This story is my offering for the “Welcome to the New World” event. It’s little rushed so cut me some slack. I finally thought of an idea and hope this fits in with the premise.
There are no graphic sex scenes in this story.
As usually, constructive comments, critiques, and emails are welcome.
Detective First Class Matt Garcia walked down the alley to where several other police were standing around; it was 1 AM. A thunderstorm was brewing in the western sky, which wasn’t unusual for Phoenix Arizona in late July. The focus of the attention of the police officers and of the medical examiner was an extra large body sprawled in the alleyway. The two member crew of the CSI team was scurrying to process the crime scene before the rain began. There was a strange lack of noise in the alley, considering the activity.
Matt Garcia was fairly large himself at 6’4”. He weighed about 5 pounds more than he had when graduated from Arizona State University 10 years previously. In his early 30s his body was muscled showing he worked out religiously. With his dark hair and brooding brown eyes, a lot of the female police officers and several civilians thought he was a catch.
Judy DeFranco was tall herself at 5’10”. In grammar school she had been teased because she was so skinny. Now at 26, she would be considered a hard body. Her deep blue eyes and naturally blonde hair, much like a California beach bunny, hid her intellect. Many people underestimated her because of her looks. Not many made that same mistake a second time.
“Who you got?” Garcia asked of the two Patrolmen who had been first on the scene.
“Big Lou Swenson, Detective.”
“Somebody finally did in that piece of garbage, did they?” Garcia asked. It was a rhetorical question but he got an answer any way.
“Yes sir and they did a pretty good job on him.”
Detective Garcia joined the Medical Examiner, Bob Colwell, who was squatting down next to the body. The other two members of Colwell’s team were examining the area around the body. Colwell stood and said “Hello Matt. Your turn on the wheel?”
The detective divisions of the Phoenix Police Department each had a device called a “wheel” to determine which detective team was assigned to new cases. The wheel had each team’s name spaced around the rim and was moved around a pivot. The names at the top “caught” the new cases and the wheel was spun to the next team. It was Matt Garcia and his partner Judy DeFranco’s turn in the box on this case.
“Yeah, DeFranco is on her way.” Turning around and looking at the entrance to the alley he saw his partner coming to join them. “And here she is now. Better late than never Judy,” he said giving her a wicked grin.
“This better be important,” Judy replied. “I left a hot date cooling his heels at the dance club. What do we have?”
“Someone or some ones decided to practice their slice and dice skills on this guy,” Colwell replied. “The body has more knife wounds than I’ve ever seen. There are at least three major horizontal cuts that I can see and at least two vertical ones. In addition his throat has been cut. It looks like the cut goes all the way to his spine; almost cut his head off. I’ll know more after I get him on my table.”
Colwell took another look at the body. “The guy that did this must be strong because Lou is a big guy and those cuts are pretty deep.”
DeFranco walked to and leaned over the body. She pulled out a pair of surgical gloves and looked at the ME. He nodded and she pulled on the protective gloves and knelt down. Looking at the body she saw something sticking out from the neck wound.
“Bob, did your guys see this?”
He walked over and looked where DeFranco was pointing. “What is that?” He asked more to himself than out loud and used some tweezers to pull the item from the cut. “I’ll be damned, it’s a finger nail.”
“Here’s another one,” Judy offered and picked up a finger nail from the ground next to the body.
“Okay let me get old Big Lou on my table and I’ll be able to tell you more. There is something under Lou’s finger nails on his right hand. Hopefully we can get DNA from it. I’ll text you when I’m done Matt.”
Garcia and DeFranco instructed the patrol officers to canvas the surrounding neighborhood to see if anyone had seen or heard something. Considering the area, they didn’t expect much. The Detectives each got in their individual cars and headed back to the precinct house.
A lone figure on the roof of a one-story building that overlooked the alley way was watching the police and all the commotion. The dark eyes glittered from the ambient light and a small grim smile spread across its face. When the victim was put in a body bag, the figure went to the opposite corner of the building staying low. Before it started climbing down the fire escape on that corner it said, “That’s one Sis. He won’t bother anyone again.”
