Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Detective Staind waited in the darkness of an empty doorway. He watched as the man, head down, hands stuffed deep in his pockets, crossed the street fifty meters away. Waiting until the man turned down an alley, he unholstered his weapon and followed. It was much easier finding someone when you knew exactly where they were going to be.

The man threaded his way through the refuse and rubble that littered the alleyway. It had been years since anyone cared for these buildings, only the crazy and homeless took refuge here now.

At the mid point between the two larger streets, the alley narrowed to just a shoulder’s width, and at this point the figure stopped, puzzled, his progress blocked by steel drums piled with broken stone. Something was wrong.

“William,” Staind yelled down the alley, causing the man to turn, startled. “William Heath. You’re a difficult man to find.”

The figure stepped back from the opening and cast furtive glances, looking for an alternate exit.

“That’s the only way through William. Unless you can get past me,” he motioned with his pistol over his shoulder, “but I don’t like your odds.”

William moved slowly towards the detective, hands still in pockets, but head up, alert. “Who are you? What do you want?”

Staind leveled his weapon at him, halting his approach.

“You’ve upset a lot of people William, you’ve killed a lot of women. You didn’t think that could go on forever, did you?”

William’s hands were at his sides now, fists clenching and unclenching, eyes locked on the barrel of the gun.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yes you do William, yes you bloody well do. You’ve strangled thirty two woman in the last five years. Thirty two, you prick. You’re very careful, I’ll give you that, you’ve left almost no evidence behind at all. Not a trace of you anywhere, no bank accounts, no public records. You’ve done a very thorough job of not being anywhere we could look.”

“You’ve got nothing then, have you?” he smirked.

“Well William, I said you left almost no evidence. You did make one mistake, people like you always do. Yours was not making sure Mary Truman was really dead before you stuck your tongue in her mouth. She’s a diver William, big lungs, you should have kept the pressure on a little longer. That piece of your tongue she bit off, she was choking on it while you incinerated her face. We found that piece of you stuck in her throat.”

“There’s no way flesh you found in some dead whore could have led you to me. That’s impossible.” William shifted his weight from foot to foot, eyes still fixed on the raised handgun.

“Normally no, as you’re not in the system. Lucky for us though, one of the fathers you left grieving owns a company that clones feed animals. He grew two good copies of you. One he kept for himself, for what I don’t want to imagine, but the other offered us a face to show, gave us fingerprints to trace. It gave us a trail, and that trail led me ultimately,” he paused, “to you.”

“Officers are crating and cataloguing your squat as we speak. We have quite the case and I expect William Heath will fry quite nicely when all is said and done.

William smiled, extending his hands as he resumed his approach. “I suppose this is where you take me into custody.”

“Perhaps you didn’t hear me.” Staind spat noisily, then squeezed off a round into William’s forehead, dropping him like a rock. “We’ve already got you in custody.”

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