STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
EMERALD BLUE OKIKI
The day is not yet done. The sunset is just beginning to blossom in the horizon, bringing a long night for Detective Frank Lancaster. He is aching to find out what really happened to that young girl. He’s tired but has no time for sleeping, not right now. He’s too busy trying to piece everything together. Still, if sleeping was an option, he wouldn’t take it without feeling some form of regret. First comes solving the crime, sleeping can wait. He never had a case turn cold and never planned to, but there’s something that separates this one from all the rest.
Instinct tells him there’s more to that girl’s death than a simple animal attack. It has to be.
His only desire at the moment is to unveil the truth. Yet again, he comes to an area blocked off by police officials. This area is off the road, near a flowing river and a thin wooded area. Jones has already taken the initiative to examine the next victim of an appalling crime. Jones looks over his shoulder and sees Frank approaching him.
He rises off the ground, brushes his hands clean, and steps away from a body that’s completely covered in black plastic. The midsection and legs are tied with braided rope.
“Took you long enough,” Jones tells him.
“Damn, another one,” Frank responds, ignoring his partner’s smart remark.
“Second one in the past three days,” Jones adds.
“Yup, it’s the boyfriend of the girl we found.”
This shocks Frank, but only a little. He knows two animal attacks are not likely, especially if the two victims knew each other. This has to be a homicide, just as he suspected. His gut instincts served him correctly, as always.
“Damn.” Frank replies automatically.
Frank kneels down and lifts a part of the plastic up; staring back at him with gray eyes and a pale blue face is a young man.
“Someone spotted his body floating upstream about an hour ago. I think he may have died around the same time as the other one.”
“Son of a bitch,” Frank says as he lifts the bag further to find a gaping hole in the boy’s blue chest.
Frank exhales deeply at the first sight of the boy’s lifeless stare. He then covers the boy’s body again.
“This changes everything,” Frank states while standing. “Unless an animal can tie rope, we’ve got a killer out here.”
“It gets better. The autopsy report came in about the girl. Somehow her heart was taken from her body,” Jones informs him.
“What?” Frank blurts out.
“Yeah, we had a crew go back with search dogs.
They’re still looking for more evidence. And this kid looks like he’s been killed the same way.”
“What kind of person kills two kids like that? What’s the motive?” Frank thinks out loud.
“Same question I’ve been asking myself.” Jones replies.
Frank uses his keen eyes to observe the surrounding area for clues. He sees the rope trailing from the victim’s feet and into the calm body of water.
He walks along the riverside and follows its end, and pulls it from the water. Instantly, he notices the rope’s end is mangled and untwisted.
“Look at that, this was not cut by a knife.” Frank states while examining the damaged rope.
He rotates the rope and finds something very odd. There’s a sharp white stone buried in between the braids. He pulls it out of the intertwined follicles and studies it.
“What is it?” Jones questions Frank.
Frank takes a closer look at the small piece of stone and soon realizes what it really is.
“It’s a tooth. And it’s not from a human.” Frank states.
“What?” Jones is instantly doubtful.
Frank reaches over his shoulder and hands him the sharp tooth. Jones lifts it in the air and strains his eyes to observe it thoroughly.
“Sure is.” Jones confirms. “But why was it in the rope?”
“Something chewed through it. I’ve dealt with some weird cases Jones, but this one is a whole new ballgame.”
...to be continued
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