The first chapter in my current WIP about a serial killer.
Chapter 1. Warehouse Woe
BANG, BANG, BANG.
The deep thudding noise echoed across the empty warehouse, bouncing off the walls and ricocheting like a bullet of sound. The large dusty warehouse was derelict, it had remained empty and unused for decades. Littered with flaking concrete posts, walls caving in on themselves, and the sky visible through gaping holes in the roof, it was a shadow of its former self. It was un-used until recently, unwanted and ignored.
The smell inside the small, pitch black, metallic room was putrid. Full of foul smelling air that was stagnant and stale, the smell hit the back of her nostrils where it seemed to stick and made her want to retch with every breath she took. She tried breathing through her mouth but some of the smell still seemed intent on penetrating her nostrils and seeping in to her body. It was a smell she couldn't compare to anything she had experienced before, far worse than the putrid overflow from her blocked sewage drains, and that was saying something. That had been a smell she knew she would never forget and what she smelt now she knew she would also never forget. It was a mix of sewage, something rotting away and decaying bodies, a smell so disgusting nobody should ever have to experience it. She had woken here in this dank, dark torture chamber some time ago. Was it hours or days? She had no idea. Time seemed to have no meaning to her anymore. She had woken feeling groggy and confused. No matter how hard she tried she couldn't remember anything about where she had been before this room. Her mind wandered whenever she tried to remember what had led her to this evil place. Her once silky soft, luscious hair was now limp and matted together with blood and grime. Her shiny and vibrant blue eyes were now blood shot and lifeless almost. The long and thin pencil skirt she wore was tattered and torn. Her crisp white blouse had been torn from her body and discarded somewhere among the disarray. Each pile of rotting matter told the history of this room.
She had felt her way round the walls of the entire room searching for a light switch but had found none. She hadn't felt any windows either, all she found was what felt like a thick and heavy metal door which she had been pounding on ever since. The walls of the room were cold and rough on her hands. Claw marks etched into walls and the floor, puddles of blood collected in the cracked concrete. She had screamed for help until her throat had dried up, her voice had cracked and she could scream no more. Her hands were sore and throbbing from the constant beating she had given the door. She was sure they must be bruised and bleeding by now but she wouldn't give up. Of course, she had tried to push the door open, to slide it to one side and even to kick it and shove it with her shoulders. She ran her fingers all around its edges in a desperate attempt to find a means of escape. All that had resulted from her efforts were sore knees and shoulders, and a sense of defeat.
Now utterly exhausted she slid down the door and fell onto the floor, crying and fearing for her life as the realisation that this room would be the last she ever saw sunk in. She began to wonder if the smell was from other people who had been left here to die. She had scrabbled about in the dark when she had discovered the bodies, her hand accidentally sinking into soft rotting flesh of a corpse long since dead. Her shoulders shook as her crying erupted into hysterical tears, huge gasping sobs and muted screams from her sore throat. With every scream her throat felt as if she was swallowing shards of broken glass.
Surely somebody would be looking for her by now? Somebody had got to be missing her, had got to have noticed she hadn't turned up for work, or answered any calls or texts. She may live alone but she wasn't a loner, she had friends, family and work colleagues who must be starting to worry about her. She had little hopes of anybody finding her alive, with no idea where she was or why, there seemed to be no hope of escaping or being rescued. She slumped forward, resting her head on her knees, and sobbed.
The radio crackled to life as Mitch pressed the button.
"Hey, Sam, the boss wants you to come in and look over the plans before we send in the big guns."
Sam pressed send on his handheld radio before replying .
"Sure thing Mitch, on my way. I'll get the lads to hang five.”
Mitch replaced the handset on his belt loop, adjusted his yellow hard hat, and made his way back to the porta cabin that acted as their on-site office. Sam wasn't far behind him.
"Good, you're both here." Kyle said as the two men entered. "You both familiar with the plan?"
Sam stood by the door, leaning against the wall. His Five feet nine inch frame towering over the sitting Kyle. He brushed back his dark brown hair with his hands and replaced his hard hat. His brown eyes rolling at Kyle's question.
"Same as usual isn't it boss? Knock the place down." Replied Mitch. Who was a good four inches taller than Sam, with mousey brown hair and blue eyes.
"Yup, same as usual. They don't want anything salvaged from inside so it's a simple case of knocking shit out of the place and clearing the rubble. Sam will you do the usual last walk through, make sure no vagrants are squatting inside? Once that's done send the lads in to begin demolition."
"No bother boss, the walk through shouldn't take long."
