The flashing lights, strobes of blue and red, painted the porch and the solemn faces of those gathered at the latest crime scene. Crime scene tape criss-crossed the lawn, the front
steps, and was wound about the large weeping willow centered in the front yard. Its drooping arms and fluttering leaves seemed to be sighing, whispering grief into the ears of the detectives as
they made their way up the front walk. A generator was being set up and large halogen work lights were being set in place.
Detective Vivienne Trey climbed the steps to the porch, her sensible shoes squelching in the aftermath of the attack. She cursed under her breath and pulled a pen light from a pocket
of her blazer. With a click, the scene was illuminated in a soft yellow glow. She grimaced and spoke to her partner, Herman Chick. “What a mess. No witnesses, I’m assuming. No one home here,
“No, Vivi. No one saw nothin’. Same as the others.” Herman was a tall, beefy, leftover jock gone soft and a veteran with the force. He also happened to be Vivienne’s mentor. The pair
had seen this sort of thing before; this was the second massacre tonight. Matter of fact the partners had seen this sort of thing every year, always on this night, Halloween.
“Bloody hell, Herm. Why can’t we catch a break? You think it’s the same guy doing this, year after year?”
“Same thing, Vivi. Same thing, same day. Guy’s sick, I tell ya. We don’t catch a break soon, this is gonna be all over the papers. Some hotshot reporter is gonna put two and two
together, and there will be a panic. “
“Yeah, I can see it now.” Vivienne plucked a tin of mints from her coat pocket and bit into one, hoping the strong peppermint would overpower the stench on the porch. It had been a
massacre, all right. A real mess. She felt sorry for whoever was going to have to clean this up.
Stepping over the mess as much as possible, Vivienne looked at the windows and door of the house. Halloween decorations were taped everywhere, a cartoon witch had been hung on the
door, looking as if she had run right smack into it. The witch’s plastic broom bristles rustled gently in the breeze, the clouds drifted over the moon and the porch darkened. Someone, presumably
the perp, had unscrewed the porch light. Or perhaps the homeowners had left the light off purposefully, to discourage trick or treaters since they were not at home. ‘Thank goodness no one was home
when this happened,’ Vivienne thought. Whatever family lived here was in for a shock when they returned home. It was going to be Vivienne’s job to meet them, head them off before they saw the
slaughter on their porch.
“I’ll check to see if we got any fingerprints.” Herman mumbled around a toothpick. Vivienne nodded, already rehearsing the “I’m sorry for your loss” speech. Watching Herman try to
weave and shimmy his large body through the narrow splatter-free areas, Vivienne was amused to find herself thinking of those circus bears in tutus, dancing to Swan Lake.
She stifled the laugh as she saw an older model station wagon pull up across the street. A frantic looking Mother was held back by a worried, stern looking Father. Two small
children, dressed as a cowboy and a princess, were in the back. The Father and Mother attempted to shield them with their bodies. Father found his voice and hollered to Vivienne as she approached,
“Just what is going on here?!”
“Mr. Roes? I am Detective Vivienne Trey. Could you please have your wife move your car further down the street? There is something the children cannot see, and you will not be able
to go into your home just now.”
“What the hell happened?” He started to yell, his wife, a firm hand on his arm, shushed him. “Jonathan, the children are listening. Let’s just do what she asked.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Roes. Please, Mr. Roes. If you would step over here, we have some questions we need to ask you.” Vivienne motioned towards a squad car, stepping around to hide him
from the prying eyes of neighbors, somewhat. She pulled out a small notebook and flipped it open. “Now Mr. Roes, could you please tell me what time you and your family left home this evening, and
where you went?”
Running a hand through his hair, he tried to peer around her. She moved to block his vision and bring his attention back to her. He looked frustrated, angry, worried, but he spoke in
a shaky voice, “Um…we left around 6:00. I’m not sure exactly what time it was. It was dusk, the kids wanted to get trick or treating…my wife had cakes to deliver to the church party. For the cake
walk. We went straight to the church, then Shelly took them trick or treating while I stayed there. I was working the snack bar. We all went out to a fun house after that. Can I please know what is
going on now?”
“In a moment, Mr. Roes. Just a few more questions. Please, this is not pretty, but I will need you to come see this.” Vivienne led him across the street, trying to stay in front of
him, keeping him from running up to the porch. “Did your children carve jack o’lanterns this year, Mr. Roes?”
“Yes, but I don’t see what this has to do wi….” And he fainted dead away at the sight of the massacre on his porch. Vivienne tried to catch him, slowly crumbling beneath the man’s
weight. “Herman! Help me!”
“Damn, not again. The fathers always do that when they see the mess they are going to have to clean up come morning.” Herman stepped over a large chunk of pumpkin, one of the many
jack o’ lantern casualties that littered the porch. It was the same thing every Halloween, and Herman was sure that this was the year they would catch the Serial Jack O’ Lantern
((Hehe...did I trick ya? Thought it was a REAL murder, didn't ya! Blessed Samhain and Happy Halloween!!))
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