The Strangler

The hunt was on. Police, community officers, security guards and army reserves patrolled the streets looking for the deranged madman who was attacking barmaids in the Bradford area. Strangulation was his method and with eighteen deaths so far it looked as if the killings weren’t likely to stop. Every successful attack was another hamburger for the incredibly obese ego that played with this awful mans mind, he could only get more confident, more violent and worryingly more dangerous. They had to find him before he could kill again.

“It wasn’t me!” The panting young man shouted at this companion. This garnered no response so he tried to explain what had really happened. “Look, the two of us were playing. She had me in a headlock, then I got her in one. I didn’t strangle her. You know how psycho she is.”

His companion twitched her nose but still didn’t offer a single syllable to either comfort or chastise the man.

“The others weren’t me either!” The man was shouting again and his companion wasn’t impressed. “I must be being framed because of the girl at the Buccaneer, after her those others started and now they’re all being blamed on me! What did I do to deserve this?”

The sound of footsteps outside of the small shed that the pair were hiding in was enough to silence him. Not a breath was taken until the noise outside had stopped. They needed to be more careful.

“Alright men, we know he’s in there. Get into position.” Commanded a high ranking policeman to a squad of armed officers who scurried around, trying to stay silent as they did so. The leading officer shouted louder now “Jim Moir, we are the police! We have you surrounded! Come out with your hands in the air and we will not shoot you!” The officer turned to one of his men and asked “How did no-one notice he was using Vic Reeves’ real name? It’s not as if he isn’t well known. Do we even know this guys actual name yet?”

“Why do they think I’m Vic Reeves?” The man screeched, fear and confusion moving him to tears.

All the companion gave was a blank look.

“Give me your bra!” Commanded the man.

Another blank look.

“It’s just an idea but it might get us out of this. They’re only after me, I don’t think they even know you’re here. If they think I’ve taken a woman hostage I could buy us some time.”

The bra was removed and obligingly handed over.

Holding the underwear aloft the man marched out of the wooden door ready for anything. What he got was a bullet to the head.

“Who fired?” The lead officer shouted angrily. “All fire arms are to be confiscated and any man found to have spent ammunition will be prosecuted. Now go in and see if anyone else is in there!”

A lot more scurrying around led the armed officers to conclude that there was no one else there and that the underwear the killer was holding had just been a trick to try help him escape.

“They shot us!” The man shouted, disbelief ringing in his voice. “They thought I was Vic Reeves so they shot me! I’m not a fan but he’s not bad enough to shoot.”

Looking around revealed only mist, a white fog so thick that he couldn’t even see his hand when it was raised in front of his face. This was true in all directions except when he looked straight forward and really focused, when he did this his hand started to shimmer and turn green. He started to move through no choice of his own, not walking but floating. Gaining speed, the man found he was going upwards with no control at all.

A high pitched voice with an unidentifiable source asked “Did you bring any jam with you? I don’t get much jam these days.”

Uncertain of his current situation the man asked “who are you? What is happening? Am I dead?”

To which the voice replied “Oh, sorry. I was asking about jam again wasn’t I? You don’t happen to have any do you? That’s not the point, stay focused. I am the light of the universe, sort of like the paper on which the world is painted. I’m not a god and I don’t have that much power but I do offer people like yourself a chance at sorting things out when I find them before HE does. Basically I can make you a ghost in your world or leave you for HIM to collect. Do you want to be a ghost until your business is finished?”

“So I could find the real killer or just die. I think I’ll die, why should I help them when they just shot me?”

The mans companion was now floating in front of him with a disapproving look on her face. Then she twitched her nose, took a flask from her belt and drank some porridge from it, he knew the fact that she didn’t offer him any meant she was very unhappy with him.

“Fine, I’ll do it. I’ll find the real Vic Reeves… Jim Moir… whatever, the killer. I’ll do the job that the police were too stupid to do. I am Adrian Butler and I won’t let death be the end!” Pride dominating his shout.

The flask of porridge was offered to him as the mist faded, revealing the world exactly as he’d left it, a group of police scurrying around and his body on the floor with its head exploded. Nobody could see Adrian at this point which he tested by waving his hand in front of the lead officer’s face. He screamed loudly to no reaction meaning they couldn’t hear him either. Other than that he thought being a ghost felt just like being human. He did find it odd that he couldn’t see his companion’s body or the bra.

Having followed the officer, Adrian arrived at the Two Donkey pub where another barmaid had been strangled. As the police did their usual questioning of suspects he observed the situation from his less stressful undead position and spotted something the police hadn’t noticed. A hooded man was sprinting down an alleyway across from the pub.

“He’s there, get him!” Adrian shouted as he gave chase to the suspect.

Realising he had no backup from any mortals Adrian knew he’d have to do things on his own from here. He caught up to his hooded target and dived in an attempt to bring him to the floor. The ethereal form went straight through the man. Adrian had no physical power over the world, it dawned on him that the police would have to be the ones to apprehend the suspect while all he could potentially do was leave clues. He needed to know who was under that hood.

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