The atmosphere was nauseating with the stench of blood that was pooled around the body of a man who seemed to be somewhere in his late 60s. Despite being a homicide detective for only 6 months, this wasn’t an unfamiliar sight to Brent Underwood after all, humanity had its fair share of insane criminals.
The murder had taken place at a cheap motel-the kind that catered to odd hour visits by customers seeking pleasures of the flesh, but no room of that dingy little building must have ever witnessed flesh pulled apart from a person’s body.
Until on a Friday night when Valentino Morgan was ruthlessly murdered in Room no. 13. He was castrated and his eyes poked out. The weapon was not found, but it seemed to be the work of a long and thin, however considerably blunt object. The body was soon sent for forensic tests.
Stella, Valentino’s companion for the night was the first to come across the crime, her screams had alerted other inmates of the motel. The terrified woman wasn’t very useful, it was her first meeting with Valentino and hence all she knew was his name. In fact none of the other inmates proved to be of much help, from the motel manager ( that is if you could call someone with a dusty notebook and hand written records sitting on a chair not caring about what happened in the rooms above as long as he was paid, a manager) all Brent gathered was about Valentino’s habit of frequent indulgences.
It was 5 am now and without any crucial evidence, the investigation was put on hold for a couple of hours. After all, even detectives needed to sleep.
Brent stood in the middle of the crime scene with a cup of coffee in his hand and brows pulled together in concentration. His eyes swept around the room, searching for any clue that might have been missed in absence of daylight. There was no furniture in the room besides a rickety bed with some old spotless sheets rumpled slightly at one corner. The body, Brent recalled was not facing the door, the killer either had to be familiar with Brent for him to invite the person in or there had to be a different entrance. Undoubtingly it was the window-it had no latch or grill and it was large enough to fit an average adult. The killer must have pounced through the window- conveniently enough there was a huge pipe running right beside Room number 13’s window. Being only a one storey motel, it was almost a cake walk for the killer to break in.
Brent was unnerved by the lack of substantial evidence, he looked down the window- a beautiful bed of roses lay right under the pipeline. There was however a patch of crumpled flowers-vaguely in the shape of feet, finally an evidence presented itself. Wasting no time Brent measured the shoe size and ordered for a plaster of the same to be made.
Later that evening, the forensic report claimed to have found a tiny chipped plastic piece from one of the eyes- quite unlike a weapon. The plaster of shoe print revealed it to be a size 9 combat boot.
Brent had sent out investigators to collect information about as many indulgences of Valentino as possible. A previous argument or conflict could easily be a motivating factor to commit the murder. Unfortunately, nothing came up. Valentino had never spent 2 nights with the same person, none knew more than his name and generous payment hobbies. ___________________________________________________________
The rushing water cleaned away remnants of blood on the spindle shaped hair clip. Combat boots now cleaned off mud.
Both securely placed behind a mirror.
The reflection in the mirror grinned coldly at itself.
Alex Rogers was a forensic expert who usually worked with Brent Underwood, professionally they made a great team partly because they had been friends for 2 years now. Despite their contrasting personalities the duo worked with utmost precision. While one would describe Alex as a perpetually grumpy man with a frown etched on his face, Brent was calm and optimistic. So naturally when Monday rolled in with the news of another murder orchestrated as if it were a replica of Valentino’s, Brent approached the crime scene with a collected persona, and Alex was simply annoyed at what he deemed to be an inconvenient situation. He had never shown any sympathy for victims before, this time was no different.
The victim- Ken Douglas, a 60 something man was murdered in his apartment. He lived alone and was killed in his sleep-as was evident by no physical marks of defense or struggle. The killer had precisely cut his jugular vein leading to quick death then proceeded to castrate the man and poke his eyes out. Such resemblance to Valentino’s murder- a killing spree, what else could it be?
Further investigation of Douglas’ belongings led to an interesting revelation- apparently he knew Valentino Morgan, they used to own a bar some 30 years ago which was shut down abruptly.
The strangeness of these murders only amplified when it was found out that neither of them had any personal contacts or relatives in fact even the last contact they had with each other was around the time their bar shut down.
The entire day had passed by and both Alex and Brent were exhausted by the day’s events. They decided to spend the night at Alex’s which happened to be quite near to the crime site.
Brent settled into the familiarity of Alex’s home while his friend had made a bee line for the bedroom claiming he was too tired for an appetite, within seconds Alex’s soft snores resonated in the small apartment. Brent on the other hand had always had trouble sleeping so he pondered- who could possibly kill these people and why. It surely had to be someone who had the skill set of a doctor or medical expert, the cut on Ken’s jugular vein was too neat for any killer, especially when it was such a hot blooded murder.
Brent was starting to have a headache, he slipped out of the apartment and marched into the dark night, little did he know he wasn’t alone.
After waiting for 3 decades the job was done , both Valentino Morgan and Ken Douglas were dead.
Brent Underwood, it’s time you come to an end as well.
Alex woke up to his alarm going off with an annoying beep, it read 6 am. It was far too early to deal with criminal investigation. It wasn’t until 2 cups of coffee and a refreshing bathe did Alex realized that his apartment was far too quiet, Brent was nowhere to be seen- must have gone for a morning jog, Alex did not pay much attention to his friend’s disappearance at that time.
