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 The Seattle Massacre: Chapter One

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J.J. Knight
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PostSubject: The Seattle Massacre: Chapter One   Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:30 pm

Chapter One
October 1st, 2010

A blue Chevy Impala pulled into the driveway of 2993 30th Avenue West and parked behind a police cruiser. A tall man leaned into the backrest of the driver’s seat as he reached into his pants pocket for his pack of cigarettes as “How Can I Fall” by Breathe played. He pulled a cigarette from the pack and reached for his lighter on his dashboard. He flicked the lighter open and lit the tip of the cigarette. He took a long drag of the cigarette. He enjoyed the soothing taste of nicotine as it surge and relax his troubled mind. A stream of smoke blew from his nostrils as he leaned back into the seat.

The engine hummed for a moment before it turned off and the car door opened. The tall man stepped out of the car and examined the dark clouds above him with his sharp blue eyes. He had short brown hair and mustache with streaks of gray that blended well with his aged exterior. His name was Richard Holcomb. He was the most seasoned homicide detective at the Seattle Police Department. It was natural for him to be called out for a case of this magnitude. Richard had been on the force for nearly thirty years and never left a case unsolved. He had seen more shit than he cared to remember. Richard was famous among the locals for solving the Slayer Case in 1985, which was a three month long endeavor to catch the crazed serial killer, Andrew Luptak.

Richard took a long drag from the cigarette before dropping it onto the ground and put it out with his shoe. He readjusted his dark brown trench coat and fedora hat before he proceeded towards the two story house in front of him. The lawn was well kept with a swing set in the front and a large oak tree with a tire swing tied to the large branch. He grabbed the tape that was wrapped across the door, pulled it up as he leaned down, and walked beneath the tape to enter the house. The heavy smell of blood filled his nostrils as he stepped inside. The intense smell choked Richard and forced him to place his hand over his face in attempt to filter the air.

“Detective Holcomb,” said a young officer who walked around the body of a deceased man in the living room. His name was Paul Stevenson, Richard’s rookie for solving homicide cases. Paul was taller than Richard, had clean cut brown hair, brown eyes, and slim build. “We got a triple homicide, sir.” said Paul.

“Triple homicide, huh,” said Richard as he walked towards the living room. “Just had to do this on a Friday, huh? For once I’d like to have a weekend where I didn’t have to look at dead bodies and just watch some television or spend time with the family.” he mumbled to himself in annoyance as he approached the victim and kneeled to get a closer look.

The victim lied on his back with a large puncture wound to the throat, a small trail of blood stained the floor. Richard followed the trail of blood with his eyes to the staircase. Small droplets stained the white carpet of the steps that led up to the second floor. Richard looked back at the victim and inched closer to get a better look. He was tall with ebony skin, had a short haircut and wore pajamas. His head rotated to the side and sat in a dark puddle of blood.

“Did C.S.U. examine this body yet?” asked Richard as he reached into his pocket and withdrew a pair of plastic gloves.

“Yeah, Brittany just got done examining him about a minute ago,” noted Paul as he stepped forward. He cleared his throat as he approached the body, seemingly unwilling to approach it. “She came to the conclusion that he was the first to die. She suggests that the killer came up from behind and stabbed him in the throat. She estimated that the killer was taller than our victim. Judging by the width of the cut, he probably used a hunting knife or something similar.”

Richard rubbed the stubble on his chin as he stood up. “This was premeditated. If this was out of rage we’d see more damage done to the body. The murderer killed our victim with one strike to the throat. It is possible that the killer wished to remain unnoticed or he wasn’t the intended target,” he said to himself. “Have you identified the victim?” asked Richard.

“Yes,” said Paul. “His name is Henry Coleman. He was a car salesman. Worked on commission.”

“Check the phone records, financials, and his work place,” said Richard, “See if he received any recent threats. We may be able to scrounge up a suspect. Who discovered the bodies?”

“Mary’s sister, Martha. She's in the dining room,” replied Paul.

“Did you get a statement from her?” he asked.

“No, I haven’t yet.”

Richard sighed heavily. “Let’s go talk to her then,” said Richard reluctantly as he turned and left the living room with Paul following close behind him. They walked into the dining room and a young woman paced around one side of the dining table in the center. She immediately stopped as Richard and Paul entered the dining room. “I am Detective Richard Holcomb. This is Officer Paul Stevenson,” said Richard as he gestured toward Paul. “I need to ask you a few questions.”

“Yeah, sure,” said Martha as fresh tears rolled down her cheeks. “Anything I can do to help find my sister’s killer.”

