The Cold Case

DISCLAIMER: This story was written and published in 2012 and has been kept up to show the writer’s growth. It is not intended as professional quality

Jack Monroe had been on the force for years. He had the look of a weary man who had recently put on weight. Despite this he was strong as ever and had an temper to match. He ran his fingers through his sandy brown hair as he looked down to inspect the dead body. Jack had seen his fair share of death. Quite frankly, this one topped them all.

“Black man murdered in his own home.” Jack muttered to himself while he bent down to inspect the body. He pulled his pipe from his mouth and let a puff of smoke. Jack’s rough hands glided over the man’s skin. Meticulously, Jack inspected each bump and bruise along the corpse.

As he inspected the body, several other police men did their best to keep the media outlets at bay. Cameras flashed rapidly and reporters crowded to ask questions as an oncoming onslaught.

Jack had learned to tune out the buzzing of the media. He had worked on the force as a P.I for well over a decade. The body that lay before him outdid anything he had seen.

The face was badly bruised, both eyes swollen shut. His face was bloated and completely unrecognizable. Not even his own Mother would recognize the poor soul. Blood sat on his face mockingly. A tattoo adorned his ribcage. That of a beautiful spider’s web. Jack noted it as familiar. A swastika had been carved onto the man’s forehead; yet the amount of blood gushing from the wound proved that it was done post mortem.

Jack immediately ruled out a white supremacy movement. No leads pointed down that road. The initial wound was a pocket knife through the man’s back. He had lost consciousness almost immediately. Searches for DNA under his fingernails came up dry, hammering home the point that the man did not struggle. His death was a quick cut and run. Cuts were askew across his chest in an almost mocking manner. Again he repeated to himself that it couldn’t be a white supremacy movement. Those killers wanted their victims to suffer. Whomever killed this man wanted to kill him and be done with it.

“Had to be to throw us off.” He muttered under his breath.

Jack took another puff of smoke from his pipe and let out a long sigh. Within a few extra minutes the rough autopsy was over and he made his exit.

Upon his way out an officer grabbed his arm and pulled him close. “What did you find?” he whispered into Jack’s ear.

“Nothing.” Jack stated simply, “Nothing at all.”

The officer fumbled for words, and all out once he let out “What do you mean?”

Jack shot the man an annoyed look and raised one eyebrow. “Did I stutter?” With that, Jack took his leave, pushing past the rabid reporters angrily. One cameraman began to move towards him. Jack grabbed the camera and shoved it back.

“No comment.” He gritted through his teeth.

Days dragged into weeks, which dragged into months. Bodies popped up day by day; all of them killed by the same method. The months dragged into years and still the bodies appeared. Supremacy was ruled out after a few months when non-minorities began to pop up with the same killing method.

With any other detective the case would have ran cold. Not Jack. Jack knew the loss of their families and identified with them. After all, he had lost family as well. His wife and beautiful baby daughter…both killed in a petty attempt at revenge scheme. Jack had fought the killer with every ounce in him, yet in the end he managed to get away. Jack had been bitter ever since. Jack knew loss like no other on the force.

The pitter patter of rain gently drummed against his umbrella as he paced through the slums of the city. He was close the cracking the case. He could feel it. He just needed to be in the right place at the right time. His thoughts drifted off from the killing to his family, to the happy times he had spent with them. He fought back the memories. Memories were a poison to him. Memories made him freeze up and second guess himself.

A loud bang pierced the silence of the night; a sound which was soon followed by a cry for help. Jack’s pace quickened into a sprint. He grew closer and the cries grew ever louder until within minutes he saw the man and the assailant.  The assailant had soft green eyes and a skinny frame, about one hundred thirty pounds, red hair. He was lean yet wiry and his eyes lit up with delight from the cries of help from the victim.

Jack arrived just as another loud bang was heard and the victim slumped to the ground. Blood filled a puddle of murky water.

“HEY! YOU!” Jack cried. It was then he went to reach for his gun only to find that he had forgotten to bring it with him. He cursed under his breath at his own stupidity. Upon instinct, Jack dove to the ground a split second before a shot rang out. He knew he only had one chance to disarm the assailant. He had to make it count.

In one fluid motion he threw himself from behind a brick wall and launched his pipe at the murderer. Burning ashes scattered onto the killer’s hand, causing him to drop his weapon. “Ah!” the murderer cried, “Stings like a bitch!” he winced.

Jack gave him no time to recover. He clutched his umbrella and threw it towards the killer with a heavy lunge.

The man’s head snapped back into a brick wall and he let out a cry of pain.

Jack knew better than to let up. He had to put this prick behind bars by any means necessary. Jack’s hand balled up into a fist and brought it to his stomach. A year’s worth of rage flew through his fists. “NOT SO TOUGH WITHOUT YOUR GUN ARE YOU?” He shouted into the night.

The killer said nothing and simply took the beating.

Jack’s hands stained with blood and still he did not let up. Within a few more minutes he had his hands around the killer’s throat.

Jack let out a deep throaty growl. “Why?” he howled.

The murderer coughed up blood. “You-you didn’t do your homework did you?” he whimpered. The killer let out a long groan and a small cough then continued. “I’ve been killing them…for a reason…”

Jack’s grip tightened around the murderer’s throat. “Why?” he repeated.

“The first body you inspected….did you not remember him?”

Jack’s expression turned from anger to sorrow once he had realized his mistake. His grip loosened. “His face was unrecognizable…but his frame…”

“Don’t forget the tattoo.” the assailant mumbled. “It looked familiar didn’t it?” He looked up at Jack with acceptance. “I can see you remember…he killed your wife and kids, Jack.”

Jack broke down in tears. He slid down the side of the brick wall and he cupped his face in his hands.  “What have I done?” Jack mumbled. “WHY DID YOU DO THIS?!” He cried out into the night. A thunderous clap from the rain answered him. He pointed the corpse on the ground. “And him?” Jack whimpered.

The man smiled “He was a mobster…untouchable.”

Jack looked up at the killer. “Is that what you do…?”

“Yes, Jack.” The assailant whispered. “I take the law into my own hands. All my victims are killers who have escaped the law or are untouchable….I serve justice where nobody else can.”

“Go.” Jack said between despaired tears. “Go now before I change my mind and lock you up.”

It was on that day, that Jack Monroe’s year long case….

….finally went cold.

Author: Connor M. Perry

From an early age, Connor learned how to divide by four. Imagine, for a moment: Connor being born. Two minutes later, he discovers there are three other newborns hot on his heels. He was, as it turns out, a quadruplet. And from that moment on, he needed to learn to share. Everything. At an early age, Connor took to writing so that he could have something that was his. He began writing small stories online for his own enjoyment, and gradually moved to more ambitious ideas. He's published Hush Little Baby on an e-zine called Microhorror (a site that's now defunct, so you'll have to take him at his word) as well as Stragglers in the Cold and Rivenrock in Sword and Sorcery Magazine. He's enjoyed creating the different worlds, characters and relationships you'll find in his stories. He currently lives in Worcester, MA with his girlfriend, two cats, and a collection of swords.

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