A psychological thriller based on a dream.this is my second attempt at a story
|“So who have we got here?”
The coroner looks up from the body he is examining, he is a small man in his mid-fifties with thinning, grey hair styled in a very bad comb over.
“Morning Detective sorry to get you out so early on a Sunday morning but you know how it is, if there is a murder someone’s got to deal with it.”
“That’s OK Jacob, you know me I don’t usually sleep late anyway and please call me Sarah we’ve known each other long enough to be on a first name basis.”
“Sorry Sarah force of habit. Anyway what we have here is a Caucasian female between 18 and 24, around five foot nine, what was once blonde hair and a slim build. She was found in the river by a couple of fishermen this morning around 5am cause of death at the present time appears to be asphyxiation but I’ll know more after I’ve done a full autopsy.”
Jacob moves over to a tray that is next to the body. Inside it is the girl’s personal belongings, or what is left of them. There are the remains of a blouse and a purse that is nearly intact.
“We opened the purse when the girl was brought in but there wasn’t anything in there that could help us identify her. There were bits and pieces of her driver’s license but nothing that could substantiate as an address.”
“Can I have a look at that Jacob?” Sarah asks as she walks around the slab to where Jacob is standing.
“Sure just put on the gloves, you know the drill.”
Sarah gets a pair of latex gloves out of the container and pulls them onto her delicate looking hands. But looks can be deceiving, Sarah is a young detective by current standards being only twenty-six but she is well respected within the force. Having only a slight build and not being much more over five foot six she had a lot to prove in the academy and it was her determination to succeed that got her the promotion that people twice her age craved.
Sarah picks up the purse and opens it up. A couple of drops of water fall out of it and onto her shoes. She started to go over the purse with a fine toothcomb looking in all of the pockets as well as the zipped part for coins. She was just closing it up when she saw a slight indentation in the leather.
“Jacob what are these bumps here?”
“What bumps Sarah?” Jacob comes back from the coffee machine and picks up a magnifying glass along the way. He takes the purse from Sarah and sets it up on a light table. Jacob turns the light on and gets out his magnifying glass. After a couple of minutes he turns the light off and goes to his desk for a pen and paper.
“Well Jacob what are they?” Sarah asks eager to know so that they might finally be able to start to identify the victim.
“It’s a serious of numbers, give me a second and I’ll write them down for you.”
He turns the light on again and while peering through the magnifying glass writes down the sequence. Once he’s finished he takes the scrap of paper and gives it to Sarah.
“This should be a good start for you Sarah it looks like it is an ATM card and you know what that means, if there’s an ATM card number then it can be traced to a person.”
Sarah takes the latex gloves off and throws them into the bin. “Thanks Jacob, this will give us a great start. I’ll catch you tomorrow and let you know what we found out.”
“Thanks Sarah, once I’ve done the autopsy I’ll give you a call.”
Sarah goes back to her car when she realises that she has left her bag back in the morgue. She turns and heads back inside hoping to catch the door before it locks itself but she was out of luck. She presses the buzzer to get back in and stands patiently outside while she waits for Jacob to let her in. After she’s been waiting for five minutes she gets out her mobile and rings Jacob directly.
“Jacob, it’s Sarah here can you let me back in please? I left my bag in the morgue.”
“Sure Sarah, give me a second.”
The phone hangs up and she hears the buzz of the door being unlocked. Pulling the door open she heads back to the morgue. As she pushes her way through the swinging doors a shocking scene greets her.
Jacob is standing with a full-face mask on peering at the tools at his disposal. The body now laying on it’s side so that he can draw bone marrow from the hip as a means of possible identification means that the naked back is facing towards Sarah as she re-enters the room.
“Jacob I um think there is something that you should have a look at.”
Jacob takes off the mask he was wearing, “What was that Sarah I couldn’t hear you with the mask on.”
“I said I think there is something you should have a look at.”
Jacob walks around to the other side of the slab and he can see what Sarah was on about. On the back of the victim engraved into the skin is the letter P.
“Holy Christ! What in God’s name is that?”
“If you ask me Jacob I’d say it was the letter P.”
“I can see that but why is it there?”
