It’s been a great, long while since I posted anything into my stories category, and after almost two years of not doing so, I’m honored and privileged (in light of my new novella’s Monday 27th’s release) to share with you all, Chapter one of Eyes. Read it, and anticipate.
DETECTIVE Ricky woke up with a start, shirt sodden with sweat as he took in long, heavy breaths. Was that a nightmare? Maybe, but he had no recollection he was even dreaming. His wife Vivian always knew when he was having a nightmare, and she was always ready to tell him it was alright. But not tonight.
Ricky looked at his wife’s side of the bed, but she wasn’t there. Probably went for some water. Ricky thought. 4:15am shone in big green digital writings on the clock that sat on the nightstand. It was still dark.
Ricky put on the lamp. The room lit up with a golden-yellow hue. That was when Ricky saw it.
“Blood? Is that blood?” Ricky whispered to himself, as though he was being monitored. He flung the blanket off the bed. There was more, more blood. “Oh God.”
He flew out of the bed and fell to the floor, crawling as far away from the bed as possible on his rear, supported by his hands. He hit the wall next to the door then he tried to calm himself. I’ve seen blood on a countless number of occasions. He told himself.
But not my wife’s blood. A conflicting voice said.
Ricky opened the bedroom door, he ran for the kitchen screaming his wife’s name. “Vivian! Vivian!” He ran past his daughter’s door. Through the hall, through the dark living room, and into the kitchen. It was bare. His heart pumped blood up his neck, more from fear than from the running. Then he realized he ran past his daughter’s room.
“Nicky!” He ran back. Threw the door open. Her bed was empty, but her pillow and blanket were still in place. With the flip of a switch the room was illuminated. He angled for Nicky’s bed, and took a hold of her pink fluffy blanket. Neither the color nor the flowery designs made this any better. He froze in his steps.
“What am I doing? I have to call the office.” Don’t want to contaminate the scene before they arrive. Was this right? His wife and daughter were missing, possibly even killed and he was still thinking like a detective. But thinking like a detective would let him know what was going on.
He headed back to his room. Taking his cell off the nightstand, he dialed the Armston Police emergency phone number. Stay calm, Ricky. Stay calm. His head swam. Stay calm. The more he tried to control himself, the worse his condition became. He began to fill a slight chill wrap around his body. His fingers failed to dial the station’s number at the first try, they were shaking. He got it on his second try and pressed the cell hard on his ear, pulse racing.
An officer picked up on the first ring. “Armston Police emergency service. What’s your emergency?”
“Eh…this is Detective Ricky— ”
“Ricky, what’s the situation?”
“I…I…I think my wife and daughter have been…kidnapped.” Telling the officer on the other end of the phone that he suspected they were dead just didn’t seem right. After all, there were no bodies to prove it. But there was a whole lot of blood in his bed. Too much, for just a little struggle to cause.
“Hold on, Ricky. A unit will be dispatched to your location ASAP.”
The line went dead and Ricky’s hand went limp. The cell clattered to the floor. Ricky left the room and sat on a couch in the living room. He was too disoriented to realize that the lights were still off. He chose not to stay in the room as a means of controlling his curious nature. He needed the scene as clean as possible by the time the police got there.
His hands trembled in his weltered brown hair. His breaths were now drawn in short bursts.
Who was responsible? All the criminal cases Ricky had taken had ended with the perpetrator behind bars. All forty, and counting. Unless this was someone with ties to one of the criminals. He had put nothing less than twenty killers behind bars within the first forty-eight hours of their killings.
Vivian…Nicky. He wasn’t even sure if there was any blood in Nicky’s bed. He couldn’t be sure, not until the police arrived.
The four minutes, thirty-two seconds it took for the police to arrive—and Ricky timed it—was the longest wait Ricky had ever endured. But now he could hear sirens approaching. They were still at a distance, from the sound of it, but at least they were coming.
Oh no! Sirens. Surely the neighbors would be woken from sleep. Everybody will want to know what was going down at the friendly Platt residence. He walked over to the window and pulled back the curtain a little. The street lit up in red and blue. The sirens blared, cutting through the night. The light of a house at the end of the street came on. Then a second closer to his.
He spotted two Armston Police cruisers before he let the curtain fall.
The tires of the two cruisers squealed as they came to a halt at Ricky’s house. Three uniformed officers emerged and approached the family sized house through the driveway. Ricky didn’t wait for a knock on the door before he had it opened.
“Ricky! Hear you’ve got an emergency of some sort.” Officer Chris Baines said, adjusting his belt. The other two officers stood on either side of Baines. Another officer stood casually by one of the cruisers, he wouldn’t be coming in.
“This way.” Ricky let the three officers in.
They all angled into the hall when Baines said, “What exactly happened?” He was studying the house.
“I..eh, I woke up after I had a nightmare, I think, and Vivian was gone. She just wasn’t in bed. I thought she went for a drink of water or something, I turned on the lights,” he opened the door to his room, “that’s when I saw this.”
Baines walked in, eyes fixated on the bed. The ruffled blanket lay on the floor. He walked behind the bed all the while keeping a fixed gaze on the pool of blood now soaking the white sheets. “Hmm. What time did you wake up?”
“Four fifteen,” Ricky answered.
“And your daughter?”
“She’s missing as well. Don’t know if there’s any blood on her sheets.”
Baines stood. “Murphy, take some shots please.” It sounded like a question.
Officer Dan Murphy fiddled with the camera, before it clicked and the room went white for half a second. A few more clicks from every possible angle was enough for Baines.
“Doesn’t look like there was much of a struggle.” Baines said.
“Doesn’t look like there was any struggle.” Ricky’s voice was a little above a whisper. His heart was still pounding away.
