They say it takes a thief to catch a thief. It should follow that it takes a psychopath to catch a psychopath. And that is the reason I had not been able to catch the Bangalore Butcher, I told myself. After all I am no psychopath. Hence, when they called a special officer to help me investigate the case I was more relieved than angry. That was until I met my partner, Special Officer Nishanth Karande.
The first thing I noticed about him were his eyes. They had a certain disgust in them, as if everything that he saw was dead and decaying. He had an air around him which made you think twice before talking to him. And when you did, you wished he would stop looking at you so you could go take a shower. We all tried to get him independently assigned to the case so we could stay as far away from him as possible. Even Nishanth seemed to think that would be the best way to go about it. But our seniors thought otherwise and as luck would have it, I was assigned as his partner.
All we did for the for the first week was exchange information about the case. Not a word about anything else. He sat at a lone table in a corner of the office. He stared at the colored pictures that he had printed out for hours at an end. He even sketched the pictures some times, from different angles. He would stand up with his eyes closed and walk a certain distance then stand there staring into space. The guys at office tried to strike up a conversation, but he blatantly disregarded them. The receptionist who was a warm middle aged lady and spoke to everyone jovially, tried to befriend him. She tried to get him coffee for a few days and greet him in the mornings. He responded to her as if she was shit stuck to his shoe. Even the seniors were skeptical of him, he barely tolerated them and it was clear as day what he thought of them.
But he did give results. He was the first one to point out that certain parts of the victims’ brains were missing. He was right, all the victims were missing a lower part from the brain. what exact organ the killer wanted we were not yet sure but Nishanth was convinced it was the hypothalamus. It was the only lead we had had in weeks. And somehow his being so effective at what he did made everyone hate him more.
By the second week, the station was abuzz with rumors about him. They said he had shot two people dead in a previous case. He had been suspended for that, that and spitting in his senior’s face. He went through partners like crazy, was another rumor. He had a kind of record in the number of partners a single officer had had in the department. A more serious rumor claimed he had done a stint at NIMHANS psychiatric institute for a nervous breakdown a few years ago. He was antisocial and depressed and probably addicted to god knows what. But you did not need rumors to tell you that.
I could have pulled his files and read up about him, but it felt wrong to do so. So I never really found out if his brother did really drown before his eyes when he was young. Or if his parents split because of it and blamed him for his brother’s death. I seemed like a real possibility though. His wife of a few years had left him. He did not have any children which seemed like a kindness. I would not say I liked him, but I tolerated him. I was also shit scared of him. He once told me humanity was a mistake and we should all kill ourselves. His philosophy would have made the most hard core nihilst cry like a child. Soon, I was the only one who even dared to acknowledge his presence.
You would think it would be easier to deal with a person over time. But Nishanth was beyond that. Within a month it became clear that the only reason he was with was because he was really helping the case. The seniors had told me that he would be off the force the moment the case was solved.
And solve it he did! He came up with a theory that the killer believed he had to ingest hypothalamus to stay alive. And when he could not get human, he would have to make do with those of large animals. We canvassed most of the meat suppliers in the city in the hopes of catching anything bizarre. Just as our seniors were about to pull the plug on the investigation, we found a courier. The guy carried several cow and goat heads every week to a spot outside the city. We followed him to an isolated farmhouse. What we found there was what nightmares are composed of. There were skulls and half eaten brains of animals all over the place. And the butcher was about to claim his fourth victim, a girl of around twelve years. Nishanth shot him straight in the head. No discussion, no negotiations. And for once I agreed with him.
He was praised as a hero in the media. He hated it, so I took most of the limelight. He was soon relegated to his corner of the office. He kept poring over the photos again and again. Said we had missed something and shouted at us all for being stupid enough not to see it. We had all had enough of him. He was dispatched and rather rudely. He cursed us all as he packed his belongings and left. I tried to contact him again, a few times, but he never replied. No one knew what happened to him. He just seemed to have fallen off the map.
Hence, when I saw the neatly and ritualistically arranged body parts of a child staring at me,his skull cut in half and gazing blankly at me, I knew Nishanth had been right. We had missed something and it had come back to haunt us. I wondered where Nishanth was and if would return to help us. We had a monster amongst us and we needed another monster to hunt it down. And that is what Nishanth had been. For a hero, without a monster, is a monster himself.