Archive for February, 2010

Vitural

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

  The virtual re-creation is not finished yet, but I’m guessing they did not go down easy. While waiting in the lab, I look at the photos of the arcs of blood; that means this was a battle. There is castoff on the walls and ceilings, hell even on the light fixtures. The guy who did this was good at killing people though, as the preliminary results did not betray anyone but the couples’ DNA in the room.

 The Fightsim notifies me that it is ready for the re-creation. The first cut hits the male victim’s right forearm. His blood travels along the blade and hits the left wall just over the couch. The female victim gets punched and knocked unconscious in between the couch and coffee table. The second knife wound is across the palm of the male victim’s right hand. Blood lands on the coffee table and TV.

 He must have attempted to fight back at this point because the following wound is to his left bicep while the arm was extended. This upward cut created some of the blood on the ceiling and light fixture. With both arms hurt, he must have attempted to flee because the next gash is across his back. This injury is not superficial like the others though, it is over an inch deep at its deepest level and cut through some major muscles. He was on his hands and knees when the attacker started stabbing his lower back and kidneys.

 I pause the re-creation. Over ten stab wounds in the back. That should indicate passion and personal connection. With the absence of evidence of the murderer at the crime scene, that would suggest professional work. I make a note of the inconsistency and resume.

 The man crumbles to the ground and is stabbed three more times in the chest. Then he goes back to the woman, pulls her to her knees, slits her throat and then threw her over the couch.

 I rewind the re-creation, watch the woman’s murder again and zoom in on the knife wound. The slice is clean, so most likely she was unconscious on her knees and facing the couch. After slitting her throat, he picks her up and throws her on the couch.

 Why didn’t he just kill her where she lay?

 I put away the re-creation and start scanning the video footage from the Evico. I change the room around virtually and look at the various blood patterns. I look to see if any objects have been moved since the murder and do not find any evidence of it. Sometimes it is fooled into believing curtains are a obstacle or a tablecloth makes a solid wall, so I look for a region which might have been missed by the Evico and do not find any.

 I set up the virtual bodies as they were found. The woman is 5’7”, wearing a mini-skirt and a lacy blouse. She is wearing more makeup than she needs, and her rotten teeth and gums mark her as a drug user. She was probably pretty once, but now she just looked worn out. He did not have as much anger for her, so maybe she was just collateral damage.

 I pan over to the male victim. He has got fake animal-skin boots, and not the expensive type, denim pants and a tattered band T-shirt. Methamphetamines were found on his person, but located in his boots. The killer might have missed it, so I can not rule this out, murder for drugs, but that does not seem to fit with the violence of the stab wounds.

 I zoom into his back and examine the wounds. They are uneven as if he was moving during the struggle. He was most likely in shock, but his body was still trying to run and hide. The murderer must have flipped him over because he would not have the strength to do it himself. The final three stab wounds were made while he looked him in the eye; a cou ‘de gra, if you will. I checked the DNA results for someone other than the two victims in the house, but there are still just two sets of DNA.

 The murder feels spontaneous to me, as if they were killed in a fit of rage or fury. They typically present themselves to me in one of two ways: Either the killer leaves his DNA at the crime scene or he uses something to cleanse the crime scene. No chemicals were used at this crime scene, and the murderer left no DNA.

 I walk out of my virtual projection room and head for the vending machines. The manner in which he killed the woman nags me while I walk. Why did he put her on her knees? Why did he then pick her whole body up to put her on the couch? It would have been so much easier to just push her forward. Picking her up took unnecessary effort.

 I wave my hand over the front of the machine so it can read my RF chip and select a Honeybun. The device charges me and dispenses the goods. I open the Honeybun and some of the icing drops to the ground. Rather than cleaning it up, I just use my shoe to smear it in, no one will be the wiser.

 Then it hits me! He used her blood to smear in his blood. The Evico alone would not be robust enough to separate the two bloods, so it would have just returned the woman’s DNA. The theory is sound; however, to prove it I would have to actually go to the crime scene, and I do not go to crime scenes.

 When I was in the academy, they require investigators to do one crime scene to pass the course. It was the worst day of my life, and it still haunted me. The cops there had the nerve to tell me I was lucky, and it was not a bad one. I still have nightmares about it.

 If I tell someone of my suspicions and it ends up being true, they will recieve credit for cracking the case and it will be a negative rather than a positive. The spectrograph used to identify intermingled blood is light and works quickly. I could be in and out in less than 15 minutes. I suddenly have an urge to pee while I contemplate going into that blood-filled room.

 I prefer my virtual world, and I do not want to add to my collection, the sights and smells from actual murder crime scenes. I toss the Honeybun as I enter the bathroom. My hands are shaking as I urinate. “What’s the big deal”, I keep thinking to myself, “You’ve seen hundreds of crime scenes.” After I wash my hands, I splash water on my face. I can do this.

