Short Story Saturday: His Princess

Short Story Saturday: His Princess - Photo by Jeanie de Klerk on Unsplash
Photo by Jeanie de Klerk on Unsplash

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled His Princess. Strap in as it is perhaps the longest story I’ve written on the blog thus far. Please enjoy. I am currently listed at #16 on feedspot’s Top 20 Short Story Blog page. Please check it out. Also, if you haven’t already checked out my FAQ on my upcoming book, Magic Once Removed, please check that out as well. Thanks again!

People were surprised by my sudden retirement and have been distraught over my subsequent behavior. Most have blamed mental illness but I assure you that I am not suffering from a defect in the mind. Rather, I am cursed with knowing the truth. Perhaps a discussion of my last case is warranted as it’ll help enlighten how a hardened veteran police detective became a disheveled mess sitting alone in a cheap hotel. This may be my last chance.

A series of murders had left us baffled. Six victims with nothing connecting them except for how they were slaughtered and their gender. The half-dozen men were mutilated beyond all recognition and done in a manner that defied rational comprehension. We initially thought these attacks might have originated from a wild animal such as a cougar but our medical examiners determined the wounds most likely came from some sort of weaponry. Having said that, they still could not even hope to begin to speculate the kind of weapon was used. Their bodies were in such terrible shape they looked more like casualties from the battlefield than murder victims. Those unfortunate souls did not leave behind corpses as much as they left behind amorphous clumps of flesh completely drained of blood.

There was little doubt that the victims were stabbed multiple times. The entry and exit wounds, however, seemed to indicate as much. However, the ferocity and strength of the administered wounds were highly inconsistent with these findings. They looked instead like they were on the receiving end of several shots delivered from an incredibly high-powered rifle, perhaps a fifty millimeter which is essentially a mounted cannon. Whoever or whatever stabbed them then was seemingly strong enough to turn bones and organs into a sickening gelatinous pulp with only a blade.

The best theory posited was the victims were shot with several harpoon guns at once but even it was flawed. No harpoon gun in existence has the kind of power to liquefy human entrails. Not to mention the logistics of firing those weapons simultaneously also baffled us. Almost a dozen men had to have lined up to fire their harpoons practically all at once. Not only that, they would have had to have managed to do so with incredible accuracy such that no shots overlapped. Even then, they’d have done it not only once but six times. It was incredibly unlikely. Moreover, as macabre as it is to say, there are much easier ways to kill someone even if its purpose is to send a message.

Besides, no harpoons or harpoon guns were ever found at the scenes of the crime. For that matter, neither were any casings or shells. There were no powders, no burn marks, no broken handles, or even footprints. There was very little to work with. We figured at the time someone or multiple people likely cleaned up the sites by removing any trace of whatever weapon that was used. It was looking increasingly like a professional job but even that hypothesis had a glaring flaw.

The six men could not have been any more different. They were of different ages and races, sexuality, and marital statuses. Only one of them had any sort of criminal record. All were in different lines of work. If one were to stretch the imagination, perhaps one or two shared the same general income bracket. Otherwise, there wasn’t enough to form a pattern. If it weren’t for the sadistic nature of the killings, we would not have considered it to be the work of one person.

I assumed then that the six men must have been involved in drugs and had messed with the wrong cartel. The murders were so hyper-violent that it seemed like someone was trying to send a message. Yet, we could not link the crimes to any known gangs we had in the area or around the state. Plus, if they were professionals they made a glaring error. Droplets of someone else’s blood were discovered mixed with the victims. True, we ran it through our database and found no matches. Still, it did not seem like the kind of error a professional hit team would make.

Finding the blood did little to assist in our efforts, by the way. Short of testing everyone in the state, which we were sure violated some constitutional amendment, there was little we could do with that information.

Though we couldn’t find a link between the victims, there was another route we could take. A thing of some note was found at one of the crime scenes, I think the third murder. It was a small plastic toy that I quickly learned from one of the younger officers was a figure from the kids’ show Princess Luna. Specifically, it was the titular character’s right-hand man and possible lover.

From what I hear, it’s the typical banal children’s cartoon about a space princess who travels the world. I find such premises completely uninteresting but then again, I am hardly in the target demographic. My son was unable to provide any insight into its appeal as he is still at an age where he cannot comprehend anything more from the show than a series of pretty pictures.

Naturally, we assumed that the victim was carrying it for his child, perhaps as a recent purchase. Only, not only was the man childless but what was left of his hand provided enough that we could determine that his prints did not match those left on the toy. In fact, our computers did not produce any matches for those fingerprints whatsoever.

At that point, I was desperate for any sort of clue. So, I decided to listen to everyone who claimed to have information or could otherwise assist no matter how crazy they seemed, sweetening the pot by offering a reward. That was when I met the stranger who would eventually change how I viewed the world.

“There’s a man here to see you,” the desk sergeant said that fateful morning not long after as I entered the station. Neither of us realized the impact of her words until much later. I’m not sure whether she fully understands even now.

“Who is it?” I asked almost sleepily. By then, I had already encountered more than my fair share of nutcases. I highly doubted that meeting this new potential “informant” would result in anything more than wasted time.

She silently waved me toward her with a couple of crimson-tipped fingers. When I got to her desk, she motioned with her head toward the most flamboyantly dressed man sitting on a nearby bench. His suit’s garish crimson bowtie, cummerbund, and cape seared my eyes. The sergeant then beckoned me so I leaned forward.

“That nut job asked for you specifically. He says he has information related to one of your cases. We tried to send him home. Really, we did. But he insisted on waiting. I told him it would be a while because you were at home with your wife and son. He said he was surprised, I mean, with the media hounding us and everything. But I let him know that the captain is very keen on giving his detectives a day off to reduce stress. Told him to wait ‘til tomorrow, but he insisted on waiting. Didn’t really bother anybody but it was really unnerving to have him sitting there and-”

“Thanks, Carol,” I interrupted. She scowled and muttered but the curly-haired woman with red hair that looked closer to orange allowed me to disengage from the conversation without another word.

The man rose as I walked toward him. “Are you the lead detective?” he asked.

“I am.” I then introduced myself. “Are you a magician?”

