It was just your typical Seattle day – light and dark gray clouds intermingling together, sprinkling throughout the day, wind blowing near constantly.
I was sitting in mine and Anna’s office when the Boss came in and dropped two huge boxes on my desk, nearly spilling my cup of coffee all over my keyboard.
He walked out of the room and left me to the case. I wiped off the few drops of coffee that made it onto my suit. I sighed. You would think more boxes would mean an easier case to solve – more evidence, easier to find suspect – but no. Generally speaking, the more boxes the Boss handed me the more work I had ahead of me.
My partner, Anna, wouldn’t be pleased either. I sighed and sipped my coffee for a few unfortunately short minutes, staring at the boxes in front of me. After much internal bargaining, I stood up and opened the first box and peered inside. It was full of DVDs, journals, crime scene photographs, physical evidence – hair, bits of flesh, nails, blood samples. This already looked like it was going to be one of the most gruesome cases of the year.
I looked at the clock and decided to take the boxes home and organize them. I left the office building and walked out into the crisp autumn air. It struck me that not many people were out that evening. It was just after five o clock. Shouldn’t more people be getting off work? I reached my car, put the boxes on top of it, unlocked the door and piled in. I put the boxes on the passenger seat of my beat up car and started the drive home.
I got home around 5:45, after stopping to get some food for dinner. I made myself tacos and sat down in front of the television. I ate quickly, watched my favorite comedy show – King of the Hill. I would need something funny to get me through these boxes. I emptied the contents out onto the table in front of me. I noticed there were photos from three different crime scenes, so I started by organizing everything by victim.
Why it wasn’t in the first place, I wasn’t sure at that point. But as I started going through everything, I had an idea why. It was all so gruesome. No one would want to deal with this. Maybe that’s why me and Anna got the case. We were the best detectives there. Stomachs of steel. Everyone probably assumed we would be able to cope with it. Looking through it though, I wasn’t sure we could. It wasn’t like we had a choice though. People were dying and Anna and I were assigned the case, so we had to end it.
After organizing everything by victim, I started on the pile with the earliest dates. I picked up the first of many photographs and gulped as I examined the picture. What was left of the body was mangled. As if someone…had been eating it, ripping pieces of its flesh off, tearing it to bits. The body was lying in a bed. The white sheets were soaked with fresh looking blood.
They were ripped in places, like the person had struggled. I couldn’t even tell if it was a man or a woman. The body was too destroyed. I thought it was a woman because the hair on the head was long, but everything was too mangled and bloody to tell. The chest was torn to pieces, the ribs were broken, sticking out, the heart was missing, three fingers were gone, the nose was gone, the eyes were lying on the floor. I could hardly bear to look.
Not wanting to look at the pictures anymore, I picked up the journal they’d collected and put in the box. I opened it and flipped to the last entry.
"11/3/12, 8:50 PM. I don’t know how much longer I can take this. I’m scared all the time. Paranoid. Something’s always watching me, opening my doors and windows whenever I’m asleep. I’m sure I’ve developed insomnia. I just can’t sleep anymore. Oh God, someone help me. I’m going insane. Something’s going to get me, I just know it. Every day it’s the same thing. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. My mom told me to go get help. I don’t want help, I want this THING to leave me alone! Oh God, I shouldn’t have written this. Now I’m just even more scared... I remember growing up I was always scared of what’s under the bed, behind the shower curtain, or waiting in bed next to you, waiting for you to roll over… that heaviness that you feel when you so desperately want to look behind you, but can’t bring yourself to move… None of those were ever as terrifying as this feeling I’m plagued with now… I know I’m going to die. Whoever reads this, you all know what I’m talking about. That overbearing paranoia and fear or your own imagination when you sit in a dark room, all by yourself…"
The writing was shaky and specks of blood covered the page, like it had opened while she was being murdered. They said they found it on the floor by the bed. I looked through some of the previous entries. A lot of the same. Paranoia, fear. Opening doors and windows. Feelings of being watched. I wondered what this thing was. Seattle is thought of as the hippie coffee drinking and pot smoking city, but considering how relaxed everyone sees us as, there’s a lot of crazy stuff that happens here. Washington is just serial killer central. It at least looked like that was what we had on our hands. Three killings in the same style – bodies torn to shreds… appearing to be eaten. I flipped to the first entry of the journal.
