I approached the entrance of the home and was greeted by an older detective. His short, once red hair was starting to gray. His face was clean-shaven, even at this ungodly hour, with fine lines and rough edges. His suit was a dark navy blue, with a powder blue shirt underneath and a tie that matched his suit. He wore his detective shield on a chain around his neck and I was betting he had a shoulder rig underneath his jacket.
“Hey, don’t pay Darwin no mind. He is not a morning person,” the officer greeted me.
“Neither am I, but I don’t go around trying to pick fights with people. Especially not those who could rip me into unidentifiable shreds,” I replied. I’m not sure if it was my tone or the ripping into unidentifiable shreds that gave him pause, but his eyes widened and he quickly turned away. “It’s right this way.” He regained his composure and started leading me into the home. “The first scene is down here.”
“There is more than one?” I admit I was not expecting there to be multiple rooms that were deemed necessary for me to investigate.
As we neared the room, I could smell it. Blood, lots and lots of blood.
“So, if this is a homicide, why call me in?” I asked.
“You will see in just a moment.” He stopped at a doorway and motioned me to go through. It would have seemed gentleman-like if he hadn’t looked so green around the gills. I think he was just trying to avoid entering the room.
As soon as I walked in, I understood why I was called. There was blood everywhere. It covered every surface, the walls, the carpet, and the ceiling. There was too much blood. The average human had five liters of blood in their body. This would have been enough for a whole family. I walked a little further into the room and my shoes squished in the carpet. The blood was starting to congeal and oozed around my shoes.
“Shit!” I looked down at the shoes.
“What is it?” the detective asked. I had forgotten that he was there.
“Nothing, I just forgot to put shoe covers on. You can’t get blood out of this fabric. I’ll have to throw them out.” He just stared at me.
“Your shoes?” he replied. He looked as if he was in disbelief over my statement.
“Yes, my shoes, they’re ruined.”
I turned away and started surveilling the scene further. He could stare if he wanted, I didn’t mind.
Other than the copious amounts of blood, the room looked like an average living room. There was a modest television hanging on the wall, a sofa, loveseat, coffee table, and end stands. It would have been a tidy room, had it not been painted red with blood.
I turned to see if the officer was still standing in the doorway. As soon as I looked at him, he made eye contact. Probably to keep from having to look at the room any longer than he absolutely had too.
“Ok, Detective, I’m ready for the next room.” I followed him back out into the hallway. I knew that I was going to leave a trail of bloody footprints behind me, but if they didn’t complain then neither would I. After all, my shoes were already ruined, and I was probably the last person they had called. I’m usually called in when the locals have no answers.
The next room that we entered was the kitchen. It was nearly spotless. I observed the room. It looked like a kitchen that you would see in a magazine. Everything was neat, orderly and in its proper place. The only thing that was out of place, was the one large, bloody handprint. It was too large to be a woman’s or child’s handprint. Maybe I am a little sexist, but I was thankful it wasn’t a woman or child. It had to be a large man’s handprint. I walked over to the print and leaned in closer. The handprint was perfect. There was no blood running down from it, and no smudging of any kind. I straightened back up and turned to the detective once more.
“Are there any more rooms?”
He looked down; yes, there was one more. I nodded, even though I am sure he couldn’t see me doing so. He turned and I followed him out of the room. We passed two children’s rooms. One in a bubblegum pink color. It had lots of stuffed animals and dolls. The other was blue and had superheroes. I said a small thank you that we didn’t stop at either room. Thank the Gods that I didn’t have to investigate either room. We entered the last room, it must have been the master bedroom. The detective walked through the room and didn’t stop until he was in the bathroom. The white tiles gleamed against the bright red contrast of the blood-filled tub. I am not sure if it was all blood or mixed with water. Either way, the crimson liquid was filled all the way to the rim. One more drop and it might have spilled onto the white floor.
“Has anyone checked the tub?” I asked. My escort stared at me, eyes too wide.
“What do you mean?” He asked, even though he knew exactly what I was asking. “Inside the tub?” I heard him swallow.
“I’ll take that as a no. If all the samples have been taken and forensics is done with the room, I would like to drain the tub.” His gaze was firmly locked on me now.
“Are you serious? Why would you want to do that?”
I rolled my eyes. “Clues, my dear Watson, clues.”
He didn’t think I was very funny. I thought I was a riot. Ah well, I can’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
“One moment please.” He hit the button on his radio to ask if it was permitted.
“Ma’am,” the detective said, “it’s fine if you want to drain the tub. Forensics is finished processing the entire home.” He emphasized the you, as if making sure I knew that he wasn’t going to do it. I unbuttoned my suit jacket and slipped it off. I folded it and laid it on the spotless white counter. Next, I removed my two .45mm handguns and laid them on top of my jacket. Then I unfastened my shoulder rig and removed it. Thankfully, I had decided to wear a tank top underneath my blouse. I removed my shirt. The detective quickly averted his eyes and started to blush.
“Relax, Sparky, I’m wearing a tank under my shirt. I’ll be damned if I am going to ruin my shirt and my shoes.”
I walked back over to the tub, sighed and bent down. The water was warm, too warm for how long it had been sitting. Hopefully, I could be gentle enough to keep from spilling the liquid everywhere and making a bigger mess. I fished around until I found the plug and pulled it gently to allow the tub to drain. Once done, I stood back up, withdrawing my arm. The detective was beside me with a towel. He handed it to me so I could wipe my arm off.
“Thank you, Detective…”
“Reams, ma’am.” He was polite.
“Please, call me Athena.”
We waited for the tub to finish draining, it seemed to take forever. The beautiful white porcelain tub was ruined. The blood had to have been a high concentration because it had seeped into the surface, staining it. Someone was going to have a hell of a time cleaning this house and the value would plummet after this. Murder does that.
Once the tub had finished draining, I could see what I needed.
“Detective Reams, could you be dear and call forensics back? I think they have more work to do.” He was just staring at the large severed hand laying in the empty tub.
“Detective,” I called again. I snapped my fingers in front of his face, breaking his concentration.
“Detective, are you with me?”
He blinked a few times and made another audible swallow. “Yes, ma’am…Athena.”
“Can you go call your sergeant and tell him forensics needs to come back?”
He nodded his head a little too rapidly. The panic was setting in.
“Why don’t you go get some air?” It wasn’t really a request.
“I’m not supposed to leave you…” His words trailed off as he resumed staring at the hand.
“How about I promise not to touch anything and to tell your sergeant how wonderful you were when I give him my report?”
He looked back at me. His green eyes looked so scared. Like a child’s eyes. He nodded and walked out.
Looking back down at the severed hand, I was betting it belonged to the print in the kitchen. But where was the rest of him? Where was the rest of the family? And where in the hells did all that blood come from? I needed to give the sergeant my report. I needed to find out what had happened here.
I’m just hoping that this isn’t the beginning of something much worse.