Sometimes I just hate this job.
Mike felt like an intruder, no, more like a thief really. The poor girl wasn’t even dead more than a few hours, and she already had to suffer a complete stranger in what had no doubt been her safe haven.
He always went with the vibe of a place first. This is a den, he thought when he opened the door and stepped inside.
Enter places the way you think their rightful occupant would have entered them and follow the habitual path they would have taken.
It wasn’t difficult to do this in her case. He had a little tour guide to aid him.
A fluffy fur ball greeted him excitedly at the door step. About knee-high. Too much dangly fur to be able to tell if it was male or female. A glance at the coat hanger made him guess most likely female. But then I’m influenced by what I’m taking in from mixing with my own small circle of friends, he thought.
Isn’t it funny that all of them are dog owners? Most of them have male dogs. There are eight that have male dogs, and the leads they use to walk their dogs are mostly blue ones, except for Badger’s which is black with little yellow bones. Only Edwin and Holly have a female dog each, and both their dogs are attached to red leads whenever they get taken outside for their walks.
Better start writing things down. Memory isn’t what it used to be. He reaches into his shirt pocket and takes out the little notepad. He loves that bit actually. Makes him feel like Columbo. He squints and taps the side of his nose with his pencil.
Okay let’s see, what have I got so far?
The dog has finally stopped running circles around him and darts down the hallway into a room to the left. Before he gets as far as reaching the door to peek inside, the fur ball returns with a pair of blue slippers.
Dirty blue slippers (size 10) he scribbles onto his notepad.
Hm, wouldn’t have thought these are her style at all. And size 10? Her feet looked smaller to him when he watched the technical team taking photos from all sorts of angles earlier.
The dog’s tail is making rhythmical thumping sounds on the old floorboard.
Ah, I get it, she wants me to take my shoes off and put on these slippers. Sorry mate, can’t do. Have a job to do here and the lab guys’ll want to look at these also, if my hunch is right. So I’m not gonna touch them.
Wanna show me where you got these from, girl? Let’s have a look. Aha, thought this might be the bedroom.
The bed sheets are in disarray, as though a twister had got hold of them, lifted them up high, crunched them up and spat them back out again. He looks at the dog. Is that your handiwork, madam?
Disarray in bedroom he writes, then steps over to the window.
A dream catcher is suspended from the window frame. Now isn’t that interesting, little lady? Not sure I would have chosen a wolf as my dream catcher. Wouldn’t that give you nightmares more likely?
He’s got something in his mouth that wolf. Mike takes out a handkerchief so as not to leave any fingerprints and pulls the dangling object closer.
Fuck me, it’s a swastika. What the …
And then Mike’s world turns black. The powerful strike against the back of his head takes him by surprise. The dream catcher escapes his list.
(c) Ash N. Finn, 2012