"11/1/12, 11:36 AM. My window keeps opening. They’re closed when I go to sleep, open when I wake up. Maybe it’s just an animal. A squirrel or something climbing around in the tree outside my window. I think I’ll set up a video camera tonight. Try to catch it. If I didn’t have to wear these stupid earplugs every night I could just wake up when it opens. It has a really bad squeak when you open it. If the baby would just stop crying long enough for me to get to sleep without ear plugs, I could find out what’s making my window open. Those darn neighbors."
The first entry in the journal was only three days before the last entry. Things escalated quickly after that. All the rest of the entries showed panic and fear. She was terrified after that first night of filming. It was getting hard for me to handle this, even with the canned laughter in the background. I packed up the boxes, being careful not to look at those damn pictures anymore and put the boxes aside. I’d just watch some TV for a while, take my mind off everything.
I woke up the next morning on the couch. My apartment was cold. I stood up from the couch, sore from a night of awkward sleep. I took a shower, got dressed, and left for the office, calling Anna while I drove. She said she’d be a little late, that she just woke up. I stopped at the Starbucks down the street from the office and got us both coffees. We really needed to get through all the contents of the boxes so we could start to think about who this sadistic killer was.
I took the boxes out of my car after I parked and stacked them on top of the trunk. I put the two cups of coffee on top of them and carefully carried them to our office. When I got to the office, it was cold there too. Colder than usual. I turned on the heat and took a sip of my coffee, leaving my suit coat on. Anna arrived ten minutes after I did and gratefully took the coffee.
“So what do we have?” she asked.
“I don’t know if you want to know,” I said, trying to sound light-hearted.
“Oh, please,” she said, chuckling. “We can handle anything.”
I sighed and opened the boxes for her. I pulled out the pictures from the first crime scene and showed them to her. She gasped as she looked at them. I saw tears well up in her eyes as she put her hand to her face and grabbed the photo. I’d shown her the only picture I looked at thoroughly. I could understand her disgust.
“What kind of sick…freak…can do this sort of thing to someone?” she said, more quietly than usual. “This psychotic nut job stole her heart! He tore her to shreds! What…who can do that?”
“I don’t know, Anna. I was wondering those same things last night,” I said. “I only looked at that picture before I couldn’t do it anymore. After that I started reading through the journal the first victim had been keeping.”
I grabbed it out of the box and opened it to the first entry. I read it to her, and the few from the second day where she was starting to panic.
“What do you think? Could it be her ex? Whoever she and her ex are? She talks about something standing outside her window, so maybe he was stalking her.”
“It’s possible,” Anna replied. “But have all three of these victims dated the same man?”
“I don’t know.”
We kept going through the boxes. Hours dragged by all too slowly. We read the journals, all with no clues as to who this murderer was. We looked at the pictures, all so grotesque that we could hardly bare to look through them all. Every picture was of a different limb disconnected from the body and sprawled across the room, or of bits of torn off flesh and spattered blood around the crime scene. The blood and gut filled images were stained into our minds by the time lunch hour came. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to eat,” I said, almost joking, as we walked out of our office to go get lunch. Anna laughed a little.
“I know what you mean. This is probably the worst case I’ve dealt with.” Over lunch we discussed theories. Who-dun-it type theories. But none of them really made sense. The ex idea could be plausible, but what was the likelihood of two women and 1man in a city as big as Seattle dating the same man? It could just be a serial killer, but why was he targeting these young people? Maybe they knew some of the same people, and one of those people happened to be psychopathic. There were just too many options to narrow it down this early in the investigation.
