Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Serial Killer

Serial Killer Suspected in Deaths

WASHINGTON, DC-  Dennis Martin, Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has confirmed that a worldwide search is underway for the individual responsible for the deaths of at least ten, though the body count may be higher.

Edna Morris, 115, of Salt Lake City is only the latest victim, according to Martin. “Edna was recently revealed as the world’s oldest living person,” the Assistant Director explains. “Then, only a couple months later, she dies.  Suspicious?  Most definitely; especially when you examine the facts of the case.”

Martin points out an alarming pattern: Morris was awarded the title of world’s oldest person, after Emil del Mercado, 115, of Cuba died.  Del Mercado only held the title six weeks.  Prior to Del Mercado, Elizabeth Mortenson, 116, of Toronto, Ontario held the distinction.  Mortenson died just three weeks after attaining the title. 

For the FBI, Martin explains, the pattern is clear. “Someone is very resentful of the attention being given to the world’s oldest living person.  As soon as these individuals’ identities  are made public by the media their lives are put in jeopardy.”

The FBI first became involved six months ago. Ira Clausen, of Lafayette, Indiana, was 115 years and 312 days old the day he died. Authorities suspected foul play. Initially, the investigation focused on Tomoji Izumi, of Akita, Japan, who was 115 years and 279 days at the time. 

“The motive seemed pretty clear,” according to Martin.  “Knock off the current world record-holder and she obtains the title by default.”  The investigation seemed to derail, however, when a team of FBI agents and local authorities staged a raid on Izumi’s hut.  Upon entry, the law enforcement officers found the woman dead. “It was disappointing,” admits Martin. “It looked like we just missed the killer. Based on her posture, we conjecture that she died only moments before we stormed the house.  That we somehow missed the culprit is something I wrestle with every day.”

But for Martin and the rest of the FBI, the nightmare was just beginning. “We’ve been around the world chasing this sicko,” he laments. “Despite our best intentions, the holder of the oldest person in the world title keeps dying.”

The FBI are now taking a proactive approach to protecting potential victims. “We’ve taken a number of individuals into protective custody,” Martin explains. “Extraction teams led by our finest agents have recently traveled to Norway, Taiwan, Mexico and Germany.”  Using government records, the FBI is gathering the world’s oldest living people and transplanting them to new locations. Martin says maintaining secrecy is crucial to the safety of the seniors.

“We have instituted a system very similar to the witness relocation program.  We’ve moved these individuals to new locations where they are complete strangers.  They have new names, new homes and a fresh start on new lives without having to live in fear that they will be targeted next. 

Results have been mixed, however, as three of the four persons relocated died within two weeks of relocation.  “There does seem to be a bit of a tough transition,” Martin admits. “But if we give up, then the serial killer wins.”

Martin says the search for whomever is causing the deaths of the world’s oldest people will continue. “We will continue to put every available agent on this case.  Right now the killer is making us look foolish, but we are confident that he or she will soon be brought to justice.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Death drew closer to Caxton with each passing day.  All his accumulated wealth; all his earthly treasures could not buy him more time.  Confined to his bed, the old man sent for Thompson, his lawyer.  At the dying man’s request, Thompson (one of those rare trustworthy souls) dispatched telegrams to the old man’s kin.  A telegram was also sent to a man named Goodwell.  According to Caxton, they had served together in the War Between the States until a stray MiniĆ© ball lodged in Goodwell’s brain.  

“Changed him,” Caxton croaked.  “Need his gift now.”  The baffled lawyer  obeyed.

When Caxton’s relatives began arriving one by one, the old man forbade anyone other than Thompson from entering his quarters.  “Draw up a...  will and testament...” the dying man wheezed.  “Send Goodwell up directly.... upon his arrival.”

Goodwell finally arrived and stood gazing at the house until Thompson escorted the venerable old soldier inside.  Relatives gaped as lawyer and veteran trudged up the stairs together.

Inside Caxton’s room, the dying man spoke without preamble. “Time is short.  What did you see?”

“Nothing but vultures,” Goodwell announced gravely.

Caxton sighed.  He turned his face toward Thompson.  “Accompany Goodwell to the porch... wait with him there.”

The dying man paused to catch his breath.

“When the right person arrives... Goodwell will tell you... That person gets everything...”  The old man closed his eyes.

“What--?” Thompson began but Goodwell raised a hand.

“Easy enough,” the gifted man explained.  “I’m to wait and watch for the arrival of a mourning dove.”

Saturday, March 7, 2009


“What a dump,” Nick snorted as he gazed up at the dilapidated structure.  


“Glad you think so,” Christopher replied, sarcasm edging into his voice.  They got out of the car for a closer look.  

Nick shoved his hands into the pockets of his varsity letter jacket and glanced at his companion.  “Creepy old place; you’d probably feel right at home here.”

“Sure, make fun of the goth,” Christopher shot back, his mouth twisting in a sardonic smile.  “You jocks are so predictable.”

“Chill out,” Nick said defensively.  “Let’s go in and check everything out.  We can’t use it for the fraternity haunted house if we don’t make sure it’s structurally sound first.”

The front door shrieked as if in protest as the pair pushed it open and cautiously stepped inside.  Nick paused but Christopher immediately disappeared into what was once the living room.  The windows were boarded over, and the meager rays of light that glimmered through the 

cracks in the plaster waned as moving clouds obscured the sun.

The floor creaked as Nick stepped gingerly into the darkened room.  

“This place is almost a perfect,” Christopher’s voice seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere.  “We just need a lost spirit trapped inside its’ walls to make it authentic.”

“You mean like a ghost?” Nick asked.

“Precisely,” Christopher agreed. “Preferably the victim of a violent crime.”  His fingers found the switchblade in the pocket of his black trench coat.

Nick froze and listened intently.  He heard the sound too late.


First published in the May 2008 issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. (The Story That Won)