Ethan rolled over in his bed as the pounding ringing in his head increased. He opened his eyes when the ringing became louder and louder, his mobile phone was bouncing around on the table. Its lights flashing on and off quickly. “Oh dammit!” he swore reaching for the phone, “Pollard,” he said speaking into the phone.
“Ethan its Jack.” Said the gravelly voice of the Scotland Yard coroner. Ethan didn’t particularly like Jack Gresham. He was always somewhat cold and unfeeling, but working with murder victims all day would do that to a man.
“Hit me doc.”
“Cause of death was suffocation.”
“He was stabbed,” Ethan said bolting upright.
“Impaled actually. The weapon passed through the sternum between the ribs and sliced the lungs as it passed through the spine separating T4 and T5. If his lungs hadn’t been lacerated he would have probably survived, but be paralyzed from the nipples down.” Said the doctor in a strange voice. “I have never seen an impalement like this before,” the sick thing was Ethan could picture clearly the smile the coroner now had on his face.
“Keep on track doc.”
“Oh sorry, this guy was defiantly a tweaker. His blood contained more drugs than my local pharmacy. He also had a broken shoulder, it was broken in seven places.”
Ethan lay back on the bed next to his girlfriend and stared up at the ceiling. Something wasn’t adding up. “Doc how much force would it take to smash a man’s shoulder in seven places with one hand?”
“About the same amount of force it would take to impale this poor bugger to a wall. Certainly more than a five foot nine boy could have.”
“She lied. Thanks doc.” Ethan said closing his phone. Why would Elizabeth try to protect a murderer? He asked looking at the ceiling. Because he didn’t hurt her. Why rat out on someone who probably saved your life? Ethan rolled out of bed and pulled on a pair of jeans and walked down the steps into the living room of his home. A small file sat on a square coffee table next to the crackling fire. Ethan had bought this house with his girlfriend, Amy, only a few months ago and large cardboard boxes still littered the floor full of books and pictures of loved ones. He sat in a large armchair that Amy had brought from her apartment and opened the folder.
He pulled a picture of the victim from the folder and examined his face. On the cold metal steel of the coroners table he seemed to be as pale as the moon. His dark hair and shallow cheeks gave the impression of a man who hadn’t eaten in days. And his wild beard and hair told Ethan he was probably homeless. Pocket contents were nothing but small change and lint. Ethan had been a criminal profiler for several years; he had always had a gift as a child of reading people. People’s behaviour to him was nothing but a book without words. Criminal behaviour to him was simple, criminals were not complex things. And this one had all the signs of a vigilante. It certainly explained why Elizabeth lied about the man’s identity. A victim who had been saved through vigilante justice usually thought they owed something to their saviour. “What are you doing up?” said a sultry voice from the doorway.
Ethan smiled and looked up at his girlfriend. She was wearing one of his shirts, her bare legs glowing in the firelight. Her light blonde hair and angular face seemed to shift in the crackling light of the fire. Her bright blue eyes shined magnificently in the darkness. “Working on a case.” He said leaning back in the chair.
“You should be in bed with me.” She said moving forward and looking over the top of the chair at him.
“Yeh I’m coming just had to look at something.” He said rubbing his eyes.
“You’re tired baby, just come to bed.” She said rubbing his shoulders.
“Yeh,” he said closing the file. “I’ll sort all this out tomorrow.” The next day Ethan was sat at his desk biting his thumb nail while looking at the autopsy report.
“Morning,” said Alex as he walked in and sat on the desk across from him. Alex Howison was a fairly young detective on the force and with an IQ of just under genius, he was also one of the most intelligent. Only nineteen years old Ethan had been assigned to show the new rookie around and teach him the methods of profiling, something he saw more of a chore than a job.
But this had turned out to be a complete opposite to what had happened, on his first day he had made a perfect profile of a serial rapist and earned himself a medal of commendation out of that case. “Morning Al,” said Ethan dully.
“I know that face.” Said Alex drinking from a small cup of coffee in his hands.
“Huh?” Ethan asked pulling himself from his thoughts. “Oh, well something isn’t adding up.”
“Oh yeh, why?” he asked looking intrigued.
“Well I went back to the crime scene this morning. Elizabeth said she was pinned against the wall by her rapist,”
“And the killer came from behind the attacker,”
“Uh huh,” he answered nodding.
“Well the vic’s shoulder was crushed in seven places. And he wasn’t hit with anything; Elizabeth clearly said that the perp grabbed him with his hand.”