“Let’s see your daughter’s room.” Baines headed for the door, and so did everyone else.
Nicky’s door creaked open, as Ricky walked into the room. The officers were directly behind. This was what Ricky had been waiting for. He would find out if Nicky was harmed as well.
Baines looked around the room. Everything was neatly packaged. A really large and brown teddy bear sat on a short bureau. The pink and blue striped wallpaper matched it in a unique manner. Nicky’s flip-flops lay at the foot of the bed undisturbed. Everything seemed to be in place. A little too in place.
A tear broke loose from Ricky’s eye. The bright colors, the blue teddy, the fluffy flip-flops. None of these items brought him joy—instead they did just the opposite.
Baines edged for Nicky’s bed. Ricky watched.
“Murphy, do your stuff before I proceed.”
Some five snaps shots from a good range of angles was all Baines needed. He went a bit low, placed his hand on the pink fluffy bed spread with caution, like it was rigged with a bomb or something, and dragged it off, letting it fall to the ground.
It was as Ricky suspected. Blood. And much of it. The stain on Nicky’s bed made Ricky’s body, quiver. “No…No. She was just a child…she…”
“Pull yourself together Ricky, we still don’t know if they were killed. As long as we haven’t seen any bodies yet there’s no proof of death.”
“Sir,” Officer Ed Milner was pointing to the floor.
“What is it?” Baines turned to face Milner.
For a moment the quiver in Ricky’s body totally ceased. He was in anticipation. He was ready for anything that might give him a clue to what the heck was going on.
Milner prodded. “You really have got to see this.”
Baines walked up to Milner’s side. There was a white piece of paper on the floor. Writings had been scribbled on it in red lettering. Baines pulled out a pair of surgical gloves and put them on before squatting and picking the paper from the bedroom floor. His face spaced out in horror.
“What’s the matter?” Ricky asked, but Baines didn’t give Ricky a reply. So Ricky inched bit by bit toward him, his eyes fixed on the white piece of paper, and only now did he notice the red markings. He could see it now, very clearly. He could read it.
It read simply and succinctly:
Enjoy the rest of the Journey.
Ricky felt sweat begin to exude from all over his body. His head began to swim. Journey? What Journey? Should he be preparing for more of this? Evidently. That’s what Cutter was saying. And who is this Cutter? All these questions barraged Ricky’s mind at once like a meteor shower, but he had no answer to any one of them.
What Cutter didn’t say was whether he had custody of his wife and his daughter. Did he want to keep him guessing? Did he want him trying to maintain some kind of hope, when the very thing he was hoping for wasn’t in existence anymore? But one question cried out in a higher decibel than any of the others; what was going on?
Ricky’s journey was truly just beginning and Officer Baines was just about to prove that. Unintentionally though.
Ricky watched Baines flip the card to the other side. He probably wanted to see if there was anymore detail that could prove vital to the whereabouts of Ricky’s wife, and Ricky’s daughter, maybe even this Cutter himself. He flipped the card back with such swift hand motion.
“Hold on, what was that?” Ricky tried to confirm. He thought he saw a picture.
“Eh…it’s nothing. Milner, get this to the lab. Have it tested for finger prints.” Baines held the card out to officer Milner.
“No! I wanna see that.” Ricky was quick enough to get to the card before Milner could receive it from Officer Baines.
Ricky flipped it over to see exactly what it was that Baines didn’t want him to see. His heart skipped a few beats. His hands began to tremble again. His lips dropped open, unconsciously. They quivered in their open state before he let the picture fall to the ground.
“Ricky…” Baines was trying to be comforting, but surely he knew there was no amount of words that would do any comforting now.
Ricky stared at the picture which was now on the floor. It was a picture of Vivian and Nicky. Dead. Lying down on what looked like a concrete surface on their left side. Both had their throats slashed. The word ‘Cutter’ was brutally etched on their right cheek. They might have been dead but they looked anything but at peace.
Ricky went week at the knees. His right leg began to fail him and he began to drop to the floor.
“Whoa!” Milner was on hand to catch him. He led him to a small chest Nicky used to store her toys and made him sit.
Ricky stared on, to a great beyond. To nothingness. He seemed not to see the others in the room anymore. The trembles in his hands had spread to his entire body now. He couldn’t even try to contain it. It was useless.
Baines walked up to Ricky and gave his cheek a couple of gentle taps. Then placed his hands on his shoulder and rocked him gently. “Ricky! Ricky! We need you to be strong, okay? For them. For Vivian and Nicky. Can you do that?” Ricky raised his head and their eyes met. “Can you do that?” He repeated.
Ricky managed to nod his head. Slowly. But at least that showed him he still had control of himself.
“Gimme a minute.” Baines said before walking away from Ricky to join his partners.
Ricky watched him join the other officers at a corner of Nicky’s room. Nicky’s room. Ricky would have never thought his six year old daughter’s room would one day be a crime scene. He shuddered. This was too much. Much too much.
After a series of nods, belt adjustments, and off-shoulder glances at Ricky, Baines approached him again. Ricky knew what he was going to request. He was a detective, he had done this on scores of occasions.
“I know this is hard for you,” Baines started. Ricky already knew where he was going. He continued, “but this is one case Chief Delay would want to look into.”
They wanted him to be at the station. Chief Delay would definitely interview at the station.
“If you think you can handle —”
“I’ll be there.” A succinct response from a despondent Ricky. His wife and daughter—whom he loved more than life itself—had just been brutally murdered. He would do anything to make sure this Cutter guy was caught before he thought he had the advantage over him.
A killer with so much skill, who was able to sneak into the house of a detective, kill his daughter, and kill his wife whilst she lay next to him as he slept wasn’t one to present a weak character to. He had to look strong. He had to be strong. For their sake.