“The Cannibal Killer” Part – VII: Private Papers of Michael Rhodes June 18th, 2016

****Another note from the author: Sorry gang, I know I said this would be the final installment, but the story is just too big.  Next time will bring about the end of this saga from Nathan’s long life, with a possible epilogue installment from Nathan’s point of view.  In the meantime, enjoy.****

      “You four okay?” my boss asked as he helped us to our feet.

    I was glad to see he’d finally climbed out of the pond and had not been seriously injured, but the same couldn’t be said for his equipment.

shoulder radio

    “My radio didn’t like taking a dip,” he told me gesturing at his shoulder, “But I saw which direction he was headed in. So I need to you get a hold of the patrol cars on the south side of the park. Tell them to intercept if possible and to use force if necessary. I don’t know what he’s on but that guy is more dangerous than we ever suspected.”

   As I did so, Nadine suddenly grabbed my arm and snapped, “Cancel the last part of that order. Tell them to pursue but not engage!” Then she quickly turned to my boss and added, “He’s got another girl stashed away somewhere. No doubt that’s where he’s headed. If he we follow he’ll lead us right to her, and right now with him all pumped up we’re her only hope.”

     I could see my boss’ expression was about to turn ugly when a greenish mist snaked its way from behind his neck and into his nostrils. In the blink of an eye, he face softened and he nodded. “You heard the lady, Rhodes. Give the order.”

  Obediently I relayed the message, then checked on the two deputies who’d been thrown at me and Nadine. Aside from being bruised and a little shaken, both were ready to rejoin the pursuit. Just then my radio came to life as two of the patrol cars had caught a glimpse of a figure in fatigues racing down Maple Street and had started to follow.

   “We’ve got him in our sights,” one of the driver’s reported, “But damn the guy is fast. Every time we start to close in he pours it on and starts pulling away and… HOLY SHIT, he just vaulted over the ten foot fence around the high school basketball courts.”

   “That’s seven blocks from here…,” Sheriff Parkes began then stopped. “Wait…Jenkins repeat what you just said about the fence!”

   “They guy just jumped over it like runner in the middle of a hurdle race,” came the incredulous reply. “What the hell is he on, Crystal Meth/steroid combo or something?”

     I stole a quick glance at Nadine who was now standing unusually silent with her arms clutching each other across her chest. She seemed to be breathing rather heavily, as if she herself was there in the middle of the chase. Then it hit me. She was still in touch with the Sangui-Sapio! That was how she knew about the other girl the guy was already holding. And now she was trying to see inside the Cannibal’s head and figure out where he was holding her.

    Just then the other patrol car called in saying, “This is Unit 3 we’ve just finished circling around to the front of the school. But there’s no sight of our perp.”

    “He’s either hiding somewhere inside the building, or he he’s laying low somewhere on the grounds,” my boss surmised, then snapped, “Rhodes, Collins, you’re with me.

     “Boiler Room,” muttered Nadine suddenly as her eyes snapped open.

     All eyes turned towards her.

    “What was that, Collins?”

    “He’s got her hidden away in the boiler room,” she replied darkly.

   One of my brothers in brown began to protest. “There’s no way he could keep a girl hidden down there, that’s where the janitors hang out. I should know, a bunch of us used to visit with them in between classes.”

   “You’re thinking the senior high school,” Parkes pointed out, “What about the old junior high building on the far side of the campus? It was closed down about seven years ago due to structural issues and was fenced off from the rest of the grounds to keep the kids out, while they decided whether or not to salvage the place.”

    “I remember seeing something about that. They decided last year to tear it down and a construction company put up a portable office so they could have someone there at all times to keep an eye on the equipment they were moving in and…” suddenly I stopped myself. If our boy was part of the advanced crew who was getting things ready for the demolition project he’d have had time to explore every part of the building including the old boiler room down in the basement.

