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Chapter Two: Murderers Mask.

by StoneHeart

Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

Riiiiiiing, Riiiiiiing, Riiiiiing –

Janz rolled over and grabbed the telephone.

“Hello?” He asked sleepily.

“Detective McAnic?!” Demanded the caller’s voice.


“You’re needed right away at Central Park East, behind the Theater.” Said the man, who Janz now knew was one of the men behind the desk at the police station.

“I’m on my way.” He answered grumpily, hanging up.

Fifteen minutes later he pulled his car around the curb and went down the tiny back street that went behind the Theater.

He brushed his long greying hair out of his eyes and frowned, the street up ahead was blocked, three NYCPD cars were sitting idle, and a white and red ambulance was parked opposite them.

There were no onlookers, thank goodness for that. Janz hated to be watched while he worked.

He pulled his car up behind a stack of silver trash cans, and jumped out.

He paced quickly forward, nodding to the police officers surrounding the scene.

“What this time?” He asked one of them.

“A double murder” The tall, grizzled officer replied frankly, his face empty of emotion.

Janz elbowed his way past the man and stepped over to the scene. The road was dark and sticky from blood surrounding the two bodies; quickly his professional mind began to build a story out of what he saw.

Carefully he knelt down and examined one body, the coat was thrown back and he saw a pistol hidden there” Hmmm?” He wondered, he rolled the man over, ignoring the annoyed looks from the two medics standing helplessly nearby” Officer!”

The police man stepped over.” What can you see?”

Janz nodded.” This man, he was shot in the chest. He was probably standing. He fell easily, didn’t hit the pavement hard. That didn’t kill him though, so he was shot again, in the side of the head.” He grimaced.” The first shot wasn’t meant to kill, and the second was perfectly placed. See how his coat is thrown back and there’s an empty wallet there.”

The police officer shrugged.” So? We get murders for wallets every day here.”

Janz held up a finger.” Look at this wallet, I have a feeling it wasn’t carrying nickels and dimes.”

The police officer carefully picked up the wallet and nodded, it was heavy and thick; quickly he flipped through it.” No ID”.

“Go check the houses along here, find out if anybody was seen here at about midnight last night. Tell me if they heard three gun shots last.” Janz ordered.

The police officer nodded, and taking three men set out promptly to do as the detective told him to do. Not that the Janz was particularly higher ranking than the man, he was just very well respected for his experience in the Department.

Janz stepped over to the other man, shot right at the base of his skull from behind; he hit the asphalt pretty hard. He probably had been running when he was hit. Slowly he visualized what had happened. His experience paid off and he was certain that what he assumed was correct.

Something was nagging at the back of his mind though; he stood waiting for the officer to get back.

He nodded to the medics.” Bring them to the morgue.” Quickly he pulled out a slip of paper and wrote down a quick note.” Give them this.”

The medics quickly picked up the bodies and left, but Janz had a feeling the morgue wasn’t going to find any finger prints. But they would be able find out who the men where.

The officer came back ten minutes later.” Four people where right up above this, they were awake up to midnight, but none of them heard a thing.”

Janz gulped.” Good work officer.”

The man carefully watched Janz.” What do you think?”

Janz shook his head” I can’t be sure yet . . . “He paused.” But I think we may have a professional on our hands. These shots . . . the placing. I’d be willing to bet he used a silencer, and pretty heave caliber too.” He sighed.” I just wonder . . . how did it all happen? And why?”

The officer shrugged, he didn’t see much strange about it. So what? The man used a silencer. Most of the organized crime in the city was well equipped. So what? He shot some rich man and robbed him as he came out of the Theater. There where cases like this every day.

But Janz wasn’t one of the best detectives in the corps for no reason. He asked questions of scenes that nobody else even considered. He hunted for clues that seemed pointless. No criminal he had ever latched onto had ever escaped.

“Get a cleaning team out here.” He ordered the officer. It wasn’t good for people’s morale to see sticky blood all over the pavement behind their home.

He didn’t even bother to look for other clues, such as bullet shells, or anything the killer may have dropped, he was fairly certain that whoever it was must be a professional and that they would never had been so careless as to leave such a clue.

He was curious as to why the Department had called him out here. Usually the lower ranking detectives went for things like this, and the better detectives like himself where sent after the bigger deals.

His last job had only been finished last night.

He glanced up at the sky and smiled, the day was overcast, and he knew they would have a blizzard in by nightfall. He loved the snow.

He nodded to the police officer.” Go back to the station; I’ll take care of this.”

The man nodded and he and his men got in their cars and left. Janz sighed in satisfaction. He preferred to work alone.

First question: Who were the men who had been shot?

Janz wasn’t a great detective because he came up with random spouts of brilliancy. He was methodical, and determined in everything he did, he didn’t let anything stop him.

He knew the Captain at the station wouldn’t mind him taking on the case; there was no need to even discuss it with him. They were old friends, and he probably knew that Janz had wanted a break on something easier than usual for a while.

