Characters: Dee, JJ, Ted, Marty, Drake, Ryo, Chief Smith, OCs
Word Count: 3229
Summary: The detectives of the 27th Precinct are sharing stories of their creepiest cases, but Dee has everyone else’s beat, and it’s all true.
Written For: spook_me 2019, using FAKE, Boogeyman, and this pic.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
A/N: Set after Like Like Love.
“What’re you guys jawin’ about?” Dee asked, ambling over to join his colleagues. He’d arrived for his shift to find the detectives of the Serious Crimes Unit clustered around Ted and Marty’s desks like they were having some kind of private meeting.
“It’s Halloween,” JJ said, grinning up at his one-time crush. “We’re getting in the mood for the festivities by discussing the creepiest cases we’ve ever been involved in. I was just telling everyone about the case I worked where three bodies were found completely drained of blood.”
“Wasn’t that the one where they turned out to be cadavers stolen from a mortuary? I seem to remember you tellin’ me about that one time when we were on a stakeout.”
“Oh, thanks for giving the ending away!” JJ grumbled, glaring at Dee in mild annoyance.
“Wasn’t much of a story anyway,” Dee told him with a grin. “You want a creepy story, I got one for ya, and bear in mind every word of this is true; you can look up the case file if ya don’t believe me. Still gives me the creeps just thinkin’ about it.”
“Yeah?” Ted laughed. “Okay then, go ahead; we’re all ears.”
Dee pulled a chair over from one of the other desks, spinning it around and straddling it, arms resting on the back.
“So, this was way back, I’d only been on the force for maybe six, seven months, and I was workin’ with my first partner, Dave Lewinsky, the most experienced beat cop at the precinct. He retired three or four years back. Some of you might remember him, good guy, really taught me a lot; he’d pretty much seen it all over the years, but this one shook even him, he said it defied explanation. Anyway, late one night we were out on patrol; we’d drawn the short straw and gotten assigned to one of the worst areas in the 13th precinct, all rundown houses and crumblin’ tenements. It was well past midnight, somewhere between two and three in the mornin’ if I’m rememberin’ it right, and we were both beat. We’d already broken up several drunken brawls, so we were just drivin’ around wishin’ our shift was already over when we get a call from dispatch to go to a house a few blocks away. There’d been a 911 call from what sounded like a young kid; dispatch said it was probably a hoax but best to check it out anyway because the kid sounded real scared.”
“Think I know that area,” Marty cut in. “Anyone with any sense would be scared down there at that time of night.”
“Yeah, it was a pretty bad place to be back then.” Dee couldn’t repress a shudder as he thought back to that night. Just talking about it brought everything back; if he closed his eyes he could see it all as clearly as if it had been only yesterday.
There was a row of small houses right at the edge of the section of New York that fell under the 13th Precinct’s jurisdiction. Half the streetlamps didn’t work because drug dealers, muggers, and other criminal elements kept breaking them. Across the street from the houses with their tiny front yards was a cemetery that had seen better days. People still got buried there occasionally, but most of it had an air of neglect, the shrubs too big, the grass not mowed often enough, and some of the oldest headstones were listing drunkenly one way or another. A few had fallen down and been left that way, moss and weeds growing over them. The place was reputed to be haunted although Dee didn’t bother mentioning that to his friends; it might not have anything to do with the story he was telling.
The address Dee and Dave had been sent to was one of the better cared for properties on the block. The people living there had made an effort to make it look homely, the window frames and doors had recently been painted, the path had been swept, the hinges on the front gate were well oiled, and there were still brightly colored flowers blooming in the yard even though it was late fall.
No lights were showing in the house, which had surprised neither cop since at that time of night most people would have been in bed, asleep. Dave had knocked on the front door and rung the bell repeatedly, but there’d been no answer. Dee had gone around back where he’d found the rear door and windows closed and locked. Everything had seemed fine, and yet something had felt off to Dee.
“Even now I can’t say what it was, there was nothing obviously wrong and yet I was still sure something wasn’t right.”
“Cop’s instinct.” JJ nodded sagely.
“Maybe,” Dee agreed. “Maybe it was just that nobody was answerin’ the door. Anyway…”
He’d returned to the front of the house and reported back to Dave, who’d radioed dispatch and had them put through a call to the house. They’d tried but all they’d got was a busy signal. Dave had starred t the house for several long minutes before coming to a decision.
“Right, I don’t like this; we’re goin’ in.”
This time Dave had led the way around back, broken a window on the kitchen door, reaching through to turn the key in the lock and let them in… They’d caught the smell almost immediately, although it had been too faint at first to be completely certain. Still, it had put them on high alert; it was the coppery scent of blood. It had been a whole hell of a lot stronger when they’d opened the door from the kitchen into the front hall.
“We should call for backup,” Dee remembered saying in a choked voice as their flashlights revealed a trail of blood smeared along the hallway floor, as if something, or someone, had been dragged.
Dave had shaken his head. “We will, but not just yet. Dispatch said the call came from a kid; we need to find him first, make sure he’s safe.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” As much as Dee hadn’t wanted to investigate further, but of there was any chance a kid might be in danger… They hadn’t had any other choice.
