Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Stolen Hearts pt2


     "What have we got here boys?", Detective Wilmes asked as he lifted the yellow crime scene tape and entered the bedroom.   
     "Someone please tell me that we found something useful this time." the Detective added to his questions for the crime scene unit investigators already inside the bedroom working on the scene of murder victim Jasmine Jarvis, The Romeo Killer's fourth victim, that he had killed last night while she had layed in her bed in her white little two story home that sat nestled in the middle of the quiet and wooded little culdesac located at 323 Cherry Court.
     "Sorry sir, but I'm afraid that we have nothing new to report." a far too young looking, freckle faced investigator replied.  He was standing at the foot of the victims bed holding a clipboard.  His glasses were his most defining characteristic so Wilmes had already nick-named him Glasses.
      Glasses continued his short update, "We haven't located any prints or fibers anywhere in this murder scene either room or on the body in this yet either sir." Glasses reported solemnly to the Detective barely looking up from his clipboard.  
     After he finished whatever note he had been jotting down Glasses looked Wilmes right in the eyes and with a somber look through his big nerdy glasses and finished his update, "It's just like all the other ones sir. No signs of struggle or distress anywhere in the bedroom." 
     Glasses looked over towards the victims bed and then added, "Just the woman's body in the bed and the poem written in blood on the wall above her like always aside from that nothing new." Glasses looked at the woman holding the roses in her bed with the big hole cut in her chest then back at the four line poem written above her in blood. 
     After a moment Glasses asked him, "Do you know what the poems mean sir?"
     Detective Wilmes followed Glasses eyes up to the short poem written on the wall.  It simply read;

"When joys have lost their bloom and breath,
And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death
Feel we its tide more rapid?"

      "I have no idea kid I never really was all that much for poems myself but I may have to learn something about them because poems are all that slippery asshole ever gives us to work with."  Detective Wilmes mumbled to himself and slowly began to scan the room hoping to find anything unusual or useful that the Crime Scene guys may have overlooked.  He searched even though he knew Glasses was right that nothing was here just her clothes from the day scattered around the room where she had tossed them taking them off.  
     A red blouse was on the floor by the bathroom door and a few feet away from it were her tight, crumpled up blue jeans.  Resting on the floor by her bed were her cotton pastel colored flannel pattern panties and her black bra was hanging over the little door on her nightstand.  Nothing else.  The other two investigators besides Glasses were taking photos and documenting the crime scene.  They seemed to be finishing up. 
     Other than the crime scene guys the only other people were a uniformed officer standing guard at the entrance of the crime scene, and a large balding man with a comb-over sitting on the small white bench just outside the bedroom of the murdered local celebrity Jasmine Jarvis, host of the popular late night radio talk show on the rock station 97.2.
       Wilmes ignored the balding man and put him aside for now and begun searching the scene of the fourth murder.  He carefully scanned every detail of Jasmine's bedroom with his eyes reading the bedroom for anything that stood out and searching it for anything that spoke to him or just an item or other special thing that he would only recognize once he found it.  In Jasmines bedroom just like the other three he hadn't found it.
      He looked back up at the short poem written above her in blood and re-read the four lines over and over before finally saying quietly, "It just seems like a cryptic passage about death to me kid just like all of the other ones.  Honestly I really couldn't tell you what it means."
     A deep voice with a slight British accent gave their answer from behind them, "It's a short excerpt from a much longer poem written by Thomas Campbell." the large balding man from the bench said as he stared at the gruesome scene before he added, "Honestly son, I'm not really sure that Mr. Campbell himself could even tell you what it might mean to a killer."  The large balding man in the brown suit turned and leaned towards Detective Wilmes and said, "I am leaning toward your theory Detective, the poem even feels extra like it's only there for decoration." 
     Wilmes had to admit he agreed and examined the large balding, scholarly looking man from out in the hall that was now standing inside his crime scene.  A very tall, broad shouldered, yet worldly and gentle looking man wearing round horn-rimmed glasses and a dark brown suit like the ones the teachers on TV and college professor's wore.  The thick tweed kind.  The ones that had the reinforced leather elbows patches. 