After the last few hours of work, Anna took one box holding one case home, and I took the other two. I was going to watch the DVDs they’d found on the scene. I got home and made myself some dinner and sat down on the couch. After eating, I popped in the DVD labeled “Night 1” and watched. I fell asleep ten minutes in though. Woke up the next morning, almost late again. I made my way back to the office as fast as I could and told Anna I’d fallen asleep and didn’t manage to get through the whole thing. She said it was okay, that we could watch one or two of them then. We situated ourselves around my computer and put in the first disc.
Nothing much happened, except the near constant cries of a baby. We fast forwarded through the first few hours, but stopped when we saw something strange. Someone – something – crawled up the tree outside her window and sat there, unmoving. All we could see was a black silhouette of a strange figure.
We went to one of the briefing rooms where there was better tape evidence viewing equipment. We hooked everything up and got back to where we were in the tape, and zoomed in as far as we could, but we still couldn’t make the figure out clearly. It appeared to have something on its wrist as it opened the window. We assumed it was man based on how huge the hand was. For the whole video, he sat at the window, staring at the woman. Just staring. It looked like he was mumbling to himself violently. Like he was battling with two voices in his head. Near dawn, he jumped out of the tree he was perched in, startling the woman awake. Anna looked at me in horror when the video ended. I didn’t know what to say so I just nodded at her.
“I’ll take the rest of the tapes and watch them tonight,” I said, sparing her sanity. “Go home. Take a break.” She nodded at me and stood up to leave. I followed her. Even though it was still only lunch hour, I went home, DVDs and soda in hand, to watch the videos before the Christmas party. Definitely not an activity that encouraged holiday spirit, but what could I do.
I walked into my apartment, dropped the DVDs and soda down on the couch and went to make a sandwich. When I came back into the living room area, the window was open. I didn’t remember opening it. I tried to brush it off as nothing, but after watching the DVD of the first night of filming, I was starting to become paranoid. Maybe this thing would come after me, since I was assigned the goal of capturing him. Maybe he didn’t want to be captured and would kill everyone who would try. These thoughts ran through my head and made me more and more paranoid with every second. I shoved them out of my mind and closed the window, making sure to lock it.
I ate my sandwich quickly, gulped down some soda to wake me up, and put on the next DVD. It started off the same, except the woman had left a candle lit by the window. Probably so she could see who was there. It didn’t help me much though. I could make out what looked like bracelets dangling off his wrists, clanking whenever he moved. He pressed his hands and face pressed against the locked window. I couldn’t make out any eyes, hair, or a human face… All I could see was a nose, which looked broken, and a mouth, that looked severely chapped. The whole video progressed the same way the first had.
He stood there till dawn, watching, muttering. I wished I could see what he was. But at the same time, I didn’t. Just from his outline he looked grotesque. The second video ended with the creature leaving just like he had the night before.
I remembered reading that on the third day the woman had called the police. I didn’t remember anyone telling me someone had called, claiming to be being stalked by night or claiming someone was standing outside her windows at night. She also wrote in her journal that she called someone to come stay the night with her. During his interview, we found out he was her cousin. I know he found the body. He woke up to screaming in the middle of the night but claimed he couldn’t open the door in time to save her. He was held as a suspect in custody inside a mental hospital. The incident had caused severe mental damage. He refused to discuss the event and only muttered to himself. He was the second victim this killer had claimed.
I turned on all the lights in my apartment, becoming paranoid myself. Before I watched the next and last DVD, I opened up the woman’s journal again and read through the entries she’d written on her last day.
"11/3/12. 5:17 PM. I called the police. They won’t help me. They don’t believe me. They think I’m crazy. I tell them someone with something on its wrists and an ugly face keeps opening my windows and trying to open them if they’re locked, but they just don’t care. I called Bill and asked him to stay over tonight."
