Detective Winters was close on the killers trail. For years he had followed, always one step behind. Always one soul too late.
Seventeen and counting.
The killer had been taunting Detective Winters the last couple of months. A few with grotesque crime scene posing or the odd blood message on the wall. Mostly letters.
They were all in code, but he had finally cracked it. Tonight, if he was right, he would finally meet the murderer of many.
Tonight it would end.
He made his way into the large warehouse room, where a white haired man sat in a weathered leather chair. A cigar clutching the air all about, swirling in the streams of light coming through the gritty windows.
“Well done, Mr. Winters. I hoped you would show. I see you’re most interested in my work.” He paused and laughed to himself. “Well, some of it anyhow.”
The killer motioned for Winters to sit. The Detective moved to the chair slowly. In the light he finally saw the mans face; unmistakable.
It was Martin Landmark, the famous painter.
“I see in your eyes you’ve made the final connection. Yes, it’s me, Martin Landmark. Is it so much of a shock that a creator such as myself could be behind this all. Indeed it is my masterpiece.”
Before Detective Winters could respond, Landmark offered him a glass of white wine. The Detective couldn’t move, let alone answer. His mind burned. Raged. And yet fell deep and dark down into the smallest corner of his being.
“You see, I’ve been working on something very special. My exhibit at the museum, the full collection of my works brought together for the first time ever. And now, I will tell you something. Then, I will show you. “
“There’s a reason I called it Exhibit 101. It wasn’t some fancy nod to returning to where it all started or some ho hum fantasy about full circles like the media believes. No, no, it is much more. You see, each one of my paintings was painted from the bodies of my victims. One for each.”
Detective Winters couldn’t believe what he was hearing. All 101 paintings each were painted from the blood and bile of a victim? That’s 101 Murders...far beyond the seventeen he had uncovered. But wait.
The Detective remembered something. “The news says there’s only 100 paintings in the Exhibit. Some kind of artistic statement.”
Mr. Landmark chuckled. “Oh you’re here to pick up number 101.” He said as he leaned back in the chair, resting his head against a large white canvas propped up behind him.
Detective Winters sat frozen as Mr. Landmark produced a gun and placed it under his chin.
“A true artist gives everything. Good luck Detective Winters, and welcome to Exhibit 101.” With that he put the gun under his chin and smiled.