“Have your sister or her husband told you about any problems at home? Received any threats or had any disagreements with anyone recently?” asked Richard quickly.

“No, nothing like that,” said Martha as she shook her head. “They got along with everyone. I talked Mary the other day and everything was great. She would have told me if she or Henry were having any problems.”

“Have they talked to you about anything out of place around the neighborhood, perhaps following them to work?” asked Richard, his impatience growing.

“Well, I remember her saying a few days ago that she saw someone with a hoodie walking around late at night…But that’s the only thing I can think of. Do you think he did it?”

“It’s unlikely, but we’ll check into it. If you think of anything else please contact us immediately,” said Richard as he turned and walked away from her.

Paul thanked Martha for her time and followed Richard out of the dining room. “Shouldn’t you ask her more questions about the guy in the hoodie? He could be our suspect.” said Paul as they reached the staircase.

“Not likely,” replied Richard as he stopped and turned to Paul. His lip twitched slightly from irritation. “She’s not a reliable witness. She didn’t see the person in question. She’s not going to be of any help to this investigation. I’ve been doing this long enough to tell when a witness would be reliable or not,” said Richard as he turned back and looked at the body. “Besides, I’d rather see what the bodies have to say. They’d be able to tell me more than she could.”

Brittany Luman, a tall blonde woman with pigtails wearing a black sleeveless shirt under a dark blue jacket with C.S.U. on the back, strode down the staircase. “Are you going to make me climb all the way back up the stairs to show you the bodies?” she said as she stepped off the staircase and readjusted her glasses.

“Well, unless he magically springs back to life, I’d have to say yes,” said Richard as he turned his head and looked at the corpse.

Brittany rolled her eyes. “I wish he did, it’d make my job easier.” she said as she reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a stick of gum. She quickly unwrapped it and stuck it into her mouth. “The other two victims are upstairs. I've identified the mother and daughter as Mary and Kelsey Coleman. Come with me. I'll show you what happened.”

Richard, Paul, and Brittany walked up the staircase together. The smell of blood grew stronger with each step they took. “This way,” said Brittany as they reached the top step. She walked down the narrow hallway and stopped at the first door. Richard ignored the picture frames of the family as he stood alongside her. She pushed the door open and stood beside it to allow Richard inside. Richard walked inside; Paul refused to enter the room and walked away, unable to stomach the smell. Richard ignored him and proceeded to investigate the murder scene.
A small girl lied on the child sized white framed bed. Most of her body laid beneath a pink and white bedspread, as if she was still asleep. As Richard examined the small girl, he noticed a small cut that exposed the windpipe of the child’s throat. Dried blood coagulated around the edges of the fatal wound and on her skin in the form of small trails. Her bed sheets stained red when the blood was fresh.

“Kelsey Coleman, five years old. She was killed right after the father. He put a pillow over her head and stabbed her once in the throat. My guess is he used the pillow to muffle her voice. Judging by the position of the cut, it’s possible that this was a mercy killing for the girl. He made an incision across the jugular vein.” said Brittany as she wrinkled her nose and pointed to the cut on the girls neck. “It’s evident that the killer knows the human anatomy very well.”

“I think you’re right. Her killing is a lot like Henry’s death, yet it’s different,” said Richard to himself. “Our killer wanted to keep her quiet so he wouldn’t be discovered, yet there are no signs of aggression. The cut on Henry’s throat was much wider and deeper. The killer had no problem with killing him, but with her he tried to make it as painless as possible.” Richard sighed as he turned and walked toward Brittany as she moved away from the door and proceeded to walk towards the parents’ bedroom.

Richard and Paul walked behind her to the room and stopped in front of the closed door. The stench was strongest here. Paul pushed open the half-closed door before turning away from the disturbing sight and rushed into the bathroom to vomit. Richard walked into the room to observe the crime scene.

The remains of a short woman lay in the center of the bed, the bedding tainted red. Her body bore a large hole in the center of the abdomen and a large gash across her throat. The entrails lay scattered on the floor. A small trail of blood followed the guts as they were unceremoniously tossed aside while the killer disemboweled her. The liver lied against the dresser, the kidney’s scattered across the floor, and the intestines covered ground like rope. Her white night gown stained red and the cloth was ripped to shreds around the hole where the killer had cut and removed the organs.

