SINGAPORE SLASHERS – Part 4


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 4.

(While all locations are real, by necessity and for authenticity, the events and characters are entirely fictitious.  Please read this as a Draft.  I am writing this from memory.  Please excuse inaccuracies.  I will amend these as I get the chance to peruse my old diary entries and copious brochures and pamphlets I acquired while living there.  A murder mystery requires research, but in order to try to keep up with the spontaneity of NaNoWriMo projects, I will get on with the narrative, and tidy up the errors in the Second Draft stage.)

Singapore Slasher – Part 4

Next morning the team arrived at Orange Grove Road for a more thorough search, while as predicted a snarl of traffic snaked along the road, squeezing through the narrowed section with inches to spare.  But nothing was found.  No sign of the weapon.  No traces in the undergrowth, behind the gate, behind the wall, in the gutter other than soggy leaves washed there by the early morning drizzle, or on the pavement.  Apart from the already-swabbed, coagulated blood on the steps, and a ‘clean patch’ on the darker aged pavement at the base of the steps, there was nothing.  The team had also swabbed this area the night before to determine if detergents had been used there.  These samples were in the CSI laboratories awaiting testing.

Watching the writhing traffic from her living room window vantage point, Lara Castle cradled her coffee mug against her chest, and turned down the corners of her mouth.

“Troy’s not gonna be happy about this, then.  He’s gonna blame me.  Bugga.”

She turned away, replenished her coffee, and turned on the TV.  The news was full of the story of the murder.  A rare occurrence in Singapore, it warranted the major news time-slot, with ‘On The Scene’ footage.  There on the screen was the crime scene, a close-up of the blood on the steps, pulling back past the fluttering Police Tape, and the searching minions in their eerie jumpsuits, to a generic reporter in her make-up, sleek hair, and fitting suit, speaking at a higher pitch and, due to the traffic, higher volume.  The fact that the TV crew and their vans were adding to the congestion didn’t seem to faze her at all.  It just increased the horn honking.  Suddenly Troy moved into the shot.  Lara gasped.

“Here is Mr Troy Castle, whose wife discovered the body last night.”  She shoved a hand-held microphone into his face.  “Tell me, Mr Castle, what happened?”

“My wife was coming home from work late last night, when she found the body sprawled on the steps over there.”  He pointed behind him to the steps in the background, leaving no doubts as to the exact location of the crime.  This ensured that all the ghouls and thrill seekers would know exactly which steps to have their photos taken in front of, as soon as the crime scene tape was gone.

“Why was she late?”  The mike was thrust towards him again, then retracted as she added, “And why was she walking alone in the dark at such a time?”

Disconcerted at the twist to his first statement, Troy’s eyebrows snapped together into a scowl.  The reported smirked.  “She always walks home late at night. She teaches at a language school and the classes are always after hours.”

It was the reporter’s turn to look a little disappointed – she’d expected a bigger bite, an angrier response than that.  She tried again.  “Well, can you tell me what happened?”  She smiled encouragingly.

“She, my wife, was walking home, came round that bend (pointing), and there it was.  Sprawled on the steps.  With its head back and its throat cut.”

Delighted by these salacious details – a real bonus – she rewarded Troy with a wonderful smile.  Mollified, and smoothing his already slick hair, he grinned back at her.  She edged a little closer to him.  “How do you know these details, Mr Castle?”

“Because I saw the body too.  I came down with her to wait for the Cops – the Police.  And there it was.  Well, there she was.  It was a pretty Singapore girl.  Lovely hair, and tiny feet.  But dead.  Quite dead.”

The reporter took a step back from him.  This was a little more than she had expected, and though it was much more than she’d hoped for, and could only boost her career chances, there was something rather unsettling about the way he had responded.

“Well, that’s all for now,” she began, but Troy interrupted her.

“It’s a damn nuisance though.”

Startled she said, “What?!” a thing she tried to never to say – well not like that.

“Well.  Look at all this bloody traffic.  How am I supposed to get to work on time now?”  Troy waved his arms around indicating the very obvious traffic, totally oblivious to the fact that he had just cursed on Singaporean television.

Watching the screen, mouth open in shock at Troy’s revelations, but not at his attitude, Lara hoped there would be no repercussions.  Shaking her head at his folly, she moved to the bathroom.  She needed to shower and dress, then catch a taxi to the police complex to make her statement.

* * *

In his office earlier than normal – the investigation of murder wasn’t the norm – DI Lim watched the screen in disgust.  How could that Expat be so indiscreet?  Now he would have to go into immediate damage control.  And he’d probably get dressed down by his Superior.  He shook his head, lips in a tight line.  What a way to start an important investigation.

