Through the Eyes of Madness—Part Seven
By: David K. Montoya

A strong smell of bleach welcomed Tidwell and Grayson when they walked into the morgue. With a smile grin of amusement Dean said in almost chuckle, "Must have been cleaning day."

"Who knew," Grayson retorted.

The two had a brief laugh, until they were interrupted by a tender, yet commanding voice, "Cute detectives. Very cute."

From around the corner came the Department's Pathologist Assistant, she was an attractive and petite brunette, a perfect blend of nerdiness and sexiness in her black scrubs. While he knew it was none of his business, Tidwell couldn't help but to make a mental note how uncomfortable Grayson became when he was around her in public settings.

"Hey." Grayson nervously worked out.

"Hey Gray." The P.A. Said with a flirtatious grin. She walked passed the two detectives over to a large metal freezer where they housed the corpses until they were picked up by a funeral parlor. Without a secondary thought, she opened a door mid–level to her and pulled out a slab with a body atop it.

The Pathologist Assistant waved the two over to her, the detectives crossed the room and found themselves the opposite side of the metal slab from where the she stood. The victim's body appeared frail and blanched as it was sprawled atop the cold metal.

Grayson stared hard at the corpse, then asked, "Why does she seem ghostly white? I mean, obviously she dead, but this poor lady is white white."

"I get what you're saying Gray," The Pathologist Assistant said as she meet eyes with Grayson. After a brief moment of silence, she continued, "It's most likely because of the body being almost completely drained of blood, and the embalming process hasn't been done yet."

"That must have been a serious number of stab wounds to drain that much blood, Betty?" Tidwell asked while he examined the body.

She realized that there was someone else in the room with them and answered quickly, "Seventy–eight in total stab wounds that covered the body."

Tidwell inspected the wounds closely, they were gaped open, grotesque and black against the pale skin. "Sloppy."

"What is partner?" Grayson asked.

"See how these lesions toward the center of her chest are closer together," Tidwell said while he pointed to the location he mentioned.

"Yeah." Grayson answered.

"Did you notice that the proximity is closer there than say the abdomen?" Tidwell quizzed his partner.

"No." Grayson said with a shack of his head.

"What does that mean to you, Detective?" The PA asked.

"I'm merely suggesting as a hypothesis, but the murder must have lost his shit by the time they got to the chest. Compared to the other stab wounds, it was very sloppy." Tidwell explained. He removed his glasses from his coat pocket and placed them on the bridge of his nose to continue his inspection of the corpse. "So what did Larry find?"

"He's in his office let me go get him," she answered and begin to walk away.

"Only if you have to," Tidwell responded with a grumble. Before the Pathologist Assistant reached the doorway, Dean asked, "Hey?"

"Yeah." She relied.

"Why are you doing Larry's job?"

A bright smile appeared on her face as she spoke, "I'm not finished with school yet."

With that she turned and gave Grayson a wink and walked out of the room. The two detectives stood in the examination room in silence for sometime, before Tidwell finally asked, "Dude, is there something I should know about?"

"No. Not at all, why?" Grayson quickly replied with a hint of nervousness to his words.

"Okay. Okay, partner. Easy now, I was just picking up a funny vibe between the two of you." Tidwell said with almost a chuckle.

"Can't I go one single day without seeing your ugly ass," Larry the Medial Examiner said to Tidwell as he entered the room.

At first, Tidwell did not verbally respond, but acknowledged the Medical Examiner with a middle finger. When he reached the table, Tidwell finally asked, "Anything new?"

"What, no pleasantries, Dean? No hellos, no nothing," the Medical Examiner said with a smile.

"Okay, good morning, Larry," Tidwell said and raised his middle finger again. He lowered his arm and asked sarcastically cheerfully, "What have you got for me?"

"Your cheerfulness is downright fucking frightening, please never do that again," The Medical Examiner said as he grabbed and forcefully turned the dead woman's head. "All right, so it looks to me that the M.O. Is the as all the others."

"Shit." Tidwell said.

The Medical Examiner pointed at a large mass that had formed behind the victim's right ear, where the parietal and temporal bone met. "There. That egg–shaped hematoma, it's more than likely caused from the butt of the knife that he used to knock her unconscious."

"That must've been one hell of a blow." Grayson thought out loud.

"Indeed. Look here," The Medical Examiner said as he pointed down toward her legs. "Notice that there's minimal scraps on her ankles and on the bottom of her feet, thi—"

Tidwell interrupted as he added, "She was most likely dragged into a alley, or something."

"Precisely, Detective," The Medical Examiner confirmed. "When we found her, she was missing her other shoe, which leads me to think it was lost as she was being dragged away. One of the boys found it a few yards from where we found the body."