"Great, shouldn't take us more than the two weeks they want it cleared by. Mitch can you chase up the new lad for his national insurance number?"
"Will do Kyle, I saw him arrive earlier "
"Right then, off you go. I'll be out in an hour once I chase up a few jobs."
Sam and Mitch left the office again, and headed off in different directions. Sam took three of the men with him to do the walk through. All it needed was a quick walk about each of the two floors making sure nobody was using the building to live in, and then they could get stuck in to the job. With two of them to each floor they began checking the old place out, which was pretty easy on the ground floor as the vast majority of it was an open floored factory space. The first floor was mainly offices and there was more rooms to check. Sam had almost completed the walk through when he came across a huge metal door that was padlocked shut.
He took his radio from his high visibility jacket.
"Hey Mitch, can you send one of the guys in to the far left with some bolt cutters. There's a padlocked door here I best open and check out."
"Yeah right away Sam. It'll probably be empty but we know the drill by now.”
Rob had finished checking the other half of the ground floor and made his way over to where Sam stood.
"Need me to go get some gear Sam?"
"Nah, Mitch is sending someone in." Sam replied, turning to look down the length of the building. "Looks like he's bringing it himself." He said pointing to him.
Mitch sauntered over to Sam and Rob, figuring there was no reason to rush.
"Thought I'd bring them myself seeing as nobody else was about." He said, handing Sam the heavy bolt cutters.
Sam pinched the heavy solid chain being held in place by the padlock, and it fell to the ground with a clattering of metal upon metal. He grabbed hold of the door handle and yanked it back. It took more effort than he guessed it would but it opened first try
"Holy shit what the fuck is that smell?" Rob gasped.
As the door slammed back a smell so bad it made Rob turn and vomit his breakfast on the concrete rushed out at them all. Mitch covered his nose with his shirt sleeve.
"Fuck, that's rancid! Are there any electrics working still Sam?"
"Nah it's all been cut off for donkeys. I'll radio Kyle to send some flashlights down, I dread to think what the hell that smells from though."
Sam retreated off to one side, far enough to be able to breathe without wanting to throw up. Rob wandered off outside for some air while Mitch distanced himself from the door, and returned once he felt he could keep the rest of his stomach contents where they should be
"Kyle can you send in some flashlights? We found a locked room and the smell from inside is unbelievable but there's not enough light getting in to take a look."
"Does it need me to come down?”
"Wouldn't hurt if you got a few minutes spare boss."
"Be right there."
Kyle soon arrived with two huge black and yellow flashlights. The smell hit him as soon as he was within twenty feet of the open door.
"Christ it smells like something died in there!" He gasped, fighting to keep his breakfast in his stomach. "I'll take a look myself, you lads stay here, one of you hold this other torch and point it in the door."
Mitch stepped forward, wrapping his arm around his face to cover his mouth. He clicked the torch on and swept the beam of pale yellow light across the inside of the room. All three men swore as the beam washed over several corpses, all in different stages of decomposition. Kyle clicked his torch on and took a few steps inside the room, sweeping it from side to side. The walls were covered in blood stains and scratch marks, as if the people inside had tried to claw their way out. The floor was plastered with faeces and dried blood. Dead maggots littered the place and piles of blood stained tools lay discarded on a metal trolley. The trolley stood next to a metal operating table, on which was another body, which appeared mutilated. He had seen more than enough and quickly retreated again.
"None of you go in there, you don't need to see what's inside. Make sure nobody even comes in the building at all, I'll get on the phone to the police right away."
Sam's voice came out broken as the shock hit him.
"What the fucks gone on in there? Jesus, those poor bastards."
"Sam you OK pal? You three come back to the office with me. Make a brew or something and stay put."
The men left the building hoping they never had to look in that room again. Mitch boiled the kettle while Kyle called the police.
An hour later the site was swarming with police cars, forensics vans and even a few news vans had turned up hoping to catch a story. The police kept the media well back from the site and taped off the entire warehouse.The whole place was a buzz of uniformed police, people in white paper boiler suits and masks, wearing heavy black rubber boots, and press trying to get a breaking story. Two police officers were interviewing the four men in the office.
"We'll need to speak with everyone on site briefly, just to make sure nobody saw anything else, but then you may as well send them all home. Once we finish taking your statements you can go too, but will need to come into the station and sign a written statement tomorrow." The tall young police woman instructed.
