Author : Jacqueline Rochow

Jones surveyed the carnage. Under the blood splatters lacing the bed and carpet, the young woman’s limbs were splayed at unnatural angles, her head twisted nearly backwards and her throat crushed. Bites had been taken out of her collarbone, and the bruising suggested that one of her breasts had been crushed rather severely while she was still alive. Her ribs were caved in on one side.

“The victim?” Jones asked.

“In the bathroom.”

Jones skirted around the supervising officer with a quick flash of his badge and found the boy crouches on the floor, eyes red, deep scratches up his arms. Whether the girl or he himself had made them, Jones wasn’t sure. He looked about nineteen.

“Peter?” Jones said softly. “I’m Tim Jones.”

“Are you here to arrest me?”

“No.” Jones crouched on the floor next to him. “I’m here to talk to you. What happened?”

“I met her at a party. Amy. We were drinking and having fun, and…” he started to sob.

“It’s ok, Peter. Was this party last night?”

The boy nodded. Jones handed him some toilet paper to blow his nose.

“Then what happened?”

“I walked her home. We got back here, and… and she invited me into her room, but… but I changed my mind.”

“And then?”

“And then I don’t know what happened.” Peter’s sobs became louder and turned into wails. Jones put an arm around his shoulders and waited patiently for him to calm down again.

“It’s ok if you don’t remember the details. Just tell me everything she did, ok? You came in the front door. Did she lead, or did you?”

“Sh… she did.”

“And then?”

“She asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. I said yes. She put the kettle on.”

“Good… what next?”

“She took my hands and led me into her room. Started taking her shirt off. We kissed a bit.” He took a deep, shaky breath. “She put her hand down my pants, and then I said I wanted to slow down. She took her bra off, and then she put some perfume on.”


“Yeah. And then…” Peter swallowed and shook his head. Subconsciously, Jones brushed the deep scars on his own arm where the leather restraints had bitten into his flesh all those years ago. Becoming a counsellor for Pherax victims required being exposed to it. He’d never forget that hunger and desperation as he fought to cross the room to the female officer on the other side… health, his own arms, the fact that she would shoot him in the head if he actually succeeded in breaking free and running for her, had all been irrelevant at that moment.

“Where did she put the bottle of perfume?”

“Uh… her dresser. Second drawer, I think.”

Jones stuck his head around the bathroom door and attracted the attention of a police officer. “Pherax, second drawer of the dresser. Get a hazmat team on it. Don’t let anyone else touch it or we risk having a violent orgy on our hands.” He went back to Peter. “Peter, listen to me. This isn’t your fault. That perfume is a special chemical, it changes the way you think. It makes men want to have sex with her, and for some men, it makes them violent. What happened… that wasn’t you. That wasn’t something you could control.”

Peter nodded, but Jones could see the memories of violently tearing apart and raping a woman reflected in the boy’s eyes, and he knew that Peter didn’t believe him for a moment.

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