Eric was sitting in the library minding his own business, his head deep in the newspaper morgue, when he heard the screams. There was a particular quality to them that he’d learned to recognise during his time in Vietnam. Basically, there were two types of scream: fear screams, which were when you learned something and your immediate reaction was to expect things to get worse from there; and shock screams, which were when you learned something too late to do anything about it. This was the latter, so he headed towards it. A trained first aider, Eric never missed a chance to be helpful to people.
The person who had caused the screams was beyond any need of first aid – he could see that at a glance. The actual screamer was one of the librarians, and most likely just needed to lie down somewhere quiet and maybe sip from a glass of water. Eric could see that her workmates had that situation well in hand, so he turned his attention back to the body.
The man was about sixty years old, and he was lying on his back. Although there was blood all over his clothes, he only hand one visible wound – his throat had been cut by someone who knew what they were doing, from the looks of it, although Eric couldn’t get quite close enough to tell whether the cutter had been left or right handed. He was wearing a badge identifying him as a library staff member, and his name was Robert.
Despite what Vincent so often said, Eric wasn’t completely lacking in human sensitivities. He wandered off between the shelves where no one could see him before adding Robert’s name and the few details he knew about the man to the list in his notebook. It might be nothing, but something about the professionalism of the killing suggested to Eric that this one was connected. In a way, he kind of hoped it was – the alternative, that Robert had been killed by some random psycho, was even less comforting.