NOTE: With the exception of light editing, this story appears here as it originally did on another of my blogs (which is now shut down). I want to thank Shaitan from The Pagan Circle for saving this for me, as I thought I had lost it. Thanks, Shai! The rest of the series will be password protected.
When the manila file folder slapped down on my desk, the first thing I noticed was its thickness. They say size doesn’t matter, but when its a murder file, it does. The larger the better, in my view.
It was near the end of the day, around four, when the thick manila folder came into my life. It seems cases like this always came around when things were getting “interesting” in my personal life. Julia and I were getting together for supper tonight. She was making pot roast.
As usual the dick that left the folder scurried away as quickly as possible, so he didn’t have to actually speak to me. People around here are like that, you see, fearing what they don’t understand, and hating what they fear.
I let the disdain of the dick slide past me as I opened the thick manila folder. On top of the stack was a picture. A good looking woman, brown hair hanging over her forehead, full red lips pushed open by her tongue; her white teeth barely visible. Her blue eyes, the color of the sun-bathed ocean, were wide open and a look of shock was on her pretty face. My first thought was ‘It happened quick.’
A second photo displayed her torso. Clearly visible on her chest (what was left of it) was a pentagram written in blood. The north point rested just below her neck and the “east-west” points each came to a stop on her rib cage. The two “south” points were perfectly in line with her legs. The middle of the pentagram was missing (as was the middle part of her torso.)
I read the dry report, written to convey information only and to distance the writer from the grisly scene he witnessed. “Victim found in the middle of the room. Victim was naked; arms outstretched as if in a giant hug. Victims legs were splayed apart. No obvious signs of sexual activity (though an examination will reveal more.) Victim found lying in middle of giant pentacle with five black candles at the points. Layout suggest Satanic ritual murder.”
Satanic? No, not Satanic. That’s the fear element coming out again. A pentagram on her chest and a pentacle on the floor? I took another look at the photos. Whoever wrote the report, a C. Johnson, he misidentified the symbols used. Both were pentagrams.
Why would the killer use a pentagram? Let me see, what do I know about pentagrams? They come from ancient Babylon; were once used by early Christians to represent the five wounds of Jesus; are now used by various Neopagan faiths; and have ties to Freemasonry.
Why would he use this particular symbol? Does it mean something to him? Absently, I page through the other photos looking for another clue. Three photos catch my attention. The killer wrote a word on her forehead. It wasn’t visible in the first photo because of her hair. It said: Vidi. Latin for “I saw?”
I check the next photo. It’s the bottom of her right foot. “Veni.” Latin for “I came.” I had a hunch of what would be on her left foot and I was right. “Vici.” “I conquered”. The louts in homicide probably didn’t know what it meant, which is why I got the case. This may prove a motive, but I reminded myself not to get to attached to one line of thinking. It may not mean exactly what it appears as.
I set aside the word photos and flipped through the rest. Various shots of an over packed bookcase; a dirty stack of laundry; dark paint on the walls; a pile of, what looks like, occult related books; and a shot looking down into the trash can of empty bottles of red wine.
I set those aside for a moment and take a closer look at the written report. Who found the body? A cleaning lady, Mrs. Doris Malchett of Atlanta. Mrs. Malchett cleaned the house of the victim, Rachel Brown, and discovered the body of her employer at 9 AM today. On site examination marks the time of death at around 1 AM this morning.
Hmm, I hmmed. One AM. The coroner should have finished by now. I stood up, swept the photos back into the folder, grabbed my coat, picked up the folder and headed for the door. Time to talk to a coroner about a dead woman.
I guess the pot roast would have to wait a little longer.