt. Stone assigned Detectives Gomez and Chalk to help in tracking down the girls on the list. Between Isis and Taylor, they’d accumulated over one hundred and forty-three names.
“Just to be clear,” Isis said. “There will be no arrest…” Isis paused when Lt. Stone’s desk phone started to ring. She grabbed a pen from under a small pile of papers and held it out to him. Stone snatched the pen from out of her hand and wrote something down.
The expression on Lt. Stone’s face said it all. He hung up the phone and said, “The boys over at midtown south found a body on 12th Ave. over by the heliport. It fits our killer’s M.O., and get this...they’ve got a witness.”
The police vehicles that were parked in front of midtown south, on West Thirty-Fifth St.,
were all parked kitty-cornered. Isis had to double park her truck around the block on Ninth Ave.
“Hi, I’m Detective Williams and this here is my partner, Detective Taylor.”
“How ya doin?” a tall, black man said. “I’m Sergeant Taylor.” The sergeant glanced at Taylor. “No relation, I assure you.”
“We’re here to see Detective Terrence,” Isis said.
“Yes, Detective, I’ve been expecting you. Detective Archaic is on the second floor.”
“Detective who?” Taylor asked.
Detective Roland Terrence was a huge man, and Isis could see why he was called “Detective Archaic.” The man looked like a giant Neanderthal. His sloping forehead and bushy eyebrows, which were touching, would’ve had any child screaming for his or her mommy if they saw this monstrosity coming down the street. They’d probably have nightmares for life.
“Excuse me,” Isis said.
The Neanderthal stood. Taylor gasped.
“Hi, my name is Terrence, Detective Roland Terrence.” The Neanderthal extended his hand and Isis shook it. When he spoke, his voice was that of a woman. “Please come in and have a seat,” he said. The Neanderthal’s handshake was just as feminine as his voice. Remarkable, Isis thought. An effeminate, giant Neanderthal.
“Thank you,” Isis said.
“And who do we have here?” the Neanderthal said as he held out his hand for Taylor to take. It was obvious to Isis that the Neanderthal was attracted to her partner. “Please have a seat. Come in.” The Neanderthal placed his large hand on Taylor’s shoulder as he ushered the detective into his office. “Can I get you something to drink?” he said to Taylor.
“No, thank you.”
Isis covered her mouth as she fought back her laughter, then she cleared her throat. “So whatcha got? Detective... Detective!”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the Neanderthal said as he tore his eyes away from Taylor’s and looked in Isis’s direction.
“So, your guys found a body and you think that it’s our perp?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“What do you mean, you think so? I hope you didn’t drag me down here for nothing,” Isis said.
“No, Detective. I believe it’s the same perpetrator.” The Neanderthal picked up his notepad, flipped a few pages, and began to read: “A John Doe was found murdered on West 28th St. and 12th Ave. He was found by an acquaintance, a... Samuel Dickerson. We got the call at 3:34 am, and arrived at the scene five minutes later.”
Isis glanced at her partner and smiled as the giant, with the girly voice, continued to read from his notepad. Taylor was taking notes.
“The body was nude, and most of his clothes were cut up.” The Neanderthal paused and looked up at Taylor. Isis got a whiff of the Neanderthal’s body odor--it wasn’t good. She pinched the tip of her nose as the Neanderthal continued to read: “The John Doe had multiple lacerations all over his body. The real damage was around the genital region and the back of his head.”
Isis, who had been holding her breath, asked the monster if he could speak up.
“Somebody ripped off his cock and balls, then they’d cut them up into little pieces and stuffed it back into his body.”
“And you guys got an eye witness to the murder?” she asked.
“Yes, we do,” the Neanderthal said as he smiled at Taylor.
“Detective Terrence, may we see the witness please?”
Terrence led Isis and Taylor into the next room where a homeless man sat inside a 12x12 cage. “Why is he wearing restraints?” Isis asked.
“After he was brought in last night, he tried to hurt himself. He started banging his head against the walls and punching himself in the face…the restraints are for his own protection.”
