The smell. So sour yet sweet. So strong and vivid.
The feeling. Thick like a gel, yet still with the same fluidity like water.
So much blood.
Thick and vibrant and sticky. Hard to clean, traces always present.
What was it about the thick liquid that made his skin crawl? That it made his hands shake, made his breath catch, made him break out into a cold sweat?
What was it about blood that made him feel so alive?
Maybe he was thinking about the blood too much, and not about where the blood came from.
Yes, maybe that’s what it was that kept him going.
So fascinating, so delicate and fragile, so desperate to keep oneself alive.
Body and blood. Blood and body.
So interesting, the way the human body worked. How even in the worse of times, it tries so hard to repair itself, to keep itself functioning.
Like this last body, healing all too soon; fresh cuts turning into scabs, cells regenerating all too quickly. He was getting so frustrated, he decided that it was maybe best to let it go.
And let go, he did.
Woohyun felt incomplete; he’d expected something more out of his life, to have more accomplishments. Years and years of wondering what it would be like, and here he was spending another night alone in his apartment eating instant ramen while watching the evening news.
“ -In other news, another person has been found dead in an alleyway in Seoul. According to the first few statements the police have given, they say that the body has been dismembered just like the previous victims, without having found a single ounce of blood in the remains. The body has not yet been identified. Sources say the previous attacks -”
Another one, Woohyun thought, and we don’t have anything to go on.
He worried for those who were on the case, and wondered how long it would be before they would put him and his partner on the case as well.
Being an agent in one of the most famous cities in South Korea had proved to be more difficult than Woohyun had first thought. Not only because he had to worry about the civilians in Seoul, but because of the corruption that happened within his own workplace. Many times had he seen a rogue cop or detective be interrogated, and always for the same reason: the never-ending tension between to the two halfs of Korea.
Right now, though, he couldn’t think of that; not when his people were being hunted by an unknown serial killer.
Because that’s what it was, who it was. It was no longer just a series of unrelated murders. It was the same person, the same M.O, the same signature.
He huffed, putting the styrofoam bowl of ramen down on the coffee table, reaching for his phone when he heard it buzz.
Please tell me you have
the news on?
Woohyun looked up at his television, watching the anchor talking about the week’s forecast, before typing out a reply.
Yeah, I do. Why is there
something important that
I’m missing out on?
He clearly knew what the other man was silently asking him about, but it wasn’t like he could say anything anyway. His job required more often than not for him to lie, and that didn’t exclude his family and friends.
There’s another body.
Woohyun couldn’t hold in the scoff, shaking his head. His friend could really be blunt sometimes, but that’s what he liked about Sungyeol. He was always straight to the point, never letting Woohyun guess what was on the other boy’s mind.
Also, I haven’t seen
you in a while. Does
that mean you’ve
finally gotten laid?
Let’s go out for
Yup, Woohyun thought, as blunt as ever.
I saw… and no. Do
you always have to
butt in my personal
life? Sure, when?
He never got the chance to put his phone down, Sungyeol texting back immediately.
seven a.m. sharp.
Don’t be late.
He answered him with an “ I’ll be there ”, putting his phone back on the coffee table, and picking at his ramen. It’s cold , he thought bitterly, watching as the news repeated the story about the newest victim once more, this time with a name and a face to the body.
This , Woohyun huffed, has to end .
“What was the point of you waking me up at this ungodly hour just for that rotten waste of water you call coffee.”
“You have to know what’s going on,” Sungyeol got straight to the point, ignoring the jab his friend made at his choice of drink, “it’s not like you’re not part of one of the biggest agencies looking into this case.”
Woohyun shushed him harshly, looking around before taking the coffee cup out of Sungyeol’s hands, taking a sip and grimacing at the taste; no sugar or creamer. Sungyeol was honestly evil.
Sungyeol snatched the drink back, “That’s mine; get your own rotten water.”
He took a sip of his coffee, eyes focused on Woohyun’s over the rim of his coffee cup, before putting it down, licking his lips.
“What’s happening?” He whispered.
Woohyun sighed, running a hand tiredly through his hair, “I’m not sure. This the fourth body in this week alone . They haven't told us much except that there's been too many bodies and not enough to go on. I don’t know how much they can keep this up; they’ve got no leads, and it’s not like they haven’t tried everything to bait them. They’re just too good.”
“What are you going to do?”
“There’s nothing I can do. We haven’t been officially called onto the case.”
Sungyeol sat back in his seat, “Great, so we’ve got a serial killer terrorizing the streets of Seoul and not a single damn soul knows what the fuck is going on.”
“Honestly, hyung. It’s been weeks.”
“I’m well aware just how long it’s been, Sungyeol-ah. I wish I could do more than just watch on the sidelines, but unless they call us in-”
“Yeah, I know,” Sungyeol leaned back in his seat, staring up at the ceiling, “this is hopeless. We’re never going to find them.”
