- Murder at the Orient Sexpress Chapter 1
- Murder at the Orient Sexpress Chapter 2
Murder at the Orient Sexpress Chapter 1
For the one who woke me up from the dead
the one who is going to kill me one day
the one who doesn’t know I exist
And the one who wished I didn’t.
Sumi Nishan (2568.04-2619.53)
“Don’t tell me it’s another strangulations?” I asked MJ.
When I received the call to go to the Orient Sexpress in district 37944, I was afraid it was going to be another one of those. I usually don’t care much, but that time it was personal. The serial killings of sex workers had struck a nerve, my nerve, and I could not let this one go.
A death is usually reported in Shang every 1.14 seconds, out of which more than 4000 were actual murders committed every single day. This was nothing out of the ordinary in a city of 5 billion inhabitants. Shang is by far one of the smallest of the Mega Cities. It is one of the reasons I chose to live in this town on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. I prefer the wide open spaces between those large multiplex towers that blot out the sky. Each is a city on its own with hundreds of thousands of people living, working and dying in them.
Detective Merovimati Jamalison or MJ for short, flipped the naked body of the sextress to her side to check for other wounds or scars. She didn’t find any. As I suspected. The only visible marks on that woman’s body were the red line on her throat where a tight rope or a cable was used to cut off her breathing, and the word “ZINA” etched on her forehead.
“This guy is consistent, I tell him that,” MJ commented, “The symmetrical notches of the cable he is using has left almost identical marks on all his victims. I would think after 26 kills he would start to be more inventive.”
“This is usually the case with serial killers. They always leave their signature on their victims,” I confirmed. “But what makes you think it is a guy?” I asked our resident expert. “For all we know it could be a SHE?” I wanted to make sure my suspicions were correct.
Detective Jamalison was more than ten years my senior. Her investigative skills were the best in our department. “I have a feeling it is a HE,” she explained. “I could be wrong. However our killer would have to be a strong SHE to dig that deep into that woman’s neck. Besides, he is yet to strangle a male sextress. My bet is on the HE or maybe someone in between. Still, I could be wrong.”
MJ stood up and covered the lifeless body of the sex worker with the standard issue white plastic sheet to await for the dieners while I walked over to talk to the owner of the establishment.
“Hey,” Kinda, the manager of the Orient Sexpress, greeted me with puffed up eyes.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Of course I’m NOT OKAY SUMI,” she snapped, “we’ve been hearing about those murders for months. We never thought it could happen to us here.” Kinda was on the verge of crying again. “Now that we lost Ketty, the girls, even the boys, don’t want to work here anymore. I don’t blame them.”
I had known Kinda for years. She was a good friend and an even better employer. I had used Kinda’s services many times. She usually hires the best and most qualified people in her business. All Sex Workers have to undergo rigorous training and certification if they want to get into the sex guild. It is tough, demanding, but non the less, it is a very rewarding line of work both economically as well as mentally. That is why many want to join the SWG but few get accepted. The Sex Workers Guild has millions of members all over the world. It is by far one of the largest and most powerful of the working guilds. Countries of the past are no more. Just Mega Cities all managed and organized by the Council of Guilds and the Council controls everything. This system has worked for hundreds of years since the ‘Botch-Up Wars’ which left millions of dead from famine and disease and rendered the old political system in ruins. The guilds had to take over and clean up the mess. And they did a fairly good job of it so far. Unfortunately they still could not stem mankind’s love for war and politics. They just reshaped into something else, the Guild Wars, as some came to call them. Guild skirmishes were constant until a big one erupts every couple of years. Fortunately for us we have the SWG to fall back to. The Sex Workers Guild is always a dampening force when tensions flare more than usual. The threat of a worldwide SWG strike usually does it.
There are thousands of sex outlets in every corner of the world and Shang was not an exception. Those sex shops usually cater to every clientele and offer every kind of service one could possibly imagine. Of course there were other options out there; robos, dolls, dalls, VR, AR, SR… but nothing comes close to the real thing. Some outlets are cheap while others you need an entire fortune just to get a BJ at. The Orient Sexpress in district 37944 was one of the not so expensive ones. It was small, clean and quick, and it did provide the basic services one needed on a daily bases. Kinda was a franchisee owner and manager of the Orient Sexpress in district 37944. Hers was one of thousands of such outlets and part of a large sex chain in Shang. As I said, I liked Kinda’s place, it was clean, efficient, but mostly importantly it was around the corner, my corner.
