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By Edwin F. Becker
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Edwin F. Becker
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Chapter OneTuesday, 9 A.M. Branson, Missouri
"911, how can I help you?"
"Please come! My daddy is hurting my mommy!"
The dispatcher knew immediately that she was speaking to a young child.
"Sweetie, are you okay?" As she probed, she located the source of the call and the address. "You stay on the phone with me. Where are you in your house?"
"I'm in my Mommy's and daddy's bedroom hiding next to the bed."
"Where are your mommy and daddy?"
"They are in the kitchen and it is quiet now, but mommy was screaming."
As the child talked, the dispatcher switched to the police line. "I have what seems to be a serious domestic disturbance at 224 Oakdale. Be aware that there is a child hiding in the bedroom, and he is describing spousal violence. 228 are you available? If so, proceed."
Officer Jack Blevins immediately turned on the siren and lit up his patrol car. He proceeded with urgency to the address. A single officer never enters a domestic call alone, so Jack immediately called for assistance.
"228 needs a back-up at 224 Oakdale."
"332 here. 228 I'll meet you at the scene."
It was an older section of town. Jack parked in the driveway behind what appeared to be the family's minivan. He did not anticipate resistance, as domestic disturbances could be resolved easily at the scene in most cases. He walked to the front door listening for the all-too-common arguing or screaming, but he heard nothing. He knocked on the door and there was no response. Still maintaining radio contact with the dispatcher, he asked, "This is 228. Is the child still on the line?"
"Yes, 228, he is still there and very much afraid."
As Officer 332 arrived, Jack flagged him down. Jack, once again, knocked solidly on the door announcing, "Branson Police!" There was still no response. His back-up was fellow officer and friend, Bob Williams, that joined him. Jack was a ten-year veteran and had mentored Bob, who was in his third year on the force. Jack tried the front door and discovered that it was unlocked. He opened the door and slowly stepped in, announcing, "Branson Police. Is there anyone here?" The entryway was in the living room and he could see two hallways. One appeared to lead to the bedrooms, the other to the kitchen area. Jack and Bob went to the bedroom hallway searching for the child. They entered what looked to be the parent's room and they could see that the phone was off the receiver. Looking around to the side of the bed, they saw a young boy that they guessed was about 6 years old. Jack motioned for the child to come to him, which the boy did, dropping the phone. Jack notified dispatch.
"This is 228, I have the child and I am taking him to my car. In case this gets loud I want him out of range." Jack took the boy's hand and guided him out the door. Meanwhile, Bob Williams waited at the front door, trying to hear any sound at all. Once outside, Jack asked, "What room are your folks in, son?"
Jack could see the boy was frightened, as his voiced wavered as he spoke.
"They were in the kitchen. Daddy was hurting mommy and she was bleeding and crying."
Jack put the child in the back seat of the car where he would be safe. Once he heard the word bleeding, it was a hint that this might not be just a 'talk down.' Leaving the boy secure and returning to the house, both officers drew their tasers. Jack, standing 6'3", was typically an intimidating sight. Once again he loudly announced, "Branson Police! Please announce your whereabouts!" There was no response. Silently, they slowly walked forward and peeked into the kitchen. Once they did, both were frozen by what they witnessed. The husband was sitting at the kitchen table, devouring his wife's arm. The body was in clear view. It appeared that bite marks covered her face and torso. Jack stepped into view and ordered, "Sir, stop what you are doing and stand up. Put your hands where I can see them!" What happened next gave Jack a chill down his spine and he heard Bob gasp, "What the fuck?"
The man was loudly chewing and tearing at the flesh, with his lower face covered and dripping with his wife's blood. He looked at Jack with wild eyes and just grinned. Jack recognized that look, as he had seen a similar look in the eyes of meth users, but this did not seem the case and he assumed this man had completely lost his mind. Other than ignoring Jack's command, the man did nothing threatening. Jack stepped forward, pointing his taser. Once more he ordered, "Sir, standup and step away from that table. Put your hands where I can see them."
Jack turned on his radio and called for help. "This is 228. Officers need assistance and a medical vehicle." Jack tried not to focus on this horrific sight, because he was fighting his gag reflex. He had witnessed many things, but never cannibalism. When he stepped forward, the man arose and Jack could see by his wild eyed look that it was not going to end well. The man was unarmed, but snarled and showed his teeth, as if he intended to make Jack his next meal. Jack announced, "Taser deployed," so that it was recorded through his headset. Jack shot the taser and released a strong jolt. It was strong enough to disable a normal man, but a man on meth or a completely insane person is another story. The man ripped the sensors off and came at Jack with full force. All Jack could say was, "Shit!"
