Her lungs filled with icy air, as she quickly became cognizant of the fact that she was no longer in the box she estimated that she had been in for six months.
Her raspy breathing indicated she had been ripped open and air was filling into her lungs through the sides of her body.
She felt warm stickiness all over her. She could not bend her head, but managed to take control of her left arm and drop it onto her chest.
That’s when she realized her guts were on the outside of her body and she wished for this to end.
Her arm was so heavy as it hit her wet chest. She barely had any control over it.
She tried to move her right arm, her dominate one. It seemed as if it was there, and she could feel something itchy brushing against it, but she couldn’t move it.
Most of the warm stickiness was oozing from her right side and she continued to gasp for air.
There were headlights on an old Ford pickup, greenish in color, though mostly riddled with rust. Two men stood beside it talking, but she couldn’t understand them.
She tried to yell for help, as she went in and out of consciousness.
She couldn’t roll over, and wasn’t sure where her legs were, if they were there at all. She managed to move her left arm again and trace with her bloody index finger ‘I love you mom’ in the sand.
It went dark, but not because the headlights from the truck were turned off, but because she was falling asleep.
The sleep felt good, as she realized she was looking down upon herself. Her body was not whole she noticed. She was missing her right arm. Yet peace washed over her and pain was no longer evident.
She didn’t want to fight anymore. She was thankful she would be in a better place, though she would miss her mom and brother immensely.
Claude Belanay crumpled a piece of paper with writing on it and threw it near the trash can. He grabbed another tablet of paper and then began to chew on his pen some more. He grinded his teeth while he chewed on the pen. The sunlight permeated his glowing tan, his cinnamon eyelashes and eyebrows that suffered a tic-like retraction, and dark auburn curly hair that cascaded around his ears and ended midway to his long slender neck.
Claude returned to the letter, posted by ‘Inmate # 6745697, address bearing ‘1943 County Road 216, Westforke, Virginia. The envelope was old and crumpled, stained and marred by unknown substances. Doodle writings and strange lettering encapsulated the icky envelope as well.
Claude opened the envelope and read the letter softly to himself, his orange tabby staring inquisitively at him from the glass panes bearing heavenly light.
You requested more information about Jeanne, but I am afraid I can’t discuss this now, as the Devil would punish me more than I could bear presently. I will tell you that she was one of my favorites, for her breasts were firm and ebullient. I can not tell you how much I enjoyed watching her squirm for so many months as I held her in my storage room. I knew she wanted me so badly, and couldn’t wait to be freed so she could announce to the world her dying love for me and how as lovers we would be rid of the world’s judgment against our sensual affairs. I enjoyed every kiss, every embrace, and every warm night with her.
She didn’t want to be in the world, of the world, tainted by such petty things in the world, so I delighted in keeping her safe in that storage room, securely fastened in that box, to be protected against those who would torment us because we had a love they did not understand…’
Claude became sickened by Vidar’s portrayal of love towards one of his 12 victims. Jeanne was one of the victims that were never found. He claimed guilt for her disappearance, but never indicated what part he had in it and where she could be found.
Claude looked down at his desk his eyes fixed on a photograph of his fellow officers and him, giving himself a much needed break from Vidar’s letter, and reflected upon a happier time when he was a part of the police department, a well-loved detective. His 30 years on the force was so invigorating and breathed life into him, a poor child from South Los Angeles who had little education until he compensated for it in college.
He grimaced at all of the years he spent in college making up courses he lost in high school, dropping out so he could financially support his mom and two younger brothers. Claude didn’t want a wife, he just wanted to make his family proud and achieve what no one else received in his family- a college degree.
He honestly thought he would be able to do everything he ever wanted. Settling down in Virginia, where his grandparents had grown up and eventually passed away at, he made a fairly nice life for himself. Sure, he was lonely, and often drank alone, watching old TV reruns. But, it brought ample comedic fodder for his cohorts he worked alongside with.
Claude still had some rambling notes from the case that went cold 15 years ago. Claude remembered being newly assigned to the homicide division, a coveted promotion many law enforcement officers hadn’t achieved so quickly in their tenure at the department.
The case that made history and cause for his undoing in the force was none other than that of Vidar Corvidus. He had been in foster care most of his life, and was ready to change everything about himself once he aged out of the state system. He weaved an elaborate plan to con people out of thousands of dollars, often stealing from them after doing home renovations. Those fairly petty crimes led to a total of six years in prison.
