Waiting gives people time to examine the ordinary and detectives had been doing a lot of that. Residents in and around the Lakes District had been waiting seven long years to find out the identity of the killer amongst them. Police had sought the assistance of crime experts of every description – from psychological criminal profilers to forensic psychiatrists, geographic profilers and even, most importantly, a departmental shoeprint morphologist.
After the fourth body had been discovered, sections of the tabloid press had begun referring to the unknown perpetrator as ‘Bigfoot’ – based on what police had described as overly large footprints found at each of the body dump sites. Now, amidst weather frigid enough to freeze salt water ponds, a new idea had begun to take hold amongst those heading the Enquiry Team until they could think of little else.
Undercover officers had worked during the night to build a snowman, or more precisely snowwoman, adjacent to the site where the last victim had been found three weeks previous. Moulded and shaped to bear a resemblance to twenty-two year old waitress Millie White, the most recent innocent prey of Bigfoot, the snow sculpture was also ‘dressed’ in painted on undergarments meant to reproduce the state the body had been found in on the snow-covered footpath outside a local residence. Inside the right coal-stone eye of the snowwoman detectives had placed an infrared camera. Behind the mouth was secreted a recording microphone.
For six days nothing happened. The most unusual behaviour recorded was the sight of people making signs of the cross as they stood in front of the statue, plus teenagers taking delight in staging inappropriate poses before being hauled away by their chortling friends. Then, shortly after 11:30pm on the seventh night, the surveillance team observed something unusual enough to warrant their attention.
A white mist may have gathered around the snow figure this night, yet the camera was still able to distinguish a tall, bearded man wearing white gloves and dressed in a navy blue anorak, first walk past, then stop and double back before coming to stand dead centre in front of the eyes of the snowwoman. After an overly deliberate glance in either direction left and right, the person exhaled air in a visible ghostly puff and, fixing with an unnaturally serious gaze on - unbeknownst to him - what was really a video recording device, uttered forth in a deep, raspy voice words the detectives would long remember – “Didn’t I kill you?”
After ID-ing the face seen in the security footage and matching a number of other pieces of evidence, police took only another seventy-two hours to make the arrest of a thirty-six year old male employee of a local shoe store. ‘Bigfoot’ turned out not to have had such disproportionately large feet after all but rather simply access to an infinite variety of shoes and shoe sizes.
When spring finally came that year it brought with it a sense of renewal few had ever experienced. The permanent chill and with it the desolation and despair that had seeped into every living moment of the city these past seven years had finally lifted. And it was all thanks in part to the undercover operative police would long remember as ‘Snow White’.
Glen Donaldson lists the six people he would invite to a dream dinner party as Bram Stoker, Benny Hill, Nikola Tesla, Stanley Kubrick, Christian Fletcher and Dick Smith (makeup artist from ‘The Exorcist’). He is currently writing the short story based around this event.
Glen greeted with good cheer recent feedback from an Australian publisher that a manuscript he submitted was both good and original. Further enquiry on his part revealed they thought the part that was original was not good and the part that was good was not original. Says he’ll use more light sabre crystals next time.
He also claims to have written a number of children’s stories, though he stresses this was not on purpose.