Thirty six in six months. That's one per week. The seventh month has just begun.
Embedded in the Dark Road
Outside Tuscon, we saw another hitch hiker in the dark road. “Who is this one?” Head Investigator Wondell stood over a body of a female of about thirteen.
Assistant Head Investigator Hidde bent down over the body. She had a small thin box with a tiny oblong bar in front of it in her hand. Hidde pointed it just above a small metal tag on the dead body’s neck right under her chin. A few seconds later she pulled it away – and looked at a small screen that took up the whole top of the box. “Her name is Milinna. She is one of the missing girls we have been looking for.”
‘Tuscon is a small community in the middle of nowhere. That’s probably why all of these bodies have been found embedded into the road along here. Most of it is dark – even during the day when the sun is out. It’s the perfect place to get rid of a body, but why are they doing it like this? The trees lining both sides of that road is what makes it always so dark. Being a seldom used road is also why all the bodies have been found there.’ Thought Wondell.
“How many does that make now?” Wondell tried not to stare at the unclothed female. He kept diverting his eyes - using Hidde as a shield between them.
“This one makes thirty-seven. The killer is starting another month,” said Hidde after glancing at The Box.
“Any sign of sexual activity?” Wondell asked.
Hidde passed The Box over Milinna. Then she turned toward where she thought Wondell stood, but found him behind her instead. “Don’t know for sure until we get the results of the Death Exam, but according to The Box she is still Untouched.”
Wondell started scanning high up into the trees on both sides of them. “I want a report on all the Video Units we set up a few months ago.”
“I have already contacted them, but they are going to be like all the others. They will be blacked out for almost two hours,” said Hidde. “When they come back on someone else will be dead.”
Still checking out the trees with his eyes Wondell said, “I know that, but we have to do it. We got less than a week before another Young One ends up dead.”
Wondell and Hidde returned to The Office. He went back to his desk while Hidde escorted Milinna to Examination. ‘I hate this part of the profession: waiting for Hidde to return with the results of the exam.’
‘I like it a lot better when the dead is male. Then I would be in Examination instead of Hidde, but all the deaths on this Problem have been female.’ Wondell leaned back in his chair.
It took over an hour but Hidde finally entered the offices with the results in her hand. She maneuvered her way through the clutter of desk, chairs and other Investigators until she got to her desk opposite Wondell. “Nothing new.”
Wondell took the results offered by Hidde. After looking them over he said, “I’m not surprised. Whoever this killer is they know how to not leave any proof-of-guilt behind.”
“You don’t still think it’s another Law Enforcer do you?” Hidde asked.
“I hope I’m wrong, but it’s starting to look that way,” said Wondell. “Whoever this killer is, Law Enforcer or not, they are a Wanderer. None of the females have been from Tuscon. They have all been from this Territory though.”
Just then a piece of paper shot up through a clear tube between their desk at one of the edges. Both reached for it, but it’s Hidde who got to it first. After reading it she said, “It’s the Weekly List of Leavers.”
“How many are there this week?” Wondell asked.
“Seventy-two in our Territory. Five thousand three and fifty-six total for all Regions,” Hidde answered.
“More and more Young Ones are leaving. Vanicon has always had a lot of Leavers, but it’s gotten a lot worse in the last twenty years,” said Wondell.
“We try to teach them not to leave home,” replied Hidde. “No matter how bad it is or how bad they think it is there is help out there if they just ask for it.”
“You give that speech every time we get one of those, and every time I tell you there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Wondell. “We warn them of the dangers. I’m not talking about hitch hiking. That’s minor compared to some of the others. At least it was until six months, going on seven now, ago.”
“I’m not the only one who gives speeches weekly. You do it every week like I do,” said Hidde. Still, looking at the paper she added. “Good news. Nolli is on the list.”
“I don’t like using Outsiders – especially Young One,” responded Wondell. “I’m still against using a fourteen-year-old to kill a killer before he kills again.”
Nolli had small metal tubes sticking out of her ears. She acted like she’s listening to Loud Noises, but what she’s really doing was communicating with Wondell and Hidde. “So far nothing has happened.” Just then she stopped. “I think a Hover Transport has been following me.”
A minute later the Hover Transport stopped next to Nolli, and the top disappears to reveal a man, in uniform, behind the Controls. “Can I help you? Are you new to our Community of Forcon? I’m here to help. All you need to do is ask.”
That’s the last time Wondell and Hidde heard from Nolli, but she didn’t end up on that dark road too. They didn’t get there in time to save Nolli, but they did kill him before he could kill anyone else. Looking down at the dead killer Wondell thought, ‘We will probably never know why he killed them or why he embedded them into that road.’