“Shh.” Detective Kelly jabbed his finger to his lips. His eyes transfixed upon the basement’s doorknob.
“What do you hear?” Constable Williams whispered. His voice broke with fright.
Kelly raised his gun and took a step forward. He froze.
The doorknob clicked, turned, and creaked open.
Williams swung up his pistol in both hands, the barrel trembling before his squint.
The door opened and light flooded out to fill the corridor. Before them stood a young woman.
“Williams,” Kelly called out with a raised palm. “Don’t shoot.”
The woman fell to her knees. Her back arched and beat with desperate sobs.
“Help me,” she cried behind blonde, bloodied hair.
Williams let out a breath as Kelly crouched before her. She recoiled at the touch of his hand.
“It’s alright. We’re the police. You’re safe now.”
The woman looked up, her eyes wide and white.
“He’s still here,” she whispered.
Kelly looked to Williams. Beyond the door came a clink of metal.
“Leave the house,” Kelly said as he pulled the woman to her feet. “Quick. Back-up is on its way.”
“Back-up?” The woman sniffed and wiped her face. “When?”
“Any minute.” Kelly beckoned her down the corridor. “We’ll catch this madman. Go.”
“Yes. I will,” the woman said as she pushed passed Williams.
Kelly and Williams turned back to the doorway. Another clink sounded.
Williams nodded, sweat gleamed over his brow.
Kelly raised his gun and entered the room. Williams followed.
The basement was wide and lined by workbenches. Each surface adorned by chains and clamps, saws and cutters. They saw no one.
Williams pressed a hand to his face as the waft of rot choked his throat. At the centre of the room was a hole, ringed by crusts of blood. Kelly stepped up to its edge, his heels sticky with clots. In the pit he saw a mangle of heaped corpses.
Kelly looked away as the clink sounded. On the wall opposite was a cellar window. Unlatched, the frame flapped against a cold breeze.
“Damn,” Kelly said as he hurried over to peer through the misted pane. “The killer’s fled.”
Williams crept beside him as his eyes flinched around the room. “He’s fled?”
“Yeah. Long gone.” Kelly tucked away his gun and examined the basement.
Beside him on a workbench, he saw several glass jars that swam with the cuts of pale, fleshy meat. A paper file was slipped between them.
Kelly pinched it out and teased the sleeves open. Inside he found Polaroids of the killer’s victims.
“My God,” Williams said as he counted their number. “There’s about thirty men here.”
Kelly winced. A notion caught in his mind like a thorn.
He dropped the file and raced to the hole. Inside, the bodies lay blue and purple, their faces bloated like pumpkins. They were all men, he realised – each castrated.
Kelly looked back to the corridor and bit his teeth. “That woman.”
(Originally posted on the Total War Center forums.)