The body was scattered all over the parking lot of the most important movie theater complex ‘Megaskoop’ that was situated in the suburbs of the city Sanctuary. In a long line, about twenty meters long, different human body parts which were once a whole, were being photographed and filmed by the technical service. A special camera made photos and pictures of the crime scene and the dispersed victim. Afterward, with a particular technique, these images could be transformed in 3D-images.
The body parts were labeled according to the customary requirements and afterward packaged and transported to the morgue by members of the technical department. The coroner-pathologist from the forensic department would have to puzzle and put these packages in the right order to get a view of the identity and the cause of death of the victim. They could with certainty determinate that the victim was male, due to a particular part they had found. For the rest, they were literally and figuratively operating in the dark. It was three a clock in the morning.
The watchman of Megaskoop had discovered the human remains of the unfortunate victim on his nightly watch. The man had notified the Security Service although he had collapsed afterward and taken to the nearest hospital.
You would collapse for less, Chief Inspector Norino Vastai thought. He was called in the middle of the night, view to the MO of the case he was handling. This crime also was categorized as one of the killings upon members of the Akai.
He still remembered the first case very well, even as it was already a while ago. At first they thought of the degenerated people from the Catacombs in the Deeplands. This idea was rejected because those people didn’t slash their victims in pieces. The bodies of the casualties of the Cannibals always showed bite marks. These remains were lacking pieces of flesh. Those degenerated murderers out of the Deeplands torn with their razor-sharp teeth ready-to-eat lumps out of their victims, with which they filled their hungry stomachs. What remained was a more or less gnawed off dead thing, but within which the figure of a human being was still recognizable.
Shi Udesama, an adjunct of Norino Vastai, arrived running and swaying with both his arms out of the strip with trees that surrounded the complex.
‘Chief Inspector, Chief Inspector, you’ve got to see this, I’ve got…’ The rest of the sentence was lost in the sound of a helibot from the press who was taking off. They were restricted from the crime scene from a certain perimeter and that was not accepted very well. So they would shoot some images from above and disappear. Tomorrow the newspapers would be filled with guesses and suppositions and above all with reproaches at the address of the Security Service and the police because they hadn’t yet captured the serial killer. Venomous people, they were those press hounds. The case was better served without them.
His adjunct held a white paper piece in his hand, packed in a little plastic bag. ‘This was attached to a tree…’ he said while he was pointing behind him. ‘I’ve already warned the technical service to examine this zone for possible footprints or other tracks, but I think you’d like to read this immediately.’
Norino Vastai took with a frightened presumption the bag from his adjunct and tried with a tubular bulb to decipher the words on the paper. For a moment, he shivered. Not because of the cold evening air, which penetrated even so through his thick coat. The content was again a short Latin text. Norino recognized the particular writing style of the last note that was handed to him in connection with the murder of Suzy Chang.
Mors stubebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
The document was signed: Judge on duty. At your service, Chief Inspector!
A new assignment for his translator. Norino Vastai asked his adjunct to send the text to the head office. As always he immediately responded and scanned with his mobile the lines and transmitted to the person in question with the message ‘Urgent’. Not five minutes later the answer arrived. Vastai wasn’t surprised that it was again an excerpt out of the Requiem of Mozart. He should have to improve his knowledge about classical music. With consternation, he read the translated document
Death and nature will be astounded,
When all creation rises again,
To answer the judgment.
That arrogant figure owned himself the title of ‘Judge on duty’. The last letter also mentioned a judge. On duty! How presumptuous and… The Chief Inspector just swallowed to lose his anger and incapacity and to redirect his angry thoughts on a different track. This way didn’t lead to solutions. Anger was the worst advisor to an investigator. He had to take distance from his personal feelings. In this manner, he would get a clear vision of this case. An unbiased opinion and a rational approach to the facts was the only way to obtain solutions.
He had learned this through the years. Otherwise, he would lose himself in his emotions as most of the people did. The case wouldn’t be helped with this.
