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Do You See Me Now?

A detective, his horseshoe, the fortune and the fan.

By Shauna MullenPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 19 min read
Top Story - May 2023

The light peeking through the lazily closed curtains shines onto his drowsy, heavy eyes acting as a rude alarm to awaken him from his drunken slumber. Sully turns to his side and is met with long blonde hair facing away from him. He can’t see her face so isn’t sure if she’s a new woman or one he’s been here before with. Almost designed by fate, the aggressive vibration of his phone beckons him.

*505 Knightrider Street *

“Another one” he mumbles to himself as he grabs the necklace clinging to his neck. Ever since he put the horseshoe pendant on, he has had nothing but good fortune. Everyone knows the name Detective Sully. His outstanding understanding of the human brain coupled with the broody, mysterious aura that surrounds him has made him somewhat of a celebrity. He has solved every case that’s come his way, he never goes to bed lonely and his financial situation has definitely bettered seeing as everyone knows who he is now. It’s unknown whether the horseshoe actually has some unforeseen power of luck or if the confidence he radiates since wearing it has gotten him this far. Either way, he never takes it off. It’s a part of him, it’s his brand. The detective with the Horseshoe, he thought it would have a better ring to it but beggars can’t be choosers.

He rolls out of the scruffy, unkept bed to straighten himself up. He can’t show up to a crime scene with his current liquid courage fragrance. A quick shower and new change of clothes later, he is transformed into a new man. Light years away from the hungover mess he feels.

Clutching at his lucky charm, Sully arrives at the crime scene. The usual crowd has gathered at the sides beyond the police tape. She’s there again. The last few months Sully has noticed the same woman at every crime scene. No matter what time, rain, wind or snow, she is there. He recognises her from the tattoo on her wrist of his horseshoe pendant that is clearly a botched coverup to hide her scars. Looks like she tried to do it herself. A superfan if he’s ever seen one. He tried talking to her once but she ran off in fear so he assumes she just likes to watch him work from afar. Sully isn’t used to the idea that he has fans yet so he tries to block it out but he can’t shake the awkward feeling that overwhelms him when he notices her.

As he steps into the house, his nose is attacked by a putrid smell poisoning the air. He moves through the house analysing everything. No sign of forced entry, no signs of a struggle, two wine glasses on the coffee table in the living room. The same message written on the walls with what looks to be blood:

“Do you SEE me now?”

He finds the deceased laying on the sofa.

The victim: Female, early 20s, athletic, medium length auburn hair. Eyes crudely gouged out like the others. Multiple stab wounds to abdominal and neck.

He has learnt everything he can from her until a full autopsy is done. His focus is wavering, he is struggling to keep it together as the odour is growing. Moving into the kitchen, he finds the source. A frying pan on the hob with both of the victims’ eyeballs covered in what looks to be seasoning. One of them has a chunk taken out, Sully assumes the worst. The smell mixed with the remaining whisky from the night before comes back to haunt him. Racing against his own body, he sprints out of the house into the street so he doesn’t tamper with the crime scene. This is the third girl in the last few months that they’ve found like this. Every single one has their eyes taken from them but this is the first time they were found at the scene. Why did he leave them behind this time? Were they interrupted? Did the killer try to eat them? Sully shudders at the thought. There’s not much else he can do here until the autopsy comes back. If it is the same man who murdered the other women, she will have succinylcholine in her system. They usually ingest it through the wine they drink beforehand, the unsub has done his research. An acidic solution stabilises the nerve-blocking agent. After the victim has consumed the toxin, they are temporarily paralysed. Unfortunately, it’s never the cause of death, their end is more unpleasant. They are still alive when their eyes are removed. After having to endure that pain, if their heart hasn’t given in yet, the women are violently stabbed, like the killer is upset and angry they managed to survive his torture.

Back at the office, Sully thumbs through all the evidence from the three crime scenes. The pressure to find this guy before he strikes again is mounting. His eyes are drawn to one key piece of information. Where does the killer get succinylcholine? There is no way he has much medical experience because the removal of the victims’ eyes is always jagged, almost ravenous. Suddenly, a piercing pain starts to push from the back of his head. The words on the files he has been staring at for hours start to jumble together and none of it makes sense anymore. The agony is building. A glass of water might help. Whilst clinging on to his pendant in the hopes it’ll alleviate the throbbing, he sways over to the sink in the office kitchen. After a quick splash from the tap onto his face, Sully moves his head directly under the tap and starts to gulp the refreshing water like he is back in school using the fountains. It didn’t help. Sully stares blankly at his watch and notices it’s close to midnight. Time to go home, get some sleep.

