Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! The sound of the alarm clock pulls me violently from my slumber. I rise and wipe the sleep out of my eyes, and reach over to the nightstand for a cigarette. I hate the crumby things, but I’m addicted. The smoke fills my lungs and completely wakes me. My wife, Mary, is downstairs making breakfast and being quite noisy about it. I shower quickly and put on my uniform. Black slacks and a black button up shirt with varied gold attachments with things like “sheriff” and “A.S.P.D” on them. I put on my name badge. “Officer Charles McClain” is etched in a gold rectangle on my chest. After lacing up my shoes that shine as if lights are embedded in my toes, I stomp down the stairs and sit at the table, watching Mary closely as she makes my breakfast of orange juice, sautéed eggs, and bacon. Mary is a woman of 39, her long brown hair is usually swaying down to her back, but today she has it ratted up in a ponytail, and has pin curls on the sides. Mary and I have been married for 10 years. She has a real 18 karat heart, and I love her. I pick up the newspaper while biting in to a piece of bacon. “MASS MURDER OF 1957” graces the front page in large black letters. Alder Stream normally is a quite town, so this stirs up a lot of attention. We’ve been working on this crumby case for months now, with no leads to the murderer. So far, 27 victims have been found, but, here’s the thing, we can only find their hipbones, and at each place, there has been a note connecting the killer to why he chose such an anomalous set of remains to leave behind. 27 notes later, and we’re still confused by it. It’s the strangest thing I’ve seen in my 19 years on the force.
“I’ve gotta split, I’ll be late. I love you.” I say to Mary as I give her a kiss on the cheek. I head out to the brisk Maine air.
As soon as I walk in to the station, Officer Strickland hands me a file on yet another set of hips found. They were identified, due to bone marrow scans, as belonging to Linda Mansfield. She was a college student in from the big apple. A real barn burner if you ask me. What a shame. I ride out to where Mansfield’s remains were found, because there was no note found, which was suspicious. Walking back in to the frozen swamp area, I noticed a shirt laying in the frigid slush between water and land. I picked it up, the iciness burns the tips of my fingers. After the shirt unfurls, a note wrapped in plastic drops to the ground. I unwrap the plastic carefully, on this piece of paper was perhaps the most spine chilling thing I’ve ever read. “To: Charlie McClain- Closer to the heart, farther from life. Your beloved sits at home, waiting.” At the corner of the paper was one blood red finger print. It was completely head spinning. I ran as fast as the slippery tundra would allow me. I didn’t even take the evidence back to the station; my only concern was if Mary was safe. I was so scared about what I was going to see when I sped in the door. Our life together was flashing before my eyes. The day we met, August, 16th, 1938. She was at the park and I tripped on her skirt. The day we got married, January 20th, 1947 she insisted that we get married in January, which I found absurd, but I didn’t care because it was adorable. I flip on my siren and speed through town, rushing to make it home in record time. I sharply pull in to the drive way and run to the door, my heart was beating out of my chest and my thoughts processing haywire in my head. My hands are shaking so violently that my keys are jiggling as I open the lock. Upon opening the door, I automatically notice how stuffy and still the house is, I hear a noise upstairs, I hurriedly climb the stairwell and dash to the bedroom. The window is open. I look out. There’s a body in black clothing lying in the snow, mangled and in blood. I scream because I think its Mary, but upon closer inspection, I see the cadaver has facial hair. I am slightly relieved but still worried about Mary. I search the house, she isn’t upstairs, I go to the living room. The television is turned on. I turn around frantically, as soon as I see the recliner, time stops. My heart and my knees hit the floor. In between sobs and whipping my eyes so that I can see, I read the note taped to the back of the chair. I feel my face flush white and my consciousness slipping when I read “Say hello to Mary” and in a pool of coagulated blood, sits two thin hipbones.
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