The door crashed open as DS Lee burst into the room.

“Sir.  Sir.  Did you see that on TV?”  He registered, the news footage on the TV screen behind his boss’s shoulder, then the angry expression on his boss’s face.  “Oh.  You did.”

Other than compressing his lips till the line became white, Lim didn’t respond, but turned to move behind his desk.  “I will deal with that man when he comes in to make his statement after work.  I should go down and haul him out of work, when he gets there, but as we didn’t take down those details last night we can’t do so.  Well we could go back to the apartment and get them from his wife, but I think we’ll just hit him with it when he gets here.  He won’t expect it.”

Lee nodded, afraid to comment.

Realising that he should have stopped speaking after the first sentence, Lim sighed, shuffled some papers on his desk, and asked, “Has the post mortem report come in yet?”

“Just a preliminary one so far, Sir.  Throat cut by a right-handed person.  And it looks like someone washed her feet carefully, and creamed them.  And her hands as well.”

“Like she had a pedicure, and manicure?”

“Yes, Sir.  Same, same.”  As Lim frowned, he added, “It looks like that, Sir.”

“A right-handed person doesn’t help us much – that’s the majority of the population.”  He tapped his pen on the desk.  “Nothing else?  Had she been interfered with?  There was semen in her hair.  Was it anywhere else?”

“Yes, Sir.  It was in her hair.  And some on her neck.  And her knickers, her panties were missing, Sir.”  Lim’s eyebrows shot up.  “They had been removed.  We didn’t notice before, because her knees were together.”  Lim nodded, as an image of the girl, sprawled up the steps, knees together and feet placed carefully on the pavement, flashed into his mind.

“What about ID?  Did they find any purse or handbag?  Any ID cards?”

Lee shook his head.  “Nothing, Sir.”

“Did they look in the gardens of the Shangri-La?”

Lee nodded.  “Yes, Sir.  Nothing there, Sir.”

“Widen the search area.  Look in all the garbage bins, and dumpsters, and skips, at all the buildings along Orange Grove Road, and Stevens Road.  Maybe they’ve been thrown in a bin nearby.”

“I’ll arrange it now, Sir.”  Lee moved towards the door.

“Then come back here.  We need to go to the Shangri-La and look for witnesses.  And I think we’ll go and talk to Mrs Castle on her own.”

“She is coming in this morning, Sir.  To give her written statement and sign it.  Will we wait for her?  Or go to the Shangri-La first.”

“Yes.  Yes, she is.  Bother.  I wanted to talk with her first.”  He paced up and down a few times while trying to mentally sort out his priorities.  “I think we’ll head over to the Shangri-La first.  We don’t want to alienate the Manager.  If Mrs Castle arrives while before we return, she can give her statement to DC Yeo.  And then wait for us.  Then we can add to it after we chat with her.  See to it.”

Lee nodded, then hurried out.

* * *

In a Salon on the third floor of Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road, a pretty Singaporean girl reclined into the relaxation of the special massage/pedicare chair, and wriggling her toes presented her feet for attention.  She smiled into the face of her attendant.

(C) Jud House  15/11/2012

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SINGAPORE SLASHER – Part 2


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 2.

(While all locations are real, by necessity and for authenticity, the events and characters are entirely fictitious.  Please read this as a Draft.  I am writing this from memory.  Please excuse inaccuracies.  I will amend these as I get the chance to peruse my old diary entries and copious brochures and pamphlets I acquired while living there.  A murder mystery requires research, but in order to try to keep up with the spontaneity of NaNoWriMo projects, I will get on with the narrative, and tidy up the errors in the Second Draft stage.)

Singapore Slasher – Part 2

Detective Inspector Lim JiaJun looked down at the sprawled body, then sadly shook his head and sighed.

“Poor girl,” he said softly, to himself.  Turning, he waved the SOCO team to go ahead, then moved over to where the Australians stood, half turned away from the coming indignities that the dead girl would go through, yet not wishing to leave in case it were the wrong thing to do.

“You are Lara Castle?  I believe you called the crime in to the SPF?”  Still he spoke quietly, but there was no doubt as to his authority.  A quiet authority.  Impressive.

“Yes.”  Lara nodded.  Then shivered.  The night was clammy and a little cool now.  “I ran – well staggered actually – up to our apartment complex over there,” pointing towards it, “as soon as I saw she was dead.  I didn’t touch her.  I could see the gash on her throat.”  Drawing a ragged breath, as she relived the moment, she continued.  “I called from the lobby.  Well – the Concierge called for me, then I spoke to someone and told them.  About the body.  And where it was.  They said to wait by the body till you came.”