   Sheriff Parkes seemed to be thinking the same thing, as he turned to one of the deputies, “Have the patrol cars surround the construction zone and begin casing the area. He may not have gotten inside yet. Tell them to enter the building only if they spot him going in. Otherwise they’re to wait for my arrival. You two with me.” This was directed at our assistance. Then turning to me he baredk, “Rhodes, you get Collins seen to at the hospital. Her back and shoulder aren’t looking too good.”

     I began to protest, but Nadine stopped me with a glance.

    “I’ll get her checked out,” I told him.

    Nodding he took off with the other two deputies.

    “Now what?” I hissed in case they were in earshot.

   “You’re getting on my back and directing me to that school,” she replied and hunched down.

    Obediently, I did as she instructed and in a flash the scenery around us turned into a blur, only occasionally snapping back into focus as Nadine waited for where to turn next. In the distance I could hear my boss’ siren blaring telling me we were still way ahead. After one last blur, the abandoned junior high building stood before us.

abandoned school

     We’d approached from the back, so the patrol cars already on site had no hint of our presence. “I really should alert them…” I began.

    “And possibly give our position away to the Cannibal?” Nadine cut in abruptly. “He’s not here yet, but he is close.”

     I frowned. “He had a huge head start, especially with the speed he was moving at.”

    “Yeah, but now he and the part he stole from me he are having a disagreement,” she replied looking around.

   “How do you mean?” I asked, eyeing her shoulder again. In spite of having finally closed up, it looked like it might re-open at any time, and I began to worry about the one in her back as well.

    Nadine didn’t answer right away. Instead she closed her eyes for a moment before answering. “The Sangui-Sapio is all about preserving life and our friend the Cannibal…”

     “Is all about torturing and killing,” I finished, as my mind flashed back to a moment in the park. “So when you were saying all that stuff about being frightened you were talking to the Sangui-Sapio, trying to coax it out of him.”

     She nodded. “It’s found itself trapped inside a mind that’s full of rage and a desire to end life. And it’s realized that it cannot get him to change. It wants to reject him, but because of all the repair work it’s done on his body, he was too quick and got away. It needs me to be nearby so it has somewhere to go. Otherwise, it won’t survive for very long on its own. That’s what happened when it found me all those years ago. It had just been driven out of another host and was desperately trying to find a life form to merge with.”

    This time she cut me off by asking, “How well do you know the layout of this building?”

    “Like the back of my hand, I spent three years in this place,” I replied, studying the structure. “And as you already surmised the boiler room is in the basement, just below the gym.”

    Nodding we headed towards the nearest broken window and carefully climbed inside.

Empty+classroom

      As my eyes adjusted to the gloom I could make out the rows of empty desks all facing a big desk at the front of the room. There were old posters and even a few old homework assignments still attached to the bulletin boards that were parked next to the blackboards. I could barely make out an old faded chalk message on one of the blackboards that simply read “Goodbye”. Apparently, during the time the school board was deciding whether or not to save the old place, they’d never bothered having anyone clean out the rooms. There were even stacks of old textbooks piled up in a corner.

     If it was like this on the main floor, God only knew what the basement level must be like. I’d gone down there once looking for the janitor and had gotten lost. There had been so many doors and hallways leading to all kinds of storage rooms along with the heat, electrical, and water systems down there. There was no telling where the Cannibal might have stashed his latest victim.

    “Hey, wait a minute,” I whispered as we reached the door that led out of the classroom. “You said earlier that the Cannibal already has a girl captive down in the boiler room. Why did he try to grab another girl tonight if he already has one still alive?”

    Nadine didn’t look at me as she answered, “The last couple he killed weren’t quite as ‘satisfying’ as the earlier ones. So he decided to increase the level of excitement. The more terrified they are the more fun it is for him. And what’s more terrifying than seeing what someone has in store for you, by watching it happen to another?”

     Quietly I reloaded my gun. The nightmare had to end, tonight.