     Wilmes captured and stored away the large gentle, British man in his photographic mind a skill that he had refined over the years.  A great memory was a huge tool for a detective and he had a talent for remembering everything, even the smallest details, a skill that he often wished he didn't have.  Everything tended to lose it's mystery and even become dull once you studied it too closely. He found that this theory proved to be especially accurate about people.
      Wilmes took hold of the large man's right arm at the elbow and began to escort him out.  Guiding him out the door he asked him a firm, official tone, "I'm sorry but who the hell you are and what do you think your doing walking into my crime scene?"
      "Calm down partner, he's with me." Wilmes heard his new young partner Detective Alan Parker say and saw him stand up from where he had been kneeling on the other side of the victims bed over by her dresser studying the carpet. 
     "I'm sorry Detective Wilmes", his partner started to explain.  "I was over at the college meeting with the Professor about the poems we've been finding at the murder scenes to see if he could find any kind of pattern or meaning in them we could use for help.  The dispatch call came in for a homicide of a female and it had sounded like it might be our guy so I asked the Professor if he'd like to ride along."
     Wilmes looked the English Professor over once more before replying, "I guess it couldn't hurt for him to take a little look around but you should have told him to stay out of our damn crime scene and wait out in the hall."
     Parker nodded in agreement, "Sorry Lieutenant, I honestly forgot about him till I saw him approach you and he had already started talking before I could even respond.  I knew you were going to be pissed when you saw him."    
     Parker apologised again, "Sorry Boss, I should have known to have him stay out in the hall."
     The professor interrupted them and offered Wilmes his big hairy hand, "I hope you can forgive my forwardness.  I was just a little too eager to help.  After seeing all this it just seemed urgent to.  I knew it was awful, I've been following the murders on the news and I already wanted to help you detectives to catch this killer, but after seeing this well, it's just so awful."
     Wilmes thanked him and shook the concerned professor's hand, he placed his arm firmly around the large educators shoulder and began to escort him again back out of the crime scene.  As he lifted up the tape for him to crouch under and leave he said, "Thank you for your time Professor, we really appreciated it."
     Once the English Professor was out and behind the tape he added, "Feel free to give us a call with anything you find in the poems that you feel might help us with the case."   Wilmes then forced his best fake grateful smile before he turned and headed back into Jasmine's bedroom toward his partner leaving the Professor standing in the doorway awkwardly peeking through the yellow tape.   
     "I'll review those poems carefully and I'll let you gentleman know as soon as possible what I discover." Professor Jenkins announced to Detectives Wilmes back as he kept walking away towards his partner.  Wilmes only gave a tiny wave of acknowledgement without even turning back to look at him.  The balding Professor still stood in the doorway a few more moments before finally realizing the detectives were done with him and taking a last good look before descending the stairs to head back to his classroom.
     "I know you think there's nothing to the poems he leaves but I just figured it didn't hurt to try every angle you know."  Parker said to Wilmes who was giving him the sarcastic stupid rookie look that the veteran detective had given him quite a lot actually in the four months he had been with him for whatever he considered to be stupid shit. He let the old man give him trouble for a little while and then motioned eagerly for Wilmes to come around the bed to where he was so he could show him what he'd found.   
     "Alright so it was a pretty stupid idea bringing the teacher."  Parker said and just shrugged it off laughing and then waved Wilmes over there again.  "I'm a dumb ass, now come over here and look at what I found in the carpet.  I think the crazy bastard may have actually screwed up for once." He said as he pointed towards the floor to something on the carpet where he had been kneeling. 
     Wilmes had thought that having the Professor come was a complete waste of time.  But, he also had to admit that he couldn't be completely sure there wasn't actually some messages or hidden meanings in the poems.  He just felt strongly deep in his gut that the poems were only there for theatrics.  Adding the poems was just something that looked cool for the news photos above his victims.  Wilmes always guessed they did that kind of creepy shit for the books they all planned to eventually write.  They could use all those news photos of the victims for those books, the kind of books twisted maniacs always seemed to write in prison that sometimes even ended up becoming a TV movie on basic cable.  All the psycho's wanted to be famous.  Even the truly crazy and delusional even the deeply disturbed ones all got off on the fame once they were caught.  
