013-Demon Hunt - Chapter XIII - Assessment

Chapter XIII

Werewolves are perceived as best trackers by the common folk, but in reality it is far from the truth: wererats have way more sensitive sense of smell, which is way more important than eyesight in a lot of cases, especially against a smart prey, covering its tracks. Unfortunately, werewolves breed almost as if mammal cockroaches, and thus there are far easier to come upon, even though among animals the rats are faster breeders. Since wereshifters take upon characteristics of their animal counterparts, it’s possible, that there are creatures excelling even more in the tracking business, since some species of moths have an even better sense of smell, for example. But to the day there were no sightings of weremoths or anything similar.

Wonderhood, Alice
«Animals. Monsters. Creatures»

Paul R. Jones

I step into a platform of inter-dimensional transporter and in a blink of an eye I appear in the world Alpha-139. Right from the get go I start vomiting, but despite this sad fact, it is amazing, how such a complex process of transporting something (or someone) to not just another place a few miles away, but to a different dimension, different universe takes less than a second. Even considering the consequences.
I mean, in less than a second, or maybe a full second in rare cases, your body (or anything, really) is scanned up to your atomic structure (or is it sub-atomic?), that structure is saved, then you are split into those atoms (or something less?), while a small wormhole is created and your atoms are pushed through it in a specific pattern to properly recreate you on the other side. You literally die and then resurrect. And the thing is, that there is actually no need to send your atoms even: just send, like, digitalized structure of your body to a desired spot and the reality will, practically, bent itself to accommodate the sudden burst of new information, materializing you from thin air.
Of course there are limitations to such technology. Firstly, you better send those atoms, too and do not rely on just digital information. At the least, it increases risks to the transport itself, in case reality will not have just enough atoms to materialize the object. Furthermore, even if it does have enough atoms this may thin it out, resulting in a tear and those are not easily closed.
Secondly, both methods, with and without your object’s atoms, require tremendous amounts of power. Although our world and others do have some advanced energy technologies we still require buildings the size of an atomic power factory to use such transporters. And if you are sending atoms too there is a chance of a power outage for such a factory due to power drain.
Thirdly, once you send someone this way, there is no easy way to transport one back. If within a small planet – sure, you can try locking on target and opening the wormhole near it. But if you send something to another dimension… In a lot of cases this is a one-way trip, unless they have same technology there or there is a known and opened tear back to home.
And fourthly… Well, I am standing on a sidewalk puking all over an apartment building right now, so there is that. But I am in a different universe. In Alpha-139. One of the “central” worlds as they are called. They say, that every world is like a sphere, which is connected to other worlds through thread-like wormholes, that is “tears”. It’s like molecules in a liquid, but instead of magnetic powers bringing them together there are physical (or what we perceive as such) connections. And amidst this liquid there is a portion, where the density of such spheres is the greatest, because they, theoretically, gave birth to all others. My world is not even one like that, not “central”, can you imagine that? Although, it may all be vice versa or not related whatsoever: scientists keep theorizing, but what theory is actually true – who knows? With each answer they find even more questions are born, some contradicting the previous answers even.
But back to work. I am here to investigate the murder scene, after all. I was ported not far from the scene, so it is not difficult to find it, especially, with police officers walking near it, photographing it. Among them I see a man in uniform similar to that of officers, but with A.E.G.I.S. ribbon on right arm. He is writing something in a notebook.
- Hi. I am Paul Jones from A.E.G.I.S. Was sent here to assist the investigation.
- Officer Sidorov, - the man says, giving me his hand for a shake.
- Do you have something already?
- Not much so far. We already collected some tissue samples to identify the victims and some of the results already came back. Photos are being taken still, not the regular ones, though. You know, those in different spectrums and stuff.
- Can I take a look?
- Of course. That’s why you are here after all.
The view is… Grotesque. It feels surreal. As if some sick mind drew a picture to shock comics readers and someone even sicker decided to recreate it in reality. Closer to the road there is a body staked on a huge bone. Portions of the guts around the bone with no sign of blood: they are clean as if an exhibit in a museum. The upper part of the spine is bent, as if someone tried to tear it away.
The head is split in two, left part of it lying on the left shoulder, exempt the brain, which lies on the ground at the same side. It looks clean and neat, as in biology room. The right part of the head is hanging across the chest, brain in the feet of the victim, the half of the scull barely hanging on the skin.
- Is that stake really a bone?
- We need to test it, of course, but to the touch it does feel like a bone.
Further into the dead end there is a body, lying face down, nothing seems special about it, except for the color: it was pale all over. No livor mortis whatsoever.
