7:19 AM; CLINSTONE, HAVEN’S PARK
“What do you think?” Jensen asked, squatting down beside Bo.
“Well, first and foremost, I think it’s cold as hell out here,” Bo muttered, snapping a picture of the victim’s face. “Other than that, victim’s a male. I haven’t ID’d him yet, of course, but he’s somewhere around… twenty-five to thirty. Decapitation with a guillotine, which our killer has so kindly left behind. I assume it’s homemade, but I’ll look into the actual device a bit more once we get it and the victim to the station,” he explained.
Jensen nodded. “What about the actual head?”
“It definitely would’ve fallen into this basket after the blade came down, but it should have fallen face down or at least on the side rather than upturned like this. I’d say the killer was dissatisfied with the original position. There could be something significant about the face being upward, something significant about the eyes being open and looking skyward,” Bo said.
“Could just be because the dude likes to be creepy.”
Bo lifted his shoulders, “Could be that, too.” He cleared his feet, standing for a better angle on the victim’s neck. “Did you get a chance to speak to the person who stumbled upon this all?”
“I questioned her before you showed up. She’s at the station now,” Jensen said.
“Not tall enough to be the killer.”
“Good,” Bo murmured. “I’m still not entirely certain the killer’s a male. Going off of the loose build of the figure in the traffic cam footage isn’t a good enough distinguisher.”
“Well, what you think?”
“You know what I think.”
“I know. You don’t have enough to make an assumption on the case,” Jensen said. One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted as he glanced up at his husband before going back to taking pictures. “Make an educated guess, Eli.”
“I would… presume male, but again, that’s based on the build of the body, and the image is dark and the killer is wearing a thick coat. That doesn’t mean it’s accurate.”
“More accurate than looking at the ground and calling it the sky.”
“Not if you’re looking into the sky’s reflection in a water puddle.”
Jensen snorted, shoving his hands into his pockets in an attempt to keep them warm. “You’re a dick.”
“You know what they say,” Bo muttered.
“Oh, so you can say it, but I can’t?” the younger man questioned.
“What if I threw your threat back at you? No sex until February?”
Bo scoffed, pressing his camera to his shoulder. “I can live without sex. I’ve met you, and you can’t.”
“You don’t know me.”
“I’d give you a week before you proved how empty that threat was,” Bo said. He offered a smile. “And that’s being generous and optimistic.”
“You’re a shit.”
“I try.” The blonde squatted down beside the guillotine, pulling back on the collar of the victim’s shirt with gloved fingers. “There you are,” he murmured, snapping a picture of the needle mark on the back of his neck.
“That would be… to keep them from feeling pain,” Jensen asked.
“ And the other one is… where?”
“Should be on his torso, beneath the pecs somewhere.” Bo cleared his throat. “Between the ribs and into the liver.”
“To kill the liver.”
“Yes,” Bo said after a moment. “I’m hoping to mix the drugs and chemicals up when we get to the lab. I’ll test it on the liver and setup my camera to record and progress on the liver’s damage while I autopsy this man. I’ll need to know if his liver’s shot, too.” He held his camera out to Jensen, which the younger man quietly accepted. “I’ve got a question for you.”
Bo pulled his cell phone from his pocket. “You start killing people for… an unidentified reason. You give them two shots. One to kill an organ, one to make their suffering nonexistent. Which order do you give the shots in?”
Jensen watched Bo unlocked his screen and open up his finger printing app. “I think it depends on my motivation, right?”
“Right,” Bo confirmed, gently rolling the dead man’s finger over the home button of his phone.
“I mean… if I’m motivated by at least some hunger, I’d kill the liver first and watch them suffer. If I had no real hunger and was killing for some kinda… unworldly, external reason, I guess I’d make sure they didn’t feel anything, and I’d give the painkiller first.”
“Of course.” Bo lifted his gaze to Jensen’s face. “What reason drives you to kill without making them feel pain?”
“I…” Jensen’s brow furrowed. “I don’t know.”
“And that’s where I’m stuck,” Bo said, pushing himself to his feet. He let out a sigh. “Ed Hackman, born June nineteenth, 1993.”
“Older than the other two vics.”
“Which breaks the idea that age is how the killer chooses victims,” Bo said quietly. “Damn,” he whispered.
“How the hell does he choose victims then?” Jensen asked.
Bo blew out a harsh breath, shoving his phone back into his pocket. “Your guess is just as good as mine, Jens.”
“Take a guess.”
Bo sighed, taking his camera from the younger man. “I don’t know.”
Bo closed his eyes for a moment before simply lifting his shoulders. “I don’t know. Opportunity, easily trackable, easily stalkable, far too mundane, far too routine. Hell, Jens, for all we know, the dude might think they’re Angels or Demons or… or ghosts, and he’s trying to get rid of them before they start killing other people because they’re evil. I don’t know. We don’t know. The only one who knows is the man murdering these people.”
Jensen remained silent for a moment, hands shoved into his pocket. “I once read an article that suggested Demons possess humans and reside in the liver, since… since the liver is needed to stay alive. They could feed off of it, as well as the person’s energy as long as they were in the liver.” He cleared his throat. “So… I know you were trying to prove you had nothing, but you genuinely could be right.”
“That’s insane. A Demon wouldn’t possess the liver. They’d possess the vessel. The brain.”
“I dunno, Eli. I mean… I know of a demon that possesses the liver.”
Jensen nodded, his voice hesitant as he said, “Alcoholism.”
“Ah.” Bo swallowed, feeling like he could use a cigarette right about now. “I’ll look into it later today, then. I’d still like to let you know it’s entirely ridiculous.”
“Agreed, but killers aren’t supposed to be normal.”
“Sorry. It’s a more direct antonym of ridiculous than ‘normal’,” Bo said. “Reasonable’s probably more accurate in this situation, though.”
“No sexual advances in front of a corpse.”
“I didn’t say I had the hots for the victim.”
“That doesn’t change the nature of the request,” Bo said.
Jensen chuckled softly. “Sure, Eli.”
Bo looked down for a moment before snapping a picture of one of the many footprints near the guillotine. He had done his best to avoid them all, but responding officers and the woman who had found the victim hadn’t been so careful. He doubted any of the footprints left would prove useful, but that wouldn’t stop him from trying. “I’m going to need records of everyone’s shoes,” he said.
“Wanna start with me?”
“I know what kind of shoes you wear, love,” Bo said softly. “But everyone else that walked over here and disturbed my scene before I got here? I need to know if any of these prints still belong to our killer.”
Jensen nodded. “Sure. Want me to go find out what shoes everyone’s wearing? Or do you want pictures?”
“Both? You can take pictures with your phone.” A pause. “Please?”
“Can do, babe. You take your pictures here, and I’ll take some over there.”
Bo smiled faintly. “Sounds good, Jens. Thank you.”
“No problem, Eli.”
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