The Train: Episode 38

Police lights chased each other across the smoked glass panels of Jonathan Carpenter’s building. Crime Scene techs worked to separate the dead bodies piled in the center of the room like so much garbage ready for pick up. Detective Ronald Brewer slipped a fresh pack of cigarettes out of his pocket, smacked it onto the heel of his hand then removed the wrapper, dropping it into a nearby wastebasket. Working a cigarette out of the pack, he lifted a lighter from his pocket and touched its flame to the cigarette, pulling deeply. He watched as the tip caught fire then burned out, sending a small wisp of smoke into the air.

Outside, it was just beginning to rain, and having had a long frustrating day, Brewer wanted to call it a night and go home.

“Saints preserve us! Another murder?” Douglas Chase said, a mock tone befitting his class.

“Leave it, Chase. I’m in no mood,” Brewer grumbled.

“How can I? The night is young, and already the Torch Killer has a score of nine,” Chase smirked.

Brewer turned toward Chase.

He watched as the police lights reflected off Chase’s thick glasses and the ends of his mustache lifted as he smiled. With a cup of coffee in his left hand, Chase dug into his pocket and came back with a couple of pills.

“Torch Killer?” Brewer asked.

“Yea,” Chase answered. “Like it?”

Chase popped the pills into his mouth then washed them down with the lukewarm coffee.

“I came up with it on the way over. All these murdering psychos got to have a name, you know. Public loves it,” Chase said, turning the cup around in his hand.

“But why Torch Killer?”

“Think about it. Makes perfect sense,” Chase said with an air of amusement.

“Russell Carpenter is killed and not even a night goes by before his oldest son is murdered. It’s almost like the first victim passed the torch onto the next, which means the next oldest is probably going to die. Which one’s the oldest? Matthew or is it the other one? You know, the college grad who’s all coo coo.”

Chase twirled his pen around his ear as he spoke.

“What’s wrong with you?” Brewer snapped. “People are dead. Someone’s murdering people and you act like you’re laying bets at the dog track.”

“Hey, if someone goes and murders the pope or that guy who was in that movie, what’s his name?” Chase said, snapping his fingers as he tried to recall.

“Well whoever he is, if someone were to kill that guy, I’d be upset. But this?”

Chase gestured to the bodies on the floor.

“These are just monsters killing monsters. Do you get upset when an alligator takes down a jungle tiger in the wilds of Africa? No. It’s just one predator going after another. If this Torch Killer wants to take out a bunch of drug dealing scumbags, I got no problem. And, hey, who says it’s wrong I should sell some papers telling the story?”

Brewer’s cigarette hung from his lips as he stared at Chase in disbelief.

“Alligators aren’t indigenous to Africa. You mean crocodiles.”

Chase shook his head in amazement.

“Wow! Way to miss the point there, Sherlock.”

Before Brewer could respond, a Crime Scene tech called, “Detective.”

Brewer swallowed his anger and almost his cigarette as he turned to face the technician.

“What?” he snapped.

“We won’t have any full details until after the postmortems, but it looks like each of the victims was killed in a different location then moved here,” the tech explained.

“To what purpose?” Brewer asked.

“Man, I hope the Carpenters weren’t spending a lot on you,” Chase said. “The Torch Killer left them here as a display.”

Brewer ground his teeth and was reaching for his gun when the elevator door opened and Richard Carpenter stepped out.

“Detective.”

“Watch out. Here’s comes Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,” Chase said.

Brewer grumbled, moved his hand away from the pistol, and walked over to Richard Carpenter.

“In light of this tragedy, my brother Matthew has privately left the building. He wishes to be left alone for now, so you will be directing any questions to me.”

“With your father dead and now Jonathan, it’s very possible that the killer will target Matthew next, since he’s now the oldest. It would be wise for him to stay in protective custody until we arrest this maniac,” Brewer suggested.

“I agree with you, Detective, but my brother has always handled things with aggression rather than reason,” Richard said.

Brewer nodded his understanding.

“Keep me informed,” Richard added. “I want regular progress reports.”

“Yes sir.”

At that, Richard Carpenter turned and entered the elevator. When the doors closed, Brewer looked over at Chase and saw that he wore a broad grin.

“What?” Brewer barked.

“Man, they have you trained better than a circus monkey.”

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

Matthew Carpenter made his way through the quiet halls of the hospital. The idiot that Tommy hit was here, still unconscious he had heard. An old man and his granddaughter were staying by the bedside, attentively watching for any signs of recovery. When he reached the nurse’s station just outside the room, Matthew stopped and waited. He made an arrangement with one of the nurses—two hundred bucks in exchange for emptying the room long enough for him to deal with the problem in the bed. After that, he would take care of the old man and the kid.

Less than five minutes later, the nurse entered the room and left with the old man and his granddaughter. Matthew waited till they were out of sight then walked over to the room. Opening the door, he stepped inside and moved over to the bed, looking down at the unconscious man.

“Who in the world are you?” Matthew asked. “I’d love to know why hell is reigning down on my family just because my idiot brother hit you.”

The room was silent except for the beep of the heart monitor.

“No last words?” Matthew asked.

Reaching into his designer jacket, he pulled out a pistol and removed a silencer from the pocket.

“Too bad. I always enjoy hearing what someone has to say in their last moments. Sometimes it’s actually profound.”

Matthew twisted the silencer onto the pistol and pointed it at the sleeping man’s head.

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Published in: on July 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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