Detective Zac Ashton

Harlea Johnston, Writer

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Detective Zac Ashton had been having restless nights of sleep for weeks. Spending most of his nights tossing and turning trapped in a nightmare after nightmare. Each one different and every one ended in his demise. His face in a constant grimace. As he waked again like every other night. He gasps his hand clenching his neck as he breathes. He grabbed the alarm clock with a shaky hand to read 4:36 a.m. He groaned as he sat his alarm clock back on the table and tossed the covers off. His floorboards creaking as he walked to his bedroom door. Passing the mirror on the way out which made him pause. 

His breath leaving him as he beheld himself covered in blood. His hands and arms crusted in blood like lace gloves. His clothes were drenched in someone’s blood. He launches back from the mirror and looking down at his arms and clothes to find himself clean. No crusty blood gloves insight. And pajamas he didn’t remember putting on dry. Not a speck of blood in sight. He headed downstairs rubbing his eyes. The first thing his eyes caught was the board he made. 

He glanced at the desk. When did I go to my bed? The thought rang through his mind as he stood before the board. Ever since he was put on the “Chance Killer Case”. He couldn’t sleep and what was more irritating is that he couldn’t find any leads. He stared at bloodied hand after bloodied hand that held a pair of dice. He knew deep down there wouldn’t be any leads because each kill seemed to happen by chance. Like they rolled a pair of dice and went to the house number it lands on.

Zac had memorized all 8 victims names. He chanted them daily and made many unspoken promises that he would find their killer if it was the last thing he did. That he didn’t want to die knowing he left this sick person in the world. Ashley Black, Age 17. Found in her bedroom, throat slit. Rick Myers, Age 46. Found in bathroom, wrists and throat slit. Maddy Kidman, Age 9. Found in living room stabbed 4 times in the chest. Dalton Framer, Age 20. Found in bedroom throat slit, then stabbed 13 times. Victor Avery, Age 27. Found in the hallway of his home, Stabbed  37 with three different knives, each knife was from the victim’s kitchen. Harley Ranson, Age 12 found in bedroom stabbed 6—

The phone began to ring cutting his train of thought off. He picked it up, “Detective Ashton?” the voice asked. They sounded younger, maybe new to the force. He brought his thoughts back to what was at hand. “This is him.” his voice gruff and deep in his ears. “Sergeant Mcfly wanted me to inform you that we have found another body. This time a boy…. He was 14. You, you can barely recognize him, sir. He was cut up pretty bad. The Sargent wants you over here now. It’s on the corner of Adam Avenue and Eve Street. Please hurry.” and with that, his unknown caller hung up the phone.

A chill ran down his spine as he took one last look at the board. Another body, another name, and death to memories. Another picture for the board. Another clenched hand holding those freaking dice.

**********

When Zac entered the seemingly pleasant looking house. Facing Eve street, its house number 10 painted in a script like a manor. On the outside, you wouldn’t think a murder took place here. But as soon as you cross the threshold, and see the blood-splattered across the walls. With one look Zac could see the boy had run from his bedroom and down the hall to the living room. The trail of blood leading from there brought a piece of the scenario to life. The body was draped across the couch as if he was thrown on it in his last moments. Before the deed was done.

They had yet to know how many blows with the knife he had taken. But it was by far the most brutal of the murders. The killer was escalating. Besides the murder and the body, Zac felt like he had been in this home before. Walked its rooms and halls. He had been noticing this familiarity was happening more and more with each house he had visited. He knew where the room the murder took place before he was told. And each time he felt this feeling it sent chill after chill down his spine.

Sargent Mcfly walked over to him. His eyes on Zac as he walked. “Were dusting for fingerprints and taking blood samples. This work is sloppier than the others. The boy woke up before and ran. None of his other victims ever got away from him. He had to have messed up somewhere during the process.” Zac glanced around the scene taking it all into his memory. “We can only hope. What do we have on the victim.”

Sargent Mcfly glanced over at the body before speaking, “His name was Nicolas Avery, 13 years old. Cause of death was well….” The Sargent glanced around the room. “It’s pretty obvious but he was stabbed multiple times in the back, arms, and neck. His hand nearly severed from his body. The dice rest there. But that’s not all. Come with me,” The Sargent walks down the hall to Nicolas’s room.

On the walls painted in dry blood is,

Officer’s, Officer’s

Where were you, officers,

When this young child screamed for help?

Where you patrolling the streets,

Snacking on delectable treats,

You’ve failed another,

You’re losing the game,

This fight is a war of chance,

haha, hehe,

Good luck finding me.

-The Chance Killer.

 

The writing was in an uneven sprawl. Letters to big and letters to small. The way it was written, the way he taunted them. Sent anger boiling into Zac. He would not let this bastard win.

 

********

Zac sat at his desk at home. His coffee had gone cold as time went by and he stared at the board. His eyes begging to get droop. And before he could stop himself he began to fall asleep.

A pair of dice rested in my hands as I glanced at the apartment building before me. The dice becoming heavy in my hand. A smile crept across my face as I tossed the dice. Watching them bounce on the sidewalk. Watched the numbers roll by before the settled. Snake eyes. I grab the dice and head to apartment two. Keeping an eye out for intruders that would disturb me in my craft. My next art project.

The door was easy enough to unlock. The room was dark and quiet, but for the sound of a box fan. My steps steady and well placed as I checked each room, empty, empty, the next room an elderly woman laid in her bed. “Hello, Darling” I whisper softly. My weapon of choice dangling from my fingers. I got closer, my smile and eyes widening. As I slashed downward….

Zac shot up out of bed. His breaths in gasps as he threw himself out of bed and down the hall. His legs go out from under him as he reached the bathroom door. His hand gripping the doorway as he crawled through the door to the toilet. Not noticing the bloody handprint he left behind. He clutched the bowl as he hurled his guts into it. When he was done, he notices the wet blood coating his hands, He couldn’t stop the screams that left his mouth. 

The mirror showed him drenched in blood. His hair sticky with it his clothes stained with it. Zac ran from the mirror, This can’t be real, this can’t be real. The hallway seemed longer. His breaths becoming shorter as he began to fall, and blackouts.

 

*******

Sergeant Mcfly couldn’t hold in his giddiness when they found a fingerprint not belonging to the victim and family. The results had come in and he was on his way to pick up Zac so they could see the results together. But when he got to Zac’s home and noticed the door unlocked. When he tested the knob. Worry troubled him as he opened the door. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he beheld Zac. Covered in blood and passed out on the floor. His phone rang and he picked it up, his eyes not leaving Zac as he answered. “Hello?”

“Sergeant, don’t go to Detective Ashton’s home.” the woman’s voice said. He recognized it as Wanda. The intern. “Why, Wanda?” There was a pause before she spoke again, “The fingerprint belongs to him Sergeant, It belongs to Detective Ashton.” The world stilled for the Sergeant as he beheld his long-time colleague. A murderer of 9 people of all ages. He seemed so passionate to find the killer. He had us all running through a loop.

********

When Zac woke up, it was a month after he was found. He had been placed in a Mental Asylum. A straight jacket wrapped around him. He all his 45 years of life. He hadn’t felt more scared than now. What had he done? When did he get there? And Did he kill all those people?

He later learned he had been awake for that whole month. Everything they said didn’t sound like him at all. He was so confused. Of course, that’s not you. A voice much like his own spoke. It’s me, my actions, My artwork, It’s all me baby. The voice snickered. This body is no longer your’s Zac. You’ve had it too long. It’s mine now, Mine! It’s the Chance Killer’s time to shine.

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