I put in the next DVD and prepared for what I was about to see. I don’t think anyone could successfully prepare themselves for that though. What I saw was beyond horrific. It wasn’t grotesque, it wasn’t horrifying, it wasn’t appalling… none of those words would suffice in describing the sights I had to sit through. The DVD started with her locking the windows and closing her curtains. Her cousin walked into the room and reassured her, rubbing her arm. “I’ll be in the next room,” he said to her. The woman nodded and he walked away. She lit two candles and put one next to her bed, and one by the window. We found them on the floor, both labeled “Vanilla Honey Stress Relief Candle.” The woman curled up under her blankets, facing towards the window.
A few hours passed with nothing happened. Even just fast forwarding through the DVD was suspenseful enough to make my heart race. I would fast forward for a few minutes, press play and watch for a few seconds, just in case the murderer came in. I didn’t want to miss it. Even though I did want to… At around 2 AM in the tape, I pushed play and went to the bathroom. As I closed the door, I heard a loud crash and ran back out into the living room, my fists raised. I looked around and saw no broken items. I started to hear loud thumps. I went to my door and looked through the peep hole, but no one was at my door or my neighbors. My heart was pounding even harder than it was. I went back into my living room and the thumping got louder. I looked at my TV screen and the camera was shaking. I knew this was it. I sat on my knees in front of my TV; my palms were sweaty; my hands were shaking; I felt I was going to puke, thinking about how she was about to die and I was the first to witness it.
The door opened slowly, eerily, opposite her bed. The man trudges into the room, dragging his feet. The door swings closed behind him, without him even touching it. He makes his way to the side of the woman’s bed, the side with the candle. The flame flickers as he moves closer and closer to her bed. His steps were loud and slow.
Thump…thump…thump… Finally, he makes it to her bed. He only looks at the camera for a split second before he turns his back and faces the woman. I’m not sure what I saw, but whatever it was it was disgusting. I couldn’t make out any eyes. His spine stuck out of his back, his whole body was naked, he was tall…6’ 5” probably…the bracelets on his wrists were not bracelets at all, but shackles with broken chains. He had them on his ankles too. No one mentioned this was a rape-murder. But with this naked man standing beside a woman’s bed, what else would I think? As he stands there I heard muttering in a low, menacing voice. I couldn’t make out what he was saying. He bent over, slowly, eerily, and lifted the woman’s hair, smelling it deeply.
She started to wake up, and rolled over mumbling “Bill? What are you doing?”
When she saw what was waiting for her, she screamed. After less than a few seconds, I heard pounding on the door and Bill yelling, screaming, begging to be let in, asking what was going on. But the door, which wasn’t barricaded, wouldn’t open. The woman starts panicking, struggling to get out from under her blankets and falls to the floor in the process. With speed that I didn’t think this creature or human could possess, he was then on top of the woman, ripping the woman’s fragile body into pieces.
He ripped and tore bits of skin off and threw them around the room. He was laughing, menacingly, getting progressively louder and more joyous as the woman died beneath him. I couldn’t see what was going on, but the sheer horror of the situation made my imagination run wild and made the situation even more terrifying. Soon, the woman stopped struggling.
The creature smiled as he tore her heart out of her broken chest and ate it. I didn’t see him do anything to her fingers, but seven of them were nowhere to be found when the CSI team arrived. The naked creature stood up and walked towards the camera.
I could finally see what this thing was as the candle light shown on his face. He had skin sewn over his eyes and the rest of him too was just bits of various skin sewn together to create a human like figure. His lips were chapped to the point of breaking and his nose was extremely crooked. He was bald. The blood all over his body made him even more nightmarish. He blew out the candle on the nightstand and laughed. Blood spat out of his mouth. He walked to the window and blew out the second candle. Breaking the window, he jumps out. All the while, Bill is screaming.
I sat in silent horror and began to hear thumping again. Terrified, I walked slowly around my house, searching for the source. I found nothing. The last room I checked was my bathroom. I opened my shower curtain and just as I did so, the bathroom light exploded, nearly giving me a heart attack.
“Okay,” I said to myself. “I need a break…just gonna go to the Christmas party now. Take my mind off this…” As I walked out the door, I thought of what this creature would be called. Stitch. Little did I know the horrors that awaited me in the weeks to come.
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