The drive home was excruciating. The streets dully lit by the moon was helping until the illumination from traffic lights and cars would gleam directly into his eyes. It’s a wonder he even made it back at this point, if the roads were any busier, he probably wouldn’t have. The gentle jingle of his house keys is a welcome sound. As his legs carry him into the bedroom, he pulls at his tie and begins to unbutton his shirt but he doesn’t quite manage to undress before he falls into the chaotic pit of a bed. Finally, sleep. At least that’s what he thought before he noticed the unbearable drum of the ceiling fan. The slight breeze forcing his horseshoe to rub against the hair on his chest. The wave of heat that washes over him causing an uncontrollable frustration to rise out of him. He darts up into a seated position. The pain is relentless. Sully coerces the shoes on to his feet and begins the walk to the 24-hour pharmacy. It’s only 5 minutes away from where he lives but the street lights feeding the growing ache is making it seem like the suffering will never end. The vivid, sharp glare from the pharmacy bulbs in an otherwise dark, gloomy road marks the end of his journey, and hopefully his pain.

Shuffling into the building, he finds he isn’t the only one searching for relief at 2am. The usual addict who tries to double up on his pain meds is arguing with the pharmacist. As she tries to hand over some forms to fill out, Sully catches a glimpse of the tattoo again. The clumsy cover up job of his necklace. It’s her, the woman who keeps turning up to his crime scenes. Patiently waiting his turn, he notices the pain subsides slightly as he tries to get a good look of her face. He makes out her name tag:


He smirks. Such an elegant name for someone working in a decrepit place like this. The fiend in front of him moves to the plastic chairs at the side and it’s Sully’s turn.

“What can I- “

She doesn’t manage to finish her sentence, the presence of Sully has her completely stunned. He looks at her with such intent. Her long, brown hair compliments her fair skin. Her emerald green eyes stare back at him with a look of fear and panic.

“I like your tattoo”

Sully pulls on his necklace as he points at her wrist. Grace tries to muster up something to say, anything. But she can’t. She swiftly turns and bolts for the staff room. As the door slams behind her, the pain comes back with a vengeance. Nobody returns for what feels like an eternity. Sully hears the creak of the slightly cracked, poorly painted door.

“I need something for my head, please, Grace.”

He winces in pain.

“Sorry to disappoint, Grace is on a break, what are your symptoms?”

Through blurry vision, Sully can see that the precious, petit figure that was once before him had been replaced with a stockier, hairier, masculine one. Slightly disappointed, he relays his symptoms. The pharmacist slides over two boxes of pills towards him.

“Codeine for the headaches and Benzodiazepine to help you sleep”

The harsh, gruff voice scratches at Sully’s ears. Before paying, he opens the box and swallows two codeine immediately.

“How long?”

Sully grunts at the male behind the counter.

“Around 30-60 minutes”

That is not what he wanted to hear; he was hoping for some instant relief. Sully begrudgingly pays and drags his feet out of the door. The crisp, cool breeze against his face revitalises him somewhat. He stops at the bench outside the pharmacy, he decides to wait in the breath of wind for the pills to kick in. After 20 minutes, he can already feel the pain calming. An empty stomach probably sped up the process. As Sully stands up, he can’t shake the feeling that someone is watching him. The sense that there are eyes burning into the back of his head. Luckily the walk back isn’t too far, he begins to hurry home. When he takes the usual shortcut through the underpass., black teeth, scabbed skin and manic eyes emerge from the shadows. It’s the addict from before, he stops Sully in his tracks.

“You are going to give me what they gave you”

The scent of unwashed, cigarette breath penetrates Sully’s nostrils. The migraine is all but gone by this point. He pops one of the benzo’s out of the packet and swallows it before handing the rest over to the nightmare-fuelled individual. No trouble. Sully returns to his stroll home. 2:45AM, he gets home just as the sleeping pill starts to kick in. He collapses on to the sofa, knowing he won’t make it up to his bedroom. He smiles as he drifts off peacefully thinking of Grace and her beauty.

Sully rolls over in his sleep, forgetting he isn’t in his bed, and falls onto the cold wooden floor.



His pulls himself to his feet and attempts to make out the time through sleep-filled crusted eyes:


‘Well, may as well start getting ready to head in to the office.’

