Novel 3: Act II, Chapter 1, Scene 5a

TOC page here.

Now we’ll get to some forensics. I wrote this chapter (long) before I decided to change Mario to the fourth act’s victim instead of the second’s. So when you read this, imagine a different corpse. The rest of it will stay the same:

Inside Grady, they threaded their way down into the sub-basement, down past machinery that a cash-strapped county had let function well past its useful life. Outside the door at the end of a dark hallway, they found Curtis Jenkins, standing at parade rest. “Can’t trust nobody these days,” he said by way of greeting. The three of them found Keller, Posh, and the corpse of Mario, nude on a gurney, the black calligraphy on his chest making his skin look paler by comparison.

Keller said, “The five of us are the only ones who’ve seen this.”

Diana said, “Sgt. Brown knows we’re up to something.”

Jenkins nodded. “I’ll take care of him. What did you find up there, Dave?”

“A non-optimal environment for forensic investigation. The Medical Arts building was abandoned in 1982. That makes for over three decades of filth. He’s been there for almost a week. Footprints everywhere, like I said; even the fresh ones won’t tell us anything useful in court.”

Jenkins said, “Too many false positives. And this ain’t TV, so nobody dropped their custom-made class ring or whatever.”

Keller held up a small evidence bag. “Someone did drop the backing to an earring, but it’s your basic mass-produced anonymous object. No prints on it: too small for enough reference points, anyhow.” He handed it to Diana, who dug a marker out of her bag to sign the chain of custody. “I kept it, cause it was clean enough to be fresh, and it couldn’t have been there long, else the squatters would have found it.”

Mustapha said, “Thanks, Dave. Hey, Dr. Posh, what do you got?”

Dhandha’s voice was muffled from behind the surgical mask. “Strangled, with a cord similar to your other victim. No other gross injuries, no defensive wounds. Cool weather has slowed decomposition, but not stopped it, so I’ll have to bring in some equipment to see whether there are any needle marks or other indications he was sedated. Bloodwork will take forever, as per usual.”

Diana said, “What about his eyes?”

Indeed. We’ll find out tomorrow. One of the things I keep coming around to is how my cops don’t act like TV cops. You hide a body in an abandoned building for a week, and do a halfway decent job of covering your tracks, nobody’s going to figure out who did it. Unless that earring backing means something…

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  1. Novel 3: Act II, Chapter 1, Scene 5b | Julian Cage

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