To Clean For Murder- Chapters 7-9
Mark was sitting in his office when the phone rang. He picked it up on the first ring.
“Bents here” Mark answered.
“Mark, this is Robert from the search team. I have some pretty heavy information for you, so you should come over when you get a chance. Soon would be nice” and he hung up.
Mark was waiting on the information so when the news came that it was ready for him, it was top on his priority list. He pushed away from his desk and walked out of his office and down the hall to Robert’s small cubby hole of an office. He was sitting behind his computer and was surrounded by stacks of papers. There were to small chairs that sat in front of his desk and Robert pointed to one motioning Mark to sit. Mark eased into one of the chairs not sure if it would hold him or not and moved a stack of papers out of his view from Robert.
“So what do you got for me?” Mark asked.
“Shit man, that place was fucking creepy. I have never seen so many dead people in my life in one area.”
“Wait there was dead people?”
Mark wondered why he hadn’t gotten a call yet. It made him mad but he had to suppress his anger. He would go to the morgue after he was done here.
“Yea, they were everywhere. Looked like they were all dumped in acid or some shit like that. Anyway back to why you are here. Along with the dead bodies, there was a lot of information packed into their computers. Good thing I am a genius at breaking codes because everything was blocked by codes and passwords.”
“Cut to the chase Robert.”
“Ok, ok. Well there was some information on the lab itself which was pretty interesting. It turns out that your lab is not sanctioned by the United States Science Organization. Whoever runs that place uses it for the reconstruction of diseases. To put it in your terms they make bad disease a shit ton worse.”
“Damn it, John was lying to me.”
“I would to. You could get put in prison for life with this stuff.”
“Did you find anything about a certain disease that they were working on?”
“They were working on a lot of diseases there. I mean every disease that the United States had a cure for, they were working on. And by the looks of it they were making some real destructive stuff.”
“Ok, I want you to look into those files there and see if you can find anything that resembles anything like what happened to the people you saw. And when you find it, I want to be the first person you call.”
“Ok, but it could take me a while to get through all that.”
Mark walked out of Robert’s office and straight to his car. He was steaming with anger about not being called about the dead bodies found in the labs. It was a short drive to the morgue. He parked in the back of the building and took the ‘authorized only’ entrance. The upper floor was used for meetings between the mortician and police, and was empty. He walked down the stairs that were just to his left and headed straight off of the stairs. He slammed through a door and spotted Lauren standing over a body.
“Why in the hell was I not called about the bodies found in the lab?” Mark said in a low yell.
“I have been busy and I was told that you were going to be called by one of your superiors.”
“Well I wasn’t.” He took a deep breath to calm his anger. “I am sorry that I yelled at you.”
She turned back to her body and began undressing what looked like a man. Mark walked over and leaned over her to see what was going on. He wasn’t surprised to see that parts of his skin were missing.
“So we have another one with the same markings.”
“Well now I see why they made you a detective.” She said in a sarcastic tone.
“Funny. I just got some information that explains a little of what is going on. The lab was being used as a research facility. The scientists down there were taking the major diseases that have been cured and reconfiguring them to make them worse.”
“That might explain what is happening to these people here. Did you find anything out about this?”
“No, I have Robert looking into the files he got from the lab, for anything that matches this.”
Mark went silent and watched Lauren work on the body.
She was a confident woman and it showed in her work. Her hands were steady and precise; her face was calm and unnerved. She seemed to enjoy cutting into the bodies that she worked on. To Mark she was beautiful and attractive. He had never had feelings for another in his life and was scarred at the feelings that he was having. He knew it would get in the way of his work and he couldn’t have that happen. His job required him to be free of mind and reliable. Form what he knew worrying about another clouded minds and made judgment hard.
She finished cutting into the body and shoved her hands through the cut into the body.
“You like doing this Lauren?” He asked trying not to lose what little he had in his stomach.
“Yea actually I think it is kind of fun and interesting. No two people are alike on the outside, but we are all the same on the inside.”
She continued digging in the body and started to remove the organs. Mark only looked at the liver that she pulled out first, then the hearth, then one of the lungs.
“You going to lose it detective? A little uneasy around the organs?” She said as she let out a small chuckle.
He looked away and waited for her to finish.
“Well it looks like everything in order here. On the inside this man here is as healthy as the average person. The others were the same way to. It looks like the only wounds go to the bone.”
“I see. So they die from the wounds?”
“Actually no.” She moved closer to the head of the body. “They are killed by the wounds taking out their windpipe. Cuts their breathing and they suffocate. Slow and painful.”
Mark studied the neck and noticed that it was red, as if it had a rash on it. It was surprising that a person could survive all the flesh being eaten away and be suffocated in the end. They looked at the body in silence for a short while longer and then Marked moved towards the door.
“I need to write some reports for the commander before he rips me a new one again. Keep in touch with me and if a new body comes in, let me know right away please. I always enjoy a call from you.”