DI Lim nodded.  “What time did you find her?  And how long before you returned?”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t look at the time.  All I could think of was to call you, the police, as quick as I could.  To get you here.  But the Concierge may know.  And the phone record will tell you.”  She paused, then added, “I’m sorry.  I didn’t come straight back here.  I went to our flat and told Troy what had happened and that I had to go back, come back down here.  I wanted him to come with me.  I didn’t want to stand here alone waiting in the dark.  I didn’t feel her skin so I didn’t know if the killer was still here watching, or if he had long gone.”

DI Lim had been listening and watching her closely.  She was obviously someone who believed in accuracy – she had corrected little details as she spoke – so was probably honest and truthful.  Her husband had said nothing so far.   He turned to him.

“Can you verify that?  And do you know what time it was?”

“Yep.  I reckon it was about twenty past nine when she came in.  Roughly.”

“I knock off at the school where I teach English at eight thirty.  It’s in a side street off the Raffles end of Orchard Road.  It takes me about half an hour or a bit more, to walk home, depending on whether I have to wait for traffic lights, or if there’s things I stop to look at.”

DI Lim suppressed a smile.  Not the right time to be smiling.  But he liked this woman.  “And was there anything to look at tonight?”

“Not really.  And I got mostly green lights, though I had to wait by the old Art Deco theatre.  You know, the one they are remodelling, or renovating into apartments.  I love that building.  I wish it would stay as a theatre.”  She smiled unconsciously.

“Lara.”  Troy spoke sharply, startling her.  “He doesn’t want to hear that rubbish.”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to waste your time.”  She swallowed convulsively, then looked Lim in the eyes and proceeded.  “No.  I had a good walk home, till I got to the bend and the steps, and the – body.”  Another shiver.  “Poor girl.  I wonder who she is.  And why  she ended up like that.  No-one deserves that!”  Her suddenly angry voice echoed along the street, shattering the silence that had descended once the police sirens were turned off.

DI Lim took a step back, Troy put his hand on her shoulder and gave a little shake, the SOCO team all lifted their heads, looked at her, then returned to their tasks.  Camera flashes flickered intermittently.  In the trees a night bird called and was answered from a distance.

“Sorry.”  Another apology.  Why would this woman need to keep apologising.  Insecure?  Looks like her self-esteem takes a bit of a pounding from her husband.

“It’s not a problem.  You have been very clear with your statement.  It is appreciated.”  Formality over, he felt oddly compelled to add,  “Your concern is natural.  We all feel it.  We always do.”  Then returning to formal mode, “We will need your statement written and signed.  Can you come tomorrow to the Police Cantonment Complex?  It’s 391 New Bridge Road, Block C.”

“Yes. of course. Taxi drivers would know where it is, wouldn’t they?  What time should I come?”

“In the morning would be good, so we have it at the start of the investigation.”

Troy scowled.  “What about me?  Do I have to come too?  I have to be at the shipyards at seven.”

“No.  But if you could come in on your way home to add a small statement from when your wife arrived home till we arrived that would be appreciated.”

“So you really mean ‘Yes.'” Troy grinned suddenly, unexpectedly.  “No problems.  I’ll come after work.  Thanks.”  As Lim nodded then turned away, Troy asked, “Can we go now?  I think my wife needs some dinner.”

“Yes.  You can go.  Thank you.”

Dismissed, the couple hurried away to begin their climb up their steep driveway.

“What have you found?” Lim asked his Detective Sergeant, Lee Ong, who was squatting over the body, now that the SOCO team had moved away to pack up their equipment.

As Lim joined him beside the girl, Lee said, “Not a lot, Sir.  There’s no ID on her, no purse, no jewellery.  It could have been a robbery, Sir.  Maybe she resisted too much.”  He shook his head.  “But I don’t really think so.  Her clothes have been disturbed.  SOCO found semen, Sir.  In her hair.”

They looked down sadly at what had been a pretty girl – glossy black hair cut in a long bob just below shoulder-length.  Her full lips were parted in a grimace, her eyes wide open, still staring.  Her once lithe body flung like a discarded ragdoll, with legs spread but turned in at the knees, and her arms out and away from her sides, her delicate wrists kinked, her palms up, with lotus-petal nails.  Her feet were bare.  And clean.  And seemed to be placed exactly neatly on the pavement beneath the bottom step.  Lim raised his eyebrows.

“Did SOCO get a snap of that,” he asked, pointing at the feet.

“Yes, Sir.  We all noticed that.  It’s like it’s the only tidy thing about her.”   He reached down and lifted her foot gently in his palm.  Beneath it, the pavement was also clean and dry.  Lim widened his eyes, then looked into Lee’s expectant face.  “I know, Sir.”