He picked his memo-block out of his pocket. It was an interesting piece of hardware in which he saved all the important fact of the running case. Witness reports, interrogations, reports of the coroner-pathologist, even photos of the crime scene and of the autopsy he could inquire and consult with a couple of movements. It possessed an intelligent memory and could connect with the databanks of the Security Service to collect through cross-references to collect info out of similar files.
Meanwhile, he read through a few cases. In a few weeks, it would be about two years that they had found the first victim in the Akai-murders. The first cases had fallen in the proximity of the Catacombs. It didn’t take long before the serial killer became more audacious and human remains were left behind in the suburbs of both Sanctuary and Tokyo. Last night Vastai had a conversation with his adjunct Shi about the changes in the MO op the perpetrator.
He asked him again now. ‘What do you think, Shi, has he become reckless or should we follow another idea?’
Shi was a bit longer than Chief Inspector Norino and more muscular without being too stringy. Physically just the opposite of the corpulent Chief Inspector. With his dark black hair and his black suit Shi looked a bit like the ninja’s from the past, Norino Vastai thought.
His adjunct was rather new in the Security Service. With a ten-year career, the young man couldn’t compete with the thirty years Vastai had served. It didn’t mean Shi wasn’t suited for the job, far from. He was one of the best qualified who was promoted from the Police Academy and joined the Security Service on demand of the Chief Inspector. He couldn’t imagine a better help. What Shi lacked in experience, he compensated with his commitment and his passion for the job. Norino had also a second adjunct. At this moment, he was occupied with paperwork at the bureau.
‘I don’t think so, Chief. If we look at the characteristic psychology of serial killers, it is their greatest wish to be caught. On the other hand, they or he doesn’t want to make it easy for us. We have to earn it to catch him. He esteems himself cleverer and we have to play his game and follow his rules.’ Shi had mulled this over obviously. ‘I think we have to deal with a very intelligent but also very dangerous fellow. He knows his classics, we may presume, if we look at the Latin texts he writes. And he doesn’t leave any tracks behind. Even not till now!’
Inspector Vastai nodded affirmatively and typed a few remarks about the case on his memo-block.
‘It’s not that he just copies these writings without thought,’ Shi went on. ‘It has a meaning for him, not that this had brought us closer, but yes…’ his adjunct noticed cynically and he scratched through his short hair, ‘we also know that he has enlarged his radius without us reaching closer to a solution or having a usable trace. It demonstrates his ingenuity I must admit, but I suppose it will not take long before he makes a mistake. There’s always a moment when they overplay their hand.’
‘Let’s hope that, above all,’ Vastai answered, ‘and the sooner the better. Shall we round this up, Shi? I see the crime scene has been closed and the technical inspection has left. Try to catch some sleep before we break our heads upon this case once more. Sweet dreams, Shi.’
‘Okay, Chief, see you in a few hours.’ Norino and Shi were leaving the parking lot of the movie complex Megaskoop as the last persons present. It was about six o‘clock in the morning.
The lighting of the clubhouse of the Skeelers was rather scarce and the sounds were almost completely absorbed by the sound-suppressing floor tiles. The atmosphere was tensed, dominated the place as if a gun could go off. Here and there some members were sitting at a table on the left side of the long space. Behind the bar which was on the right, a man was busy, back turned to me, when I entered the bar with Ji Lang.
Each one of the members wore a vest with on the backside a logo of the Skeeler, a rolling skate with a flash of lightning above. I didn’t find it successful as marking, but who was I to judge. Certainly not a Skeeler. When they noticed us, after a greeting o Ji Lang at the barman, the conversations became silent. After the same greeting to the members by my companion, they fast lose their interest and chattered calmly but unintelligible further, whatever they had to invent in this dark room.
‘Hey, Ji, what will you and your darling have,’ the bold man behind the counter grinned. He gazed shameless at me from head to toe as if he was inspecting the merchandise. Who knows what affairs, he was dealing?
