Chapter 2: The Crime Scene Boarder

1513 Words
*Claire* My heart pounds in my chest with adrenaline. It isn't a fast-paced thrum. It is one that keeps me level-headed. It keeps my thoughts from racing out of my head and my hand steady. I know I am certainly in the right headspace and, thankfully, my new partner is not overly chatty. I am glad that it feels familiar. I don't care for the whole “new girl" vibe anyway. I look out the window and watch street after street pass by. I already glanced through the packet of papers in my lap on what my co-workers had established on the case so far. It isn't pretty. The victims evidently had no forms of identification on them and were obviously moved from one location to another. None of the victims seemed to have any connection to one another and were found in places they had no reason to be – usually the shadier part of town. None of them seemed to be missing major personal effects, so robbery could almost be ruled out entirely. It seemed to be the work of a serial killer, which was the only thing linking the victims together. Well, that and their descriptions. The descriptions of the bodies are all the same or, at the very least, they are all very similar. I feel a little peeved that there are no photographs included in the packet they gave me. Though, to be fair, they managed to print out everything else in record time before we bolted out of the door. “We're almost there," says Wates. “You've seen bad things, right?" My new partner's question takes me slightly off guard. Seen bad things? Wow, this guy had a way with words. “Bad things?" I ask, adding a flare of disbelief. “Oh, okay. Look. Sorry, I didn't mean for it to come off like that," says Wates apologetically. He explains further. “I'm just throwing it out there that I've actually been to a few crime scenes with the Drainer. It was a real shock for me the first time. I just want you to be prepped before you go onto the scene." “Right, thanks for the heads up," I reply. Then, a thought takes me. If he saw the crime scene, his account could be just as accurate as a picture. “Actually, maybe you can tell me. Is the report playing everything up? Or is it really as bad as I'm reading? I mean just look at this. Flesh in rapid onset of decay. Appears mummified. Possible cause of death is stabbing. One report in here even has a little scratched out note asking if this is related to some occult ritual." “You know, I had the same thought before they brought us all in, but," says Wates, his voice tapering off as there is a call on the radio he needs to respond to. One thing I notice is how there is a shift in the air around him. A tenseness rests in his shoulders. I know the look. Everything in the report is true; but how can it be? I don't have time to ask any more questions. We are there. I see lights from the other police cars and the caution tape all across the area. The area they blocked off seem relatively large, which I personally think is odd. Our cruiser comes to a halt, and I pull my hair free from its hair tie and begin tying my brown-blonde hair into a bun. We step out of the car, immediately greeted by radio chatter. The ambulance is not here yet. Perfect! It was a bit macabre, but I liked seeing the scene in person rather than in pictures. I approach the other officers with Wates by my side as they begin breaking down the situation. Two victims were found under the bridge less than an hour ago. Based on the immediate description, it was undoubtedly the Drainer. The human remains were described on the dispatch call as being mummified and dehydrated. All while the situation was explained to myself and Wates, I try looking past to catch a glimpse of the scene. I need to see it myself. I work better that way. I hear my name and immediately snap back to the present. “What? Sorry, I was distracted," I apologize. “No, it's okay," says Wates. “I was just introducing you. Officer Claire Knight, this is Officer Dana Humphrey." “Nice to meet you," says Dana, a dark, curly haired woman with dark eyes and a look that could kill a person. We shake hands. “Nice to meet you, Officer Humphrey," I reply. “So, are we clear to enter the scene?" “Wow. Eager much?" asks Dana. “Yeah, you are clear. They will be taking pictures here in a minute, so try not to move anything if you find it." “Sure thing," I reply. I walk past Wates and Dana to the caution tape fluttering in the slight breeze. I duck under the tape, pulling my coat further over my frame, and approach. Wates is nearby. I feel like I am under the supervision of a babysitter. I know how to handle myself, but it is undoubtedly because I'm new to the force. I brush it off as I approach the sheets currently covering the bodies. Thank goodness the media is not here yet. There is not a lot of extra time though. I walk up and introduce myself to the other officers and explain that I just arrived. It was probably Wates standing nearby me, but I am not questioned further. Instead, they do not question me or stop me from slipping on a pair of gloves and approaching the covered body. I take a breath and force myself to separate my feelings from my work. It is a switch I learned to turn on and off for my work. I flip off my feelings and turn on my work brain. I lift the sheet carefully. Immediately, I feel my insides churn at the sight in front of me. Wates was right – it was bad. The distinct smell of decay wafted off the remains as I lift the sheet. It is not as strong as I thought it would be, but the sight itself makes up for it. The body is horribly discolored. The flesh clings to the bones as though they had vacuumed onto the frame itself. Elements of it are shriveled and sagging. Elements of the face are already pealing back like the body was old. It's like they are months or even a year old. But how? The bodies were only now discovered. Why are they in such an advanced stage of decay? Bile rises in the back of my throat, making me feel like I want to be sick. I force it down and look closer under the available light. There are gash wounds along the neck. Based on the size, it almost looks like a thin, narrow blade had been used by the way the flesh peeled back from the entry wound. Could it have been an x-acto knife? The size of the blade would have been about right. I want to see the other set of remains. Well, I didn't want to – I had to see them. I stand and walk over to the other sheet, bracing myself for the next gruesome sight. It is just as bad as the other one, if not worse. The same overall look is there. Macabre. Disgusting. It takes me a second to remember they were people not too long ago. I stand back up, making mental notes all along the way of what I saw, when I notice something further down the road. There is a streetlight flickering at the end of the street. It feels like that moment in a horror movie when something is watching you from beyond the flickering light. Turns out, there is something – someone – there. Emerging from the shadows is a tall, male figure. He carries himself well. Even from this distance, I can tell he has a force of personality that is rarely challenged. His head and shoulders are held back and high. He is definitely not trying to hide. He seems well dressed, wearing a white buttoned-down shirt, jacket, overcoat, and black pants that match his vest of all things. As he passes under the flickering light, I catch a clear view of his ebony hair which hung slightly by his eyes and framed his face. Instantly, the hair on the back of my neck raises. My instincts are never wrong. Something is off about this guy. Plus, what is a lone guy doing wandering around the streets far away from any neighborhoods? What is even more suspicious is the fact he was making a direct line for the police tape. He is going to come onto the crime scene. I need to intervene because, whoever this guy is, he is obviously bad news.
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