Note: This is the beginning of my pre-Halloween series: Taken Over
The bloodied tang of the kitchen knife was short.
It was the first thing the responding policeman saw upon entering the living room, the deadly instrument that could have been used to kill the body lying a few feet away. Following procedures, he radioed it in for the SOCO (scene of the crime operatives) team to come over and investigate.
Det. Moreno studied the body from different angles, trying to imagine the chaos inside the room before the murder. The killer could be a professional since bloodstains that usually splashed on walls and inanimate objects or trickled on the floor were non-existent.
On his left, books and other papers were ripped to shreds, ceramic decors waylaid and broken, On the right, some of the framed pictures were askew, possibly held onto by the victim while defending himself. Overall, at first glance, only the blade held the key to uncovering who the assailant was.
Two of his subordinates have finished dusting for finger prints on everything that could help identify all the occupants of the room during the crime. Once done, they would need the database at headquarters to match one by one against existing specimens of known criminals. It would be a long shot if the murderer was a first timer.
He came closer to his partner, who covered his nose and mouth with a kerchief: the rotting smell was overpowering.
“Can you approximate the time of death?”
“I need to check the labs first,” Brownie said. “But because of this,” he pointed to the right foot of the victim where a gangrene looked infected, “I’d say two to three days earlier.”
“How can that be?” he asked, checking his notes. “The call was made only last night.”
Det. Moreno heard the strange background music earlier but did not mind it playing while they were busy with the collation of evidence. Until now. It added tension and hostility to those present.
“Will you find the source of that music?” he ordered a plainclothes policeman. “It’s giving me the creeps!”
Another fifteen minutes passed, the team readied themselves to vacate the premises. Only the transfer of the corpse to the ambulance on the way to the morgue needed completion.
“Thank you!” he nodded to the policeman who turned off the sound.
Suddenly, the body twitched, injected with life as soon as the macabre sound stopped. It was surreal.
Det. Moreno stared at Brownie who was literally taken aback: he was the closest to the body. No words between them were exchanged, only startled looks, bordering on genuine fright.
“God! My head hurts!” the supposedly dead man moaned. “I feel dizzy.”
“You’re alive!” Brownie exclaimed. “We thought you were a murder victim.”
“Who? Me? Of course, not.” He tried to rise, heaving his upper body into a sitting position. “Help me.”
“Did you call 911 last night?” Det, Moreno asked, trying not to sound like a fool. Could a murder victim call for help?
“Why should I?” he massaged his nape, easing blood circulation to his head.
“It says here,” Det. Moreno read the information furnished him, “that a dead man was found in 23-D.”
“Wrong place,” the resuscitated man said. “This is 23-B.”
Det. Moreno would like to choke to paralysis the colleague who fumbled the whole thing. He ordered Brownie to recall everyone and repeat everything at the exact crime scene.
“No one is going home until it’s done.”
He helped the man up and steadied him to find his usual bearings. Given their major blunder, turning the chaotic room into a scene of a disaster, he profusely asked for the man’s consideration, promising him for assistance to make things back to where they were before they arrived.
“Can I ask you something?”
“You’re wondering about the knife?”
“A good explanation is in order.”
“I am diabetic. I am sure now that I missed my insulin shot.”
“I was cleaning the fish when I heard the knock on the door. I ran quickly to get it but I felt dizzy. The knife fell off my hands before I collapsed. Obviously, I lost consciousness.”
All the detective has to do was check the kitchen sink to verify what the man claimed.
The fish was still there.
(to be continued)