I admit I actually wrote this story last year, but it fits today’s prompt so perfectly that I’m using it anyway.
THE CASE OF THE COPY-CAT CRIMES
Detective Becker pressed his left hand against his temple. It was tender from the pain where a migraine was threatening, but he had to go over this list of people who had received threats in the past month. The letters had all been made out in the same way: typed words that had been cut and pasted – one word at a time – onto a black sheet of paper and mailed in red envelopes. He’d sworn he’d figure out the nexus they shared that had made them victims of such a hateful attack, but time wasn’t on his side any longer, because the first two people on the list had already been killed.
His buzzer sounded, and his secretary reported that he had a call waiting on line one: his superior, Detective Wagner. “Yes sir,” Becker spoke into the phone. “What can I do for you?”
“The press has gotten wind of the fact that eight other people have received threatening letters. They’re pushing for a story, but, of course, we can’t tell them anything that could disrupt the investigation. I just wanted you to be forewarned that they’ll be waiting outside the front door when you leave the office.”
“Thanks for the warning. I slip out the basement entrance.”
“Have you figured out any connection yet between the two who are dead and the other eight?”
“I think I may have, Sir. All of these people served on a jury together about fifteen years ago. The decision of that jury was unanimous and resulted in the death sentence for the man on trial.”
Dead silence on the other end of the line caused Becker to stay quiet and wait. He could hear that the wind outside had started blowing harder, and he knew the storm that had been predicted was almost upon them. Finally, Wagner responded: “You know, of course, that Leiberman was convicted of perpetrating a series of murders after sending out threatening letters to his victims.”
Becker sucked in his breath. “No sir … no, I haven’t had time to research the case yet. But that’s too weird.”
“Yes,” replied Wagner. “And now I think I know who we’re looking for. His brother swore he’d get revenge. But then he got sick with some disease that the doctors said was incurable, and he was hospitalized for years. I guess everybody forgot about his threats. I know I did. But we need to find out if he’s still alive, and if so …”
“I’m on it, Sir,” Becker said. “I’ll call you back as soon as I have the information.”
Two hours later, Becker walked into Wagner’s office with a medical report. “He’s alive all right,” he said, laying the report on his superior’s desk. “And living right here in the city.”
“You’ve got an address?”
Wagner rose from his chair and strapped on his gun. “Let’s go get him and save eight people’s lives.”