Story Excerpt
Kyle's Return

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Detective Anthony Santano listened as the first officer on scene ran the details down to him. There was a Caucasian male, about twenty-one years old, red hair, no distinguishing marks except for a strawberry birthmark on the side of his neck resembling a bird. The victim had been stabbed repeatedly in his chest and arms and bled out.

Tony walked over to the dumpster and crouched down, studying the victim. His eyes skimmed over the bloody shirt with multiple rips from the knife inflictions. He used a pen from inside his jacket pocket to press the fingers of one hand back, noticing defensive wounds on the victim’s palms. The kid had fought like hell to survive.

Tony shook his head at the senseless killing. This guy had so much life left to live. He stood, looking around the area for clues. There was a backpack close by, a ratty looking thing. Tony grabbed a pair of gloves from one of the officers on the scene and snapped them on.

He grabbed the backpack and opened it. There wasn’t much in there. Tony dug deeper and found a worn, well-used brown wallet. He set the bag on the ground and opened the billfold. There were some receipts, three one-dollar bills and a state ID card. Tony pulled the ID card out, studying it.

Kyle Talon. The address didn’t put him far from here, but it was the birthday that made Tony curse. It was the guy's his twenty-first birthday. It sucked to be murdered on your birthday. Kyle was too young to have his life snuffed out.


“Problem detective?” one of the officers asked.

Tony shook his head, feeling a tightening in his chest as he studied the picture of a very gorgeous young man. “Today was his twenty first birthday."

The officer tsked as he walked over to Tony. “That’s what happens when you live in this neighborhood. Life ain’t easy and some don’t make it. But it does suck to die on your birthday.”

Wasn’t that the truth? Tony had seen horrors in his time. But what was the worst horror of all was seeing the young die. Tony was about to hand the wallet and ID over when something clicked in his head.

He studied the face of the man on the card, noticing that he had died on his twenty-first birthday. He couldn’t help but think of the case he could never close. Collin Phoenix had died on his twenty-first birthday and then three days later, walked right out of the morgue.

Tony noticed the red hair, just like Collin’s and the small, slim build, just like Collin’s. He wondered for a brief moment if he weren’t just reading too much into this. The guy lying there dead even had the same strawberry patch that was in the shape of a bird…just like Collin’s.

This made Tony glance around, studying the onlookers, and even the officers. He wasn’t too sure what to expect, but he didn’t see any malicious looking thugs hanging around. He finally handed over the evidence and then studied the body once more before heading to his car.

There was one thing he did know for sure. Tony was going to be morgue sitting for the next three days. He had to know if what he was thinking was truth or a fucking fantasy.

* * * *

Three days later, Tony waited until he saw the two morgue worker leave after the phone call Tony had placed saying that the medical examiner's wife was at the hospital. It was a low move, but Tony needed to get into the morgue without witnesses.

He stole along the hallway, watching over his shoulder as he pushed the doors open. He never did like this place. It always gave him the creeps. Tony had seen his fare share of dead bodies in his line of work, but somehow it was different here in the morgue. They seemed creepier here.

He glanced around one last time before crossing the room to the cold storage unit. Pulling the door open, he walked inside the freezing cold room. God, this was nerve racking. He knew what was going to happen, but it was still weird as fuck.

Tony searched the labels on each silver colored door until he found the one he was looking for. He opened the small door and pulled the drawer out that had Kyle Talon lain out on it then pulled the sheet back. His stomach rolled at all the knife wounds scattered about the young man’s body. He couldn’t understand how anyone could do that to another human—


Tony jumped back when Kyle’s eyes suddenly popped open, blinking rapidly as he stared up at the ceiling. Damn, his heart was beating out of control. This was some strange ass voodoo shit right here.

“Oh god!” Kyle shouted as began to thrash around. “Oh fucking hell.”

Tony hesitated for a moment and then closed the distance, grabbing onto Kyle. “Keep quiet before everyone knows you’re not dead!”

“You did this to me! Get off of me!” Kyle rolled off the slab and onto the floor with a thud. He winced and then pushed to his feet, swaying as he backed away from Tony. “What did you do to me? How? How can I be alive?”