Chapter One

118 6 13

The bodies were found in a wooded area outside of town. Two miles off the main road. The fact they were found at all was a miracle.

The Sheriff's office had been notified that a hunter had failed to return as scheduled. Volunteers had been called in to comb the wooded area where he was thought to be hunting. It only took three hours to locate him. They also found something they weren't expecting. The two murder victims.

Walter Thurman was the ME for Red Mountain County. He had been there over twenty years. In that time most of his cases had been from victims of natural causes or from drunk or impaired drivers. In those twenty years there had only been one murder. This was clearly the latter.

He identified the victims as a man and woman, both in their early twenties. He estimated they were killed nearly a week earlier. Fortunately, the cold weather had helped preserve their corpses.

"What have you found out, Walt," Bill Phillips asked as he entered the coroner's office. The Sheriff for Red Mountain County, it was his first murder investigation and he took it personal. He liked to see Red Mountain as a place where people could live happily and not have to worry about big city crime. The fact that two people were murdered on his watch had hit a nerve.

"Quite a bit, Bill," the coroner replied. "We are working on identifying them. I can tell you they were in their early twenties, possibly late teens. They were found staked out in the woods. Their hands and feet had been secured to metal stakes with clothesline cord. They were positioned close enough together that they were able to hold hands at the time they were murdered."

"Have you determined the cause of death?"

"Most certainly. Their hearts had been pierced with arrows. Death would have been mercifully instanteous. Though I doubt either would have felt anything anyway."

"Why do you say that?"

"They had been drugged. Toxicology turned up large traces of ether in their bloodstreams."

"Is it possible that could have killed them?"

"No, but clearly they were both unconscious at the end. Strangely enough, neither show any trauma to their wrists or ankles, no bruising to indicate a struggle to free themselves."

"It's possible they were unconscious when they were staked out." Walt nodded.

"Very likely. That leads to the next question. If they were unconscious, how could they be holding hands?"

"No, the next question is who killed them? You said they were shot with arrows. A hunter possibly?"

"Apparently not a good one if he had to tie down and drug his prey."

"Somebody with a Robin Hood fixation?"

"It's possible. We need to identify them to see if they had access to any sort of money. Their killer may have robbed them before murdering them. Maybe held them for ransom."

I'll look and see if any similar murders have occurred recently in the surrounding counties. I'll contact the FBI to see if they have anything in their files."

"There is one other possibility."

"What's that?"

"The killer shot his victims from close range. The arrows struck them in the heart at the exact angle, entering just below the sternum."

"Go on," Sheriff Phillips said crossing his arms as he waited to hear Thurman continue.

"In mythology, Cupid shot his victims in the heart with arrows that made his targets fall in love."

Cupid (On Hold)Where stories live. Discover now