Chapter 23.

Detective Strong investigates the murder.



Strong arrived at the murder scene as soon as the description of the priest had been given to him. The body was still on the ground covered by a white vinyl material. Strong approached the cadaver of the priest and lifted up the white sheet and was horrified at the sight that greeting him.

“Good lord, is that a bible in his mouth?” asked Strong to another detective.

“Yep. And it is solidly in his mouth, I can assure you. The pathologist on the scene tried to remove it and was unable to. He said that the force used to shove it down was extreme. For that reason alone he believes the killer was a man.”

Strong continued his examination of the body. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except for the bible in his throat. He recognized the priest immediately, and even in death and on the ground he looked massive. “Time of death?” asked Strong.

“Well according to the pathologist as rigor mortis has not yet set in, it could be only a couple of hours ago.”

“Where is the witness?” asked Strong, looking around him.

“She’s right at the back giving her deposition.”

Strong decided to speak to the witness immediately as the events where still fresh in her mind. “Mrs. Collins, can I speak with you for a moment?”

Mrs. Joanna Collins was about 55, a wisp of a woman weighing perhaps less than 110 pounds with a pleasant face framed by short blond hair. She appeared to be a strict woman with pinched lips.

“Mrs. Collins, my name is Detective Strong. It seems that you saw what happened to the victim, didn’t you?”

“Well detective, not quite. I guess I arrived at the end when he was dead. How horrible, our priest at Hollytown. A godly man killed for no reason at all and by something that I can’t describe.” she said. A handkerchief suddenly appeared in her hand and she began wiping tears from her eyes, clutching it for dear life.

“Now please, start from the beginning and tell me what you saw.” said Strong.

“Well, I was walking through the park and just as I turned the corner I saw someone on the ground, and something that was completely black on top of him, with his hands on his face. Even if the sun was beginning to set this man was very dark or he wore dark clothing I guess.”

“Continue please.”

“I approach the scene from behind and I was then able to see that the man in black was pushing something down our priests throat. At that point I didn’t know that it was our priest of course. I continued approaching the scene and that is when I recognized our priest.”

“And then what did you do.” asked Strong.

“I screamed when I saw who was on the ground, and I screamed again when the man in black turned around and I saw his face.”

At those words Strong smiled, hoping that the face that Mrs. Collins had seen could be described in details and with a good drawing of it perhaps the killer could be caught. Strong never really believed that some black smoke was killing people and assuming a solid form when it wanted to kill. “Please, tell me about the face, why did you scream at the sight of it?”

“Well, because even if it looked like a face, it had no real features. It did have a nose, ears and a mouth, but it was all black. He had no eyes you see, only deep black sockets where the eyes should have been. It was like looking at something that was inhuman. The worst part was when it smiled at me, it smiled! And I could see no teeth at all, just blackness. I have goose bumps just thinking about it.” said the woman.

“After this being turned around and smiled at you, what happened?”

“It did the most surprising thing as it transformed itself into a black vapor and then slowly rose in the sky and disappeared.”

“Well thank-you Mrs. Collins for your testimony. Please stay in town in case when need to talk to you again.”

“Tell me Detective, what was it? A man cannot transform itself into vapor and into a solid. Is it human?”

“Mrs. Collins, truly I do not know what it was. I am investigating this matter seriously. Again, thank-you for your cooperation.”

Mrs. Collins left the scene still thinking about what she had witnessed. Strong wanted to be alone and think. Clearly this testimony meant that Horn was right, this thing can transform into vapor to escape and into a solid when it wants to kill. He decided to call Detective Fisher to know about the whereabouts of Horn the night of the murder.

“Fisher, this is Strong. Tell me, still following Horn wherever he goes?”

“Yes of course, why?”

“Tell me, where was he last evening between 6 and 9.”

“Well, around 6 he received the visit of the priest. The priest left around 6:30. Horn stayed inside his house for the whole evening so he was nowhere near the park where the body of the priest was found.”

“Alright, so at least he has a solid alibi for the evening where the priest was killed. In addition, the witness of the murder had corroborated some of the testimony of Horn about the appearance of that thing.” Strong said.

“You mean the description of the thing?” said Fisher.

“Yes. As well as the fact that this thing can transform itself into vapor when it wants to escape or into a solid when it wants to kill. The complete blackness of the thing was confirmed as well. Also, the absence of features of the face. It was simply all black, no eyes but empty black sockets.”

“Well I guess that Horn was right all along and our expert in science was wrong it seems.” Fisher said.

“Yes. It seems that science is wrong about this case or it is simply outside the bounds of science. Thanks Fisher for the information. Good-bye.” said Strong.

“Good-bye.” said Fisher.

Strong decided to take a walk in the park in order to sort out his thoughts. Now that he knew that this thing was something probably not human, how does one go about capturing it? Can Horn be used in the process? After all, it seems that it was part of him before it escaped. Maybe it was possible to have it come back into Horn, but how? These thoughts and more swirled into the detective’s head.


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