Before she could say anything to his cheap pick-up line he left. He walked back through the building and back to his car. As he drove to the station he tried to shake the image of Lauren out of his mind. She was beautiful and he wanted her, in more way than one. It was a new feeling for him and he didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t afraid of being with someone. He was more afraid that he couldn’t be what they needed, that he was unable to fulfill needs that normal men could.
He pulled up to the station and parked in the reserved parking spot that had his name on it. Once up in his office, he sat in front of his computer and turned it on. It was going to be a long night of writing reports and it was only going to be made longer by the fact that he could not get Lauren out of his head.
He walked out of his office at three in the morning. He had finally finished his reports for the commander. He walked out of the station and was greeted with rain. Ah great. It just has to rain. Fucking rain he thought to himself.
He walked through the parking lot to his car. He was just about to pull open the door when he was jerked back by the shoulder. Trying to catch his balance he automatically pulled back a fist and swung, but didn’t catch anything but air.
When he was fully balanced he was looking face to face with an older looking man who looked as if he hadn’t lived in a home for some time. It was hard to make out his face in the dark and Mark didn’t dare get closer to look.
“What the hell do you want?”
His voice was soft and sounded like he smoked a pack and a half a day for the last twenty years.
“Yea. Why do you ask?”
“I have some information for you about the labs that you are investigating. If you would take some of your time for me, I could give you something that you might like to hear.”
It was late and Mark was only going to go home, so he thought that he might listen to what this guy might say. It might give him some amusement to brighten his mood a little. Mark motioned for the guy to get in on the passenger side.
Once in the car he started it and turned on his heater, which pumped out more cold air than hot air. He made a mental not to get it looked at when he had a chance.
“So what do you got for me.”
“I used to work in the labs not long ago. About the time they started all that testing crap.”
“What testing crap?”
“The testing of diseases. The shit that is killing everyone.”
“Ok, ok, what exactly did you do and why did they kick you or did you quit?”
“I was the head man down there and was overseeing everything. Though when I worked down there it was all legit stuff, you know trying to find a cure for aids and save the world.” He paused and seemed to be imaging the whole thing again. “Then we got new funding and they wanted us to start taking some of the more major diseases and recode them if you would say and make them more deadly. I didn’t think we could do it personally, so I played along. But when we started to come up with some deadly shit that we couldn’t cure, I protested. I went to my superiors and said that it was wrong and all that hippie shit. They finally got tired of me and told quit or I was going to get fired. Hell of a deal huh?”
Mark sat in his chair taking it all in. It was hard to believe but at the same time it wasn’t. Mark didn’t want to believe it but it made a lot of sense.
“So, let me get this straight. You used to work there and when they started all of the testing, that you didn’t like. You quit and got out. And what makes you come to me now?” He turned in his seat so that he was facing the man straight on.
“I really didn’t think it would get out into the public, but was you know it did. I am willing to help but I don’t know what I can do.”
“Ok well, you are the closest thing I got to a witness and you have some hands on experience, so you might be able to help. I need you to come into the station at about eight so we can get your formal interview done and we can have this on record.”
Mark took a deep breath and tried to act like a cop and not a person that is drunk on lack of sleep.
“Do you know who was giving you the new funding?”
“Not a clue. I just met one man in the beginning when the money came in. I only caught a name. Howard Killetski.”
Mark didn’t even try to remember the name. He knew he would never remember it when he was lacking this much sleep.
“Think of anything else that you can remember. I don’t care how small it might seem and come in at eight and be prepared to be recorded on what you just told me.”
He got out of the car and Mark watched him disappear into the night. Mark started to drive away and thought to himself that he never even got the guys name. It was too late to go back and find him and Mark really didn’t care that much. All he wanted was to get to his small apartment and sleep what little he could.
He pulled out of the parking lot, took a right on the wet road, and headed down the street. His car finally started to blow air that was actually hot and Mark cranked it to full blast. He was still going over, what the man just told him, as well as he could. It was a lot to take in and Mark struggled with it. This man could be a nut on the street trying to get a warm place to stay for a few hours. Or, he could be telling the truth and push Mark in the right direction on his investigation. He told himself to worry about it in the morning when he was more aware and not falling asleep standing.
He parked his car in his designated spot and walked to his apartment. He stripped off his clothes to reveal his well maintained body. He stepped in the shower and let the cold water fall on to his face. The water seemed to blast all of the stress out of him and it probably would have worked a lot better to relax him if it would have been hot.
He stepped out of the shower and dried himself off and crawled into bed. He looked at the clock one last time and read four-thirty. He was glad that he could get at least three hours of sleep before he had to start being a cop again. Sleep was the only thing he could think of at that moment. Not even Lauren was in his thoughts.
The morning came long before Mark wanted to get up. He let his alarm clock ring as he got out of bed and headed toward the bathroom. The alarm clock would keep him from falling asleep in the shower or anywhere in between.
He let the cold water from the shower hit him in the face and run down his back. Mark was used to the cold water that he didn’t even notice it. He let the water run through him like the blood in his veins.
