Months ago, I posted a Friday Muse piece entitled: Red Crane. It was a small snippet about a detective tracking a serial killer who leaves blood-stained origami cranes as calling cards with his victims. I’ve been wanting to dive further down that rabbit hole ever since, so last night at my weekly writing meeting, I sketched out some more of Detective Hale’s story. Enjoy!
Detective Hale peered out the window at the city skyline. The twinkling lights did nothing to chase away the fear that threatened to swallow him whole. He had never looked at the city as a safe place to be, but he had never imagined it would become as dangerous as it had. A serial killer was loose in it. Detective Hale pushed his trepidation aside and reminded himself that he could very well be the only person who believed the Red Crane to be real.
He huffed and moved away from the blinds into the living area. The apartment lay in darkness, aside from the city lights that lent their soft glow to the cramped space. This was a place that Detective Hale saw himself occupying in another life, another time. The one-bedroom suite was the perfect amount of space for a single man living in the city. A small area for one to sleep, and a small area to entertain guests and friends. A quaint little kitchen with just enough room for a small table and a couple of barstools.
Unfortunately, Detective Hale was not a single man living in the city. He was a detective with a wife. They lived in a small house in the outskirts of the city, away from the grime and grotesqueness of Lysallis. Away from the noise and the hustle and bustle. Away from the Red Crane.
The moniker that Detective Hale attached to his latest murderer suspect felt more appropriate the more Hale thought about it. Besides the Crane’s calling cards – origami cranes soaked in his victims’ blood – Crane had become sort of a, well, crane himself. He had managed to soar out of the grasp of most of the department’s force. In fact, he had become a ghost. After nearly a dozen murder cases – with the Red Crane’s calling card at each one – and a plethora of physical evidence – the further into the case that Detective Hale got, the more elusive his prey became. It didn’t help that each and every piece of the physical evidence could be traced to a different individual, making Hale’s attempts at capturing this killer nearly impossible.
It was a sad fact that Hale no longer had any friends. Everyone in the department kept him at arm’s length for fear of being associated with him and his rogue ways. Detective Hale had been ordered off the case long ago by his department chief, and the case had been put into the Cold Case collection. But it wouldn’t stop Hale. Nothing could stop Hale.
Apparently, not even death.
Hale reached into his coat and felt the scar tissue in the left side of his chest, where he had been stabbed in the heart only a month earlier by an unknown figure who jumped him in a dark alley.
“Damn you,” he grumbled. He turned toward the kitchen and stared the refrigerator for a few seconds before resolving to sit down in the nearly new leather chair. He didn’t want to rest. He wanted to find the killer – find the Red Crane. But his body wouldn’t let him go too far ahead before reminding him of his mortality.
He took a deep breath and rubbed the scar tissue through his white dress shirt, his mind reeling with the horrible event. Before the incident, Hale had always assumed that a wound to the heart always equaled an instant kill. Not in his case though. It meant a lifetime of medication, pain, and more hospital checkups than one could stomach in a month. It was almost worse than death. Almost.
Detective Hale had made it his new mission in this second chance he had been given to find the Red Crane and put a stop to the insanity plaguing Lysallis. The department might shun him for ‘thinking’ a serial killer was on the loose. His ordinates might bring the hammer down on him if he didn’t stop. Even his wife might think of getting a divorce if he didn’t stop obsessing over the Red Crane.
But Detective Hale would find the Red Crane.