A blog where Stephanie M. Belser test-drives her fictional stories.
Expect the occasional
"stall, spin, crash & burn".

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Irregular Creatures

(Answering this challenge)

    I caught the call at 7PM, three hours before I was to go off shift.  “Dead body, possible murder” was all that Dispatch told me. 

    Great.  I pulled my SigSauer from my desk, got up, holstered the piece, grabbed my “go kit,” put on my coat and headed out.  No partner, budget cutbacks took care of that.  The only time you roll nowadays with another badge is when it is a heavy takedown or ESU is coming along.

    The address was a twelve story apartment building. It probably was a luxury building, back before the double-barreled crashes of `08 and `13, but not now.  It did have security of a sort, I had to badge my way in past a heavyset doorman. He didn’t ask for ID to go with the badge.

    The stiff was on the seventh floor.  A uniformed cop was at the door.  I showed her my badge and ID, she made a note.  I put on a pair of blue shoe covers and blue gloves.  As I went to go in, the uniform said: “She ain’t pretty, Detective.”

    The uniform had to have been a Brit to say that.  The vic was lying in the living/dining room, maybe ten feet from the door.  She was once pretty, but now she looked like she had been a guest-star in a slasher flick.  Her face only had a single cut, probably by accident.  Her torso, hands and arms were slashed to doll rags.  The ME was going to go crazy trying to count them. 

    I turned back to the door.  “You clear this place?”

    “Yes, ma’am.  There wasn’t a soul in there when I got here.”

    “Crime scene techs coming,” I asked.

    The uniformed cop nodded.  “So’s the ME.”

    I pulled out a camera and began filling up the flash card with shots.  I like to have my own photos before the crime scene techs and the coroner’s people start messing the place up. There was blood spatter almost everywhere I looked, even on the ceiling.  I’d seen neater slaughterhouses.  Besides the blood, the untidiness of the room spoke of a struggle, but apparently it was one-sided.

    The apartment was a one-bedroom and it had a balcony.  The balcony door was open.  There was no apparent blood in the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.  Those rooms were neat, the bathroom showed no indication that someone had tried to wash off their damned spot.  The clothes in the closet spoke of a professional-grade woman.  The purse on the kitchen counter had ID that matched the vic.  Twenty eight years old, what a frigging waste.  There was an employee pass from one of the larger banks, which said that the dead woman was a vice-president of something or other.  Meant nothing; if you worked for a bank and you weren’t a teller, janitor or guard, you were a veep of some kind.

    The crime scene tech showed up right then.  “Jesus fucking Christ,” he said.  “What the hell happened here?”

    “You tell me,” I said.  “What I don’t see here are any tracks to the door, no bloodstains on the doorknob.”  I went out into the hall and looked both ways.  “Nothing out here.”   

    “There’s something here,” the tech said, pointing at the carpet near the balcony door.  I went over to look, there was a faint blood trail in the carpet.  I pulled a LED flashlight from my coat pocket and switched it on.

    There was blood on the balcony.  Not spatters, but tracks.  It wasn’t a track that anyone could see around this city.  I could feel a chill, like a genetic memory rousing. I shrugged it off.  There was blood on the railing, as well.  “What the hell,” I said aloud.

    “Maybe the perp rappelled down,” the crime scene tech guessed.

    “Where’s the rope?  Where did he anchor it?  Can you look for rope burn on the stanchions?”

    The crime scene tech grunted and went back inside.  I sighed.  This one is going to be weird.  I hate weird cases.  The lieutenant hates them and he hates the cops that bring them to him. 

    I looked around.  Nobody was watching from the buildings across the street. I looked up at the rooflines.

    That's when I saw something on the roofline of the building to the left of the one across the street.  I turned back towards the living room.  “Do you have a strong spotlight in your kit?”

    “Bring it and a video camera.”

    The tech handed me the light.  I asked him if he was ready with the camera.  He was.

    I aimed the light towards what I thought I saw and switched it on.  The light lit up something, maybe six feet high.  It was washing its feet with a large tongue.  The light bothered the creature; it screeched, straightened up and unfolded wings that were almost as large as those of a Cessna.  It appeared to have feathers, the face looked like a large cat, only more streamlined than the blunt face of a cat.  I could see paws or claws or something a little ways out along what would be the leading edge of the wings.

    “Holy. Fucking. Shit,” the tech exclaimed.

    I only had one question: “You getting this?”


    “Keep rolling!”

    Whatever that creature was, it launched itself from the roof, dropping down maybe ten feet before it started to climb.  It soared up along the direction of the street, gained altitude, and headed towards New Jersey.  Fucking figures.  Nothing good ever comes from Jersey.

    I shut off the light and the tech lowered his camera.  “What the hell was that,” he wondered.

    “Some kind of creature,” I said, deadpan, trying to act as though I saw shit like that every day in this city.

    “I’ve never seen any creature like that,” he said.  “What’s the ME going to put down for cause of death?”

    “`Death by irregular creature,’ I suppose.”

    I hate weird cases.


Stephanie Belser said...

p.s.; Once he got over the shock of seeing the footage, the Lieutenant was actually happy. "We investigate homicides, and animals mauling citizens ain't homicides," he pronounced.

He sent the case file over to the SPCA.

Tam said...

Rockin' short story! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi! Came over from the challenge page! Loved it! I'm a sucker for a good crime fiction especially one with a creature involved!

*grin* at the transferring case to the SPCA too! ;)

Stephanie Belser said...

Thanks, Tam.

Shree, I went back and forth about making what is now the postscript part of the story itself. I think it works this way.

I might change it and make the post scrip an "after the jump" thing.

Stephanie Belser said...

Hmm. Turns out my gut feeling was right. The postscipt pushes it over 1,000 words.

Eck! said...

Either way...;)

I got the hard boiled dick that has seen maybe a bit too much and just manages to roll with the show.

Read the others too, they were good in an irregular sorta way.

I have to admit these shorts are fun.


Stephanie Belser said...

The Casey Jones one was pretty sad, though.

Anonymous said...

My favorite part- "It was washing its feet with a large tongue." I'm a cat lover. lol