When he was fully awake and tired of hearing the buzz of his alarm clock he got out, dried off, and walked over and turned off the clock. He looked at the clothes that were on the floor and thought about putting them on. They pants were covered in mud near the bottom and his shirt had the wear and tear of two days work. He walked over to his closet that didn’t boast much in clothes and picked out a pair of worn blue jeans and a button up black shirt. He used the same socks that he wore the day before and a pair of old used work boots. He picked up the leather jacket and his weapons holster and left.
It was cold out but the rain had stopped. Mark fought with his car to get it started, but eventually was on his way to work. The car was blowing cold air and the static from his speakers didn’t make the short trip very enjoyable. He was trying to remember everything that the man told him earlier that morning, but he was so tired that most of it was a fuzz. He was trying to remember if it really happened. He was hoping it really happened and he wasn’t just losing his mind. He heard that it happened to cops that were involved in deep cases like his.
He pulled in to the stations parking lot and parked in his spot. He walked out of his car and into the brick station. It was a busy morning and there were people at every desk, complaining about something or another. He ignored all the bitching and moaning and headed straight to his office.
When he opened the door he was greeted by the dirty smile of the man that he had talked to earlier that morning. He was relieved to see the man sitting there in his chair with his feet up on his desk.
“Making yourself at home I see.”
“Got tired of waiting for you, so I thought why the hell not.”
“Yea I guess. So I never got your name earlier, would probably be a good thing to have before we start the interview.”
“The name is Karl Vinchette” he said as he reached out a filthy gloved hand. Mark looked at it before giving it a quick shake.
“Good, now let’s get started and make it quick.”
Mark walked around to the front of his desk and grabbed a recorder out of his desk. He engaged it and recited his name, Karl’s name, time, and place of the interview.
Karl told Mark everything that he had told him the night before. He recited it with almost word for word precision.
“Is there anything that you would like to add to this interview at this time?” Mark asked.
“No, not right now I can’t think of anything.”
Mark disengaged the recorder and put it in the inside pocket of his leather jacket. He sat down in front of the desk on a very old and brittle looking wood chair.
“Mark I have a question for you?” Karl asked.
“What is that?”
“Well I was wondering that since I am the only one that is alive that you know of from the labs, could I work with you on this case. You know off the record, maybe get a shower and little bite to eat.”
Mark didn’t know if this man was telling the truth yet, or just mooching.
“I don’t know, I still have to verify that you are telling me the truth here.”
“Yea, yea I understand that. I can tell you that I am telling the truth, but I can see that you have to follow procedure. So tell me what have you found at the labs, anything relevant?”
“I can’t tell you what we found that is against policy, the only thing that you need to know is what you have heard on the new and even than I still don’t know how much of that is true.”
The man just looked at Mark and smiled. He had a smell to him that was starting to fill the room and Mark made a mental note to buy and air freshener and trade his chair with one of his co-workers when they weren’t looking.
“Well how about the shower and some of that food that I was asking about? I might remember something once I am clean and have some food in me. It has been about a week and a half since I have been clean.”
Mark sighed and got up and motioned for the man to follow. They walked back to his car and drove to his apartment. Once in the door the man stopped and seem to judge the place on how it looked.
“Damn man, there are places on the street bigger than this. You cops must not be getting paid a whole hell of a lot. You should have seen my place before the wife kicked me out for quitting.”
“Well your right about not getting paid a lot and I don’t need anything bigger than this. It is just me and I guess now you for a while.”
Mark showed the man the shower and gave him a pair of his clothes that he didn’t wear much. As the man was in the bathroom Mark walked over to the fridge to see what he had for Karl to eat. He didn’t have much in there, but managed to scrap together enough meat and bread to make a sandwich.
It was a half hour before Karl walked out and he looked good when he was clean. He was a middle aged man with brilliant blue eyes. It looked like he used Marks razor and perfectly shaped his facial hair into goatee. His body was had the wear of the streets on it, but he was still in good shape.
“You got some clothes I can wear, I don’t think you want me waking around in the skin.”
Mark pointed to a chair across the room that had the clothes draped over the back. The man disappeared into the bathroom again.
He walked out about five minutes later with the clothes on. He looked at the sandwich on the table and Mark nodded his head in approval. He had never seen a man eat so fast and so violently. You could tell that he hadn’t eaten in a couple of days.
“So why have you been living on the streets. You could have gotten a job at a fast food restaurant or something, or with you background maybe even a school or something teaching?”
“I didn’t think life was worth living anymore. I mean I lost my wife, my job, my house. What was there to live for. Then I hear about all this shit going down about peoples skin getting eaten away and I knew it was from the lab. My point of turn around. Maybe help you guys and get my life back in the right direction. I always liked the detective stuff anyways.”
“Sound like you have had a rough time.”
“Yea tell me about it.”
“Well, I can give you a place to stay and eat while the investigation is going on. But after that, I am not sure what I can do.”
“Alright, that is fine with me. Even this place is better than the streets.”
Copyright © 2008 Jason Huber