“I’ll go first.” Keeping close to the wall but trying not to brush against it, Dave had made his way along the hall, flashlight in one hand and gun in the other.
The blood trail continued up the staircase, and again Dave had led the way, with Dee following close behind, his own gun drawn but held down beside his leg. Well aware of the importance of not disturbing crime scenes, both of them had been careful where they’d put their feet, not wanting to risk contaminating evidence. At the top they’d split up to search; two bedrooms, a third smaller room not much bigger than a closet, which was set up as a home office, and a bathroom.
The office and bathroom appeared empty, undisturbed, but the main bedroom, from which the blood trail led… The image of that room would be forever ingrained on Dee’s memory. It looked like an abattoir, blood everywhere, walls, floor, even the ceiling. The bed was soaked in it, the covers shredded. The smell of blood was overpowering, but Dee held it together; it wasn’t his first murder scene. There was no body though; they could see the whole room from the door and aside from the furnishings, and the blood and gore, there was nothing.
The final door, to what was obviously a child’s room, had deep scratches gouged into the paintwork on the outside, and yet when Dee tried the handle it wasn’t locked. He unlatched it carefully using his shirtsleeve pulled down over his hand, while Dave stood back, gun aimed steadily, ready to shoot if necessary. Inside the room nothing appeared to be out of place beyond a few dolls and toys scattered about. The bed had obviously been slept in, but was empty, and the closet door stood ajar. Dee checked inside briefly, but nothing was there except for a child’s clothes, mostly dresses, and some larger toys. They were looking for a little girl then.
He scanned the room quickly, checked under the bed, even looked in the toy box, but the kid wasn’t there.
“Whatever bastard did that to her parents must’ve gotten her too,” Dave said from the doorway, his voice tight.
Dee hadn’t been so sure of that. “Yeah? Then who called the police? Dispatch said it was a kid and there’s only one lives here.” He looked around again. “No phone in here either.”
“Maybe she’s got a mobile.”
“Bit young for that, don’t ya think? But there was a phone in the office…” Dee pushed past Dave, went into the small room… He hadn’t noticed before, but the phone receiver was askew; whoever had used it last hadn’t set it back on its rest properly, which would account for dispatch getting a busy signal. He left it the way it was, thinking there could be prints. Bending, he peered under the desk. No kid. He was about to leave the room, thinking he’d been wrong and the child wasn’t there after all, when he spotted the easy chair in the corner, and some faint marks on the worn carpet. The chair had been moved recently.
The child was curled up in a ball behind it, clutching a threadbare teddy bear, her eyes tightly closed, her whole body trembling although she wasn’t making a sound.
“Hey, it’s okay, we’re the police; you’re safe now.”
She couldn’t have been older than four or five. At Dee’s voice she opened huge blue eyes in a tear-stained face, looked up at him, then unwound like a spring, throwing herself into his arms, sobbing and mumbling something.
“What’s that, sweetheart?” Dave asked from behind Dee.
“It got my mommy and daddy. It wanted me too, but I hid. It came out of my closet; I saw it. I shone my torch at it, and it didn’t like that. It left my room but I knew it would come back for me so when it went in mommy and daddy’s room I hid in here. Daddy said if anything bad ever happened I should call the police. He showed me the number. Nine and one and one.”
“Did you see who it was? Can you tell us?”
“It was the Boogeyman!”
Ted burst out laughing. “The Boogeyman?”
Dee glared at him. “That’s what she said. In her mind that’s what she saw. Don’t forget she was just a terrified little kid. I don’t know who or what it was she saw, I’m just tellin’ you what she told us.”
“Okay, fair point. For the record, I think we can all agree there’s no such thing as a Boogeyman. Carry on though, it’s a good story.”
“Gee thanks.” Sarcasm dripped from Dee’s words. “Just remember what I said earlier: True story. Where was I? Oh yeah…”
Dee carried the little girl down the stairs and out to the car, where Dave called for backup and a crime scene unit. When a second patrol car showed up, Dee handed the little girl off to one of the cops, a guy who was good with kids, having three of his own, and went back inside with Dave, just in case the murderer might still be there. The blood trail ended at a door under the stairs, which they opened cautiously. On the other side a steep flight of blood-smeared concrete steps led down into a basement with a smooth concrete floor. There was a workbench at one side with a few tools scattered across the top, some cans of paint, and a stepladder.
Halfway across the floor, the blood trail ended, just stopped dead.
There were no bodies.
Neither was there any way out of the basement other than the way they’d come in.
“Bastard must’ve dragged one of the bodies down here then changed his mind and dragged it back up again.” That was Dave’s opinion, but it didn’t sit right with Dee; from what he could see it looked like the drag marks only went in one direction, and no one had trodden in the blood smears. The crime scene team, when they arrived, agreed.
“Maybe he carried the body back up again,” Dave suggested.
“I don’t know, this was recent; the blood’s still wet. If he’d carried one or both of the bodies there would most likely have been blood drops.”
