Order By D.I. Jolly
The words scrawled across the walls read,
‘Only two ways to enter.’
They had been written out dozens of times in various bodily fluids, but mostly in blood. The perfect accent to the scene of horror that lay in front of detectives Frank Oslo and Jamie Taylor.
Six kidnappings in six days. No apparent connections, men, women, children. It seemed the only motivation was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And now they were all spread across the room. Opened in ways people shouldn’t be open. Their insides spread around their outsides. Hung on hooks as if being displayed in a gallery. And quietly sitting in the middle of the room was the man himself. While Jamie covered his face with his hands and ducked out to retch over a trash can, Frank stood resolute and stared at the man who stared right back at him.
“There are only two ways to enter.”
Came a rather gentle voice and it made Frank think of how twisted the world really was. People who can do monstrous things don’t look like monsters; they don’t sound like monsters. They’re just people. For an instant, he thought about how much easier his job would be if they did, if you could spot the devil horns, and hear the evil dripping from their words. But you couldn’t.
Frank let out a sigh, looked briefly over his shoulder for his partner, then said quietly.
“By blood… or by blood.”
The man’s eyes widened but he was shushed by Frank, who touched his finger to his lips. The man began to tremble as he whispered,
Frank put one hand on his heart and showed his other palm forward.
The man smiled and opened his hands to the room.
Frank nodded quietly and waited for Jamie to come back into the room with a few uniformed officers, who cuffed the man and led him away without another word. Frank turned to his partner.
“Yeah, yeah I just wasn’t expecting all this. Fucking sicko.”
Jamie pointed at one of the bodies, their ribcage had been sawed open and the organs lay still connected on trays. He stepped forward further into the room to start counting.
“That’s six. Jesus how does someone do this?”
Frank winced at the name, then said dryly.
“With a knife.”
Despite himself, Jamie let his defence mechanism for horror kick in and he let out a short bark of a laugh. The sound echoed around the room and suddenly the eyes of the nearest victim opened. Jamie jumped back and screamed as the man’s lips parted and he tried to do the same. But only a low tortured rasp came out, like a thick syrup running down his face, quiet and heavy. As if on cue the bodies around the man started to open their eyes and also try to scream, filling the room with their thick quiet agony.
“Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ save us.”
Jamie turned and turned, looking at them all, looking at the grotesque art show in front of him.
“They’re alive, they’re all, still, alive.”
Frank quickly reached for his radio and ordered a small army of paramedics and doctors. He didn’t know if these people wanted to be saved, or could ever go back to living their normal lives, but for the moment that had a chance to try. Which was more than they got on most days. The two detectives stepped out as the medical staff stepped in and began one of the cities most famous and revered medical miracles. Assessing who to start with, who had the most chance of surviving, and working out how they were going to get these people back together, both physically and mentally. And while only one of the six died that night, 3 more committed suicide within the next few months. As did 6 medical staff and 1 junior police officer. But the worst part, in Jamie’s opinion, by far, was that the man who had created such horror, such life-changing devastation, never made it to the police station. Him and the two officers who’d taken him had disappeared.
And every time he tried to bring it up, Frank always said the same thing.
“We can only do what we can do, the rest is up to a higher power than us. Focus on the cases we can solve, let the rest go.”
Which Frank wholeheartedly believed, but he also knew that The Order looked after its own. Regardless of who that turned out to be, and on the day it became necessary to release a monster back into the wild, he always preferred the monsters he knew, to the monsters he didn’t.