( ii )
As soon as the priest regained consciousness, he ran inside his parish and dialled 911 on his outdated rotary phone. Within minutes, his whimpers and sobs were accompanied by loud sirens and intermittent flashings of red and blue lights. The ruckus attracted the press as well. News travels fast in small towns. The forensic analysts on the field were having a hard time making heads or tails out of the crime scene. One of them was thinking about bringing in a specialist to identify which animal could make a mess like this. The corpses were found on top of each other, pale and rigid with rigor mortis. The woman’s head was missing. The open cavity, on which the head used to be, does not show a clean cut of a knife or any sharp object. It seemed like something with sharp teeth gnawed off the heads. The man’s jaw was the only remaining part of his head, with remains of his brain and skull fragments scattered all over the slab lying under the victims. The blood trails moving away from the bodies did not show any clear pattern.
A tall and dark man with greying hair, clad in black, slipped between the yellow tapes separating the scene from any curious onlookers. An officer came to enquire. As soon as the man flashed his badge, without even making eye contact, he backed away. He was followed by five other associates carrying bags full of instruments. Seven others were waiting in armoured vehicles at the outskirt of the parish’s perimeter. The man went directly to the person in charge of the crime scene.
“Officer Clark, RCMP.”, The intruding man extended his arm to be greeted, while making his badge visible. “Officer Trembley.”, replied the officer in charge while shaking his hand. Without skipping a beat or awaiting further elaboration from Officer Trembley, Officer Clark spoke in a clear and commanding voice: “From this instant, I am in charge of this case. Your team will surrender all evidence picked up during their investigation, including photographs, to my team. All paperwork and copies related to this case must be submitted to us. All personnel present must sign a non-disclosure agreement and leave this scene as soon as it is done. Do you have any questions?”
“Hold on there! There are protocols for this. You can’t just…” Officer Trembley’s angry rant was cut short by a phone call. His anger, annoyance and frustration soon faded after hearing the voice on the other end of the line. Officer Clark smirked as Trembley’s tone shifted. “Yes Sir. Understood.”, He hung up the phone and called up his personnel to announce the change in leadership and the new protocols to follow. Moments later, Officer Clark’s associates started confiscating all the evidence.
The area was cleared up within half an hour. The police and the paramedics left without taking off the tapes marking the perimeter. Officer Clark’s staff started organizing the evidence and documentation for transport. Some of his men started placing the man’s carcass in a bodybag while others were taking tissue samples and additional photographs of the scene. The priest was sedated on a stretcher and was taken away by the agents.
Officer Clark put his hand on his earpiece to adjust it better. A soft voice asked on the other end of the earpiece, with an inquisitive tone:
“So Red, which name did you use this time?”
“I went with Gary Clark, RCMP”.
“Didn’t you already use this alias before?”, she asked with a chuckle.
“No, it was Gary Jones. Different last name.” Red looked around the slab to observe the scene from different angles.
“Did the police give you a hard time?”
“They probably were going to. But thanks to whatever strings you pulled, he was shut down before he could become a pain in the ass.”
“How bad is it?”, the voice asked with concern.
“No way in hell this is the work of a wild animal, I can tell you that”.
“A serial killer maybe?”
“Nope. Unless you’re looking for serial killers eating through flesh with small bite marks on the bone, no, I don’t think so.”, Red replied while looking closely at the woman’s neck wound.
“Just one. An old priest. We’ll take care of him.”
“Exactly what kind of care are we talking about here?”
“You know, the usual. Until he gets convinced that it was all in his head, he will remain at our facility. Later we may choose to transfer him to another parish if he behaves. If not, well… you know how it goes.”
Red paused for a moment to observe his surrounding. “Get airborne Leila. We still have a head to find.”
Moments later, an almost silent quadcopter started hovering above Red.