“Really?” Isis was a little suspicious.
“Yes, really, Detective Williams.” The homeless man had a blank stare in his eyes when Isis walked towards the holding cell.
“Is he all right?” she asked. Isis placed her hands on the cage. She asked the man directly.
The homeless man turned his head slightly and looked into Isis’s eyes. “They killed Joe.”
“Was that your friend’s name, Joe?”
Isis waved to the Neanderthal to bring her a chair. She sat as close to the cage as she could get. “Could you tell me Joe’s last name?”
“His full name was…” the homeless man paused. “His name was Joseph Bratt.”
“And what’s your name, sir?”
“I’m Samuel Dickerson,” he said as he tugged on the collar of his threadbare cotton shirt. He looked down at himself: he had a wing tipped shoe on one foot and a Converse sneaker on the other. “I wasn’t always like this, I assure you. I used to be somebody. I graduated from Harvard, Detective.” Isis could tell by the man’s diction that he was educated.
“Please, call me Isis. And this guy here is my partner, Taylor.”
Mr. Dickerson nodded his head in Taylor’s direction. “It’s good to meet you, sir.”
“So, tell me, Mr. Dickerson, what did you see last night?”
Mr. Dickerson lowered his head, as he fought back his tears. “Joe. They murdered Joe.” He looked up at Isis. “It was two of them. Two teenage girls and I got a good look at them, too. I can draw them for you if you like. Isis reached into her fanny pack and removed a pen and her notepad, but as soon as the homeless man took the pen from Isis, his hand began to shake violently. “I was so scared. I didn’t want to run, but I was scared.” He looked up at Isis. His eyes were filled with tears and regret. “I’m such a coward.” He stood up and slammed his head against the cage. Isis tried to calm the man down, but it was of no use--Mr. Samuel Dickerson had flipped completely out.
After Isis and Taylor had left Midtown South, they headed over to the morgue to view the body of Samuel Dickerson’s friend. Taylor had convinced Isis to let him wait outside.
The temperature inside the morgue was downright cold, compared to the temperature outside. Isis, who was wearing a short sleeve shirt, rubbed her arms as she walked down the aisle. The smell of disinfectant hung heavy in the air. Isis ambled toward an L-shaped, stainless steel table which had a body on it. The body was covered with a white sheet. Before she could reach the table, a woman wearing a white lab coat and carrying a clipboard entered the room from a side door.
“Hi, I’m Dr. Michaels, medical examiner, and you must be Detective Williams.” The two women shook hands.
Isis instantly noticed how thin the woman was. She must be ninety pounds soaking wet, she thought. The medical examiner was as white as a ghost, and she wore bright red lipstick.
“So you’re here to see our John Doe?”
“His name was Joseph Bratt.”
Isis looked around the sterile room. Dr. Michaels walked over to the table. A long section of the table had a perforated exterior, where bodily fluids would flow into a sink. Isis hated coming to the morgue. She tried to avoid it whenever she could. Isis stood next to the doctor with her hand covering her nose.
“I’ve just completed my external examination.” Dr. Michaels flung the sheet off the body of the victim as if she were performing a magic trick. “Voila.” The smell that rose from the dead man was overpowering
Isis squeezed her nostrils shut and stared at the doctor. Fuckin’ ghoul.
The medical examiner patted the dead man on the chest. “He won’t be wandering around the subways tonight—”
“Hey! Show some damn respect, the man’s dead.”
Chagrin, the medical examiner went straight into doctor mode. She switched on the overhead mic then stated her name, the time, and the presence of Detective Williams. Isis asked her what the exact cause of death was.
“Well, from looking at the victim’s genital region—and the gaping hole there—one might say that the cause of death was exsanguination. Or that the multiple lacerations that cover his entire body could’ve killed him. What did him in? The back of his skull was obliterated, completely shattered, which destroyed his occipital lobe. That’s what killed him. And, look here, Detective, notice the bruises along the joints in his arms.” Dr. Michaels was pointing at the dead man’s wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints. “Our killer dislocated them all.”