“The Cannibal Killer” Part – V: Nathan’s Private E-Journal June 18th, 2016

****NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  A quick reminder that this story is darker and more graphic than most previous entries as it deals with violence against women, as well as  a very deranged mind.  There will be fewer images in this entry than usual as I do not wish to cause ‘triggers’ in readers.  If you feel just reading about violence will trouble you,  I recommend possibly taking a pass on this one.  The story will hopefully be concluded in two more installments – Thank you.****

I’ve seen inside peoples minds before, especially when I take a blood “donation” straight from them. And if I’m putting some of myself into them, I see it ALL. Which is why I usually prefer my intake to be from bags, or in a rare case a transfusion. Still, it’s not always a bad thing to get a donation directly from someone close. I get to know them more intimately in ways others don’t. And considering my long existence I can keep their memories alive and share those treasures with the donor’s descendants for many years to come, so they are never forgotten.

However, there have been occasions where I’ve been inside the minds of certain people and am forced to carry their memories with me, because I cannot forget… anything! Oh, I may have a hard time recalling the information at will, but it’s all there, hidden behind doors and piles of other recollections. And try as I might, I can only bury those darker items so deep.

I only pray I can bury the things I saw tonight so deep that they will never plague my slumbering moments…

As I said, I normally I only see inside another person’s mind when I take from them, but tonight I learned it could happen when someone took from ME!

Thanks to the mist I’d released earlier I knew the assault was taking place near the pond in the center of the park which meant I had to move fast. Normally I don’t show off my inhuman speed, but I figured I’d be able to alter the Sheriff’s memory afterwards. As the scenery blurred past me, I sent the mist I’d released into the park earlier into the killer’s nostrils hoping to gain some control over him after he breathed me in, which he did. But it didn’t work. The guy was so on an adrenaline rush from the excitement of having captured another victim, that nothing I did was even slowing him down.

But I could see through his eyes and saw he was straddling the girl, one hand clamped firmly over her mouth while the other held a wicked looking military blade. A second later, I burst onto the scene.

Sure enough he was on top of her and was in the process of slicing open her blouse to expose her chest.

Without slowing I allowed my arm to stretch a couple of feet longer than normal in order to grab his hand with the knife and pull it away from the girl. Unfortunately, this gave him time to look up and see me coming just before the rest of me slammed into his solid six foot frame. The creep actually started to smile until our bodies collided. He certainly had not expected someone so much smaller than himself to have enough force to knock him off the girl, much less send him sprawling several feet. By the same token, I never expected him to grab my “overly-extended” arm with the hand he had clamped over the girl’s mouth to pull me with him.

blade

The two of us rolled across the ground each struggling for the advantage. Normally, my inhuman strength should have given me the advantage, but the guy knew what he was doing. I quickly realized Michael was right about the killer having had military training. I got a close-up look at the blade as we struggled and recognized it as an LMF II ASEK, with a foliage colored handle to match his camouflage make-up and attire. But it was his fighting style that really told the story and was giving me a tough time of it. At first I couldn’t get any decent leverage to pin him, but then I realized I was fighting like a normal person and not using my full talents.

At last I let him pin me, as I did so the smell of tree sap and fresh leaves reached my nostrils. So that’s how he’d gotten past the patrols. He’d hidden himself up in one of the trees during the daytime, probably when the park was busy, and had stayed there. No doubt he’d put on his camouflage make-up and changed his shirt, while waiting for night to come. Then he’d just waited for the right moment and…

“Am I man enough for you now… Joanie,” he panted excitedly.

‘Joanie?’ I thought briefly before he head-butted me, which hurt! Yes, I can feel pain just like anyone else, but I can take more abuse than most. But it still hurt and I saw stars briefly. In that moment I realized MY suspicion, that our friend was someone who had either killed or wanted to kill a certain type of woman over and over again, had been right. Not that I felt like patting myself on the back at that point. Especially when he started wriggling on top of me and I could FEEL how excited he was (shudder). Now I could really appreciate the things Penny had told me in private on more than one occasion. How many women had known terror as they suffered at his hands?

