Heavy taps drummed the door frame.
“Detective Stephens?” asked the stout figure from beyond. Stephens nodded, but, before he could even finish the motion, the visitor went on.
“Agent Green, F.B.I.. We spoke about your case.”
Stephens managed a grunt as he gulped down his coffee. Turning to a filing cabinet, his spidery fingers quickly retrieved a manila folder. He read through his notes finding everything as he remembered.
“The body was found on Sea Cliff Beach. It was the work of a real monster. The autopsy showed severe damage to the neck vertebra. The bones were badly crushed. The remains were burned, reduced to bones and ashes. I’ve never seen one like it. The accelerant used hasn’t been identified.”
“It won’t be.” Green informed him, “We don’t know how the killer does it. Our lab has yet to find any trace of one and we’ve had several identical scenes to investigate. They’ve struck up and down the coast and across the country. By now, they’re long gone. I’m afraid your case may go cold.”
“No leads?” asked Stephens.
“None at all. We thought we had a name until we traced it back to a person who’s been dead for a long time. It was an obvious alias and lead us nowhere else. And speaking of names, you were lucky to get one for the victim. Our killer doesn’t make that kind of mistake very often.”
“We pulled a print off a coin found in the ashes. Robert James, fifty-five, businessman, never married, no family, no known enemies… We found his car parked near the body, no prints except his own.”
Story by Joe Stanley