“Well done, Lee.  Call the photographer back to take some snaps of that also, please.”  He straightened up.  “They can take her away now.  Did the search of the steps, walls, street, undergrowth and gateway find anything?  We’ll need to get that checked in the daylight, thoroughly.  And maybe into the grounds of the Shangri-La.  I’ll have to talk to the management so that they know what is happening.”

They stood together watching as the body of the pretty girl was loaded into the mortuary van and quietly driven away up the hill towards Orange Grove Road/Orchard Road/Tanglin Road corner.

(C) Jud House  5/11/2012

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SINGAPORE SLASHER – Part 1.


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 1.

(While all locations are real, by necessity and for authenticity, the events and characters are entirely fictitious.  Please read this as a Draft.  I am writing this from memory.  Please excuse inaccuracies.  I will amend these as I get the chance to peruse my old diary entries and copious brochures and pamphlets I acquired while living there.  A murder mystery requires research, but in order to try to keep up with the spontaneity of NaNoWriMo projects, I will get on with the narrative, and tidy up the errors in the Second Draft stage.)

Singapore Slasher – Part 1.

The thing about Singapore is its air of ‘Safety’.  Although a fair size city of multi-cultural enclaves housing millions of people, there is very little apparent crime.  True – you could see unobtrusively-guarded orange-overalled gangs picking up litter and cleaning the street gardens at times during the day, but their crime was Littering.  It was the cleanest city she had seen.  Mind you some of the rules were a tad over the top, yet the resulting benefit was evident – for example the No Chewing/Bubble Gum Law.  It was great to not see jaws continually grinding and rotating, no bubbles being blown at inappropriate times and places, and for that matter no spitting either.  Manners prevailed – mostly – despite the diversity of cultures.  Amazing really.

She couldn’t quite adjust to the fact that she could walk home from teaching English at the language school late at night, the full length of the well-lit Orchard Road, then down along the less-lit Orange Grove Road with no sense of danger, no feeling of anxiety, no looking over her shoulder ‘just in case’.  It was very odd.  Back home in Australia she couldn’t do that.  Not even in the outer suburb of Perth by the ocean where she lived.  She would not feel safe.

Yet here she was, strolling along, alone, late at night, unaccosted, past the pick-up-bars busy plying their trade, past the boy-girls sitting on the pavement walls, smoking, chatting and calling to passers-by, in complete confidence.  It was amazing.  As if she was a different person – unafraid and carefree.

The first time, her husband had met her at the school and they’d strolled home together.  The city was much quieter at this time of night, peaceful, very little traffic and relatively few people on the street.  Those that were, were clustered around the supermarkets and food halls that were still open, though preparing to close down.  The air was cool and moist – it was always moist in this city.  The aroma of Singapore noodles wafted out of the food halls as they passed.  Their footsteps echoed on the pavement.

It was a chance to look at the city without the obstructive noisy pushing jostling crowds that needed your full attention to navigate safely.  Odd word to use, but a different kind of safety.  One of reaching your destination in the neat unfrazzled state in which you set out.  Of not getting crowded off the pavement and into the road.  Of not having people step out of doorways without looking right in your path, stepping on you if necessary.  Of not being accosted by tailors trying to sell you a suit – “Do I look like I want a suit?!”  Orchard Road is quite a long road, with many Hotels, commercial premises of all types, restaurants, government buildings with wonderful gardens, then shops, shops, shops, majestic Emporiums, underground malls interconnecting with shop-lined tunnels, cinema complexes, food halls galore, and bars.  During the day it is constantly busy.  On weekends there is easily a hundred thousand people moving along it.  She learned to avoid it at the weekends.

But at night it was peaceful, serene, mystical, enchanting.  At night she had time to look at the city, to drink in its atmosphere, her surroundings, and admire the buildings.  The architecture was wonderful, colourful, stylish, a real mixture of designs, making it stimulating to live amongst.  And fun.  There was even a building decorated as a Mondrian painting.  Fantastic.  She loved the Singapore architecture.  And the city seemed to change from week to week – certainly month to month.  How could they build so fast?!

Sometimes, when her husband met her, they’d have a bite to eat at a food hall, or grab some groceries from a market store, as they passed, to cook for a very late meal when they got home.  But other times, if it was very late, she would walk home alone, then have the meal he’d cooked when she arrived.  It was a different pace of life there – a different pattern of living.  They went out for casual meals frequently – food was so cheap in the food halls and cafes.  They spent their weekends visiting places – Botancial Gardens, the Zoos, both day, and night zoos, Sentosa Island, exploring the various computer-mart complexes, riding the MRT out to the suburbs to visit the Chinese Gardens, the Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, Raffles Hotel, the CBD, and on and on.  She loved it.  She felt like she really ‘had a life’.