It was only after Woohyun had finished speaking that he realized everyone had left, leaving them to be the only two in the coffeeshop.
“We should leave,” he says quietly.
Sungyeol nodded his head, walking over to the trashcan to throw away his coffee before going back up to the counter to buy a fresh one. Woohyun shook his head as he walked outside, leaning against the wall of the shop to wait for his friend. A few minutes later, Sungyeol walked out with two to-go cups.
“Here,” The younger of the two handed it over, “This is my sorry. You know, for waking you up so early.”
Woohyun looked down at the cup warily, “What is it?”
“Just drink it,” Sungyeol rolled his eyes, bumping his shoulder against his hyung’s, “let’s go.”
Yay! First characters!
Tell me how it goes please!
“Woohyun-sshi, how many times have I told you not to bring that damn reporter with you?”
Woohyun had to hold himself back from rolling his eyes in front of his boss, thinking silently to himself that it wouldn’t be a good idea to squish the cup in his hand because the drink was still rather hot ( “Chamomile tea,” Sungyeol said dismissively, “it’ll relax you.” (What he’d give to actually feel relaxed right now)).
“Sir,” He started quietly, “you know he’s the only reporter that we can trust not to let this story get out of hand. He won’t release anything until you give him the okay.”
“How do you expect me to trust him? Reporters are rats, whether you’re friends with them or not.”
“He gave me his word. Besides, do you really want to make this a bigger deal than what it is?” Woohyun asked, motioning behind him; he’d noticed the small crowd gather when his boss had begun to raise his voice. He watched as the man looked up briefly before hissing under his breath.
“Get rid of him,” He whispered harshly.
Woohyun walked away from his boss, motioning for Sungyeol over to his desk, turning back to give him one more pointed look before looking back at the younger man who’d taken a seat in his chair.
“Off,” Woohyun nudged Sungyeol’s shoulder who got up without a fight, deciding to sit on Woohyun’s desk instead.
“Did he say that he missed me?”
“Asshole,” The older man muttered, “you’re going to get me fired.”
“So I take it he missed me.”
“ So much,” He replied, “he almost started crying when he saw you.”
Sungyeol smirked, “Sounds like something he’d actually do.”
He rolled his eyes, “Look, I’m not here looking for a story; that’s not what I’m worried about right now. I came with you just because I wanted to make sure you’ll be okay.”
Woohyun was about to roll his eyes at him before he realized that the younger man was being serious. Sungyeol was looking at him worriedly, no trace of humor left in his expression.
“Hey, I’ll be fine. You should probably go though, unless you want him to call the guards to kick you out. Again .”
Sungyeol laughed, “As if that would ever stop me from coming back.”
Woohyun shooed him away, waving at him goodbye and promising him to contact him more often.
He looked down at his desk, heart momentarily stopping as he realized there was a new file on his desk, marked with an “open case” stamp on the front. He’d been too surprised and focused on the file to notice the reporter getting dragged by the collar out of the room by his partner.
“Where the hell were you?” Woohyun asked Howon as he walked into the room, fixing the straps of his holster and folding the sleeves of his longsleeve t-shirt.
“For thirty minutes?”
Howon rolled his eyes, “I came late. Didn’t Director Lee tell you?”
“No, I came late too.”
Woohyun shook his head, “I had a meeting with someone. It’s not important though, did you see this?”
Howon flinches back when the file gets shoved in his face, grabbing it and hitting Woohyun on the head.
“Watch it!” Howon hissed.
Woohyun snorts, “Whatever. Well, did you?”
He watches as the younger of the two looks down at the file before looking back at him, his mouth slightly ajar.
“We got called in this morning. They want us to go down to the crime scene. You busy?”
Now, it was Howon’s turn to snort, “No. When are we leaving?”
“Then why are you still sitting?”
Howon walks over to his desk, grabbing his jacket off the back of his chair, swinging it over his shoulder as he tucked the file under his arm.
“Let’s go partner.”
Woohyun walks up behind Howon, slipping the file out from the other’s arm before tossing him the keys.
“You drive, I talk.”
“ Shit ,” Is the first thing Woohyun says after reading over the file, “this is brutal .”
Howon leans against the car door, having parked in front of the crime scene a while ago, the yellow tape reflecting the sun of its plastic. He shakes his head, looking out of the car window before ruffling his hair.
“Great,” Howon muttered.
Woohyun snapped the folder closed, shoving it in between the seat and armrest, patting the other man’s shoulder gently.
They both stepped out of the vehicle, squinting slightly while their eyes adjusted to the sun; Woohyun lifted the tape so that Howon could duck under it before following him.
They stopped in their tracks when they took the sight in before them.
This wasn’t just brutal .
