Four years into my search with bupkis to show. I had combed through every book, research paper, official statement, unofficial statement….I still have no idea what really happened to Professor Daws that day. An extended power outage at work allowed me to come home early. On my doormat laid a thick manila envelope. Only one word was written on it: Relevant.
This is what I found:
Case # 20170162
Officer: Det. Daniel Summers
Subject: Wilkerson Murders
Arrived on the first scene (WILKERSON HOUSE) at 7:00am. Uniformed Officers had the place locked down tight, and Forensics was already scrubbing the place top to bottom. They were being extra thorough. I was afraid I was going to knock over one of their tags, or get in the middle of one of their shots. One of the officer’s on scene brought me to the bodies, he said I had to see them. All of the other officers and the entire forensics team decided to come and huddle around me, they either wanted to see my reaction or hear my analysis. Usually this would entail multiple pieces of different bodies arranged into varying shapes, or excessively gory displays of psychopathic “art.” What I found was more disturbing, and at first I believed it to be an elaborate prank. The bodies themselves laid next to each other, one male one female. I recognized the man as a drifter that the department had picked up and jailed for vagrancy several times.
“Who’s, the lady?” I asked to whoever would answer.
“Alexis Wilkerson.” One of the forensic guys called back.
All eyes were on me. They wanted me to see something, to say something. I examined the bodies: fully clothed, no signs of sexual abuse, no signs of ritualism. Cause of death would likely have been that large gash in each of their throats. No weapon around, so they didn’t do each other in. Fairly text-book. The biggest mystery now was why were they in the same room (well that and who killed them, when, where, and with what). It was then I saw it, or rather I didn’t see it: blood. There was no blood anywhere. Not around their throats or on the plush silvery carpeting. No splatter anywhere. I started to laugh.
“Ok, which one of you guys organized this? The dead bodies are a nice touch, but I’m not falling for it. Also, wasting department resources on something like this is a crime so I want to know who put everyone up to it.”
“Excuse me, sir” one of the forensic officers spoke up, “It's not a joke. This is a real serial homicide”
“Then where exactly is the blood?”
“We don’t know, sir. There is preliminary evidence of exsanguination, but despite the assumed cause of death we haven’t found one drop of blood anywhere in this house. That's why we wanted you to take a look. We thought you could shed some light of this for us.”
“Blood doesn't just disappear. If there isn’t any blood in the house then they must have been killed somewhere else.”
“With all due respect sir, there is no evidence of the bodies being moved-”
“Then the killer was careful and methodical. He’s trying to hide his butchering room. Do you have an ETD?”
“We won’t really know until the ME can do an autopsy, but our best guess is the man was killed within the last 72 hours and the woman was killed in the last 12.”
“So,” I addressed the entire gathering, “that proves it. They were both killed by a third party somewhere else. Or this lady would have been tip-toeing around a dead body for almost three days without calling the police.”
Everyone was nodding in agreement.
“What do we know about Alexis? Husband? Kids? Family?”
“Husband: Raymond Wilkerson, 42 years old. Middle Manager at Datatec. Daughter: Jenna Wilkerson. 14 years old. Student.”
“Ok, fairly textbook. Have you talked to them already?”
“No sir, we haven’t been able to locate them. Mr. Wilkerson had called in a leave-of-absence from his job this morning, and excused his daughter from school.”
“Dammit. I think we have the killer, and he may have a hostage. Put out an APB. I want them found and brought in for questioning. Raymond Wilkerson is to be considered armed and dangerous.”
I left the scene for the next one (BENACHINI HOUSE) a few miles away. I walked into a mess. Books, Newspapers, Plates, silverware, strewn about. Furniture was flipped. The body was lying prone in a corner, forensics team on scene told me cause of death was a cut throat, but no blood found anywhere. Same MO as earlier. They also said there was evidence of blunt force trauma. ETD 48 hours. So first the vagrant, then Mr. Benachini, then Ms. Wilkerson. There was no obvious connection between the three of them.
“Officer, what do we know about Mr. Benachini?”
“Vincent Benachini. 42 years old. Phone Jockey at DFI.”
“DFI?! The Import/Export/Obvious-Mob-Ring that we could never get enough evidence to bust? That DFI?”
The Officer just nodded.
Organized Crime. That adds a new wrinkle, and it makes a lot of sense, but….no...this was too messy. Guys like that don’t just leave dead bodies laying around, and they don’t waste time with exsanguination. People have disappeared, and if they appear again it's face down on a stretch of beach with all of the evidence conveniently washed away. I left the scene. Nothing more for me to see here.
I had to wait a while for all of the evidence to come in. I worked on some other cases in the interim. When I got word that both crime scenes were bagged and tagged I went to evidence and signed out the box. Among the various artifacts carefully bagged and categorized I noticed a small nondescript book. The label on the bag called it a “Diary.” It was bright pink and sparkly, obviously Jenna’s (maybe her mother’s...or her dad was way more screwed up than I thought). I had my qualms about reading a fourteen-year old girl’s thoughts, but there are three dead people and two missing, and I needed any information I could get.
