Where did they go? Were they gone? Did they give up? No, he thought, no one gives up that easily.
He was hiding in the closet, frantically trying to find his phone with pain dulling his senses. The blood, his blood, was oozing from where the knife had nicked his arm. He was lucky, too lucky even. He had escaped from being killed by the flying knife. He had managed to run into his closet without being killed. He had locked his gun up in a secret safe right before the killer came. He managed to find a flashlight and shine it around without the person hunting him down noticing the quick flash of the beam of light. In short, he managed to not die yet. But his luck was running short.
When he had run into the closet, he had dropped his phone, probably because his palms were wet with sweat and his plan was to hide and call the police then fight off the person trying to kill him. He regretted not keeping his house tidy. Suddenly, he hit something small, rectangular, and smooth. It was his phone. He pressed the power button, and was, yet again, very lucky. There was still power. He hesitated for a second to decide who he should call, then dialed 9-1-1. He hit the “call” button.
“I am at 27 Fawn Drive, Woodsville, New Jersey. There is someone in the house and they want to kill-”
The door to the closet opened. A dark silhouette towered over him in the darkness.
Outside, all that was to be heard was a loud, painful scream.
Crystal Evans arrived at the station with the earliness of the morning still affecting the way that she acted. It was 6:13 and she sluggishly walked into the station with a warm coffee in her hand. The metal on her butterfly necklace was cold, and that was the only thing keeping her awake. Crystal wasn’t much of a morning person, but because she was a detective, she had to face the early hours of the day. But I don’t really have to face the blood, she thought to herself. Every person has a weakness: some weaknesses disappear after a while, and some stick to that person like scars, always there but their presence will only be known if they were pointed out. She thought that she would get used to blood, but every time she thought of it or saw it in large amounts, she started to hyperventilate. Her boss only kept her because her eye for detail was amazing, and also because the whole precinct loved her.
Her routine for every murder case was the same: be called into the station, be filled in with the facts by her partner, see the scene in photo form, and just observe. After that, she would figure out what the detectives at her precinct called “the two w’s”, also known as “the who done it and why”.
Phillip Barry, her partner, was beginning to tell her about the case. “The call came in at 2:18 AM from 27 Fawn Drive. There was a white male named Jack Clarri that was murdered there. He had dark hair and dark eyes, was about 6’3”, 26 years old, and he was about 178 pounds. He was stabbed multiple times with a small knife. The murder weapon was found next to the victim, but as expected, it was wiped down. Here, look at the pictures for the murder scene. But,” he stopped for a moment. “It’s very bloody. I don’t want you to, um, you know, freak out over the blood.”
“I can handle it. I hope,” Crystal replied.
“Good. To the murder board, then.”
The two made their way to the murder board, or the board where they put the pieces of the puzzle of murder together. All of their evidence was put onto the board with a lot of tape and magnets. The board was empty except for a pictures of the murder scene, an empty timeline, and the description of the victim. The crime scene showed a man stuffed under a bed’s mattress that was soaked in blood. There was a trail of blood coming from the closet to the bed. Crystal made a mental note that the murderer might not have been proud of what he had done or wanted to hide his crime. She looked harder at the picture. The bloody knife was lying right next to the victim’s body. The room was disorganized, but she guessed that it was that way because the man never bothered to clean it. “Did you check his financials and his record? Talk to the neighbors? Family? Friends? Possible acquaintances? You know, the basics?” Crystal asked.
“There are people talking to the friends, family, acquaintances, etcetera. We know that he had an ex-girlfriend name Augustine. Unis are picking her up right now. They broke up for mysterious reasons, according to the family. She seemed really upset, and she was downright furious. Probably an affair. She’s a plausible suspect. A murder in the name of love. Gee, I wonder where we’ve seen that motive before. Hmmm, how about that woman who got all crazy and stuff and shot her husband, then killed herself while the investigation was occurring? So they could be together forever. And th-”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it. What about this case? Anything for a record? Financials? Stay on task, please.”
“Sorry. Well, we did some digging and there was nothing on his record that we know of. We looked into his financials, and there was only one queer thing. Everything else was normal.”