Two days later the ME texted Matt Garcia saying he had the results of the autopsy. Matt & Judy immediately drove to the morgue to meet with Bob Colwell. On the way they discussed the case.
“I think Bob was right,” Matt offered. “Whoever did in Big Lou had to have been as strong as an ox.” Not hearing an answer for his partner, he asked, “Don’t you think so?”
“No, I don’t,” Judy answered after a few seconds. “This case is not what you think Matt. I think Bob’s report is going to be different than you expect.”
Bob Colwell invited the detectives into his office and offered them chairs. He pulled a file off the several stacked on his desk. “Getting overloaded,” he offered. “Now, as to Big Lou Swenson. Time of death was approximately 12:15 AM, give or take an hour. Cause of death was the major knife cuts to the body; the slashed throat was extra. Based on the number and depth of cuts, this killer was very angry; enraged is more like it.”
“Any of the body cuts were enough to kill Swenson even if it would have taken him an half an hour to bleed out. Cutting the throat just made sure he died almost immediately. I also found several smaller cuts to the body; almost seems as if the suspect was toying with and/or torturing Big Lou. All of the cuts were almost surgical in nature except the throat: that was just plain brutal.”
“Any idea what was used?” Judy asked.
Colwell nodded. “It was a knife with a large blade; at least 7 inches. Sort of like a Maine K-Bar or one of the Special Ops knifes. I’m leaning toward the Special Ops knife because there were serrations on the blade near the handle. Some of the cuts had a ragged edge to them. That’s about it.”
He shook his head and said “I must be getting old. I forgot to tell you about a couple of things. Apparently, Lou had been drinking prior to his demise. Those fingernails you found,” nodding at Judy, “Aren’t real. They’re a type of plastic so no DNA off of them. Also, the scrapings from under the victim’s fingernails turns out to be a type of cosmetics of a type called pancake makeup.” Again, he turned to Judy. “Is that right, a very heavy makeup?”
“Yes, it is. That type is usually used to cover a woman’s facial imperfections or in the theater and movies. From what you’ve told us, the fingernails are a type of stick on false nails.”
“Thanks Doc,” Matt said. Turning to Judy he said, “Mooky’s Bar and Grill is just around the corner from that alley. Maybe we should do a more in-depth canvass of that dive and see if we can shake something out of the trees.”
It was just after 3 PM when the detectives entered Mooky’s. The bar was dark and they had to wait a minute before their eyes adjusted from the bright sunshine outside. Behind the bar was Mooky, the owner. He watched them walk toward him like he wanted to run out the back. Mooky knew that these two were the police. The only customer in the bar was one old guy at the end of the bar; apparently he was the resident bar fly.
“You Mooky?” Judy DeFranco asked. The bartender nodded. “We’d like to talk with you a minute.”
She put a mug shot of Big Lou Swenson on the bar. “You know this character?” Mooky nodded again and she asked “Seen him around lately?”
Mooky was a big man at 6’6” and weighed in at about 340 pounds. He kept the temperature in his bar very cold but in spite of the 70 degrees in the room he was sweating. Mooky had done several things that weren’t quite legal, but was worried that even knowing a scum bag like Lou could cause him problems. He didn’t want that type of trouble.
“No, never seen him.”
Judy stared hard at Mooky. “I see at least four health violations from where I stand. I wonder how many more the Health Department could find if they were to run a surprise inspection on your place. Want to look at the picture again?”
“Oh yeah, I know him. I didn’t see the picture good the first time. That’s Big Lou. He comes in here at least a couple of times a week.”
“When was the last time he was here?”
“This last weekend, Saturday it was.”
“What time was he here?” Judy had her notepad out making notes.
“Came in about 7 and stayed until just before midnight.”
“Was he with anyone?”
“Yeah. Some little honey came in about 10 and she and Lou hit it off. They left together.” Mooky grinned and added, “looked like Lou was gonna get lucky.”
“Not too lucky,” Judy said. “He was killed in the alley after he left here.” She watched Mooky and surmised that he was really surprised. “Can you describe the woman?”