“Charles Truman,” he said. He overly enunciated his name as True Main but the card he handed me indeed read “Truman.” He removed his top hat and offered me his white-gloved hand. We shook. “And to answer your question, I am not a magician. Rather, I am a Paranormal Investigator. I admit that I am a little overdressed but I find part of my job involves good presentation.”

“If you say so. Do you have some information for me?”

He nodded. “Indeed I do. Shall discuss it further in your office?”

I concurred that was a good idea and led the way. We sat on opposite sides of the cramped space. His hat rested in his lap. I pushed aside several pictures of my infant son and my wife along with mountains of reports to get a better look at the man’s face.

“Just to confirm, you are here to discuss the serial murders, correct?”

“Why else would I be here?”

“You’d be surprised how much I have stacked on my plate. The amount of backlog I have could fill the Library of Congress. I suppose only one’s made national news, though. So what kind of information can a paranormal investigator hope to provide? Psychic help?”

The man laughed dismissively. “Really, detective, do you believe in that codswallop?”

It took me a second to comprehend what he said. “Not really, no. And I gotta admit, I’m a little surprised to hear you, a so-called ‘Paranormal Investigator’, call something like psychic powers B.S..”

“Just because I recognize that ‘there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy’ does not mean I believe everything.”

“You know, my wife once told me the guy who said that was likely a lunatic. The character, I mean. Not Shakespeare. Though, you know, some people say-”

“There are several interpretations of the character Hamlet. I don’t find one any more valid than another.”

I smirked. “We’re getting off track. I’m sure you aren’t here to discuss Shakespeare. So why are you really here?”

His face became stern as he leaned forward. “You won’t find the murderer until you open your mind to all possibilities.”

I reciprocated his motion. “I’m not sure I follow.”

“The killer is not of this world. It is a monster beyond our comprehension. My partner Melissa and I have been tracking this eldritch thing for several years now. These recent murders are just a small part of a much larger set of atrocities that have taken place across the globe.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Are you talking about aliens?”

He shook his head. “More like creatures from another realm or dimension. Something that exists beyond our plane. Something our human minds cannot understand. From what we have discovered, it is an entity that can change its shape. Something that takes on a human form to remain hidden in plain view.”

I said nothing and leaned back in my chair. “Thank you very much, Mr. Truman. I will keep that in mind as the investigation moves forward. We will let you know if we have any questions we need to ask.”

The man forced a half-grin. “I sense sarcasm.”

I nearly laughed. “I can see those paranormal studies are being put to good use.”

“What would it take for you to believe?”

I shrugged. “Proof would be nice.”

Charles put on his hat and then stood before he began to pace around the room aimlessly. His hands gesticulated as he started to ramble. “You don’t understand. Melissa and I are so close to uncovering the truth. We’ve tracked it all over, from Central America to Africa, from China to France. Everywhere, I mean, we’ve been on this thing’s trail everywhere. And we’ve about discovered and have the means to get rid the world of it. We just need your help. If we combine our knowledge with your resources, I mean, police resources, we can beat this thing.”

“That’s assuming, of course, that your ridiculous theory is correct.”

He swung his arm violently and in doing so, caused his hand to hit his chair which sent it flying out the open door into the hallway. At the same time, Charles’s hat tumbled off his head and was subsequently stomped on by his brown multi-buckled boots. A sea of eyes looked turned toward us in response though the Paranormal Investigator seemed oblivious to them. “Think about it!” he screamed. “Think about how they were killed?”

“Calm down!” I barked.

Instead, he leaned forward and slammed his elbows against my desk before directing an index finger at the bridge of my nose. “Whose else could have made those wounds? The bodies looked like they were ravaged by machine-gun fire but almost contradictorily, they also looked like they were stabbed, yes?” I unwittingly nodded my head and confirmed his suspicion. “I thought as much. All the victims Melissa and I examined were the same!”


Charles scoffed. “So? No human is strong enough to have administered those wounds by stabbing! No animal is strong enough, for that matter, to have done so with their claws! Who or what else could have administered those wounds, then? An assault rifle that fires knives? Ha! A ridiculous notion to say the least! No, that thing is the only explanation!”

He then stood upright again, adjusted his bowtie, picked up his hat from the floor, grimaced upon seeing it before his eyes, and did his best to uncrumple it before placing it atop his head. It was still a bit scrunched and sat a bit askew.“And it is pronounced ‘True Main’, not Truman.”

I responded the only way I knew how. That is, I sat and calmly adjusted my black tie as I tend to do with people I think are insane. “Well, Mr. Truman,” I said making sure I didn’t pronounce the name the way he wanted. “I’d advise you to pick up the chair that you threw outside and after you’ve done that, apologize. Then I might overlook your little outburst.”

The man slammed his hands atop my desk. I felt he was being more than a tad disrespectful at this point. “This is not about petty things like decorum! It’s so much bigger than anything you can even fathom! Why can’t you understand?”

A knock on my door frame stopped me from replying to that flippant statement with my own verbal assault. I not only would have chastised his behavior but I would have also made a few allusions to his lack of intelligence and sanity. At the time, I found it ridiculous to even begin to think that the murderer we sought was an inter-dimensional creature.

“Sorry, sir,” the officer at my doorway said. “I didn’t mean to interrupt. But I think you need to hear this.”

“It’s fine, Officer Roberts. What is it?”

“A couple of teenagers have found a body in a shallow pond in Evergreen just off the highway. It’s been mutilated in the same way as the other six. Carol has the nearest address and the approximate location. Rex said he’ll meet you at the scene.”

I thanked the young officer for his help.

“Let me go with you,” Charles insisted. “I can help.”

I shook my head. “No, you stay here.” I gestured to the young officer. “Roberts, make sure this ‘gentleman’ stays here. We still have some things to discuss. Besides, I don’t want him to get any funny ideas that he’s now part of this investigation.”

“Yes, sir!” Officer Roberts affirmed.

“You’re making a mistake,” Charles warned.

“Wouldn’t be the first.”

I typed the address Carol gave me into my phone before setting out. A relatively long but uneventful ride later, I had arrived. Our desk sergeant might have told me of the pond’s approximate location but even had she not given me them, it wouldn’t have been difficult for me or anyone else, for that matter, to know where to look. Through the trees, I could see the tail end of a flock of media vultures that had already gathered. As I neared I saw that other officers had not only already arrived but were in the process of struggling to keep order. Their little rope barrier did little to keep the hyenas at bay.

