Dressed For Failure: Chapter 1


Melissa V., Staff Writer

    Nicole Huxley is hunched over her desk in the dimly lit office, papers scattered on every square inch; you couldn’t see the tables’ dark wood anymore. Curly hair tangled through her fingers, strands entangled in her rings, reading the same words over and over again.

    It was a cold crisp morning in Manhattan, New York. The year was 1983.​​​​ The era of spandex, leg warmers, big hair, and serial killers.

    Nicole and her partner Dante Nixon were assigned to a murder case. Another murder case has started to go cold. No leads. No clues. Nothing. “The cleanest chain of murders they’ve seen in years,” they say. She reads the details that she has already memorized by heart one more time.

Victim Information:

Name: Steve Campbell   Age: 26   Sex: Male   

DOB: 09/17/1957   Race: White/Caucasian   

Eye Color: Green   Hair Color: Brown


    Victim was found with multiple stab wounds, slit throat, and heart carved out and placed in right hand. It is presumed the victim did not die of stab wounds and was still alive until the heart was carved.

Suspect(s) Information:



    She sighed and rubbed her eyes. The 7th murder case in less than 2 months. All men. All died the same way. It’s brutal, really. And the person who is doing this hasn’t been caught. It’s put everyone on edge. 

    She felt someone brush against her shoulder. “Coffee?” Dante offered, handing her a hot cup of plain black coffee.

    “Thanks” she smiled with exhausted eyes. He sat in the chair next to her and pulled himself forward with his legs.

    “Anything new?” he asked, peering over her shoulder and reading the case file Nicole had in her hands; it was now wrinkled from her fingers grasping onto it for so long. 

    “Not since you went to go grab a coffee,” she said blankly, taking a sip of her scalding hot drink. 

    “Not since the past month, you mean” Dante chuckled

    She sighed once more and slouched in her chair. Dante stood up and looked at the wall to the left of Nicole. A city map, pictures of the victims when they were alive and of their bloody corpses, and red strings connecting each victim to where their bodies were found. A gruesome before and after. And a single piece of paper that reads “They’re all connected” is held against the wall by a push-pin put by Nicole. He recognizes her messy, scrawled writing.

    “They’re all connected” he read to himself. He read the other notes Nicole left on the same wall. 

    He walked around the room to where Nicole’s purse was and took out the polaroid camera that was sticking out of the bag and pointed it toward Nicole. 


    “Dante. Stop wasting the film.” Nicole stood up and took the camera from his hands.

    “Wha-It’s just one picture!” Dante complained.

    “I need those for the crime scenes, dumbass,” she said, referring to the limited film the polaroid had left. She threw the blurry polaroid picture in the trash, which was overflowing with crumpled paper balls. 

    “This.” Nicole said, holding up the heavy polaroid camera “It is not a toy” scolding him like a child and she put the camera back into her purse.

    “Fine, fine” Dante sniggered as he followed Nicole back to their seats

    “You up for a couple of drinks after work?” he asked, sitting down.

    “Nope,” Nicole said, not looking at Dante.

    “C’mon Nicole! It’s 1983, live a little!” he persuaded.

    “I’m good Nixon, thanks” she smiled sympathetically. He smiled back and stays quiet

    “Anything new from Forensics?” he asked suddenly, changing the topic

    “Nope, same old things” Nicole answered, stacking her mess of papers

    “No surprise there. They always take ages” he sighed, crossing his arms. There was a knock on the door, and swiftly Dante stood up and unlocked the door. 

    “Nixon. Huxley.” James Patterson, another detective in the department nodded with a grave face “Another body was recovered by the side of the road this morning. I think you need to come and check it out” 

    Quickly, Nicole jumped to her feet. She and Dante gathered their things and as they arrived at the crime scene it is already a disaster. 

    There was a crowd already on the scene. A frantic man was talking to one of the police officers.

    “He called in the body,” the policeman said as he and the man walked toward Nicole, Dante, and James. The man wringing his hands. 

    “Go talk to him,” Nicole whispered to Dante

    “Got it, boss,” Dante nodded and strode over to him. 

    Yellow tape surrounded the mess of blood. The victim’s heart was also carved out. A couple of feet away, one of his shoes was off of the body. It was clear the victim fought the attacker by the look of the bloody gashes on his hands, face, and side. 

    “Everyone stay behind the line!” one of the police officers shouted at the crowd of people formed around the taped barrier, gasping, praying silently, or just staring in silence. It’s not every day you see a dead body, and rarely as gruesome as this one. 

    Dante was at the side of the crime scene, still talking to the man, writing down every last detail of how the man stumbled upon the corpse.

    “And-And I was just walking my dog,” he said. Dante, scribbling as fast as his hand could go “When she started barking. I thought maybe she had found a dead rat. Y’know how common dead rats are in this city” Dante nodded along 

    “But…she just started goin’ crazy. Mad. So I let her lead me down this street here, and there he was” the man explained

    On the other side of the crime scene, Nicole took out her polaroid camera and snapped pictures of the corpse and the yellow numbered markers marking each little blood splatter. 

    “This one’s bloodier than the last two,” Nicole thought.

    “No evidence?” James asked as he peered over Nicole’s shoulder and watched her crouch and take the last picture. A quick flash then a quiet whirring of the camera.

    “No evidence,” she sighed and stood back up. James cursed under his breath and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

    He’s stressed. They all are. 

    A serial killer is on the loose and they leave no evidence. Not a fingerprint, a single strand of hair, or a muddy footprint.

    “Tell them to send the body up to the coroners. See if they can find an ID on him” Nicole instructed

    James nodded to Nicole as he walked away and instructed the paramedics to put the corpse on a stretcher with a sheet over him 

    They load him into the ambulance. 

    The silent ambulance.