 I call for an escort and sign out the spectrograph. The cop picks me up downstairs and I sit in silence as we travel to the house. The cop looks old and bored. He is likely to have seen many of these kinds of crimes. I make up stories about his life to distract myself.

 The house is covered in yellow tape and he has to break the seal to allow me access. As he opens the door, the smell assaults me. It is a combination of bowels, urine and something rotting. The little bit I ate threatens to come back up, and I have to walk away from the house before I even go inside. I breathe through my mouth like they taught us, while the cop seems to be waiting patiently.

 I need a few more deep breaths and to steady my nerves. I can feel sweat forming on my back and armpits even through the Fall chill. My eyes do not seem to want to focus and it is as if I can taste the blood in my own mouth. I know its shock, but that does not alleviate the terror. I want to get away, and never go in there again.

 Is this really worth it?

 Is some small note in my file worth adding to my nightmare collection?

 The cop coughs and I wish him dead. He is right, though, I need to either do this or leave, and I am already here. So I straightened up and headed back into hell. I move quickly before I lose my nerve and enter the crime scene.

 The virtual view did not effect me, but standing here does. I move over to the couch as I try to work to keep the Honeybun down. I set up the device to scan the patch I suspect to contain the perpetrator’s blood, and now I’m left to wait for the system to do its work.

 The floor is covered in blood, so I look upward. The blood on the ceiling looks like red stars in a night sky. It is better than looking at the floor or walls, in any case. The waiting is killing me, though, so I try to see constellation in the dead man’s blood. I sit in the man’s house where he was murdered and I create images from the drops of his life that hit the ceiling.

 What class of person does this?

 As I contemplate what a horrible person I am, the device alerts me to being finished. I scoop it up and run out of the house without even checking the results. Once safely outside in fresh air, I look to see if I was correct, and I was. I tell the cop I’m done, go back in the car and upload the data to find and capture this guy.

 Travis Putnam was brought in a week later. He had a record and a temper. He also was a germaphobe and daily removed layers of skin and hair in an attempt to stay clean. Seeing how he was entirely hairless, he would not leave hair behind, and the scrubbing removed any dead skin which might have sluffed off.

 The fight started because the victim would not let Travis borrow his boots. The effort had cost Travis a tooth which landed on the couch. He believed slicing the woman’s throat would spray blood over the couch. When it did not work, he resorted to picking her up and moving her.

 Right before I fall asleep some nights I dream of the murder. I feel like I’m falling into a vat of blood and I jolt awake to the smell of bowel, death and decomposition lingering inside my nose.

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The Mores (Rewrite)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

“The dragon has scales like the black o’ night and teeth the size of yer forearm,” the merchant says.

 “No one said anything in the village,” I say.

 “They wouldn’t know, would they? It’s going on 50 years, since the last time he’s been seen.”

 “There would be stories if what you say is true.”

 “Maybe they didn’t want to scare you, lass, being new to the area and all.”

 “I don’t believe you.”

 With a tip of his hat, the merchant says, “Believe whatcha will.”

 The decaying smell of swamp assails me as I walk away. I do not fancy living here, and prefer living in a city. I miss the neighbors and the sounds. Here visitors are frequent because of Colby’s work, but it is not the same. Now this merchant brings tales of a dragon who hunted in this area. I do not like it, not one little bit. I enter the house, sit down and start reading while I wait for Colby to finish bartering with the traveler.

 The sound of hammer hitting steel signals the merchant’s departure. I put my book down, and check to make sure there is no trace of him or his wagon. Seeing none, I head to the forge.

 I watch my husband slam red hot steel with a hammer. The impact bathes the forge in sparks. The noise is deafening, but I can tell his focus is intense. The sight of him in a loin cloth with the front of his torso and arms covered in protective leather still looks strange. I watch the muscles in his back as he swings the hammer and pounds the metal.

 Colby sees me watching him, and I say, “Did you hear about the dragon?”

 “Yes, I expect he hears and makes up many stories while on the road.”

 “So you don’t believe it to be true?”

 He puts down his work, walks over to me and engulfs me in a hug smelling of fire and ash.

 “My love, do not fear the daydreams of some aspiring bard. He has little to do on the road but make fanciful tales.”

 “So you think it made up?”

 “Yes. he’s just an old man who spends too much time alone.”

 Colby’s reassurances put my fears at ease, and I kiss him deeply.

 “I love you,” he whispers.

 I say, “I love you too,” and smile.

 I finish the daily chores, and still have time to read before supper. I pull out my most treasured book, Magical Creatures. It is Colby’s gift to me from our wedding day. I turn to the page on black dragons and begin to read:

 Black dragons are a medium sized with a breath of acid. They prefer swamps, bogs and marshlands. They crave treasure and sleep for long periods of time. They are not as aggressive as the reds, but they are still evil.

 The weeks pass, and I forget about the merchant’s fantasies. Colby and I enjoy time together talking and reading. We buy books and spend the night discussing them at length. Our first year of marriage is glorious.

