The tenement block was a long way off his patch, too far to drag a partner out on a hunch. Besides, everywhere had somewhere to be, someone to be with, apart from him. Not that he minded, really, better the solitude of a sharpened mind that to dull it with the inanity of others. But this case wouldn’t let him go, kept him awake, kept him anxious, and even the thinnest hunch had to be followed up.
It was the badges that drove him. A different one at every crime scene, each one different, with no pattern connecting them. Some were brand new, from tourist spots across the city, others were cracked and old, bands long forgotten or holiday seasons long passed. No link, to each other, to the victims, nothing, but carefully placed, like a private joke known only to the killer. But to him, a puzzle to be solved.
The last hunch hadn’t worked out, and brought him derision around the office, He supposed that after the first couple of long-shots had missed the patience of the simple minded has been worn thin and he no longer had the patience to explain himself. But he knew he was close, and the body that had dropped the next day, with the bright, happy badge from a childrens cartoon show, seemed to say “Nice Try!” to him. So he’d gone back to his charts, and his notes, and started again,
And so he walked through the building, past the staring eyes of it’s denizens to the apartment revealed to him, only him, smart enough to decipher the clues. This time he had to have it right, and those braying fools at the station house would raise him to their shoulders and recognise his brilliance. He entered the room through the unlocked door sure in the knowledge he had seen the answers meant, it seemed, only for someone like him, confident that victory and glory was within his grasp.
He caught the movement too late.
Turned, too late.
His last thought as the axe descended was to wonder what his badge would be.