The woman’s body had been dismembered. Entirely and utterly torn apart, pieces of which were strewn about the apartment. And there, in the dark, we found the symbol of the killer glowing on the wall: the two Xs for eyes and the smiley face. It was the third such case this month.
“I wanna know, how does he not track blood everywhere when he leaves the place?” I asked my partner, Matthew. “He’s careful, but not that careful. If he was more careful, he wouldn’t leave such a mess.”
“Forensics is going to catch this guy soon. There have to be fingerprints everywhere. I mean, the amount of blood,” Matthew said.
The team walked through the crime scene for the next few hours, snapping photos and collecting samples. Finally, Matthew and I left and returned to the office. We’d been logging long hours because of the serial killer, and it was apparent we each needed a break.
“Why don’t you come over to my place tonight?” Matthew asked. “The wife and kids are away. So we can watch the game and not think about this shit for a while. To be honest, I feel like getting wasted.”
“That sounds glorious.”
I pulled up to Matthew’s house later that night, feeling worn out but excited to spend some time not doing detective work. He didn’t answer right away when I knocked on the door, and when I opened up, he seemed frazzled.
“What’s up?” I asked. “You seem out of it.”
“Ah,” he said. “Started drinking too early. Here, come in.”
It was the first time I’d been in his house, believe it or not. Although come to think of it, I didn’t know much about Matthew. He’d joined the force only a year ago after apparently living in different cities over the years.
“How about that drink?” I asked.
“Sure, sure. Let me go get it.”
His voice sounded strange like he was worried about something. I heard him fumbling around in his bedroom. Why the hell was he in there? The beers were in the fridge, or at least they should be.
I turned around and nearly had a heart attack.
It was a man wearing a mask with the serial killer’s symbol: the two Xs for eyes and the smiley face. He had a gun pointed at me, point-blank.
“Matthew? What the hell?”
“Nah,” Matthew said, emerging from the bedroom with a beer. “That’s my real partner, though you’ll never know his name. Still want that beer?”
I was furious but also knew they’d kill me. “Shove the beer up your ass. You’re gonna get caught, you know that, right?”
“We haven’t so far,” Matthew said. “Been in nearly every major city in the U.S., plus a few in Europe. Now,” he held up a polaroid camera and aimed it at me. “As I like to say before the dismemberment, show me that smile!”