“Who could possibly do such a thing?” Kinda asked. She was afraid, but more so she sounded desperate. I could hear it in her voice. She could loose her license if word ever gets out that one of her workers was killed in her establishment. No one wants to lie in the same bed where a corps used to be. Bad for business.
“I believe it is someone who doesn’t like sextressess!” I replied.
“That’s impossible!” she exclaimed, “who could possibly have anything against sextressess? It’s like saying someone doesn’t like nurses or firemen. This just doesn’t make sense.”
“OF COURSE IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE,” his screeching could not be ignored. Nuru Solomon, the SWG representative interjected between Kinda and myself like a drunken snake. I did not like this guy.
“Master Nuru Solomon,” I acknowledging his presence.
“Detective Sumi Nishan,” forcing him to acknowledged mine.
Still I did not like this guy. He was snobby, obnoxious and annoying. He thinks he knows it all, more so he believes he is protecting the guild’s interest and it’s members when his action or inaction is leading to their demise. Unfortunately for me, he was the official guild rep and I had to deal with him. He was assigned to investigate these killings and he was doing a terrible job so far.
“I believe there are people in this world who think badly of your line of work Mr Solomon,” I explained, “and they want to shut you down if we do not do anything about it.”
“THATS ABSURD,” he screeched again.
“You’re joking, right?” this time it was Kinda who intervened. She was as surprised to hear what I just said as much as Master Nuru was.
“No. I am not joking,” I tried to explain, “There are people who want to go back to the old ways of the past, when sex was a taboo, hidden behind closed doors.”
“Is that what the word ZINA means?” Nuru asked, “I have never heard of such a thing.” And that is because you are not doing your job, you idiot! I was almost about to say that out loud. If I did I would have lost my mine.
“Surely there can’t be people like that on Earth anymore?” Kinda asked in bewildered surprise, “I know that sex workers were not looked upon very favorably in the past but that was more than five hundred years ago. We provide what people need for their survival. Surely no one can live without food or sex?! It’s unnatural.”
“From the looks of it, I think our killer does.” I added, “but don’t worry,” I tried to reassure her, “we will get to the bottom of this. I promise you.”
“Thank you Sumi,” Kinda hugged me before going out to check up on her employees. However before she disappeared out of the room she said, “and please say Hi to Dani for me. We haven’t seen you here for a while.”
After Kinda left, Master Nuru slithered closer to me and hissed in my ear, “I hope you don’t get your noise too close in our business, Detective. The SWG can protect their own.” He wobbled his way out of the sexpress before I could manage to explain what I knew about this case so far. Unfortunately I knew shit. Our killer managed to cover up his tracks like a true professional. I have no idea how he scrambled every security and surveillance nod in the area. He even managed to fry clean the girls wearables. Very professional indeed.
As I was leaving Kinda’s Sexpress, MJ pulled me aside to speak to me in private, “You know it is not our job to investigate this Sumi. Let the SWG do it on their own. We do not have the resources to do that.”
“Well, they’re not doing a great job so far. I do believe the words ‘PROTECT and SERVE’ are still in our job description, ARE THEY NOT?” I almost shouted at my superior. “Are we going to stand here and do nothing while these girls are being slaughtered?!”
MJ smiled seeing how riled up I was. Unfortunately she reminded me of what our line of work had trickled down to, “as detectives we can only detect and inform next of kin if we can manage to find any. They either have a choice of dumping the cremated ashes of their loved ones at sea, or temporarily displaying them at the tower of the dead before scattering them at sea once their grieving were done. Unfortunately that’s all the time we have for, Sumi. Surely you know that?! Besides, there are thousands of sexpresses in Shang, how are you going to investigate them all?”
Of course I knew that. But I did not have to like it. I left MJ to rap up her report and went back home to Dani. It was late at night and I was tired. As my AirPod hovered up toward district 69987 not far above, the only thing I could think off were those 26 dead sextresses.
Who could possibly be doing such a thing?!