The bathroom. The lights don't work. A quick sweep with the flashlight shows the bulbs have been removed from the row above the mirrors. You don't need the lights to see something is wrong, though. You can smell it.
There's no buzzing sound. Flies haven't landed yet. They find their way in under doors and through openings in windows. They are tenacious. They smell food. They land. They leave their young.
The light from the flashlight hits the tub. It's always the tub. Holds a body good. This one is naked. Female. Mid-to-late twenties ... maybe. Hard to tell. This is where the smell is coming from.
Ribbons. Ribbons of flash. Someone took their time. The neck is sawed through almost all the way. Head hangs at an odd angle. The eyes are still open, but they don't glean when the light hits them. They are dry. Some of the flesh has come off in the process. It is in small piles around the tub. You hear a noise in the living room. You don't flinch. Whoever did this should be long gone by now. You don't stick around after something like this. You take your trophy and go.
What did he take?
Heart is still there. There are no wounds there big enough to get it out. Breasts. Check. Fingers and toes. All in place. But what is that? Fingers. Down near the drain. Three fingers that aren't her's.
He left something instead. Didn't take a damn thing.
The fingers may or may not be his own, but up until a short time ago they were in his possession and he left them here. Why?
You move closer. The light doesn't move from the mess in the tub. What is that carved on the thigh?
"Righteous. Confident. Devastating."
"Not anymore," you whisper to yourself. This will stick in your head for days, though. You won't be able to let go. You'll see her alive and dead. You'll see her thrown in the tub and shopping for pears. She will be the first thing you see when you close your eyes at night, and she will haunt your dreams. She will make you hate your job because it's shit like this you can't hope to understand.
Who did it isn't as important as the why. The why you will never know because you know one very important thing. Some things don't have a why. Some things just happen without a reason. They are random events with no particular place in history. You fear this started out as one, but it sure didn't end that way.
When things start out random, they ripple and become "events." This murder meant nothing to the one who did it. It was meant to be found, and it was meant to be felt by the one who discovered it.
You close the eyes. One finger on each lid, you pull them down. It's all you can do. You closed them, but you'll see them again. Every night. They will stare. They will ask. You won't answer because you can't, and never will be able to.
You flip open your phone. Dial the numbers. They are coming. They'll have their crime kits. They will crack jokes. They will fake seriousness. They will assure each other they will get to the bottom of it. They won't get that even if they discover the killer, they will never know the complete picture, but you do now.
You glance in the mirror and catch your face. You are pale. The light from the flashlight isn't great, but you can tell you are pale. You are surprised. You think you've seen it all, and now you realize it's been seeing you and can read you quite well.
You flick off the light and wait for them in the dark. It seems like the right thing to do. And you pray. You pray that body doesn't start talking to you. You don't want to know what it would say. You have an idea, but God knows those are words nobody wants to hear.
Because they'll be right, and there's no denying that one.
*Written because I needed to do something a little creative tonight. These images have been floating in my head for a few days. Don't know if it means anything. Probably means nothing.