“How the hell did they do that?”
“Apparently, they pulled the joints out of the sockets.”
“The killer pulled them out with his bare hands.”
Isis’s jaw dropped. “They did what? These are teenage girls we’re talkin’ about, Doc. How could they’ve done that?”
Dr. Michaels looked shocked. “Teenage girls! I didn’t know that.” She looked at the body on the table again. “This might be a classic case of Excited Delirium.”
“Excited Delirium. It’s when a patient shows extreme strength while being restrained. In most instances, the person is under some kind of mind-altering drug.” Dr. Michaels stared at the victim’s wounds much closer now. “They stuffed pieces of his penis into his mouth, and rectum. They cut out his eyeball, and knocked out his teeth.” The doctor directed Isis toward the x-ray machine. “Look here, Detective.” The medical examiner showed Isis the x-rays of the victim’s chest region. “See those? Those are his teeth.”
Isis pointed at the x-ray machine as she counted in silence. “Six...there’re six teeth inside him.”
“Yes. Two incisors, one premolar, and three back molars. Our Mr. Bratt had a serious case of marginal gingivitis, but it still would’ve taken a considerable amount of pressure to squeeze out his molars. Also, to separate a man’s ulna and radius bones from the elbow joint, and at the same time, separating the humorous from his glenoid cavity takes some doing.” The medical examiner was probing the right arm of the victim. She looked over at Isis in disbelief. “Two teenage girls did all this?”
“Yeah, doc, and I’ve got to catch those psychos,” she said as she marched toward the exit door.
Isis had spent the last three and a half hours on her computer. She’d requested a search at V.I.C.A.P. (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program), an FBI national database information center designed for collecting, sorting, and analyzing information about mobile serial killers. Her search parameters consisted of multiple stun gun usages, the use of crazy glue, and an excessive use of duct tape, used by female—teenage—serial killers. Isis turned to face Taylor. The rookie was staring off into space.
“Are you okay, dude?”
He had that faraway look in his eyes again. He tried to smile, but it made him look crazy.
Taylor passed his hands over his face, then he stared at Isis. “We can’t talk here,” he said. “Come on.” Taylor took Isis to his favorite bar on West 117th St. He ordered a scotch and soda. Isis ordered a bottle of water.
“So, what’s the deal, Taylor?” Isis said as she popped open the bottled water; she took a sip. Taylor picked up his drink and knocked it back.
“I’m done. I can’t do this shit no more…” Taylor waved to the bartender, then pointed to his empty glass.
“What’re you talkin’ about?”
“This job, my life...I’m so sick of my life…” He looked at Isis. “You have no idea, Isis. No freaking idea.”
Isis looked confused. “Your job? What, you don’t like being in homicide?”
Taylor said nothing as he stared at his glass.
“Taylor, you can’t quit….”
Taylor knocked back his second drink. He could never bring himself to tell Isis about his problems and that for the last two nights he’d spent his time with a seventeen-year-old girl, and that sometimes he wanted to shoot himself in the face.
“I’m going to put in my resignation tomorrow.”
Isis could see that Taylor was hurting and that he was serious. “Taylor, if it’s the way I’ve been—”
“No Isis, this has nothing to do with you—”
“Then what? What’s the problem, Taylor?” Taylor held his head down. Isis tilted hers so that she could see his eyes. “Look, I need you with me on this thing, partner. You’re turning out to be a good homicide detective, no shit.” Taylor lifted his head and looked into his partner’s eyes. He shook the nasty thoughts from his mind as Isis reached over and touched his hand. “Please, Taylor, do this for me. Help me catch these two and if you still want to quit after that, well…”
Taylor had always been a sucker for a pretty face. “Okay, just this one last case and after that, I’m done. Finished.”
“Terrific,” Isis said. She waved the bartender over. “You won’t regret this, dude.”
But Taylor already regretted it.