Getting back into his car, Janz pulled his NYPD detective’s coat over his normal leather jacket, and pinned his badge to it.

It was a short drive and he pulled into the morgue only a half an hour later.

They let him in instantly on sight of his badge, detectives usually had unopposed access to morgues, hospitals, and the like.

Stepping up to the receptionist he asked where the two men had been taken.

He turned and headed down the perfectly washed, shining white hallway with the room number burned into his mind, D-21.

He reached the D hallway and turned down it, counting the blue doors as he passed them.

19 . . . 20 . . . 21!

He pulled the door open and looked around; two men in white coats were standing over a body in the middle of the room. One of them looked up as he entered and he recognized Doctor Roth, an old friend of his.

“Ah, Janz” Called the thin, bald man, stepping forward and embracing him.” I was half hoping you’d be the one assigned to this one!”

Janz grinned and winced for the thousandth time at Jenner Roth’s thick Russian accent.” I’m glad to see you, it’s been a while.”

“Yes, it has.” The small man led him over to the body.

“What have you found?” Janz asked curiously.

“Ah” Jenner raised a finger, a puzzled look on his face.” It was actually rather strange, you see.”

He pulled back the white sheet on the one man’s body, the one who had been shot twice.” We searched the records using finger prints! Found nothing. I just sent off a DNA test to see if we can at least find his relatives.” Jenner shook his head.” No ID on him, nothing. I’d also be willing to bet he was shot by a professional too!”

Janz couldn’t help but chuckle, though it was rather subdued.” I guessed the same thing.” He frowned.” So . . . no fingerprint matches?”

Jenner shook his head.” None at all, usually at least one or two matches will come up on the system, but with him. Nothing”

Suddenly Jenner threw up his hands and ran off to the side, his feet pattering unevenly.” I forgot!” He called back.” I did find something else.”

He trotted back, holding a small white box.” The other man was a pizza delivery man Jonathan . . . uhm, ah, I forget his name!” He turned to the other doctor.” Robert, what was the other man’s name?”

The other doctor, Robert, looked up.” You said it was Rendall, remember?”

Janner nodded.” Ah yes, Rendall, poor fellow. Probably was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But he had this on him!”

He handed Janz the box. Janz frowned and opened it” A camera!” He exclaimed.

Jenner nodded enthusiastically.” Yes! I haven’t checked it for pictures, so don’t get your hopes up.”

Janz quickly turned on the camera, it was rare that this kind of thing came along with a case, and he was hoping that he would find some pictures and be able to find out who the man was. Slowly he clicked through the recent pictures. The first one he saw made his heart beat fast.

It was the street, two men facing each other, one with a gun; and one holding a roll of bills. The man with the guns face was clear and vivid, as though he had been waiting there for his picture to be taken.

The second one he saw almost made his heart stop.

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131 Reviews

Points: 11451
Reviews: 131

Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:03 pm
MaryEvans wrote a review...

Okay. I am going in deep, nitpicking every single detail, so this might seem a bit overly long, but it’s often just minor stuff.

“Riiiiiiing, Riiiiiiing, Riiiiiing” in comics and other visual narrative media you usually go for this. In prose, while the occasional sound word does help establish the ambience, it would be much better to describe it in actual words and sentences. It was ringing, how was it ringing, loud, silent, annoyingly, how long was it ringing, what did the character think/reacted when it began ringing, did his facial expression changed, did he rush for the phone, did he curse or wonder who was calling, was he expecting the call, was there no reaction at all, etc. See how many things you can reveal by describing the ringing rather than going for a simple sound word? I know you said he rolled over and answered sleepily, but still you can code in more information in more subtle ways.

““Detective McAnic?!” Demanded the caller’s voice. “Me.””
--> Me sounds odd. Use something like “speaking” as a response, sounds more natural.

“of the men behind the desk at the police station” – repetition of men and this is really, really, really vague, it’s as if saying: he recognized him as one of the faces in the crowd. Be more specific, where exactly has he seen/heard the man?

“Asked sleepily, answered grumpily, etc” – kill as many adverbs as you can especially in dialogue tags, there is always a better way to describe the response.

More on the latter tag: “hanging up” did he literally say that while simultaneously hanging up? Be careful with the –ing verbs, it is more logical in this case to say: “and hung up.”

Be mindful of repeating the same word in the same or the neighbouring sentences, you have a few repetitions here and there, which can be easily eliminated with a single re-read. You have some other, verb and structure mistakes all over that would hint you didn’t revise at all.

One sentence paragraphs often help establishing tension, but you should only do them once in a while, not one after another, just put in all the actions as he parks gets out, etc in a single paragraph.

If he is a detective and he needs to touch anything at the crime scene he will put on gloves, show him do that somewhere.

Where he describes the man was shot in the chest, it’s as if the others can’t see that, and believe me shot in the chest is pretty obvious, just put in in the character observation, not the dialogue. In the dialogue place the non-obvious stuff that he would be logically telling the officer, or make it sound not obvious, like: the first shot in the chest didn’t kill him so they shot him again in the head, etc, etc.

