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Queen of Pain
When he awoke in the field, he had no idea where he was. His name was David Olsen, a construction worker from the small town of Lorain, Pennsylvania. Straining to remember how he got there, the last thing David recalled was sneaking out to the Adult Video Store in the middle of the night. Although he was married, viewing pornography had recently become a bit of an addiction in his life. Visiting the Adult Video Store in the middle of the night was becoming a weekly routine for him. He was getting used to sneaking out of his house. Putting his truck into neutral and pushing it down to the road to not wake his sleeping wife. The last thing he remembered was leaving the store.
As he rubbed his eyes, everything came into focus better. His contact lenses were still in. He figured that whenever he had fallen asleep, he hadn’t even bothered taking them out. This made everything around him appear distorted and blurry. He was lying in the grass of a large, open field. All he could see was grass for miles and miles, and beyond that nothing but forest and mountains. I must be dreaming! How the hell did I get here? My wife is going to kill me!
He was completely bewildered by the whole predicament. He frantically sat down in the field, trying to comprehend what had happened. After mulling it over, he came to the realization that he was stuck. He had just come to the conclusion that he wasn’t dreaming, and that he truly had just woken up in the middle of a field. He started thinking about what he had to do to get out of his unfortunate position. Fear from the situation was setting in, but he was able to suppress the panic he felt inside enough to think logically. As a construction worker, he was used to being in high stress situations and had learned to control his emotions long ago. He was still wearing the same white t-shirt, jeans, and work boots he had thrown on quickly last night before leaving his house. His hunting hat, the one he had been wearing the night before, still with his hunter’s license clipped to the back, was lying right beside him.
A quick search of his pockets gave him nothing useful, they were empty. No wallet, no cell phone, and no car keys. This was the most perplexing situation he had ever found himself in. He was just an average small town construction worker. In his boring weekly routine of work, watching sports on television, having a drink with friends, spending time with his wife, and church on Sundays, he never imagined finding himself stuck in this big of a predicament. With the exception of some camping trips he took as a kid, he had never even truly been out in the wilderness before. He decided it was in his best interest to start walking toward the forest; it was the best thing he could think of to do. He could already hear the sounds of birds chirping coming from the forest. That must be a good sign, he thought to himself. It felt good to know that even though he was alone there were still other living things around.
The forest appeared to be several miles away from his position. As he began walking towards it, his mind couldn’t help itself from wandering back to his wife. He wondered if she was looking for him, what she was thinking, and if she had called the police. A feeling of dread washed over him as he began to wonder if maybe he had died and was now finding himself in the afterlife. Maybe God was playing some sort of sick joke on him as payback for going to the Adult Shop. Maybe this is punishment for not being honest with my wife. Dear Lord, please forgive me and help me get out of here! He had always been a God-fearing man. Most people in the small town of Lorain were too. Suddenly, the sound of three gunshots coming from the forest rang out through the air in succession.
“Hey! I’m over here! Help me! Please help me!” yelled David, frantically trying to get the person’s attention. He knew they were probably way too far away to even hear him. He started to sprint as fast as he could towards the forest, screaming desperately for help. He didn’t get far before he had to stop. Being a cigarette smoker since his early twenties, he ran out of breath very quickly. Traveling at a brisk walking pace, David was determined to find the man in the forest, and get back to his wife at home. A few more gunshots rang out in the air. With every shot, David’s heart began to race faster and faster. The adrenaline rush allowed him to attempt another sprint, but again he didn’t get very far. He Even if he didn’t get to the man who he presumed was a hunter in time; just the fact that a man was out here meant that he wasn’t too far from civilization. He just kept moving, one step at a time.
Eventually, David collapsed onto the ground, too exhausted to continue. He rolled over onto his back, and sat up. After about twenty minutes of walking, David was beginning to lose hope of finding the man. It turned out the forest was actually much further away than what he had previously thought. He was able only to cover a little more than half of the way there. Since a lot of time had passed since last hearing the gun shots, his hopes of finding the man were dismal. Abruptly, another gun shot rang out. As soon as he heard the shot, his knee felt like a pickup truck collided with it. He screamed in agonizing pain, having just been shot in the knee. The severe pain prevented him from attempting to stand up.
