It was on a Wednesday when the first body dropped.
When I first got called to the scene, there was a certain mood in the air. The officers chattering among themselves softly, and there were uneasy stares. “It’s not a good one Detective.” Jones, one of the uniforms, told me. And he was right.
It was not the bare flesh that scared me, neither did the bones protruding out of his skin, nor did his wide eyes. It was the mark he bore. It was a big evil eye symbol scarred on his abdomen. The same kind of symbol that my wife wears on her neck. The skin scabbed like it had been branded on him.
“What the fuck happened here?” My partner, Jared, was repulsed. Clearly not used to it. He was two years into the job, but he was slow to get used to the gruesome nature of it. “That’s what we’re here to figure out.” I told him, putting on my rubber gloves. The body was fresh, no signs of decomposing. It was weirdly warm to the touch.
“Who would do such a thing?” Jared looked like he was trying his hardest not to contaminate the crime scene with his vomit. “Jared, if you can't handle it, there’s no shame. You can skip this one out.” My eyes never left the body. I heard Jared take a big sigh, but stayed where he was. I smiled, that was what I liked about him. No matter how clearly rattled he got, he wasn’t the type to give up.
“You know what this symbol means?” I asked him. I wasn’t the spiritual type, it was my wife. She had the necklace on her everyday, and she had multiple crystals laying around the house. I wore a black onyx ring she forced me to wear. Said it was supposed to protect me. The only time I ever get close to praying is whenever I am in a life or death situation, that can really make a man religious. “Yeah, that’s the evil eye isn’t it?” He answered, eyes averting the body.
“What does that mean exactly?”
“It’s like a protective thing.” He seemed to be pleased knowing something I didn’t. “If someone wishes harm or bad to you, the symbol helps you against it.”
“Could it be a threat?” I insinuated. “Killer put the mark on someone who has harmed him somehow? Send a signal?”
“That could be plausible.” Jared agreed. “We won’t know much till we get more evidence.”
“What did the witnesses say?” I looked over at the three people being questioned by the police. They weren’t what we police call reliable witnesses. Two were homeless and one, a child.
“They saw what happened. But they sound…” Jared made a face.
“What makes you say that?”
“They all had the same story.” Jared stiffened. “That he just fell out of the sky and onto the ground.” It was hard to believe that. The area was short of tall buildings, the highest near where he fell was just two stories high. He wouldn’t have sustained those kinds of injuries by that height. I looked around searching for anything that made sense. “Maybe he didn’t fall?”
“The injuries all point to a fall victim. And this one fell from a great height.”
“And there was no sign that he was moved here from someplace else?”
Jared shook his head, “No.”
I tried not to get frustrated, I was having a good year and I wasn’t about to let one weird case let me down. “I guess we’ll have to wait for what else forensics finds.”
The second body was found the very next day. That time, it was a woman. Again, naked and marked with the Eye. Her spine was clearly broken, and her head smashed with the blood splattered underneath it.
“Two days in a row.” Jared looked green as always.
“Mmm hmm.” The body was still warm.
“This looks too similar to yesterday’s. You think it’s the same guy?”
“Could be. The time between the two bodies is too short to be a copycat.”
“And the press hasn’t gotten to the story yet.” John added. Right then, there were sounds of cameras shuttering. “I think they have now.” There was a swarm of reporters, trying to get shots of the scene. Jared and I both simultaneously sighed. “We are gonna have to solve this quickly now.”
The third body came on the same day, just mere 6 hours after the second one. And this time, there were a lot more witnesses. It was in the middle of a mall. People were going about their way, shopping and spending time with their loved ones, when the body fell right in the mall fountain.
Questioning the witnesses was no use. They all had the same answers. “He just fell from the sky.” I started to get antsy then. The forensics crew didn’t find anything new to help further the case. We had three bodies and no clues. Jared and I were working all our hours with little sleep.
An elderly woman, one of the witnesses, held my wrist tightly, not letting me go. “It’s a sign of God.” Her lips quivered. “We’ve created nothing but bloodshed in his name.” Her stare was empty. “He is coming for us. Repent now.” I spent that night sleeping on the couch of the precinct, so did Jared.
The next one was miraculously still conscious. Her body was sprawled out, legs twisted and arms mangled in the most wrong ways, and her chest was heaving up and down with shallow breath. And that fucking Eye symbol. “This one also fell from the sky.” Jared rubbed his face, eye-bags clearly hanging low from the lack of sleep.
“She wouldn’t be alive if she did.” A fall that great, she should’ve died in an instant.
The EMTs tried their best, but they knew this was the end of her. Gus, one of the paramedics working since the first body looked on the verge of tears. “There’s no saving her. I’m sorry. She has just minutes left.” He hurried off, leaving his crew behind.
On the verge of death or not, I needed to know how she got to this position. “I know this isn’t the right moment.” I knelt down next to her. “You won’t be living much longer.” Jared nudged me disapprovingly. “I need to know how this happened.”
She stretched her arm to my face, it was painfully bent. “I have a message for you Alexis.” Her hands were bloodied and warm. I felt a weird sense of serenity when she touched me. I held her hand. “We all sin. We all need to be cleansed. So we can be reborn.” She had the smile of someone who knew they were free. Her hand went limp and she was gone.
“How did she know your name?” Jared looked shocked.
I didn’t answer him. The feeling of serenity in my chest just rose and rose till it was unbearable. The cheek where she touched me felt scorching hot. I excused myself poorly and went in my car. I couldn’t get the image of her in my head. Reborn. Reborn, Reborn. I need to be reborn.
The bodies were falling out of the sky more frequently. Every hour there was a new one, and I couldn’t be to every one of them. No evidence except for the Eye. No fingerprints, no hair strands, no footprints. We were stumped.
After a week, the bodies had piled up in every part of the city. People have locked themselves in their home, yet, they still have been found falling from the sky. And my wife was one of them. I held her in my arms and cried for her, no matter how unsettled I was with her eyes wide open. They plagued every nightmare I had. I quit the force that very day, no that there was much of them left to begin with.
That very day, I got a call saying they had found Jared. I was going to be soon next.
Reborn. Reborn. Reborn.
Those words wake me up in the middle of the night. In a daze, I walked five miles up the hill. I walk all the way up with no thoughts in my head but the words, reborn.
I got to the top of the hill, the cliff looking awfully weak, but I feel no fear in my heart. I look out at the skyline of the city I have lived in for a good 40 years of my life, my city. Where I met my wife, where I made friends. My city had men raining down like a storm. Bodies of men, women, children, and anyone in between. They fall one by one, eyes wide open, and smiles on their faces. They were falling every second now.
Then I hear the voices.
I take off my clothes slowly. My jacket first, the one my wife gifted me for my birthday. Then the shirt and pants I got from a department store. The shoes, socks, and lastly my underpants.
The wind breeze kisses my skin gently, and I close my eyes, feeling every part of it. They wrap me up in their coolness, reassuring me, this is the way to go. I’ve caused too many sins in this lifetime, I need to cleanse myself. I need a clean slate, to be reborn, so that I can finally be free.
The wind whispered in my ears, “Come home Alexis.” I invite it to my mind, let it envelope it. It carries me up, and soon I can feel the clouds. I finally open my eyes, and I see the bright light ahead of me. It reaches out for me, and I stretch my hands out to hold them.
But something pulls me down, I panic. This isn’t it. I have to repent. The pull gets stronger and stronger. And soon, I am falling. This is how it should be, it says. And I believe it, so I surrender to the forces.
It’s raining men on Earth.
And it’s because we are all sinners. He just wants to protect us.