Rain Washes Away the Blood 1
The small TV rumbled quietly, going unheard over the quiet rumble of water pouring from the shower in the cubicle of a bathroom. A young reporter was finishing up a story about a "shocking murder in Portland" which had been linked to a series of unsolved crimes that were believed to be the work of a serial killer.
"The police are not releasing any further information at this time. They're asking for anyone who has any information on Thomas Anderson to call this number." As the number appeared at the bottom of the television screen, a cell phone began to ring, filling the room with the soft sound of U2. The shower curtain was jerked open and a young woman's head peered out around it, brow furrowed. The phone rang a second time and the woman sighed, clambering out of the shower and throwing a towel around herself, she managed to reach the phone just in time and shoved the cell phone to her ear, not bothering to check the caller id.
"Hello, this is Katherine Baptiste speaking."
"Oh, hey Daddy. Are you on I-5 right now? You know how Mom feels about you talking on the phone while you're on the road. By the way, can you pick up some ice cream on your way? Mom said she forgot to get some for Ellie's party." As she rambled, Katherine sat down on the edge of her hotel bed.
"Katie, I can't come." Katherine stopped, her mouth half open as she had been about to ask him something else. "I have to work."
"What? No, you said you made sure you had today off! C'mon Dad, Ellie's counting on you being there! Think about how disappointed she'll be when she finds out you aren't coming!"
"Katherine, something important has come up." Katherine pursed her lips.
"More important than your daughter's birthday party?"
"Turn on the TV. Channel 3." Katherine glanced up. Yes, the TV was tuned to channel 3.
"Dad, I don't see what's so important about a Clorox Bleach commercial."
Katherine's father snapped, "Would you wait half a second?" Katherine winced at her father's tone; James Baptiste didn't get angry very often, and when he did, people listened to him. Katherine sat on the cheap coverlet in silence, gnawing on her lip. The commercial ended and the news returned to the "story of Thomas Anderson" and the "grisly details that might bother sensitive viewers". Katherine let out a wheezy breath of shock, hardly aware that she had been holding her breath.
"Jesus...where did you find the body?"
"Outside the city, in the river. Katie, I'm needed here. The news...they're lying. We don't have any leads. Tell Ellie I'm sorry, alright? Connie understands, I already talked to her."
"Yeah Dad...I'll tell her. Don't work too late, kay?"
"See you this weekend." The connection ended with a little click. Katherine smiled bitterly; her father was excellent at avoiding the subject of sleep. Katherine closed her phone and glanced back up at the TV. She shuddered as they showed the picture of a naked young man whose face had been neatly slit off and then replaced with the face of another victim. Katherine's stomach churned unpleasantly; she knew what happened next: his face would be neatly sewn on the next victim. This latest serial killer had been nicknamed "the Portland Jester" and "Portland's Twisted Masquerader". Katherine scowled at the picture and clicked the OFF button of the remote fiercly before throwing it on the bed.