Bob stepped forward. "I got this." He announced to dispatch, "Taser deployed!" Bob fired his taser with the same result. The man tore the sensors off and was now enraged. While Bob had deployed his taser, Jack released his baton and was skilled at using it. As he concentrated on the man coming at him, he heard Bob say, "What the hell is this guy on?" Bob also produced his steel baton and prepared for contact.
As the man rushed forward, Jack struck him on the side of his left knee, which usually causes a person to collapse on the ground. Instead, the man let out a blood curdling scream and tackled Jack, as Bob began hitting him in strategic places on his body. Jack found himself in the most unusual fight he had ever been in. The man had no desire to hit Jack-only to bite him. Jack held the man by the neck, avoiding his bite as they rolled on the floor. Bob was just over six foot and two hundred pounds, yet his strikes had little effect, and Jack became fearful that the man would actually take a bite out of his neck.
Jack yelled, "Bob, deadly force! This bastard is going for my throat! Do it!"
Bob quickly drew his 9mm and fired one shot into the temple of the man point blank. The man fell to the side, and Jack slowly lifted himself off the floor. He was covered in blood, blood from the woman victim, which was already on floor, and blood from the contact of the attacker. Although surviving with not much more than bruises, he looked like he had been in a blood bath. Bob stood back in shock. All he could say was, "I had no choice ... there was no way to stop him. I had no choice."
Bob had never killed anyone before and, in addition to the horrific sight, he was sick to his stomach. He was coping with the fact that he had just executed a man. He began gagging and ran to the sink, vomiting. Jack just stood, exhausted. "What the fuck was that? The guy was completely insane and pumped up on something? He actually ate his fucking wife!" No sooner than he said it, Bob began heaving again.
Jack switched on the radio. "Officers need assistance! Send a medical vehicle. We have a civilian down. We're going to need a medical examiner."
Bob was finished heaving and turned to Jack. "I had no choice. I hit the fucking guy with everything I had."
Jack looked about, surveying all the blood. "You saved my life. That guy was going to take out my carotid artery. I would have bled out in less than two minutes. I thought for a moment that this was it."
"What the hell did we walk into? I have never seen anything like this. The damn guy was eating his wife! I have seen dozens of meth addicts, but never anything like this. What the fuck was this guy on?"
Jack surveyed himself. "I'm covered in blood. Please run out to my squad and get my back-up uniform." He looked toward the door leading to the front yard, and shook his head. "I can't let that kid see me like this. Shit! He just became a damned orphan. Bob, please call Children's Services to pick that poor child up, too. I'm going to clean myself up in the hallway bathroom."
They could hear sirens approaching. After Bob shot a few pictures of Jack for evidence, Jack took off his utility belt and badge and walked into the bathroom, cleaning himself up in the sink and stripping himself down. He had served nearly a decade on the force and had never seen anything such as this. It was actually the first time he felt that his life was threatened. He looked down, and his hands were shaking. He knew Bob would be judged as justified, for, given the man was laying on top of him, it was the only shot Bob could take without taking a chance of shooting him, or the bullet traveling through the man and into him.
The Sgt. arrived and walked in. He stood in awe. "Jesus Christ, what the hell is this? What went on here?"
Bob looked like a mess. "Shit, Sarge, we walked into this guy actually devouring his wife. When we ordered him to stop, he attacked us. Both of our tasers had no effect. It was like he was on some super drug. We deployed our batons and it was like we were hitting him with pillows. He took Jack down and was about to take a chunk out of his neck, and I took the only safe shot I could take without hitting Jack."
The Sgt. shook his head. "If this is the resident, he is a known user and seller of methamphetamine. Where's Jack?"
"Jack was bathed in blood. He is washing down and putting on a spare uniform. He looked like he was swimming in it. He didn't want the little boy to see him that way."
Jack entered, toweling himself as best he could. "At least I don't look like I was dipped in blood. These are drug users. I'm going need a damned HIV test. Shit!"
Before they could even fully comprehend the scene, a call came over dispatch.
"All available officers, we have a violent situation at the Cineplex. Officer needs assistance."
The Sgt. winced. "What the hell is going on? This is a Tuesday in Branson! We should all be taking a nap, for God's sake! You guys got this? I'm headed for this other call."
While he drove, he could hear the dispatcher calling out, "Any available cars out there?"
Switching on his radio, he asked, "What is going on?"
The dispatcher sounded in a panic. "Sarge, we have 911 calls pouring in! It is some kind of violent outbreak. Hollister is calling us for additional backup!"
"Tell them to call the county or state!" the Sgt. responded, as he sped to the Cineplex.
The Sgt. was in for another horrific sight, as he was greeted by another officer vomiting outside of the Cineplex building. "Sarge, you're not going to believe what went on in there."
The Sgt. shook his head and said, "No, you're not going to believe the last call I just witnessed. How bad can this be?"
