The girl sat in the police car, staring blankly into space and shaking softly. Her lips quivered and every now and then she would whimper softly, as if she was holding back the urge to cry. Her body was covered in splotches of dirt, and the left sleeve of her shirt was ripped.
A police officer approached her. He sighed deeply before he spoke. "You're fine now Anna. He can't get you here."
She looked at him and laughed quietly. "He killed them," she whispered.
The officer nodded. "I need you to tell me what happened."
"He killed them."
He nodded again. "I know. I'm very sorry. But I need you to tell me everything that happened. I know how hard that's going to be, but I need to know. It might help us catch him. Don't you want us to catch him?"
Anna snapped to life. "Of course I want you to catch him. He fucking killed my best friends! But you won't catch him, Officer Reynolds. He's gone. Those woods go on for miles. And if you couldn't catch him in town, you sure as Hell aren't going to catch him now. He's just going to keep on killing and killing. Because that's what he does. You won't catch him. He's too smart." With that she burst into tears and began to shake uncontrollably.
Reynolds sighed again. He wasn't going to get any information out of this poor girl. At least not right now. He turned away from the car and walked back into the woods. Other cops were out there; he could see their flashlights scanning the trees and searching for someone that he knew they would never find. Not out here. He shivered and thought that maybe Anna was right. What if they never caught him? What if this psychopath just kept murdering innocent people, and there was nothing they could do? No, that was bullshit. They'd find him. The serial killers always got caught didn't they? Or was that just in the movies? He didn't know. He was a rookie cop. This was his first big case. Hell, this was probably the biggest case he'd ever be on.
Reynolds approached the dilapidated campsite where Anna and her friends had been camping. It was set back in a small clearing roughly a quarter mile into the woods. A lonely tent stood next to a fire pit where nothing but embers remained. Thin wisps of smoke rose into the starless sky. Inside the tent lying in a pool of blood were the two barely recognizable bodies of Anna's dead friends. Their faces had been slashed to pieces, and their limbs were scattered across the floor of the tent. The words "Charlie was here" were painted in blood on the inside wall directly above the bodies. Though Reynolds had already observed this scene (And many others just like it in the past three weeks.), he still had to fight back the urge to vomit. His mouth tasted like metal, and he could hear his heart pounding relentlessly in his chest. Suddenly he found it very difficult to breathe, so he ran out of the tent into the cool September air, gasping for breath.
This had to end.
Anna's friends had been the latest victims in a string of brutal murders committed by the man that the good folks of Albion, New York had dubbed "Sick Charlie." Before them, there had been nine more within the last three weeks. Each case was essentially the same. Limbless bodies strewn across the floor (and in three cases nailed to the wall), and the words "Charlie was here" written in blood somewhere near the bodies. People were terrified to the point of where many were leaving town, scared out of their minds that they might be Sick Charlie's next victim. Albion was becoming a ghost town fast, and even with an entire county's worth of police officers on the case, Sick Charlie just kept killing, and not a single living soul besides Anna had seen him. However, that didn't mean people didn't know what he looked like. At the crime scene of the third murder, a Polaroid photo had been found, presumably taken by the victim in the last few moments of his life. The picture showed a tall man dressed in a black robe and a ghostly pink smiling mask. He held a meat cleaver in one hand. The picture had been all over the news since then, along with a warning stay away from this man. As if he would allow himself to be seen by somebody other than his intended victim. And if things kept going the way they were, those who saw him wouldn't ever get a chance to run. How Anna had escaped, Reynolds did not know. But one thing was for sure. She was a very lucky girl.
Reynolds stood outside the tent for several minutes, just staring out into the woods. He was vaguely aware of someone calling his name, but the voice seemed distant, as though it were coming from a dream. He was too lost in his thoughts to really hear it.
Suddenly, Reynolds caught a glimpse of a tall silhouette through the trees, and a flash of something metallic that was reflecting off of one of the police officers' flashlight. "Hey!" he shouted, and ran off towards the figure. He pushed his way through a deep tangle of brush, scanning the woods for a sign of the mysterious figure, which of course Reynolds assumed was Charlie. God, he hoped he was right. If he could catch this psycho, then all of this madness would end and things could go back to normal. He fought his way deeper and deeper into the woods for a good ten minutes. In the distance, he could hear voices calling his name, and he could see the scattered beams of flashlights. But he ignored it all. He wouldn't leave until he found this sick fuck. Five minutes later, he paused to catch his breath. He looked around him and for the first time he realized that he had no idea where he was. Trees surrounded him as far as the eye could see, and the flashlight beams had all but disappeared. He was lost, and there was no sign of anybody else out here. Maybe he had been wrong about what he had seen. Maybe it had just been an animal.
When he suddenly heard the guttural laugh from behind him, it was already too late. Without even thinking, he grabbed his pistol and whipped around. His eyes met with the blank stare of the eyeless sockets of the pink mask that had been all over the news for two weeks. And that smile, that horrible toothless ironic smile.
That mask was the last thing he ever saw.