HOLEYBALONEY

[Story] RYAN — Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Ryuichi, aka Ryan, sauntered out of the office, not even bothering to pack his things on his desk. He truly and really didn’t care. What’s there to care? With his brains and his academic record, he can go anywhere. Even without the academia benefit, with his charm and his way with words, nothing has ever stopped him. He’s decided he will not work in such a boring 9-to-5 job again. Makes it difficult for him to plan his little escapades, his little fun murders. Rather, to him, they are not murders. He is sending these people straight to heaven. Prematurely. They get to enjoy the benefits of paradise early, courtesy of him. These girls should thank him.

Feeling extremely proud of himself, he roamed the roads of Vegas. Popping into a casino here and there and played some easy games of blackjack and roulette, he was there to cruise for his next target. They had to be of the same – what was that word the profilers used – type. They thought they had him down pat. So they thought. He was laughing so hard when they labeled him tall, white male in his mid-thirties. Well-educated, possibly victim of a single-mom home child abuse. Good looking (that part he liked), and eloquent. They would be looking for the wrong person! He was short and asian! Mid-thirties? He’s not yet 30! A few more months to go, that’s the real truth. Maybe he ought to help them a little. That star thing obviously wasn’t much help. They thought it was a trademark. Part of his Modus Operandi. What a joke. They need more education. All of a sudden, he knows what he can do to help them along.

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“Inspector Kim Ji Hon, please come to the reception counter. There is an urgent package for you.”

“Urgent package?” Kim was curious about the intercom announcement looking for her. She let her boys take a break and hurridly headed down to level 1, where the reception was.

Receptionist Ursula saw her and quickly waved her over. “Inspector Kim, this is for you. The delivery guy said it was super urgent and had to be delivered to you immediately without delay so I had to intercom you. Wasn’t sure if it is dangerous so I took the liberty to call Bomb Squad as well.”

“Woah Ursula. That was detailed of you. No problem. I’ll wait for them to come before I open this package. Look, there they are,” Kim became wary after hearing Ursla’s words.

“I thought I’d better be careful. We all know what case you are working on,” Ursula said while the bomb squad investigated the package.

20 minutes later, the squad announced that there was no danger of anything going off. The package was deemed ‘clean’. Kim decided she should open it in her own office.

Inside the box was a simple envelope. A plain manila envelope. And a Jewish text. A copy of Eshkol Ha-Kofer, one of the oldest Jewish text. One page was bookmarked.

Kim opened the envelope and slipped out a few pages. It was a printout from Wikipedia. It was an article on the number ‘seven’.

She flipped to the dog-eared page of the text and it was the section where the Star of David was mentioned.

“Seven names of angels precede the mezuzah: Michael, Gabriel, etc. … Tetragrammaton protect you! And likewise the sign, called the ‘Shield of David’, is placed beside the name of each angel.”

This particular line was hi-lighted, with the word ‘seven’ especially underlined. Kim took out the Wikipedia print-out and found the section which mentioned about the Judaism relevance of the number seven.

“A highly symbolic number in the Torah, alluding to the infusion of spirituality and Godliness into the Creation.”

Without a doubt, this package was from the killer that they have been tracing for so many months. Kim sent the contents of the packages for analysis, with a short report on the people who might have touched it, therefore leavivng fingerprints or trace.

After that, she fell into deep thinking.

What did the killer mean by sending her these things?

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[Story] RYAN — Chapter 1

Chapter 1.

Summer 2004.

The sun shone brightly outside, a strong contrast with the damp dark surroundings that he was in. The room was small and stuffy, reeking of urine, blood and something else, and water had gathered in puddles in different parts of the room, still, as if watching his every move. The ceiling fan groaned and moaned with every pained movement of its arms. The windows were boarded up, the planks of wood amateurishly nailed to it.

He lay on the bed, not moving. He never moved a muscle. He didn’t even blink. He just lay there, staring at the ceiling. His body was covered with red streaks. Blood was trickling out of those red streaks. Flies buzzed around it, sometimes landing on his wounds, feasting on his blood and laid eggs in his open wounds. But he never made any attempt to swat them away. He just lay on the bed, not moving. Not moving a muscle, not batting an eyelid.

But how could he? He was anything but alive. In fact, he had been dead for over a day now. His body had begun to rot and a dreadful stench greets anyone who enters the room.

But who will enter? Who will venture into a dilapidated hut, buried in a thick forest in the rural outskirts of the country? Who will enter when a certain eeriness and dread enveloped the hut, even in broad daylight?

His body was going to be left there, as food for the maggots. His body will decompose and one day be returned to Mother Earth. He is already forgotten, long lost in the memories of his friends and family. He was alone in both death and life.

