The Devil In Disguise
By Maheen Zafar, Year 9, The Netherhall School

One night, as the sky grew windier, the detective hurried through the rain-swept streets of New York. Water droplets bounced off the buildings, only to land in puddles on the pavements. The honking of cars could be heard like a distant rumble across the street. The detective glanced behind herself quickly; her footsteps matched the fast pace at which her heart was beating. She furrowed her eyebrows in desperation and blew out through her mouth, as if to relieve the tension. Clad in a trench coat, she blended well into the busy streets of Times Square. 

She took a turn into a coffee shop. As she waited for her order, she had a distinct feeling that she was being watched. After exiting the shop, she began assessing all the information she already had about the killer. Her eyes crinkled as she calculated each piece of evidence in her head. She knew for a fact that his next victim was to be murdered in Times Square.

Again, the feeling of being watched returned and she cursed herself for not bringing backup. The murderer had a distinct MO (mode of operation) and, as horrifying as this case was, she was thrilled to have been chosen solve it. Her boss, Charles Arnold, had been like a father figure to her for years; she didn’t know where she would be without him.

Her heart pumped at an alarming pace — she would seek justice for all those girls who had been murdered in the most gruesome manner. The sky darkened, as if sensing her dampening mood. To the killer, this was a game of chess; he left enough clues for her to figure out his next move, but by the time she had arrived there, his sinful deed would have already been done. To call him the devil would be an understatement. He loved the risk, knowing that he could be caught, but always dodging the bullet. 

Putting aside her anger, she controlled her emotions and breathed in and out in a therapeutic way. A dark figure flickered before her and, although the streets were packed, her eyes caught sight of it. Surging forward, she pushed herself through the crowd, not caring about the mumble of disapproval she received. Within minutes, she found herself in an alleyway, and the stench of overflowing bins gushed at her.

A gasp broke from her, as she saw a dead body, displayed in the most horrible of ways. She edged forward, her mind flashing as fast as lightning. The murderer’s MO was distinctly familiar, and her heart raced as she realised this was his latest victim. Her hand reached into her pocket to call for backup, but a voice stopped her.

“I never thought you’d make it this far,” he said. 

She turned around. Realisation flooded through her mind in horror. How could she have missed this? For there, standing in front of her, in all his horrific glory, was Charles Arnold himself. The devil had shown his face…