I paced restlessly around my apartment, not able to eat dinner or relax with a good DVD. My mind was racing, as well as my pumping heart. It was 7 p.m.; two more hours. Looking out my kitchen window, I admired the display of the late October sky, a dark indigo tinged in lavender towards the horizon. The clearness and beauty out there hit me as a gross contradiction of the rendezvous my partner Luther Charles and I were to keep at 9 p.m. Both of us had decided we were forced into putting aside the usual police protocol to vanquish what killed the 29th victim in such a ghoulish manner.

I gathered my keys, cell phone, and jacket for the neighborhood bar and grill, Unc’s White Corner. Maybe a Guinness would give me the liquid courage to see this uneasy plan through. Past the railroad tracks on 23rd Street sat the small establishment, with only four cars along the side parking lot.

I walked into the place, where, at the bar, waved an older, very tall, skinny gentleman dressed in a white starched body apron. His droopy-eyed Basset Hound face smiled, making his wrinkles more pronounced.

Unc Monroe, the owner of this bar and grill met my Grandpa Pete when Unc was arrested for selling marijuana in 1982. He got laid off after his wife Mabel had given birth to twin boys. The only job after a year’s search was an attendant at the Texaco station on 38th Street and Main. The pay was substandard, so he took up selling the illegal drug. Peter McMahan, the leading defense lawyer in Anderson, was also the man who raised me after my parents died in an interstate mishap one winter night. Grandpa Pete defended Unc and was successful in getting him a reduced sentence in Pendleton Prison of five years. Both men have remained close for the last 36 years.

“Glenda, my beauty! What’ll it be?” Unc Monroe asked in a slight Irish accent.

Unc had always told Grandpa Pete that I looked more like a dark-haired supermodel rather than an officer of the law. I guess it was because of my long legs and body type, where dresses would hang adequately over a frame that was kept in shape. Mabel would shake her head and lament, “What a waste of classic looks put into a detective garb of black dress pants and a drab jacket. Glenda was blessed with the hair and body of a sleek black stallion getting ready to race at the Kentucky Derby.”

“I’m in the mood for a Guinness, tall frosted glass.” I said, taking a seat in the middle of the long wooden bar. There was only one other person at the end, who I acknowledged with a wave.

“Mabel’s got an Irish stew on the stove; really good batch this time. Want a bowl?”

I made a face as though someone threw up on my shoes. “No thanks; got butterflies doing a number in my stomach. The stout will serve me best, especially with what I am about to do in two hours.”

Unc pulled out a frosted glass from the college-sized freezer underneath the high-counter bar. He grinned as he gently poured the delicious brew into the tall glass. “Here you go, Detective McMahan. Is the police work gettin’ to ya’?”

“Have you got time to listen to something so bizarre, I guarantee you won’t sleep tonight?”

Unc looked around. There was the gentleman at the end of the bar; he was about ready to ave. There were four tables occupied. They were regulars, so he knew they would make a night of it. He said, “I’m at your service.”

“It all started four months ago. There had been a lull in our case load. Detective Luther Charles, my partner, became engaged. Our office of ten held a small celebration, toasting white grape juice in red Solo cups and gorging on a heavily-frosted buttercream sheet cake from Kroger’s,” I said, then taking a large gulp from my glass to give me courage to tell this outlandish account.


Luther Charles possessed the body structure of one of the members of the NBA. His strong, lanky build, coupled with rich brown eyes and short-cropped hair fit well with the manner in which he dressed; always worked in a suit sporting a different-colored tie to match his many-colored dress shirts.

Mitch Gable, our direct superior, approached Luther and I. His icy blue eyes were heavily somber. He handed Luther a paper. “Sorry to bust in on your fun. I got this Monday night from Chief Bledsoe. There’s been a rather gruesome attack on a history professor from AU, Melanie Rossen. I need you and Glenda to talk to her at St. V’s.”

I spoke up. “If the victim is under a doctor’s care, can’t we wait til morning?”

Mitch’s eyes glared at the both of us. His stout chest heaved up and down. Our fellow officers took the body language from our sergeant to mean “disappear, and now.” He continued staring and shouted, “Glenda, cancel the cavalier attitude! This bloody case has all the trappings of Jack-the-bleeding-Ripper method of operation. The hospital gave me a call for us to question the victim. Now, get going!”

Luther sequestered Melanie Rossen’s attending doctor while I entered her room on the 5th floor of the south tower of the hospital. A short brown-skinned nurse in red scrubs was helping the patient get into a green vinyl easy chair close to the double set of windows.

“Hello, Ms. Rossen. Sgt. Mitch Gable from the Detective Division at the APD said I could speak with you,” I said, easing my way into her private room.

The patient, comfortable for the time being, placed her hand on the nurse’s right arm. “I’ll be fine, Anna.”

The full-figured short nurse with the longest head of black hair I’d seen in a while whispered to me before she left us alone. She possessed a noticeable accent I was not familiar with. “Before you leave the hospital, Missy Detective, have me paged from the nurses’ station.”

Melanie Rossen was fairly attractive and looked to be in her late thirties. She sat there with as much grace as her condition could afford her to be. “Detective, join me. I must say, I’ve seen better days. I’ll do my best to comply with your many questions.”