He jumped state to state, committing small thefts and writing hot checks. At the time, the national database system wasn’t sophisticated enough to track him down and link all of the crimes together. He left many law enforcement officers baffled in his wake.
That landed him in prison for a mere two years for aggravated assault, but was released in August of 1989 on the notion that he would be a paid informant for the FBI who were on the manhunt for a murder-for-hire scheme in the Southeast part of the United States. He was minimally supervised once out. The FBI firmly believed Vidar had everything they needed to know about the scheme and had all of the connections to work “undercover” alongside them in their sting operation.
Vidar quickly met up with a former cell mate’s 26 year old girlfriend, Tabetha Faison, who was involved in a drug ring manufacturing and selling methamphetamines within a month of his prison release. The cell mate was none other than Rendal Regan, a notorious drug lord for the “Cain Psychos” named after the bloodbath that they were rumored to have committed in a small town by the same name in the Florida area. Only few got caught and sent to prison for the crimes.
During the same year- 1989, another young lady, Annie Abbott, only 22 years old and going to college in Virginia, went missing. She was an avid drug user, but getting treatment to kick her habit. Investigators had no leads and seemed uninterested in pursuing the case because she wasn’t a minor and due to her lifestyle, it was thought or believed that she simply ran away and didn’t want anything to do with her parents again.
Mary Carnadine had met a seemingly wonderful man outside Westforke, Virginia is a bedroom community called Olde Woodborough. After her divorce 10 years prior, she brought home Fabian Hades to her teenage daughter Ravenna. Mary and Fabian married after a short courtship of four months in June 1990.
Though they hadn’t known each other long, Mary felt she could trust Fabian. Her trust grew after a pivotal incident with her daughter. She suspected a few weeks after her nuptials that her daughter’s drug use returned after rehab and flew into a rage after finding drugs in her school bag. Ravenna attested that the drugs weren’t hers, that she wanted to complete her senior year successfully as she had promised her mother. But, Mary didn’t believe her. Ravenna left home late that night, presumed by her mother to be going to a friend’s house.
When Ravenna didn’t return home in a couple of days, Mary grew worried. She reported her missing to the police, but the police said there was nothing that they could do; she was already 18, making her an adult capable of making her own decisions.
Fabian told Mary he had once been a detective and many law enforcement connections. He stated he could help her find Ravenna. Eager to bequeath his help, Fabian did find out that Ravenna had returned home a week after her disappearance and had even wrote an email from a friend’s house to Mary. Mary never saw the email, but believed Fabian when he said that it would have upset her more because Ravenna had rambled on and on about being in trouble with some hot checks and needing money. Fabian assured Mary he gave Ravenna the money she asked for and understood she would be home in about a month.
Meanwhile, in another part of Virginia, Annie Abbott’s father Gene had put a missing person’s ad on billboards and in newspapers, hoping that would refresh the public’s interest or memories about his daughter’s disappearance nearly two years ago. She was last seen at the strip club she had danced at, which broke Gene’s heart.
It happened by coincidence that Ravenna’s friend Courtney ran across the ad and saw that Annie had been last seen with a man whose composite drawing looked a lot like Fabian. However, the man was known by “Cesaer”, someone known to hang around young women at the Virginia college and sell them drugs. Courtney brought her suspicions to Mary, who instantly recognized the drawing and confirmed it was indeed the man she knew as Fabian.
Mary confided in Hector, her ex-husband, about what was going on. She feared now that Fabian had something to do with their daughter’s disappearance. Until then, Hector and Mary thought she ran away and had started a new life without the involvement of her family.
Hector brought the circumstantial evidence to the police, but they were uninterested in the case, sighting that many young ladies go missing. They callously chocked it up to another rebellious young girl who didn’t want anything to do with their parents once they left the nest. Hector was shocked and dismayed.
Relentlessly, Hector met up with Gene Abbot to play detective on their own accord. They agreed that the same con artist had duped both of their families though they didn’t have hard evidence, only a hunch, and were able to trace cell phone records and credit cards to similar places in Colorado. What made these findings more peculiar was the fact that Annie had been planning to go to Canada during her winter break at college. She had obviously not gone to Canada as she had indicated to her parents. Likewise, Ravenna wouldn’t have used her bank card to have purchase alcohol and other items akin to her spending habits.