Voices were suddenly heard outside. People were coming. The living. What are they doing here? Had they come for him? Was he not forgotten after all? Was he loved?

“There it is! Inspector Kim!”

“I see it. Prepare your guns, just in case. We can never be too careful with him as our target.”

“Yes Ma’am!”

The group of five made their way to the hut carefully. As if afraid to wake him up. If he was alive and saw this, he would have laughed and sneered at their stupidity. But he wasn’t. He’s dead.

Suddenly the door burst open. A flood of sunlight steamed into the old hut. Four men and one woman entered guns first and quickly scanned the place.

“Inspector, it’s clear.”

“Alright. You two check the room on the right. Jackie, you take the kitchen. Sam, we’ll take the left room. Ok. Let’s go people.”

The five split and went quickly to search their respective rooms. Inspector Kim burst into the room and saw him. She immediately told Sam to call for the others. With her gun still pointing to him, Inspector Kim moved closer to him. Inspector Kim took one look at his eyes and decided there was no life in him anymore. Without turning back, she spoke to the others waiting at the door.

“He’s dead. Get the forensic.”

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[Story] RYAN — Chapter 2

Chapter 2.

Inspector Kim was tired. She had had a long week and the forensic pathologist’s stupid corny jokes didn’t help. She’s always wondered how he could crack such jokes in front of the dead. And with them as the subject of the joke. Is it some kind of occupational trait that most pathologists she’s met love to crack such morbid jokes?

“Argh! Glad this case is finally to be closed. Will just have to record that girl’s testimony and I’m done. Finally.” Kim though wearily to herself.

Inspector Kim Ji Hon, 31 years-old, is one of the best criminal profilers in Asia. Born in Korea but raised near the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York City, she was tough and street smart. She learnt to hide her emotions behind an icy cool façade, never once allowing anyone to break that exterior. Her seeming calmness helped her in many ways, most importantly; it gave her team sense of control and steadiness. She was a great leader and often motivated her team members in ways she didn’t even know she did. They could learn heaps simply watching her work.

“Inspector! The girl’s awake and the doctor says we can interview her now.”

“Thanks Sergeant Toby. I am on my way.”

Inspector Kim dragged her tired body out of the chair and decided to head for the ladies to freshen up before interviewing the girl. Arriving at the police hospital where the girl was being treated for her wounds and psychological trauma, Kim couldn’t help but pity the girl. She was only 19. She had a long life in front of her and yet she had to go through this kind of shit. She definitely deserved better. The doctor saw Kim and motioned to have a word with her outside the ward.

“Inspector, I hope you will be kind to her. She’s very severely distressed. I must warn you that Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is no joke. I have already led her through the first step towards recovery but she still needs more time. I pushed for a delay in interviewing but I understand we have a time constrain. I just hope you take note. I will be at the side to give her confidence and security. Also to inform you, I might forcibly stop the interview whenever I deem necessary. But then again, inspector, you probably already know what to do.”

“Thanks Doctor Watts. You were just doing your job. Rest assured I will take exceptional notice of it. It’s been a really tedious case and I really wish to let my men go for their well-deserved break. Anything else that I need to know about the girl? What’s her name again?”

“Mandy. 19 years-old. Very intelligent from what I gather from my therapy sessions with her over the past few days but very vulnerable. Too vulnerable in fact. Good luck.”

With the doctor by her side, Kim pushed the door to the ward open. Mandy sat on the bed, hugging her knees and staring at her toes. She still had that blank look she stumbled into the station with. But the hysteria in her eyes was lessened. Kim heaved a silent sigh of relief. She hated dealing with witnesses still in hysteria. She hoped this lessened hysteria is not just temporary and would come back with her first question.

“Hi. My name is Kim and I need to ask you some stuff ‘k?”

The girl nodded.

“We’ve found what you told us we’d find in that old hut. You know what I am talking about right?”

She nodded again.

“Ok. So you were the one who cut him?”

Another nod.

“Why did you do it?”

Silence greeted Kim. She knew she bordered on stepping over the line.

“Ok. If you don’t want to talk about it, next time then. We’ll just call it a day.”

Kim sighed and got up, casting a knowing look at Doctor Watts, the resident police psychiatrist which says, “Call me when she’s ready” and left the ward.

Outside, it was bright and sunny. Sunlight almost blinded Kim and she had to blink a couple of times before she could see properly again. Thinking that there was little to do but to wait for Mandy’s recovery, Kim sauntered down to the nearest Starbucks for a quick chocolate Frappucino. It never failed to make her feel better.

Armed with her frappucino, she headed back to the station and called for a meeting with her team. When they streamed into the meeting room, she could see fatigue written all over their faces. She loved these men. They helped her tackle many cases since her promotion to Inspector.