     It was just that Detective Wilmes gut feeling about the poems told him they were no more than a prop and really meant nothing.  Just little snippets chosen by a maniac just for something cool to write above the chosen women's posed body. 
     He just knew it in his gut that it was true.  Parker's generation didn't rely on their guts much at all.  He guessed they might be forced to one day if the Internet ever went down just as the shit really hit the fan but for now they used their minds, and Google searches on their computers to solve their crimes.  Both era's had their good points he supposed but on the subject of the poems they were going to go with his gut for now. 
        The English Professor being there had also hidden the fact that Wilmes hadn't even realized that his partner had even been in the  bedroom until he had stood up and spoke up for the Professor.  He knew he had carefully studied the murder scene scanning every inch for something useful.  He had studied every tiny detail of Jasmine's bedroom for hidden clues.  He even still remembered doing it clearly especially the part where he hadn't noticed Parker in the room at all. 
     It was funny like that sometimes with his young new partner.  It seemed Alan Parker had the uncanny ability to almost be invisible to Detective Wilmes sometimes.   Parker was always surprising him and sneaking up on him or popping up all the time where Wilmes hadn't even noticed him.  He had even noticed that he completely overlooked the kid quite a lot since he had been assigned to train him and sometimes he even forgot he was there with him.  He had once left without him from a crime scene all because he had forgotten about him.  But Detective Parker was the only person who could sneak up or surprise him like that.  
     Wilmes was always very cautious and aware of his surroundings anyway and he was famous for his talent of noticing even the smallest of details, but Parker could always manage to sneak around him.  He guessed sneaking around was probably just another of the many gifts his young partner had picked up in the special forces.  The gifts that made everyone say the kid was such a hot young prodigy but it also really just made Wilmes feel old and as though his mind was slipping a little and secretly he hated Parker for that.
      Detective Wilmes walked over to the other side of the bed and knelt down beside Parker, his joints popping audibly as he did.  He turned to Parker and asked, "So kid, what do got over here?"  Wilmes was looking at the carpet searching where Parker had been pointing but hadn't found what the kid had seen yet.
      "I'm not sure Boss but do you see that little red dot?", the detective replied pointing at something Wilmes still couldn't see.  "It's probably nothing but I'm sure it's fresh."  The young Detective said excitedly as he pointed down at whatever it was he saw there.
      Wilmes still didn't see it no matter how hard he searched and strained trying to.  The doctor had said he was supposed to be wearing his glasses all the time now but he never wore his glasses on the job especially if any other guys were around.  The glasses reminded him that he was old and falling apart.  He gave up on finding it and said, "I'm just not finding it Alan.  Where is it?" he asked and did a terrible job disguising the defeat in his voice.  He knew exactly what was going to happen now. 
     Parker would reach in his coat pocket and pull out the damn magnifying glass that he carried there like he was Sherlock Fucking Holmes and Detective Wilmes was convinced he really only carried it at all to help his old blind partner, that refused to wear his glasses, to see things.  Because from what Wilmes had seen so far Parker's vision was perfect.
      "Right here." Parker pointed and said to a place on the carpet and handed Wilmes the little pocket 10x magnifying glass that he kept in his coat.  "Look, right there, do you see that small red spot now with the magnifying glass." Parker asked while still pointing to the spot.  Through the magnifying glass Wilmes had seen it right away.
     "I see it.  It's a blood stain kid."  Now that he saw the small red dot it was impossible not to see it.  It was small for sure and looked like it had probably only came from a single drop.  Looking down at that single drop blood stain Wilmes thought just for a second that The Romeo Killer had finally made the mistake that they desperately needed him to.  
     Filled with some small hope that his luck had changed and this drop of blood belonged to their killer Wilmes turned back towards Glasses and said. "Get those crime scene investigators back in here kid." he looked back down at what might actually be the first real evidence in this entire case and added, "Get them back in here now kid.  There's a blood stain over here and I want every last test there is ran on it right away!"