“Help me! You just shot me you bastard!” screamed David. The man with the gun was surely within earshot now. David just kept screaming in pain, getting no response. After exactly five minutes went by, he was struck by another bullet, this one hitting him in the abdomen. The pain was excruciating. Another shot rang out, this one hitting the ground right beside him. He began to cry from the combination of extreme pain and fear.
“I’m right here! Please, I need help!” yelled David as he began coughing up blood. He could see movement in the forest, and all of a sudden a man emerged. He was wearing all camouflage and a ski mask. The man’s rifle, equipped with a scope aimed right at him.
“No! Please! No!” pleaded David, spitting up more blood. The man said nothing, just aimed the rifle right at David’s head.
“No!” cried David, he was completely defenseless lying in a puddle of his own blood, too wounded to stand up. The hunting hat on top of David’s head was blown clear off by the rifle. David ducked down and covered his head, waiting for death. The gunman began to walk back to the forest, seeming completely indifferent to what he had just done.
“Yeah you better run! Run away you bloody coward!”
David was left just sitting there, wounded in the knee and stomach with no hope of survival. The blood leaked out of the bullet wound in his abdomen, staining his clothes. The smell and sight of all the blood made him puke, forcing him to spit out even more blood. As everything around him started to grow farther and farther away, he was overwhelmed by both fear and intense regret; regret for neglecting his wife. Coming home every day after working long and tedious construction shifts left him too drained out to pay much attention to her. Rather than spending time with her, he chose to spend his free time away from construction out drinking with his fellow construction worker friends.
“I deserve this! I deserve this!” cried the near delirious David as the environment around him began to fade farther and farther away. His final thoughts were of his beautiful wife, who he knew he’d never see again. David Olsen died that day, left for dead in the field.
The phone began to ring, waking John up from a dream. The sheets of his bed were tangled all around him, stained with his sweat. It wasn’t his home phone ringing, but his work phone. Whenever his work phone rang this early in the morning, something big was up. “Hello, this is Police Chief Doug Spurlock may I speak with Detective John Bark?” “This is he, what’s going on officer?” “I’m real sorry to have woken you up this early, but we need your consultation. Another body was discovered. I swear this town’s been going to hell lately.” “My God. Where at?” “This one’s out past the forest on the outskirts of Lorain. We had to take ATVs out to the site. It would be great if you could make it out as soon as possible. We’re fairly confident it was another murder, probably linked to the others. Just head out towards the bridge and give us a call, we’ll send someone to escort you back.” “Alright Chief I’ll be there as fast as I can.” “Atta boy!” said the Chief before hanging up. John quickly turned on the shower. He cringed as he stepped into the cold water. Whenever he was in a hurry he always took a cold shower, that way he didn’t stay in too long. After his shower, he dressed quickly and hopped in his Wrangler Jeep, without even eating breakfast. As soon as he arrived at the bridge, he gave the Chief a call, getting no answer. Idiot won’t even answer his damn phone. John already hated dealing with Chief Spurlock simply for the fact that he was arrogant and thought he already knew everything there was to know about fighting crime in Lorain. He and his son, Sam, a police detective in town, were both really shady. He couldn’t prove it, but John knew they were much more concerned with their own interests than actually keeping Lorain safe. He pulled off to the side of the road across the bridge were he saw a trooper’s car parked. It was a good friend of his, Jim Langley. “How’s it going Jimmy?” John asked, pulling up beside the trooper’s car. “I’ll tell you what Bark, it ain’t nothing pretty. I was back there earlier today. Hold on while I radio back to Chief to send your ride. I guess what happened was some kids on four-wheelers were riding in the fields, found the body and called us up.” “No s***. Hey listen Jimmy, just between you and me, why did Spurcock call me up if you guys already have the situation under control? Did little Sammy need a bottle of formula or what?” joked John. Jim Langley was one of his old friends back from his days with the police force. He knew he could joke around with him. Jim, like most other officers on the force, hated Chief Spurlock with a passion just as much as John did. Spurcock was a nickname they