Sully doesn’t feel so bad today, he is unsure whether it is the drugs, or the fact he can’t stop thinking about Grace, or maybe a combination of both. All he knows, is he has never wanted to see someone so badly before. As he sits down in the driver’s seat of his car, he is beckoned again

*99 Redcross Way*

This can’t be him, right? He never kills in this quick succession. The thought is interrupted by a feeling of excitement, this means he gets to see Grace again. Before he knows it, Sully is stepping on the accelerator and speeding towards the scene. He turns his blue lights on so he doesn’t have to wait in the morning work traffic. 10 minutes later, he races out of his car to see yet another crowd waiting beyond the police tape. No Grace though. She isn’t here. Did he scare her off? He ponders on the night before whilst being engulfed by a sinking feeling of disappointment. Something he has never had to feel since wearing the necklace. He walks up the stairs of the building to the apartment of the victim. Nothing could have prepared him for what he was about to walk into. A room emitting an unruly rage. Same victim type: athletic, early twenties female with medium length brown hair. This time is different though. Her eyes haven’t been removed; they have stapled open and stabbed multiple times. No wine glasses in the vicinity, ligature marks on her wrists and ankles but no restraints around. This can’t be the same man. This is too disorganised for him. He walks around until he finds the kitchen and in the frying pan, two pairs of eyes stare back at him confirming this is the same killer. The message on the wall isn’t found with the victim this time, it’s with the eyes:


As he returns to the office, Sully is handed the autopsy report from the coroner of yesterdays victim, just as he thought, succinylcholine in her system, high levels of it too. The only things he can see all these victims have in common is that they all live within a 5-mile radius of each other and look similar. They all have different careers, different lifestyles. The splitting headache starts to emerge again. Before it becomes unmanageable like it did before, he drives to the pharmacy. Maybe Grace is working, he can talk to her again. Upon arrival, he is greeted by the same burly man that replaced her the night before, she isn’t here either. As Sully walks up to the counter, he reads the nametag, Andy. Fitting, he looks like an Andy. After asking for a refill of the codeine he got the night before, Andy comes back with a note along with a box of pills. It’s from Grace. A sense of glee ripples through him. He practically throws the money he owes at Andy and races towards his car to read it:

“Meet me at my house tonight 5’oclock, we need to talk

15 Paris Garden”

Why would he expect she live anywhere less than somewhere called “Paris Garden?” Sully isn’t going to pass on an opportunity to see her again. Especially since it could mean it leads to something more, why else would she invite him to her home? He glances at the watch on his wrist; 4:30PM. He punches the address into his GPS and heads straight there. The nerves wash over him as he gets close, he’s slightly early. 4:50pm. He takes a couple of deep breaths before exiting his vehicle and walking up to the modest home. It doesn’t look like anything special from the outside but Sully didn’t expect much as she works at that beaten-down pharmacy. He takes his time walking up to the front door, his mind starts to fire at a million thoughts a minute. He has never felt this anxious before.

*Knock, knock, knock*

The door swings open and there she is. Grace, wearing a silk black dress. It falls so perfectly along the curves of her body. The smell of vanilla and coconut is caught by the gentle breeze. She smells divine. She invites him in, leading him to the dining room. She pulls out a chair and motions for him to sit down. Sully can not believe his luck, this is a far throw from the timid, shy woman he met before.

“I’ll be right back”

She disappears into the kitchen. Sully kisses the pendant around his neck, thanking whatever power gives him the good fortune he keeps experiencing. Grace emerges from the kitchen with two wine glasses and a bottle of red. This isn’t any red wine though, it’s a 2013 pinot noir from burgundy, France. Sully recognises his favourite wine and is pleasantly shocked.

“You didn’t have to get this, it’s close to £200 a bottle!” he exclaims.

Grace chuckles.

“I had to get the best just for you” she whispers seductively as she pours him a glass. She passes him the wine

“Wait here” She disappears into the kitchen once more.

Sully sips at the exquisite tasting wine and looks around the room. There aren’t any family photos, in fact, there are no photos around at all. Just a single frame on the wall of an old Victorian house.

“Weird” he says to himself.

A couple of minutes later Grace returns from the kitchen holding two plates. She places one in front of Sully and sits opposite him. Sully is taken aback. She cooked his favourite meal, Steak with black pepper and cheddar mash and some grilled asparagus. He begins to realise how easy this is going to be. He takes his first bite.

“Did you cook this?” he questions. Grace nods nervously, worried he doesn’t like it.

“It’s probably the best food I’ve ever eaten, thank you” Sully reassures and smiles at her with loving eyes.

Grace inhales to try and calm herself before expressing: “I’m sorry I get so tense around you, I admire you. Your work is inspiring and ever since I first read about you, I knew I had to meet you.”