     The old Detective stood back up and took a moment to study the local celebrity DJ's body once again.  She looked just like all of the others had posed just the same way.  The popular radio show host was laid out in her bed in a relaxed peaceful way with her arms crossed at the waist and in her hands she held a dozen red roses.  The murdered woman almost looked like a sleeping princess as she held her bouquet of roses except that her eyes were open wide and she had an intense expression of terror on her face and a large empty hole cut into her chest filled with empty space where her heart had been.  Then of course there was the poem written in her blood on the wall above her. 
     Everything about Romeo's forth victim was just like all of the other three women had been. Each time the Women were killed in their beds and left posed in the same way holding the roses and also like all the other women Jasmine's face told a much different tale than her limp body did with it's wide eyed look of complete terror and panic.  Another one of Noels's gut feelings was telling him why that panic and terror was on all those women's faces.  Noel believed the women were kept alive and were all awake and aware but somehow he had paralyzed them and made them watch and experience him cutting the hole in their chests to collect their hearts.  
     Noel felt sure the women were aware of it and he was also positive that they had felt the pain.  He only hoped they had blacked out quickly but in their faces he felt that wasn't likely.  They had suffered helpless up until the last second of their life.    
     The psycho had killed another woman but this time he had also might have finally made a mistake they could use to help catch and stop him before he got the chance to kill another.  Wilmes and Parker still had a small amount of hope and would until the results got back proving that the drop of blood had come from her and not from The Romeo Killer.   


     Leon replayed his final moments with Jasmine over and over in his mind as he always did.  He tried to savor each and every last detail of her memory.  But instead, each time he thought back on it, his failure at the end made focusing on her impossible it only ended up making him angry and upset every time he tried. 
     Tonight he had made his first mistake since collecting his first heart.  It didn't matter to him that he hadn't left any real evidence behind or even that one stray drop of blood was actually not so big of a deal.  It wasn't the size of the mistake that bothered him just that he had made one.  He had never actually been afraid at all of being caught by the police, that had never even crossed his mind.  He had always been methodical in his work and never even allowed even a tiny flaw to occur.  When he was working he had always felt his hands were blessed and being guided in the task of collecting the hearts.  It had rattled his very foundations as well as his faith in his calling that he had slipped with Jasmine. 
     He was angry with himself because he had soiled the memory of the final moment when his latest lovers heart had became his and it had cast a brief moment of doubt about his calling into his mind.  The very worst part was that it even had all been his own damn fault.  Anger filled him in a rush as he thought back on how he had lost control of his emotions and let them tell him their lies allowing even a moment of doubt about his mission.
     He had collected three hearts before hers without a single problem or mistake.  His work had been flawless right up until the moment that he allowed that drop of blood to drip onto her cream colored carpet.  He had lost his focus while collecting Jasmine's heart.  Her sacrifice shouldn't have been any different from any of the other chosen ones.  But it had been.  He even remembered the moment when everything had changed back when he first realized that he had fallen in love with her. 
     Looking back he saw exactly how it all had happened.  He slipped because he had let his love for her shake him in the final moments of her sacrifice.  By far the prettiest of the chosen ones she had looked so beautiful staring up at him with her body frozen as she laid completely still with her eyes alert and aware focusing on him begging and pleading silently and streaming tears as he had opened her and removed her beating heart from her chest.  As he looked in her eyes aside from the intense panic and fear he saw blazing in them she had still looked beautiful, like a porcelain doll softly lit up by the moonlight.  
     He lost himself in a trance just admiring her beauty for a moment when a single tear swelled over her shaking eyelid and rolled slowly down her cheek.  That single tear had broken the trance and caused him to loose just enough focus to make his first mistake since his work first began. 
     A single stray drop of her blood that had accidentally spilled staining her carpet as he had moved her heart into its case.  That tiny little mistake allowed in the only moments of doubt since he had accepted his life's calling.  Till then he hadn't believed he could even make a mistake in his work but he now knew different and with Jasmine's heart now a part of his collection her memories all felt tainted. 
     His newest trophy seemed to only be a constant reminder of that brief lapse of focus causing the tiny slip in his work that let him know he wasn't working under protection, and for a brief moment caused the first doubt about his beliefs and the validity of his life's calling.
