I can think of better ways to die. A naked woman’s body lying face up with a hole the size of an apple in her lower belly, dried blood all over clothes, I’m assuming hers, bundled up next to her. My boss, Chipman, had been here a while. “Chipman, what the…” I start. His stare says “Shut up and know your place”.
He talks me through what’s known; unidentified female victim, no signs of sexual assault, one large hole in her stomach caused by blunt force trauma like a very hard lunge with a baseball bat, not a gunshot. Looking at the scene I’d have been happier if it was a gunshot. I’ve dealt with many of those, even had a couple myself, both made for some sweet paid recovery time.
Forensics seem to get quicker and quicker with these things as the years go by. Time was we’d wait weeks for them to go through everything. The body was discovered last night and this morning I have a large portable evidence container (you’d call it a box) on my makeshift desk in the morgue. I don’t like it down here, it’s cold and dark but I’m free of distractions. I use scalpel to cut the tape holding the lid on (would’ve been a more efficient murder weapon). I’ve got 2 sealed plastic bags inside. One with the blood stained clothes, the other with a brown book. Dried blood doesn’t stain red like you’d think from movies but brown, shitty, kinda like being impaled on a baseball bat.
The report states all the genetic materials recovered (dried blood) from the clothes and book were Jane’s (Jane Doe, unidentified female victim, try to keep up). The apartment was leased to a Susannah Barker and at the moment we’re working under the assumption that Jane is Susannah.
Chipman has said he’s not happy with me on the case, very old school, probably doesn’t approve of female detectives, let alone one investigating murder. I start with the book. Pages thick with blood. The first few snap and crumble. I pull the old anglepoise lamp over the book, try to find something useful.
It’s a diary. Now’s April, the first few months are so clotted it’ll take weeks of careful recovery to reveal anything readable. By the time it gets to March pages are only half covered. Some readable. Mostly nonsense.
I keep a diary because it’s my job to note stuff down, people who keep diary’s for fun usually don’t have much experience of interest to put in them. That doesn’t stop Jane wittering on about nothing much. Entries about the weather, getting a cat, work being dull. Jane is the most boring murder victim, if she wasn’t already dead I’d be considering administering a blunt force trauma to her head. I’ll leave that thought out of the official report.
Entry day before yesterday, not writing, some kind of strange images, a language I can’t figure out like Chinese symbols but not, I know what they are, some of them, I have “peace and respect” tattooed on my back, though it could say “I’m a whore” for all I know, drunken mistake of a much younger me. These symbols mean something and could be worthy of a report but I want have something worthy to report before I pop up to Super Sexist Chipman’s office.
There’s a noise, a clang, like a wooden spoon hammering onto an empty pan. I look up startled. There’s nobody else down here, the forensic medical examiner had finished his job and he’s somewhere warm upstairs finishing off his report. Why the fuck was I set up down here with a couple of dead bodies for company including Jane or Susannah and a bloody diary? Another sound, a rattle. What the hell? There are two sections to this morgue, the storage area and the workspace I’ve been assigned to go through all the evidence down here by “It’s a Man’s World” Chipman for god knows what reason.
I get up, stretch my legs and head over to glass partition and look through at Jane’s table. She’s not there. What the? I double take, check the desk, check the table. Where the hell’s she gone? She can’t just have got up and walked out. I unlock the door to the fridge, step in quiet as a mouse. If this is someone’s idea of a joke he’ll be glad I left my gun upstairs. Someone’s stood in the corner, I flip on the lights. Jane, she’s wearing a white lab coat, unbuttoned, her hair crusted with dried blood, the gaping wound in her midsection still very much apparent. She can’t possibly be alive. She opens her mouth and exhales, her mouth makes the shapes but the words won’t come. I need a drink. I blink and she’s infront of me, left hand around my neck. Strong for a dead girl, I claw at her hand but she’s got a firm grip. My knee goes up between her legs and I punch her in the face twice, doesn’t even flinch.
Her right hand pulls at my shirt and then it’s inside my gut, in less than a minute I’ll bleed out, I grit my teeth and look down. She’s pulling out parts of me, lower intestine and inserting it into herself replacing what’s missing like a biological plumber. She lets go and I hit the ground. I’m dragged to the makeshift desk, she picks up the diary and coughes, “Hi” she says with my voice.
She crouches down, faces me and speaks using parts of me she’s just removed “Please understand, your sacrifice is necessary to prevent many more deaths. I’m so sorry.” She holds my hand tightly an then she’s gone, grabs some of her bloody clothes and leaves. The floor is cold, I can think of better ways to die.