5 hours, it had been far too long for a jog to last. Alex was worried at this point. Brent must have gone back to his place- surely that is a plausible scenario but it is uncharacteristic of Brent to leave without a message or miss an investigation. Brent’s apartment was empty, he was not answering his cell, none of their colleagues knew where he was, asking his parents wasn’t an option- Brent grew up in an orphanage as far as Alex knew.
Oh, but Alex didn’t know much.
In a desperate attempt to find his friend, Alex decided to visit the orphanage Brent grew up at,perhaps his friend had taken a spontaneous trip.
Ms. Picknety was a frail and old woman who loved children dearly, but she never had any of her own- that is biologically. The children of her orphanage loved her more than some children loved their biological parents. Even till now many visited her on special occasions, Brent Underwood was not one of them as Alex found out. From what Alex gathered, Brent was a quiet child who preferred his own company. Ms.Picknety could only recall that Brent had come to her at the age of 10- why she did not know, the boy never spoke of it. Brent had always wanted to catch criminals, Ms Picknety had told Alex. She remembered this little detail because often Brent used to give contrasting reasons for his aspiration. Seldom he would want to become a detective because of the righteousness attached to the job, however a few times Brent had fiercely claimed to seek vengeance by becoming a homicide detective. Ms Picknety never paid much attention to these details, for her it was a child’s odd behavior that could be easily shrugged off.
More confused than before Alex decided to check Brent’s apartment again.
The sound of Alex’s footsteps echoed in the apartment. This was uncalled for, he did not expect Brent’s friend to be here. It seems it was fate, Alex had to die- he can’t know the truth and live.
It would jeopardize everything he had ever worked for.
Alex entered Brent’s apartment he could sense that something was off. It was too dark, the only glimmer of light came from across the hallway from the bathroom. Alex made his way towards the ominous light, the bathroom was immaculate nothing out of place except the mirror against the wall which was broken into half. There was a hollow rectangular space behind it and inside it was Brent’s photograph but it wasn’t Brent, it couldn’t be. The man in the picture had a malicious smirk on his face, eyelids too hollow as if he weren’t human. Behind the photograph was the name Jacques Montiero.
Alex could not understand what was happening, he ran out of the bathroom shouting his friend’s name. In his panicked frenzy he did not hear someone sneaking up on him from behind.
Jacques smashed the vase with full force on Alex’s head, his body crumbled to the ground with a loud thud. Jacques proceeded to tie Alex on a chair. Perhaps he could tell his tale before killing the man. Considering all these years he had kept quiet he could definitely use a chat.
Alex woke up with his head in excruciating pain, the back of his head felt sticky with dried blood. Shaking into partial consciousness he saw Brent sitting in front of him with a spindle shaped hair clip in his hand.
Brent? Alex called out.
The man barked out a cold laugh. I am not Brent, he said.
I am Jacques Monteiro, trapped in the body of this coward for 30 years now, but alas my job is done. I can finally roam freely now that Valentino and Ken both are dead, being a homicide detective no one would have really suspected me and I easily learnt how to kill someone within few second without making any mess.
Trapped? Alex echoed. He could not understand what was happening to Brent, he was terrified. He screamed at Brent, demanded to know what was wrong with him. But his screams were shut down by a quick slice across his cheek.
For the last time, it’s Jacques. Your friend will never see the light of day again. I could have consumed him before but then I needed his calm persona to keep a façade. Quite real, wasn’t it?
Alex was too weak to scream at this point, all he managed to choke out was – why?
A dark look shadowed Jacques’ face, he sneered at Alex but gave him an answer nonetheless.
Brent’s mother worked at Valentino and Ken’s bar and everything was fine until the owners came to know of his mother’s beauty. 30 years ago they raped her until she lost her last breath. They buried the heavily bruised body under the bar and shut down the place the very next morning. Valentino and Ken thought no one saw them.
They were wrong, there was a 6 year old boy locked away in the bathroom who saw his mother being murdered by two bastards. He had banged against the bathroom door countless times if the bruises on his arms were anything to go by.He had bawled his eyes out if the tear tacks on his face were anything to go by. But no one heard him, his cries too feeble against the screams of his mother and the loud music blasting in the bar.
Brent saw the heinous crime, but it was too much for a little boy to bear. So Jacques remembered it for him.
Jacques twirled his mother’s hair clip in his hand. It was chipped a little at an end. His face was drenched in grief, reliving the past only tormented him. Since that night 30 years ago he had waited for a chance for vengeance and now it was complete and 2 people knew about it.
One was Alex who had slipped into unconsciousness again, it was easier to kill him this way. The only other person who knew about his dark past now was Brent, a slice on the neck did the trick.
There in the middle of the apartment lay Brent’s body ,urdered by his own hands but the intention of Jacques- who gave into madness to seek vengeance.
Or was it Brent who gave into dark thoughts too heavy to bear and sought Jacques as his weapon to kill the torturers of his mother.
Perhaps it was both