“He killed Mary, age thirty two, last. Her murder was much more brutal than the other two homicides,” she said as she walked into the room. She held her hand over her face in attempt to filter the smell of blood. “Our killer strangled her before using the knife to slash her throat,” she said as she walked toward the bed and pointed to the bruises on her neck with her free hand. “He then proceeded to cut her open and remove her internal organs including kidneys, liver, and intestines. We also found that the telephone line outside the house was cut to prevent any interference if one of them escaped in our initial sweep of the house.”

“That’s interesting,” said Richard to himself as he walked closer to the body, careful not to step on the organs or blood. “He managed to disable the home security and prevent his victims from calling for help if he was discovered. Did you find any hair fibers or prints?” asked Richard as he examined the carnage done to the body.

“We found some bloody clothes in the bathroom that belongs to our killer. We believe that he took a shower and left the clothing behind. There’s a good chance we may find some hair that belongs to our killer in the drain. I've bagged the clothes and sent them down with John to the lab,” she replied.

“Good,” he replied as he examined her body closer. The ferocity troubled him as he took a closer look at the body. As he looked closer at the neck, he examined the faint bruises that resembled fingers. He licked his dry lips as he wiped his forehead with his arm. “This reminds me of Jack the Ripper. He killed several women back in 1888 in London. He would strangle his later victims before removing several of their organs.”

“Do you think this is a copycat trying to imitate the murders?” she asked curiously.

“No, I don't think so,” said Richard immediately as he shook his head. “The homicides back then were prostitutes; if our killer was trying to copy his crimes, he would've killed on the street and not in the home. Her murder is unusually similar to a few of the Ripper murders, though. So unless she was whoring herself when her husband wasn’t home, I don’t think we’re dealing with a copycat here,” said Richard. He pondered for a few moments before he turned his head to find Paul by the door. “When you find anything at the lab, come get me. I want you to look into the family history and see if there’s any disturbed relatives.” he said as he strolled past Paul and out of the room. Paul followed the detective and left the house that confined the horrors within to return to the Seattle Police Department.

Seven hours later, Richard stood in front of a white board with all of the information written in marker and three photographs were pinned to the top. The faint smell of stale donuts and coffee filled the floor, though he had become so accustomed to the smell, he never noticed it. Paul walked over to Richard with two coffees in hand and handed him one. “Thanks,” said Richard as he seized the cup from him and took a swig. “So, what do we know about the victims?”

“Henry Coleman, age thirty five,” said Paul as he held up a notepad and read the information written on it. “Worked as a salesman for a car dealership and went to a two year community college. Married Mary Coleman, age thirty two, six years ago. Mary was unemployed, although she has published a few recipe books over the last three years. Their daughter, Kelsey, was five years old.”

“Any news on a possible suspect?” asked Richard.

“No information yet. We’ve checked the workplace that Henry worked at and we checked the phone records. No relatives with criminal or mentally unstable histories. So far, we haven't found anything that would tie us to a suspect.” said Paul as he looked at the white board.

“Did we get anything on forensics so far?” asked Richard before he took another drink from the cup and crossed his arms. He looked rather amused, happy even, as he leaned against his desk.

“The times of deaths for each victim ranged between 1:00 A.M. To 3:00 A.M.,” said Paul as he checked his notes. “So far we haven’t found any finger prints. We did find a few strands of hair in the drain, but testing hasn’t come back yet. The blood on the clothes has been confirmed to be the blood of the Coleman's. So far, we have nothing to link us to a suspect until we get DNA from the hair we found.”

Richard chuckled as he uncapped the red marker and added the times of possible death under the photographs of the victims. “I knew this case wouldn’t be that easy to solve. Maybe I’ll have a challenge yet,” he said as he as he capped the marker. “However…I don't see any reason to why these people were killed.” said Richard to himself as he took a step back and examined the white board.

“It could be a hate crime?” asked Paul as he pointed to the photographs. “The family was all African American, so that could be a possibility.”

“No, I don't think it was,” said Richard as he furrowed his brows in thought as he dismissed Paul’s deduction without a second thought. “No, I have the feeling that this was random, or they were just unlucky and he killed them without any reasoning other than to just kill them.”

“Random?” asked Paul as he looked at Richard with a skeptical look. “What makes you say that?”

“Other than my gut feeling, if this was a hate crime we would have more evidence relating to it. There was no hate mail, death threats, or discriminatory letters found addressed to Henry or Mary Coleman. There was no racist marks left at the home, everyone at the car dealership got along with Henry and none reported any racism against him, employee or customer. If this was a hate crime, I am sure that we'd find something by now.”

“So this was all random?” he repeated.