“Unless he had a sheet of plastic or something down here, brought the bodies down, wrapped them, carried them back up for disposal,” Dee suggested.
“Now that’s a possibility,” the CSI agreed. “Except, why come down to the basement to wrap the bodies? Why not save himself the time and effort and do it upstairs?”
“Who know how anyone loony enough to commit a crime like this would think?” Dave shrugged eloquently. “I sure as Hell don’t.”
“Yeah, I’ve been working crime scenes for over twenty years and even after everything I’ve seen I still have a hard time believing some of the things people do to each other.”
That wasn’t the weirdest part of the case, however…
From the scratches on the child’s bedroom door, the forensics people extracted several shreds of skin and a fragment of fingernail, but no blood of any kind was found, and the DNA in the samples was too degraded to be identified, as if it were from something long dead.
Because of what the little girl had said about the ‘Boogeyman’ coming out of her bedroom closet, the crime scene people checked that out as well, and found it was where the attic access hatch was, up in the ceiling. There were distorted handprints in the victims’ blood on it, the fingers appearing unnaturally long, but despite the blood still being wet, there were no fingerprints. The attic was completely empty too, no other way in or out, and no other traces of blood were found.
“The case has never been solved,” Dee said quietly. “The bodies of the kid’s parents were never found, although everyone agreed that with the amount of blood splashed everywhere, there was no way they could’ve survived. The kid was taken to hospital and treated for shock; she’s in foster care now and I still check up on her from time to time. She doesn’t remember much about that night, just that the Boogeyman took her parents, and then I came and saved her. She’s scared of the dark though, always has to have a night-light, and sleeps with her flashlight in one hand. She says the Boogeyman doesn’t like the light; it hurts his eyes.”
“Maybe the killer was wearing night vision goggles,” Marty suggested.
“Maybe so.” Dee nodded. “I’ll tell you this though; a few months later a new family moved into that house, a couple and their ten-year-old son. They’d been there less than a month when their kid woke them screaming in the middle of the night. When they went into his room, he said he saw a Boogeyman looking at him out of the closet. He snapped a photo on his phone, and the Boogeyman covered his eyes and went away. When they looked in the closet, the hatch to the attic was open, but there was nobody up there. They took the kid into their room and locked the door, wedged a chair under the door handle, just in case whoever their kid had seen was still in the house somewhere, and the next morning they found scratches all down the outside of the door, like something had been trying to get in. They packed up and left that day; nobody’s lived there since. Last I heard the whole row of houses is scheduled for demolition. Probably a wise move.”
“What about the picture the kid took?” JJ asked, eyes wide.
“It was too blurry to make much out, but it did look like there was a figure in the closet, mostly hidden by the door, long fingers wrapped around the edge.”
“You’re making that up!” Drake accused.
“Swear to God I’m not.” There wasn’t the faintest hint of amusement in Dee’s face. “I’ve seen some weird stuff, but that was the creepiest. Someone killed that little girl’s parents, took their bodies and hid them so they’ve never been found.”
“Or some thing,” JJ said in a creepy voice.
“Whatever it was, I never want to meet it.” Dee shuddered.
“What are you morons just lazing around for?” the Chief bellowed from his office doorway. “Don’t you have work to do? This isn’t a social club!”
“Sorry, Chief,” Ryo said, standing up and heading for his desk.
Dee followed his partner. “I noticed you didn’t comment on my story.”
“Was it just a story? I was watching your face and… what you were talking about really seemed to bother you.”
“It does, probably always will. I’ve never been able to forget a single detail of that case, never spoken about it to anyone before either, except for Dave. Look, I know you don’t believe in ghosts and stuff, and that’s great, for you, but I’ve seen too many things I can’t explain, and that case was the worst. If it had been solved, if the bodies of the kid’s parents had been found, if there’d been anyone we could’ve pointed to and said ‘He did it’, maybe it wouldn’t have stayed with me the way it has, but the case is still open because there just aren’t any answers, and not even a single suspect.”
“There has to be a logical explanation though,” Ryo said reasonably.
“I wish I could have your certainty.” Dee managed a weak smile. “Then maybe what I saw that night wouldn’t haunt me the way it still does, even after more than ten years.”
Five months later the row of houses was demolished; it was all over the news. Below the solid twelve-inch thick concrete basement floor of one of the houses, the skeletal remains of two people, a man and a woman, were found. From dental records and their wedding bands they were identified as Alan and Grace Holland, who’d lived in the house with their four-year old daughter Emily ten years before, and who’d long been presumed murdered by person or persons unknown.
No one could understand how the bodies had come to be buried beneath the floor when it had never been disturbed.
That would have been mysterious enough, but there was something else… the bones all bore the marks of having been gnawed by sharp teeth.
A third skeleton was found a few feet away from the first two, one with a misshapen head, teeth that may have been filed into points, and abnormally long fingers. It was the subject of much speculation but before it could be properly studied it mysteriously disappeared from a locked room. To make matters worse, all the photographs taken of it came out too blurry to show much of anything.
Alone in his apartment on the other side of the city, Dee watched the news and prayed that the Boogeyman was gone for good this time and would never return.