Members of Convoy Alpha gathered around the Humvee as Alpha Leader jumped on the hood and said, “Listen up yahoos. Add wild dogs to our list of threats. When dismounted, keep your eyes open.” Konan scoffed and rolled his eyes. His gunner, Samantha Redd, Red Sammi to her friends, laughed and elbowed her truck commander in the ribs. “Hush, I want to hear more about wild dogs.”
Konan shook his head and tried to focus on the here and now. Sammi’s dead. Killed by wild dogs. The dogs ripped her throat out; her blood stained the sands and turned it crimson. Get it together, Konan. Tiffany Watkins needs your help; she deserves justice. He wiped his eyes and cleared his throat, as he considered the similarities between being killed by dogs and rats.
The bloodlust of both sets of animals stemmed from the scent of fresh blood; both ate their kills. Now, as then, Konan found himself involved in an investigation where animals had killed humans. Animals only act within their nature, and somehow, in both cases, the perpetrator of these crimes had used the nature of these animals to kill the perpetrator’s enemies. The geographical location had changed; but the M.O. had stayed the same.
Lilly sat across from her partner, and she watched as Konan struggled to stay in the present. She cleared her throat and asked, “What are you thinking about, Konan?”
“Dogs and rodents,” Konan said to Lilly.
“Dogs? What about dogs?”
“It was a long time ago. Wild dogs would drag people down and kill them. They hunted in packs and homed in on the scent of blood.”
“Like what happened here?”
“Yeah. Both victims had their bodies eaten by animals; both died.”
“Same killer?” Lilly asked.
“I doubt it. One is here in the States, the other is on the other side of the planet.”
“Let’s get out of here, Konan. I’ve had about all I can take of this place.”
“Yeah, me too. Did you talk to the forensic geeks?”
“No. I puked my guts up and came in here. I haven’t spoken to them.”
“Let’s go talk to them, and then we will leave.”
Tammy Bowen, the town of Fredericksburg’s Chief Medical Examiner, wiped her forehead with a rag. She looked up when Lilly and Konan drew close.
“Hey,” Lilly said. Tammy Bowen nodded. She lifted her chin in Konan’s direction, he gave her a small wave in return. The relationship between Tammy and Konan teetered between normal and complicated. For now, it seemed as if things were normal between them. Still, it would be best if Lilly handled this part.
“Can you tell us anything right now?”
“I can tell you this is the worst I’ve ever seen. If she hadn’t been chained to the wall, this wouldn’t be a murder.”
“What do you mean?”
“She died of a heart attack, Lilly.”
“A heart attack? She was chained to a wall for God’s sake.”
“Yeah, I know. From what I’ve seen and can best figure, Tiffany Watkins had the cardiac arrest when rats started to eat her throat.”
“Sweet Jesus. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Tammy nodded in Konan’s direction. “He’s not surprised. Ask him if he knows anything about it.”
“He’s, my partner, Tammy. Konan wouldn’t do anything like this to his worst enemy.”
“I don’t trust him,” Tammy snapped. “The fact remains that while everyone else threw their lunch up after witnessing what we just saw, your partner acted as if it was just business as usual.”
“So, your take is that Konan’s a killer because he has a strong stomach?”
Tammy scoffed and said, “I’m not saying he’s a killer; I’m saying he’s not normal.”
Lilly turned and looked at Konan. He leaned up against a tree and studied the moon. Somewhere in the distance, coyotes howled at the moon. Konan smiled, cocked his head, and listened. Lilly grinned. There’s no doubt about it. Thermopolis Konan’s a strange animal. I don’t know that I’ll ever understand him; but I know he’s not a killer.
Leave a Reply