Number 21 – Part 2

Posted: March 4, 2013 in Short story
Tags: , , , , ,

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Chapter 2:

(Read chapter 1 here : https://essdeeauthor.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/number-21/)

It was 6:00 AM by the time Alan reached home. He planned to take a 2 hour nap but lay awake on the bed, not getting a wink of sleep. He couldn’t stop thinking about the case. The murder scene was known to him, in the sense that it was similar to his second case. Very similar. He thought about the coincidence. His second case was of betrayal and revenge. A 21-year-old girl cheated on her boyfriend. He took revenge by killing her with a knife, stabbing her about 20 times and leaving her in her car to die in a parking lot. Alan had cracked the case within 3 days. The guy had been caught and he is currently serving his term in jail. There was no reason why this similarity could be anything else but coincidence. The only difference being that the current girl was murdered elsewhere and brought to her car post-mortem, whereas the earlier murder was committed in the car itself. Maybe here also the girl’s boyfriend is involved. Alan decided it to be the first thing to check out in the morning.

The alarm buzzed at 8:00 AM, waking Alan from the reverie. He took a shower, made a toast and omelette and scanned through the day’s newspaper while having breakfast. Then he left for the Police Station. There was buzz and activity in the homicide department due to the morning’s murder. Fred, the deputy was there. So was Detective Martha James, the new joinie. She was in Alan’s team and was in the process of learning the nuances of the job. Alan reprimanded her for not being reachable through phone in the morning. She mouthed ‘sorry’ with a cute, baby-ish smile expecting it to melt Alan’s heart. It didn’t. He got even more angry, and told her she ought to have joined movies or modelling if she wished to show her girly talents rather than the police force. She quietly walked away.

The victim’s parents and her boyfriend were waiting to be interrogated. Alan called each of them to the interrogation room one by one, and asked them the usual questions : Where were they when she was killed? Did they have an alibi? Did they know of any jealous friends? Did they know of anybody who would have wanted to harm Mary or had a grudge against her? etc. He got to know from Derek, the boyfriend, that Mary had dropped him home after work at around 9:30 PM and had gone to her apartment.  Alan asked detective James to confirm the alibis and get the Tech team to search for a red Jaguar in the cctv footage of the traffic points at 9:30 PM around Derek’s house.

It was 2PM in the afternoon. Alan was almost done with his third interrogation, Mrs. Newton, when he received a text on his phone from James about another murder. He concluded his interrogation and left for the scene.

A body had floated up and got caught in the railings under the bridge on the river. They just pulled the body out of the water when Alan reached the scene. Detective James was already there. Alan asked her to record what she concluded from the body and gave her the tape recorder. CSU took pictures of the body while James recorded her findings.

Martha James: The victim seems to be an elderly man, almost 70. He is wearing night dress and from the decomposition of the flesh, he seems to be dead for almost 3 days. There are marks on his neck as if he has been strangulated. There are some bruises on the wrists and ankles implying he was tied with ropes. There are no papers on the body to identify the victim.

After finishing recording, James asked Alan what was to be done next. Alan did not reply. He was engrossed in thoughts. He noted the resemblance of this murder to that of his first case. In fact, this was an exact copy. And if the recent murders were put in the chronological order of death, this John Doe died before Mary Newton. So, the pattern was similar to the order of the cases handled by Alan. There was no reason to link these two murders and they might have been completely separate occurrences, but Alan couldn’t shake off the instinct that these two murders were connected. But until a link is found, he would have to treat them as separate murders. He decided to follow the normal course of investigation. He sent the body for autopsy, asked James to follow on the alibis on Mary Newton’s relatives and went back to the station.

Once back in the office, he sent a photo of the John Doe to the IT team to match with any of the missing reports in the State. While he was at it, a preliminary autopsy report on Mary Newton was dropped on his desk. He took a look at it, and was surprised to see a photo of the lower back of the victim. Two letters were scraped on the flesh by a sharp instrument. The letters A and C.  Was it for Alan Clarke? He immediately called up the medical examiner performing the autopsies, Dr. Richard Henderson, and asked him to look at the body of the John Doe and let him know if there were any letters carved on the body.

Henderson called after about twenty minutes. Alan almost cried out loud with impatience and the suspense. Henderson confirmed the carvings of A and C on the body of the John Doe on the same place, the lower back. Alan got his link and the link was himself. He gathered his team around and told them of his discovery. Both the murders had been committed by the same killer but technically it wasn’t yet a case of serial killings as the count of bodies needed to be three. And his gut told him, he wouldn’t have to wait long.

****************************End of Chapter 2***********************

To be continued on Chapter 3 …….

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