The Cry of Thunder (extract 1) by Jessica Graham

Las Vegas

Monday 10th November 2010

9:32 am


Lieutenant Harlan Baynes, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) stretched out in his chair and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Three days on the job with no sleep was really taking his energy from him, and, quite frankly, was making him behave and look like a troll. He audibly yawned, winked at Salma, a fellow LVMPD Cop who dealt with narcotics, offered her a coffee and ruffled his already ruffled hair. He walked to the tiny closet-like kitchen and made some surprisingly spectacular coffee.


He was really starting to feel quite inadequate.


Three weeks into his promotion and not one case needed to be solved. Unless petty crimes and helping old ladies cross the street was taken into account. Harlan wanted some action, something that could make a name for him. And to make sure that he wasn’t going to be booted from his promotion in ten seconds flat. He looked at his 20 year old Timex and sighed impatiently. Where the hell was Isabella? Her shift started 32 minutes ago.


Suddenly there was a rat screeching sound, and he realised that the coffee machine had decided to bless him with its wonderful aromatic entrails. He poured two mugs, and made his way to Salma and his desk.

He turned his Mac on, perhaps the only valuable possession in the room except for his glock and badge, and sipped his coffee. Suddenly he felt a vibration in his pocket. What the fuck, he thought whilst putting his coffee on his desk, and looked at the smudged and greasy screen of his iPhone.


One new message. He clicked on it: Harlan. Something came up. Phone me. Isabella Knowing Isabella and that her evasiveness never lead to any good he speed dialled her number.




“Isabella what’s going on?”


“A couple was murdered, Harlan. This is some pretty gruesome stuff. The press are already feeding on this like a bunch of freaking parasites. I need you here, now.”


“Where are you?”


“34 Spring Valley” she said and put the phone down. Harlan grabbed his windbreaker, glock, badge, and sprinted to his Crown Victoria.


Turning onto the road, he was greeted by so many flashing lights it could probably be seen from space. He noticed a crowd on the road, closely huddled together; about fifty people clearly eager to know what had happened, but trying to act civilised. He noticed Tom, a rookie cop who had been on the streets for six months dealing with gun crimes, hit and runs, now commanding onlookers not to cross the crime scene tape whilst a herd of reporters shoved their microphones and cameras into his face.


Poor guy, Harlan thought.


Across the street a CNN news van was parked on the curb and an aggressive looking woman in a trench coat was reciting the events that had occurred to the early risers of the day. He parked his car in the only available space, someone’s driveway.


“Harlan!” he turned and saw all 5’11 of his partner running towards him.


“Jesus, Thank God you’re here!” Isabella said whist trying to catch her breath. She noticed that he was eating something, which was against regulations, but she quickly focused on which she was meant to do.


“What the hell happened?” he asked


“The husband has more holes than Swiss cheese and the wife looks like shredded paper. Arterial bleeding consistent with decapitation”.

He felt sick in his stomach. He really despised her macabre sense of humour.


She flicked through her dog-eared notebook. “The crime techs are photographing the scene now. The sick fuck, he decapitated her, but we haven’t found the head yet”


He nodded his head. The perp. could be one of hundreds who had a rather psychopathic delight in collecting ‘trophies’. He quickly got into his promotion-earned gear: Questions and answers, Questions and orders.


“Who notified the police?”


Isabella quickly looked at her notes “Dr Pierce Blackman, Daisy Stewart’s hospital colleague. He phoned her at home several times, at 7:45, 8:01, and then at 8:30. She used to arrive at work at a 7.45 or 8.00, if the traffic was terrible. Dr Blackman said it was extremely unusual for her not to arrive to work on time, he quotes that in all the years they worked together, 10 in fact, he never remembers her being late. The other doctors and nurses I’ve talked to agreed on Daisy’s punctuality. Anyway, Dr Blackman became suspicious as to why she hadn’t answered her phone or her pager. It was already 8:30. So he decided to drive out here to find out what was wrong. He entered through the front door, Daisy gave him a key around three years ago and he sometimes stayed at their house, if they had both left the hospital late at night. He entered the house-”


“She gave him a key? Wasn’t the husband a bit suspicious about that? And I’m 100% sure they had an alarm system, did she give him the code for that as well?”


“It looks like it. He said that she trusted him”


“Not enough for him to kill”


“We don’t know that yet, you’re just speculating.”


“At this moment in time, I think that’s a pretty good idea. Is he still around?”



“Right well I’ll talk to him later. Make sure he doesn’t leave”


She nodded her head in acknowledgement. She continued “He called her name out and there was no reply, so he walked up to the bedroom and found them both on the bed, blood everywhere, bed a total mess. I know what you are thinking. But he didn’t touch them, being a Doctor; he knew that they were dead. The rest is history.”


“Any idea of the M.O, was anything taken? Was the wife raped?”