Mind you the humidity was hard to take at times.  Thank goodness their apartment complex had a pool and spa in which she could cool down.  They had a poolside barbeque once a month for all the tenants which was socially bonding.  There were many people living there on a permanent basis, others semi-permanent like she and her husband – just there for the duration of a contract, while others were more like hotel guests.  But it made it feel more like home, as people became familiar faces, then friends.

So it was so shocking when she turned into Orange Grove Road, passed the Shangri La Hotel, and found the body propped against the steps to the rear gate at the corner of their wall.  It was obvious that it was dead.  It was not curled up in a peaceful sleeping position.  It was sitting on the bottom step with legs extended, draped back up the steps, head back on the top step, eyes staring into the jungle that dangled down the walls, sides and over the top of the gate-arch.  Across the exposed throat was a dark gash, visible even in the dim light and shadows cast from the nearby street light.

She took a step closer, peered, then backed away and ran down to the steep driveway of her apartment complex.  Reaching the Security Box just inside the gate, she discovered that the nightwatchman wasn’t there.  So she struggled up the slippery, steep, always-difficult drive to the lobby, where she staggered in, gasping.  Calling out, she banged her hand, rapid fire, onto the lobby counter bell.

“There’s been a murder.  Call the Police!  Are you there?  Can you hear me?  Call the Police!”

A startled Concierge emerged from the back room.

“Call the Police.  Let me speak to them.  Quickly.”

Luckily for her, the Concierge knew her well, enjoyed chats with her daily, understood her character as intelligent, humorous, practical, so realised that this was serious and not just hysteria or a prank.  While she regained her breath, and regained her composure, the Concierge dialled the counter phone, spoke, then handed it over.

After identifying herself, she explained what she had found and exactly where – calmly, precisely.  Handing it back to the Concierge, she thanked her, then turned to walk through the walkway by the pool, to the lifts.  At her apartment she told her disbelieving husband.

“There’s been a murder.  I have to go back down there and wait by the body till the police come.”

“No.  Stay here.  They’ll come to you when they are ready.”

“No. I have to go down and wait by the body.  So nothing gets touched.  They said so.  Please come down with me.  I don’t want to stand there alone, in the dark street.”

Dubiously, he shook his head.  Then, seeing her determination to do the right thing despite her vulnerability, agreed.  They returned down the treachorous drive, around the bend, to wait at the bottom of the steps.  After a glance to see that the body was still there, and in the same position as before, assumably untouched, they stood with their backs to it looking anxiously up and down the street.

Now it didn’t feel safe any more, even with her husband beside her.  Her heightened senses saw movements in the foliage, heard the creaking, twitching and scraping of leaves on leaves, the branches on walls, night creatures scurrying, fossicking in the overgrowth.  Singapore was continually overgrown – constantly being trimmed, cut back, pruned, brought under control.  Then it would rampantly break out again – usually in colourful abundance, which was a delight to see.   Except down the alleys where the mould also broke out and festered in the humidity, turning the walls to slime.

The arrival of the Police shattered the peace, shocking the neighbourhood.

(C) Jud House  4/11/2012

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EVERY 31 MINUTES – Part 3


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 3.

Every 31 minutes someone is murdered . . .

Well I tried to set off a chain of murders in the same town.  While they were feasable, though rather graphic coz of the need to commit the murder and move to the next by the given time, there is a feeling of dissatisfaction.  It was all a bit too much violence.  It gave the impression that this is all about gratuitous violence.  I hate gratuitous violence!

A book of murders, one after the other, with no investigations, just murder, murder, murder, would be horrendous!  It would be tantamount to voyeurism!  Not to mention a hand-book on murder methods!  Yujjo!!  Sorry, for the unenlightened, that means yukko!  Now where was I? . . .  I’m also inclined to think that it would pall for the readers very quickly, it would become tedious, and ho-hum, and nothing kills off a story faster than tedium.  Except for you psychopaths out there on the look-out for new victim possibilities and new ways to dispose of them, to get your kicks.

What I really want to do is show the full picture surrounding your murders.  The lead up.  The investigations.  The false leads and the final solutions.  The solving of your crime is the real point – not the crime itself.  For it to work there needs to be a separation between your crime and us, the onlookers, the voyeuristic solvers of the all-important mystery.  To work out the solution before the detective or the cops get there, is a bonus.

