A Blade in the Dark…the story continues…unedited…

Lilly and I raced to the park after receiving a call stating someone had found the body of Tricky Rich. The later afternoon sun filtered through the canopy of leaves. Long shadows covered the ground as we walked the trail to the cabin. Rays of fading sunlight danced across the surface of the lake, and a soft breeze blew across the rippled water. 

A gaggle of first responders stood on the opposite bank. Park rangers, deputies, forensic scientists, all jockeyed for position. I noticed someone waving their arms at us from the cabin. It was Tammy Bowen. 

“Come up here,” she shouted at us. “You have to see this.”

Lilly took lead as we drew near to the thicket. She pushed through the bramble and briars until we reached it. Tammy gave Lilly a hug and shook my hand. 

“What’s the big deal?”

“Come inside, Lilly. This is a bonafide house of horrors.”

We followed Tammy into the cabin. I pulled out a Surefire flashlight and turned it on. The shadows vanished under the sharp illumination of the tool. 

“Are those other corpses?”

“Yes, Lilly. There’s more in the cellar. First though, you need to see the freshest corpse.”

In the kitchen, Tricky Rick’s body leaned against counter with his arms at his side. “Ugh,” Lilly muttered. “What happened to his face?” Tammy grinned and said, “Coyotes and God knows what else.” She gestured to the teeth marks on what remained of his face and throat. 

I knelt next to the body and looked it over. His abdomen was slit from one side to the other, his heart, liver, spleen, and kidneys was removed. Tammy knelt beside me. 

“They took his goodies, Konan.”

“I see that.”

“There’s more missing but it’s not from his chest cavity.”

“You mean…”

“…Yeah, they cut him.”

Lilly tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and looked at her. Her face had a sickly gray tint to it, and she motioned at the door. 

“I’m going to interview the witness.”

“Sure, I got this in here.”

She nodded and raced out. Tammy watched the exchange and nodded in the direction of Lilly. I nodded as well. We both knew Lilly didn’t have the stomach for scenes like this. 

“Come on, Konan. I’ll show you the rest of it.”

Stairs led down into a underground cellar. Halfway down the stairs, a rope hung from the light fixture. I pulled it, and a dim light illuminated the stairwell. Tammy and I continued on to the cellar. Various racks, tables, and surgical instruments on gray trays was about the room. Blood stained several beds covered with what was once white sheets. 

The smell was worse in here. Tammy motioned for me to follow her to a corner. “Check this out,” Tammy said, as I drew near to her and a five-gallon bucket that stood in the corner. Inside the container were discarded and rotted organs. Maggots and flies covered the raw flesh. 

“That’s not the worst of it. Follow me.”

Tammy walked over to a fridge and stopped short of it. It was an old metal Frigidare. I stopped alongside of our medical examiner and waited. She nodded at the bones that littered the floor to the left of the fridge. Then, she took a deep breath and gripped the handle of the door. 

She opened it, and I clapped a hand over my mouth and tried not to breathe. The urge to vomit washed over me, and I turned away from Tammy. “I’m sorry,” Tammy said, as she shut the door. “You needed to see it to understand how twisted the individual is that’s doing this.”

“Jesus, Tammy. You could’ve warned me.”

“Imagine my surprise when I opened it up and found Tricky Rich’s…”

“Yeah, I got it. I need some air.”

“Come by later, and I’ll have something for you and Lilly. You guys need to put a stop to this, because this isn’t a one time thing. There are several victims here. Forensics will have their hands full trying to put together all the pieces.”

“Thanks, Tammy.”

I climbed the stairs to the ground floor and went out in search of my partner. She stood on the bank of the pond and looked out over the water. She glanced at me when I walked up beside her. 

“How bad is it?”

“It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, Lilly.”

“What’s the damage?”

“We don’t know yet. Tammy says there are multiple victims. Tricky Rich was castrated, his um, organ was found in the fridge in the cellar.”

“Ugh. Konan, don’t say anything else.”

“Okay then, we should get back to the precinct and brief Janko.”

Lilly nodded her head and kept taking shallow breaths. We walked the trail back to the parking lot, and I drove us back to the station. My mind kept running over the scene, and the partially eaten face of the former sexual predator. 

Someone had hurt him and left him to die. This wasn’t a case of natural justice, it was a case of cold-blooded revenge.

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