When you lose someone you love, a part of you is lost. I have seen it in my short illustrious career in the police’s Special Crimes Unit. Every time I tell someone that their lover, spouse, child, or parent is dead, I watch them shatter before me. Some of them vent their anger on me, or on the police, the government. In another life, I must have been the Angel of Sorrow.
It had never occurred to me that one day I would feel the same sorrow I delivered sledgehammer way hacking me like a butcher, pound by pound.
Lia was funny, intelligent, and model beautiful. We would have contracted a catering company for a proper cake befitting our bourgeois life. Still, she believed that money was the reason why love and romance were being entombed under the splurge sarcophagus. She wanted to celebrate differently, to feel the sheer joy of celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday in style. She wanted a personal touch to everything.
That last birthday I made her cupcakes. The day I won the battle inside me and told her that I loved her and asked her whether she would love to be the mother of big-eyed children like me and said yes, I catalogued everything I knew about her: she loved cupcakes, liked her tea black, sushi was her favourite, she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything but black like me, she slept on the left side of the bed, she hated makeup, and weaves, she liked it when I called her Lia instead of Cessy, and she wanted to have kids with me.
I was stirring salt and pepper that I had added to 30ml of Vodka, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce to prepare a Bloody Mary when she came to where I was to tell me that the guests were about to begin streaming in and we had a very short time, how about a quickie otherwise I would arrest her for sexually harassing me. I told her that I didn’t mind arresting a jailbait like her and baiting her in jail where I would be the warden.
By the time we finished mixing the cocktails and mocktails, the house was filled with friends she had invited.
“Welcome to Lia’s Pub,” I said to those who wanted to get high and low.
She was happy. She laughed coquettishly, occasionally winking at me, danced to the live performance by one of her diva wannabe friends, dared me to kiss her bellybutton as she gyrated her hips in song and dance, and distributed the cupcakes saying that she was sharing her chocolate craving with everybody whom she wanted to carry down memory lane with.
As I watched her, my heart beat faster, my head began to swirl, and my body twirled. I love this girl, I said to myself. She brings out the girl in her at the best of times; she makes me come alive.
My heart palpitated when she gave her birthday speech, which she was good at. I had never seen her more radiant. Too bad the following day I had to go to work; I was supposed to brief my commanding officer where I was on The Birthday Killer case I was investigating.
The Birthday Killer watched the detective who was hunting for him kiss his bitch goodnight. In his psychopathic career, the killer had never been more afraid of getting caught than now. Detective Alex Muthee was good. He had not only known that the killer killed his victims on their birthdays but had also known that the killer was suffering from PTSD after watching his fiancée get killed by a stray police bullet on her birthday.
The killer watched his next victim get kissed, and her breasts fondled by her horny boyfriend from the shadows. Get a room, lovebirds, the killer said under his breath. A moment later, the kissing couple disengaged from each other, albeit lackadaisical, and the boyfriend left.
The killer came out of the shadows when the coast was clear and got in the house using his master key. He couldn’t resist taking a bite of cupcakes he saw in the fridge in the kitchen before he stealthily made his way to the bedroom, snuck in and stood over the sleeping beauty staring at her. She was beautiful. He liked watching her curl under the sheets like a kitten like Mia used to.
He fumbled for the hypodermic in his coat pocket, took it, removed five phials of Anectine, and set them on the nightstand. Playing the doctor he always thought himself to be, he emptied the five vials into the sleeping woman’s body.
When I brought myself to, I touched her cheeks. They were soft to the touch. Her body was cold. I touched her neck as though checking her pulse for the umpteenth time would bring her back to life. I pulled the duvet. She was so peaceful, serene, in her sleep. The diaphanous negligee she was in clung to her body, so I envied it. I was supposed to be the one stuck to her like that.
The butcher from hell hacked me pound by pound. When the crime scene guys cordoned off the house and declared the room where we made love a crime scene, I wondered whether it was such a crime to love someone as much as to have your love nest declared a crime scene. As they carted her away, my heart followed her deader than hers.
I was left with the husk that was filled with rage, vengeance, and justice. And that’s how I became a workaholic, alcoholic, melancholic, and a wonder kid in solving homicides.