- Does this one have no blood, too?
- Seems like it. After all, if he did, his belly would be blueish, but it is not. We will know for certain only after autopsy, though.
- How is this possible?
- Check his throat.
I turn victim’s head slightly and see about a dozen of small puncture wounds on the throat. Except for the reddish rim around each wound the whole neck was of the same white color.
- You want to say, that blood was sucked out through these wounds?
- Again. Only the autopsy will tell us more, but we do not see any other wounds or tears or anything else.
To my left there is another body, lying near a bent wall. The bricks in the wall are cracked forming something like a shell-hole. The body lies as if a groveling man, but with hands along the body itself, and not before…
- Wait, where is the head? – I ask, seeing, that the spine ends with mutilated jaw and then nothing above it.
- A bit further from the wall and closer to the dead end.
And I do see the head, which looks more like a sack with no form at all. If I did not know that this is supposed to be a head, I doubt I’d recognize it as such.
- We think the perpetrator hit him in the head with something, using so much force, that it tore most of the head off, while squashing what’s inside and it’s surprising, that the skin did not tear even more from the impact. The body went into the wall due to initial force vector, it seems.
- And not a drop of blood, too?
- None that we can see.
- There was the fourth victim. The one, that got burnt…
- Yes. Near the corner.
- I do not see a body…
- Because there is none.
I walk closer to the place, where officer is pointing – there is just a small pile of ash with some liquid splashed over it.
- What’s this on the ashes?
- Sperm.
- What?
- Sperm. We already received results from the lab on that, since it’s, practically, the only fluid we have on scene. And those also helped us in confirming the identity of the murderer: it is Dmitry Kiperov, as you guys suspected.
I walk out of the dead end and to the other side of the road. Viewing it from the distance, the scene looks even more sterile. Gray, somehow. As if colors were sucked out. As an old black-and-white movie. It only adds to the brutality. And sperm? Did he jerk off to ashes of a man he burnt alive? What is this psycho? What is going on inside his head?
Officer Sidorov comes up to me:
- What’s next?
- You know where he is?
- He is at home right now, but seems like he bought tickets to Tunisia and reserved a hotel suite even. The flight is a hot one, so it’s tomorrow. If you want to get him, better do it now.
- No. Not now.
- Why not? He killed four people already, he should be stopped.
- That’s exactly why we should not try to catch him right now. You’ve seen a lot of people, who could do something like this?
- He’s not “people”. I doubt he is even human.
- Even more the reason not to rush in head on. I was sent here to try and get inside his head and then stop him. I need to observe him first, assess what he can actually do, his mental state. So… Tunisia, huh? Get me to the same hotel. But, if possible, get me a flight today.
Apparently it is possible. It is late evening and I am in El Mouradi Club Selima, a hotel on the beach line, where most suites are in bungalows of sorts. Not exactly bungalows, but more like small blocks with six suits in each of them. I go to sleep first, since early in the morning I will be staking Dmitry out near the reception: while check-in I took notice of a suitable place, where it will be unlikely for me to miss him, when he comes here.
When I see him, he puts me off. He looks so… Average. A bit tense and tired maybe, but I do not feel any aggression from him, any malice. Just a high-school guy on vacation. During dinner he approaches two twin girls. They talk and laugh. It’s a bit of a strange feeling, but I do commend him here: as a Pusher I did try to push twins before and it was not easy: twins or not, they do think differently and what you try on one of them may not work on the other, so you are kept on your toes. Apparently he is getting it off with both of them somehow.
At night they walk along the beach and I follow at a long distance, using small binoculars with night vision. Now, that I definitely commend him for: even I was not able to hit it off with both twins at the same time. Wait, what the hell is going on? For fuck sake…
They are dead. He killed them. He killed again. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck! Wait… What’s wrong with him? Is he freaking out? Why is he freaking out? I do not get it. Wait, I do get it. He did not intend it. He has no idea what’s going on with him. This complicates things a bit, but… It may be an opportunity, too.
I hear people screaming in the distance. Seems like Dmitry hears them, too. It is expected, that someone would have seen the fire or hear the twins scream. Dmitry makes a huge curve around the hotels along the beach to come to the front entrance of Club Selima. He ignores police cars arriving at the hotel and just walks to his bungalow, to his suit.
I pace outside. I have not been so nervous in a long time. Well, it’s been awhile, to say the least, since last time my life was in danger. But I did know the risks already. And… He is just a kid. A kid who is undergoing a transformation he does not understand. I remember how Roland was confused, when he got his first erection: he was, practically, scared. And this is way more complex and intense, no wonder Dmitry was freaking out. Not like this makes him any less dangerous, but maybe I can actually talk him down, explain everything to him, convince him to come to A.E.G.I.S.? Doubt it will be easy, but if I do not try…
I knock on the door.