Sully puts down his knife and fork, and stares at her. His silence is deafening, she focuses on her breathing to try keep her composure. Sully stands up, walks over to the speaker in the corner and plays some music. He turns to look at her and holds out his hand. Does he want to dance? She gravitates towards him and all the anxious feelings that were overwhelming her before melt away as she finds his embrace. He runs his fingers across her arms delicately, tracing the tattoo on her wrist she stupidly did herself when she was drunk.

“You never have to worry around me.” He whispers.

The next morning Sully rolls over and opens his eyes. Grace isn’t there anymore. He sits up, alone in her bed and takes in his surroundings. This is what it feels like, he’s done this before with other women but normally he leaves before they wake up and when he comes home, they’re gone. He knows this is different though. As he makes his way into the kitchen to make some breakfast, he finds a note on the counter next to a plate of pancakes:

“Had to go to work, I made you breakfast, G”

Just as he is about to tuck into his most-loved breakfast food, his phone buzzes him again.

*238 Myrtle Walk*

Sully sighs, gets changed and heads over to the latest crime scene. He finds himself searching the crowd for Grace again even though he knows she is at work. He moves through the urine filled derelict office building, comparing the scene to all the others. This is a homeless squat, not really his killer’s scene. What happened here? He is led into a room by one of the uniformed officers, he recognises the victim immediately. It would be a while before he forgets that scabbed skin and black teeth. The fiend from the pharmacy, overdose. Why has he been called here? He is a homicide detective. Did they trace the drugs back to him? Are they going to arrest him? Panic begins to set in and then he spots it:

“Do You See Me Now?” Carved into his skin. Why would the killer go for this addict? Sully comes to the realisation that the killer must have been stalking him. Those eyes he felt when he left the pharmacy. An immense dread envelops him, Grace may be next. He frantically calls her, no answer. He sprints to the car and blue lights his way to the pharmacy. Andy is behind the counter again, no Grace.

“Where is she?” He shouts.

“Her shift finished 10 minutes ago”

He can make it to her house before her if he leaves now, he can save her. He races back to Paris Garden.

*BANG BANG BANG* He hits the door so hard he is surprised it doesn’t break. Grace answers and jibes: “I was wondering how long you were going to keep me waiting”

Sully is so relieved he can’t even retort back. The flustered feeling starts to disperse. He closes the door behind him and follows Grace into the dining room again. Something is different but he can’t quite put his finger on it. The air is heavy, tense. An uneasiness rises from Sully but he disregards it. He assumes he is just on edge still. He slumps into the wooden chair and lets out a groan.

“You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had” he complains. Grace hands him a large glass of wine.

“You look like you need this” she chuckles.

Sully gulps down the entire glass, liquid courage has always made him feel better. Refreshing. Grace vanishes into the bathroom to take a shower. Sully sits and waits patiently, fiddling with his pendant in his fingers. The humid steam and sound of water running makes him feel tranquil. Nothing can distract him from the peace he is experiencing. He closes his eyes for a little while. When Sully awakens from his nap, the atmosphere has changed. It’s silent, not even a whistle from the wind outside can be heard. His legs are numb, probably because he fell asleep in an uncomfortable wooden chair. He tries to stand up to make his way over to the sofa but his legs don’t move, he pulls himself to the floor, knocking over the chair. Sully musters up all his strength to drag himself to the living room but hardly budges before he loses feelings in his arms too. As he lay there, completely motionless, he calls out for help but nothing comes out.

Suddenly, he smells vanilla and coconut. It’s unmistakably Grace. ‘Thank God’ he thinks to himself. Grace crouches over him, her lips nearly kissing his ear and whispers:

“Do you see me now?

MysteryYoung AdultShort StoryLoveHorror

About the Creator

Shauna Mullen

I like to write about true crime and do small investigations. I also write fiction sometimes

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (10)

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  • Nobody4 months ago

    loved it

  • MARIE ODEMS 4 months ago

    GREAT WORK!!!!!!!!!

  • K. C. Wexlar4 months ago

    Love the end!

  • Interesting story!

  • Marilyn Glover4 months ago

    I had a feeling, but I needed to know for sure. You taunted and teased us nicely! 👏👏👏

  • Kendall Defoe 4 months ago

    Well, I have to step up my game...and why didn't see the ending coming? Great TS, madame!

  • Mv Ajay4 months ago

    well written

  • Ian Read4 months ago

    I KNEW IT! I'll try and keep it ambiguous in case someone reads these first, but they were giving off some incredibly psychopathic vibes the whole time. The start was a tad slow, but you work up the suspense wonderfully. A brilliant mystery all in all.

  • That was a great take on the challenge, and great to weave in elements for your research

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