“Words can’t really describe what this looks like,” Woohyun heard someone say quietly behind him, and he turned on his heel to see who it was. It was a really young looking boy with blonde chin-length hair, bright brown eyes, and porcelain skin. He wore a white lab coat over a simple black t-shirt and dark jeans, worn out black leather boots and a pair of sterile gloves. His expression was one of sorrow, maybe regret, but immense sympathy for the body that was before them.
He bowed politely, “Lee Sungjong, sir. I started three months back. You probably don’t remember me but―”
“The Jamie-rape case. You were one of Sunggyu-sshi’s interns, I remember.”
The young boy smiled slightly, “Yes, sir. I ended up being the only one to get hired.”
Woohyun nodded, “Congratulations. Oh, you don’t have to call me ‘sir’ by the way. Makes me feel old.”
Sungjong looked at the ground shyly, “Sorry si―,” he stopped himself as he looked up at Woohyun, “-I mean, Woohyun-sshi.”
Woohyun smiled gently, “Can you tell me what happened here, Sungjong-sshi?”
“Just like the last ones,” Sungjong started, walking over to the dismembered body, motioning for Woohyun to follow him; Howon was crouched nearby, checking the plastic bags where the body had been found.
“Female. Early twenties. Brunette. Whoever it is, they have a type.”
Sungjong kneeled next to the torso of the body, looking up at Woohyun briefly before motioning to the body, “Clean cuts from where he dismembered the body parts except― here.”
He tilted the girl’s head back to reveal a deep wound on her neck; Woohyun had to hold back a gag.
“This laceration looks like it was almost, I don’t know if this is the right word but, unfinished ?”
“What makes you say that?”
Woohyun knelt on the other side of the body across from Sungjong, pulling on a glove and brushing the girl’s hair out of her face so that he could see better.
“The end of the cut is jagged; like they were cutting through a steak or something.”
“So much for going to lunch after this,” Woohyun heard Howon say as he squatted next to his partner.
“It’s almost like they weren’t able to finish. Like something interrupted whoever did this.”
“Gross,” Howon whispered.
Woohyun looked around, noticing that it was only the three of them and a few police officers guarding the scene where they had taped off the alleyway.
“Why hasn’t anyone come to pick up the body yet?”
Sungjong tilts his head, “Director Lee didn’t want anyone touching the body or anything else until hyung took the photos of the crime scene.”
“Hyung?” Howon said curiously.
Sungjong nodded, “Yeah. But he wouldn’t―”
“What did I tell you about announcing my personal agenda to those who don’t have any business in it, Sungjong-ah?”
All three of them turned to the voice, looking up at the man hovering over Sungjong.
“Hyung! I thought you wouldn’t be back until later this afternoon! Director Lee said you wouldn’t come into work until tomorrow morning.”
The older man smiled, “It was only a two hour flight back.”
He kneels down next to Sungjong, ruffling his hair slightly, “Besides, you missed something, my little dongsaeng .”
He grabs a clean glove from the boy’s lab coat pocket, snapping it on and reaching over to tilt the girl’s head to expose the back of her neck. He motions for Sungjong to take a closer look, looking at his assistant in anticipation.
Woohyun watches as Howon moves to grab the girl’s neck, leaning over to get a glimpse of the inked skin.
“What is that? Some kind of symbol? A letter? A number?”
“I don’t know, but she must’ve not had it for long. The skin is still irritated.”
Sungjong looks over to Sunggyu, eyebrows knitted together, “He tattooed her?”
“What makes you think its a he?” Woohyun asks suddenly, catching the attention of all three of his colleagues.
The youngest of the four looks between his superiors, opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water before looking down at the victim.
“Jongie-ah, that doesn’t mean―”
“No! I mean―” Sungjong huffs, blowing his hair out of his face before shaking his head. Woohyun doesn’t try to tell him about how he’d just shaken all of his hair back in his face.
“―I mean, their bodies. The body types. So far, they’ve all weighed around sixty-one kilograms, they’ve all had toned muscles, and their height; they’re all about one hundred seventy-nine to one hundred eighty-one centimeters tall. After they’ve been put back together, of course.”
He’s careful to say the last part quietly, looking between the two agents and his senior. He sighs, “What I’m saying is whoever he is has to be strong enough to take on these girls. No one who’s one hundred sixty-five centimeters tall is going to take on an almost six-foot tall girl; and an athlete no less. It certainly couldn’t be a girl.”
Sunggyu nods along to Sungjong’s reasoning, tossing the blonde his glove, “Okay, I agree.”
“There’s one more thing,” He says carefully, biting his lip as he looks at Woohyun.
“What is it, Sungjong-sshi?”
He looks at Howon before looking back to him, then once again at Howon and then back at him.
“Her hands are missing.”
Please be patient with me, I'm getting there!