His head rocked back, to deliver another blow to my skull but I was quicker. My left leg shrank while a fist shot up from between my cleavage connecting with his chin on its way down. I felt the impact throughout my chest as Mr. Psycho’s eyes rolled up into his head. For a moment I thought for sure he’d knocked himself out, but his grip on my regular hands barely loosened. Once more I unleashed a third fist, this time into his rather abdomen and I felt the air rush out of his mouth and into my face. Someone seriously needed a breath mint. This time, I was the one to deliver the head-but which seemingly ended our fight. Mr. Norman-Bates-wannabe, fell off of me and lay still.

Immediately, I got up and turned to his original target who was crouched nearby, holding up a large rock. Apparently, she had been hoping for an opening to clock the bastard while he was dealing with me. I gave her a reassuring smile as I studied her. Sure enough, she was blonde, about my current size and shape, and dressed like someone who full of self-confidence. Though at the moment she was looking more vulnerable and shaken, as she stared at me with eyes full of amazement.

“Easy, you and I are okay…” I started to tell her, then I saw her eyes widen in pure horror.

“BEHIND YOU!” she screamed, just as I felt the blade of the knife rip through my back and out my middle.

I remember cursing myself for making such a rookie mistake. The guy was ex-military, of course he’d play ‘possum’ to get me to turn my back on him. Still, I’m not normal, and it would take more than a knife in the back to finish me off. Unfortunately, before I could swallow the pain to retaliate, that’s when he sank his teeth and took a bite OUT of my shoulder and I got a look inside a world of madness!

vortex

“The Cannibal Killer” – Part II: Nathan’s Private E-Journal June 17th, 2016

*Note to self: I’m not the only one living in this big old house!* 

      I really need to pay attention to what’s going on around me when I’m on my computer, because I never know who’s going to come by and start reading over my shoulder.  Today, it was practically EVERYBODY!  Sigh…

     Now let me set the scene for you all.  Ever since I started writing I got into the habit of using two monitors at once, so I can have something I’m researching on one screen, while I’m writing on the other.  Tonight, I was reading an e-mail from my “nephew” Michael Rhodes about a case he’s involved with on one screen, while looking over the newspaper accounts on the other.

    I was so absorbed in what I was reading that I never heard Penny, Lisa, or Marisa come into the room.  In fact I only realized they were there after I suddenly leaned back  and felt my head bump into Marisa’s chest (not that she minded).

    After realizing I had an audience I quickly looked around the room to make sure one person in particular had not seen what I had been reading.

     As if reading my thoughts Penny said, “Isabella’s downstairs with Richard.”

    Immediately I breathed a sigh of relief and then scowled at the intruders.  “And what brings all three of you into my study?  For all you know, I could’ve been working on a new bestseller… or surfing the internet for porn.”

     “Which was why we came in,” Marisa answered simply. pointed out.

   “If you were searching for porn we felt it was important to know what turns you on and what doesn’t,”  Lisa added helpfully.

  “I just came in to see if you wanted something to drink,” was Penny’s contribution to the proceedings.  But she looked troubled.

    Standing up I started to ask Marisa and Lisa to leave us, but Penny cut in sharply saying, “NO!  They need to hear this!”

    I don’t know who was more surprised by her tone, our companions or me.  In either case, both girls sat down while I drew closer to Penny who I noticed was shaking slightly.  As she looked at me I gave her a reassuring smile and said quietly, “Start whenever you’re ready.”

   She gave me a little smile but instead of talking she wandered over to one of the windows in my study and stared out into the night.

     After several moments she said, “All the victims of that psycho you were reading up on were women.”

       It was more a statement than a question, still I replied, “Yes, they were.”

    She nodded, then asked, “Did you girls know prostitutes are the most likely to be victims of violence or even murdered?”