‘To begin with, I’m not his darling and when you’ve looked enough at me I should like a cold beer,’ I reacted sharply. You mustn’t give these libertine folks a chance before you knew it you were knocked down, stripped of your clothes and raped. I know, I’m not an easy girl and I usually don’t make a secret of it.
Ji Lang ordered his legendary glass of white and we nestled ourselves just before the bar on a table where we had a good sight of the entrance of the club. Our appointment with Eagle Eye was not for a half hour, so I made gratefully exploiting the opportunity to absorb the surroundings while we enjoyed our drinks.
We found ourselves in a typical macho decorated space with on the sides 3D-pictures of famous members of the Skeelers. Mostly men, with the exception of one woman. Members with name and fame in the group. Tough guys, who in their outfit and with dangerous flickering eyes firmly looked down on the visitors of the Swift.
Yes, they were all fast blokes I must admit when my eyes flew over the images that were projected in the background of the bar on a white wall. Breakneck stunts alternated with strong examples of Parkour. This was a discipline by which of different jump and landing techniques you covered difficult trajectories.
You had to be at least acrobatic to not land upon your mouth or break something important while doing these tricks. Handy if necessary when you had to escape a crime scene! I was thinking to join this brotherhood when Ji pushed me and with a short nod of his head showed me that Eagle Eye arrived.
My surprise was complete when I saw this giant African enter the room. His clothing was at least very exceptional. Certainly when you considered the normal club outfit. Eagle Eye was wearing a jeans from an undetermined color. Something between red, purple and at certain spots I discovered stains of magenta in it. On his feet, he had boots with metal points on the top and his vest was without sleeves and let his two muscular arms naked. Arms which were at least as thick as the thighs a sturdy bloke. He was wearing a T-shirt with written on it in big letters: ‘Look out, I am watching you’. I suspected a wonderful six-pack beneath it, but my vivid imagination could also play with my mind.
A white Stetson stood upon his head, shoved a bit backward and just like the barman he was bold. At least a very interesting figure. Eventually, I noticed that I couldn’t separate his bionic eye from the original one. A fine example of this high-tech hardware.
Self-assured he came to us, ignoring the barman, with both his thumbs in the air as a greeting and shouting in a loud voice; ‘Hey, Ji, you rookie, everything alright? Young lady,’ he nodded at me with a big smile that conquered my heart, ‘I’m Jérome Shumbwa, difficult to pronounce for most of you folks, so call me Eagle Eye.’
He presented his enormous hand. Mine could go twice in it, I guessed. Nonetheless the force that was behind this bear of a guy, I received a soft and warm handshake. I presented myself and invited him to join us at our table.
Jérome pushed himself literally in the crappy space between the table and the chairs that were taken hold in the bottom of the floor. Ji Lang explained him our problem and I saw his smile freeze on this face. Obviously the death of his friends had moved him in that way that he dropped out of his role of jovial and a noisy guy. The short moment of silence was broken by himself.
‘Before those things you cannot remain indifferent,’ he didn’t even blink an eye, ‘especially when you see something that you hardly understand. You may have the use of a bionic eye, you cannot do a thing about it. I feel powerless.’ The giant was vulnerable. ‘It’s something with which you rise in the morning and go asleep in the evening,’ he decided with a sigh.
Ji slapped him amicably on the back and asked: ‘Can you show the images of the kidnapping. You know…’ He pointed at the eye of Eagle Eye and told him about the death of the parents of Yu. Eagle Eye listened to the sad story and I tried to keep strong.
Suddenly I saw it! His pupil in his iris changed now and then, nonetheless the incidence of light on this place wasn’t changing. I also heard now a minuscule sound, a click followed by a light buzzing. I wouldn’t have noticed it during a conversation. But after the silence that fell after the explanation from Ji, it arrested attention. A bionic eye has his own characteristic sounds. I wouldn’t overlook it the next time. A very good comparison, in this case, I thought.
‘I couldn’t make something of it, nor the Security Service who had requested the images, of course. I have made a copy with my mobile remote control. Haven’t told them. You never know when this comes in useful.
copyright Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere