Michael Tabman

Midnight Sin

Chapter 1

Crisp winter air was no match for the coldness of his conscience. Fiery thoughts fueled his rapidly pumping heart. Boiling blood excited him so much that he subconsciously grabbed himself just to feel the throbbing. Licking his lips, he anticipated the pain and humiliation he was about to thrust upon her. Oh, that tasted so good.
Hoping she would pick up her pace and turn along the path’s bend to the south, he waited in the brush counting her steps and rubbing his hands together. When she made the turn, he would be behind her. She would never see him coming. It was dark. His clothes were as dark as his heart.
His plans were clear and deliberate: mentally mapping out every move. He was confident. Why shouldn’t he be? He had done this before. And he would do it again. Who would stop him? The black wool scarf wrapped around his face muffled the condensation of his breath and covered his evil visage peeking out from behind the brush: a face that she would never see, yet never forget. Any other time, she wouldn’t give him a second look. No girl did.
Raising her right wrist to look at her watch, Robin smirked as she realized that the sun had set and it was too dark to see. Running this late in the evening was not her usual routine. Guessing that her pace was a little behind her regular time, she decided to take longer strides. Her thin but firm legs tightly wrapped by the navy blue, sleek running suit, with pink stripes down the side, kept their cadence as she sidestepped patches of ice.

Brian did not want her to run that late in the evening, afraid she would get home late, then shower and be too tired for a little “don’t forget me” sex. Catching an early flight in the morning for a business trip, Robin thought she may not have a chance to run again in the next few days. Not being a runner, Brian did not understand how important it was for her to stay on schedule.
Only about another half mile to go, she thought to herself. Then I can shower and hit the sack. And then, maybe I’ll give him that trip down south he’s been bugging me about; after all, he won’t have anything for a few days, I hope. Yes, give him something to remember me by while I’m away. Men are so easy.
Just ahead, in about 20 yards, the jogging path turned to the east and in half a mile, it would end at the Meadow Woods Park parking lot. There, the darkness of the tree lined path would light up from the glow of the nearby Westland Park High School football field. Cheers and jeers were heard from the field where the home team was playing for the championship against their old rival, Bayview High, a school that lay just on the other side of Kansas City.
The break in the tree line let her know that she was in the final stretch of her run. Her warmly clothed body was starting to perspire despite the cold. She wiped her gloved hand across her running nose. And then, she felt a thud.
What happened? Did I slip? I'm off my feet, flying into the brush. I can't speak. I can't see! Bright, flashing lights. Was that a smash across the back of my head? I think I'm still alive. Or am I dreaming? A figure, a blur. Is it a person? I'm cold, so very cold. I feel the wind and chill. No, no, this can't be. I'm trying to scream, but when I open my mouth, no sounds emerge. Weight upon my body. I'm trapped. I hear his breath. Oh my god, it's happening.
What time is it? Am I still alive? Robin woke from her stupor, unaware of her surroundings. Feeling pain on her raw skin, there was also a sense of numbness over her entire body and mind. Tripping over her pants wrapped around her ankles, she started to walk, and walked right out of them.
Standing by the entrance of the field to keep out rowdy high school students, the off-duty, uniformed cops hired for security had their eyes trained on the football game. As the second quarter started, the excited, almost maniacal pointing of some saxophone brandishing band member alerted the cops to turn around. And when they did, they froze. Was this a joke? Was this a high school prank? The two veteran cops watched a young woman stumble towards them, naked from the waist down, wearing one running shoe. A thin line of blood on her neck, a bruised eye, she stared at them blankly. No words were spoken; she fell to the ground.
Flashlights, nightsticks and handcuffs jiggling off their belts, the two speechless cops ran to her. "What happened? Who are you?" Though they had a good idea of what had happened, they asked questions she could not answer, as some degenerate snuck through the brush of Meadow Woods Park on his way home, fully satisfied, at least for tonight. Indiscernible noise bounced around inside her head as cops barked questions at her. Unable to comprehend, unable to talk and completely enervated, she lay motionless, unaware of the circus environment surrounding her.
Students and over exuberant parents wearing high school sweatshirts stumbled over each other as a crowd began to form around this bizarre scene. Frenzied teenage boys, with nose rings, tattoos and other affectations of those who could not be on the football team, whipped out their cell phones and started snapping pictures, ready to be uploaded to the Internet for the enjoyment of twisted minds. No understanding of what they were witnessing, no clue to another’s suffering, just pubescent laughing and horseplay.
The cops radioed in for an ambulance and I heard the radio traffic, but was not sure what was going on. In a nearby sector, I was half asleep, still not used to working all night, as we patrolled the area with no particular sense of purpose.
“Ya hear that, Hollings?” Mark Thompson, my training officer, asked me.
Not fully engaged mentally, I did not realize he was talking to me.
“Gary, wake up. I’m talking to you, rookie.”
“I’m up. I hear you.”
“No, you’re asleep with your eyes open. Did you hear that last call? It sounds like some babe got raped in Meadow Woods Park.”
“Are we responding?”
“Nah, plenty of units already there. They don’t need us. What the fuck was this girl doing out at night by herself in the park? Probably out looking to get a little strange dick anyway.”
“Yeah, Mark, I’m sure that’s exactly what she was doing.”
With that kind of conversation, I would rather have been sleeping.
Twenty-four year old Jason Brooks, stopping at the game on his way back from his shift at a mall, made his way through the crowd, ripped off his official security guard jacket and covered her. “How about some decency?” he yelled at the crowd. The young men groaned in disapproval. Flashing red lights signaled the arrival of the ambulance. She was gone and the football game went on.
Two miles away, as Robin sobbed in pain and discomfort, awaking from her sedative induced sleep, the crowd collectively moaned in disappointment as the Westland Park quarterback got sacked and his fumble was run in for a touchdown with 20 seconds on the clock. Covered in two layers of white blankets, she heard the beeps and hums and sensed the sterile environment of a hospital room. It was not just any hospital room — it was one reserved for victims of rape. To the right she saw the detectives: the man in a plaid sports jacket, the woman in a smart black pants suit, badges dangling from their breast pockets, and writing pads in hand. The woman had her back to Robin, while talking on her cell phone.
Glancing to the left, Robin saw Brian. She stared, looking for a sign. The sign was there. No supportive smile. No caring touch of her hand. Just a coldness in his eye. She knew what that all meant. The flashbacks of what had happened came back at her like left jabs.
“Brian, I’m sorry. I know you told me not to go out.” Robin did not know whether to feel guilty for not following sound advice or allow herself to feel her own pain.
“Yeah, I know, Robin, but as usual you didn’t listen to me.”
“I’m sorry,” she struggled to cry out those words.
“It doesn’t matter now. How are you feeling?” Brian asked with transparent disdain.
“Feeling? I feel like a dirty, disgusting crack whore. How do you think I feel?” Robin strained to speak without breaking down, as she subconsciously rubbed her fingers along the lumpy, dark bruise above her eye.
“Hey look, Robin, if you had just…”
The two detectives, who were on the other side of the room, quickly walked over and positioned themselves in between Brian and Robin as he started to walk towards her.
They had seen this before and knew where it was heading. With a gentle yet persuasive hand on the shoulder, the male detective escorted Brian out of the room.
“Sir, I mean no disrespect, and I know what you are going through, but you think you can cut her a little slack — show a little support?” Detective Frank Patelli said gently to Brian.
“,coming from a guy like you, that’s easy to say” was Brian’s response.
“What does that mean?"
“Look,” as Brian held up his cell phone. “Look, there’s already pictures being texted of her lying there with her pussy hanging out for everyone to see.”
“Sir, I understand how disturbing that is, but…"
“But nothing. I can just see you and your cop buddies sitting around the squad room laughing about this, talking about what a great snatch she has."
“Sir, please. Give us a little more credit than that. Believe me, I do understand what you are going through. I have been at this a long time. But she needs you, man. If you don’t support her now that may damage her forever.”
Brian, hesitating and speaking under his breath, could only respond, “She’s already damaged.”
Then he walked back into Robin’s hospital room.
Detective Patelli brushed back his thick black hair in frustration. While he had become a jaded police veteran, he still cared about each victim. He had seen hundreds of victims of rape and sexual abuse during his six years on the Sex Crime Squad. It never got easy, but it was becoming routine; that was how he knew it was time for a change. He had his 20 years in and could retire anytime. But, there wasn’t much demand in the private sector for a sex crimes detective. His retirement was good, but he would still have to work.
Patelli knew the one sad reality of what had happened tonight. Robin was only one of many victims out there. For everyone else — the doctors, the detectives, and horny young boys sharing the cell phone photos of her half naked body — Robin’s problems were meaningless. Patelli had seen many assholes like Brian before. He would be supportive for a week or two, maybe a month or two. Then he would find problems and pick fights with her. Then he’d be gone. He would never forgive her for letting someone else get between her legs. Looking at Brian, Patelli thought about how great it would be to punch his face in and then just walk away. But that was far from reality.
“Whatta ya think’n?” Detective Leslie Lake asked her partner Patelli as they got back in a police car that was so unmarked, it was obviously a cop car. Lake, of average height with short blonde hair, had a nice shape, but had adopted that butchy cop walk. Otherwise, she may have come off a little bit as a babe.
“Same shit, Les. She’s a nice kid, and he’s a dick. What you get from her?”
“Just what we thought. She was running down the paths and was attacked from behind. She didn’t know what hit her. Next thing she knew she was walking around. I don’t think she even knows that she wound up at the football game with no pants on.”
“Well, I’m sure fuckface Brian will tell her. That was the first thing he talked to me about.”
“You know men, Patelli. You’re all assholes when it comes to things like that.”
“I know. Anyway, was that her normal running routine?”
“No, it wasn’t. She said she rarely ran at night. Was doing it ‘cause she was leaving on a short business trip and didn’t think she would have a chance to run in the next few days.”
“So…” Patelli slowed his speech and began to think. “So, nobody knew she was gonna be there? Our rapist just got lucky?”
“Or,” Lake continued, “maybe someone did know.”
“Like who — Brian?”
“Who knows? Stranger things have happened.”
“This shit is getting old, Leslie. I’m one bad day away from pulling the plug and retiring.”
“Yeah, but every day around here sucks. What would be a bad day?”
“Fuck if I know, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

