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Stage 3 - ROE

a guest Jan 6th, 2019 566 Never
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  1. 03. WOMAN WITH A GOAT’S HEAD
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  3. https://i.gyazo.com/f7c6ebb5e28e5c5f0fd9f0b09004f41a.png
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  5. The Northern Observatory has issued another "Ymir" Snowstorm Warning. But the blizzard came earlier to the police station than the mountains of Dione.
  6. "It's just like Dilworth, you know, with a Dione twist?" Joseph gazes at his notebook and mumbles through a donut.
  7. "Dil - what?"
  8. "You've never seen it? I'm talking about the TV-series, of course. A murderer from the outside going on a killing spree in Minnesota." Joseph's eyes never left his notebook. "Dilworth is a joke compared to this though."
  9. I did not know what to say. One minute he was wiping away tears in a quiet corner after speaking to Vera's mother and Father Anthony, the next minute he is going on about vampires, supernatural powers and TV shows. Kids these days. I sighed and said, "You've been looking at that notebook for yours all morning. Found anything? "
  10. "If the killer wasn't a vampire - just drinking a pint from its victim..."
  11. "Not a chance."
  12. "Then he must have had a syringe, or several syringes with him, and a bag to hold the blood."
  13. "We checked all the medical equipment suppliers. Every individual who bought a syringe within the past 6 months had an alibi on the night of the crime."
  14. "Hmm...and we checked hospital inventories and records. No sign of theft. "
  15. "What are you trying to say?"
  16. "The great Sherlock Holmes once said, 'When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.'" Joseph put down his notebook and looked at me. "Could it really have been the work of a vampire?"
  17. "One high-intelligence criminal and you're reduced to a babbling madman." I chided him with mock anger, "How do you expect to become a legendary detective like your dad?"
  18. Clearly stung by my words, Joseph dived back into his notebook and photos of the crime scene.
  19. The phone rang.
  20. That was the last sound I wanted to hear.
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  22. Things took another turn for the worse.
  23. The crime scene was just minutes away from the station, a hut in the foothills near Balmung. The nerve this murderer had, to commit his crime right under our nose. I felt anger at this intrusion, and frustration at our inability to do anything about it.
  24. The same boarded-up windows, the same suffocating smell of blood. Surely we would find the same bite marks. I thought nothing would surprise me, after all that I had seen, but life had a way of throwing you a curveball.
  25. Inside the hut, a naked woman was nailed to the wall, her legs fixed in a crossed position by wooden stakes. Her left hand hung loosely by her knee, while her right hand was spread outwards at shoulder level. At first glance, she looked like she was floating in mid-air.
  26. And her head - or should I say its head? On her neck was a skeletal goat's head. Dark lines of blood flowed from empty eye sockets like tears.
  27. "Baphomet..." Joseph muttered.
  28. The victim's legs looked strange. I took a closer look and saw that both of her lower legs were broken, clearly in an effort to make them look more like the hoofs of an ungulate.
  29. There were more strange features to the body. The thumbs on both hands had been cleanly severed, leaving only four fingers on each hand.
  30. It was a puzzling observation. If the killer wanted to emulate Baphomet's form, then it should have had human hands with five fingers. If they were trying to create a "goat man", then they should have left two fingers. Why cut off only the two thumbs, resulting in an imperfect "piece of work"?
  31. I thought about Vera's necklace, Theodore's eyes and this woman's thumbs. What was the connection between them?
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  33. Anxiety and sleepless nights have given me a splitting headache. I bent down in pain and saw a claw mark on the wooden wall, beneath the woman's "floating" legs. I pressed my finger against it and traced the claw marks. The marks ended up at one of the women's lower legs, and there were human palm prints on its skin.
  34. This was the only victim to have been subject to violence. The killer clearly broke her legs with their bare hands, after nailing her to the wall. The killer gripped her legs with such strength that they left marks on the wall.
  35. The claw looked like it could have come from a yeti or some other monster. It was hard to believe that any human could have broken an adult woman's lower leg like that with their bare hands.
  36. The investigator took the body after carefully photographing the scene. Our challenge right now was to find the victim's original head.
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  38. I ordered a search within ten miles, deploying every police dog and search dog that we had at our disposal. Reporters flocked to the scene like sharks that smell blood in the water, but I had no time or energy to think about tomorrow's headlines. It was like being trapped in a heavy blizzard in the middle of nowhere, with no cover or way out in sight.