After pushing the mass of journalists aside while letting them know what I thought of them in an expletive-laden rant, I finally joined my fellow officers. There I asked one of the young men for someone specific and was led to a broad-shouldered man with brown, curly hair wearing a tan suit.

We greeted each other cordially and he handed me a cup of coffee. “I was picking you up one when I received the call. It’s a little cold, I’m afraid.” He was Detective Rex Williams, my partner.

I took a sip. “It’s still good. Thanks.”

He nodded then led me to the body, or should I say, a mass of flesh lying on the edge of that shallow pond surrounded by water hemlock.

“Are they the ones who found the body?” I pointed to a pair of teenagers on the other side of the river. One wore a black hat backward while the other had a messy clump of uncombed blond hair. Both sat with their heads against their knees. An officer I didn’t recognize accompanied the pair as he made his vain effort to console them.

“Yeah,” Rex confirmed. “They were skateboarding before taking a little detour to look around the pond. Toby, the one in the hat, found the body first. Paul, the blond guy, is the one who made the call.”

Rex then paused for a second as he scratched his chin. “Not gonna lie, they ain’t doing great. Physically they’re fine but mentally, I don’t think they are going to get over this anytime soon. Let’s just say we got them to stop convulsing just a few minutes ago. We just finished scooping up the vomit when you arrived.”

“I’ll talk to them after we’re done here. Have you taken a good look at the body, yet?”

Rex nodded before kneeling next to the corpse. Naturally, I joined him. “Yeah, same as the rest. Mutilated beyond all recognition. Punctured completely through. Not a weapon in sight. You can see a large amount of dried blood along the river’s edge. The body obviously wasn’t moved very far. We won’t be able to determine a gender until we get the stiff in for examination.”

I further scrutinized the cadaver. “Hey, take a look at this.” I pointed at the victim’s garb. The perforations made it difficult to completely ascertain but it appeared the individual had worn a black button-up suit, a red scarf, and most significantly, a flowing blue cape. Nearby a blue top hat floated amongst some nearby reeds.

A chill went down my spine. “Could it be?” I muttered.

“Could it be what?” Rex asked. His face seemed to indicate he was a bit concerned. Likely, only because he noticed how my voice cracked a bit when I asked that question.

Before I could answer my friend, a raucous commotion behind us demanded our attention. I turned my head with Rex. A man in a suit had just finished elbowing his way through the sea of reporters. Several cell phones and tape recorders were pointed in his direction as he marched in our direction until he was stopped by the rope. There he turned back to the reporters to pose and shout, “Sorry to have pushed my way through! But I am Charles Truman, Paranormal Detective, and I’m here to investigate the crime!”

I rose immediately. “How the hell did you get here?”

Charles turned. A smug grin was plastered across his lips. He wagged a finger as he said, “Officer Roberts proved easy enough to evade. And it’s easy to follow someone as long as you know how.” He leaned on his toes to look over the shoulder of the officer who had rushed in front of him to keep him behind the barrier.

I violently gestured for him to leave. “Get out of here! We have enough problems without you mugging it up for the cameras!”

“You don’t understand!” he retorted. “I can help you.”

Before I could protest, I noticed him looking past me. His eyes grew wide and his skin turned ashen white. It was as if his blood had been drained. There was only one possible reason. I shambled toward him with great haste, nearly tripping over my feet.


“Get him out of here!” I demanded as I started to sprint

Charles panicked. He tried to hop the barrier only to find that he dove into the officer who was now guarding the perimeter. It was still a struggle for him to hold the manic so-called investigator back despite outweighing him by a hundred pounds of pure muscle.

“Let me in! I must see her! For the love of Christ, let me see her!” Charles cried.

Tears welled in his eyes. I hopped over the rope and stood next to him just as he fell to his knees. He grabbed my ankles and let out an anguished scream.

The jackals in the media lapped this all up. Each captured those images with their cell phones and other such devices with sick grins plastered across their faces.

I lifted Charles to his feet. He nodded in appreciation and though he was obviously still distraught he still managed to recover enough to move. We pushed our way through the ghouls who lacked the decency to turn their cameras elsewhere.

Charles had calmed quite a bit when we arrived at his vehicle. His justifiable weeping had slowed to a mere trickle. He placed his hands on the top of the driver’s side door as he looked away. We were alone. The other officers had successfully prevented the misery vampires from following us.

“I told her that we weren’t ready to confront the creature,” he said. “I thought she understood. She promised she wouldn’t do anything reckless.”

I reached out to pat him on the shoulder. He slapped my hand away and stared daggers into my eyes “Do you believe me now?” he growled.

I hesitated for a moment before answering. “No,” I answered truthfully. “I believe that a sick person is behind this. But I still don’t believe it’s a creature from another dimension. He’s only a monster in the metaphorical sense.” I breathed a heavy sigh before continuing. “Don’t worry, though. We’ll find the bastard who did this to her. I guarantee.”

Charles shook his head. “You will not. You do not even know what you are looking for nor will you know what to do if you ever somehow find it! I would tell you but you refuse to listen even when you have the goddamn truth staring in front of you! Melissa and I are the only ones that could stop the creature.”

He paused for a second. “Were the only ones that could stop the creature,” he sobbed. “Now it’s up to me.”

“No, Charles. It’s up to me and the rest of the Evergreen Police Department.”

He wiped his eyes and glowered. “No, it is up to me. Mark my words. I stop that creature. I will destroy it. I will avenge her death.”

I let out another deep sigh and shook my head. “As an officer of the law, I’d like to advise you not to do anything foolish. I also need to inform you at this point you are a person of interest and I hope you don’t have any plans of leaving town.”

His eyes went wide. Even though I was a foot away, I could feel the heat burning from his crimson cheeks. “What? How am I a person of interest? How dare you even suggest that I would do such a monstrous thing to the only one I ever loved in this horrific world?” He once again burst into tears. “I never even had the chance to tell her how I felt.”

I let him weep for a few minutes before I continued. “I understand how you feel and personally, I don’t suspect you. But until I get the autopsy, I have to be open to all possibilities.”

