Death Marks: Chapter 8

Uncompromising, gritty, thrilling, and not for the faint hearted! British detectives suspect a serial killer is on the loose. With the support of American profiler Dr Tessa Davies, they soon realize that this could be the work of a druidic sect.

Please enjoy another chapter of my dark crime novel, Death Marks . For now, I will post a chapter every Monday and Thursday.

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Death Marks

Chapter 8

‘Now, blood types. David Baker’s is type ‘0’, and the female is type ‘AB.’ Both were in good health, judging from the organs. The stomach contents revealed they ingested salmon, potatoes, and a salad of lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and so on. Here’s the strange bit. The report says both victims ingested a herb known as Salvia Divinorum; it’s referred to as Diviner’s or Seer’s Sage. It is a hallucinatory drug, a psychoactive plant. To be precise, it’s a potent κ-opioid and D2 receptor agonist with low toxicity and low addictive potential.

Dove raised her pen. ‘I didn’t know sage was a drug.’

‘This is a cousin of the herb, can grow to a meter in height. The information I’ve gathered originated in a cloud forest in Sierra Mazateca de Oaxaca, in Mexico, now it’s worldwide.  Here’s the twist, the unsubs have added a cocktail of agents, making it highly toxic and addictive. Therefore, it’s a bloody dangerous mix and can produce powerful visions and hallucinations.’

Dove felt her stomach churn. ‘Christ. I wonder if they took it willingly.’

Scratching his head, Jack said, ‘it produces hallucinations, but why give it to the victims? I would have thought the perps would be more likely to take it. The crimes seem to fit the drug. Hallucinations, delusions. Strange.’

Dove said, ‘they must have an expert chemist to be able to do the mix.’

Jack muttered, ‘so far, we have a surgeon and a chemist.’

Redd raised his eyebrows. ‘Could be your local pharmacist.’

Dove read over her notes so far. ‘Can anyone grow this? Is it like cannabis?’

‘It reproduces vegetatively, meaning it will root where it bends over and meets the ground, same as the yew trees. Easy then to get cuttings and grow it. It rarely produces seeds.’

Redd nodded. ‘It’s all over the net – plants, seeds, joint rolls – very cheap too.’

‘Surely it’s against the law if it’s a psychoactive drug?’

Redd said, ‘it seems there were some moves towards the legislation of the drug. In 2005 in an Early Day Motion, an MP moved to ban Salvia Divinorum. However, it only received eleven signatures. Somebody raised in October 2008. That had 18 signatures. It seems an MP also wrote to the Home Secretary at the time. Subsequently, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs was asked to look into the matter. It seems the drug is in line with other k-opioid agonists and has therapeutic potential and can aid in cocaine addiction.’

Dove raised her head from her writing. ‘So, it’s controversial then? I would have thought with it being non-addictive, it would not ring the alarm bells.’

Redd nodded. ‘I got this information from HOLMES 2; one director of a national health screening program said it could be useful in a whole range of diseases, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, depression, AIDS and HIV.’

Leaning back in the recliner, Jack said, ‘makes you wonder what the perps were up to. Why drug them? Fuck it, doesn’t make sense.’

Redd shook his head. ‘We’ve got to comb the websites, get lists of customers and their addresses.’

Dove frowned. ‘Boss, there’ll be hundreds, thousands.’

‘Exactly, get the teams on it. Get DS Williams and Papworth; they’re the computer bugs.

Jack said, ‘now, the bones. Why include them in the crime scene? They’re definitely over two hundred years, possibly older, male and female.’

Dove wrinkled her forehead. ‘I’ll get Bessie Owen and Mack O’Connell on that. I think it would be best to concentrate on the older churches in the district.’

Jack said. ‘I can’t understand why they bleached them. Leaving an old, rough parchment scroll points to a cult.’

Redd nodded. ‘Generally, killers don’t leave a specific note.’

‘Only when they’re escalating, then they do.’ Jack grimaced. ‘Changing the subject, have you assigned a profiler yet?’

‘Dr. Timmins was supposed to take it on, but he’s undergoing tests at the hospital, possible spleen trouble. I tried the one at Worthing, but she’s completely booked up. Debbie did recommend a profiler who’s breaking new ground. She’s been away for a few days, but she should be back now. It seems she’s got a new approach to profiling, helped out on a couple of cases with the FBI.’

‘And that is?’

‘Not sure. Something about a symbolic perspective, but as long as it works!

‘So have you got her number? I’ll get on to it straightaway.’ Jack rose from the recliner. ‘Yeah, I’ll write it down for you. Have` you got a pen and paper?’

Redd pushed over his pen and handed him a notepad.

‘Thanks.’ On scribbling down the name and number, Jack rose to his feet. ‘I’d better be off then. See you.’

Redd nodded as he buzzed Michelle. ‘Would you get hold of a Dr. Davies? She’s on this number.’ He spelled it out. ‘She won’t know me, so just give her my name and rank and tell her it’s urgent; I speak with her. Then put her through to me. If she’s not there, leave a message explaining I need to speak to her urgently.’ Okay?’

‘Yes, sir, I’m on it.’

As he waited, he realized he was gritting his teeth. The case was a mess; he just hoped the profiler could make sense of it. He sighed with relief as he heard a soft voice with an American accent. ‘Hi there, Dr. Davies, you wanted to speak to me?’ 

‘Hello, Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Redd here, Brighton Police Headquarters, our Counselor Ms. Debbie Stamp recommended you.’

‘Ah yes, I’ve just returned from Warwick. Debbie did phone me about you some days ago. I was going to contact you.  How can I help?’

‘Better if I explain in person, it’s complicated. Could we meet up?’

‘Yes, of course, when’s convenient for you?’

‘How about tomorrow morning?’

‘Ten-thirty tomorrow morning be okay?’

 ‘Fine. I’ll need your address.’

It’s in the Downs, Tatbourne, Hyde Cottage, Meads Way. You can’t miss it; it’s the only cottage down the lane – fields either side.’

‘I’ll find it with the GPS.’


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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © Katy Walters

All rights reserved

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