Then I thought that perhaps I need to jump the next group of murders to a different city on a different time line that would match up with my 31 minutes gap.  That could be the way to go.  This way you serial killers could stand down, and they could become isolated domestic murders, or sexual murders, or murders done for the most popular reason – money!  Lucre!  Greed.

That would allow me to have you (plural) commit your murders in daylight and not all at night.  I mean would you murder at 3am?  Well I s’pose some would.  This would take the focus off you individually, singular, and spread it out over the crimes, which would diffuse the intensity of it all in one way, but make it really awful in another.  To think that around our world there is so much hate and greed and insensitivity to good and evil, right and wrong.

‘Course that leads into another whole topic altogether – the rightness of some people’s right compared with that of another people’s right; and the fact that each thinks the others is wrong.  So it’s more a matter of good and evil.  There are some things that, no matter what culture you are from, are considered evil.  But then you psychopaths of this world seem to have sidestepped the gene governing this issue, this human factor.

I just had another thought that could mess this all up.  Bugga.

What if this ‘every 31 minutes’ isn’t actually every 31 minutes?!  What if it has been averaged out.

I mean that would make more sense wouldn’t it.  There are places in this world where people are killed, slain, thus murdered en masse.  Like the High School massacres.  Like the Twin Towers on 9/11.  And car bombs.  And trains and buses and their stations, bombed above and below ground.  ‘Course these latter horrific crimes are committed by you murdering bastards who use doctrine as a shield to satisfy your need for violence.  They are ‘you plural’ murders!

And do we include war casualties or not?  They are a kind of murder – well they are murder, just sanctioned murder.  But I doubt if they were included in the statistics.  This throws my whole plan into disarray.  Not that I think it was working very well in the first place.  S i g h . . .

Okay so I take another tack then.  If I can’t use the 31 minutes as the guide then I need to bunch them up, spread them across the World.  A mass killing here.  A single secret murder there.  An accidental then covered up death elsewhere.  Hmmmm  . . . .  If I do that then it’s back to the appearance of gratuitous violence.  Bugga!

Nah.  I can feel myself going off this idea rapidly.

Maybe a combination of them all.

(C)  Copyright  Jud House  7/11/2011

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EVERY 31 MINUTES – Part 2


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 2.

Every 31 minutes someone is murdered . . .

Midnight – New Years Eve.

 The attack was swift and sudden.  The blade sliced into his left side and up towards his heart.  His chest ripped, ribs broke, as he stumbled forward onto the knife, pulled out with violence.  He gasped, his eyes bulging in disbelief.  From his open mouth came gurgling, sputtering sounds.  He wanted to cry out for help, to scream his agony and fear to the party-lit street, but he could get no volume.

Without a word his attacker turned and left, purposefully, with no appearance of panic.  Alone, and to the sounds of revelry from every house, he clutched at the nearest fence, staggered along it to the gate, then clung to the gate-post to gain the strength to open it and proceed unaided.  He didn’t get far.  Dropping to his knees, then down onto his hands, he dragged himself about a body-length across the grass beside the path.  With a spluttering gasp he collapsed face down and lay still, as his life ebbed from him, and his senses faded.

Suddenly there was a great shout into the humid NorthWest night.  Cheers.  Auld lang Syne!  People spilled out of the houses and called to their neighbours.  Barbeques were re-ignited and meat was soon sizzling.  Music blared from various sound systems – Michael Jackson competing with Pink Floyd, Meatloaf, ACDC down along the street.

People danced on the grass, and wondered about the gate-crasher who seemed to have had a skin-full.  ‘Should we wake him?’  ‘Nah.’  ‘Leave the poor bugga to sleep it off.’  ‘Fair go – it’s New Years after all.’  Banter.  Laughter.  Arguments as a couple get too drunk and nasty.  The parties break up and people drift off home.  ‘Cover the gate-crasher with an old car rug or he’ll catch his death.’  ‘Night.’  ‘Seeya.’

Quiet descends on the street, on the town.  The humidity mists onto the lawn and the body, glistening in the street lights till they too turn off.

* * *

12.31 am 

The pounding his wife was taking was beyond description.  He’d sorted out the boyfriend, and now it was her turn.  Again.  It had been going on since Xmas.  She’d screamed then, but noone came to help.  Her neighbours, her friends thought they’d make the situation worse if they did, and domestics weren’t considered as priorities at that time.  If they waited till he went to work, they could make sure she was okay then and help her get away.  But he didn’t go out, and she didn’t appear again.