“What possibilities!” he shrieked. He swung his arms wildly though I believe he wanted them to point in the direction of our station. “I have dozens of witnesses who will attest that I was at the police station all night! I was with you when you received word of her death! You cannot possibly suspect me!”

“Yes, but as much as it kills me to say it, for all we know, you killed her several days ago and then waited in the station as part of an elaborate ruse.”

His eyes narrowed as his face grew cold. “I cannot believe you still suggest I possibly have anything-”

I interrupted him by handing him my card

“What’s this?” he asked, his features softening slightly.

“As a fellow human being, allow me to say I am sorry for your loss,” I said with all sincerity. “You have my deepest sympathies. Please call if you have any information regarding the case. Or if you just need someone to talk to.”

“Thanks,” he grumbled as he crumpled my card before hastily shoving it into his pocket. “Of all the people in the world I could call, you’ll definitely be the first.” He then entered his car and hastily sped off.

With but a moment’s hesitation, I then returned to the crime scene. Of course, not before reminding the press that my feelings for them hadn’t changed in the last few minutes in my own colorful way. There I quickly told Rex what Charles and I were talking about and afterward, we returned to the examination of the crime scene.

It did not bear any other fruit. No additional clues were discovered. The conversation with the two young men led nowhere. We returned to the precinct one victim richer and with as many leads as we had when I arrived in the morning, which is to say not a single one. Conversations with the media that afternoon as a result were ceaselessly enjoyable.

Later investigations revealed that nothing linked Charles to the crime. Not that I thought anything would. I was more or less just going through the motions. When I called to inform him that he was no longer a person of interest, he was less than enthused. He reiterated how he believed he never should have been considered one in the first place, which was a valid opinion.

As suggested earlier, officers don’t have time to focus on a single case but the high profile nature did make it our first priority. As such, Rex and I then spent the next several weeks continuing our investigation, focusing primarily now on the seventh victim, to the best of our ability. During which, we discussed the case with each other, with fellow officers, with forensic specialists, and with all manners of experts. None of us were able to discern any meaningful leads.

The extremely violent nature of the crimes would lead one to believe that finding the culprit should be relatively simple. Somehow, though, whoever was responsible for this madness was able to perpetrate the crimes without leaving any solid clues behind. It was as if the murderer was both hysterically manic yet at the same time calm and precise. With a difficult and excruciatingly perplexing one such as this, it should come as no surprise that when the solution seemingly fell into our lap, we snapped at it like a starving dog being offered a steak.

It happened when Rex and I were sitting in my office on a night that was already tiptoeing into the morning hours. Once more we were in a heated discussion as to how to proceed with the case when my phone suddenly rang. Honestly, if not for my partner’s insistence, I may not have answered. He was always more professional than I ever was.

“Hello,” I grumbled into the receiver.

“You must get here right away!” she screamed back.

“Lady, calm down. What the hell is going on?”

“He killed them!” she screeched. “He killed all of them! And it’s my fault! All my fault!”

I snapped my fingers which told Rex I desperately needed a pen and paper. As he retrieved them, I unconsciously leaned forward with great interest as I barked, “Who killed them? How is it your fault? Again, ‘the hell’s going on?” By then, my partner had retrieved the items I desired and had handed them to me.

“I’m over by the tire yard.” She then became nearly incoherent no matter how much I asked her to slow down. Eventually, though, she managed to stammer out the address while adding at the end a garbled, “Please hurry!”

I wrote everything she had told me and handed the paper to Rex. He nodded and then did everything necessary for the two of us to proceed with our investigation while having the necessary backup.

“We’ll be there as soon as we can,” I assured the woman on the other side of the line. “In the meantime, get out of there if you can. If not, then hide. Your safety should be your only concern right now.”

“Thank you, but don’t worry. He wouldn’t hurt me. I’m his princess. I just don’t want him to hurt others anymore.”

I went silent for a moment. The metaphorical gears in my head had stopped turning while attempting to make sense of her strange comment.

“Hello? Are you still there?”

I shook the cobwebs out of my head. “Of course, sorry, I apologize. Ma’am, do you know the alleged?”

There was another short period of silence. “I can explain when you get here.” Then there was a dial tone.

“Ma’am, are you there? Ma’am? Ma’am! Dammit, she hung up.”

With seemingly no time to spare, Rex and I hurried out of the precinct. We drove as quickly as possible to the locale with a cavalcade of police cars right behind us. A fire in the middle of the tire yard signaled where to go when we arrived. It attracted almost literally like moths to a flame. We did not at that moment even think to question why the fire was there or who would have made it. Our minds were focused instead on the environment around us. It was as if the air had become thick and tangible. We could feel an almost literal tension. Such feelings of apprehension had to be ignored, though. Instead, we silently drew our weapons and headed to where we expected to find a horrific scene.

We were not disappointed. In front of a burning barrel stood a man hovering over a dismembered corpse. Tall, large, and muscular, he held a bloodied knife in his right hand. At a glance, one could tell he was mentally challenged, no insult intended. His entire body was covered in blood, from the top of his curly brown hair to the bottoms of his white tennis shoes. Most of it was on his blue jeans and his t-shirt. Though obscured, the text on his shirt indicated that it was from the show Princess Luna.

Behind him stood a woman, strikingly beautiful with long flowing blonde hair styled into several braids. She wore a blue gown and slippers, an unusual thing to be wearing at a tire yard late at night. What made me especially take pause is that she looked and dressed strikingly similar to the titular character of that aforementioned cartoon. Her lipstick was even the same shade of red.

“Drop the weapon!” I commanded. The man complied. It took some coaxing as he seemed a bit bewildered by our presence and unsure of what to do. However, he was not at all belligerent. In fact, I chastised one of our officers after kicking the man in the back of his legs to force him to his knees before violently pulling his arms behind him. Even though he did not obey every order immediately, it was due to ignorance and a lack of understanding. After promising the young officer I would reprimand him further when he returned to the station, a statement which was met with sour grumbling, I turned my attention to the striking woman.

“He thought I was a princess,” she sobbed as I approached.

“I would do anything for my princess,” the man concurred as he was cuffed.

The woman then introduced herself as Mary Weathers and told us that the man was Lars Tahoe. They had met at a gym. Lars had fixated on her because of her superficial similarity to Princess Luna. It seemed like a harmless obsession, more childlike than malicious, so she often humored him by engaging in long conversations, mostly about the cartoon, when the two would inevitably meet.

