Posts tagged Crime

The Bokor

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“St. Croix, you’re coming with me.”

Lieutenant Jim Connelly, Manhattan NYPD, spoke with an air of authority. Connelly rolled up the sleeves of his conservative white shirt. A creature of habit, he wore a long-sleeved white shirt to work each day, just as he kept his graying hair cropped military short. Sergeant Lou Minetti who usually partnered with Connolly on homicide investigations raised bushy eyebrows questioningly.

Bert St. Croix knew what was going on and could have explained it to Minetti. She’d been promoted from uniform officer to detective third grade recently and then quickly moved up to a coveted spot in the homicide division. This was all well and good, except that the fellow detectives she was now working with did not think she could handle the job. She was certain Lt. Connelly was planning to test her. Bert had every intention of winning his respect and that of other detectives who worked homicide division. But she knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

She’d overheard Minetti talking with some of the others behind her back.

“St. Croix must have kissed some serious butt to get moved up so quick.”

There was a general buzz of agreement. Then Detective Randall, a rosy-faced, burly cop said, “I think St. Croix got the promotion because she’s black and a woman. That’s killing two minority requirements at once. The brass just loves that.”

Bert didn’t bother to let them know she’d overheard the conversation. There wasn’t any point. Their minds were closed. She walked quietly away. As far as Bert was concerned, she had nothing to prove. She’d gotten the job because she’d done quality work as an officer and passed all the requirements for detective. No, she didn’t have to prove herself. She’d just do her job. They would discover the truth in time. Being a female cop and a woman of color besides wasn’t an easy path to travel but she had no regrets. This was the right job for her.

“Ready?” Connolly asked.

“Right with you,” she said, pulling on her leather jacket.

It was a freezing cold, fall day in the city. The wind cut across her face like a switch blade. Bert said nothing. No use complaining or stating the obvious.

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Ephesians 4:4

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September 24th

The sun’s just about to pierce through the night sky when I pull up on the street corner. I exit my jalopy and speed walk past the forensic vehicles and brown police cars—due to the early hour, the scene isn’t yet packed with morbid curiosity from the public.

Sliding past the yellow DO NOT CROSS tape, I spot Dempsey in the distance. I allow the bleak alleyway to envelop me like a spider web holding a prey captive.

Two unclothed corpses, both females, lie on the ground, their backs against the walls opposite each other. From where I stand, I can tell they’ve been mutilated, limbs and faces alike. Few light stands have been set up, giving the corpses these eerie, shadowed expressions—it feels like I’m standing on the stage of a twisted, life-size puppet show.

Taking a deep breath, I approach Dempsey who acknowledges my presence with an almost imperceptible tilt of his chin but stays quiet. Something of a telltale of his: he doesn’t want to be disturbed. I can only imagine how many theories are swimming through his head. I quietly move in to conduct my own observation, whipping out a notepad and a pen.

The two women are about the same age—mid to late twenties. The first corpse, dark-haired, has had both of her legs amputated. The absence of stubs and the presence of burnt flesh indicate the remains of her thighs might have been cauterized to limit excess bleeding, suggesting one of two things: the victim was still alive when the limbs were sawed, or the perpetrator didn’t want a bloody mess on his hands. I inch myself closer, noting the lack of trauma on the arms, torso, and face. Then I notice the back of the head; hair tangled and grimy with dried blood. Retrieving a pair of white gloves from my pocket and slipping one on, I push the hair back gently, revealing a deep, crude cut that’s been afflicted to the back of the skull, split open, nearly cracked in half all the way from the nape to the apex of the head, but what makes me feel like I’m hallucinating is what I find inside.

Absolutely nothing.

I move on to the other corpse, the one with hair dyed in the color of amethyst gemstones. This one, unlike the other, has had both arms severed without any mitigation—there are no signs of cauterization as far as I can tell. Whether that was deliberate or not is a mystery, but ‘exsanguination’ is a possible cause of death.

I take note of the intact legs, torso, and skull before reluctantly tackling what’s been done to the poor woman’s face. Her eyeballs seem to have been completely gouged out as all that is left are two hollow sockets, covered in mangled flesh and coagulated blood, a more arduous job than what the perpetrator had expected. Still, the trauma is just as gruesome, very similar to the other.

These murders are linked; performed by the same person, or people, carefully planned, and oddly executed.

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