“So, what’s this ‘queer thing’ that you speak of? Hm? Don’t keep me in the dark.”
“Ok, ok. So. The thing was that on May 8th, he made a large deposit, then a large withdrawal of the same amount on May 9th. There was another large withdrawal tonight.”
“Do you know what for?”
“No, but when we talked to the neighbors, they mentioned that there was a big, scary guy with a tattoos down his neck that kept on going to the victim’s house. Apparently, the neighbors got curious and eavesdropped on the conversations between Jack and the scary guy. They heard that Jack called the scary guy “Bret”. We made them go to the sketch artist, and we got a portrait. We ran it through facial recognition, and...” Phillip picked up a paper from his desk. “We got this guy. Meet Bret Denver. Did five years in prison for second-degree attempted murder. He’s got a little brother named Anthony. Here’s Anthony.” He showed Crystal a picture of Anthony. “Anthony doesn’t have a record, but considering that he grew up with Bret,” he chuckled, “Won’t be long till he gets his first sentence. He’s kind o’ like the mini version of Bret. They’re both pretty tough guys in general. Anyways, we showed the picture to the neighbors, and they said that the scary dude was Bret. We’re trying to find him right now.” The phone rang. “And that will be the officers calling to tell me that they’ve found Bret, I hope. Hm. Too much hope going around right now.”
Phillip picked up the phone, and with a satisfied smile dancing across his face, he gave Augustine the thumbs up sign.
Bret came into the station with two officers that had bright red faces. He probably fought. Ha. Don’t blame him though, Crystal thought. The officers brought him straight to the “lair of the tiger” or to other precincts, the interrogation room. All the officers in her precinct called Crystal “the tiger” because she could get the answer out of anyone. Like a tiger, she would do everything to get its prey, or for Crystal, information. Crystal purposefully strode into “her lair”. Before going in though, she made a tiger claw symbol, faced her partner, clawed at the air, and said, “Rawr.” Phillip was confused for a second, and then burst out laughing. She walked into the interrogation room with a smile on her face.
“Bret Denvers. Hello. I am detective Crystal Evans. I will like to ask you a few questions,” Crystal stated a matter of factly.
“Why am I here?” Bret grunted.
“You know why.”
“Hmph. Do I now? Just ‘cause I’m a tough looking guy with a record ain’t mean that I’ve done anything wrong, now does it?”
“Murder.” Crystal threw a picture of the murder scene onto table separating her and the suspect. The only response that she got was a raised eyebrow.
“And ya think that I did it? Why would I kill him? Dead men don’t pay up.”
“Don’t they now? Well, guess what? There was a large withdrawal from his bank account. I’ve got people checking your account right now. Do you want to play games with me? Just sign this confession and you’ll make your life a lot easier.”
“Ha. You police people. You think you know it all, but you’re all wrong.”
“Fine. Where were you the night of the murder?”
“Ahem. I’m sorry, but I don’t know what night the murder occurred on. See, I didn’t kill the kid.”
“Hmm.... Last night, last night, last night. Oh yeah! I was with my boys at my house. Talk to them if you wanna, but I’m telling ya, girl, you’re wasting your time. But my little bro’ was gone. He said he was going grocery shoppin’ or somethin’, but that seemed unlikely.”
“Fine. I will check your alibi and your ‘little bro’s’. You’ll be staying in your little holding cell for the time being. Have fun!” Crystal knew that he was trying to shift the blame on Anthony because he felt like this was a game that he always wins, which wasn’t even true.
“Giving up. Nice move.”
Crystal gave him a cold, hard glare with her green eyes. Her blonde hair framed her face and made her look even more menacing. “Let me tell you one thing. I. Don’t. Give. Up. I will find the murderer, and if it’s you, you’re gonna be sorry for saying that.” With another glare, she turned and left the room. When she came out, she ran into Phillip.
He said, “Nuh uh uh, not so fast. Augustine’s here. Her turn. Go to your other cage.” With a wink, he walked to his desk, and Crystal decided to take a sip of water before interrogating Augustine. Man, these criminals are obnoxious. Obnoxious, but easy to crack, she thought.
With a unemotional smile, she greeted Augustine, and she was immediately met with questions.
