Chapter 1: One Step Ahead

Did it not occur to you that crimes, often, are unstoppable? That only justice can be served once the act has been committed. There are little to no precautions to stop a murder, robbery or any other forms of illegal activity. Crime is like a disease. It laches on to everyone who is close to it. Once an individual catches a mere scent of a materialistic advantage at such ease they turn to savages or wild dogs. They cannot resist the urge to break the law.

But how is this done? And why is this done? What is the motive behind a mind so torn and twisted they resort to the most inhumane ways to get what their hearts desire?

This is what I often wonder. I spend several nights sat at my desk staring out at the harbour in front of my office. My mouth waters like a reservoir in the middle of summer, as I look at all the tasty treats pass me by. It is…difficult desiring the tender and succulent taste of the human flesh in a society that deems it wrong to enjoy such luxuries. Those who indeed enjoy their meals have never truly indulged in cannibalism but, let me tell you dear reader, it is a dream I wish would never cease. My duties at this establishment do keep me busy and it does become tiring dealing with so many low class peasants who can barely string a sentence together. Children do make for cheap labour but even their presence drives me up the wall. There was one worker who went by the name of David Campbell. He came from a poor family and was a loyal employee. He would’ve made an excellent friend if he did not smell of rotten pipe weed and manure.

I care little for my workers problems but this David grabbed my curiosity one night. He showed the obvious needs for a rise. Most of them do. But he told me it wasn’t for his family. It was for a foreign lover in the Bahamas. He wanted to visit her. This amused me so, I expected a plea. This would of been entertaining. Though my heart felt heavy as I looked into his eyes. I gave him a raise of 2 shillings a day. He did not seem angry alas his disappointment was obvious. He continued to work for a few weeks until one day, from my window, I caught him hiding fishes in his tarnished brown leather coat. I was hungry at the time so it was only fitting that I invited him into my office later that night and offered him a small glass of port. The beverage was infused with a small amount of mephedrone and chloral hydrate. Within a couple of minutes he fell into a deep sleep with a smile on his face, unable to call for help as I tied him up and hid him away in my wardrobe.

Later that night, when everyone had returned home, I carried David to my nearby house. It was there I cooked and ate him. It wasn’t difficult to learn how to use a knife so elegant and smoothly. The Southampton Central Library had many books that helped me with this when I first started.

It has been a few nights since the events took place and the hunger has remained tenacious. I know little about why I do this but what I can say is, I’ll never stop. It is a new day and the sun is fighting the clouds; showing its dominance. What shall I eat next? Or rather…who?


It is rather odd to me. Yes, quite strange. I joined the police force when I was only 19. It wasn’t long until I became a detective before I was 25. I find my work fun. Sort of exhilarating. It resonates a feeling of satisfaction whenever I uncover the truth behind a story. I am good at what I do. One of the best and yet, most people I meet seem intimidated by my presence. Simultaneously, some people believe I make my findings up.

The year is 1852. The city of Southampton bustles day by day and the industrial revolution makes its mark on the modern world. And I am very bored. There are many cases keeping me busy and I am grateful for that, but the issue is the cases. They are the same day in and day out: man kills another man, tends to be out of jealousy, there are also hidden motives usually about money or power, a woman is typically involved, they weave a tale of their own in an attempt to convince themselves what they did was just.

After a while you really do start to detect a pattern in these crimes. That then got me thinking. What is the motive behind a mind so torn and twisted they resort to the most inhumane ways to get what their hearts desire?

I walked into the station one morning and dashed right by the reception. I walked up the feeble oak staircase and took a left at the top which lead to my office. My office, unlike most, was clean and almost symmetrical. I had a singular plant in the far-right corner of my room, just next to the window. A large Japanese peace lily. It oxygenated the room and gave a burst of colour to refresh the eyes.

My desk too was always kept clean and organised. A singular candle stick was held by a silver holder and next to that was a golden platter with my name on it. Nothing else was upon my desk except for a bronze fountain pen with my initials inscribed on its side.

Out of habit, I strolled around my office for a few brief moments taking deep breaths and running my index finger along various objects to inspect for dust. The station was relatively quiet so I took these moments of solitude to sit at my desk and write a few memoirs.

That was until a couple of bobbies knocked furiously on my door, begging to enter. Judging from the persistent knocking and irregular pattern it was evident they were in a hurry. I called at them to come in but when they did, I observed closely.

Their boots were not polished and, instead, were dirty and scuffed. Their eyes were dilated and widely open, sweat also ran down their temples. One of them was out of breath but both seemed obviously frightened.

“What is the matter?” I asked. They did not hesitate to respond.

“Sir, murder! Murder is afoot!” One screamed. My peace being interrupted and their excessive smell of sweat irritated me slightly.

“By god man, calm yourselves! Murder is but a common act as of recently, what has you so frightened?” I asked as I stood up from my desk, gently placing my pen next to my pieces of parchment.

As both of them caught their breath when I approached, they began to stutter.

“Only a body with one arm was attached sir. No legs, head or second arm. The sight…” one of them said before almost collapsing on my floor. I sat him down on a bench just outside my office and closed my door behind me. I turned to the second officer and requested he take me to the scene.

Upon arrival there was a foul stench in the air. The scene was on Abbotts Way, a short 10 minute walk from the Portswood police station. The narrow and mute street was frightening enough. The walls were plastered with posters and advertisements, the kerbs littered with glass and sweet wrappers. In the middle of the street was a thin blood trail that dotted its way in between two houses. It was there that the horrific site the bobbies had explained to me, was.

There was very little of this person left. Exactly as described; one arm attached to a torso and nothing else. One thing I did notice however, was the absence of blood. To say both legs, an arm and a head was missing, there was little blood to be seen. The stench was also less prominent the closer to the body I got and was stronger out in the street.

I kneeled down and took a deeper look.

There were subtle stains on the man’s chest, slightly below where his chin would be. A drinker. A heavy drinker as his shirt also carried the sweet strong smell of whiskey. It smelt fresh and judging from the scruff marks on his elbow, he was probably intoxicated at the time of his death. I turned over his hand. The skin at the base of his fingers on his palm was rough and solid, slightly teared. This man’s area of work was clearly manual labour. After spending a few minutes looking over the body, I walked back out onto the street.

I breathed in deep. Closed my eyes. Took in every scent my nose could detect.

The man was killed in the street. This is where the blood trail started. This was also where the blood was the most prominent. The stench was strong around me, telling me the body had spent more time here then it did in between the houses. The smell of whiskey on his body was still strong meaning he had been drinking recently. Within the last 12-24 hours. The blood had soaked deep into the pavement but had not yet started to turn brown. He was a manual worker and due to his attire, I doubt he would have had the money to travel. His place of work had to be within walking distance.

I wasted no time in returning to the station and looking at all of the nearby establishments that would offer manual labour. There were only 3: a coal mine on Bowden Ln, a fishery on Priory Rd and a factory that produced horse hooves on Highfield Ln.

But at which one of these did the man work at?

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