One of the other topics that frequently arose was that of her exes. She’d often complain about how badly they treated her in the past. Mary even admitted that perhaps she exaggerated some of the details and made her old beaus seem more monstrous than they truly were. Then the young lady added she did not expect her comments to be taken literally even by someone with Lars’ obvious mental maladies. She told us that he killed them all in a misguided attempt to protect her.

“So even Melissa Wilson was an ex?” I asked.

“Detective, in today’s day and age, you shouldn’t still be surprised by such things or be so judgmental,” she coyly replied. I suppose she had a point.

We eventually took both of them back to the station. As Lars was being processed, we recorded Mary’s testimony. According to her, Lars had at some point stolen her phone and used her contact list as well as various social media pages to find his victims. She also claimed she was oblivious to his actions until that night. It was difficult for her to recount, she asserted, for she was still in a “stunned stupor”. Then she relayed with precision an extraordinary set of coincidences.

She happened to see her ex-boyfriend Gunther from across the street as she walked home from The Waterfall, a bar a few blocks away from our station and her gym. She and her old beau were supposedly still on amicable terms so she started toward him with the mere desire to first get his attention, his headphones had prevented him from hearing her greeting, before having a pleasant conversation with him.

It was then, to her utter shock, that she noticed from a distance her friend Lars hiding in the shadows. She, at first, wanted to say “hi” but the look on his face made her decide against it. Her “female intuition” warned her that something bad was about to happen. Yet, she felt compelled to investigate. Mary’s curiosity had apparently gotten the better of her.

She followed the two men into an abandoned alley. Gunther was oblivious to Lars, due to his aforementioned headphones, and had only gone there, it seemed, to make a call or perhaps change songs. She could only assume as she only saw him pull out his phone and nothing more. That would be the last action he’d ever take.

The large man leaped out of the shadows. Before the smaller one could properly react, he was stabbed several times with his large knife. He was dead before he hit the pavement. Lars then dragged his corpse to the tire yard with the hopes of disposing it there.

Mary told us that she followed Lars the entire time before and after the murder. However, it was only when they arrived at the tire yard that the large man took notice of her. She begged him to tell her why he murdered Gunther especially so violently and in cold blood. He told her it was his duty to protect her from her “evil exes”.

She then expressed remorse that she was quite lax when it came to her phone’s security. Mary had neglected to protect her phone with even a password. She also had meant to delete her old contacts but, even though her memories were now “covered with a heavy curtain of regret”, they were still pleasant enough that she did not wish to forget people who were once so important in her life.

Her story was suspicious, to say the least. It was difficult to see Lars conduct such an elaborate scheme with his mental condition. Plus, there were a lot of coincidences that were not explained and too many questions were unanswered. Most disagreed with me, though. Since the man had mental issues, or was more colloquially “insane”, that was all the explanation they required.

All further inquiries were shut down too when our medical examiners matched his blood with the unknown blood found at the previous crime scenes. Further, when we we searched Lars’s home, obviously we had more than enough to acquire a warrant, we found a stack of clothes stained with coagulated blood. These garments contained the DNA of several of our victims and Lars Tahoe. To compound the amount of incriminating evidence we had against the man, the fingerprints on the toy I mentioned earlier matched Lars’s prints as well.

After a highly publicized trial that lasted several months, which may seem long but is actually quite rapid considering the current state of the American justice system, Lars Tahoe was found guilty of all eight murders and was sentenced to life in prison. Finding him at the scene of the crime combined with the DNA evidence discovered and Mary’s testimony, along with her looks and charm, doubtlessly won over the jury. Not that any of that truly mattered. The man’s lack of mental acuity meant that the verdict was never in question even if we didn’t have the aforementioned evidence.

My fellow officers celebrated the ruling because, if nothing else, it meant the end of an exasperating and tedious case. I was unsatisfied, though. There were still too many loose ends.

“What’s bothering you, pal?” Rex asked shortly after the trial’s conclusion.

“You know what’s bothering me, Rex.”

“Are we really going to have that discussion again?”

“You know, I called Charles Truman. He told me he had never heard of Mary Weathers. And Melissa had told him about all of her other exes no matter how much he begged her not to. He also told me, albeit in a very clumsy fashion, that she did not like other women.”

“Sure, but that doesn’t mean Melissa told him everything about her past. Perhaps Charles doesn’t approve of that lifestyle and she knew it.”

“Maybe, I’d have to ask him, I suppose. But get this, I also called everyone we found who knew the other seven victims. None of them, and I mean none of them, had ever heard the name Mary Weathers. Were they all lying?”

Rex shrugged. “Maybe the victims’ relationship with Mary was secret.”

“Why would you keep it a secret? How even?”

Rex shook his head. “I don’t know. I haven’t really looked into it. And I don’t intend to. The murderer’s been found, tried, and sentenced. So as far as I’m concerned, the case is closed. I’ve stopped worrying about it. And if what you told me’s the only things bothering you, I’d suggest you stop worrying too.”

I scowled. “No, Rex. It’s not just those things that are bothering me. Lars was found with a bloody knife in his hand. But could he have really inflicted those kinds of wounds with just a knife? Think about how much strength that must have taken.”

“His gym mates told us he could bench over 300 pounds and squat over 600. That’s pretty damn strong.”

“Yeah, but Dr. Jenkins told us that it would have taken over 16,000 pounds of force to make the victims’ wounds. No man can generate that kind of force with just a knife no matter how strong he is.”

Rex sipped his coffee. “Frankly, I think old Doc Henry there is beginning to lose his mind.”

“His gym mates also told us even though he was slow, he was incredibly kind. They said that Lars is not the kind to anger or use violence against someone else.”

Rex laughed dismissively. “People always say that when they find out their friend is a killer. It helps alleviate the guilt.”

“Sure, but they also say that in conflicts, he’s always the one who backs down even when he outweighs the other guy by at least 100 pounds. He’s also the most honest person they know. One time he accidentally dropped a barbell and broke the handlebar. It was late at night and he was alone. Since he couldn’t inform a trainer, he was worried someone else would be blamed. He slept in one of the chairs so that in the morning he could confess when someone arrived. Leaving a note did not even cross his mind.”