 It is a joy to have someone to talk with who cares for what I have to say. Men are so troublesome when it comes to listening to a woman’s mind. Colby is different; he sees me. He appreciates my opinions, and it is one of the many reasons I love him.

 On a drizzly twilight, a midwife confirms my suspicion; I am pregnant. Overjoyed, I run to the forge to tell Colby as the midwife leaves. She believes I carry a girl, and I worry that message will not be taken well. Men prefer male children, and I fear his disappointment, but I am still elated.

 “I’m pregnant,” I say.

 Colby turns and grins, “That’s good news!”

 “The midwife thinks it’s a girl.”

 His delight never falters, “We’re going ta be parents…”

 “I know!” I say as we embrace.

 We talk about names and building a crib. We discuss clothes and buying a cow. The excitement of the baby keeps us up late into the night, and we fall asleep holding each other.

 The next night when I call to Colby that dinner is ready, I hear something large breaking through the trees of the swamp. Upon hearing the noise, Colby and I go inside of the security of our home.

 “What is that?”

 “I have no idea, but it’s big,” Colby says as he draws his bow and scans the swamplands behind our home.

 Something twice the size of a wagon breaks through the tree line. The ebony dragon advances on its two powerful hind legs. Its wings curl to its sides, to prevent them from catching in the trees. The sight of it fills me with terror. It stops to look at the clearing around our home and lifts its head. Its nostrils flare and a foul stench overcomes me. It notices our movement, and rushes the house. Colby’s arrow hits the dragon in its right shoulder. The tip barely penetrates the skin.

 The dragon’s head lowers as he peers into the window. I hear a deep intake of air, and it snaps me out of my terror. Colby pushes me into the front of the house as the acid blasts through the small window. The spray covers the entire room and splatters onto Colby’s back. The smell of acid is so pungent I vomit in my mouth.

 Time slows down as we scramble to get away from the dragon. I hear the dragon’s claws raking the roof off the house. I see Colby struggling to stand, and then I see his back. The skin is gone, the muscle is exposed and I can see the white of bones clearly. In my shock it seems unreal, as if his skin is a shirt, and I need him to put his shirt back on.

 The dragon’s hole in the roof expands, and I expect another breath attack. Unable to open the front door, Colby uses the window beside it. The gruesome wounds on his back should have killed him, but he grabs me off the floor, and tosses me sailing into the front yard.

 “Run!” is the last word he ever speaks.

 Paralyzed in the front yard, I watch in horror as the dragon looms over my home. The drake’s acid strikes Colby. The acid flows over him like thick green drops of water. The shower melts off his face, leaving his skull and jaw open in a soundless scream of agony. I lay in horror as I watch my darling devoured by this enormous winged serpent.

 He is gone, and I am left with a hole where my heart used to be. Everything is gone. . .

 I wail as I understand he is gone, gone forever!

 I wail my voice ragged.

 I wail every time I relive his death, as he tries crying out to me.

 He’s gone.

 I wail. I know hunger and thirst and yet I wail.

 I wail as my mind loops through our life together, knowing that I will never experience moments like that with him again.

 I wail that he is gone. Truly, permanently gone. Never again will I see his smile or feel his touch.

 I wail at losing half my soul.

 No sound emerges and yet I try; even without voice my loss still needs out.

 I have no notion how long I sit replaying the final moments of his life over and over again. I try to yell and scream, but my body will not obey. I put every ounce of my pain and suffering into my scream. Everything falls away but trying to make my voice work again. The sorrow pounds me for release.

 I feel time pass and my body transforming. I concentrate on making my voice heard. I move but not with my legs; my body is no longer human. The oddity of it breaks my focus. The overgrowth of weeds mean several months must have passed.

 I move to the place where he died. I look down at the scarred stone and finally funnel all my grief and pain into noise. I sound much louder and stronger than I ever did while human. The keening sound of my cry shatters the windows, and some part of my mind knows me as the mournful spirit foretelling death. I am a banshee.

 I know things. I know how to cast magic. I know I do not have milk to nurture my daughter and need to find someone who does. About to give birth, my knowledge includes the time of my pregnancy. The art of how to mask my unborn child jumps to mind. I just need to find a wet mother with a girl child to replace.

 I search for homes not protected with iron, and find a defenseless cottage. The spell I weave puts their child in a form of stasis while mine can develop and strengthen. As I leave, the loss of my child overwhelms me. I wander lost, unable to find my home.

 I hear sounds of merriment and waves of anger hit me.

 How can they be joyous? How dare they?

I will make them pay.

 I enter the clearing and scream at them. I will end their happiness, and I give them all my mourning and anguish. My cry kills all ten of the fairies and turns them pure white.

 I did not want to kill them, and the shame of it brings me back to thoughts of Colby. I become engrossed in my thoughts again. I travel to where I lost everything, to the place that defines me: Boglamore.

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