The officer looked up and stated, "We had to kill a man. Believe it or not, he was trying to eat people. He was like some kind of wild animal. He killed a woman in the food court and injured a tourist. He was fucking eating them! We thought he was just a meth addict on a violent spree, but this son-of-bitch was insane! It was like he was impervious to pain! We had to put him down like a rabid animal."
The Sgt. was shocked. "I just came from a house on the east side where we just addressed the same type of behavior. What the hell is going on?"
Sgt. Hartford was a twenty-year veteran and had dealt with many types of substance related calls, but this was something he had never seen before. The majority of a cop's job is substance related. If it is not drunk driving, than there are domestic disputes, disturbing the peace, nuisance, bar brawls, selling, and even manufacturing. The use of alcohol and drugs typically dominates an officer's day. This, however, went a step beyond touching on some sort of insanity. As he walked in, he could see the bodies. One of his officers walked past, holding a bandage on his shoulder.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
The officer turned to him, confused. "The bastard bit me!"
Back at the Oakdale residence, Jack and Bob waited until Child Services had taken the boy away. Dispatch was calling "228? 332? Come in!"
Jack turned on his microphone. "228, here."
"228, finally! Can you and 332 proceed to a 911 domestic only a few blocks away at 778 Hill Street? A woman is frantic."
"We're on our way."
Jack turned to Bob. "Leave your car. Let's ride together. It's only blocks from here."
Sirens blaring and lights flashing, they sped to the address, which was a trailer home on the water's edge. Immediately, they saw a shirtless man frantically reaching under the trailer and screaming violently. Jack made a sign to Bob to turn off his radio and microphone. From a distance, he could observe the man's animalistic behavior and had a very bad feeling.
"We are not following procedures and I don't want this recorded. I am not wrestling with this one."
As they pulled up near the trailer, the man never even took notice of them. They could hear a woman screaming and they quickly realized that she was actually under the trailer.
"Help me! Please help me! He's going to kill me! He killed our son! Help me!"
Hearing that, both Jack and Bob drew their service weapons. Jack announced loudly, "Branson Police! Turn around and put your hands behind your back!"
The man turned around, and Jack and Bob saw the same crazed look that they had seen on the previous call. "Oh God!" Bob gasped.
The man looked directly at them and smiled maniacally as though he was about to enjoy his next move. He began running directly toward them, half growling, half screaming. Jack stated flatly, "My turn."
With that said, he did a double tap and fired two shots, hitting the man directly in the chest. He fell at their feet. Bob ran to the trailer and began helping the woman out from under it. She was completely hysterical.
"He killed our son and he was coming for me! I tried to stop him, but he killed our son!" She was crying, screaming, and gasping for breath at the same time.
"Why? What was he on?" Bob asked. He already could guess, as she was a young woman covered in tattoos and already appeared older than her years, as the drugs had taken the toll on her teeth. The few that were left were jagged and cracked from dry mouth.
"He slammed some meth and just went fucking nuts! He killed our son!"
Jack proceeded to the trailer and entered with his gun drawn, not knowing what to expect. There, in the front room, was the body of a child. Jack guessed his age to be at about ten. There were bite marks and flesh missing from head to toe. Jack turned on his radio.
"This 228, we need an M.E. and some assistance here on Hill. We have two fatalities." This time, it was Jack that exited quickly and went behind the trailer to vomit. Soon, Bob joined him.
"Is there a child in there?"
"Yeah. A dead one. The poor kid was partially eaten." Jack shook his head. "What the fuck is happening?"
"That woman said it was in the meth. She said as soon as her husband injected it, he went completely insane. I don't think it is a coincidence. It could very well have something to do with the drug they injected."
Jack was confused. "You know how many meth users we have around here? I know shit about the drug's effect, other than it makes them stronger, hyper, and able to handle a lot more pain, but this ... shit! Is it possible?"
Although he had just called for assistance and announced a gruesome scene, dispatch was calling again. "228 and 332, I have another 911. It is at the Boardwalk, less than a mile from you."
Bob stared at Jack. "What the hell is going on? This is a damned nightmare."
Jack just looked at Bob and ordered, "Let's roll. If this is what we are facing, we are staying together and covering each other's backs."
Bob was sick to his stomach and completely bewildered. "What the hell is happening?"
What was going on actually began the month before when a well-meaning pharmacist named Earl Mason decided to dabble with an unpredictable formula. Earl had a great job as a trusted pharmacist in a small Missouri town and what no one knew except for a few was that his sideline was making methamphetamine. Earl owned land that ran deep into the deserted woods and had a laboratory that could make more methamphetamine than the local drug lord could sell. Earl was not a person one would picture dealing in illegal drugs. He was soft spoken with a kind manner that made everyone he met feel at ease. He was short, wore gold wire rimmed glasses, and impressed everyone as being trusting and caring.
Excerpted from Famished by Edwin F. Becker Copyright © 2012 by Edwin F. Becker. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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