“Yes, I believe so,” said Richard as he reached for his pack of cigarettes from the desk. “I also believe that this is not the end of it.”

“Not the end of it? Do you think this will happen again?”

“Yeah, I think it will,” he replied. Richard stared at the white board with fierce determination as he placed a cigarette in his mouth and reached into his pocket for his lighter. “Just like to the Slayer Case in ‘85, he killed his victims at random, making it harder to track him down. No discrimination. Saw everyone as a potential victim. Just some pawns for his game,” Richard lit the cigarette and took a deep inhale. A stream of smoke escaped his nostrils as he exhaled. He took the cigarette by the butt and held it in his hand as he reached for his coffee. “This killer is doing the exact same thing as Luptak. He’s a thrill killer. He seeks the thrill of the hunt. He wants to feel that rush he gets when he murders. He will strike again, and soon,” Richard downed the cup of coffee and set it on the desk. “We are dealing with a dangerous individual. Andrew Luptak was a pure sociopath. He enjoyed killing and made it a hobby. He got good at it too.”

“You caught him though,” said Paul with unease. The thought of another Luptak-like killer churned his stomach. “You don’t think that this guy is a more sufficient killer than Luptak, do you?”

Richard mulled over the thought as he took another drag from his cigarette. “We have better technology today than we did back then, better equipped. We have a much better chance of catching this guy than we did in ’85. A serial killer wants to be recognized. Andrew was no exception. He wanted to take the credit of his crimes. Killers sometimes develop a certain killing method, a skill; a trademark to call their own. Andrew was a butcher. He tore apart his victims in such a way that it’d be easy to tell that it was him. That’s the main downfall of killers like Andrew. They get cocky and greedy for attention and because of that greed we are able to track them down and arrest them.”

Paul looked away from Richard and at the white board. Richard turned his attention back to the white board and studied the photographs of the victims and the information provided. “Don’t worry; I’ve caught every criminal since I started working in this department. This psycho will be no different. He already gave me plenty of information I need to solve this case.”

“What information is that?” asked Paul.

“For starters, he gave us his killing method,” said Richard as he turned around and grabbed the folder off his desk. He opened the file and spread the photographs on the table. “We know that he uses a knife and that will be his killing weapon of choice. He also operates alone. He killed Henry first because he needed to remain in stealth mode. There were other people in the house and didn’t want to be discovered. He made a clean wound to the throat to ensure that Henry would die quickly and silently. After he killed Henry,” Richard pointed to the photograph of Kelsey. “He killed the daughter. Unlike the father’s murder, hers was different from the others, yet similar. He killed her to remain stealthy, yet it was more a ‘mercy kill’ than an act of violence. Her murder was different. He killed her in the least painful way he could. In other words, he killed Kelsey in mercy. He probably didn’t want her to end up in an orphanage, witness her parents getting brutally murdered or I’m making him more humane than I am and he killed her to keep her quiet so he could get his real target: Mary Coleman. The biggest clue is the cut itself,” Richard pointed to the cuts on Henry’s and Kelsey’s throat. “Henry’s cut is deeper and forced. There is more tearing at the side where the blade is sharpest and showed signs of struggle. While for Kelsey, he placed a pillow over her head and made a clean cut, from side to side.” said Richard as he leaned against the desk. “It was done with precision and skill. He knew just where to cut to kill her quickly and as painless as possible. He has experience with killing and knows the human anatomy well.”

“So why is Mary’s murder much more brutal?” asked Paul.

“I have a few theories on that,” replied Richard. “First theory is that Mary could have been the intended target. If that is true, then the other murders were unnecessary. However, if Mary was the true target, then he’d want to kill her quickly and in private unless there was intense hate or a good reason why he took his time. The second theory is that now everyone else in the family was dead, that would leave him to do whatever he wanted and gave him more time to perform the murder. I don’t think this was the case because he didn’t go back and do the same to Henry or Kelsey. The third theory is he was in blood lust when he was killing her and went too far with it. However, my gut tells me that neither of these possibilities are the answer.”

“Then what do you think his real intent was?” asked Paul, intent on hearing Richard’s idea on what the killers true motive.

“I believe that the killer intends to kill again. He wants to make his murders identifiable and unique. If he killed all of them by simply stabbing them in their sleep, then someone else may commit a murder and distract us from the true killer. No, he wants our attention. He wants us to know that when he kills it’s him without a doubt. By killing Mary like that, if we said that she died like the others then no one could copy his style unless there’s another sick fucker out there. Also, how he killed the family is important. It would be difficult for someone else to copy his crime exactly. He chose the Coleman family and killed them, making each murder unique.”

