James flipped over in bed, being awoken by a ringing phone, an anger rising in him like a hunger. The voice on the other side settled that hunger.
James was still waking up when he arrived at the crime scene. He wrung his hands as he surveyed the image before him. His black skin rough with callouses. His left hand slightly gimp, the flesh pulled tight and dry. The jerky flesh of his left hand the result of a fire when he was younger. He remembered his mother saying afterwards in the hospital, the world is a sea of pain.
That could be said for what he was looking at.
“Is it definitely our man?” James asked as Connor approached. A heavy man and an honest racist, James and Connor got along.
“Has to be. The poor woman was skinned, and the skin is nowhere to be found so we can only assume it was taken. You don’t seem like you buy it. Something up?”
“Profiling problems, something is off with this guy. Most serial killers collect specific parts for reasons. Eyes, organs, and skin, I’m just trying to put it together.”
“Well, nothin’ is putting her together.” James didn’t acknowledge the humor. “Well I’ll send it to the boys in the lab, make sure Dr. Shen personally has a look, that dink knows his bodies.”
“Keep me posted on anything will ya’?”
James found himself in his office early that day. His office a melting pot of education of his work, Holms just one of the many names present. Despite it still being light outside, he sat in the dark with his single desk lamp and computer being his only light source. There came a rapping at his door.
“Still empathizing with the killer?” A tall lanky man stood in the doorway, silhouetted by the hallway lights. James did not need to hear the voice or see the face to know it was Thomas.
Coming in uninvited he was dressed in his usual manner. Well-tailored coat and pants, at least of moderate worth. Yet skipping on the finer details, a cheap thin white shirt, almost transparent was haphazardly tucked into his waist line where a cheap black belt was used. It was a sore to see that the belt wasn’t even a dress belt, but simply a plain black belt.
“I would say you’re mistaking understanding for empathy.”
“All the understanding hasn’t even given a lead yet.”
“Did you come in here for something? Or simply to rattle my cage?”
“I didn’t know it was so easy to rattle you.” A rat smirk slinked across Thomas’s face as he turned to leave James’ office. “By the way, that reporter from the Insight was asking about you. I would say he will be dropping by to give you a visit.”
James leaned back in his chair. It was true what he had told Thomas though, and he had not even realized the profound fact he stated. It is too easy to mistake empathy for understanding. Being in a society where people seek empathy so readily. Perhaps it was understanding the difference which threw men into manhood or casted them to be mice. It’s a hard truth to know someone can understand you without liking you. But men are cursed with only being able to learn so much and live.
James looked at his desk, an organized chaos. He would have to deal with the reporter.