My name is Lassiter, I’m a detective Sergeant for the LAPD. There’s no shortage of weird in Hollywood, California. I’ve witnessed satanic, ritualistic killings and religious slayings of every type. This case happened on Valentine’s Day, 2014. The detectives that are familiar with the case call it: “The Death of the Kiss.”
The body was a Caucasian female with no I.D., naked, found dead in a Hollywood Cemetery on St. Valentine’s Day, amidst several statues of Cupid. The coroner identified superficial burns on the lips and pads of the fingertips.
“Do you think this is a body dump?”
“I’ve never seen marks like this. It will be interesting to find out how they were made.” The coroner said.
“Phone for you detective.” Someone called down the hall.
“Yes, how may I help you?”
“My name is Cardinal Shamus Murray. I may have some information about the death that happened last night.”
“You know where Norm’s is?”
“Good, I’ll see you there at two o’clock.”
I called the coroner to see how the identification was progressing.
“We still don’t know who she is. We didn’t find any tattoos, piercings or prints.”
“Any idea how she died?”
“All seems normal, other than that her heart was missing, we didn’t find anything that was conclusive. We’ll see what toxicology finds.”
“Missing? You mean like gone, without an incision. How’d that happen?”
I met with Cardinal Murray.
“What I am about to tell you will be a little unsettling.”
“I’m in the unsettling business.” I had my pen and pad ready.
“Throughout history things like this have happened on St. Valentine’s Day.”
“You are saying this has happened before?
“I have studied several pieces of late Roman art that involves the God of desire: Eros, Amor or Cupid.”
“I hope you understand that we’re talking about a murder here, not a painting.”
“Let me explain. Psyche is the Greek word for soul. In the 15th century, scholars found in the Cabala the theme of the mors osculi “The Death of the Kiss”, the final rapture in which the soul is united with the divine.”
“If I understand correctly, you’re telling me that a deity killed our victim?”
“Precisely, and they have been doing it for thousands of years. Leone Ebreo’s Dialoghi d’ Amore deals with the union and copulation with God. Historic records document the ecstatic union with the God, which was experienced by the neophyte, as an initiation unto death.”
“Who do you think she kissed?”
“Eros or Cupid comes to mind first.”
“Why radiation burns on the body?”
“There are volumes that I have examined at the Vatican and in Museum of Natural History in London. There are Bible quotations from Ecclesiastes and Isaiah that indicate your victim was kissed by an angel; the burns were caused by the extraction of her spirit. She gave her heart to god.”
“Do you have any information that may lead to her identity?”
“Unfortunately, no. But I will say that she has a very strong likeness of Athene, the Greek Goddess.”
I left the meeting with more questions than I came with.
The case is still marked ‘unsolved.’ We were never able to identify the victim or who her killer was. In my mind, the case was on the south side of strange.
This is a month long journey with the A to Z challenge. Each day the letter is the prompt for my short stories themed: “Thirty Ways to Kill …”
And keep on the lookout for my upcoming novel – “Lifeblood of the Dragon.” Lifeblood is set in the seedy alleys of post-war Los Angeles. The morgue is full more often than not. Cameo appearances by the well known gangster Mickey Cohen and his goons.