“You forget that in his deluded head, he was protecting Mary, or as he called her his princess. A lot of men who seem meek rise to the occasion when they are protecting someone they love. Or in Lars’s case, someone he worshipped for stupid and insane reasons.”

“There is a difference between protection and slaughter. There was anger and vitriol. Doesn’t it seem odd that he would be so angry toward seven men and a single woman, none of whom were doing anything wrong when he confronted them? Stabbing them once? Sure, fine, I could see that. But hundreds of times?”

Rex sneered. “Since when do the motivations of the insane need to be evaluated? By definition, they do crazy things because they’re nuts. Besides, Mary told us she exaggerated the stories she told Lars about her exes. And a nut job like him believed her every word. His anger was probably due to them ‘hurting’ his princess.”

I vehemently shook my head. “It doesn’t fit his character, crazy or not.”

“What about the DNA evidence? His blood was found at all the crime scenes. The victims’ blood was found on his clothes. What could account for that? Wait, don’t tell me you believe his story?”

Lars had said from the beginning and had maintained that he was innocent of the crimes. He did not go so far as to accuse her but he did claim that his blood was found at the crime scenes and on his clothes, along with the victims’, because Mary had called him on eight separate occasions to assist her by moving a dead body. Sometimes, the distance was as short as only a few feet. Exact distance didn’t seem to matter as long as he moved them far enough to allow the victims’ blood to get all over his clothes.

After he finished, she’d cut him so that he bled all over the scene of the crime. She told him that his “pure” blood negated the tainted one. A similar ritual was done on his favorite cartoon but with water. She also told him not to wash or get rid of his clothes and to keep them in his closet though he provided no reason why she told him to do this. Lars did say that the clothes smelled awful after a while but he got used to it. The man also reiterated several times he was willing to do anything for the woman which was why he allowed her to do everything she did.

Besides, Mary had asserted that the individual she killed was “bad” and “deserved it”, but he must remain silent as “people would just not understand” and “punish her unfairly for her supposed crimes.” He explained that was why he never told a soul what she did. Then he concluded that she should not be punished for his beloved did nothing wrong. She only killed “evil people” and “evil must be vanquished, so says Princess Luna!”

“I admit it sounds far-fetched but he has been remarkably consistent,” I told Rex. “Besides, do you find the story believable?”

Rex scoffed. “Ch. No.”

I nodded solemnly. “Exactly, so why would he continue to repeat it unless it was the truth?”

“Do I have to keep telling you because he’s insane?”

“He’s not insane. Minds like his still work according to some sort of logic. We may not understand it, but it’s there.”

Rex raised an eyebrow. “What are you trying to say?”

“I don’t think Lars is lying. His friends said he simply doesn’t lie. So as ridiculous as the story seems, it must be the truth.”

Rex stared in apparent consternation. “So you think a three hundred pound behemoth wouldn’t be able to commit the murders. Instead, our murderer’s a woman who weighs about a hundred pounds soaking wet. Ah, yeah, I can see that. That makes perfect sense.”

I leaned back in my chair. “I’m not saying that either. All I’m saying is that there are a lot of holes to this story and there’s a lot that still needs to be investigated. Despite what everyone else says, I don’t think finding his DNA at the crime scene explains what happened.”

“Forensic analysts across the nation, hell, across the globe would disagree.”

Just as the argument was about to reach its apex, a young officer ran into the room. He then hastily knocked on my door frame as if it mattered by that point.

“Come in, Roberts, it’s fine,” I said with a friendly gesture.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt the conversation. But I just got a call from the Evergreen Correctional Facility. Lars Tahoe has been murdered!”

“What?” Rex growled. “How?”

“According to his cellmate, sorry I forgot his name, he was looking out the window when all of a sudden his head exploded.”

“What? His head exploded?”

Officer Roberts scratched his head. “Um, well, not really. That’s just what his cellmate thought happened at first. Really, though, Lars was stabbed through the head! And I mean, through! His cellmate says he has no idea who did it though.”

“It was probably him,” Rex sighed. “It seems like such an obvious lie.”

“You’re probably right, sir. I mean, get this! Their cell is on the fifth floor. No way somebody climbed all the way up there and stabbed him through the window.”

“How did the cellmate get a knife, though?” I asked. “The security there is pretty high.”

“When there’s a will, there’s a way,” Rex countered.

Officer Roberts tapped his chin. “One thing sticks out, though.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You know how those eight bodies were all stabbed through the head?”

“Amongst other places, yes,” Rex concurred. “Wait, you’re not telling us that-”

“Same kind of wound, the same amount of force, and likely, the same weapon was used.”

Rex and I stared silently.

Officer Roberts smiled and saluted. “Don’t worry, sirs. We’ve got guys bringing him down here for questioning. I’m sure both of you will be able to get to the bottom of this.” He dashed out the door. The young officer had just as busy a night ahead of him as the rest of us.

“Looks like it’s going to be another long one,” I said with a deep sigh.

Rex nodded dejectedly and the two of us were headed out the door when suddenly, Marimba music played from my pocket. Both of us froze in place as I retrieved my cell phone and glanced at the caller ID. “It’s Truman,” I said as I answered.

“I’ll go on ahead of you,” Rex said and walked out the door.

“Now’s not a good time, Charles,” I growled into the receiver.

“I’ve tracked it down. I’m going to destroy it.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” I barked.

“The creature. I know where it lurks and I know what must be done. I’ve figured it out. I’m at the forest of the Snoquaximish National Park if you wish to assist, detective.”

“Truman! Truman! Don’t do anything rash! Truman!” He hung up the phone. I tried calling back several times. The man refused to answer.

“Shit,” I muttered as I put away my phone. Things were pretty crazy at the station but Charles seemed to be getting into something imminently dangerous due to his reckless behavior. For a moment, I thought about letting Rex know what I was about to do. I decided against it, though, as things were pretty hectic at the station. I didn’t want to distract him or anyone else from finding out what happened to Lars Tahoe.

So instead, I dashed out the door of my office, out the door of the precinct, and got into my car by myself. My fellow officers including Rex were so distracted with other tasks that none of them noticed that I had left.