What is the reason he would conclude he wasn’t carrying normal stuff in the wallet? Because it was big? Not enough.

“he hit the asphalt pretty hard.” – he had hit, else you are talking about Janz, be careful of the tenses. In this short paragraph it is a bit hard to distinguish between the victim and Janz since you use “he” for both.

“Something was nagging at the back of his mind though;” what was? You need to say it, or at the very least that he didn’t know yet but there was something off.

“Janz gulped.” What was he afraid/nervous about? I think you have the wrong emote here.

“I just wonder . . . how did it all happen?” : they were shot, with a pistol, a couple of times, that’s how. Now why is a valid question. A case like this the officer will question the motive rather than the execution since the murder method is quite obvious.

“He asked questions of scenes that nobody else even considered. He hunted for clues that seemed pointless. No criminal he had ever latched onto had ever escaped.” Show don’t tell.

“He didn’t even bother to look for other clues” well that’s rather unprofessional and arrogant. How did he ever solve a single case if he didn’t attend to all the clues, present or missing?

“Usually the lower ranking detectives went for things like this, and the better detectives like himself where sent after the bigger deals.” Arrogant. He has a job, there is a case, he is called, there is no such thing as a “too high a rank,” you are a detective you do the job you are given.

“His last job had only been finished last night.” Again. He has a job. He is not entitled to a Caribbean cruise after every case. He inspects the scene and evidence, finds the criminal, submits the report, off to another case.

“He nodded to the police officer.” Go back to the station; I’ll take care of this.”: that’s upside down. The Detective should go back to the office leaving the officer to wrap up the scene after all evidence has been recovered and the scene examined. The police cars will never leave before the “cleaning” is over, at least one, two, will always remain.

“Janz wasn’t a great detective because he came up with random spouts of brilliancy. He was methodical, and determined in everything he did, he didn’t let anything stop him.” Show, don’t tell.

“He knew the Captain at the station wouldn’t mind him taking on the case” wasn’t he called to the scene? That kind of means the captain is assigning him to the case already.

At times you have really short, really nice and to the point descriptions, but at others they feel rigid or needing more. I would suggest going back and reading it out loud to see if you can vividly imagine the story and if everything flows nicely.

There is much potential to the story, but as it is now it is sloppy, language and logic wise. That normal for a first draft, but it means you will have a lot of work to do, a lot of revising, rereading and redoing. I would also suggest you read more detective novels, and maybe see some TV-shows. I know it’s a bad way to get the exact reality of police operation, but it will give you a base. The police often releases old cases to the public or civil courts are recorded so you can look for such too.

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289 Reviews

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Reviews: 289

Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:36 am
Caesar wrote a review...

Lo, the second part of this terribly intriguing Batman fanfiction. Hey BlackNether12, let's get down to business then.

Annnnd now we have our cunning detective on the scene. Of course. Well now, said detective was underdescribed, yes, but that can be fixed easily. What's disappointing is that I (and possibly the other readers) were being geared up to follow the adventures of this crazy murderer, and yet, you tear that tasty morsel right from our mouths just as we start to really dig into it. How cruel of you. Also, how disappointing. It probably wouldn't have served your plot, nonetheless, it's still rather disappointing.

So, this detective rushes to the scene (how lucky he lives close to the Theater). He immediately guesses the position of the bodies and such, and blah blah. What I found a tad more surprising is that he ordered the bodies to be taken to the morgue. It seems to be a rather violent murder, so naturally there would be officers and other, higher-ranked officers, around. Last I checked, a detective cannot simply order police officers to take two bodies away. Usually, there'd be a long session on the spot, clue-finding, DNA taking, etc. And that's the minimum. Yet said detective does all that in what, five minutes? You can't even say that they had already done that, I don't sense a great timeskip, and the detective was summoned rather quickly.

And now, speaking of the murder, we embark on a brief digression about guns. Gotham is a big city, though I'm no expert on Batman canon. It's very much like New York, and thus, there'd be police, even at two am or some obscene hour like that. Have you ever heard a silenced gun go off? I have. It sounds like a freaking firework going off, or almost. In other words, it's pretty loud. It is a big city, yes, so no doubt this man would have some time to escape, but he's obviously no professional. He'd have a tough time getting away safely. I also recall you mentioned a pool of blood. Guns don't leave that much blood, come on. They were two shots to the head, if I'm not mistaken -- even less blood (more gray matter).

And now moving on. The rest of the piece, especially the office and such, are also under-described. You might want to consider tiny little details, served to augment the scene's efficiency. Description is cool like that.

I also hope the murderer is given a POV point again in the novel, or I will be sad.

Hope this helped

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Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:02 pm

This is super cool! Very descriptive.

Hmmm, thanks!

Glad you liked it.

Memories, left untranslated, can be disowned; memories untranslatable can become someone else’s story.
— YiYun Li