It wasn’t the first corpse Detective Alex Whitemore seen in this state of mutilation.
Not by a long shot, but for Alex the particular circumstances surrounding this particular victim brought out his frustrations with his chosen line of work. The deplorable mental state that drove these brutal murders never ceased to alarm him. For his partner, Jillian Graff, who had only been assigned to her post for the past three months, had only become accustom to this type of ruthlessness.
“I’m not sure I need to ask, but give me a rundown we’ve got. Usual lye burns? Exploratory surgery sutures?” Alex asked one of the HAZMAT men cleaning up the grisly scene.
The man sighed and pulled back his mask revealing a look of grim determination.
“I’m afraid that is precisely what happened here. Combined with the unpleasant fact that this poor woman bled out right here in the street, it’s just another day in the neighborhood. I swear we’re down here two or three times a week anymore.”
Alex crouched down brushing the hair away from the victims face. She was a younger woman. A curly haired brunette with a thorny rose tattoo about her breast. He studied the hastily sewn sutures that ran the length of the woman’s sides. He followed the six inch gash with his finger. The surgeries were quick and dirty. Vital organs that would fetch a premium on black markets swiped right from the source and whoever these monsters were they did a bang up job taking everything thing they could from the victims.
“Creepy.” Graff said as she walked a semi-circle around the scene. “Figures I join the homicide division and this is the new norm. I saw some crazy shit on foot, but nothing like this since the Stilts insanity began. Poor bastards are laying out dead all over the place.”
Graff wasn’t old enough to remember the Stilts Virus panic like he was. He was a kid, but that didn’t mean he didn’t know what the hell was happening. He played enough video games to know the end of the world when he saw it.
Twenty years ago, the Stilts Virus started the world down a dangerous path. It was as if the world’s darkest fears had come to burn everything man built to the ground. An uncontrollable, incurable nightmare that killed the infected within a few days. The world’s population rapidly descended into chaos when the news spread that it was an unstoppable pandemic.
Gave Alex the chills just thinking about the earliest days of the panic.
“Let’s just hope that we can get a little closer to figuring this case out. I can’t keep being called to stare at a maimed corpse without any semblance of an answer. The captain is up my ass about finding the killer and then there’s a leaning stack of cases at my desk that’s about to collapse. Paper Reduction Act my ass.” Alex joked.
The rest of the ride was done in silence. Rain had moved in and while the cool water washed away the blood from the streets, his mind still raced. This was the tenth victim in three weeks. All female all with the same call signs. Various exploratory surgery scars, the lime burns on the genitals, and the lack of any identifiable information. He had his suspicions, but he was afraid to voice them just yet.
“Go ahead and go home Graff. I’ll brief the captain about the crime scene. Considering it was unremarkable, I think I’ll be alright.”
Graff smirked and shook her head.
“Thanks Alex. I wish I could be more help on this, but I’ve never seen anything like it. Plus not for nothing, I do have a date tonight. If you can believe that.”
“Try not to keep him waiting. I’m sure he wouldn’t like it if he knew another man had kept you from him.”
“No. I don’t think SHE would appreciate it.” Graff said with a coy wink. “I see you in the morning. We can go over how you talk with the captain went tomorrow back in the precinct. Although I’ll have my guesses. Just try to grin and bear it. That's what I always do.”
Alex didn’t say a word. He was happy for his partner. She still held out hope for love. But Alex’s priorities came in the form of his work. The captain had been up his ass since the body count started to rise. He was supposed to be the precinct’s number one homicide detective, but when Captain Raymond Bosch was appointed he’d be told as much. Alex was flush with pride when his coworker’s sang his praises, but ever since bodies like the poor woman they saw tonight cropped up, his case closed count ran bone dry.
Punishment for not getting it closed fast enough.
Tonight was different, he decided it was time to give his opinion on the matter based on his police intuition. He didn’t have the evidence to back it up yet, but he needed the captain on board if it was going to go anywhere.
He’d have to wake him up first.
The precinct would be busy, as it usually was on a Friday night in the summer. New York City had boomed in population from 2025 to 2050 ballooning out to nearly 25 million souls before the government decided to step in. No buddy suspected a thing when the CDC announced the discovery of the Stilts Virus in 2044. A virus so heinous that it killed its host within three days’ time. The virus stretched out protein inhibitors and warped healthy cells. Akin to a cancer Alex guessed.
Or so it seemed.
As if prepared in advance, the CDC announced the creation of the first frequency based vaccination that was implanted in all adults under the age of 75. The claim was it didn’t do anything to protect the elderly, but the reality was much more sinister. In a leaked memorandum from the White House Press Secretary, Operation Barren laid out the government’s plan to introduce the Stilts Virus as a means to curb the population in a controlled manner under the disguise of a pandemic. It turned out that the European Union took the same approach as the Americans because they too were floored by the intelligence leak. The media reported the virus was killing at rate not seen since the Plague. The strange thing was that many towns across the country reported virtually zero virus related deaths. In spite of the apparent lack of evidence, a frightened populace lined up to get the chip implanted. Dutifully bound to the people sworn to guide them through the troubled waters.
Imagine hearing that the person you elected to the free world was bent on murdering you. Because that’s what it was, murder. Rioters stormed into the streets demanding his resignation. Alex sat back and watch the whole thing unfold as the police were instructed to let the military handle the situation. Well, after a few tense weeks and hundreds of dead protesters, the president gladly gave his resignation and disappeared into hiding.
Across the pond, Europe slipped into a brutal civil war after the collapse of the economy. The war of which still rages. Countries deep seeded mistrust of one another came to a boil and spilled over once their wallets emptied. Alex saw the horrors of the war online, but tried not to spend too much time watching the body count.
Alex thought the USA would’ve learned its lesson meddling in the public’s life, but there was still the matter of the burgeoning population. A fiscal policy was created on August 3, 2055 called the Human Accountability Population Act or HAPA for short. HAPA was the final nail in the proverbial coffin completely robbing people who made less than $450,000, after tax, of the ability to have children. The microchips were fired back up and the fascism ramped up to a whole new level to the glee and satisfaction of the wealthy who saw the working class as a drain on their economic gains.
They didn’t need to worry about Detective Alex Whitemore being a drain on their bank accounts. His paltry public servant salary wasn’t even in the ballpark of the minimum guidelines. Probably why he was still single since his first wife left him. No money, no kids. He chose the bachelor life. He didn’t want the temptation of having children in a world where he would never even get the chance.
Alex snapped back to the present as he could hear the captain storming up the hallway.
“Detective Whitemore you mind telling me what the fuck I had to get out of bed for this late at night? If it couldn’t wait until the sun came up then it had better be damn important! In my office.”
Alex knew what he had in mind, but he could only hope the captain would hear him out.