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Fear Chapter One
Static crackled across the screen of the computer monitor. A voice was the first thing distinguishable. The static cleared and the video message started. A beautiful woman, about the age of 25, was on the screen. She was gorgeous, her shoulder length brown hair flowing like a majestic, muddy waterfall. Her eyes, a deep brown, shown full of life. Her face was very serious, yet still you could recognize happiness.
“Oh God, Paul,” she said, looking directly into the camera. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen you. I just…” She shuddered, looking toward the ground, the muscles in her arms flexing. “I just want to see you, to hear your voice. It’s been too long, Paul. I love you.”
The message ended with a static crack, the computer monitor turning black. Paul Harris leaned back into his leather rolling chair. He brought his hand up to his chin, placing his elbow on the arm of the chair; his so-called thinking position. The message had been from his wife, Selena, which he had just received yesterday. He kept watching it over and over again, wanting to see her as badly as she wanted to see him. He had been pulled away from his home with her in Pacific Grove, California to work on a case that he had been called to in Washington D.C. Paul was a certified homicide detective for the San Francisco Police Department, and had been pulled away from home when a case that he had been working on entered the Supreme Court. He was cut off from all communication with anyone besides those on the case with him until the jury made its decision. He sat in his temporary office, a small apartment which sat inside the Watergate Complex. He looked at the clock on his computer monitor. 11:35
It was 2:45 back home, Paul thought. Wouldn’t be any use to call now and wake her up. He sat up in his chair, staring at the phone that sat there. He was tempted to call, even just to hear her voice on the answering machine would be nice. He reached for the phone, but just as his fingers grazed the cool plastic of the receiver a knock came on his door. Paul stopped dead in his tracks, keeping his hand completely still, staring at the door. The knock came again. Paul rose up from his chair and walked over to the door. He looked through the eye-hole, his partner, Jack Burns, stood outside casually waiting to be let in. Paul unlocked the door, twisting the handle and opening the door. Jack stood in the door, looking like a deer in the headlights. Paul stared at him. Jack had only been his partner for three months, which had seemed like forever to Paul.
It’s like taking care of baby, Paul used to tell his wife. Seriously, he would say as she laughed hysterically, try being a homicide detective, working on a case and helping the new guy try not to shoot himself on the job.
“Am I interrupting anything?” Jack asked, still looking scared. Paul shook his head, moving aside so Jack could walk into the room. Paul closed the door, turning on the light so that Jack could see where he was walking in the room.
It was cluttered with papers, strewn all over the coffee table which sat in between the couch and the television set. Burns stooped over slightly, looking at the papers strewn on the table, picking up one, the initial case file.
“How long have you been working this case, Paul?”
“Oh,” Paul actually had to think about it. This was by far the longest case that he had ever worked on. “Somewhere around three years I would say.” Jack was new to this kind of work. He was also new to the case, being thrown into it as Paul was taken to D.C. for the court case. Paul had never formally introduced Jack to the details of it, although he had most likely picked up most of it from the trial.
“Jonathan James,” Paul said, walking over to the table and picking up his picture. “Our killer.” Jack nodded his head, setting down the paper that he held. “What do you know about the case?”
“All I know is that some creepy, psychotic guy started killing people,” Jack said. “I couldn’t recognize a pattern with the killings, as there are in every psychotic killing case.”
“You missed it then,” Paul cut in. He set down the picture of Jonathan. “He was poor, he was bankrupt. He kept trying to get a job but no one would hire him because of his state of mind. He tried going to banks, to file for money, social workers, he tried everything. Finally, as all killers do, Jonathan snapped. He went on a killing spree. He killed everyone who refused him a job, money. H*ll, he even killed some guys who bullied him during school. The crazy thing is, is that he graduated high school thirty years ago. He still held grudges against people who bullied him in elementary school. He found them and killed them.”
“So there is a pattern,” Jack said, looking at the pictures of the people that were killed, their faces lacerated by the razor blade that Jonathan had used to kill them. “He killed those who wouldn’t give him what he wanted, weren’t nice to him.”
“Not necessarily,” Paul interrupted. “He killed those who he didn’t like, specifically,” he said raising his right hand, his index finger extended into the air. “Specifically, those who treated him badly.”
Jack looked down at Jonathan’s picture. It was a mug shot. He looked like a perfectly normal man; he just had a few kinks in his mind.
“Under those circumstances,” Paul said, “anyone would have snapped. The situation that he was in financially was poor. There was no hope of it improving. But once he started killing people, that’s when he crossed the line.” Paul put his leg up on the side of the table, assuming his thinking position. “We tracked him down within three days of the first murder. I guess that it would be better to say the first murder that was discovered. By the time we tracked him down he had killed all but one of his enemies. His rampage had been going on for five months and we hadn’t even heard about it until three days earlier.
“Anyways, we got him. He didn’t confess to anything, even though he had the razor blades on him, still stained with blood.”
“So the S.O.B. didn’t even bother cleaning up after himself,” Jack said. “Seems like he was waiting to be caught.”
“Exactly,” Paul said. “So,” he said, walking away from the table and into the kitchen. “What are you here for?” Jack turned around, looking at Paul.
“I was just hoping to get away,” he said. “You know, just hang around.”
Paul brought out a bottle of scotch and two glasses from the cabinet about the stove. Although he was only 27, Paul had already started drinking heavily from time to time; mostly on cases that deeply disturbed him, as this one had. He set the glasses down on the bar and opened the bottle. Jack walked over to him, reaching for a glass as Paul filled it up. Paul raised his glass, Jack following his lead.
“May the jury make their decision soon,” Paul said. “That we may return home to see our loved ones.”
“Amen,” Jack replied. The two men clinked glasses and drank. Paul drained his in one gulp, slamming it down on the granite counter with a bang, exhaling loudly. He poured himself another glass, once again, draining it in one gulp. He looked at Jack, who looked at him with a worried expression on his face. That was the last thing that Paul remembered. You see, Paul blacked out whenever he drank, but this blackout was the worst of them all.