It was strange, morbid, and he had never seen it happen before.

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A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental

Chapter 5

“Hey Skeeter!  Look at this!”  Angus was pulling documents off of the Fax machine at headquarters with the aplomb of an octopus shucking oysters.

“Guzman, Cordova, Rodriques, Ortega, Solis… Well, what do you know?  Padilla came through, after all!”  Skeeter was quick to respond.

“I didn’t think we had a chance of getting anything from him, after I blew it by mentioning the bodies without brains.” Angus admitted.

“Me either, Angus.  I thought he was just giving us lip service, anyway, the whole time—that he had no intention of ever helping us, even before you brought up the brains.  We have got a nice batch coming in here: names, photos, fingerprints, aliases, end even quirky things like disguises they use, who they operate with.  This is a goldmine.”

“I bet our home invaders are in this stack of papers somewhere, Skeeter.  It won’t take us long to figure this out.  I still think he knows something,”  Angus couldn’t resist saying.

“Who? Padilla?” Skeeter asked.

“Yeah.  I think he is aware of the bodies without brains situation.  I think Mexico may even have had one of these mysterious types of bodies, but they are keeping it under tight wraps—from the way he acted.”

“I got that same feeling, Angus.  He over-reacted, and now he’s not talking.”

“I think we should pull out our prints from the scene of the home invasion murders and go over the prints in these Faxes for similarities.  Then we can take our most likely candidates over to the forensics lab for verification.  They can fine tune them with magnification, experts’ opinions and make us a good evidence file.”

“Okay, you give me half of them, and you take the other half.  We are looking at a good afternoon’s work, or maybe longer.”

“It’ll be a drag—all those points of comparison to make, but at least now we have something to work with, after over a year of spinning our wheels.”

*     *     *

     “How close are you getting, Angus?  I am only about a third of the way through my stack, with no likely candidates.”  Skeeter posed this question to Angus when she noticed some of the other detectives leaving for the day.

“I am going at the same speed, but I have one possible candidate.  I have pulled him off as a ‘possible.’  It is gonna take all day tomorrow, too, probably.”

“Let’s go ahead and go home.  We know tomorrow is shot.  Staying late today isn’t gonna do any good.”

“Okay.  I am gonna make a quick call to Padilla and thank him.  Why don’t you go ahead and go.  We might as well take good care of ourselves.  We don’t know what kind of catastrophe is going to happen next in this hairy business.  I’ll be right behind you.  See you in the a.m.”

*     *     *

     “Inspector Padilla, thank you very much, sir.  We are going over the information you were so kind to send us.  I think we will finally be able to make some progress on this case that has stumped us for so long.  Your cooperation is very much appreciated and I will inform you soon of the results.”  Hmmmmm.  He seemed very cordial, once again, Angus mused.

Angus put the receiver back in its cradle, then, he dialed another number.

“Yes, Angus.  I am aware of that strange case you read about, believe it or not.  Just between me and you, it is being kept very quiet because of the morbid nature, not really being released to the media.  The only reports are being leaked, unethically.  I think they will be sending info to all U. S. police departments soon, BOLO—Be-On-the-Look-Out for…” the voice at the other end explained.

“Does that mean you are expecting an epidemic of missing brains, Doc?”

“Well, we don’t know what is causing this.  It is very perplexing.”

“The way I understand it, is that there were no marks on the bodies, no incisions…” Angus continued, hoping for more information.

“That’s right.  I have been consulted about it by phone, myself.  It is not a disease, a self-destroying cancer, or anything of that type, it did not occur by mechanical means, no suction devices, no aliens—ha, ha.  Until I can actually examine a body myself, I can’t make any conclusions.  There is no record of anything like this ever occurring medically.  I will try to keep you posted if anything juicy turns up.”

“Thanks, Doc.  I reserve the right to call you.”  Angus said with a chuckle.  “This thing fascinates me.”

Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.

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