“That’s your job not mine, hopefully though it’ll be the lead we’ve been looking for.” With that Sarah picks her bag off the ground where she left it and walked out the doors. As a second thought she opens one of the doors back up and yells to Jacob across the room “Keep me posted will ya. Hopefully you can get something off of the body for me.”
Jacob now thoroughly intrigued by this new development does nothing more than grunts a response and with this Sarah leaves the morgue but this time with her bag.
Back at the precinct she goes and sees the Captain to see what resources she can get. The Captain’s office is more like the office of a bureaucrat than that of a police officer. It is immaculately kept; on the wall are pictures of the Captain and the Mayor after a successful re-election to office as well as one of the Captain when he had just graduated out of the academy.
Sarah knocks on the door. The Captain is a fair enough guy most of the time but first thing in the morning is when he’s his grumpiest.
“What do ya want?” a typical Captain response.
“Hi Cap, I’ve got a homicide that needs investigating and I’m gonna need some manpower.”
“What have you got so far?”
“Not a lot. We’ve got a Caucasian female. Death looks like asphyxiation, a number that possibly belongs to the victim’s ATM card and a huge letter P etched into her back.”
“You’re right you’ve got bugger all. For now I just want you to investigate it. See if you can find anything at the crime scene and try to figure out who the victim is.”
“Come on Cap I can’t do all this stuff by myself.”
“Okay you can have the new guy. His name is Detective Doug Pullet. He’s just transferred from down south so this should be a good case to get his feet wet. Now when you’ve got some more information then maybe we can discuss getting you a larger team. Until then though I don’t want to see you, you got that?”
“Yes Cap.” Sarah replied, disappointed that she couldn’t get a bigger team to support her. “Where do I find Detective Pullet?”
“He’ll be here in a minute. When he arrives I’ll send him over to your desk. Now get out of my office.”
Sarah leaves the Captain’s office and heads back to her desk to see if she can get a trace on the ATM card owner’s name. She has just logged on when someone comes over and taps her shoulder.
“Excuse me but are you Detective Jackson?”
Sarah turns around to be confronted by a strikingly handsome man. He has dark hair and eyes that in certain light change from being a pale blue to grey. He is about six foot two and has the build of someone who goes to the gym on a regular basis. On first guess she would have to say that he wrestled back in high school.
Slightly shocked it takes her a second to respond. “Ye…Yes I’m Detective Jackson you must be Detective Pullet right?”
“Yes how did you guess?”
“I spoke to the Cap bout five minutes ago and he said that you were coming from down south. I guessed it was you from the accent and the fact that Cap said he’d send you over to see me.”
“Ah I see and here it was that I thought you were psychic or something.”
“Nope I’ve just got a good memory.”
There is an uncomfortable silence for a couple minutes while both of them try to think of something to say. Finally Doug clears his throat and starts to speak again. “The Cap said that there was a case that you just started on that we were going to work together.”
“Yep that’s right have a seat why don’t ya, you’re starting to make me feel shorter than I already am.”
Doug pulls out a chair from the opposite desk and wheels it around next to Sarah. As he sits down Sarah gets a whiff of his cologne, its rich and has earthy tones to it but it isn’t so strong that it gets overpowering. He obviously has very good taste.
“So what are we looking at then?”
Sarah gets out her notebook and leafs through it until she reaches the current case. She quickly re-reads the notes she has taken to make sure she doesn’t miss anything and starts to summarise the case so far.
“I don’t know what the Cap told you so I’ll go over everything. A Caucasian female, between 18-24 was found in the river this morning. At the moment cause of looks like asphyxiation and there is a large P engraved onto her back. We’ve got something that looks like an ATM card number that I was tracing when you tapped me on the shoulder. Speaking of that can you hold on for a sec.” Sarah turns back to the computer and taps away at the keys. She hits the enter key and turns back to Doug.
“Where was I?”
“You were telling me about the ATM card number.”
“That’s right. It was found this morning and just now I’ve sent a search on it. If it comes back with a match I’ll get a message on my phone.”
“So what’s next then?”
“Well we can’t do anything until we get a call from Jacob or a match on the card number so I may as well show you around the joint.”