     Leon considered just getting rid of his piece of Jasmine so that he wouldn't ever have to remember that mistake but he knew he couldn't disrespect her memory in that way.  He could never just get rid of or hide Jasmine's heart away out of sight if only because she deserved her rightful place among all the others chosen ones in his collection. 
     It was then that a new thought first occurred to him that helped him to make the Jasmine incident much easier to deal with and also even to understand.  Later that evening, once Leon was finally calm again and rational thoughts had begun to start returning to his mind was when he first realized there was actually a very valuable lesson here in his mistake.  He began to see all of it in a new way coming to believe it had actually been a sign to remind him of the dangers and importance of staying focused on his work that might even help to ensure that his mission would be able to continue on.
     Leon lived in constant fear that his work would be cut short somehow by man before he was able to fulfill his purpose and finish the work that the Gods had called on him to carry out.  He had seen it in a vision.  He always knew his work was too important to ever be interrupted and just how crucial and important his mission and calling here on Earth really was. 
     From that day Leon stayed mindful of his destiny and goals and always remembered to stay careful at all times to protect his art.  Eventually he became convinced that Jasmine's sacrifice had really also contained a sign to him form the heavens.  And as far as his his brief moment of doubt was concerned about his calling towards the end of Jasmine's life.  He clearly saw now how that was really quite simply explained too. 
     As he freed her soul and collected her heart his love for Jasmine's soul as it left her had caused not a true moment of doubt but had really only been a selfish part deep within his heart that didn't care about missions from the gods or his life's important work.  It only cared about what it wanted and all it wanted was her.  That part of him had tried everything to bargain and create a way that Leon wouldn't have to kill Jasmine and could just keep her with him here on Earth for himself.  He allowed himself to buy into his deceitful and selfish hearts beautiful lies and false hope of a happy life with Jasmine.  Causing him to forget for a split second that his heart was only a liar and that Jasmine was chosen for a much bigger purpose.  Trying to keep her for himself would be far too selfish.  In the end he hoped that he had learned the important hidden lesson in his experience with Jasmine.  He decided he could accept her sacrifice after all once he understood.  With a renewed respect for his work he decided to cherish her as he did the others while he searched out the next chosen one. 
     He placed her heart front and center in the middle of his collection, even pulling her slightly forward so she would be more visible and he could always remember the important lesson from above that she had delivered to him.  He knew that it would not be wise to ever forget that lesson and what he had learned.  Plus he had loved her.  Maybe she would be his favorite after all. 
     With a new understanding of his time spent with Jasmine and the message hidden in her final sacrifice that had helped to reassure him he closed his eyes and was finally able to look back fondly in his mind on his memories of her.  


     Detective Wilmes pushed his dinner away in disgust.  Just the sight of the food had made him nauseous and it wasn't because it didn't taste very good or that it was soaked in grease, or even that the cooks hands were unwashed and filthy as he handled the food at the grill and scratched and dug at his ass vigorously while he cooked the greasy orders.  It wasn't the crappy little diner stealing his appetite tonight, it was the four murdered young women again haunting his thoughts because they had died suffering at the hands of a crazy, and deranged psychopath as they laid paralyzed while he cut their hearts out.  The women haunted Wilmes and screamed in his head for justice all of them angry because of Wilmes failure to solve the gruesome murders for over a year now ever since the very first murdered woman's body was found. 
     His serial killers victims were his now as well.  He was responsible for them and they were angry that he hadn't saved them.  They were angrier still that in all that time he wasn't even any closer to catching The Romeo Killer or had even found a single useful clue or lead helping him to find the secrets and keys to unlocking the mysteries of this case and finally breaking it open so he could catch the sadistic murdering bastard who was stealing and collecting women's hearts and plaguing his streets.
     He had failed to catch him and four young women were dead and if 'The Romeo Killer' stayed true to his pattern of the last year in a little less than three months they would discover another young woman and then Detective Wilmes would have five dead women on his conscience because even with all his decades of experience at solving murders as a homicide detective he was in very real danger of failing to solve his biggest and last case before his time as a cop ran out and his career ended.  It was a horrible thing to imagine that he may have to turn in his shield that he had worn for most of his life and become just another regular citizen if The Romeo Killer was still out there brutally torturing and mutilating women who's souls would still haunt him because it had been him that had failed to catch the killer and set them free.