“She was pretty tall for a woman, 5’ 10 or so. Slender like an athlete or dancer. She sure could dance; kept Lou dancing almost the whole night. Had long black hair down to the top of her ass. She wore a really short skirt, I mean really short. When she bent over you could see her butt cheeks. Pretty well endowed up top, if you know what I mean. And she didn’t mind showing them off either.”
“You hear what they talked about; what they were saying.”
“Naw, except when they left. She had hold of Lou’s hand and was pulling him toward the door. Told Lou to come on and show her how a real man treated a woman, or something like that. Lou didn’t take much pulling to leave with her.”
“Okay, tall, long black hair; well built ... did you see her eyes?” Mooky shook his head. “Was she white, black, Hispanic or what?”
“She wasn’t white or Hispanic but I don’t think she was a black girl. Maybe she was, her skin color was like coffee with a lot of cream in it, you know?” Mooky snapped his fingers. “I just remembered, she was wearing like a small backpack type thing and she never took it off; even when she was dancin’.”
DeFranco finished making notes and handed Mooky a card. “If you see her or can think of anything else, call me.” She and Garcia turned and left the bar.
As the detectives got into their car, with Garcia driving, DeFranco said, “There’s your killer Matt, sure as the world that woman did in Big Lou.”
“Timeline fits and explains how Lou was surprised. The backpack could have held the knife and a woman explains the fingernails at the scene and on the body. I’m telling you, whoever she is, that woman killed Big Lou.”
Garcia and DeFranco worked the case for another week but finally hitting a dead end. “Guess we’ll have to shut this one down and move on,” Judy said in disgust.
The two detectives were working a late shift from 4PM to midnight. Judy and Matt were taking care of some personal issues on their computers as most of their cases were close to finished. That changed when Judy’s phone rang.
“Detective, this is Mooky, remember me.”
“Yes, Mooky I remember you.”
That gal I was telling you about is here and she’s making a play for Jimmy Snake Eyes, one of Big Lou’s pals. Looks like they about to leave.”
“Who is Jimmy when he’s at home?”
“Jimmy Anthony; real first name is Benson but nobody dares to call him that. Nickname is ‘cause he’s sort of a scary dude with eyes black as coal and their beady lookin.”
Judy glanced at her watch, it was 10:15. “How long has she been there?”
After hesitating Mooky answered, “She’s been here for about two hours. Jimmy only about 30 minutes.”
“And you’re just now calling me? Why didn’t you call when she came in?”
“I didn’t really recognize her until just now. She looks different.”
“How does she look different?” Judy motioned to Matt and they headed for their car.
“She doesn’t have the long black hair like she did before. Hair’s shorter and sort of reddish brown. She is still dressed to kill, wearing another really short skirt and showing a lot of cleavage.”
“We’re on our way Mooky. Try and slow them down from leaving. Be there in 20.”
Judy and Matt walked into Mooky’s and she looked around. The place was empty except for the same old bar fly at the end of the bar. “They leave?” She asked.
“Left right after I called you,” Mooky said. “I tried to give ‘em a free round to keep ‘em here, but the girl looked at Mooky and smiled. She said she wanted to get on with tonight’s business. Girl was rubbin all over him. Hell, I’d leave too if she was all over me like that.”
“Damn,” Judy mumbled. “Any idea where they went Mooky?”
“Jimmy and Big Lou shared an apartment in that old warehouse down on the next corner; top floor in the back. They coulda went there I guess.”
“You got a description of this Jimmy?”
“Ya, he’s almost as tall as Big Lou is, I mean was. About 6’4 but he’s not as heavy as Lou. Got long dark hair down to his shoulders like some kind of hippy. Oh, and Detective he’s always packin. Usually carries a Glock 9MM.”
“C’mon Matt, maybe we’ll get lucky and keep ole Jimmy alive another night or keep him from killing someone,” Judy said and headed toward the door in a hurry.
