Youngjae sat at his desk, analyzing the crime lab's report. His office was cramped but tidy. A pile of papers was on the right side of the table, while some thick books were to the left. He removed his reading glasses and rested his back on the backrest of his swivel chair.
The victims of the serial murderer had the same extensive injuries; multiple stab wounds caused by knives and scissors, crush injuries to both hands, fractured legs, wounds caused by dart arrows, and scalding on their feet. Their ankles had deep scars, marks from chains. He hung them up and down.
"What kind of animal would do this?" he whispered.
The first victim was a 21-year-old woman. They found her body at an abandoned psychiatric hospital. The second one was 22 years old. They found her body inside a barrel, floating by the river. The recent victim was 23 years old. They found her dead inside her own car, parked on a narrow road in the forest. There was no sign of **** among them.
All of them had similar styles—Shorthair, 1.68 meters in height, cute face, and introverts. No one has seen the suspect's face, and he's an expert in avoiding CCTV Cameras. He left his fingerprints all over the place, but the most bizarre part was he has no record according to the database search. It's impossible to do a background check.
His next victim would probably be 24 years old, following the pattern. They have tightened the security around Seochudong and have released an advisory.
Youngjae held his phone and texted the same message to Min Jee and Sun Hee, "Take care always."
Sun Hee replied, "Do you want to eat with me?"
"What do you want for lunch?" he asked.
"Samgyeopsal and soy sauce crab."
"Alright. It's coming right up!"
Youngjae and Sun Hee met up at a restaurant but with an additional company running towards them.
They looked back at Hyun Shik.
"Hey, what are you doing here?" she said.
"I was about to invite you, but you walk so fast," he replied while panting.
"Then join us," Youngjae suggested.
They found an empty table at the center.
"Prosecutor Seo, I heard the news. The serial killer is disturbing."
"It's the hardest case I've been working on so far. There are no traces of his profile."
"He's a complete psycho. I bet he's been planning this for a long time," Sun Hee said.
"What do you think is his psychological gratification?" Youngjae asked.
"He seeks thrill and attention. We never know what people can do for attention."
Youngjae placed his right elbow on the table and his palm on his cheek while gazing at her.
"Good thing I've been eyeing you. You might transform into a criminal because of lack of attention," he said with a sly smile.
"Hey, do you want to be my first victim?" she cautioned while pointing a spoon at him.
"Oppa," he mouthed.
Hyun Shik shook his head.
"I think I misheard eating time from flirting time," he murmured.
"You eat like a toddler."
Youngjae pulled a tissue to wipe her mouth.
"Are you having fun?" she said in a sarcastic tone.
He brushed her off and continued eating.
It was 4:00 pm. The loud sound of a moving car invaded the empty and lonely road. The wind smashed the camphor trees, oaks, and maples as they dangled in unison. Their branches and leaves almost covered the light from showering through, leaving the road dull.
The woman drove with upbeat music playing in the background, uttering every line as her head grooved with the rhythm. She slowed down when she stumbled upon a man waving at her on the side of the road. He was dragging his left foot in pain. She rolled down the window of her car.
"Hey, are you okay?" she asked.
"No. I badly hurt my foot."
He was wearing a uniform from Seoul University with a white cap on his head. His foot has a few deep scratches with blood dripping from it.
"Come inside. I'll treat you."
She helped him get into the car.
His eyes and mouth conveyed shock.
"I... I saw a murder scene."
The car stopped at a halt.
"What? Are you serious? I'll call the police," she said.
"There's no signal here."
She gazed at him.
"Alright. I'll clean up your wounds. While I'm on it, tell me what you saw."
She reached for a tiny medicine kit and started the process.
"I'm on my way home when I saw a hut in the forest. There were screams so I got curious. When I peeped, there was a woman hanging upside down with a blindfold. The man was aiming a dart arrow at her. Before he could hit her, I ran away."
His face screwed up when the alcohol penetrated into his wounds.
"But he saw me and chased after me. I got these bruises when I tripped on some chunks of dead twigs."
She wrapped his foot with bandages.
"We have to save her," he said.
"Kid, we are nothing compared to a sociopath. Don't put our lives in danger. This is not a movie. We don't stand a chance," she said.
"What now? You're going to let the innocent woman die?"
"Let's go to the police station and report it."
"We have no time. The woman will die in no time," he gazed closer at her, "do you know what's worse than a criminal? Negligence. Doing nothing when you can do something."
The boy said and left.
The woman abruptly followed his path. Owls chirped as the dark permeated into the woods. Crows tweedled a frightening omen echoing amidst the gloomy weather. Dry leaves crackled beneath their feet.
She stayed behind his back as they crouched, drawing nearer to the hut. There was a deafening silence. The woman peered through the window and found no one. She signaled the kid to enter the house.
There were bloodstains on the floor, a rope, a blindfold, and some dart arrows.
"Did the woman escape?" she asked.
"Or he moved her somewhere," he replied.
She went outside to check any footprints or traces.
"I can't find a clue."
He sat on the wooden armchair.
"By the way, what is a student doing in this perilous place?" she said.
"Don't you think it's too late for you to ask that?"
A sinister look transformed on his face as he picked up the dart arrows one by one.
"What are you doing?"
Her voice shook.
"There was no woman... until I found one."
She ran to the door in haste. A sharp ax came whirling towards her neck but missed it. She dropped to the floor, leaning against the wall.
"If you take one more step, I promise your face will never be intact."
He bent to inspect her horrified face and held her chin.
"I'm kinda offended when you call me a kid because I'm not."
His lips formed an evil grin.