The Book of Enoch
Chapter 6 – Connections
Beth was tapping her forehead with the eraser end of her pencil. It was a strange nervous habit she had picked up from her father before he had died. It seemed to help her concentrate, almost as though it was setting a mental rhythm in her brain or something. Unfortunately, it often left numerous little red marks on her face that others could see, but thanks to a minor genetic anomaly, she could not. The other detectives in her unit sometimes kidded her that they could tell how she was doing on a case by looking at the number and intensity of the dots just below her hairline.
“You know, you really should just step back for a bit, maybe work on something else for a while,” said Patrick Fennel, who sometimes served as partner in investigations. She thought they made a pretty good team, even though she really preferred to work alone. He was easy-going enough that he rarely stepped on her toes.
“I know, I know…” she agreed and pushed back away from her computer terminal to let her eyes rest. “It’s just that it really bothers me that we have no place to go on this thing.”
“What about that professor guy? Isn’t he still a suspect?”
“Sure, but without any sort of evidence linking him to the crime it’s just a lot of theory. It blows me away that the entire room could be covered in gook and we couldn’t come up with one hair or fiber or even half a smudged fingerprint that could connect the guy, or anyone else, to this murder. And that’s just the residuals. There’s the even bigger problem of the door being locked from the inside.”
“Yeah, they had to bust down the door to even get in. It was dead-bolted.”
“Doesn’t that sort of rule out murder? Sounds to me more like a suicide.” The man sat in a chair facing her desk and watched her.
“You might think that, except for the rape. The lab shows that she was killed, somewhat literally, by over-stimulation. Yet there were no sex toys, and quite frankly, her body would tire itself out long before she reached the number of orgasms needed to screw up her hormones as much as they were. In short, there’s no way she could have done it to herself. Someone else did her, Pat. How they managed to lock the door from the outside and get away without a trace of evidence is a real Houdini act. But there has to be an explanation. Somebody literally fucked her brains out.”
“Or something, if you are to believe your demonologist pal.”
Beth hadn’t wanted to think about her only suspect. Part of the problem was that she found herself oddly attracted to the older man. In many ways, he was just like her in his way of looking at life, and gentlemen of intelligence were an endangered species. Aside from the fact that he very well might be a complete psychopath, he was just the kind of man she might have fallen for. She liked older men as a rule, but not, she thought to herself, usually someone old enough to be her father.
“Yeah. That’s the real bug isn’t it, that his story fits so neatly? I checked it out for myself by the way, and the data he gave me is legit.”
Patrick made a lopsided grin. “So maybe he’s telling the truth.”
Her mouth dropped open. “You’re not serious?!”
The man just shrugged his shoulders. “Look, I’m not saying I believe it either, but right now, outside of his explanation, you got zip. Like you said, it would take Houdini to get out that room without leaving a trace, let alone locking the door.”
“You’re not helping,” she said with a frown.
“Well, you had best come up with something soon, Beth, or the Captain is going to pull you off for a different assignment. What about the diary?”
She picked up the simple, Moleskin notebook. “Nothing. She never mentioned who SMA is, and nothing else in her apartment yielded a reference either. That girl was a real cipher. No friends. No family. She didn’t even have a phone or TV.”
“Well, she was a nun.”
“Yeah, but not in the normal sense. So far, we’ve found no local convent that recognizes her.” She tossed the book back on her desk and he picked it up, thumbing through the pages.
“A rogue nun… I wonder if SMA is her order?”
“I thought of that. Even maybe another nun. But without even knowing what the initials stand for, it’s a bit of a tough search. You have any idea how many nuns there are out there? And it’s not like they publish their membership on the internet or something.”
Patrick was quiet for a moment, thinking. “You mentioned earlier that the professor guy fit the profile of a serial killer… Maybe this isn’t his first nun?”
Beth leaned forward in her chair toward her computer. “That would certainly limit a search…”
The man watched her, knowing the look that had come over her face. She was dropping into ‘the zone’.
“You might leave it open to non-murders. If his other work is anything like this one, it’s more likely that they’d come up as suicides.”
It took her a few minutes to get the crime database to restrict the information to just nuns, but when the results finally started listing she whistled appreciatively. “Holy shit… thirteen?!”
“Yeah, but some of these are listed as suspicious ‘accidents’.” Patrick was leaning over to read her screen.
“Sure, but I wasn’t expecting anything… Oh my god! Look at the last one, Pat!”
The very last last entry, the most recent save for their own case, was a rape and murder that had occurred only a month earlier in Seattle. It was listed as a closed case, but the notation read, ‘lack of evidence.’
“That looks familiar,” he replied as she brought up the online file.
“There!” she exclaimed as she pointed to a reference. “…Subject was found in a pool of an unidentified organic substance… That has to be our guy.”
“It sure seems to be…”
She glanced over at him in disbelief. “Oh come on… the M.O. is almost identical! And look at the name… Mary Agina. SISTER Mary Agina… SMA!”
Patrick dropped back into his seat, frowning.
“That’s our connection, Pat. I’m going to go make a report to the Cap…”
“Beth,” he interrupted her. “Look at the date.”
She scrolled back to the top. “Yeah, so?”
“Remember when you first suspected the Professor? You asked me for some help doing a background on the guy. There wasn’t much of any interest save for a series of dissertations he did while traveling. More of the Nephilim thing.”
“Get to the point, Pat.”
He looked at her sadly. “This can’t be our perp.”
“Why not,” she asked confused.
“Because he was in Jersey at the time this murder supposedly took place.”
She turned back to her computer and slumped into her seat.
“It’s not all bad news,” he said with a half smile. “You were right about one thing. The perp is definitely a serial killer. Those M.O.’s really are the same. Look… even the locked door.”
“Like that does me a whole lot of good… I’m basically back to square one, only now I don’t even have a suspect.”
“Well, as I see it, you have two possibilities. Either that diary, and the package, is a fake and for reasons unknown was planted by somebody who killed both these women. Maybe to throw us off, but that seems like an awfully stupid thing to do considering that the guy left no other evidence at the scene. He’d have to be awfully sure of himself. The diary basically ties him to to at least one other crime.”
“That’s for sure… The package originated from a Washington post office. And the other possibility?”
“It’s not a fake and your pal the Professor was telling you the truth.”
She looked incredulous. “What… That demons are roaming the country killing nuns?”
He just shrugged his shoulders again. “You got a better explanation?”
She sighed. “No, damn it.”