On the way to the warehouse, Matt got a phone call. He listened, said, “Okay got it,” and hung up. “While you were talking to Mooky, I ran Big Lou and Jimmy’s names through the system. Just got the report back. Lou, Jimmy and a guy called Wild Bill Anderson all run together. All three have been arrested; suspected of robbery, extortion and were even accused of rape a couple of times. They worked together more than once. Nothing ever stuck so they walked.
“There’s the warehouse,” Judy said and brought the car to a sliding halt. “You hit the back; see if there’s another way in. I’ll take the front.”
“Just a minute John Wick,” Matt ordered. “I’m not letting you, nor do I want to, go into what could be a very dangerous situation without backup. We’ll go in together. First, we’ll secure the back door if there is one, and then we’ll go in the front.” At the irritated look on his partner’s face he added, “I know you’re all gung ho and the lead on this case, but I out rank you. We’ll do it my way or wait for a couple of patrol cars for back up.”
They found a half full dumpster and pushed it as close as possible to the single door on the back side of the building. “That should stop anyone but a midget from leaving this way and according to Mooky, Jimmy is no midget,” Matt said. “C’mon let’s hit the front.”
Judy, followed by Matt, entered the warehouse coming into a large open room with walls. The area had served as the lobby when the building was in use. The stairway up to the top floor was on their left. Slowly and as quietly as possible they climbed the stairs until they came to the landing on the third floor. Directly across from them was the open door to what was obviously an apartment shown out across the landing. There was music and hip hop music coming from the apartment. The place was in much better condition than the rest of the building.
Motioning to Matt to go to the left side of the door opening, she went to the right side. Quickly peeking around the corner of the door, Matt pounded on the door with the flat of his hand; hard. The knock created a sort of echo within the apartment.
“Jimmy Anthony, Phoenix Police, come to the door,” Judy called out in a loud voice. After waiting a few seconds, she repeated, “Phoenix Police, come to the door. Waiting again, she said, “We’re coming in; keep your hands where we can see them.”
The dark clad figure staggered down the back stairs when Matt and Judy announced themselves; there was blood seeping through its shirt about waist high on the left side. “Damned dude was tougher than he looked,” it muttered to itself. “But that’s number two and he won’t hurt anyone again either, just like the first one.” The figure applied pressure to the wound and made its way to the rear door of the building. It was able to push the dumpster back and slipped through the very narrow opening; escaping into the night.
Matt pulled his pistol and stepped into the apartment, moving to the left after he entered. Judy also drew her weapon, entered and stepped to the right. The apartment was a loft, with no walls with 16 ft. ceilings, there were ceiling to floor windows for most of the north facing wall and the apartment stretched over the entire northeast corner of the 3rd floor. It had been separated into 3 sleeping areas, an eat-in kitchen, and a common area with couches and a TV.
It wasn’t necessary for them to be so careful. Lying in the middle of one of the beds was Jimmy Snake Eyes. He was covered in blood with a pool spreading into the bed below him. Looking down at the victim, Matt said, “Same MO as Big Lou. Cut up pretty good, or bad depending on how you look at.” He checked for a pulse in spite of large cuts and the amount of blood.
“Dispatch this is Detective DeFranco. We have a body on the top floor at 1343 W. Central. It’s an abandoned warehouse. Entry is in the front of the building. We need the ME and his wagon forthwith.”
Judy and Matt pulled on pairs of latex gloves and began their inspection of the apartment. Obviously, there had been a struggle as a large TV was off its stand and on the floor. Chairs were tipped over, a table had been slid across the floor and one of the windows was cracked. There were several areas that had large amounts of blood from the slashes on Jimmy’s body.
“Looks like there’s been a hell of a fight, just like the one in the alley,” Judy offered. “There’s a blood trail across the loft.” She followed it and it led to a door about halfway opened at the back of the loft. Walking to it, she saw a tight stairway leading down. She also saw some blood smeared on the door jamb and bloody footprints continued down the stairs.
The ME and his crew entered the room and began their investigation just as Judy started to descend the stairway. “Judy hold up,” Matt asked.