  39. After half a day of searching, I got a phone call from Tracy at the station, practically hysterical in tone.
  40. The head that we were looking for has been sent to my desk in a package. Tracy opened the package because it was emitting a strange odor, thinking that it must be kiviak or surströmming, only to come face to face with a pair of lifeless eyes.
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  42. When I got back to the station, the intense atmosphere of these past few days had turned to outright rage. Big Rooney was pounding the wall when I entered, like a bomb filled with anger, and made a beeline towards me, yelling, "They're clearly mocking us, sir!"
  43. I walked past him straight into the interrogation room, not because I disagreed, but because there was no point in talking about it. Fuming over being mocked does nobody any good. We had more important things to do.
  44. A young man in post office uniform sat in the interrogation room, opposite to Tracy. The chap looked terrified. Cold sweat was dripping down his chin and he was fiddling with his fingers in such a way that it was a wonder he had not broken them.
  45. Across from him, Tracy could be as intimidating as any man when she wanted to. The postman gulped and spoke with such despair that he might as well have been making a crime confession.
  46. "Yes, uh, I, I didn't get this from the office. Someone handed it to me and gave me a bunch of money...I listened carefully for the sound of ticking and I didn't hear any, so I thought it couldn't be a bomb...I'm so sorry, I wanted to refuse when he talked to me, but then I felt a rush of blood to the head and accepted it in the moment. It wasn't just for money, really..."
  47. "What did they look like?" Tracy interrupted.
  48. "Oh, him? He had a black mask on. I was outdoors when he stopped me. He was pretty well wrapped-up, with face mask and hat and sunglasses and everything...sure it sounds suspicious, but it ain't so unusual seeing people dressed that way outdoors in the winter in these parts, no?"
  49. "So you couldn't see his face?"
  50. The postman shook his head agitatedly.
  51. Tracy looked at me through the interrogation room's one-way mirror. She was clearly not satisfied.
  52. But we knew this young man well. His name was Arthur, a local kid. His father died young and his mother was bedridden, and he had a younger sister in college. It was understandable that he would fall for the temptation of money and deliver a suspicious package, though he may end up losing his job for this.
  53. As for his alibis the night the murders happened, they were impeccable. He and his sister were at home taking care of their mother, and their neighbors have never seen him leave the house at night. Without any evidence to speak of, we had no choice but to let Arthur go. Before he left, though, he remembered something.
  54. "That guy's accent - unless he was faking it, he didn't sound local. No, I'm sure of it - he was definitely not local."
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  56. I once suspected an acquaintance's work, but there was no connection whatsoever between Vera and Teddy. Add to that the headless woman...if Arthur was right and the killer was not local, how could he have kidnapped the victims without being noticed and killed them with virtually no use of violence or drugs at all? Other than hypnosis, I could not come up with a better explanation.
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  58. DNA test reports for the head and the headless body came back soon enough - they matched, to nobody's surprise.
  59. The victim's name was Erin and she was 32-years old. She worked in a nightclub and the time of death was determined to be around midnight. There were grip bruises on the broken lower legs, but no fingerprints. We talked to the victim's co-workers and learned that she had asked someone to take her shift because she was not feeling well. She lived by herself and no one knew where she was during that time.
  60. Joseph and I searched her home thoroughly and found no traces of forced intrusion, only her cell phone lying silently on her dresser.
  61. I asked Joseph, "What are the chances that a young person leaves home without their phone these days?"
  62. "Er, slim? My sister takes her phone with her even if she's just taking the trash out."
  63. Her phone was unlocked, which saved us some trouble. We checked her call records, SMS and mailbox and found nothing but co-workers, bosses and friends. She had no lover, and no remotely suspicious correspondence.
  64. So an outsider, a stranger, came into Erin's home quietly, kidnapped her to the place of the crime, cut off her head, arranged her body to resemble Baphomet, cut off her thumbs, and drained a pint of blood. During all this, no one saw her and no one even heard a sound. No useful evidence left at the crime scene.
  65. This was practically impossible.
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  67. While I tried to gather my thoughts, Joseph was still looking at her phone.
  68. "Hmm, this is strange," He pointed to a selfie that she took, "only her thumb nails are painted."
  69. I suddenly remembered something and shouted, "What color?"
  70. Surprised by my response, Joseph replied gingerly, "Er, bright red, sir."
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