Victims were turning up in cities with their brains missing. Dark Continent Continental.

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A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental

Chapter 2

The officers of the Austin Homicide division were easing into one of the quietest, most peaceful summers they had seen in years.

“Have you seen the weather forecast?”  Dave hollered across toward Angus Carlyle’s desk.

“Yeah, seventies, eighties, no rain anytime soon, “Angus answered without looking up from his paperwork.

“Nah, I don’t mean that.  I mean the projection for the whole summer.”

“My ESP tells me it’s gonna get hotter,” Skeeter Sherwood butted in from behind the rolled-out drawer of a filing cabinet.

“Well, yeah!”  Dave volleyed back, sarcastically.

“What are you getting at, Dave?”  Angus chuckled.  “Is Global Warming gonna happen all at once, next week or something?”

“No, but it’s supposed to be one of the hottest Julys and Augusts we’ve had in years.  It’s supposed to have a bunch of record-setting days, anyway.”

“Uh oh.”  Angus replied, ominously.

Skeeter added, “Yeah, you know what that means—the long, hot summer.  In conjunction with the heat wave, we’ll get a homicide wave to go with it.  It never fails.”

“It’s one of those quirky laws of physics!” Angus exclaimed as he looked up, shaking his head.

“Let’s hope not, but I’ve got a strange feeling the shoe is gonna drop,” Dave mumbled as he grabbed a notebook and headed for the evidence room.

Angus stacked his papers neatly and got back to business.  “Skeeter, the way I see it, from the interviews we’ve gotten, the home invasion was probably done by gang members, or something similar.”

“Yeah, we have always figured that, Angus, but the people in the neighborhood are so frightened, they won’t say anything.”

“It’s drawn out for almost a year.  How are we going to get them to talk?  The invaders didn’t wear gloves.  We have got good prints, but they don’t match anything on file, anywhere.”

“Let’s say they are friends or relatives of someone who lives in that general area—why wouldn’t they have any prints on file?  Surely anyone violent enough to kill two old people over a few knick knacks would have previous criminal records and thus have fingerprints.  Right?”  Skeeter asked.

“Unless they are criminals, but not in the system.  It’s like they didn’t care if we had their prints.  They knew it wouldn’t do us any good.”

Skeeter summed it up.  “Criminals, committed previous crimes, not in system, because…..because…..because….”

“Because their criminal pasts occurred elsewhere!”

“Elsewhere….elsewhere….elsewhere… They are illegals!”

“Bingo!  That is almost the only thing it could be.  They are illegals.  Their criminal records and fingerprints are on file in another country—Mexico, El Salvador, even Asia, somewhere.  They will undoubtedly have criminal records there, unless they are paying bribes.”

“We are gonna need a lot of luck on this one, Angus.  People afraid to be witnesses, employers won’t admit they know them, because that would mean they hired them—and it’s against the law.”

“Yeah, nobody is going to admit that they hired them, or are related to them, or even know them.  It is one of those cruel paradoxes.  The decent ones who are only trying to help their families and improve their lot in life are rounded up and deported.  The killers, drug smugglers, drug dealers are so clever they are often invisible.”

Angus glanced about in the office.  When he was sure most of their co-workers had left the area, or were out of earshot, he turned to Skeeter.  “This is that deal I was telling you about yesterday.”  When Skeeter eased in close enough, he pointed to an article that he had pulled up on his laptop:

LACK OF BRAINS, OFTEN FATAL

          Medical examiners in three North American cities are scratching

     their heads.  Could some strange cases that have landed in their

     morgues all be related?  Bodies in Toronto, Miami and Salt Lake City

     have one main thing in common.  They are missing their brains.

          The individuals, who all lived alone, were discovered when con-

     cerned neighbors and friends asked police to investigate.  They

     had not been seen active, in or around their homes, nor had they ap-

     peared in public, arousing curiosity.  The police are naturally interested

     in the methods of their demise, but outward appearances do not reveal

     any marks or injuries to the bodies.  Upon autopsy, serology was within

     normal ranges and no disease processes were evidenced.  Their brains

     were totally absent from the brain cases.  A murder is not a murder

     until it can be shown that another person is responsible for that person’s

     death, and these cases have not reached that level yet.  They may never

     do so, but you had better believe that the medical examiners have been

     burning up the wires consulting each other in recent days.

 

“Wow, Angus!  Is that a legitimate newspaper article or is it from a scandal sheet?”  Skeeter could not believe what she had just read.

“It is from a scandal sheet—the one headquartered in Florida.  I have searched on the web and this story does not appear anywhere else.  It is nowhere to be found, but I am going to keep looking every day to see if

something else ever comes up.  For some reason, I am going on point about this.  It is just too weird, with all kinds of implications.”  Angus explained.

“Yeah, and I am going to be helping you do that, Angus.  You have got my curiosity working overtime.  It is almost as weird as the phenomena, Spontaneous Human Combustion.”

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

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