used to use behind his back to make fun of him. “Hey man be careful how loud you say that. Like it or not, little Sammy just got some big award from the Mayor for his work on the Guila case two months ago. That’s more prestigious than anything you’ve gotten yet, John. They’re calling you in because they know you’ve done a lot of research on the recent murders in Lorain. You know I believe in you but don’t go in there trying to start trouble, John.” “I won’t be the one starting the trouble, Jim. This is why I left the force.” The conversation was then drowned out by the roar of an approaching ATV, John’s ride. When it got there, Jim wished him luck and sent him off. He was greeted enthusiastically by the Chief as soon as he arrived. They had traveled both on and off paths through the forest back to a field, where they went about a mile to the crime scene. Police had set up a barricade in the woods as well as put up “CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS” tape everywhere. At the scene, there were over a dozen police officers. “Glad you could make it Detective Bark, here’s what we’ve got. Some kids with ATVs camped out last night, and then got up to ride at sunrise. They found the body in the field and called the police right away. We’re still questioning them down at the precinct, but we have no reason to suspect they have a connection to the murder at this point.” “What makes you so sure it was a murder?” asked John. “Go ahead and talk to him, Sam. I have to take a call.” “John here’s how we know it was a murder. The victim, as you can see, was shot in the chest, knee, and hat. If it was a suicide, there would be a weapon at the scene and he most likely would have shot himself in the head. We find it very unlikely a hunter would shoot someone in the knee, the chest, and the hat by accident. Most hunters would also have reported the accident to save the life. Also, the hat he was wearing was florescent orange, it would be next to impossible to mistake someone for an animal in that hat out here in this open field,” said Sam. “Fair enough, do we have a positive identification on the victim yet?” “Yeah, a few of the officers recognized him; they said his name is David Olsen, a construction worker. We’ve been trying to contact his wife but gotten nothing. We sent someone over to the house to check and nobody was home, all the doors locked. We’re hoping to get in contact with her as soon as possible to confirm it’s her husband. We’re sure she’s going to take the news really hard,” said Sam. “What leads do we have so far?” “That’s where you come in my friend. I know we have our differences, John, but for once we really need your help. We just randomly found him out here in the field, blood on the ground around him, but that’s it.” “Here’s what we need to do, have a team remove the bullets, see if we can trace them back to the gun, if we can identify the gun we can check for serial number matches and see if that gets us anywhere.” said John. “We’re working on it, John, but it’s not that easy. What kind of killer would blow a hole through the victim’s hat like they did? We need to find out more back ground on the victim first. It’s possible the victim tried to run from the gunman, but the strange thing is, the bullet struck him in the front of the knee, right in the knee cap. So we can conclude the gunman shot him straight on, not from behind. The shooter was either poorly skilled at shooting, explaining he missed the bullet through the victim’s hat, or worse; it was an intentional shot.” said Sam. It was extremely nauseating to see the dead body; the dead man was on his back, lying in a mess of vomit and blood. His hunting hat lay on the ground beside him. There peculiar thing about the hat was the angle the bullet appeared to go through. As Sam turned away to speak with another officer, John approached the hat, picking it up. The bullet had gone through the hat from a side angle, not straight on. The other bullets struck the man straight on. The other two murders recently didn’t seem to be in any sort of pattern. The first victim, a man named Henry Zeighler was found a month ago. He was fatally stabbed multiple times and found dead in a ravine what the team determined as about a week after the killing. The police were unable to find any leads at all, as the water in the ravine got rid of most D.N.A. evidence. No murder weapon was found. The second victim, a man named Alex Ketchum was found brutally mutilated and left for dead in a vacant building. Sadly, he had a wife and daughter. There were again very few leads found. There wasn’t even enough significant evidence to link the murders together, but this being the third body turning up in such a short amount of time, there had to be some sort of connection. John just had to figure out what it was.