The beatings got a bit worse each time.  Furniture was smashed, he yelled abuse, then forced her to cook his meals without snivelling or she’d cop it again.  The last time had crippled her, broken her legs,and ribs, and she’d lain on the bed, bound hands and feet, in a foetal position, unmoving since then.  Into her mind had crept the incongruous thought of Douglas Adams quote in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy about ‘bits of her kept passing out’, and had wanted to giggle but couldn’t.  The pain was too great.  Her eyes were all puffy and she couldn’t see, and wouldn’t know if he was standing there watching her.  So she kept still, and when she was conscious pretended she wasn’t.

But it was no protection from the sudden beatings, each more shocking than the last as she had no way of knowing when they would begin.  He pulled her by the hair and flung her, still bound, across the room.  He kicked, and kicked, and kicked, before pounding into her head with his fists.  After flinging her back onto the bed, he quietly picked up his knife.  It had done such a good job on that bloody boyfriend.  Now it was her turn.  Bitch!  He slashed her unprotected body, watching the terror in her eyes.  Then he sorted her face out as well.

Closing the bedroom door for the last time, he went and made himself a cuppa, and a sandwich, and turned on the TV to watch the New Year fireworks replay.

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1.02 am 

In the High Rise apartment complex a drugs deal was underway.  The men entered the dimly-lit central courtyard through the ground-floor car-parks and headed for the lifts.  Pretending to press the button, then retreating to the base of the stairs, the Dealer swore.  ‘The bloody lift’s out of order again.  Have to climb the bloody stairs!’  ‘What floor?’  ‘The bloody top of course.’  ‘Geez!’

Halfway up the mugginess was getting to his Mate, so the Dealer told him to wait while he went to see the kid.  Didn’t wanna spook him anyway.  He might rack off before doing the deal.  He plodded on up.  The Mate leaned on the railing and looked around the compound created by the railed walkways lining the inner walls of the complex.  Geez he’d hate to live here.  Looked like a prison.  He leaned over and glanced down at the courtyard.  At least there were some palms in tubs down there, some greenery.  Mostly paving, but.

On the sixth floor, the drugs had changed hands, the money been counted and the kid had sauntered off.  Descending to join his mate, the Dealer commented on the couple of gay guys in the courtyard below.  ‘They shouldn’t do that in public!  Not even at night.  Kids live here.’  His mate craned his neck to get a look.  ‘What?  Where?’  ‘Down there.’  Pointed to the thickest foliage below.  ‘You’ll have to get on the step and lean out a little.  See?’

He crossed to the lift and pressed the button calling it up.  He returned to his mate, leaning dangerously out trying to see the gay guys in the gloom below.  With one swoop he grabbed his mate’s legs out from under him, tossed him up out over the rail.  In three steps he was in the lift which was ready, barely hearing his mate’s furious frantic scream or the sickening thud as his body hit the concrete paving slabs below.  His head struck the corner of a garden-bed wall, splitting open and spattering its contents onto the cool leaf-strewn surface of the courtyard.

Leaving the ground-level lift he hurried to the courtyard to gaze up as if startled by the scream, as people appeared at the railings and peered down for the same reason.  Several men approached the body.  ‘Call an Ambulance!’  ‘Call the Cops!’  A tall, bearded Bikie grabbed a dropsheet from a nearby carbay to throw over the nauseating sight.  The smug Dealer slipped away to hide in the air-conditioning plant room till it was all over.  Petty blackmail sorted.

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(C) Copyright Jud House 6/11/2011

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EVERY 31 MINUTES – Part 1


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 1.

Every 31 minutes someone is murdered . . .

Wow!  How unreal is that!  ‘Course that’s worldwide I s’pose.  But imagine if that all happened in one place.  I mean how would you manage it?  There’d have to be some serious time management going on to be able to get from one place to another in time to commit the next murder, and the next, and the next – if you were a serial killer.

‘Course you could cheat and have a roomful of victims and then line them up and kill one every 31 minutes.  But then you’d have a crowd management problem.  Unless you had help.  But that would take the glory away from you.  Besides it wouldn’t be fun watching the people waiting for their turn.  And you might find yourself feeling too much sympathy for some of them.

Nah.  That would defeat the purpose.  You’d need to be able to carry it out as a clinical experiment.  What the media would call ‘cold-blooded murder’.  But clinical is the right word for it.  And it would only be an exercise to see if it was manageable – do-able as they like to say these days.

You’d have to think it through carefully, methodically.  You couldn’t leave any possible glitch unexplored.  You’d have to find a locale that would allow you to move from one place to another within the time-frame – 31 minutes is not very long.  And in that time you would have to fit in the killing of the victim.  And you’d have to do it silently.  If you were to go round shooting each victim, unless you were moving from sound-proof booth to sound-proof booth, you would barely get the second murder done before you were stopped.