When these facts had been unearthed, Gene and Hector once again returned to the police begging for answers and the cases to be filed. This time, the demands from two worried fathers were granted.
Mary was grateful for the police’s help. She was still married to Fabian, though he was gone at long stretches of time due to ‘contract work out of state’ he claimed. Their relationship had deteriorated quite considerably over the past three years, and they existed almost as if they were legally separated. Mary had not alerted Fabian to what she suspected about him. She realized now that everything that Fabian had told her was a lie, including his name.
Though nothing could be made about Fabian’s whereabouts in either missing girl’s case, and the police were unsure if they even had a case in either incident, the police did have a warrant for Fabian’s arrest on fraud, burglary and hot checks. If convicted, he would likely receive four years in prison.
Two months later, ironically in Colorado, Fabian was nabbed and transported to Virginia where most of his charges originated and where he was from. Once Virginia was through with him, he’d likely be extradited to New Hampshire, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Colorado for the lesser crimes he was charged with there.
As the fraud, burglary, and hot checks cases evolved with Fabian, so did the missing persons cases. It was confirmed that the names Fabian Hades and Cesaer were not his birth or legal names, though he used them often along with several other aliases. His real name was Vidar Corvidus. Oddly enough, they were names used in a crime novel series that was gaining notoriety in the publishing world, but hadn’t struck fame yet. The twist and turns of these cases grew even stranger when it was discovered that the author of these crime novels were none other than the highly decorated detective Claude Belanay of Lower Birchvale, Virginia.
It had been a sideline dream for Claude to branch out with his writing hobby when he retired after 35 years with the department. Five years out, he was already noticing he was gaining considerable footing in the publishing world of writing. He hadn’t expected to see that until after retirement when he could give more time to it.
Until now, Claude had not been an active character in the missing person’s cases. He had heard of it, and had been debriefed about it because it involved a neighboring area in Virginia. But, another department had the reigns of control thus far. Then, Claude the call to help work the cases because the person of interest, not yet considered a suspect, seemed to be copycatting Claude’s literary talents in his novels. Claude was eager to be a part of this cause, as he had yet gained much experience yet as a detective- five years in a small town had yielded only two-bit cases that didn’t challenge his Type A personality.
The first thing that Claude was able to ascertain was the fact that the mystery bank/credit card of Ravenna had landed in the hands of a prostitute in Los Angeles. Claude’s childhood and young adulthood ties in that area gave him ample connections and ease to talk to the locals there. The southern drawl and lackadaisical nature that those in Virginia possessed would not have been favored by the fast-paced lifestyle on the west coast. The prostitute stated that one of her johns had given her the card in exchange for sexual favors. The john had connections to the “Cain Psychos”, which Vidar Corvidus had indirect ties to.
Another area of similarity that led back to Vidar was the fact that he had a relationship with each missing girl. With Annie, Vidar had been a regular at the strip club she danced at. Annie was to leave work that night and get on the red-eye to Canada to meet up and vacation with two of her college roommates. That was proven to have never happened of course.
With Ravenna, she was the step-daughter of Vidar, or Fabian, as they knew him. It was believed that he planted the drugs in Ravenna’s school bag, knowing that would put a wedge between mother and daughter. With Ravenna gone, Vidar would selfishly have the undivided attention of Mary.
It was unknown if either girl was still alive. It was now November of 1991, three years after Annie had last been spotted, and almost two years since Ravenna had been seen alive.
With Vidar behind bars in Virginia, detectives thought they had time on their side to work the case. However, that would not be the case.
A cell mate of Vidar tipped off one of the officers, which reached the detectives’ ears, about some one the things that Vidar was bragging about behind bars. Vidar loved attention, and was quite narcissistic. That would be his great undoing. The tip was that Vidar had slashed up two young women in the remote Colorado hills, one in late 1989 and the other in July of 1990. Before they took their last breathes, he brutally raped them, and even let his nephew join in on the sick festivities. One was purportedly buried near Aspen and the other in Rangely.