      Lisa looked uncomfortable, but Marisa actually answered.  “Yes, I did a report on violence against women for a class.  Got a good grade on it, plus a lecture from the teacher for touching on a ‘sensitive’ subject.”

     “Was the instructor male?” Penny asked.

     “Yeah, he was.”

     Penny turned.  “And what did you say?”

    “I reminded him that he’d asked us to pick a social issue that needed addressing and that I’d felt that violence against women was one I felt strongly about.  Then he asked why I’d focused on prostitutes and I told him that many of them had wound up in that situation because they’d been victimized already and needed more protection not less.  After that things got a little heated, and he wound up lowering my grade to a C.”

    I made a mental note to myself to ask Marisa the name of her instructor, but only later.  But right now I wanted to keep my focus on what Penny had to say.

    She gave Marisa a fleeting smile of gratitude, but then her expression turned serious again.  “You’re right, we… they do.  And sometimes we found it with guys who wanted to ‘protect’ us and help us out.  Only they could be just as bad, or worse than some of our clients.”

     “Like Tony?” Lisa murmured, breaking her silence.

     Penny shot her a look, but it quickly softened.  “Yeah, like my old employer.  But he only got mean when one of us tried to leave.  As long as we were under his roof, we WERE protected.  Which was why I felt safer being in a brothel than I did out on the street.  Anyone got too rough with us they’d be sorry…  But the only way any of us left his employ was when he felt they weren’t worth keeping around anymore.  Or he’d grown tired of them.”

    “Richard must’ve been very special for you to risk all that you did to get away,” I remarked, thinking aloud.

     That earned me a smile.  “He was… and not just because he got me a knocked up.  I could’ve easily gotten an abortion, but I wanted my baby and him.  And I would’ve lost both if it hadn’t been for you and Lisa.”

     “It was mostly Nathan,” my favorite goddaughter pointed out.

    “You were there for us too,” Penny replied softly, and then turned back to me.  “But the point I’m trying to make is that girls in my trade, we lived our lives knowing something bad could and would happen to us.  But the girls in those articles… they were just like these two,” here she gestured at Lisa and Marisa who were looking a little pale right about then.  “They weren’t hooking, they were just women who had families and friends who loved them.  One or two of them had children… they weren’t looking for trouble but it found them and it cost them.  But not before they suffered.”

     Glancing back at the article that was still on my screen, my eyes went straight to the part where it described some of what had been done to the girl before she died and murmured, “I know…”

     Penny caught the tone in my voice and said, “I know this Michael guy has already asked you to help stop this guy, but now I’m asking you as well.  Use your abilities to stop this guy, don’t let another girl suffer at his hands.”

     “Oh I intend to,” I assured her and began to use my shape-shifting skills.

     Normally, I don’t let anyone see one of my transformations, unless I’m turning into mist.  But most of the time I’m usually changing into something more “bestial”.  However this wasn’t one of those occasions.  First my waist pulled in while my hips expanded slightly.  At the same time the hair on my arms vanished while the skin took on a smoother look.  As my hair lengthened, my chest expanded, while my jawline softened and my nose took on a more aquiline shape.

   Once I was done, I gazed expectantly at my audience and said, “Well?  Do I make a tempting target?”

      Lisa, who I noticed was looking a little flushed, was the first to answer, “A little too tempting.”

     “Too male fantasy?” I asked.

     “Too Hollywood,” answered Marisa. who was also eyeing me curiously.

    “But it’s a good start,” Penny smiled and turned to the girls.  “Why don’t you two get some clothes and make-up for our girl here.  Then we’ll give her some tips to get the proper effect.”

     As soon as the girls left, Penny looked at me and said, “You know, if you hadn’t changed form, one of them would’ve offered to act as bait.”

     I nodded, “I was also afraid you might as well.”

     “I was,” she admitted and then threw her arms around me saying, “Thank you.”

    As I returned the gesture, I silently prayed for all our sakes (including Michael and Terri’s) that I would be enough to be the maniac’s next target.