Chapter 2

Fourteen fuck'n years of this crap. No stripes on my arm, still in uniform, sitting on the midnight shift and writing up another report that’s gonna be bounced back to correct a misspelling or something like that. Six more, long motherfuck'n years to go, then sweet retirement. Just hope I don't eat my gun before that, Jim Burkett was muttering to himself as he sat in his patrol car sipping his fourth cup of coffee for the night.
He wiped the white, flakey sugar crumbs of his last snack off his belly, which flaccidly hung over his shiny black police utility belt just far enough to capture each little morsel of food falling from his mouth as he took the next bite, before swallowing the bite before. His dark blue shirt collar was open and the gray fake tie, that all cops wore so it would break away if they got grabbed in a fight, was clipped to the button opening on the left side of his collar. He would have to button up if he got a radio call. Known for their professionalism, the Westland Park Police Department had a strict dress code. Three more hours and his shift would end. He was finishing up his report from the arrest he made at a fight that broke out at the end of the Westland Park High School football game. Nobody knew what really happened. Maybe it was a flirting look at another guy’s girlfriend, but fights broke out easily at high school football games. Burkett remembered his time on the offensive line of his high school football team as he subconsciously ran his fingers on the right side of his plump neck over the three long, but superficial, scratches he got from the cheerleader who jumped on him during the scuffle. He started to laugh when he reflected on how Officer Carol MacKenzie pulled her off by tugging on the short, tight midriff shirt the cheerleaders wore. MacKenzie had been on Burkett’s squad for about three years. She and Burkett did not speak to each other much, but Burkett knew he could always count on her when she backed him up.
If only MacKenzie had ripped that thing right off. Those young perky tits woulda bounced right out to everyone’s pleasure. Then Burkett thought about MacKenzie, or Mac, as she was known. How would she look in that police belt — just that police belt?
Unaware of his surroundings, Burkett delved into his fantasy as a light drizzle began to drop, hitting his windshield in a soft, mellowing patter. That was not a good idea — a distracted cop was a dead cop. Ten of the parking lot’s dozen overhead lights cast a dim florescent glow. Burkett parked under one of the two burnt-out lights in a dark corner. The whole point of escaping for a few moments was not to be noticed by some passing motorist who may think the officer wanted to hear about his problems. Like the rest of the cops, Burkett had a favorite parking area, and we all knew where to find each other. There was nothing much out of the ordinary happening on the streets tonight. It was four in the morning. In a couple of hours, the rush hour would start.
Considering the high possibility of an early morning commuter causing a wreck, Burkett convinced himself that some jerk was going to have an accident in his patrol district right before his shift was over. Getting out of this warm police cruiser, taking photos with either bulky gloves or freezing fingers, listening to both drivers bitch about the other guy, writing a ticket and all the bullshit paperwork that went with one stupid car accident seemed very unappealing.
I hate those fuck'n things, he thought to himself. If it happens, maybe I'll get lucky and it will be a fatality. Then the Accident Investigation Unit will handle it and I can get my fat ass home, he continued to converse with himself.
Why he was so eager to get home was a question Burkett could probably not answer if he thought about it. He knew there was nothing for him to really rush home to. Most of the day would be slept away. The sunshine would not bother him. When he awoke he would watch some television, maybe even doze off again on the couch, eat a little and perhaps do one or two errands. Then he would get ready to head off to work again. Only 35 years old, Burkett had few interests and little energy for anything more than watching sports on television.
Straining to reach the passenger side floor, Burkett grabbed the police radio scanner he bought, and keyed to the Kansas City Police Department frequency. Kansas City had a little more action going on tonight than Westland Park; they usually did. A couple of armed robberies, one high speed pursuit and a dead body found in a trash bin. That sounded like a little more fun to Burkett than what he was doing at the moment.
That's where I should be: a bigger police department than this crap hole. I would've made my mark there. I'd probably be detective by now. I'd be locking those maggots up left and right. I know how to work those city streets. Yeah, that's what I shoulda done. He kept on talking softly to himself and then stopped and mindlessly daydreamed for a while.
Ah, that's all right. I'll do my next six years sitting here in the car. If they don't appreciate everything I've done, fuck 'em. Then I'll retire and that's that.
Sitting there silently, slinking into his deep fantasies of what would have, could have and should have been, Burkett could not hear the wheeziness in his own breath. The passenger side window was opened a crack to let the chill in.