Some relevant passages:
Author’s Note: Sorry for the double framing folks, but I can only work with what I got.
...but I don’t really care about any of that other stuff. It seems so stupid now. Last night there was a break in. I heard the window break and my father storm downstairs. I snuck out of my room to the top of the stairs and looked down the railing. A strange man seemed to be confused and babbling to himself. Dad demanded that he leave, but the man jumped at him. Dad caught him by the forearms and pushed him back...then...ok I know this sounds insane, but the man started to grow another arm out of his shoulder, but it wasn’t an arm really. It was more like a giant black claw. I didn’t even had time to scream before he did it. My dad...he...raised one hand and just slashed across the guy’s throat. When he raised it I could have sworn I saw a knife in his hand, but it wasn’t there after he split the guy’s throat open. The weird part was there was no blood. Only a red mist came from the wound. And dad, he just seemed to breath it in. Every last drop. Is it “drops” for gas? I don’t know. Anyway every last little bit he deeply inhaled. What the fuck, dad? What the fuck? Anyway I hightailed it back to my bed. I thought I would ask dad in the morning, but I didn’t. No fucking way.
I don’t care about school or boybands, or any crap like that anymore. Maggie can have that shallow bastard. I think I just grew up today, or maybe I’m still in shock. Maybe I was in a car accident and this is all just a bad coma dream. Yeah soon I’m going to wake up and be surrounded by doctors and a crippling headache that they’ll say will go away in a few days. Dad picked me up early from school today. Management scheduled a full office cleaning and computer maintenance for the afternoon and let everyone go home. Anyway, he picks me up just after recess and I’m glad to leave early. Dad wanted to have some father/daughter time together. Since he was promoted I only really get to see him briefly at night and on the weekends. When I got into his car I heard the click of the locks and I remembered what happened the other night. I decided to man-up--Woman up? Whatever. I decided to ask him about it. I told him that some noise woke me up the other night. He said that a local homeless man had broken into the house and that he tried to stop him. Unfortunately, he ended up breaking his neck in the struggle. The police were called and took away his body. Luckily they didn’t take dad to jail. Maybe there wasn’t a disappearing knife or strange red mist. I must have had a bad dream after and just mixed it up with what really happened.
We got ice-cream and started talking about...well really nothing. I did most of the talking, but at least he listened. When we left I thought we were going straight home, but dad said he needed to make a stop first. When I asked him where we were going he told me it was to see one of his old friends. After we made a turn dad started to become alarmed. “GET DOWN!” he shouted at me. I was confused, and began to ask why, but he just gave me some weird psycho look and I immediately slouched down as far as I could. All I could see was the blue of the sky and various powerlines and tree branches, clouds were starting to roll in and the sky was turning a weird purple-orange color. The branches from the trees overhanging the road somehow seemed more gnarled and brittle, and I know this sounds messed up, but I could swear I saw faces in them. I cautiously looked at dad though the sides of my vision. He seemed worried. He gripped the wheel tightly, and his eyes kept darting back and forth across the road. He was breathing heavy too, but trying to control it. We made a few more turns.
Eventually the sky was fully clouded, but the trees seemed to go back to normal. Dad told me it was ok, and I could sit up again. I asked him what that was about. He just smiled at me and gave me some cock’n’bull about it being a bad neighborhood. There isn’t a bad neighborhood for at least 3 miles, and even that one just has some kids that like to graffiti everything up and steal from convenience stores. I just nodded. I figured he would tell me the truth eventually and I didn’t want to start an argument.
We arrived at his friend’s house. He asked me to wait in the car and that he would only be a few minutes. My curiosity got the better of me and I snuck up to the door and pressed my ear to it. My father was shouting, “...better not be any of your friends behind this!” Crash. I could hear the other man weekly protesting, “It wasn’t me or any of us I swear. We all stopped that shit years a-” I heard a large slap of flesh against flesh and another crash. “C’mon man. I don’t know why this is happening. Cut me a b-.” I could hear the man gurgling. “Now let me tell you something, Vinny. I know it was you. And I know I’ll get the truth this way. If you didn’t do it, then I guess I’ll owe you an apology when I get to Hell.” I decided to get back to the car. How was I going to ask dad about this? I don’t want him to know that I know anything. And really I don’t know anything so that should be easy. I took out my phone and thought about calling the police, but no I couldn’t do that to my dad. Not until I at least heard his side of the story.
I didn’t hear the driver’s side door open,
“Hi princess. Ready to go home?”
“Sorry, did I scare you?” he asked.
“Yeah, sorry.” I smiled, “Just got caught up reading some stuff on my phone.”
We drove in silence for a bit. Eventually, I couldn’t take it any longer.