     In his prime Detective Noel Wilmes had been a legend in his precinct during his early days on the force and had remained very well respected even late into his career as a decorated veteran homicide detective he was retiring with the highest ratio of successfully closed cases of any other detective in his districts history.  He had been a great cop and now, at the end of his career, while his body and mind began to betray him, he chanced wrapping up his career on a serial killer case that he just couldn't crack.  The stubborn old veteran Detective would be damned if he just turned  over a years worth of work on a case only to retire and watch as the big missing piece finally fell into place for young Detective Alan Parker, who no doubt was a gifted prodigy, but still a rookie and would have solved his biggest case ever getting all the credit for finally stopping Wilmes's killer. 
     Part of his obsession was from pride as well.  He didn't want the kid to solve his biggest case ever when he couldn't.  Detective Parker was from the new school of police work.  The kind where cops solved cases with their minds on the Internet. With technology, these new age thinkers who majored in psychiatry and even sometimes brought college professors to crime scenes to read poems written in blood to solve crimes, Noel was sure that the new school of police work had its positives Detective Wilmes still wanted The Romeo Killer to be caught the old fashioned way.  Detectives like Alan Parker may be the way of the future and all of the old dinosaurs like Detective Wilmes were becoming extinct.  And even though all of that was true, an old dinosaur could still have some fight left in him and a sense of pride for his old ways and Noel wanted to use his skills and instinct and figure out his killer using only old fashioned police work and he knew deep inside he would catch him.   
     Noel was determined to receive his shiny gold watch and pension having ended his career solving his biggest homicide ever and capturing a serial killing psychopath who brutally killed and tormented pretty young women taking their hearts as his trophy's. 
     Then he would spend his retirement doing interviews for true crime shows and maybe even write a book of his own.  And as he watched Romeo be executed the dead women could move on and finally forgive Noel and the nightmares and screaming could stop.
     He tried to concentrate on Romeo and get inside his mind to figure him out but he couldn't get any hold on him and he just sat there in the diner spinning his wheels and swinging blindly at loose ends as he tried to stop his killer.  He sat quietly staring down at his cold, untouched, greasy dinner trying to think of the hidden secret key inside the killers mind and even tried to focus on what that key might be. 
     "Hell, the sun even shines on a dogs ass every now and then", Wilmes mumbled to himself under his breath and crushed out his filter less Lucky Strike cigarette in the lake of gravy pooled in the middle of his untouched and cold mashed potatoes.
     On that note he paid his check and headed next door to Lou's Bar for his nightly meditation sitting in a lonely corner booth and pounding double shots of bourbon to drown out the images of The Romeo Killer's victims and mute their screams with liquor till he could finally keep down some of Lou's shitty mixed bar nuts. 
     Being drunk dulled the pain as the faces in the crime scene photos invaded his mind and he saw that horrible expression of fear as their eyes bulged with panic staring ahead and wide open.  The eyes of the women spoke of intense pain and torture even after they were long dead it was still engraved in their faces.  In his minds eye, whenever he closed his eyes even while he was wide awake the nightmares and the gruesome crime scene images of the brutal and senseless murders of the four women constantly haunted him.  And ever since they had moved in to his mind the nights were completely unbearable and he used all of the liquor that he consumed each night just to be able to face another day.  It was his only way to get any sleep at all anymore.
     Noel pulled the long brass handle and opened the heavy door leading into Lou's Bar.  He walked to the very back corner to his booth and got started drinking the liquor he needed to dull his thoughts of the brutal murders and silence his fears of failure, and focus again on the invisible key to solving the case giving the women peace so that maybe the horrible, graphic images that were burned deep into his brain, the nightmares and the horrible screams of the murdered women might all finally stop.  
     So tonight he would sit here and drink hard again, getting himself good and drunk.  Numb enough to rest and get back to work on his final case again the next morning of his last three months left as a cop to stop a serial killer and finally end his nightmares before time his ran out.
     ...To be continued

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