“Why was I dragged from my comfy bed to this?” She gestured all around her. Her hair was already in a wild mess, and with that gesture, she looked like a trapped madwoman.
“I don’t think it would be wise to annoy a detective right now. I’m sorry to break this to you though. Jack’s dead.”
“Yes. I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Loss? Ha. That’s one word for it. I need to, like, plan a party!”
“Because that guy was the one man I gave my love to, and he just threw it away with Emily. I mean, why Emily?”
“Who’s Emily? Does she have a last name?”
“Yeah, she has a last name. Roberts. She’s Emily Roberts. That little brat stole what was rightfully MINE, and now he’s dead. I’m glad he’s dead. Hope she can die too.”
“Where were you the yesterday, on the night of the murder from 2:00 to 2:30?”
“Doing what every girl my age does, duh!”
“And that is...?”
“Can anyone vouch for you?”
“Yep. You can ask the host. I was with him all night long.” She winked, and Crystal got the message.
“I will have people check on that. What’s his name?”
“Thank you. Meanwhile, can you think of anyone that would want to kill Jack?”
“Yeah, sure. A bunch of people, actually. Me, this tall, scary lookin’ dude that I see hanging around Jack when I’m in the park and I happen to bump into him, and Emily.”
“Did the ‘scary dude’ look like this?” Crystal showed Bret’s picture to Augustine.
“Yeah! That’s him! Whoa. He looks even creepier in this photo.”
“Why would Emily want to kill Jack?”
“‘Cause he took her heart and ripped it in half, too!”
“Miss Augustine Sharp, thank you for your time, you may leave now. If you think of anything else, please call this number.” Crystal gave her number to Augustine and Augustine took it.
After Augustine left, Crystal thought that Bret had to have done it. All of the evidence pointed to him. Now she just had to find proof.
She asked Phillip to check on Augustine’s alibi, and to bring in Emily Roberts. Phillip replied with a quick, “I already did that. I don’t wanna do that again.” Crystal didn’t even have to wonder why.
“Phillip, did you also check Bret’s alibi?”
“I did, and all of his little buddies said that he was with them, and nothing indicated that they were lying. But considering that they’re basically trained to do that... Well, we’ll just keep an eye on him. You know, we should just turn him loose and make an officer follow him. You know, to see what he does.”
“Great idea. I’ll get someone to do that. In the meantime, check Anthony’s whereabouts just in case. I don’t think that he did this, but with a murder, it never hurts.” She called over one of the officers that weren’t busy and asked if they would help her keep an eye on Bret. Then, she let Bret loose.
“Bret, you’re free, but if you do anything, I will make you pay.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll just be a good little boy.” He strode away and left the precinct, just like that.
“Sure you will,” Crystal muttered under her breath.
Another call to report a murder was taken an hour after he left. The victim was Augustine.
She looked like what she had looked like when she left the precinct, except now, she was much... Quieter. The first thought that Crystal had when she heard this was that Emily Roberts did it in a jealous fit. She called Phillip and asked him to tell the officers to find Emily Roberts faster. He told her that Ms. Roberts was already in the station, and was crying hysterically. As proof, Phillip held the phone in Emily’s direction, and Crystal heard the crying of Emily Roberts.
Crystal didn’t know why she wanted to see the scene this time, but she made herself come even though she knew there was going to be blood before she even got to the scene.
She was right. The victim was stuffed under the bed, but the medical examiner and some officers moved the mattress off of the victim. Next to Augustine was a bloody knife.
The scene that Augustine was in seemed very familiar. Then it hit her. Jack Clarri, the first victim, had died the same way.
She told everyone that she had to leave because she needed to get to something important, and she did. She needed to interview Emily Roberts and she needed to figure out what was going on before another body of a suspect dropped.
Crystal got to the station to interrogate Emily. Emily was a small woman, no more than 5’2”. Crystal knew that she couldn’t have killed Jack, even in a fit of wild anger. She was too small, and Jack could’ve easily overpowered her. Crystal sat down next to Emily and put a hand on her knee, telling her that everything will be okay.
“No, nothing’s okay. Jack’s dead. That was bad enough, Then Augustine dies? Why?” Emily sobbed.
