The cityscape seemed like cancer on the skin. Billows of black smoke dissipated into the grey sky. Atlas seemed to forget about us; the sky sagged so low I could reach up and touch it. Although there is nothing to touch, it was an empty abyss that absorbed every shade of color. Welcome to Detroit.
This city may not be the best of places, it might even be the worst, but I still would protect it with my life. That was my job as an officer of the law, to protect those who couldn't protect themselves and to help those in need. Well, that would have been my job, instead I had the… pleasure… to evict those who couldn't pay the already rich kings of these lands.
I pulled into the next apartment complex. The three story building sagged on its own weight, forming a frown. Each gust of wind changed the slant of the building. It created a loud creaking noise, like a shrill scream of a witch.
It smelled terrible. Even from the outside the building. I looked at the address: 431 New Backer’s Street. Yep, this was the place… unfortunately. I looked back into my newly assigned police cruiser trying to think if there was a gas mask in there or not. Of course there wasn’t, who was I kidding? Why would there be a gas mask in car of a patrol officer? So I took a deep breath and walked in.
“Oh, so you’re finally here, eh?” scoffed the man at the counter.
He scowled as I walked in. His double chin wobbled as he looked at me with his bloodshot eyes.
“You’re kind of young, Girl, to be strolling around this neighborhood,” he mumbled to himself. His greedy eyes examined me and his evil scowl was replaced with a menacing grin. “Yes, you are.”
“Oh, I think I’m ok,” I smiled as I patted my gun. “Now,” I said feeling uncomfortable, “You called in a complaint?” I looked down at my notepad, “You need me to remove a person from his apartment.”
“What is his name again?”
“And my I have a key to his apartment?”
He sighed as he got up and wiggled over to a large oak cabinet. His legs, short and fat, made slow and short steps. Once he finally reached his so “very far” location, his greasy fingers slowly wrapped around the handle of the cabinet like snakes. As he open the door, a million silver keys jingled. After a quick observation, he snatched one of the keys and gave it to me.
With key in hand I rushed away down the hallway. I sighed as I went closer to the stench, hoping it wasn’t from his room. Each step I took seemed it would make the building collapse. Rot crept up the walls like ivy and the constant sound of dripping water echoed through the hallway. That made me walk faster.
When I finally had gotten to his room, I knocked on the door, “Hello, is anybody there? This is Officer Fole. May I come in?”
No answer. I tried repeatedly. Apparently no one was home. After five minutes of knocking I finally unlocked the door to find a kitchen that was covered with dirty dishes and empty boxes. The floor was filled with broken glass and sheets of paper with notes on them. Then, in the living room, sat the owner of this dump, Phineas Lawson. At the department we didn’t have a single thing on him.
His dark brown, unwashed hair was a complete mess, pointing in every direction. His clothes looked that way too, a simple white tank top and black wind pants with so many holes they looked like Swiss cheese. He looked about twenty or even younger.
“Excuse me sir?” I politely asked him, “Are you OK?”
He was all curled up on the ground in the center of the room not moving, but the I noticed he was writing something on one of the billions of pieces of note papers around the room, taped the wall and ceiling. What was he doing?
Suddenly he stopped writing. He pointed one finger at me and said in a calm Russian accent, “One moment, I just need five more minutes… please?”
“Sir, I can’t give you five minutes,” I explained as quickly as possible because the smell was making my nose bleed, “You were supposed to leave a week ago.”
He seemed undisturbed by my latest comment. He simply continued to scribble on. Since it looked like he wasn’t going to move, I quickly had a look around the place. It had one bathroom… that is where the smell is coming from. The bathtub was filled with dirty water, or was it dirt water? Sure didn’t smell like it. I decided not to think of the alternative. On the other side was a simple sink and half of a mirror. The other half is all over the ground on the left side of the sink swept in a nice, neat pile. At least it’s nice to know that he does SOME cleaning, I thought. Next, I made the mistake of going into the bedroom.
I was thrown back in astonishment. In the corner of the room there was a card table with a large assortment of bloody knives covering it. They arranged from smallest to largest in a neat manner. I sneaked over to the table and picked up one of the knives to examine them. On the knife was an engraving. C.T. Oh no… I checked the other knives; they all have the same engraving. C.T. was the initials of a known serial killer that the police were after. I remember reading about it in the newspaper. How did he get these?
“Don’t worry I’m not him,” a voice said behind me.
I jumped and turned around to see the man in the doorway leaning against the door frame. “How can I trust you?” I said nervously as I reached down to feel for my gun, keeping my eye contact.
He slowly walked forward. His bony feet seemed to barely can support his frame, although there isn’t much to carry. I could count every bone in his body; he looked like a living skeleton. His large, hollow eyes stared blankly at the knives on the table, His entire body still seemed to be falling apart.
“No,” he said as he picked up one of the knives to look at it, “you shouldn’t trust me, but still I should clean these up.”
His bony fingers fumbled with the bloody blade. The knife dripped fresh blood from his arm, turning the white tank top red. He stared intently at the knife.
“Wait,” I questioned, still confused, “Where did you get these? Knives like these were not found at any of the crime scenes.”
“Yes they were, at least before I got there.”
“Are you saying that you took evidence from a crime scene?"
“Why yes I did, and without this I couldn’t have figured it out. I would have taken the notes left behind, but those are useless.”
“You figured it out,” I said skeptically, “When?”
“Oh…” he placed his hand on this chin to think, “About a few months ago.”
“A few months!” I bellowed, “He has been on the loose for five years!”
“I don’t know why the police have taken so long. All I needed to do was find out where and who makes knives like these,” he said gesturing to the card table.
“We would’ve been able to find out if you hadn’t taken the knives in the first place!” I exclaimed.
“How would you know what the police did and did not know? Oh right, you were never on the case.”
How did he know? I asked myself, looking down at my shoes in guilt.
“Never mind,” he replied sticking out his hands in front of him. “Now if you want to lock me away now, go right on ahead. I just finished my note for a certain person.”
“Wait,” I said stunned by his acceptance, “Two questions: Who is C.T. and who is ‘ a certain person’?”
“One,” he said, “C.T. has just recently moved to Serbia, and two, no one important.”
I sighed not knowing if he was lying. I still put the handcuffs on him led him out to my car and put him in the back, no comment from the man at the counter. I sat down in to the driver’s seat and started the ignition.
"You OK back there?" I ask sarcastically.
I turn my head to see an open car door and an empty seat.
I rushed around to the back to see if he was hiding. He wasn’t, but there was a note. After a minute of looking around, finding no trace of him anywhere. I picked up the note.
If you are reading this you are the officer who arrested me, and I recently escaped congratulations, you’re no one important.
“I’m going to wring his scrawny neck until it brakes,” I promised to myself. I walk back into my squad car, swearing underneath my breath.