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For this week’s episode I’ve found a few different documents that were attached together with a paperclip and, although there’s a variety in the types of documents, it soon became obvious why they were grouped together. I’ll read all the papers in the order they were paperclipped. The first paper is just a cutout from a newspaper. I’m not sure which newspaper exactly since it’s just a small clipping of a single column, but here it is.
Police responded to several calls from the Huntington Apartments Thursday night reporting multiple gunshots heard on the second floor. Witnesses stated that they saw an individual wearing a black ski mask and a dark jacket entering the building just before the gunshots were heard although it is uncertain if it is a single individual responsible or multiple individuals working in concert. According to a resident interviewed, there were bullet holes going into every apartment on the second floor. The apartment manager said in a statement that he takes the safety of his tenants very seriously and will cooperate fully with any police investigation. At this time the police have not confirmed the number of casualties. A suspect has not been named and motivations remain unclear.
The next paper looks to be first in a series of transcripts from a psychiatric session, which I’m somewhat surprised to see. A part of me wonders how they were acquired. Whatever the method, a lot of it seems to be missing. It looks like it’s just the patient’s side for most of it, as you’ll hear now.
No, I’ve never shot anyone before and I sure as hell haven’t killed anyone. I don’t – it didn’t feel…okay, so I’ve arrested some pretty god awful people. Murderers. Now, from my experience, they tend to fall into one of three groups. You have the shit of the earth in one group. Human life…it doesn’t have value to them. You could walk past them on the street and they’d slit your throat if they felt like taking the time. Then you have the second group, the true monsters that go bump in the night. They get off on taking lives. You’d think they were jacked up on something from how they’d talk about it.
Then you have the third group. Killing someone…I threw up. I don’t regret that he’s dead and I don’t regret that I stopped him from hurting other people, but…I wish it didn’t have to be me, you know? That’s the third group. Killing sucks. If I could take it back and he’d be off the streets, I would. God, I would. In a heartbeat.
In the moment, though? Well, you don’t really have time to think about that stuff. They train you for this, you know? If it’s between the life of the perp and the life of an innocent civilian, you do anything you can to stop the perp, up to and including use of lethal force. You hope you never have to, but it’s an instinct they put in you. The only thought in my head was that this monster was going to kill and I had a way to stop it.
Another newspaper clipping is next. Much like the last one, it’s a small excerpt made smaller still by the fact that it begins and ends in mid-sentence, so here goes.
Friday evening. The gunshots only lasted for a minute or possibly less based on eyewitness reports. The pier is a popular destination and at this time police believe there were a total of 46 injuries, 28 of which required hospitalization, but many injuries were a result of stampeding as gunshots were heard. The number of deaths have not been confirmed and the police have not released the names of the deceased until their families have been contacted. It is being speculated that this is the same person responsible for the previous attack at the Huntington Apartments, as an individual wearing a black ski mask and a dark green jacket was seen running away from the scene. Police confirm that the suspect remains at large and requests any information that could lead to
The article ends as abruptly as it begins. The next page once again puts us back into a session with a doctor that I’ll read for you now.
I was over at my sister’s this weekend. Split some beers with her and her husband. They’ve been pretty supportive but I don’t want to throw too much weight on them and we all know there’s only so much I can say with the investigation still technically open. Still, it was nice to get a break from…all this. I mean, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing now, right? Taking a break, whether I want to or not?
Anyways, a little while after they put my niece to bed, she comes out, bawling her eyes out. “Oh, what’s wrong? Are you okay? Did you have a bad dream?” We’re all asking her. You know what she says? A kid at school told her the Duct Tape Man was going to wait for her under the bed and get her while she slept. Kids, right? Little turds.
But I won’t lie, it was a proud moment for me to get to be the hero for her when I told her that I stopped the Duct Tape Man. He wasn’t gonna hurt anyone else, least of all her. I told her I’d stopped him just for her. You should have seen her face. I swear, she has those Disney princess eyes, all big and they’ll just melt you right through. She goes, “Really, Uncle Diego?”I just tried to bite back my smile while I looked as serious as I could and nodded. She went back to bed and slept like a baby after that. But you know what? To her, he was the monster under the bed. To those people in the apartments, he was the monster. On the pier? Damn right. Monster. So when you ask me why I keep calling him that…I have to wonder why you don’t.
There’s a handwritten note at the bottom of the page. It’s been photocopied, so I assume it was with the original transcript and looks to be from the doctor.
