One day ago, the police had arrived in their screaming vehicles and, guns drawn and search warrant in hand, knocked down the front door of the one story ranch style home. Minutes later, they had escorted an overweight man into a squad car and drove him away. Detectives arrived and dusted needlessly for fingerprints and took photographs of the house. That night, after the local reporters had left, technicians loaded a body into the back of an ambulance. It rolled away slowly and quietly into the Arkansas night.
Back at the station, the man was being questioned by the police.
Tell us where the rest of the bodies are and we can try to take the death penalty off the table.
Please don’t hurt my babies… not my babies… I’ve worked too hard to see them destroyed. He stared into the distance, seeing no one. You won’t let them hurt my babies, will you?
This guy has lost it, Rogers thought. Makes since- we find one mutilated corpse in his kitchen and a living room covered with newspaper clippings. They all detailed the disappearance of young women and men from the surrounding area- oddly enough, no babies had been reported missing. But that’s all he’s been talking about for hours.
Where are the babies? I promise we won’t hurt them.
The man’s eyes went wide and Roger thought he detected a momentary flash of lucidity. You promise?
Sensing a break in the case, Rogers responded in a child’s tone I promise. We won’t hurt your babies.
The man visibly relaxed in his seat, saying the babies are buried in the basement with their parents.
Armed with this knowledge, forensic experts arrived with shovels and sledgehammers began excavating the basement. Men carried huge pieces of concrete up the staircase, creating a pile in the front yard that once again attracted the local media. They had been digging for less than five minutes when the shovel abruptly stopped.
A few hours later, the recovery was complete. Rogers pulled up to the house and climbed out of the patrol car. A cop met him at the door. You’re not going to believe this one he said.
You find the bodies? Rogers asked.
Funny you should ask the cop said, heading down the stairs into the basement. He stopped. You go on ahead- I don’t want to look at them again.
Without a word, Rogers slipped past the cop and surveyed the room. Six bodies lay in a row on one side of the basement, all but one covered in a sheet. An investigator was kneeling down and photographing the corpse as she made notes on a small pad.
What do we got? Rogers asked.
These people were tortured. You see these cuts? Rachel pointed at the chest of the victim. They weren’t deep enough to cause massive blood loss, and they certainly weren’t the cause of death- they had already begun to heal before the poor girl died. She was probably kept alive for weeks, judging from what we found beside her.
What did you find beside her? Looking down at the decomposed body, the face still beautiful in death, his words lacked all meaning and fell from his lips like polished rocks.
Too weird to explain. I’ll show you- they’re pulling up the first one now.
Five men had gathered around one of the holes and were lifting something heavy out of the ground. What in the hell Rogers thought, another body? They placed it on the edge and stood it up.
It was a marble statute of a nude woman. What in the hell Rogers repeated to himself.
There’s five more down there, apparently. Son of a bitch sculpted each one as he was torturing them. Weird thing is- and this does nothing to detract from the fact that this sicko should burn in hell- they’re damn good. We’ve got an art expert enroute to get some insight, but I talked to him on the phone earlier- he said a good marble sculpture can take months to complete. Rachel nodded her head and took a deep breath. Son of a bitch.
Rogers looked again at the statute, approaching it with a mixture of revulsion and wonder. It was good. He remembered going to see the Davide as a kid, and being awed by the realism an artist could create in a subject as unwilling and unforgiving as stone. The patience it required, the attention to detail- how could a man who could kill so brutally possess such a gift? He peered closer. The eyes seemed almost warm, flirting with him as the arms floated gracefully about. Were those veins? The mother fucker sculpted her veins he thought as his mind imagined an earlier scene, one in which the victim had watched the man sculpt her image as she begged for her life, her untarnished image staring back at her in frozen frivolity as she languished in the sick slickness of her own blood. Don’t hurt my babies…
I take it we’re going to be able to nail this bastard? Rachel asked, closing her notepad and covering the last body up with a sheet.
Yeah Rogers mused, his eyes once lingering on the statue and inevitably comparing it to the twisted image he had seen moments before. I don’t think he’ll be getting out.
Good. She walked up behind him, her voice rushing past his ear. Let’s get some fresh air.