"Okay, so the murder drags an unconscious girl down the sidewalk into an alley and no one sees nothing?" Tidwell said with bitterness aligned to his words. "So why drag, and not carry? It would seem more practical to just carry her away."

"Perhaps the murderer is too small or weak to lift her up and carry her that far?" Grayson answered.

"Maybe," Larry said to Grayson, but turned toward Tidwell and elaborated, "Certainly something to forward to the Criminal Profilers to fit into their sketch."

The Medical examiner waved the two detectives to come closer to where he stood, once doing so he said to the two men, "So, I counted forty–three stab wounds in the chest and abdomen alone."

"How many in total," Tidwell ask with a grin.

"Let me get the folder, I don't know off the top of my head," Larry said and walked away back into his office. Nothing was said between the two detectives, but Tidwell winks at Grayson and they both break out in laughter.

They composed themselves once the Medical Examiner walked out of his office, he had the folder opened and read aloud. "It says that Betty counted seventy–eight in total. Someone was pissed off, huh?" He said with a slight chuckle, but Tidwell nor Grayson found that comical, and Larry immediately stopped upon realization of such. "Uh, right, sorry."

"What else you got, Larry?" Tidwell asked with a stone cold face.

Larry scanned through the folder until he saw something that caught his attention. "Interesting."

"What's that?" Tidwell inquired.

"According to the officer's report, that when they bagged the victim and removed her body that they noticed that there were gouges in the pavement." He explained, and set the fold down on the victim's legs and grabbed a measuring tape. "That was some serious force, but that had to be a long ass knife."

Larry took the measuring tape and measured along the median plane. "I'd have to say that it was at least a ten inch blade, to penetrate her body and into the concrete."

"Like what, a Rambo knife?" Grayson asked.

"No something bigger," The Medical Examiner said and picked up the folder once again. "The knife that was used had a fourteen split saw teeth design along the spine. A Rambo knife isn't that large, this was special issued."

"Leads us back to ex–military," Grayson said to his partner. Tidwell nodded in agreement.

"Very sharp and very deadly, something you couldn't buy off of Amazon." Larry said to the two men. "I think that everything gentlemen."

"Was there more wounds this time than the last victim," Tidwell asked.

Larry huffed, and looked farther into the folder, after a moment he looked up and said, "Yes. In fact it was, Detective." Larry told him. "The first girl had twenty–eight stab wounds, as where the second one had thirty–two. The third had thirty–six."

"Then there was a jump with the fourth victim, right?" Tidwell asked.

"Correct, again, Dean. It doubled to seventy–two." Larry said with his nose buried in the folder. "and now seventy–six."

"All multiple of fours, but what does that mean," Grayson asked the other two men.

"Is he getting more violent with each killing?" Tidwell asked.

"Maybe, Dean," Larry said. "It's that or it's requiring more violence to appease his need for killing."

"Bloody Hell," Tidwell groaned. "Do you have anything helpful to tell us?"

"Sorry, no."

"No fingerprints, no hair, no fiber… He never seems to leave any evidence behind!" Tidwell growled, then turned and forced his shoulder through the double doors and out of the morgue.

#

Thunder boisterously cracked which rattled the mosaic windows of the Saint Xenia almost two hundred year old cathedral located in the heart of the city. In fact, while designing the original blue prints, everything was constructed around the church, it was a way the founders proclaimed that the domain was founded on their religious faith.

Along with the noise from outside, a soft tone of Father O'Neil's prayers were inaudible to the human ear. But, it was unimportant to the priest, as long as the right deity heard his invocation. He was an old, sad and angry man, who lived in his own little world—which meant communication with the outside population—O'Neil barely spoke with members of his clergy, and had almost forgotten about his sister, brother, nieces and nephews.

The priest had tried to have forgotten everything of the flesh in his eighty–six years of life, although, most of the man's existence was dedicated to his belief and shut everyone and thing out. He had done so successfully, all but one. One person, that had been on O'Neil's heart and mind as well.

His child.

He was so young when the baby was born, and his parent forced him to give the child up for adoption and the pressured him into priesthood. O'Neil had wondered for decades what had come about his only child, did they grow up in faith or was his offspring a heathen.

Father O'Neil looked up from his prayer, as footsteps echoed from behind him. He turned and peaked over his shoulder and found it was Mother Abigail. She was long time servant to the cathedral, as well O'Neil's only friend that remained. He watched in silence as she struck a single match and lit one of many candles before her. Mother Abigail bowed her head a prayed in silence for a good while, O'Neil grinned inwardly and joined his long time friend in pray for the much needed world.

To be continued…

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