A Blade in the Dark…new writing, unedited, and incomplete…

Lilly and I changed into fresh clothes and drove to our precinct. Janko was waiting for us. His walrus mustache seemed to bristle at the sight of us. He walked toward his office, and we followed him in.

“What happened?”

“Jasper Watkins was disemboweled before we could speak to him,” I began. Janko shook his head no. 

“The other thing,” he snapped, “tell me about you mouthing off to the warden of the prison.” Lilly stood to her full height and said, “it wasn’t like that, chief. Warden Eden gave us no assistance.” Janko glared at me, and then at Lilly and wiped a rough hand over his mustache and beard. 

“Do you have any idea how complicated you make my life?” We knew he didn’t mean it, or we hoped he didn’t, but I could see the frustration and tension built up in his eyes and neck. “Warden Eden is the prison system’s Golden Goose. She’s not one you can take down alone.”

“I understand, chief.” He looked at me and raised his eyebrows as to say, ‘oh yeah?’ He shook his head and muttered curses for a moment. Then, he raised his eyes to us and said, “Did you find a lead on the Ana Marie case?”

“Not an overt one, but there’s something weird going on.”

“Tell me, Detective Thompson. At this point, weird is all we have.”

“Ana Marie wasn’t disemboweled, she was raped and murdered. But when we went to question Tricky Rich’s cellmate Jasper Watkins, he was disemboweled. The organs are missing in his case. There’s a link here, somewhere, but we don’t know how it fits together.”

“Plus,” I added, “Tricky Rich is in the wind. So, two pedophiles are dead, and one little girl is too. I’m beginning to think this case is much deeper than what I initially thought.”

“Get out there and find me something solid,” Janko said. “We need something to feed the vultures.”

We both nodded our heads and walked out into the murder room. At our desk, the phone began to ring.

Sara J. Hightower, an avid jogger and nature enthusiast, loved to run the trails at the Fredericksburg Nature Park. The staff kept the trails in good condition and kept the overarching branches trimmed back. Her favorite trail was one that ran off the main path. It passed a lake where ducks floated across the serene surface, beavers had built a dam in the far left corner of the pond, and an old decrepit cabin stood off in the distance. This path had less traffic than the main paths, and Sara decided she’d stop and explore the old cabin. 

She ran to the other side of the pond, and began the ascent to the cabin. Thick brush intermixed with briars blocked the way up. Sara didn’t mind. She threaded her way through, stopping to unhitch herself from the bramble. At last, she stood before the ramshackle cabin, and peered inside. 

The door was ajar, the old wooden floors cracked and broken in spots. She stepped gingerly into the building, keeping an eye out for snakes and spiders. Sara pulled out her phone and tapped the flashlight on. Cool, she thought as she walked into what must have been a kitchen at one point. She stopped and put a hand over her mouth. 

On the floor was a corpse with it’s abdomen cut open. The stink of he corpse filled her nostrils, and Sara fell to her knees and vomited. Oh God! Oh Dear Jesus! Sara raced from the cabin and into the first rays of sunshine. Tears wet her face as she dialed 911.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“There’s a dead body,” Sara stammered, as her voice cracked under the stress of the moment, “the abdomen is ripped open.”

“Where are you?”

“Fredericksburg Nature Park, trail 113. I’m at the cabin at the lake.”

“Stand by. I’m sending someone to secure the site. You’re going to be okay. What is your name?”

“Sara J. Hightower.”

“Okay, Sara. Officers are enroute to your location. Walk to the lake and wait for them okay. Keep your phone on.”

“Yes ma’am. I’m going now.”

It took less than five minutes for park rangers to get on site. Three or four minutes later, the police were on-site as well. Sara J. Hightower had never been part of anything like this before, but her sisters depended on her to pass along the information. 

She wouldn’t let them down. 

Published by frontporchmusings694846020

I am a good ole country boy residing in North Mississippi. I love to read, fish, hunt, hike and go to garage sales. Flea markets are a passion of mine. I read anything, but some of my favorites are: Dean Koontz, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, and I possess a fondness for the writings of William Faulkner and Mark Twain. If I am forced to choose, I prefer baseball to football. I enjoy Alabama football (Roll Tide)! My baseball teams include: The Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox. I am divorced, the father of two daughters and live by myself with Chunk and Roscoe (my dogs).

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