I arrived at the Snoquaximish National Park just after midnight. The parking lot was empty save for one lone sedan which I assumed, quite accurately, was Truman’s. As I exited my vehicle, the night became darker which should have been impossible considering the hour. The air itself also seemed to change. It was as if it became thick and tangible. I could feel a literal tension.

Ignoring the odd feelings that were enveloping me, I raced into the woods. As I did, I expected to be greeted by a cacophony of nocturnal creatures from whatever home I disturbed in my mad dash. Instead, there was nothing. Quite literally nothing. It was as if sound itself had disappeared. I could not even hear my feet as they thrashed about upon the forest’s trail.

Tree branches seemed to sway toward me like little arms and fingers as I sprinted further into the heart of the forest as well. They acted not as if they were trying to grab me. Instead, they acted as if they needed comfort and protection from something that gripped them with fear, something that I used to think was impossible.

Yet, I somehow managed to ignore the looming horror and instead focused on one thought, finding Charles Truman. Had I been more rational and in a less panicked state, the shock of what happened to Lars most certainly playing a factor, I would obtained the services of specialists or at least have acquired tools that would have helped track the phone’s signal.

Such things turned out to be unnecessary, however. My nose was enough. A familiar copper smell wafted through the air. No doubt in my mind, it was blood. To whom it belonged, I told myself I wasn’t sure. Perhaps, if only for a moment, I wanted to play the fool while deep down knowing the truth as I followed the scent.

My mind raced with a multitude of thoughts and anxieties and my feet moved mindlessly, so much so that I nearly tripped. Both feet connected hard. I caught myself on the branches of a couple of nearby trees. I felt something. My hands nearly slipped from the leaves and branches.  When my feet finally settled under me, I took a look at my hands. They were wet and sticky and covered with a red viscous liquid. I looked around. Though it was dark, my eyes were able to witness everything as if it had been daytime.

Blood was everywhere. It decorated the trees, their leaves, the dirt floor, and the rocks. I looked down and my head jerked upon noticing both my shoes and pants were also now covered with that scarlet bilious fluid.

Slowly, then, I realized what I had tripped over.

I didn’t want to look. My head refused to move. It was as if I believed that by not looking down reality would cease to exist or at least change. One can only deny the truth for so long, though. Eventually, I had to face it.

My worst suspicions were indeed confirmed. At my feet lay a dismembered corpse wearing the remnants of a torn-up suit. His body was like the others, stabbed beyond recognition. There were more holes than flesh. Next to him was a brown satchel, his signature top hat, now full of holes and blood, and a pile of dust. His bag was empty and contained no residue. A small gust blew the grains of sand away before I had to scrutinize them further. What the late Charles Truman carried with him will forever remain a mystery to me.

My ears twitched. I heard what seemed like a woman’s sobs. My head darted back and forth to locate the noise. When I had listened well enough to at least hazard a guess, I lumbered toward the sound’s origin. From a distance, I could first see her though she at first looked little more than a blob. Then with each step, she became increasingly more familiar. It was still piecemeal. First, I recognized her shoes, then her dress. Then her flaxen hair came into view and with it her braids.

She was facing away from me as I approached and was hovering over the victim at most a few paces away. Her mind, though, seemed to be in a completely different land oblivious to my footsteps. Still, I stepped toward her cautiously, fearful that any sudden movement would send her into a panic. Carefully, I reached out and placed my hand against her shoulder. “Mary, is that you?”

It was then I realized she was not crying.

She was laughing.

“Oh, detective. Did you come here expecting to be the hero?”

Mary turned around. The expression on her face made my stomach churn. It was not just the fact it was a sick grin that expressed no remorse or empathy, no fear or regret. Nor was it because I found no humanity within her eyes at all. No, none of that was what made me sick. Over a decade and a half on the police force inured me to sociopaths.

It was her smile.

Her lips extended from temple to temple. She showed rows of jagged teeth from her gaped mouth that resembled fangs. A translucent fluid dripped from her teeth.

I instinctively dashed backward as my body quaked. My hands trembled as they reflexively moved toward my firearm. I drew my gun and pointed it at the creature.

“Oh, detective,” it said. Its voice now reverberated such that it wobbled and echoed. It was as if she were joined by a chorus and the voices were put through a filter. “Do you really think your human weapons can harm me?”

The creature undauntedly sauntered past me over to Charles’s corpse. As it loomed over him, it pointed at his satchel and then at him. “If his little ‘magical’ trinkets could not stop me, what makes you think bullets would fare any better?”

My arms shook violently. “What are you?” I demanded.

“A princess.”


It started to pace around me in a circle. The grin never left its face. “Humanity has many names for me. Devil, Angel, God. At least that’s what I’m called in your native tongue. There are just so many languages and so many names for me. I call myself Cha’aa Horan. I must admit that my true nature is not quite known even to me. All I know is I work for one named D’honnen. Am I his daughter, his sister, his lover? All three? None of the above? Who knows?” Somehow, even in those now vacuous eyes, I could tell she was toying with me and knew more than she was letting on.

“Why are you here?” I rasped.

She mimicked a shrug. “Boredom. I don’t get to traipse around on earth very often but when I do, I like to goof around. Unlike my master who’s a real stick in the mud, you know the kind. He’s completely inflexible with a singular focus. I much prefer to play. Speaking of which, do you know why I killed all those people?”

“No,” I barely manage to bark. I wanted to say more but couldn’t find the strength.

“It was mere recreation. Same reason I manipulated Lars. It was easy to do and just plain fun. It was also a good way to throw off suspicion.”

“So, the story about the victims being your exes was a complete lie, then. You just killed random at random and told Lars they were your exes. He didn’t grab your cell phone, he didn’t track anyone down, he didn’t hurt anyone. Everything was your doing. It was all your plan. Everything Lars said was the truth! You framed him!”

The creature performed a mock clap. “Bravo, detective. The taxpayers would be thrilled to learn they have an intellectual like you on the force.”


“I thought it would be fun. Then I realized it would be more fun just to kill him so I did. I didn’t want to make my presence known. Not because I was afraid, oh no. I just wanted the challenge.”

“You, monster!”

