Detective Hale ripped through the strips of yellow and black police tape and entered the dark room, exchanging the warmth of the hallway for the cold of a crime scene. Blue moonlight pierced the long vertical blinds in the living room, casting cerulean stripes across the disheveled studio apartment. He shut the door behind him, wishful that none of the neighbors had seen him enter. The department knew nothing of his presence here. He had been ordered to stay far away from this particular crime scene, but he had no idea why. He wasn’t a suspect, and this part of Lysallis was under his jurisdiction.
He made his way past the small kitchen to his right and entered the living area. He scanned the room, making a mental note of the toppled lamp, the smashed computer desk, and the overturned couch. A struggle had occurred here. He approached the blinds and peered out on the city. He marveled at the view of Lysallis from the vantage point of the twentieth floor. The Pleasure District, lit in a red haze, stood out like a glowing ruby in the distance.
Hale continued his search around the one-room apartment, checking the in-wall bookshelves, the big-screen television, and the small bathroom. Nothing stood out to him, aside from the various toppled items that filled the living space.
And then his eyes caught sight of the one item he had been searching for, the one item that would connect his assumptions with the truth of the matter. Atop the small end table that stood near the overturned couch sat a small crane made of origami.
Hale took a pair of tweezers from the inside pocket of his overcoat and used them to lift the crane from its perch on the end table. He examined the paper bird and noticed that it was nearly identical to the other paper birds that had been left at the other half dozen crime scenes he had investigated in the last few months. The crane was made of paper, red in color, soaked in the victim’s own blood. A calling card left by the Red Crane Killer.