She returned to the apartment to wait for the ME’s preliminary report; she frowned at her partner. After several minutes he turned to Matt and Judy. “This guy hasn’t been dead very long,” he stated. “You called it in about midnight; I place TOD at within an hour of that; probably less. He would have bled out pretty quickly. I’ll know more once I do the autopsy.”
“We just missed the perp,” Judy said in a disgusted voice. “I’m gonna follow those stairs leading down; meet you out front.”
“It’s no different than what I told you out before. You need back up and that’s me,” he replied and followed his partner down the stairs.
“Look Matt, there’s the blood trail,” Judy pointed to several spots of blood on several steps along with a few bloody footprints. They lost the trail when they got to the second floor.
“Seems old Jimmy didn’t go down as easy as Big Lou; bet that smeared blood and this blood trail belongs to our suspect.” Two days later Judy was proven right.
“The blood on the door and down the stairs belongs to someone other than Jimmy Anthony,” Colwell told Judy on the phone. “I ran the DNA through the National Data Base and didn’t get a match. So, we don’t know who it belongs to. I can tell you the DNA was a woman’s. There are some markers that show some African-American influence as well, but that’s about it.”
“Anything else Doc?” Matt asked.
“We didn’t find any fingerprints so either the missing person wore gloves like yours or wiped the place down. I’d bet on the latter as we found several smudged areas. The wounds are very similar to the ones found on that case a couple of weeks ago. Same type of weapon as far as I can tell at this point. It appears to me that there was a violent confrontation and Mr. Anthony came out on the short end. Based on the different blood, I think he hurt the person that killed him. That’s it; I’ll email you a copy of my report. Good luck.”
Judy smile like the cat that ate the canary and looked at Matt. “Yeet, I told you the perp is a woman.” There was hiding the smug satisfaction in her look. “Now all we have to do is find out what woman out there is a human killing machine.”
“Yeet? My question is why Lou and Jimmy?” Matt asked. “Maybe we see if those two were tied together some way; aside from sharing an apartment I mean.”
“Ought to check into this Wild Bill Anderson that Mooky told us about,” Judy replied. “Let’s get on it.”
“Yes Sir, Detective sir; I’ll jump on it right now,” Matt answered with a big grin. “Getting kinda full of yourself aren’t you; barking orders and such.”
“You said I was the lead on this case, so I give the orders.” Judy was grinning as big as Matt.
Two hours passed and the detectives joined up at Matt’s desk. He said, “Big Lou, Jimmy Snake Eyes and Will Bill Anderson have been running together for some time. The three stogies have been very bad boys.”
“That’s what I found as well,” Judy replied. “Robberies, enforcers for loan sharks and a dozen other feats; they’ve always seemed to work together.”
“They were suspected of two rapes but never did time,” Matt said. “The first victim refused to testify, too afraid, I guess. Word on the street is that one of those three devils put a scare into her.”
Judy continued, “The second rape happened six months ago. The victim, Samantha Dowd, didn’t get a chance to testify; she was raped repeatedly and then beat to death. The three were under investigation but we couldn’t pin it on them.”
“Two of the three are dead; sliced up like a Christmas turkey,” Matt stated. “Suppose we should check in on Wild Bill; he could be next.”
“Shift is almost over, we’ll find him tomorrow. See in the morning Matt.” Judy waited until Matt left and then returned to her computer. She read again the incident report on the dead girl and any information about her. Her name had been Samantha Dowd; she had just turned 22 and was a senior at Arizona State. a student. Looking at the file and incident report Judy found that Samantha had a sister Alyssa.
The next morning Judy told Matt about her findings. “Two things make this Alyssa interesting. Samantha was black, well her mother is so she is as well. And the blood found at our scene was for an African American woman. The boot prints we found are from a boot that is worn by Special Forces. Alyssa is a former Marine; she was Military Police with combat training.”
“Is a Marine.”
“Once a Marine always a Marine,” Matt said.
“We should have the ME run the female’s DNA through the Department of Defense military data base.” “I think we ought to speak to Alyssa after we find Wild Bill,” Judy said.
She made the call to Bob Colwell and suggested he check with the DoD. “We have a person of interest in our investigation and she’s a Marine; or was until two months ago.”