Sarah gets up and as she walks past Doug to grab her jacket she can feel his eyes going up and down her body checking her out. Sarah turns around and Doug quickly averts his eyes and grabs his jacket also so that the tour can start.
Sarah leads Doug towards elevators so they can get to the garage and see the patrol cars thinking that they can start from the bottom and work their way up as the case maybe. They stand at the elevator in silence. The silence between them is electric though and although they aren’t speaking their bodies are saying plenty. The lift opens and they both try to walk through the doors at the same time.
Sarah bumps into Doug, “Sorry Doug, after you.”
“Thanks but I should have let you go first after all the saying goes ladies first.”
“No Doug you should have gone first, age before beauty if you get my drift.”
“Ha ha Detective very funny but I’m only twenty-eight.”
Sarah leans past Doug to get to the buttons. She pushes the first garage level because that is where her car is parked. As the doors close and they ride down in the elevator Sarah thinks to herself that things are much more comfortable between them now that they’ve shared a joke and the tensions broken.
The doors open and the two get out of the elevator. It’s fairly dim and there are lights flickering overhead.
“What’s with the light partner?” Doug asks Sarah looking up at the roof of the car park.
“Oh I don’t even notice that anymore they’ve been like that for years now but you know how it is, the governor is too much of a cheap ass to get them fixed.”
”Yeah I know what you mean. So which way is it too your car?”
Sarah points to 2003 Holden Astra towards the back of the car park. “That’s mine back there. There are a couple of others I use from time to time but that baby is my main choice.”
“Nice I prefer one with a bit more grunt though.”
“Boys and their toys.”
Before Doug can get a chance to retaliate Sarah’s phone starts to ring in her jacket pocket. She pulls the phone out. “Hello Jacob that was quick what have you got for me?”
Doug can hear the sounds of someone talking but they are muffled so he just stands there looking at Sarah. A moment later she hangs up without saying goodbye looking a little bit angry.
“Damn underground parking, cut out the conversation.”
“So who is Jacob exactly?”
“Oh he’s the morgue man. A really great guy once you get to know him.”
“So what did he want?”
“He didn’t get a chance to say but I gather he’s got something on the body we’re trying to ID.”
“Well let’s get going then. No time like the present.”
“That’s what I was goin’ to say.”
Sarah leads them over to the Astra and takes out the keys to unlock the door. She throws the Doug and he catches them just a second before they hit the ground. “Good reflexes.” Sarah says impressed that he caught the keys without so much as a ‘Heads Up’ from her. “Why don’t you drive? It’ll give you a chance to get to know the beat.”
They swap sides of the car and Doug lets them both in. Doug adjusts the seat to fit his much taller frame and puts the key into the ignition.
“Where to boss?” he asks in a joking manner acting like a chauffeur rather than her partner.
“Just head up to the left and follow the signs to the exit from there take the first left and I’ll tell ya where to turn off.”
“Right. Sounds simple enough.”
Doug turns the ignition and starts the car going he slowly works his way through the twisting underground garage and before to long they are out in the fresh air heading towards the morgue.
“Turn right here Doug.”
Doug flips on his indicator and makes the turn going into the driveway of the Century Park Morgue. He pulls into the park near the front reserved for the police and takes the keys out of the ignition. They get out of the car and Doug starts to move towards Sarah so that he can give her back her keys.
“Keep them Doug. You really gotta learn the streets and you can only do that by experiencing them.”
“OK Sarah your call.” Doug pockets the keys and side-by-side they walk up to the entry of the morgue to get themselves buzzed in.
Sarah pushes the buzzer and steps back in view of the camera to identify herself when someone came to let them in. They waited in silence not really doing anything but looking around casting the occasional sidelong glance at each other when the other wasn’t looking.
After about five minutes Doug went back to the buzzer and pushed it again. After a minute and still know response Sarah let out a low sigh.
“That Jacob I’d swear he’d lose his head if it wasn’t screwed on. He’s already done this to me once this morning. You see he gets really involved in his work and it isn’t that uncommon for him to lose track of time and end up pulling an all nighter.”
“So what do we do now then?”
“I’ll give him a call direct. Usually he manages to hear that despite being so focussed.”
