She laid the torn photo fragments on the table and adjusted the spotlight. More parts of the jigsaw. Mocking breadcrumbs, almost like he wants to be caught. It’s the familiar scene, always shot from a different angle. She moves the magnifying glass, searching. There he is, a tiny red-hooded figure, his face as always lost in shadow. But she knows he’s grinning.
How many victims lay silent out on those moors? Would they find a lunchbox within each tor? And within each box the signature photo fragments and stale crumbs, a memento of each unthinkable terrible act? The thought turned her stomach.
She carefully sellotaped the torn fragments back together and pinned the photo in its place on the wall. A sickening panorama, and there in each that hooded fiend, his hand pointing to a different peak. He’d planned each atrocity with meticulous detail and he wanted her to know that. No one saw him come or go, how did he move around? He was a ghost, only a ghost wouldn’t leave teeth marks in its victims.
It was late, she was exhausted and hungry after another long day. The press had been a nightmare, desperate for the gory details to feed the publics insatiable appetite. Not to mention the lecture on the reputation of the force from the super. Then to top it all, a text message, another copycat. She had to solve this case before he struck again, before it got out of hand. Before her career was ruined.
The doorbell rang, she’d only just finished showering, the food was early. She towelled her hair walking down the hall. The doorbell chimed again, breathless, she opened the door.
“That was quick,” she said taking the offered steaming box. He was already walking down the path by the time she looked back up. “Thank you” she called out after him.
He stopped and turned, illuminated by the flickering street light. She could not see his face, just his red hoodie as he nodded and faded into the night. Looking down, her hands are shaking as she carefully opens the lid of the box.
Recoiling in horror, the box falls, fries cascading onto the floor. It’s another victim.
The nibbled cold crust bounces across the path. She screams and falls to her knees.
The infamous pasty thief has struck again.