Shirley had only been on the job a year so was still a rookie to some of the old timers. This was the biggest case she had heard of so far. Standing tall at just under six feet her auburn hair was always wrapped in a tight bun when she was at work. She was slim but muscular and liked to keep in shape. She and her male partner, Jim, had been first on the scene. Jim had taken a look in the room first and was horrified by what he saw. He had tried to keep Shirley away from the gruesome contents of the room, but her curiosity got the better of her and she had slowly walked up behind him, gasping when she saw the horrors inside.
"In my ten years on the force I've never seen anything as horrific as that, Shirley you don't need to go in there, leave it to forensics eh?" He had said, trying to protect his young partner from images that would no doubt haunt him for the rest of his life.
"Yeah, thanks Jim, I've seen more than I want to. Do you think this is the same guy that killed the other three women that were found last month?"
"Well obviously I'm not the expert but it could well be the same guy. Lord knows how many he's killed so far. By the looks of these bodies they're from way before the other three."
Jim and Shirley had gone back outside the building then, not wanting to see or smell any more than they already had. They felt for the team who would have to go in and identify the bodies, nobody should have to witness scenes like that, it wasn't something you could ever become numb to no matter how long you had been on the force for.
The previous month three bodies of missing women had been discovered in some deserted garages that had been left behind when an old council estate was knocked down to make way for some new builds. All of them had been badly mutilated, autopsy and forensics had later determined the women had been tortured over several weeks. The killer was still at large, making many of the public jittery. They felt unsafe knowing he had not been found, despite police reassuring the public that they were doing everything possible to find the culprit. The truth was they had little to go on. Nobody had come forward to say they'd seen anyone acting suspiciously near the garages and the DNA they found at the scene was either from one of the four women, or from an unknown source they had no records for. That meant either the killer, which was found to be male from DNA evidence, was new to crime or just never been caught for any prior criminal offences.
This made him dangerous, they had nowhere to start their search from. Whoever was doing this was obviously good at blending in, at going about unnoticed by anyone. He was probably the last person anyone who knew him would suspect as a killer.
Shirley and Jim returned to the station later that day as their shift came to an end. The latest discovery of bodies was the talk of both the men's and women's locker rooms. Several officers asked Shirley what the scene was like and she relayed the horrific details.
She changed into her civilian clothing, hopped into her small car and drove the ten miles to her home. Christian, her husband, wasn't home yet and she figured he had got caught up at work. He was a junior doctor at the local hospital's Accident and Emergency department. They had met when Shirley was still at university and three years later, when she was still only twenty two, they married. Christian was five years older than her, and she had immediately been attracted to him. He was just over six feet tall with dark blonde hair flecked with dark brown here and there. and deep blue eyes. Back when they met he'd had a small goatee but had since shaved it off. He often worried about his wife, what with her line of work, but knew she loved her career choice.
By the time she had showered and put something for dinner in the oven Christian had returned home.
"Hey sweetheart, how was work today? Arrest many bad guys?" He said, kissing her on the cheek as he passed by her to hang his coat up.
"Hi darling. Works been a bit tough today actually. There were more bodies found out past Bramley in a derelict warehouse. Seems to be the same guy as last month’s bodies only the ones discovered today were really decomposed. Jim and I were first on scene. It was horrific Chris, I've never seen anything like it."
"Christ, this guy needs caught quick smart. Are you OK?"
"I've felt a bit shook up since. Honestly the scene was terrible, mutilated bodies, bloody tools, and a smell I think will be stuck in my nose for the rest of my life. It was just so horrible. Jim and I barely stepped in the room."
"Sounds awful. Does it look like it could be the same killer?"
"Jim seems to think so although it's obviously too early to say for sure. Several bodies in the one place, different stages of decay, tools used to torture them, blood all over the walls and floors. They'd been kept there for some time by the looks of it. Another quiet location, derelict building."
"Does sound like the same guy to me. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, poor women. Nobody is going to feel safe until he's caught, and that could take a while especially as the bodies aren't found for some time. Who knows how many others are out there undiscovered."
"Makes my skin crawl. There still aren't even any leads from the last lot. I'm betting there won't be any this time either. I reckon this psycho's going to need to fuck up big time before we catch him."
"It's awful to think how many more women he's going to torture and murder before that happens though. Though if the DNA from the last case is his then he already slipped up."
"Either that or he's got so confident we won't catch him. DNA isn't any use if we can't match it to any in the database. There doesn't even seem to be a pattern in how he picks his victims. They're doesn't seem to be any link between the first three. They all live in different towns, work in different places, attended different schools, no family links or friend links from what we can tell. It appears he picks the women randomly."
"Well try not to let it get to you too much babe, there isn't a lot you can do yourself. They're will be teams of people working the case. I know it won't be easy to get over what you saw today though."
"No it won't."