The Dark Room

Cara Thereon's kitten sipping milk from her finger

Follow up

Here I was, following a hunch.

I didn’t tell Mick where I was going when I left the station, determined not to say too much in case I was wrong. No need to bring the Calvary to an empty warehouse.

It wasn’t quite a warehouse I pulled up to fifteen minutes later though. It was a converted department store, an old Woolworths before they got too big. The facade was colorful even in the dead of night. I could make out the signs of the zodiac and the logo that said Signs Photography. It would’ve been cheerful in the daylight.

I was creeped the fuck out.

Moving around to the back of the building, I resisted drawing my weapon until I was out of the glare of the streetlight. My gut told me I’d need it tonight.

The back door gave way too easily when I tried it. If I was wrong, then my first suggestion to the business was going to be to invest in new locks.

I regretted not bringing my huge flashlight, but located my penlight before I plunged into darkness.

I don’t know what I expected to find, maybe something obvious like a dead body, but it was just a studio.

The typical photography studio. I spotted backdrops, canvas tarps, and props. I nearly walked into a tripod and barely prevented it from toppling over.

Moving toward the outer wall, I made for the first hallway, keeping my gun raised and the penlight shining ahead.

My heart rate started to jump up when I reached the last door marked dark room. I turned the knob, making sure my gun never wavered.

The room was filled with photos hanging from clips. They were of different events, people, and places. One was of a smiling face, a beautiful woman.

I moved further back until I reached a corner of the room. I was stopped by a photo of one of our dead victims just before she’d had her insides exposed. Her smile was forced, her eyes filled with fear.

The next photo, just by a small door, was the latest girl. He’d dressed her up like the others. His perfect doll…

Fuck, he’s going to kill her soon.

I reach for the handle on that small door. It also opened without trouble. He obviously wasn’t worried about anyone finding him. This time I scanned the darkness before I entered and saw something along the ground.

Crouching, I touch the glob closes to me. It was cold and wet.

It hit me. It’s tissue. He’s peeling off parts of his victims. The evidence is on the floor. My stomach threatened to turn, but I swallowed down the bile.

I ducked my head to enter the smaller room. Following the trail of tissue, I moved until I reached a cage. Before I could shine the light inside, I heard the muffled sounds.

She’s there, tied down, and dressed in the death gown he planned to kill her in. I watched as she struggled in her bounds, her eyes wide with fear. Very much like the photo of the other girl. I could almost taste it, it was so palpable.

I moved forward, and she started mumbling louder.

“Futch fot. Futch. Krful.”

“My name is Detective Lucas. I’m here to save you.”

She was emphatic. So much so that I turned just in time to see a man lift his gun to take aim

“But who’s going to save you?”


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