Sarah pulls out her phone and hits the redial button instead of searching through the phone’s list of numbers. After a couple of rings a person picks up.
“Jacob it’s Sarah, you really gotta stop getting caught up with your work. Especially when you are expecting guests. Can you buzz me in please? Thanks.”
The door buzzes then clicks open. Sarah pulls the door open and turns to Doug.
“You coming or what?”
Doug follows her into the building and down a dimly lit hall to the morgue where Jacob was working.
Sarah pushes her way through the swinging doors at the end of the hall and a bright light fills the once dim hallway. The doors swing back and Doug has to jump backwards to avoid being smacked in the head by them. He waits for them to stop swinging then makes his way into the room as well.
“Thanks for the warning about the doors Sarah.” Doug says in a sarcastic tone he calls across the room as he walks towards Sarah and a small, balding man.
“Sorry bout that Doug.” Sarah replies sheepishly, “I’m used to working alone and I kinda forgot about ya for a second.”
“Um Sarah aren’t you forgetting about something?” Jacob asks before Sarah can start up a barrage of questions again.
“Not that I can think of. Why? What have I forgotten?” Sarah scratches her head deep in thought.
“How about introductions?”
“Oh right sorry. Doug this is Jacob; he is our Chief Medical Examiner. We’ve worked on a couple of cases before. He really knows his stuff.”
Doug reaches over to shake hands with Jacob as Sarah continues with the introductions “And Jacob this is Detective Doug Pullet, the newest member to the force just transferred form down south. He’ll be working with me on this case. Cap thought it would be a good getting to know the beat case.”
The two finish shaking hands and Doug looks around at his surroundings. It is a large room with the classic stainless steel finish that accompanies all morgues these days. To the far left there is a bank of closed doors all neatly labelled with whom is interred in each. On the back wall is a large cabinet filled with medical equipment and a variety of vials of different coloured liquids. On the far right there is a sink to clean your hands, a number of smaller refrigerators for storing samples and smaller medical devices. From his experience he can see a centrifuge as well as a high tech vacuum for picking up trace elements and fibres off of clothing. There is also a door leading to another room where Doug assumes that the necessary experiments are conducted. Doug hears someone clicking at him and realises that while looking around he has drifted into his own little dream world.
“Earth to Detective Pullet, do you read me?”
“Sorry about that Sarah I kinda got distracted by looking around.”
“That’s OK. I’ll just get Jacob to go over what we’ve talked about so far and then we’ll decide where to go from there.”
The man he had just been introduced to as Jacob started speaking again. “As I was saying so far there isn’t a lot to go on. We’ve taken DNA samples but so far they’ve turned up as a negative, ditto goes for the fingerprinting done as well. Looks like our Jane Doe didn’t have a record.”
“Well that’s not much to go on then is it?”
“Well no Sarah but now we get to the interesting stuff. Initially it was thought that asphyxiation was the cause of death but the toxicology report has just come back and her system was pumped full of a substance that when it comes into contact with the stomach juices causes a reaction that ruptures the internal organs. Both have similar results, with the appearance of blood vessels burst in the eyes from lack of oxygen as well as the tell tale disfigurement of the larynx. In this case from vomit coming up while the substance was still reacting. Unfortunately this substance is found in most oven cleaners so trying to trace who used it on this girl are unlikely. As far as we can tell there were no other drugs in her system apart from caffeine and nicotine.”
“So what we have is a killer that uses oven cleaner to kill then dump the body right?”
“That about sums it up Detective Pullet.”
“What about the P on her back.”
“Well Sarah that doesn’t really make any sense. You see it was done post-mortem but it doesn’t seem to serve any purpose.”
“Maybe it’s a trademark or calling card?”
“Could be Doug we can check that back at the station. You got anything else for us Jacob?”
“No I’m afraid not Sarah. Get me a body that hasn’t been floating in a river for a couple hours getting all nice and clean and I might be able to help you. Have you had any luck ID-ing her yet?
THIS IS JUST WHAT I'VE WRITTEN SO FAR. YOUR THOUGHTS, IMPROVEMENTS AND ADVICE ARE WELCOME.