Blood splattering on the wall sang Mrs. Young’s final screams. Small, terrified streaks followed Eric to his room where he had sought furtive solace under his Buzz Lightyear blanket. The house hosted a silent mourning as police and medical personnel scurried about, unwelcome guests.
Copper and bile coated tongues with every breath as they remained focused on the task at hand.
“Where is everyone else?” Detective Randolph asked, pointing to a large, crimson streaked photograph over the television set.
“We only found the two so far.” Detective Matthews walked toward the photo and shook his head. “Cute kids. Let’s hope we’ve got this all wrong and their out there somewhere.”
“Detectives!” an officer called from somewhere on their floor. “Found another one.”
Randolph and Matthews deflated. Partners for thirty years, they knew what the other was thinking. Their instincts were never wrong.
“Which one?” Randolph asked before seeing the tiny piano fingers gripping the door frame in their final, desperate attempt to flee. He closed his eyes and reminded himself she wasn’t Suzie. Suzie was safe at home, tucked in her bed, watched over by her parents. “Who would do this to these kids?” he whispered.
Matthews clicked his pen repeatedly as he stared at the small body. “It’s personal. No stranger would do this kind of damage to a kid.”
Shots echoed through the house sending everyone into alert.
“Shit! Didn’t you clear the scene yet?” Randolph screamed, drawing his weapon.
“I thought we had,” the officer said, running past them.
A male’s voice called downstairs, “It’s clear now, but don’t come up here if you ate anything today.”
Randolph groaned and put his weapon away. “I’m getting too old for this shit.”
“Time to retire after this,” Matthews added.
“Take Rachael to the coast and live on the boat like she always wanted.” Randolph skirted pools of blood on the stairs.
Matthews pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and covered his nose. “James and I are looking at a cabin in the Adirondacks. No more city life for us. No more… Holy fuck.”
Blood dripped from every corner of the attic. The male officer bolted past the detectives covering his mouth. From the sounds that echoed up the stairs, he didn’t make it outside in time.
“Nothing like contaminating the crime scene,” Randolph joked. He avoided looking what remained of Mr. Young scattered throughout the attic and focused on the most recent victim.
Her brown eyes gazed upward, looking full of life, fury, and despair. Not more than fourteen, dressed in ripped jeans and the concert shirt of a band he didn’t recognize. Nothing about this kid would lead anyone to believe they had been responsible for the carnage.
“You can’t be thinking this sweet thing did all this, are you?” Matthews asked, kneeling and looking at Julie’s face.
Randolph pulled a flashlight out of his pocket. A blood soaked bed sat near the attic window. He cringed as he walked through the crimson rain to look in the nightstand by the bed. Inside was a fantasy novel he had been thinking about reading, a few trinkets, and a journal. “No sense in opening it here.”
On the landing, Randolph flipped through the journal. Every page a new crease on his forehead and deepening resolve to retire.
Matthews peered over his shoulder and wrinkled his nose at the illustrations, diagrams, and scribbled notes. “What in the hell was she trying to do?”
“Summon me,” a deep, growling voice said from behind them.
Featured Image credit: Khusen Rustamov from Pixabay