The Rainy Ripper…the scrubbing continues…

Konan guided the car into a parking place near the door to the morgue. It was really coming down. Hurricane Irma was causing havoc in the Gulf. The wind whipped trash through the parking lot as Konan and Lilly rushed to the door.

A security guard sat behind the desk and watched the weather report. He looked up when the pair approached the desk.

“Kinda bad out there, ain’t it?”

“Yep,” Lilly said. She and Konan flashed their badges at him. “Is Ally in?”

“Sure,” the guard replied. “She’s always in. Ain’t met nobody as dedicated as that gal is to her work. A nuke could go off and it would not budge her from her duties.”

He motioned for them to go on back. Lilly and Konan started around the desk. The guard put his hand up and stopped them.

“Y’all know where you’re going, right?”

“Yep,” Lilly said. Konan forced a grin. 

“I’m just following her, boss.”

“Alright, then. Be safe out there.”

“You too.”

They walked down the hallway. It was white. Everything was white, and it smelled as if the staff had soaked everything in bleach. White walls, white floor, white tiles. Konan’s eyes hurt from the glare of the light on the all-white surfaces.

“I think they like white,” Lilly said. Konan chuckled. 

“Did I ever tell you about this Non-Commissioned Officer I had just before I got out of the Army?”

“No. We just met like six hours ago. This is my first time hearing it.”

“I had a Sergeant from the West Coast somewhere and she was ditzy, I guess you would say. One of my buds, he was a basket case, but I loved him to death. He asked her what her favorite color was one day while we were in the motorpool.” Lilly giggled and stood outside of Ally’s office.

“What did she say?” Lilly snorted as she reached for the door knob.

“She said her favorite color was clear.”

“Clear?”

“Yeah, transparent, you know, like a plastic bottle.”

Lilly’s brow furrowed, and her worry lines showed. 

“That’s not a color.”

“I know. That’s what made it funny.”

“I don’t get it.”

“That’s okay, Lilly. I guess you had to be there.”

Lilly knocked on the door and waited. Down the hall, a door slammed. Konan turned and stared down the hall. Ally stepped out of the cooler and walked toward them. She gave Lilly a nod and motioned for them to follow her.

“This is going to be nasty,” Ally said quietly.

Her eyes were dark, her mouth a tight line. Dark circles were under her eyes. She sat down on a stool and looked at her notes. 

“First things first, they killed almost all the victims at the same time. Second, they shot all expect for the first victim. A garotte killed her. Most likely it was piano wire. Whoever killed her, they almost cut her head slam off.”

“Anything else?”

“Yeah, Konan. There’s more.” Ally said. “Before they shot the other three victims, the killer shoved them to their knees and made them watch the execution of the woman. Then, the perp or perps shot them in the back of the left ear with a .22-caliber handgun.”

“Jesus,” Lilly whispered. Konan said nothing. Ally put down her clipboard and motioned for them to follow her. She pulled out the bodies and showed them the wounds. 

“Look how neat this cut is with the garotte. There was no herky-jerky motion. It was one smooth cut. The wire slid right through the tender flesh of the throat.”

“Do you have a magnifying glass?”

Ally handed one to Konan. He studied the wound and shook his head.

“What is it?”  

“I saw a couple of decapitations while deployed, but nothing like this.”

“Meaning,” Ally asked.

“The wounds are similar, but not that clean. The insurgents used fishing line.”

“How did they…”

“They put it under overpasses and used the vehicle’s momentum to kill the machine gunners.”

“Oh,” Ally said. “I doubt the killer used fishing line.”

“They didn’t. Like you said earlier, it’s too clean.”


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