I lifted up the right side of my black suit jacket so she could see my badge clipped to my belt. “First, I’m Detective Glenda McMahan. My partner, Detective Luther Charles, and I have been assigned to your case. Ms. Rossen, I was informed your attack occurred at Shadyside Park in the early evening hours.”

“Yes, I live close by, off of University Avenue. I take a long run about four days a week, mostly to help me sleep. That night, I was out later than usual. I had some lesson plans to finish. I left my house around 5:30 p.m,” she told me, grimacing as she put her hands over her hospital gown at the mid-stomach region.

“While on your run, did you feel or see anything out of the ordinary?”

“While I passed the foot bridge off of the High Street entrance, I turned to find a middle-height man with dark brown hair behind about three yards. His penetrating stare made me nervous. I came to the stretch of pavement along the lake region, close to new restaurant Bobber’s Café on Alexandria Pike. I was grabbed from behind, one hand over my mouth and the other around my waist. The man dragged me down an embankment close to the water. He dropped me on my back onto a pile of rocks. What I saw next defied my imagination.” She stopped, shaking her head to stop from breaking down.

“Ms. Rossen, do you want to stop?”

She waved her hand at me and composed herself, taking deep breaths. “No, Detective, I’ve got to get this out! Before he can do this to someone else and they might not survive, as I did, thank the good Lord.”

“The terror of what type of thing he turned into caused me to become mute. His clothes seemed to fall away from his muscular body. His strong legs kept my arms and lower body from moving around. His face, body, and hands did not seem human anymore. His skin turned a grayish-green and in seconds, his stringy, dark brown hair turned to snow white as he pulled out a large egg, which seemed to be a duck egg from the bunches of fallen leaves. I saw his fingernails, sharp like that of a surgeon’s knife, cradling the strange-looking egg, not the kind I was used to eating. His sharp nails peeled the outer layer, cradling it like a precious gem. His long, red tongue shaped like a tube came down to my belly button. It went into it, going deep. Strange, no pain. All I felt was pressure. His tongue whipped up; then he became angry. His eyes turned crimson red and I-I-I felt at this moment, I would not survive what came next. His index finger, that sharp nail of his, sliced me from my belly button to the top of my genital hairs. I screamed in deep cries of the most agonizing pain I’ve ever experienced. Before I passed out in shock, I heard an eerie deep shout as he ate the peeled egg with my blood, ‘balut.’”

Ms. Rossen broke down. I immediately gave her some tissues from the box on the small white round table. I bent down as she had her face buried in the tissues. “Ms. Rossen, I believe it would be best if we stop now.”

At that moment, Luther walked in. I turned around and motioned to him to follow me out to the corridor some ways from the bustle of the busy floor activities. I had not heard such a bizarre account in my 15 years even before I came to the detective division on Main Street.

“Luther, this is right out of Sammy Terry’s Fright Night when I was a kid. She was attacked by The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” I said, shaking my head in utter disbelief.

“Watch it, partner! Your cynicism is showing,” Luther said with a shit-eating grin. “Did you get anything that we can use?”

“Well, this term the attacker yelled out as he cut open her midsection and served her blood over a hard-boiled duck egg—the blood-and-egg-entrée—he yelled out, ‘balut.’” I quipped, then spied the nurse Anna approaching us.

“Wait up, detectives. I only have a minute. Missy Melanie needs me.” Anna waved excitedly. She seemed to be holding something in her left hand.

She got nose to nose with the both of us. “Detectives, I’m from the province of Capiz on the island of Panay in the Philippines. Here is my full name and my phone number. You will want to see me again.”

“Why is that, Anna?” I asked, taking her card.

“Missy Detective, from the funny noises coming from your voice, you and your partner will need me to tell you of what attacked Missy Melanie,” Anna said in a defiant tone. Her almond-shaped eyes held a stern look to combat my obvious unbelief and sarcasm.

In the parking lot of the Anderson Police Department on the corner of Main Street and Eleventh Street, Luther and I began our investigation strategy. Under the June early evening sky, we did not have much to go on. I took to gathering up information on the credibility of Melanie Rossen. Luther started with his computer research of the word ‘balut’ to get him going, which would invariably help us begin an investigation into the very heart of darkness.


“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, all saints preserve me!” Unc cried out while giving himself the sign of the cross. Those folks seated in the tables behind us were so into their loud conversation they did not hear Unc’s reaction.

“What is this thing you and your partner are pursuing tonight?” Unc asked, his droopy eyes surprisingly rising up in complete terror.

I finished my tall glass of the delicious Guinness. I looked at my iPhone for the time, then pulled out a ten-dollar bill for the drink and a tip. “The assailant from our recent list in the 20 to 30 range of victims is sometimes a vampire, sometimes a witch, and sometimes a ghoul.”

Unc yelled out before I opened the door to my car. “You two get your asses back here after the deed! Tap on the back door; no way I can sleep tonight until I know you and Luther have survived.”

Starting my car, I went over the word “deed,” so aptly put by Unc. This deed to apprehend and see to the perpetrator’s incarceration would fit into the “major-impossible” category of my backlog of experience. A speculative legend defined as our, say “special person of interest,” does not fit in any case of law enforcement anywhere in the country or at any time in history where law and order was used to arrest a vicious criminal.


For all installments from The Islands Tell of It, click here.