The Hunting Book One

New York, 1971.

On his first day on the job, New York Homicide Detective Norman Poll, twenty-eight, investigates a series of crimes by 'The Hunter', a murderer who selects his victims each night. When Poll struggles to catch him, his personal life takes its eventual toll on him in the process.

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1. The Hunting-March 2, 1971

~~~

The brightly lit New York skyline was dimmed by the late afternoon haze of heavy traffic that clogged the city. Impatient taxi drivers honked their horns, while they took their passengers towards Upper Manhattan. Travis Hob, a businessman, stared at his two hundred dollar watch. "Go there, Thomas. I'm going to Ellis Island tomorrow". Thomas Richards, the driver, nodded. "Sure, boss". He stared at the cars. "Bloody cars!", Travis yelled. He was the youngest Vice-President of ​Hob Corporation​, a million dollar law company which was near the New York Supreme Court. Hob stretched his tired legs. He enjoyed the scenic route. By seven-thirty in the early morning, the growing impatience of the day heralded a shift in the acrid air. Travis, who was a smoker, had an intense nervous reaction over the stressful state of a previous case last December in which he lost. Thomas headed to the tall building. He drove to the front door. Travis gave the driver a hundred dollar bill. "Keep the change". Thomas smiled. He opened the driver's-side door. He opened the boot of the black limousine. Thomas undid the seat belt. Then he grabbed his suitcase in his right hand, he smiled at Thomas. "I'll see you next Monday, boss", Thomas said. "Yes, at six-thirty in the morning", Travis said. "I'll fit it into the schedule". Travis nodded. He wiped away the sweat from his light, blue shirt. He watched the taxi leave. Then he saw Alfred Norton, the black doorman, smile at him. "Good morning, Travis. How're you doing?", he asked him. "I'm fine. Traffic was bad as usual", he answered him. "Donald Smyth was asking for you. He was here at five-thirty". Travis blinked his blue eyes. "That early! Is he mad?". Alfred smiled. "He was awake all night dealing with the Scarborough Account". Travis looked at him. He was concerned about the Account. For three months he had seen Andrea Scarborough. She was the twenty-six year's old daughter of New York Republican Senator Al Scarborough, the fifty-eight year old veteran politician of Italian descent, who had lived in America since nineteen thirty-two with his parents. Travis saw Madeline Graham at the Reception Desk. "Travis, Donald and Andrea are here". He nodded. "Thank you, Madeline. I'll meet them in the office now". He walked upstairs. Then he knocked on the door. "ENTER!", Donald yelled. Travis opened the door. He grabbed his suitcase. He looked at the old man and younger woman. "Please take a seat, Travis", Andrea stated. He nodded. Then he sat down on one of the black, leather, chairs. "I hope all of you aren't...", he said. "No​. It's about team work", Andrea said. She was concerned about the account. Travis grinned. "The account wasn't in my program". He shook his head. "You can leave now...with pay", Donald said. "Am I being fired?", Travis asked. "Yes", Andrea answered. "Fired! I don't understand", he said. He felt his heart beating fast. Suddenly blood rushed to his head. He then became pale. And, seconds later, he died instantly.

~~~

Homicide Detective Norman Poll stared at the ringing telephone. "Get it, honey?", Jessica Poll, his wife, said. He kissed her, then gripped it in his right hand in the spacious bedroom. "Poll. What happened?", he asked Police Chief Fred Jenkins. "There's been a death of a lawyer. He died from a heart attack". He shrugged. "I investigate murders, Fred; I don't look into deaths by natural causes", he said. Jessica stared at her husband of three years. "Go! You need to be on the beat", she said. He nodded. He got out of bed, had a quick shower, and was dressed like a detective from the late nineteen fifties, and nineteen sixties. Norman wasn't dressed like a long-haired hippy. He was conservative in the new modern, 20th century world of feminism, right-wing anarchists, and crimes that had to be solved in days...not weeks. He had seen the Clint Eastwood movie 'Dirty Harry​', and enjoyed it at the cinema with his wife. He polished his shoes, and grabbed his .38 Smith & Wesson gun. He brushed his teeth, then ate his breakfast. By seven-fifty, Norman was opened the front door. He saw Homicide Detective Robert Asher, his partner. "Good morning, Norman. Just what we need a death of a lawyer". Norman shook his head. "People die all of the time in New York, Chicago, Miami, Mississippi, Boston, and other cities across America. There's the Charles Manson 'Family' deaths in nineteen sixty-nine; there's the 'Zodiac' murders as well. And everyone's scared. I am sure that, in nineteen seventy-one, the Nixon Government won't let crime get in the way anything". He opened the driver's-side door. Then he put his seat belt on, and he travelled to Upper Manhattan, and arrived at the office where Travis Hob had died.

~~~

Madeline Graham smiled at them.

"Can I help you?", she asked.

"Yes, NYPD. I'm Homicide Detective Norman Poll. And my partner, Homicide Detective Robert Asher. I hear that Travis Hob died here. Obviously we only investigate murders, but the Chief insisted on us being here", he answered. "It's a tragic end to his life. The Coroner's here as well", Madeline said. "Please take a seat. Andrea will meet you soon". As the two detectives nodded, they perused some magazines, as they drank some coffee. 

