by Cory M Tobin
Detective Cooper investigates a bizarre crime scene
| What was once a face looks at me. Mouth twisted and knotted in a shock of horror frozen in a horrible moment in time. It's the eyes that always give me a hard time. Open wider than if they were alive. Staring right through me and unfocused. Little to no coloration.
This is a very curious sight. I have looked and combed over many crime scenes in my time as a detective. Even going back into my time on the force I had seen my fare share of shit. This takes the cake. His body slouched back in a chair, head tilted back as if howling to the sky. Now aside from the frozen face of horror the thing I find very interesting is how the limbs are all twisted backwards. It would take a lot of force to do that but with enough precision as to not tear them completely off.
The body had been here a while. What began as a general welfare check on a missing persons report turned into this haunting nightmare of a discovery. They sent the officer home that had initially found him. His vomit still stains the sidewalk outside and probably will for weeks. Nothing comes clean in this neighborhood. A small residential district of low income housing in south Portland. The street littered with cigarette butts and old sodden bits of trash. Like the kind of place someone would be just before rock bottom. The old recycling plant is just blocks away, a 5 cent can throw away from this being an industrial district.
Back inside the house or what more resembles a long forgotten shed that's been soaking in rain for centuries, the smell of death is heavy. The kind of stench that if put on a scale could possibly outweigh me. The room filling from corner to corner slowly like a decrepit gas chamber on a time release. I had smelled this before. However I had not seen this before.
"whadda ya think Cooper?", Lt. Davids asks me with little to no hesitation.
"You know I cant rightly say, Davids. I havnt really got in there yet but I can tell you this. Someone went to a lot of effort on this one." I lean in close to examine the twisted joints that once were healthy sockets. "Bruising. This was done while he was alive."
"What a way to go eh? What did this sack of shit junkie do to piss off whatever ape did this?"
"Maybe he just saw a picture of your wife L.T." I say with a slight grin while giving the lieutenant some side eye. Lt. Davids chuckles lightly and leaves the house.
Now what to say about this case. I cant think of any way to twist and contort someone without ripping them apart. Skin stretches and is malleable only to a certain breaking point until it rips apart. Flashes fill the room from the coroners camera. Light rapidly bringing life to the room and just as fast taking it away. Like a pulse in rhythmic fashion. The high pitch hum of the flash recharging after every shot. Our victim in full display like a bulimic model posing for the next magazine of whatever.
I will look over the pictures and talk to the coroner after they take the body. Ive never really focused much on the body at any crime scene. The autopsy will find anything I need to know. The truth is usually hidden in the room. Find something out of place anything and it usually leads you where to look next. There it is. The glint of shiny steel hits my eyes with full force off the flash of the coroners monotonous camera snaps. If I can tell you one thing about this room is nothing in it has a shine to it. Everything dull and damp. Mold coating the corners of the room. Trash littered everywhere. What could possibly have a reflection to it in this place? A small bit of metal. About the size of a lighter and has an engraving on it I don't recognize from anywhere. Almost forming a "Z" but with a circle starting middle of the way through. With my latex gloves on I pick it up. Its heavy. Like really heavy. The weight resembles that of a tire iron. I look around and with no eyes on me I pocket it. Im not about to let this little gem of a find end up on some other bullshit investigators desk as he struggles to link it to the crime.
"You all done here?" I ask the coroner.
"Just about. Ill let you know what we find from the autopsy. I cant wait to crack into this one." He says with a way to excited smile.
I never understood that. How the coroners and medical professionals of death can enjoy ripping apart a body. I suppose its all science but that has to be unhealthy on the mind after time. I know my mind is fucked up and all I have to do is look at the shit. Imagine where the mind must wander when the pressures of the day come rolling to an end and the quiet of the night sets in.
I leave the house, now ransacked of all material items that had left in little baggies that say "evidence" on the side of them, and step outside. Its raining. The water puddles up and ferrys trash and refuse down the street where it will sit and rot in the wet corners of sewage drains. I look up and let the water hit my face as I try and wash the scene from my mind for a moment. It doesn't budge. Burned in. Probably a good thing. I am a detective after all.