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out, okay? My name is detective Crystal Evans, and I am working very hard on this case. I will figure out who did it and why. You just need to help me acquire some information.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Can you account for your whereabouts for last night, and can anyone vouch for you?”
“Yes. I was at my cousin’s house, but if I wasn’t there, and if I was with Jack... I could’ve save him from dying. Oh my, this is all my fault!”
“No its not, its the murderer’s fault. Here have a drink of water and cool down a little, okay?” Crystal gave Emily a cup of water and Emily took it with a shaky hand.
While Emily was calming down, she left the room and told Phillip to check Emily’s alibi and Phillip whisked right away to work after telling her that Anthony was not at any grocery, but was with his brother’s friends.
“Alright,” Crystal sighed. “Bring him and Bret in. One of ‘em is lying.” With that, she went to the room that Emily was in to continue interrogating her.
“Emily, is there anyone, anyone at all that you can think of that would want to hurt Jack?”
“Yes. There was this really scary person hanging around his house a few days ago.”
“Why were you at his house?”
“Just to check on him. I’m... I mean, I was, worried about him...”
“Well, okay. Did the scary person look like this?” Like she did with Augustine, she showed Emily the photo of Bret.
“No, actually he didn’t. There’s something different about him. I think that he seemed a little younger with darker hair.”
“Like this?” Crystal opened the file that she had in her hand, and she took out a picture of Anthony.
The first thought that Crystal had was: Anthony had killed several people. He’s a serial killer.
And Phillip was heading straight towards him.
When Phillip went to pick up Bret and Anthony, he felt that something wasn’t right as soon as he parked his police cruiser in front of the house. He silenced his phone. Maybe it was how dark the house seemed, or maybe it was his mind tricking him, but something was off. He knocked on the door.
“NJPD! Open up!”
No one responded.
Then there was a sound. It was faint at first, but Phillip recognized it immediately. It was the sound of footsteps running away. He called for backup and ran after the person, who was wearing all black to blend into the night.
The chase through the woods was difficult, yet easy at the same time. It was difficult because of the terrain and the branches snapping at his face, but it was easy because the sound of the escapee’s footsteps were heavy, and they were getting louder and louder with every step that Phillip took. It almost sounded like the person in front of him was running with a limp.
Finally, with one extra push of speed, Phillip caught the person and grabbed the person’s wrists and handcuffed them. He turned on his flashlight to see who it was.
Anthony was brought back to the police station. Apparently, Bret had died also, so he wasn’t able to go to the station again. Anthony’s confession to all of the murders came out when Crystal started becoming the scary “tiger”. Obviously, he wasn’t as strong as he seemed, or his brother just never gave him the proper “training”. Though, he will never get that “training” because Bret was murdered by Anthony.
Crystal figured everything out.
The story goes that Anthony was mad at Jack, the first victim, because Jack had ripped him off. Anthony lost a ton of money over nothing, and so did Bret. Bret had gone back to Jack, like a good person, to make deals with him so he could slowly regain his money again. He almost had the whole amount that he lost when Anthony started bugging him and begging him to just kill him. Why Anthony had such a twisted mind, no one knows.
Anthony started following his brother’s example, and went to Jack to make deals and build some trust. The third time he went there, he saw a woman watching the house, who he learned was Jack’s ex-girlfriend. When that happened, he thought, there cannot be any witnesses. He put her on his “to kill” list.
When he knew that there would be no one around, he took his knife, went to Jack’s house, told him to make a deposit from Jack’s account to his, then killed him after a wild goose chase around the house. Then, he found Augustine and killed her also just to make it seem like Emily, who Anthony knew was also an ex-girlfriend, did it out of jealousy.
Finally, when he got home, he was met with an angry brother. He killed his brother out of self defense because his brother just flew at him and Anthony didn’t have anything else to do.
When Crystal unraveled this wholes story she locked Anthony up into his little holding cell and then told Phillip the whole story. Even the captain was proud of her, but her victory was short-lived. After this murder was solved, another one popped up. Like a caterpillar, Crystal rose out, faced her fears against blood, and changed into a new, fearless butterfly.