Officer Castrado is trying to dehumanize the person he shot rather than accept that he killed another human being. Due to this I recommend additional sessions prior to being cleared for duty and gave him a notebook to journal his thoughts going forward with the clear understanding that the journal is for him, not for me or any investigation, and he should only share it with me if he would like to. While there is the risk of slipping into an echo chamber of his own thoughts, I am confident that with regular sessions he can be guided to a point of self-realizing the reality of what he did and that his journal will aid in that process.
I’ll read another article with as much context as the last two next.
The body was identified as Peter Garrett. The police have not yet confirmed that he is the same man responsible for the shootings from the last two nights, but are cautiously optimistic that the reign of terror from the serial shooter has been brought to its conclusion. A witness to the showdown on Main Street stated that under his ski mask Garrett’s face was disfigured and appeared to be held together with duct tape, a fact which police confirmed without stating why this was the case. His motives are unclear and police have stated that this is still an open investigation. Officer Diego Castrado shot Garrett in the chest after two victims were gunned down outside Starbucks, preventing further casualties.
The next page must be the first journal entry from Officer Castrado. It’s pretty clear he’s not comfortable with the process, as you’ll see.
Dear journal, how do I write in a journal? I’ve never done something like this before. But I guess I’m crossing out a bunch of firsts lately. And that’s why we’re here. The more I think about it, the more I’m not sure why I’m doing this, though. I stopped the bad guy. That’s my job.
Sarge told me it’s a formality. Everyone has to go through a psych eval and an investigation and all that crap. I gotta keep reminding myself of that. But it’s almost been a week now. I should be getting a medal or something, instead I get a shrink. And this stupid journal. Screw this.
The entry stops there and the next page transcribes another session.
This is a waste of time. We all know who he was and what he did. I stopped him how I was trained to. End of story. Fin. Can you go ahead and sign your little paper so I can get back to doing what I was hired to do?
Fine. He looked like something out of a cheap horror flick, that’s how he looked. When I took the ski mask off him…I’ve never really seen anything like it. There was duct tape all over. Some of it was wrapped around his head almost like a mummy or something, and some of it was in smaller strips to close up some wounds. His face was just a mess of…it was like he’d gone through a meat grinder. Skin shouldn’t look like that. So many cuts and chunks taken out, just held together with gray, blood stained duct tape. I’d probably wear a mask too if I looked like that.
And his eyes…one of his eyelids was missing. Even when we tried to close his eyes, that one still stared at me. I…when I try to sleep, I can’t help but think about that. Just one eye from a dead, shredded face, staring at me from the dark.
This is why you gotta let me get back to work. I need to be able to put all of this behind me so I can stop thinking about this and finally get a good night’s sleep. You understand? It’s horrible. Trying to fall asleep with this…this piece of shit staring at me. Just please…clear me for duty.
Almost all of the rest of the papers consist of photocopies of journal entries on notebook paper. There’s a stamp on one of the pages indicating it was admitted into an evidence log. The last page has a few dark drops of something obscuring the page, although with it being black and white I can’t say for sure what it is. Here are the remaining entries.
The doctor says I have to keep putting stuff in this journal. It’s a Saturday and I’m on leave. I should be out doing something. Enjoying a city that I’ve made just a little bit safer. But here I am. On the couch in my apartment. By myself. With a stupid journal.
I don’t know what he’s expecting. He didn’t really tell me what to write about specifically other than “my feelings” like I’m some…I don’t know. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a waste of time if I knew what the goal was here. Or at least had some orders to follow. That’s what I’m used to. Even when I was a kid, my father was always barking orders. “Diego, take care of your sister.” “I’d better see my reflection in those shoes when you’re done polishing them, Diego.”
I guess it’s only natural to grow up from that and go into the military or police. I don’t know how people function without that sort of discipline. I guess they turn out to run through the streets with a ski mask on and using everyone on the sidewalk for target practice. God, this is just making me even more angry thinking about that thing.
In the service this morning the pastor read from the book of Colossians. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” He talked about how we should try to think about God and all the qualities that he exhibits so we can show off those same things to everyone around us. It’s so much easier said than done. How do you focus on God when all you see whenever you close your eyes is his absence?
In Sunday school they didn’t talk about sickos like the Duct Tape Man. They talked about devils and how God defeats them. But the Duct Tape Man wasn’t a devil. He was a sick man. A monster. But not a devil. If he was, that would make me God because I’m the one that defeated him with a bullet from my gun.
Then again, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I didn’t defeat him. Maybe he is a devil. Why else would I see him every time I close my eyes? How else could he be haunting me like this? Staring at me through his bloodied eye in the dark?