“Nothing appears to have been stolen. The room looks untouched, but we’ll let the forensics find out for sure. We’ll interview the family to make sure nothing has been stolen. In the mean time, I think that the perpetrators interest was what was on the bed. And as for rape, Claire will do the rape kit at the morgue. I don’t think this guy-“


“What makes you think it’s a man”


She muttered, “Well what kind of woman could so something like this?”

“Don’t be naive, you have kids that murder, woman are easily as capable.”


“Right, well I just have a feeling that this person wasn’t here for a little peek-a-boo, It takes some serious fucked-up rage to do some shit like this”. She paused for several minutes before mentioning quickly “Claire is here by the way, you might want to catch up with her”


He pondered for several seconds before asking her another question “What did the husband do?


She flicked through her notes before replying, “He was a CEO at a Casino. We‘re still trying to contact the board of Directors. The wife was a Doctor at Spring Valley Hospital”.


“Anything else?”


“Not at the moment. We’re still talking to the neighbours and we’re trying to contact their colleagues. Everyone is completely dumbfounded as to why someone would want to murder innocent people”


“Isn’t that the question we always ask ourselves?”


They stood together for a few minutes, watching the police officers swarm into the house like a bunch of crows, large and sinister.


“Find out anything you can about them. I’m going to talk to Claire”


“Gotcha” she said before jogging off to question the victims’ neighbours.

He made his way to the front door. Everything looked dead; the plants, the garden, even the garden hose resembled a dead snake.He entered through the front door, and was suddenly bombarded by the putrid stench of death.


Gagging he made his way to the bedroom. Climbing up the stairs, he noticed that the smell of death was even more powerful and cloying.

Turning a corner, he saw the master bedroom wall covered in blood, as if it had been painted a rich vibrant red. He walked inside and expertly observed the room. Everything seemed to be in place, but then how would he know? Clothes hung precariously from a chair, he noticed that the alarm clock had been set for 6am, which gave them a margin of speculation. The murderer must have committed the crime in the early hours of the morning. He walked over to the window and noticed it was locked, latched and bolted. He presumed the technicians had dusted it for fingerprints. He’d make sure they had. The room looked undisturbed; no sign of a struggle and it seemed im possible that this was a robbery. Too meticulous, unless the guy knew exactly what he wanted, which was unlikely since the house had more bolts, and security than a hardware store. Out of his peripheral vision he saw a forensic technician handling a large iMac down the stairs. Tech analysts would be able to gain access into the computer, find out any ‘trophies’ that might have been left behind. You can always trust the world of cyber space.He saw the bodies, still on the bed, though someone had the decency to cover up Daisy’s naked body with a sheet.


He suppressed an urge to throw up.


He heard Claire’s voice. He made his way towards her. “Claire”, he greeted her.


“Harlan” she imperceptibly nodded her head.


“How are you?” he asked


She raised a perfectly waxed eyebrow. “Well, considering the circumstances, Harlan, not too well”


He looked away embarrassed and watched as a tall, balding police officer bagged and tagged a set of medical periodicals; they’d be brushed for fingerprints at the lab. And if they found anything, the investigation would continue from there.


“Have you found out the cause of death?”


She got herself into the full medical examiner mode. “Well the husband was shot 9 times. Two in the head, one in the heart, two in the lungs, one in his thigh, and three in his groin”


Harlan wrote all this in his notebook. “That takes some serious rage. You think the perp. knew the guy?”


“Possibly, we’ll have to find out who this guy’s friends were, what he did, any illegal societies he was part of”.


Harlan nodded his head. “Do you know what type of bullet was used?”


“Not yet, I’ve sent some samples, to the lab” she paused to take a deep breath, and then slowly exhaled. “Judging by his body temperature, he’s been dead around 4 hours, so rigor mortis has only set in the small muscles”.


He nodded, whilst watching the EMTs load the body onto the stretcher.

He turned his attention back onto the other body on the bed.



The sheets were saturated with blood.


Daisy Stewart was on top of the bed, the burgundy gold duvet hanging at the foot of the bed to resemble a crumpled mess. The sheets, despite its already pre-fabricated colour, looked even darker and more deathly soaked in blood. A pool of coagulated blood lay at the foot of the bed, as well as on the mattress. The bed was the vortex of a violent rage. It was the only object in the room that resembled a death scene. It looked out of place, surrounded by the middle- upper class furniture of waxed mahogany.


“I don’t think we’ve had anything like this since Jack the Ripper” Claire said.


He watched as the second body of the day was zipped up in a body bag and transferred onto the stretcher, awaiting its sad and pitiful journey to the morgue.


“I’ll call you when I have some results” and with that she left the room.

He nodded, and made his way down the stairs and out into the morning air.


Well, Buddy, he thought, you’ve definitely made a name for yourself now.