~~~

Andrea shivered.

"Detectives. It's been a sad morning". 

"We know that. Maybe Travis Hob was being forced out of his job prematurely", Homicide Detective Robert Archer said.

"No, the Scarborough Account was too sensitive to complete. It was linked to several unknown mob murders back in nineteen sixty-six", she said. "I see. And now we're here because the mob is active in New York", Homicide Detective Norton Poll said. He gazed at them. "The Scarborough Account won't be diluted", Andrea said. "I'm sure the matter of the death will be awful for everyone. But we investigate deaths", Homicide Detective Robert Archer said. He sat in his seat, and waited for a reaction. "So, you don't consider, this death a priority?", Andrea asked him. "Any kind of death is terrible. The victim's family would be informed. I'm sure the Scarborough Account will be safe", Homicide Detective Norman Poll said. He smiled. Then they left the office, and headed outside to their car. He then drove towards the Police Station, and they awaited the new case that came their way.

~~~

The Hunter, (as he was called), was a strong man. He had fought in two tours of Vietnam in nineteen sixty-four, and nineteen sixty-five in the jungles of Asia; he had been a POW in nineteen sixty-seven through to nineteen sixty-eight, before he was rescued by the United States Army. He was twenty-seven year's old, unmarried, and was waiting for the perfect time to commit murder in New York. He walked along 131st street and 7th avenue. Several homeless people held cards that read: FEED US​ was on white placards; several New York police officers were moving them on. "This is America, man", one of them said. The Hunter walked away. He was eager to eat his lunch. He headed to ​Bob's Café​. He opened the front door. By Midday, he walked inside. A woman was smiling at him. "Can I help you?", she asked him. "Yes, I'd like a table for one. I need to go to the restroom first", he answered. "Of course Sir. Table 5 is available". He smiled, as he reached the door. Five minutes later, he washed his hands, and opened it. He then walked to table 5. As he relaxed on a seat, there were a lot of diners and businessmen and women. He gazed at the warm fireplace in the middle of the spacious room. He checked the menu. "What do you like, Sir?", the waitress asked. "I'll have the steak with mushroom sauce. And some coffee, please", he answered. He smiled. "I'm Dennis Parker". The waitress smiled. "I don't think I've heard about you here. I'm Tanya Monroe". The Hunter grinned. "I was in 'Nam before I was rescued in the jungles of Asia. Today's world in America is different from back then. Everyone's too angry at the American soldiers". Tanya nodded. "My Dad worked for the United States Army back in nineteen fifty-one to nineteen sixty-five. He knew, after President Kennedy's assassination in nineteen sixty-three, we all changed". Dennis nodded. "New York is dangerous these days", Dennis said. Tanya wrote down the order on a sheet of paper with a pen. Then she attended to other customers, as Dennis breathed until he knew that he was in the clear.

~~~

Homicide Detective Norman Poll lit a cigarette. "I want to work on a murder case, Robert. That's our job", he said. He finished smoking. "Bad habit to break, huh", he said. He nodded. "I think that we have to break a case open before we retire". And he stomped on the cigarette with his right shoe. He then got back in the car, and drove to the police station.

~~~

Dennis Parker smiled. When his lunch was served, he saw a woman sitting on table 4. He hadn't met anyone at all lately. He was too busy dreaming of imminent death when he saw two New York Police Officers arriving on the scene. He feigned surprise as he savoured his meal, as he was intent on eating until he was finished.

~~~

The cold, freezing afternoon in New York, was full of hippies. Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent David Fitzgerald gazed at the file on 'The Hunter'. He sipped his coffee, as he checked the pictures on the creamy wall. "We need to catch him, Boss", FBI Agent Delia Anders said. She was the new breed of agent in the feminist-age. She glanced at the wall of criminals. "There's been four murders so far that's as far back as nineteen sixty-nine to nineteen seventy", FBI Agent Fitzgerald said. "Has he got a name?", FBI Agent Anders asked. "No. Not yet", he answered. She frowned. Then she looked typed on her typewriter the full report on the case before dark, threatening, clouds hovered the city's skies. And, seconds later, it started to rain.

~~~

Homicide Detective Norman Poll finished his lunch. He excused himself, and called his wife by using the pay phone. "Honey, it's me. Can we have dinner tonight? Say, six o'clock PM", he asked. Jessica Poll picked up the telephone. "Yes, honey. I can cook spaghetti and meatballs", she answered. "That sounds good. I'll be there. Good bye!". And she hung up the telephone, and placed it on the cradle. He did the same thing. Then he headed towards his table.

~~~

Dennis Parker, (aka 'The Hunter'), left the café. He focused on the busy New York locals. He didn't want to kill again. He stared at the ferry to Ellis Island. He had one hundred dollars with him. He saw the middle-aged harbour master. "How much for the ride to Ellis Island?", he asked him. "Ten dollars", he answered. He had a spare ten dollar bill. "Here you go. It's a nice afternoon". He stared at the other travellers, and smiled. Then he got onto the ferry, and knew that he was safe from the New York Police Department.

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