I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. I need to move on and that doctor won’t let me. Nobody will. Department policy, my ass. How about they stop making it department policy to punish the people who do their job and save lives?
I need a drink.
I skipped my appointment today and turned off my phone. It was the first time I’ve felt free since I put that piece of shit in the ground. I could walk around and do whatever I want. Sure, the hangover sucked and my face still hurts, but nobody was giving me orders anymore.
Oh yeah, here’s a fun one for the journal. I got into a bar fight last night. I wasn’t looking for a fight or nothing. I was perfectly fine enjoying the warmth in my belly, courtesy of Mr. Daniels. Some asshole was giving the bartender a rough time and I could tell she was getting uncomfortable, so I told him to lay off and went back to my drink. He didn’t take kindly to that and decided to smash his bottle of beer on my face when I wasn’t even looking.
It took me a minute to get back up from that and I really missed having my firearm on me at the moment, but three punches in and he was out. Well, three punches and a little introduction between the bar counter and his face. Maybe I should start carrying my personal gun. For protection. When I saw he was unconscious and the bartender was on the phone, I tossed a twenty on the bar and left. I didn’t need anymore hassle in my life, especially when I have a shrink breathing down my neck, questioning my temperament.
If the doc found out there’d be all sorts of questions like why did I do it and how did it make me feel and whatever bull he could think of to kill an hour. And I’d tell him the truth. It felt good. Assholes like that were the same ones who punished people for doing the right thing. He got what he deserved and I enjoyed giving it to him. Simple as that.
I think blood is starting to soak through my bandages, so that’s all for now.
Two fights in two nights. What are the odds? Asshole pulled out brass knuckles. He was lucky I’m on leave. I would have hauled his ass in. Instead I just handed him his ass. Piece of cake.
I think this is much better therapy than what the department has to offer. I can really blow off some steam. Of course, it doesn’t help that I can down half a bottle of Jack and I still see that piece of shit face. It’s mocking me. I can feel it. Just like the asshole at the bar. Just like the doctor. They’re all mocking me.
I turned on my phone for a little bit and saw my sister has been texting me. I tried to text her back to let her know I’m fine, just dealing with some stuff right now. Apparently the department reached out to her when they couldn’t get a hold of me, though, so she’s not hearing me.
That’s a huge problem now, isn’t it? Nobody listens to anybody anymore. And when I’m dealing with all these…these feelings, these thoughts…this face in my head…how am I supposed to deal with it? If I talk to the doctor, I’ll never get my job back. The department has filled my sister with all these ideas about me so I can’t turn to her. All I have is this stupid journal. I can’t believe I’m still using this thing. What’s even the point?
Gonna have to be short today. Guy pulled a knife. Nearly took my eye out. Caught some skin. Holding shit together with whatever I can find. If I go to the hospital they’re gonna call the police and they can’t know what’s going on. What’s happening to me. They don’t want to listen. Just punish me.
But they will listen. They’ll know.
There’s just two newspaper clippings left in the papers. The first appears to be a follow up to the investigation surrounding the Duct Tape Man.
Peter Garrett, or the Duct Tape Man as he came to be known, has been confirmed by police to be the one responsible for the shootings that occurred Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It is believed that he acted alone. Interviews with those who knew him painted a picture of a friendly man, close to his family. Co-workers stated he had just recently returned from a vacation to Mexico and just a couple of days later stopped showing up to work after seeming unusually agitated.
His motivations remain unclear and authorities are not ruling out some sort of mental illness or trauma being involved.
And here’s the final clipping.
He has been pronounced dead upon arrival to the hospital after he attempted to discharge his firearm in public with no apparent provocation. It was initially unclear who he was as large portions of his face were covered in duct tape and much of the rest was covered in blood. Nobody was injured, possibly due to his vision being obscured by duct tape and injuries leading to an inability to aim his weapon with any degree of accuracy.
The man has since been identified via fingerprinting as Officer Diego Castrado, who was placed on administrative leave after the killing of the Duct Tape Man.
There are many questions raised from this collection of documents and I don’t know if I’ll ever have any of them answered. What was it that happened to Peter Garrett in Mexico, and is that what caused him to go insane? Or was it some sort of possession that was transmitted to Officer Castrado after he took the life of Garrett? And if it was…does that mean there’s someone else possessed somewhere out there? Another Duct Tape Man, mere moments away from murder? Or perhaps both of them just experienced their own unrelated traumas and found themselves unable to handle it. Whatever the case, I know I, for one, will try to put in some more effort into simply listening when someone comes to me with a problem in the future.