Time for a bit of the old weekly segment on m’current work in progress, “Is It not Midnight?” It’s your standard Hungarian demon hunter short story.
If you haven’t been reading along so far. You can catch up here:
“And you had this dream again Sunday night?” Winslow had stopped scribbling notes.
“Yes,” said Alisha. “It’s probably just a coincidence. But it didn’t feel that way when you first told me about Richard.” She shook her head sadly, but the initial shock was over. She was already moving on. Winslow suspected the young woman had seen and heard worse than this in her short tenure on earth.
“Thanks ma’am you’ve been most helpful,” said Frankel. “Do you mind if we look around and chat with some of your patrons?”
“Of course. Anything I can do to help,” replied Alisha with a quiet smile. “Don’t forget to have some of the soup; it’s excellent.”
And it was. After a bowl each, the two detectives agreed to divide and conquer. Frankel interviewed the other volunteers while Winslow chatted with the patrons. The homeless men Winslow spoke with had little information of use beyond confirming Alisha’s account. Frankel’s subjects were members of the New Church and a little less easy to follow.
One volunteer, a young bespectacled man in his twenties who insisted on being called Paolo, set about giving Frankel a lengthy explanation of how the victim’s soul had transcended physical existence to reside on a higher spiritual plane. As the interview ended, Frankel wondered aloud if Paolo had always been this dumb or if someone had beaten it into him over time.
The two detectives compared notes as they exited the New Day Refuge in the chill of the evening. The white facade looked ghastly in the pale glow of the street lights. The moon was a pale sickle above the city.
“This hippie crap really grinds my gears,” said Frankel. “You can’t get a straight answer out of any of ‘em. Talking to that Paolo kid was like conversing with a jack-o-lantern.”
Winslow smiled at his partner’s frustration.
“At least we have a name to run in the system,” he said. “But we still can’t establish a motive or a primary suspect. Who would expend this much care and attention killing someone like Richard Wilson? It could be gang related but he doesn’t exactly fit the profile.”
“Serial killer?” Frankel’s question hung in the air.
“Where are the other bodies then?”
“Maybe the killer did a better job hiding the others,” Frankel mused. “Maybe he was interrupted this time and had to cut bait before he could bring this fish home for dinner.”
Winslow wrinkled his nose at Frankel’s gift for language. The theory certainly fit the fastidious, near ritualistic precision of the crime.
“Or,” Winslow said. “This is the first of many, and we’re getting in on the ground floor.”
“Now you’re talking,” said Frankel with a grin.
Frankel turned the key in the ignition and brought the Crown Vic to life.
“I’ve got a feeling we can blow this thing wide open before the Hungarian even gets here,” he said.
See you next week.