The creature paused in front of me and shook its index finger in the air.  “Be careful with the name-calling, detective. You’re liable to hurt someone’s feelings.” Its head suddenly pointed toward the sky. “D’honnen has big plans for this planet.” It then turned toward me and stared with an undiscernible expression. “I could tell you but why bother? You would not understand. No human could hope to comprehend. Don’t worry, though. It will all be revealed soon enough, as will my role in all of this.”

Upon hearing this, I screamed incoherently and squeezed the trigger firing several shots. Though my arms still shook violently, years of training and muscle memory suddenly kicked in. Every bullet I unloaded managed to find its target. After one clip was emptied, I reloaded hastily and continued the assault. I continued until I was completely out of ammunition.

The creature’s garment had several dozen bullet holes that collectively revealed pulsating skin as black as the night sky. “Are you done?” it asked.

My lips quivered but I could not answer.

“I’ll answer for you. You are done.”

Smoke emerged as its clothing dissipated. Its apparent human flesh slowly changed into pustulous, lizard-like scales that were mostly black but also had some putrid brown spots on the head and chest. Its arms also elongated and its hands grew large and webbed. Four more arms joined as they emerged from its sides. Horrific, long, and presumably razor-sharp claws then emerged and protruded from each of its fingertips. Its fangs grew larger and more pronounced and its mouth now simply refused to close.

Immediately after that horrific metamorphosis, I first realized that I had fallen to my back and that my elbows were on the ground. The creature slithered next to me, making large holes that penetrated deep into the dirt floor and had the ground trembling with every step. There, it leaned forward and placed its head, still the shape of a woman’s but only just barely, next to my ear.

“I’m only keeping you alive because I don’t feel like killing you now,” it whispered. “I will change my mind someday, whether it is later tonight, tomorrow, or ten or twenty years from now, I haven’t decided. Time has no meaning for me anyway. I have marked you but it’s not all bad.” I heard a laugh which I think came from the creature but seemed to be coming from my own skull. “I will make sure you will not die by anyone else’s hands.”

I passed out.

When I regained consciousness, the monster had disappeared. I was alone with the remains of Charles Truman.

People, especially fellow officers, told me it was a hallucination derived from stress and a mental breakdown. After all, I had just learned of Lars’s death, discovered Charles’s body, and received a text from Rex of Mary’s sudden disappearance practically all at once. Impossible, I now say, for if nothing else, I maintain that I received the text after the aforementioned events. That is not to say, though, that I did not initially believe them. I did as they suggested and dismissed it all the product of an overactive imagination.

This all changed when my life was saved by a cursed miracle.

During my final case, Rex and I tracked a couple of men to an abandoned warehouse. We split up in pursuit. Being exceedingly careless, I walked into a room without carefully checking to ensure it was clear or calling my partner over for assistance. One of the men we were pursuing got the drop on me. I was suddenly facing the barrel of a pistol. There was no time to reach for my weapon. The end was near.

The air itself seemed to change. It was as if it became thick and tangible. I could feel a literal tension.

Suddenly, just as the man began to squeeze the trigger and I braced myself for the inevitable, a black blur moved past me. It encompassed the gunman before I had a chance to blink. The man screeched from within the cloud before exhaling a primal and anguished scream. Blood then exploded from the black mist. The gunman’s insides now decorated the walls and my clothes.

Almost as quickly as it arrived, it had disappeared. I was left alone with a mutilated corpse stabbed clean through several times all over, just like the others. Perhaps I should have been relieved but instead, my psyche shattered. It meant that all of it happened. The creature was real and I was at its mercy.

My work suffered. A detective that does nothing but shudder in the corner is worthless. For once, I do not make such a statement meaning for it to be metaphorical.

They tried to get me psychological help but I refused. I knew the truth. What I had witnessed was real. A psychiatrist therefore cannot help me. I suffered from no mental maladies but fear and despair.

I lost my job and my wife soon after. My familial skills were about on par with my detective prowess at that point. Not forever, she said when she left, it was only temporary. Only until I get the help I so desperately need. It’s better this way. My wife does not need to be saddled like I am with the true nature of our world.

When I believed I was at my lowest point, I wound up in a hotel with a revolver and ammunition, both of which I had snuck in. I filled every chamber but one with a bullet and proceeded to play a sick game of reverse Russian Roulette.

An odd feeling washed over me. The environment seemed to change. The air became thick and almost tangible. I could almost feel the tension.

It was natural to assume it was my subconscious attempting to talk me out of what I had planned so ignoring the sensation, I spun the chamber and pulled the trigger.


Initially, I laughed it off. Of all the times to get lucky. I spun the chamber again and pulled the trigger.


Empty again. It was unbelievable. What were the odds, one in thirty-six?

I shrugged and spun once more. Third time’s the charm I figured. I pulled the trigger again.


Empty once again.

Three more times I spun and pulled the trigger each time without thinking.

Click. Click. Click.

Finally, I had enough. I wanted to kill myself, not play a game. Damn the rules. I filled every chamber and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed. I tossed the gun away and wept. I now knew the creature was the presence I felt earlier. It was the reason for the change in the atmosphere and why I could feel tension. It was why my spins landed on an empty chamber six separate times. It was why my gun jammed. It was everywhere and would not let me die.

I have since traveled the globe for answers and a solution to my problem but found nothing but anguish. For I have discovered the true nature of D’honnen from the Snoquaximish legends, the entity they call The Creature with No Eyes and Many Fangs. I have learned everything, most of all, what awaits us all.

I’ve tried to rid myself of this forbidden knowledge but find myself unable to. My cruelly benevolent benefactor saves me from even self-harm. Therefore, I am unable to do something like, say, hit myself over the head with a crowbar to inflict brain damage so that I might forget.

It is waiting for the day it decides to kill me and send me to its master D’honnen. It is the fate that awaits all of us. All I can do is pray to deaf ears in a cruel, merciless world.

If you enjoyed this story, then perhaps you’d be interested in reading more by pressing the “short story” tag below or clicking this(short story) link or this(genre and tags) link or this(story list) link. I would also urge you to share this story with others and comment below. Please check out my books page as well by pressing here Magic Once Removed will be available soon, so please check out the FAQ. Thank you for reading my story.


One thought on “Short Story Saturday: His Princess

  • Very well written and a true horror story. I like the complimentary way you described the press. Misery vampires.

    Great job.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By :