“Well guys! It’s another job well-done. We’ve all worked our asses off this case. Time to relax and take some time off for our families. As a reward, I have applied for one week leave for all of you. Paid leave. Beginning tomorrow. But today, you can have the rest of the day off. Now scram!” Kim raised her voice jokingly.

Shouts of cheer and laughter filled the tiny room. Gone were the lethargy in their movements and they found sudden bouts of energy. Kim lay back in her chair and smiled. A smile she’d never put on for many months.

“Oh man! Didn’t I just say scram? Now scoot all of you! Your holiday officially begins NOW! If I see anyone of you left in the room by count of ten, holiday’s off! Get out!” Kim closed her eyes and began counting. By the time she counted to five, there was complete silence in the room. Kim peeked and true to her guesses, the room was empty.

She smiled. Again.

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[Story] RYAN — Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Grabbing her unfinished chocolate frappucino, Kim headed back to her office. She set the cup on the coaster and collapsed into her armchair with a ‘plonk’. By god she was tired. She closed her eyes and massaged her temples. She slurped her chocolate frappucino, took one look at the thick folder on her table, gave herself two light slaps on her face and flipped the folder open to the first page. A mug-shot and a profile were staring right at her.

Ryuichi Takemori, Ryan to his friends. 33 years old. Thrice divorced. Twice for beating up his wife and once for marital infidelity. Graduated from Harvard University with a Masters degree in Marketing Communications. Worked in Circle Productions as their Public Relations Manager for the first 3 years. Was asked to quit after a major PR mess-up which apparently cost the company a few million dollars to cover up and repair the damage. Unemployed since.

Kim closed the file and thought about the months she had spent on this case. Too many months with too little sleep. There was only so much her body could take further. She lit a cigarette and puffed deeply, letting the smoke flow down her throat and feel it travel to her lungs before exhaling. She knew she shouldn’t smoke too much. But the temporary relief was too tempting. Leaning back into her armchair for a little shuteye, Kim felt relieved that the case was finally to be over.

While Kim was catching some forty winks, Doctor William Watts was busy taking Mandy through her road to recovery from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Recovery seemed very positive and at a good pace in the beginning but suddenly Doctor Watts seemed to have hit a blank wall. Mandy was no longer responding to his therapy. Something is not very right and Doctor Watts was worried and puzzled. It was as if he was facing this huge, blank wall with no end on all four sides. No way could he get over it. The only way is to break it. There has to be something he could use to break that wall. The wall of silence.

The worst thing is that nobody has any idea what happened to her when she was caught by Ryan, why did she stumble into the station badly injured, and why did she stab Ryan. Without this information it will be difficult to cure her of her PTSD. He didn’t know how to continue. Looking at his watch, Doctor Watts decided it was time for the session to end. He patted Mandy’s hand, smiled and left the room with a sigh. While walking back to his office, he is reminded of another case four months ago, where a sophisticated and intelligent 30-year-old woman was so afraid of this same person. Ryan.

Mandy, despite appearance of stupor, heard and saw all that was happening around her. She knew she was causing both the smart inspector and the handsome Doctor more troubles and holding them back. She didn’t want to do that but she was scared. She was scared even though Ryan is already dead. She was not just scared, she was terribly petrified. She couldn’t help it, but every time she closes her eyes, Ryan’s face pops up. She remembers the hut and its dead and bloody inhabitant. She remembers every word that Ryan has ever said to her. She remembers. Everything.

And she hates it. She hates how she shivers with fear every time she thinks of him. She hates how her heart beats ten thousand times faster when she hears the name Ryan. Such a common name yet it causes such misery and pain to her. She knew she had to get out of the rut. She could not and should not continue to live in his evil shadow.

Three different people, three different stories. One man.

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[Story] RYAN — Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Winter 2001.

It was Christmas and the house was decorated brightly in red and green. The roof was buried in snow but it was warm inside the house. Two huge golden bells hung on the mahogany front door which called out sprightly whenever a visitor enters. The living room was cleared of all furniture, replacing the sofa with huge cushy beanbags and mats. In the balcony was the buffet table, where a crowd gathered. Some were assessing the quality of the food, some piling their plates with different quantities of the dishes, and some were simply gathered there to chat for a while. A DJ table had been set up at the leftmost corner nearest to the bar and the DJ was spinning great, pumping dance tracks hour after hour. The hired bartender was up to his neck serving drinks after drinks to the crowd of party-goers. All over the house people were dancing and grooving to the beat. All this while, the host was busy making small talk with all her guests and ensuring everyone was having a great time.

Eliza wanted and needed a break. This Christmas party her best friend organized was great but it was too much drinking and dancing for one night. She walked to the second level where the bedrooms were, hoping she could rest for a while. She reached for the knob of the first door but before she could open it, she heard moaning coming from inside the room, followed by shouts of pleasure. She frowned and silently berated these people for not having respect for the host.