Nah.  You had to find somewhere where people worked close to each other but might not notice that noone was answering their phones for a while, or keeping their appointments.  Somewhere like a Uni campus maybe.  You could walk along the passageways, duck into a lecturer’s office, kill him, close the door and move off down the hall to another wing of the building.  You could watch your clock, as you’d have to reset it as soon as the first murder was done so that the next one would be exactly 31 minutes from the last.  And of course to give you just enough time to pop in and surprise the next lecturer.  It could work.

You could try the same thing at a government department, like the Tax Office.  That’d be funny.  But getting in could pose a problem – they would have heaps of security.  Or the dole office.  Or any big business for that matter, but the major stumbling block would be having a legit excuse to be there in the first place.  So that you blended in.  ‘Course you could be a cleaner – nobody notices them.  And that would give you a trolley to carry your killing gear around under the cleaning stuff, or mixed up with them.  And that
could work at the Uni too, but then again they probably clean after hours there, and for that matter they probably do the same at the government offices as well.  Bugga.

Buuuuuuuuuuttttttttttttttt………….. You could pose as a student at the Uni.  You could be a student.  They have so many mature age students these days that you wouldn’t be noticed.  Besides the kids would probably mistake you for a lecturer.  That’d be a good disguise too.  Either way if you carried around a pile of books noone would look twice.  You could carry a crate of books, plus killing gear, around with you – you’d seen that done many times when you were there yourself as a student.

Yep.  The more you thought about this the more you realised that the Uni was the perfect anonymous place for murder.  Well of this type anyway.

Now.  How would you actually kill them.  This would be the tricky bit coz it would be gross if there was blood everywhere.  And you had to do it without any noise.  The walls between the offices weren’t exactly sound-proof, so you’d want the person next door, assuming they were in their office, and you had to assume that, to only hear the usual murmur of people conversing.  You’d need to have a stock question ready to ask the lecturer, something he could turn away from you to check on his computer, timetable or calendar.  Nah, timetable would be no good – it’d be bound to be stuck up on the wall by the door as you come in.  There’s hardly room to swing a cat in those offices so everything has its place, space is at a premium.  Except for the department heads, and you’d give their offices a big fat miss.

So maybe you’d have to hit them over the head with something.  When they turn their backs on you to look up what you want to know you could clobber them.  But this would leave a lot to chance and it’s not like you can just move on to the next one coz that’d stuff up the whole point of the thing – the experiment would fail.

So you’ve got to enter their office within a few minutes of deadline, have opening dialogue with them establishing who you are, what you want to know and possibly why you want it, and then have them turn away to find it, quite happily, willingly, grumpily, or whatever.  But they must turn away.  Then checking your time you pull out the weapon and clobber them.  Hard.  And once.  There’d be no time for slip-ups.  Time is the thing.  And it would be soooooooo important that you killed them out-right.  Otherwise they could identify you if you only knock them unconscious.  And if they see you before you strike, they might call out alerting their neighbours.

I know!  I know!  You could stick them in the back of the neck, thrusting upwards into the skull, with an awl, or hat pin – though where you’d find one of the latter I’m not sure these days – maybe a stall at the weekend Markets.  Better still shove it into their ear right into the brain.  Either way there’s very little blood, and you can pull it out and take it with you so it can’t be traced at point of sale.  You’d have to coordinate very carefully and surely though – hand around over the mouth and shove, twist, and yank out again!  And you could carry a few spares in case one gets stuck.  Cool!

‘Course you’d probably do a dry run, a test drive to see if it would be feasable.  It would allow you to see what distance you can place between each kill.  Not that you couldn’t return to the first building for a second run at it, if you remain undetected.  And you’d want to be seen around the place as someone that’s usually there.  But the problem with that is that the victims would be alerted to your existence.  Okay if all goes smoothly and they die.  But what if, when you open the door to enter, they say ‘Not today.  I’m too busy to see you today.’  That could stuff things up in a big way.  Experiment failure.

Unless you drop something off for them to fill out and for you to collect at a set date and time.  That way you could ensure your victims were in loco when you wanted them.  But then you’d have to deal with the fact that your details would be on their diaries, time and place, and it would stand out like a flag to the cops.

Well that could be an advantage.  ‘Course you’d give a false name to the lecturers, and the form to be filled out would be of your making and not belong to any legit department.  And you’d make sure they had got it out ready to hand to you before you hit them.  Or you could take it from them and turn away and turn back as they turn back to their work and then hit them.  But it does leave a lot of room for error. They could get up to leave for a class as you leave.  Yep – too many variables.  And it would be important to retrieve the forms coz they’d have your prints on them coz you could hardly
hand them to them while wearing gloves.

(C) Copyright Jud House 3/11/2011

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