LEGACY OF DEATH:
THE DYSON’S COMET KILLER
By Richard Paolinelli
© 2019 RICHARD PAOLINELLI . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO COPYING OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF THIS STORY IS PERMITTED WITH WRITTEN PERMISSION.
EDIT: It has come to my attention that on Sept. 11, 2019, three days before this chapter was published, a woman by the name of Karyn Barlow Venuso passed away in Georgia (I believe or it might have been in North Carolina). You can find her obit here if you have come here by mistake while looking for it. This story was written a very long time ago and obviously, the character named in this chapter was never meant to be implied to be Mrs. Venuso in any way.
Friends and family searching for her obit have been directed here by Google searches. I wish to express my condolences to the Venuso family during their time of grief and my sincere hope that this unfortunate coincidence has not caused them any further discomfort or pain.
Karyn Barlow worked as hard at watching her figure as she did her job at the National Bank. A petite blonde in her late twenties, Barlow counted every calorie and worked out religiously. She wasn’t going for the bodybuilder look, but she wanted to stay in shape.
If only finding the right guy was easier, she thought to herself as she jogged her way into Golden Gate Park. She’d heard about the grisly murders and took heed of the warnings from the police, but she felt confident she could take care of herself. She always carried pepper spray with her wherever she went.
The thought of the police sent her thoughts drifting back to Mr. Right. One of her regular customers was a police Inspector. He seemed like a very nice man, although here always seemed to be a shadow of sadness around his eyes, even when he smiled. He always had a kind word for her whenever he came in to the bank.
But, she allowed wryly, he was taken. She’d seen him once or twice with a nice-looking woman. They actually made a cute couple. Isn’t that about right, she mused as she turned along a dimly lit path in the park, all the really good ones are already taken. Barlow spotted a figure underneath one of the light posts ahead and instinctively reached for the pepper spray canister. But her hand stopped short of the canister as she recognized who it was.
“Oh, you scared me,” she exclaimed in relief. “What are you doing out here in…”
Barlow was stunned into silence as the figure quickly stepped forward and she saw the glittering knife rise up. Before she could utter a word of protest and reach again for the pepper spray, she felt the bite of the cold steel as it plunged into her chest.
For some insane reason, even as she fell backward into oblivion, all she could see was Dyson’s Comet glittering above her.
“How pretty,” she whispered as the darkness claimed her.
* * * * *
The park was in chaos again as the fourth victim had been found, bringing the police along with the usual horde of media and other looky-loos. Bolton and Foster arrived at the same time and walked into the park.
“Any luck on the records searches?” Bolton asked as they neared the crime scene.
“Nothing yet,” Foster said. “Although the shrink says we should be looking for someone with a case record similar to yours. Said if he didn’t know you better, you’d be at the top of his list of suspects.
“His words, not mine,” Foster added quickly in response to the look Bolton shot him. “How about you?”
“Nothing but dead ends all damn day,” Bolton replied as they neared the body.
“We’ve got to stop meeting like this Inspector,” Sanchez said as she spotted Bolton, leaning over to lift the plastic sheet covering the victim.
The body had been posed after death, the victim’s hand placed together in prayer just above the bloody wound where the knife had entered to puncture her heart. Death had been mercifully swift, the woman’s face was free of pain, but carried the killer’s signature comet carving. Bolton looked closer at the woman’s face.
“Aw hell,” Bolton cursed softly as her recognized who the victim was.
“The vic’s name is…” Sanchez started to say.
“Karyn Barlow,” Bolton interrupted. “She’s a teller at my bank.”
“You know this woman,” Kiner said from behind Bolton, having just arrived in time to hear Bolton’s identification.
“Just from the bank, I usually wind up at her window when I go in,” Bolton replied sadly. “She seemed like a nice woman.”
“You think there’s a connection here?” Kiner asked.
“How could there be,” Bolton said, noticing a tall, dark-haired woman next to Kiner as he stood up and turned away from the body. “I doubt our killer even knows who I am, we haven’t even gotten close enough for him to be worried about us right now.”
“I want this checked out anyway,” Kiner ordered, quickly raising his hand to cut off Bolton’s protest. “I’m not pulling you off the case, but if this guy has decided to make this personal between the two of you, I want to know.
“This case is going to heat up, the guy who found our latest vic managed to tell the press about the markings he saw. It’s only a matter of time before it gets out that there’s a serial killer on the loose now.”
Bolton couldn’t argue the point, there were already whispers among the reporters of a connection between the comet and the killings. This latest revelation would all but confirm it. This was going to turn into a political hot potato and an even larger media circus.
“Who’s your friend?” Bolton asked, nodding his head in the direction of Kiner’s dark-haired companion.
“She’s Inspector Allison Townsell,” Kiner replied. “I’m assigning her to this case, and don’t give me any grief either. You need all the help you can get and Townsell is good. She even requested to join the investigation and I think she can be an asset.
“Townsell,” Kiner waved the woman over. “Inspector Townsell, this is Inspector Mac Bolton. You’ll be working for him for now.”
“Inspector,” Townsell said, extending a hand.
“Welcome aboard Inspector,” Bolton replied, shaking the proffered hand. “Strong grip you’ve got there.”
“I work out,” Townsell said. “It gets a suspect’s attention when I decide I have to toss them around the room a little.”
“I see,” Bolton said. “Well then let’s get you right to work. I want you to get all the information you can on Ms. Barlow there and cross-check it with everything we have on the first three victims. See if there are any connections between them, no matter how slight, and run them down.”
“You’re thinking there’s a pattern to our guy’s selection of victims?” she asked.
“Right now Inspector, I’m grasping at straws,” Bolton replied. “This guy hasn’t left us a crumb to work with that will identify him, I’m hoping he’s slipped up somewhere and this seems as likely a place to start as any. Report to me if you find anything.”
“You think that will do any good,” Kiner asked after Townsell had left.
“Nope,” Bolton replied bitterly. “But it’ll give us something to do until the next victim is found and then all we can do is hope he finally makes a mistake.”
Kiner nodded his head wordlessly before turning to address the media gathered just outside the park.
“Who’s the Amazon?” Foster asked with a quick look in Townsell’s direction.
“Boss decided we needed some extra help,” Bolton answered. “Says she good at these kinds of cases, specifically asked to be assigned to us. She works out by the way, has a pretty strong grip too.”
“What are you thinking?”
“If you are the killer, and you have connections to the cops,” Bolton mused, “what better way to keep an eye on the progress of the investigation than to be right in the middle of it?”
“You think she…?”
“All I’m saying,” Bolton said, “is for you to check her out and move her up to the top of the suspect list if there is any reason to. Got it?”
“Got it,” Foster said. “You want me to get started now?”
“Yeah,” Bolton replied. “There’s nothing more for us to do here anyway, let’s get out of here.”
Bolton paused long enough to watch two coroner’s deputies gently lift Barlow’s body and place it into a black body bag.
You may not be the last victim, Bolton vowed silently as he watched Barlow being carried away, but you will have justice.
* * * * *
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