Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Shoes

Here is a excerpt from a project I am currently working on. Please remember that it is a work in progress and not a polished piece of work.

The thermometer had been stuck in the low to mid ninety degree range for the past week and Sam, with his sweat soaked shirt clinging to his belly like a hungry leech, cursed silently as he rolled down his window to talk to one of his deputies.

 “Good morning Sam,” greeted the officer.

Sam nodded his greeting. “Pete.  What are we looking at?”

Sam could almost taste the worry in Pete’s voice. “It’s real bad, Sam.  It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

“Are you OK?”

“Sure.  Why do ask?”

“I’ve haven’t seen you this green in fifteen years.  Back when you helped pull that floater from Mason’s creek.  Remember?”

Pete took off his hat and wiped his face. “I thought those nightmares were bad.  I’m not going to close my eyes ever again Sam.  I’m telling you.  It’s real bad down there!”

“OK.  Just relax Pete.  You’re croaking like a frog.  You just stay up here and keep an eye on things. I’m sure it can’t bad as bad as you say.”

Or what you aren’t saying. He thought before asking, “Who all is down there?”

“Davis and Stew.  They took the call.  Jager got here about twenty minutes ago and Sarah is taking pictures.”

“What about Brent.  Isn’t he working days with you?”

“Um yeah. He had to drive in to Powel.”

“What in Gods name for?”

“The witnesses.  He took them to Soldiers Hospital.”

Sam rubbed a pool of sweat from the back of his neck.  “Hospital?”

Pete slapped at a fly that landed on his arm.  “Yup.” He fished his note book out of his pocket and flipped through it for a minute.  “Kathy and Martin Stickwood.  They’re here from New York on holiday.  Portaging trip.  She went off into the woods to do number two and that’s when she found it.  They flagged down a trucker and he leant them his cell to call it in.”

“And this trucker?  Where is he?”

“He didn’t see any of it.  Just helped them with the call.  I took all his vitals and sent him on his way.”
“Everything?  Name address phone number?”

“Yup. Even checked his log book.  He’s parking at The Rainbow for a rest.  Won’t be pulling out until some time after 3.  Want me to go get him?”

Sam thought it over for a minute.  “No.  As long as we can get in touch.  If he didn’t see anything I can’t imagine why we’d need to talk to him further.”

“OK.  Jager’s straight down that path about 100 meters or so.  I’ll radio to tell him to watch for you.”

Sam nodded his agreement and moved his car farther onto the shoulder of the road.  He fished a flask from his pocket and drained half of it before squeezing his bulk out into the blazing sun.

Sam was sweating heavily and nearly out of breath when he ran into Fritz Jager exactly where Pete had said he’d be.  “What do we have Jager?”

“Nothing good Sam.  It’s over there,” answered Fritz.

Sam held up hand. “Give me a minute while I catch my breath.”  He dug a pack of cigarettes out of his pockets and held the pack out to Jager.

Jager took a smoke. “Thanks,” he said while he waited for Sam to light it.

“Tell me about it before we go down to see it.”

“It’s a mess.”

“OK.  What do you mean?”

“You have to see it.  Worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

“Come off it, Fritz.  You’ve been working this job for almost 30 years.”

“I’m telling you Sam.  I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Sam hitched his thumb and pointed behind him. “Even when you were over there during Desert Storm?”

“Even then.”

They finished their cigarettes in silence.

“You have breakfast yet?” asked Jager as he started to lead Sam off the main trail.

“Yes.  Why?” asked Sam.

Jager stopped at the edge of a clearing and pointed.  “Because look.”

Sam had seen murder scenes before but there was absolutely nothing in his wildest or most twisted dreams that could have prepared him for the carnage that awaited him.

The clearing was littered with garbage bags that had been torn open by carrion eaters seeking the juicy prize inside.  Body parts were scattered about like a deck of cards after a game of fifty-two pick up and the air was thick with the acrid stench of rotting decay.

It was too much for Sam’s full belly and he turned away and fell to his knees.

It's just this crazy heat! He thought to himself after his stomach had finally emptied. The crazy heat, the stench of decay and the sight of all those garbage bags!

Sam took a moment to collect himself and wished that he had brought his flask from the car.  “How many bags?”

“I counted twelve but there could be more.”

Sam Beckford turned to look at the scene and snorted in disgust.  "Twelve?" he asked as he wiped vomit from his chin.

Jager offered Sam a handkerchief and nodded.  "I've got Stew and Davis out looking for any that may have been dragged off by animals."

Sam ignored the hanky and wiped vomit on his pant leg. "Twelve?"

“So far.  I’ve got Stew and Davis out looking for any more that may have been dragged off by animals. ”

“Tell me what you’ve got, Jager.  What am I looking at?”

If you look at the torso you'll see a history of contusions that may indicate repeated beatings over a number of days.  There are lacerations on the left wrist which may indicate that she was bound.  I can’t confirm it until we find the other hand.  It is possible that she was only bound by one hand but like I said.  We’ll have to check.  Grab some gloves and help me roll the body."

“Jesus!” said Sam.  “Look at all those cuts,” he turned to look at Jager.  “Are they the cause of death?”

“Doubtful.  They’re too shallow.”

“He could have made all the cuts and let her bleed out.”

“Nope.  Too much blood on the scene here and besides if you look,” Jager pointed and made sure Sam was looking before continuing.  “There’s scarring tissue.  That one is nearly healed wile this one looks almost new.”

"He really worked her over is what you're saying?"  Sam asked.  "Rape?"

“Without the bottom half to examine I can’t say.  I’d also say that you’re probably right about her being worked over.  There are a lot of old bruises here.  Two weeks maybe.”

Sam moved his gaze across the field of carnage and stopped when something caught his eye.  “What is that?” He pointed.

Jager followed Sam’s finger and stepped cautiously across the small clearing.  “Cigarette butt.”

Sam turned towards the woman taking photographs.  “Make sure you get a picture of it.” He looked over at Jager.  “Make sure it gets catalogued properly.  We’ll have to check it for DNA.”

“Sure thing Sam.  I...”

Jager cut himself off when officer Davis shoved his way into the clearing.  “You gotta come and see this!”

“What is it?” Asked Sam as he navigated his way across the field.

“You have to see it for yourself.  We found another bag!” answered Davis.  “There’s something in it!”

“OK.  Show us,” said Jager as Sam caught up.

"Do we have the head?"  Sam asked as they came to another clearing a few hundred meters away. 
Another officer, Stew, pointed towards a small pile of shredded garbage bags.  “I've counted four!”

Jager rushed over the pile and had Stew point out the heads he had found amongst the rest of the body parts in the pile.

“What do you have Jager?  What the fuck is going on?” asked Sam.

“It’s funny,” said Jager from where he was leaning over one of the heads.

Sam turned to him in shock. "Funny! What can you possibly say about this that a sane person would consider funny?"

Jager stood and scowled at Sam for a second.  "OK.  Strange then.  The eyes are missing."

"So?  You said that animals had been at the other one.  Maybe the birds got 'em."

"I don't think so," said Jager as he motioned Sam to kneel where he could get a better look.  "This is the freshest one.  See how smooth it is around the socket?”


“I think the killer scooped them out.”

Sam stood up and noticed some blood on the top of his shoe. "Before or after?"

"Hopefully after."

Sam shook his head in disgust.  "I need new shoes."

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