The neighborhood in which the corpse was found had many apartment buildings surrounding the fountain in which the corpse had been found. Scott Ward was trying to find out who the caller had been--perhaps this was the killer, he thought. He’d been interviewing people from the apartments for hours on end, calling them in to the police station. They had all behaved in a similar way; acting incredulously and as if they had no idea about what had happened. Nobody had appeared particularly peculiar to Scott, and he was beginning to get anxious. When the last of the interviews had ended, the superintendent stepped up to speak to Ward. He seemed worried, and once again, had a hurried look in his eye.
“Detective, we just got another anonymous call from a neighborhood close to the one where Mike Kirkwood was found. There seems to have been another murder.”
The detective grunted. He wasn’t surprised at all; he’d actually half-expected this to happen.
“Where is the body?” asked Ward.
“Apparently, someone found the body in a dumpster. Please, we need to get there immediately.”
Scott assented reluctantly. He was tired and just wanted to get home for the day. He followed the colonel out to his car, and they drove off.
When they arrived, Ward got out of the car slowly and examined his surroundings. They were in a dark alley, surrounded by brick buildings, little sunlight shining through. There were puddles of dark, murky water scattered throughout the alley, and the cries of black crows lingered overhead. They walked over to a green dumpster to find that there was, indeed, a body, and it was covered in garbage. The detective recognized him immediately; it was another peer from his high school. Also a former bully. The corpse looked oddly comfortable there, laying amongst piles of trash. Ward wondered what it would feel like to experience the sweet release of death; he was beginning to get sick of the trash that surrounded his life. Except in my life, there’s a different word for it. They’re called people.
Apparently, the colonel had noticed the weird look in Ward’s eye, for he said, “You okay there? Recognize the corpse?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“Well, who is he?”
Scott searched the corpse for a wallet, and found one. In it, he found the victim’s driver’s license, took it out, and showed it to the superintendent.
“Samuel Harris,” said Ward.
“And why does that name mean anything to you? Did you used to know him?”
“He used to go to the same high school that Mike Kirkwood and I went to in senior year.”
The colonel stared at him gravely. Ward needn’t say more.
“Looks like we have a serial killer on our hands, then,” remarked the superintendent, pointing out the obvious.
“Sounds like fun.” Scott meant it.
Johnson gave him a weird look, and then asked him, “Do you have any idea who the killer might be?”
“Actually, yes, I do. But we can’t actually prove it. There isn’t enough tangible evidence to prove that he’s the murderer.”
“It doesn’t matter, just give me a name.”
“And you believe he’s the killer?”
“Did I not make myself clear enough?”
“I’ll try to get a warrant, and I’ll keep you updated. Do you want me to give you a ride home?”
When Ward finally got to his home, he sat down to think about the case. He was almost sure that he knew who the killer was. Tom Huffman had been a constant victim of a countless number of bullies who had devoted their lives to the sole purpose of ruining his. He’d witnessed the beatings, the humiliations, the constant name-calling as they trudged passed him in the hallways. Scott had almost pitied him, but had made no effort to become his friend to try and comfort him. He’d had enough things in his life to frown about without having the added troubles of aiding a wimp in distress. He had never cared much about people who got bullied; and he loathed them when they wept about it. The drama they without good reason cried over did not win over his sympathy; in fact, it ignited in him a feeling very much not sympathetic.
He turned on the television and began watching the news. As always, it was littered with contemporary events he didn’t much care for. He was in his mid-thirties, had no family, no wife and no children, and was aging fast. He had enough on his mind. He turned the TV off and walked over to the kitchen, planning to get himself something to drink but instead ending up staring into an empty void, into his life’s past events. A sudden surge of nostalgia crept through him, and despite how awful his childhood had been, he actually missed it. He loved solving crimes, but he didn’t know how much longer he could do it for. His life had no meaning anymore, and he was beginning to doubt that his presence in the world actually made an impact or made a difference to anyone. He was but a lonely detective trying to solve local crimes that certainly wouldn’t come to a stop anytime soon. He couldn’t do anything about it, nor did he want to for much longer.
The phone rang, waking him from his thoughts. It was the superintendent.
“We have another body.”