Richard picked up the photograph of Mary’s murder scene and studied it, noting every detail of the photograph. Richard racked his brains for any better scenario, a reason that made more sense. “If my theory is correct, then his signature is similar to Jack the Ripper’s style of killing when it comes to his most brutal killing technique. He first strangles the victim before gutting them, or he sneaks up from behind and takes them out with a single blow. In Mary’s case, he removed several of her organs. If he is going to kill again, he’s going to do the same thing to another victim,” Richard set the photograph back down on the desk and walked to the white board. He stared at the board and hoped that more theories would pop into his mind. “When Luptak murdered his victims, he left a puzzle for us to decipher. It’s likely our killer will do the same thing,” he said quietly after several moments of silence. “Looks like we have to wait until we can catch a break or the killer kills again so we can build a better profile on him.”

Richard turned back and tapped the end of the cigarette on the ashtray for the ash to fall into it. “This case shouldn’t be too difficult. I can have it solved by the end of the week. Want to make a bet?” asked Richard as he turned back to Paul with a grin on his face.

“Um, no,” said Paul with a nervous chuckle. “Last time I made a bet with you, I lost five hundred bucks. Besides, isn’t it a little tasteless to be betting on when you’d solve the case?”

“Hey now,” asked Richard with a hearty laugh. “I’ve solved every case I was ever assigned to. I have to make it interesting or I’ll lose all interest in the case.” said Richard after he took a long drag from his cigarette and put it out in the ashtray. He turned his attention back at the whiteboard and crossed his arms. His stomach gave a strong churning motion as the eyes of the deceased family seemed to look back at him. Something told him that this case would be different. This case will be far more challenging that the previous. Richard closed his eyes and blocked out all external interference as he took a deep breath.

Richard stood in a small, dark room. The only source of light was from a lamp shade that hung from the ceiling. Below it was a small, battered table with a checker board in the center. He looked around to find the gray cement walls had no doors or windows with pieces of paper tacked on the wall.

The sound of footsteps made Richard turned his head back to the small table. He squinted his eyes as he tried to adjust his eyes to the darkness. He saw nothing as the footsteps ceased until a pale, thin hand grabbed the edge of the chair and pulled it back. He could not see the person who sat in the chair as the light dimmed, only illuminating the table and the chess board.

“Sit,” said a soft, cold voice from the end of the desk.

A sudden chill down his spine made Richard shiver. The room seemed to drop a few degrees as the stranger spoke. Richard quickly realized who this outsider was. His lip twitched as he walked toward the table. “So, I take it you’re the one that murdered the Coleman family.” said Richard as he grabbed the backrest of the chair and pulled it out.

“That is correct,” said the man from the end of the table. “I am the man you seek.”

Richard took a seat and narrowed his eyes in attempt to get a better look at the figure in the dark. To his dismay, he could only see a faint outline of him. It was too dark to tell who the killer was. Richard looked down to examine the chessboard. A small black and white checkered board with chess pieces placed in their appropriate spots laid on the table. Richard picked up a black pawn and examined it closely. The piece was chipped and small blood droplets caked small spots on the piece. Richard took a closer look at the board to find more died blood had stained the chessboard and its pieces. He returned the pawn to its original spot and leaned into the backrest of his chair.

The dark figure leaned forward and grabbed one of the blood stained white pawns. Only his hand was visible as the light illuminated it. The figure then moved it two squares forward and leaned back into the chair. “Your move,” said the dark figure as it waited for Richard to move his next piece.

Richard carefully analyzed the board to decide which strategy was best to defeat his foe. Richard extended his hand forward and grabbed a black pawn to move it two paces forward, exactly parallel to the figures move. “It’s your move now,” said Richard as he glared into the darkness in front of him, his sharp blue eyes narrowed as he tried to pierce through to discover the culprit. His jaw clenched as he leaned forward, his eyes locked on the faint outline of the murderer. “What will you do now?”

The shadowy figure chuckled and sat calmly in his place. It was a cold sound that sent shivers down Richard’s spine. At that moment, he knew that this killer would not be like any they have faced before. “You won’t win this case so easily, Richard. I will make your flaws evident after our game is over and I am the one standing victorious. You will realize that you are human, capable of error. That will be your downfall,” said the shadowy figure in the dark. The temperature in the room dropped significantly as the chair creaked slightly. Richard leaned back a bit as his skin crawled with goose bumps. “When I make my next move, you will realize just how much you have at stake.”
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