Detectives lurched at the news that perhaps the families of Abbot and Carnadine would finally have some answers as to the whereabouts of their missing daughters. Vidar was swiftly taken from his prison cell and flown to the Colorado hills to pinpoint where these girls bodies could be found. Though Vidar incessantly denied having anything to do with their disappearance or demise, he did say that as a hit man, he did have connections to those who would be responsible for whatever happened to the girls. Vidar continued to talk in code the whole way to Colorado, trying to impress law enforcement officials with his privileged knowledge of murder-for-hire schemes, the “Cain Psychos”, and drug rings in East and Southeast United States. The officials weren’t the least impressed. However, they had to play along with his game in order to find the missing girls.
As Vidar and the officials scaled down many treacherous mountainsides, Vidar carefully pointed out where each of the two girls could be found. He was cold, calculating, and very obsessive about his well-laid plans to conceal the bodies. Each girl had a couple of items near her bones that identified who she was, including Ravenna’s diabetic ID bracelet.
Vidar was routinely asked about Tabetha Faison, who had disappeared 9 months prior to Annie Abbot. Vidar seemed more disturbed about the questioning of her disappearance, as he inexplicably began to chant, hum, and speak in unintelligent codes. Vidar was not known to have a history of schizophrenia, and actually had a very high IQ. Law enforcement knew he was the last to be seen with Tabetha, and there was a strong suggestion or documentation that he had had a short relationship with the girl. It was theorized that Vidar killed Tabetha as a favor to Rendal Regan, his former cell mate. Tabetha knew too much about the “Cain Psychos” and was planning on testifying against Rendal in court.
With two girls bodies found, the detectives had enough to charge Vidar with second degree murder, a plea bargain they made with him in exchange for leading officials to the girls’ bodies. Vidar was sentenced to 50 years in prison in conjunction with his other charges. Tabetha was never found. Vidar has been linked to nine other girls’ disappearance, as strong evidence indicated. Vidar has never been charged with those cases, and they still remain open and active.
Claude was thrilled to have aided in the closure for a couple of the families, though he was disturbed that 10 other girls would not be brought home to their families and given appropriate eternal rest. It was one of his crowning achievements in his career.
Claude broke his trance with the photograph of his officer buddies and him beaming in navy blue. Then, he opened a small drawer to the right in his oak desk. He pulled out a dusty box and wiped the dirt from it. Inside carried the reason for his undoing with the department, and why he never received his retirement that he was so close to getting. It was the reason why he had to turn in his badge and his gun, a disgrace to all who knew him. It was the main reason why no one from the department would return his calls, and treated him with reckless abandonment. It was a life he still yearned to be a part of, but now writing books was all he could do.
Dog tags bearing his nephew’s name, Joakim Claussen were gingerly held by Claude. Below the name were his US Marine ID number, blood type, social security number, and religious preference.
Joakim’s dog tags had been found next to the body of Annie Abbot, indicating his nephew was one of the men that had been possibly helping Vidar dump the bodies. The dog tags had likely been ripped off his neck when Annie struggled for her life; Joakim likely panicked and forgot to retrieve them. Joakim, not having a criminal record whatsoever, had likely met Vidar through drug dealings. Claude hadn’t seen Joakim since he had returned from the services in 1989 but he knew before he disappeared off the radar that he was experimenting with cocaine. Claude didn’t want his beloved nephew that was a national hero have his reputation lambasted because of a few bad decisions with drugs and for whom he hung out with. He knew that his nephew wasn’t a killer, just a war vet with a budding drug addiction.
However he tried to save Joakim’s reputation, it would prove to not be enough. DNA testing was now sophisticated enough to identify persons involved in crime scenes. A minute amount of Joakim’s DNA was found near Annie’s body which occurred when she ripped the dog tags off of his neck. Vidar had definitely had murdered the women on his own and had been the mastermind behind the entire crimes. Joakim had only helped dumped Annie’s body in exchange for some cocaine, a very stupid decision on his part.
Joakim received 20 years in prison for being an accessory to the murder of Annie Abbot. He was taken into custody by the military police, but then housed by a regular prison.
When it was later discovered that evidence had been missing from the crime scene and that the Joakim’s blood by Annie’s body didn’t correlate with the crime scene evidence, Claude was taken in for questioning. He had been the second person to arrive at the scene. Claude was given community supervision for 10 years and had to relinquish his badge and gun, a act of humility that devastated Claude. He was no longer able to find ordinary means of supporting himself as his reputation was tarnished and blacklisted. He had to rely solely on writing his books.