“So,” I started, “Who exactly was that?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. It was an old friend of mine from college. He called me the other day and said he wanted to catch up. Since I got the afternoon off I thought I would stop by his house. After getting in some time with you of course”
“I see. So is he a nice guy?” I fished.
“Yeah, but he was always kind of weird. Hung out with this occult group. All of them were a bunch of weirdos.”
“Occult? Like black magic and stuff?” I did not like where this was going.
“It's was more nuanced than that. They did do rituals and make potions and stuff, but it never worked. They dove into every religion on the planet and every quack ‘traditional’ medicine out there.”
“Why would they do something like that?”
“They claimed they wanted to find the ‘Truth beyond the world’ or some horseshit like that. It was fun at first, but a few of those guys started to get way too into it. And then I was out.”
“Wait….you were apart of that kind of thing?”
“Yeah, briefly. You know college and all that.However you can only get explosive diarrhea from a magic potion so many times before it stops being fun.”
“So it just resulted in a case of the runs?” I smiled and almost laughed. I was starting to think my dad was some dark wizard demon from the seventh layer of hell….
“Yeah, but some of those guys...well it went beyond Ouija boards and Wicca for them. They started to really go nuts. Eventually one of them found some weird book and the others got so excited. The next day one of them brought their pet cat in and the other brought an atheme-”
“Atheme. It's a ceremonial knife.”
“Oh my God Dad...they didn’t...you didn’t...”
“I don’t know what happened. I saw that, put two-and-two together and I left then and there.”
“So is that why you’re so nuts about going to church every week.”
“Yeah, there are some messed up people in the world. Its best to walk in positive circles.”
It was quiet for awhile, but there were still so many unanswered questions. I decided to take a chance and fish again.
“I heard a loud crash. Did anyone get hurt?”
Dad looked uncomfortable, “Um...yes...you see…”
“Dad,” It was time to start being slightly more direct, “Did you hurt him?”
“When I first got there he was all smiles and we started catching up on old times, then he started demanding some money I owed him. It got heated and I threw him against the door. I’m sorry, I guess I let my temper get the best of me. I did pay him back by the way...years ago. He must have forgotten.” Money? That's seriously what you’re going with Dad? I didn’t know why my father was being so evasive it's not like he killed that guy...oh no Dad...you didn’t...did you?
“Hey, hey,” Dad started in a soft comforting tone, “Its ok my girl. I’m sure he’ll be fine.” Dad wiped my cheek. I hadn’t even noticed that I had started crying. I could feel the cool lines where the tears were.
“I love you Dad” I sniffed out.
“I love you to Jen.” He said with watery eyes.
Have to keep this short. Mom grew one of those arm things, and she had this weird purple looking knife. Dad stopped her. Now she’s dead in the living room. Dad says we have to go and he’ll explain on the way. Don’t know where we’re going. Don’t care. Just leaving this in case anyone needs to know what happened to us. Dad’s screaming for me to hurry and pack. Have to go. Bye diary, I hope I get to write in you again some day.
Magic? monsters? This is preposterous. I wouldn’t be surprised if this diary was a plant from Raymond. Psychopaths are often extremely methodical and detailed, and what better way to make a case go cold than to taint the evidence with a child talking about monsters. Sorry buddy. Not buying it. I’m going to find you and bring you in.
He didn’t even explain the vagrant's body being their next to his wife. He said that the police picked up the body that should be easy enough to check.
Ok. So that part at least checks out. Apparently two officers did respond to a call from that residence about 2:00am on the 1st. Paramedics were called, and a body was picked up according to the report It was never logged into the coroner. Guess I need to get on the phone with the-
Is this a joke?! I know there is something funny going on now. One of the Officers listed is “Det. D. Summers” ME! I was never out that night I went home and...and...no I was in the office working on a...no...what did I do that night? I really need that vacation. Anyway, right now I need to get on the phone with my junior detective, apparently he was also listed...why the hell would two detectives immediately respond to a call?
Just got off the phone with Barry. He told me that when the call came in, I insisted on taking it immediately instead of the uniformed officers, and that he went with me because I was acting strange (I must have been to break protocol like that). We got there called the medics and they bagged and loaded the corpse into an ambulance. I told Barry to take the car back himself and that I would ride with the doctors. Why the hell would I do that? Why don’t I remember any of this?!
Brief flashes. I could see myself telling the doctors to leave as I signed the body into the morgue, but when they protested I….I got mad and...I saw myself rolling the body away and...back into the ambulance? Or was that the first time it got put in? No I didn’t help the first time. My head hurts like a motherfucker...Just 3 more days until I’m off for two weeks with my family in a nice little chateau up in bumfuck nowhere Maine. I really need that vacation, all this crap can wait until I get back. The order must be preserved.
I sat there for just a minute rereading some of the passages. At least now I have several more clues and names to search for. Granted I have no idea how to contact any of them, and one might be ax-crazy, but I’m still a little further than I was.
I looked at the envelope it came in: Relevant.