“That’s not possible.”
“Exactly, and I found as well that the area where the killer stood, a street light shone over the wall. She would have had a very clear view.”
“Vigilante justice went wrong?” Alex suggested. “Meant to beat him up and ending up killing him?”
“You don’t take a four foot long sword for the purpose of just hurting someone.” Said Ethan shaking his head. “No this is murder.”
“Ninety five percent of vigilante victims do not tell the police the identity of their saviours.”
“We need to go question her.” Ethan said to his partner.
“I’ll go get some more coffee.” After a short drive Ethan and Alex were striding through the corridor to Elizabeth’s penthouse. They reached the door just as it opened. Elizabeth was stood in full gothic disguise complete with spiked dog collar and black lipstick.
“Detectives?” she said in surprise.
“Hello Miss Barb, we were just wondering whether you can answer a few questions for us.” Ethan asked. Elizabeth scrunched her brow and began to talk. “This won’t take long, we promise.” He interrupted.
“Erm, yeh sure come on in.” she said moving out the way of the door.
“Thank you.” They both said.
“So what are these questions?” she asked sitting on the sofa of her lush apartment and crossing her legs. Under any other circumstances Ethan thought he wouldn’t like the young actress. She came off very cold, and as subtle as a blunt axe. But he had to be professional.
“We want to ask you about the person that saved you.” Alex said taking out his usual black note pad. Ethan never saw the point in that stupid thing, Alex had a photographic memory, and he remembered pretty much everything. Elizabeth sighed and ran her hands through her black wig.
“Why are you so bothered about this guy?” she asked frustrated. “Why aren’t you out their looking for my parent’s murderer?” she yelled.
“Miss Barb please calm down,” Ethan said holding up his hands. “Please stay calm.” She breathed deeply and closed her eyes. “You said you didn’t get a good look at your attacker, but that’s not true is it.” It was more of a statement than a question.
“You calling me a liar detective Pollard?” she accused.
“You were a victim of what we call vigilante justice Miss Barb. We do not think you are lying to us, but there is a chance. We just have to make sure.” Said Alex carefully.
“Wow, I’ve seen some bad acting before, but that good cop bad cop thing was god awful.” She said sounding bored.
“Listen,” Ethan said sharply. “I don’t know whether its grief or just the fact that you’re a teen actress who’s always this rude and insulting because hell, you have more money than me. But you really need to tell us the name of the guy that saved you because he could go out and kill more people.” Elizabeth seemed shocked at the sudden outburst and began to fiddle with her fingers.
“He was tall, black spiky hair, light blue eyes; he came once and then left. I didn’t talk to him; he just looked at me through the windows of the balcony.” Alex looked at the balcony and quickly walked over and examined the window panes and tiled floor.
“Thank you.” Ethan said trying to sound reassuring.
“He saved my life, I couldn’t turn him in. Not after what he did.”
“It’s ok.” Ethan said standing and moving out onto the balcony where Alex was stood looking at a hand print on the glass pane.
“This guy wore gloves, latex by the look of this print.” Said Alex sighing and rubbing his forehead. “What I want to know is how this guy got away? It’s about a thirty foot drop from the roof; a normal person could survive that. But there’s nothing to climb up from the balcony and that’s at least a sixty foot drop. No one’s getting up and walking away from that.” Ethan looked over the edge of the balcony. Alex was right, no way was a man jumping from this balcony and not having to crawl away with broken legs.
“You still think she’s lying don’t you.” Asked Ethan reading Alex’s expression.
“I’m not sure; I just have a very weird feeling about this case. Something in the profile isn’t right.”
“We’ll get it,” said Ethan looking over the city from the balcony. “For their sakes more than ours.”
In the light airy space of the briefing room Alex and Ethan had erected a large board with the pictures of the victim splashed over them. About twenty police officers were sat and stood around the room. “The man you are looking for is between eighteen and twenty five years old. He is most defiantly white.” Said Ethan looking at the pictures of the victim.
“These kinds of criminals feel that their local police force isn’t doing its job so he must take care of it himself. He feels betrayed and angry.”
“Why betrayed?” asked a young police woman.
“It is very possible this man had a loved one murdered or certainly killed in an unlawful action, and it’s also very likely the case is still open.” answered Ethan. “Check the background of suspects for such incidents, and also,” added Ethan before the officers were about to leave. “If you find someone trying to play the hero who matches our description on your beat, call for backup, he is immensely strong and very agile. Good luck.”