“Fancy having sex in someone else’s house. Goodness.”

But she soon realized that all the bedrooms were occupied in such manner. Cursing her bad luck, she decided to make a move and leave the party. She weaved in and out of the crowd, trying to find her best friend but after half and hour of futile search, she gave up and simply walked out of the house, closing the door behind her and shutting out the noise.

Little did she know that someone had followed her out of the house. Little did she guess that tonight would be the last night she ever lived?

It continued to snow and Eliza pulled her coat closer around her body. She regretted not wearing a beanie that day. Her scalp was almost freezing even with the hood of her coat up. Eliza walked faster. At the main road, she tried to catch a taxi home but there was none in sight whatsoever. She was starting to feel the cold and stamped her feet to work up some heat.

“Damn. Where’s a cab when you need one.” She muttered under her breath.

“Sorry miss, are you waiting for a cab?” A deep voice sounded behind her.

Eliza was startled.

“Woah! You gave me a shock. But yes. It’s difficult to wait for one now, it seems.”

“Do you want a lift? My car’s just beyond the small forest.”

“Erm, well, it’s really ok. I will just wait a little while more I guess.” Eliza was unsure if she should accept this stranger’s offer.

“But it’s really difficult to flag a taxi here. Plus it’s snowing and you might freeze out here if you don’t get home soon. I mean no harm miss.” The stranger put up both his hands as if in surrender.

“Oh. Alright. I guess you are right.” Eliza felt the stranger’s sincerity and charm, deciding then to take that ride.

Little did she know that ride will take her straight to her death.

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[Story] RYAN — Chapter 5

Chapter 5

“This is the third case in the last 5 months. The MO is the same, the clues left are the same. Exactly the same. Exactly the same star comprising of two intersecting triangles, cut exactly one inch into the flesh. Everytime. No fingerprints were found. No hair was left around. Girl definitely raped but no traces of semen. We are dealing with an intelligent John Doe here. Someone who possesses some medical knowledge. Someone who either reads up extensively on police work or is or has been a member of the force. I sincerely hope it’s not the latter or we will be in deep shit this time. Ok. What have you guys got on this fella?”

“Nothing new or interesting. What we know is what you have boss.”

Kim sighed. This is bad. Very bad. This case is not making progress at all. Whoever he is, he’s one hellava good killer. Kim could practically vision his taunting face, sneering at her and making snide remarks about how inept they are at attempts to trace him.

“Alright buddies, let’s go through these cases again and see what we extra stuff we can figure out.”

The afternoon wiled away just like that, with Kim and her capable team holed up in their tiny discussion room, trying to fix the jigsaw puzzle that is this mysterious killer. Pictures of the victims, with their names scribbled at the bottom, were taped to the huge whiteboard in front of them. Sherry, Melissa, Eliza. The mysterious killer who took away their lives with seemingly no remorse. No guilty conscience. No hesitations. Many different things were written on the board. The predicted profile of this John Doe; a fairly detailed sketch of the Method of Operation and a possible computer-art of how he might look like.

In the police hospital in the next block, Dr Willam Watts was fretting over his newest case. Ashley, 28 year old woman was in his care. She was brought in because she was almost knocked down by a car and the police officer who happened to save her saw her deranged state and decided to bring her in for treatment. Terribly battered both inside and outside, she was a picture of total wreck. Bruises and cuts were rampant. Burns covered her entire back. Her left nipple was cut off. She walked with a very serious limp caused by her broken right leg. She looked so terrible even the nurse didn’t bear to look at her for more than five seconds. But what made Dr Watts sigh was that she refused to say anything. Her eyes were withdrawn and she refused to look at anything else other than the wall. Even if you forcibly put her in the field, she will simply look at her feet. Dr Watts tried all sorts of methods. From persuading to coercing to tricking to hypnotizing. Nothing worked. Nothing could make her talk. Not even in her hypnotized state would she say a single word. For the first time in his 15-year career, Dr Watts was stumped.

Two streets away was Corona Industries. A handsome man was standing in a huge office on the very top floor, facing the wrath of his boss. Looking from the outside through the glass doors, one could not help but feel the anger of the boss as well. His face was red with anger and he was banging his fist on the table ever so frequently. You may even see steam coming out of his ears if you looked closely. On the other hand, the receiver looked cool and moderately mocking. He just didn’t seem to care. Although he had his head bowed low, there was a trace of a smirk on his face and his whole demeanor was shouting ‘To hell with it!’ This, together with his condescending remark of ‘Yes Boss’ to everything that his boss says, was the last straw.

“Ryuichi Takemori. You are FIRED! GET OUT!” His now ex-boss screamed and spitted at him.

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