Tag Archives: murder

Detective Molly

They slid open the door to the warehouse, and immediately something smelled wrong. Not just the musty staleness of a space left closed to the outside for too long, but undertones of decomposition, of rot tinged with sweetness. The smell you never forget – the smell of evil. The smell of death.

“Cameras outside show two men enter about twenty minutes apart,” said Detective Cooper. “Door closes, nobody leaves. That was two months ago.” He took a few steps in, then turned and looked back at the door. “There’s no handle on the inside. It’s rusted off. If you slide the door shut, you’re stuck.”

A body lay several metres away from the door, face down, soles of the feet towards the entrance. As they approached, they saw that it was a man dressed in a pinstripe business suit, covered by a dark brown coat. His head was a mess, skull crushed. Blood had gushed onto the floor, spread and then dried. The smell was unspeakable. Flies leapt into the air as they approached and circled angrily above.

A few steps away, a briefcase lay open. Someone had rifled through it – papers and a laptop computer were spilled around. Next to the briefcase lay a metal pipe with ugly dark red decorations.

“Murder weapon,” said Cooper. “Bashes the guy’s head in, then searches his stuff. According to the video, this was the second guy to arrive.”

A few metres further in, a small knife lay on the floor. Sharp blade, black handle. Bloodstains.

“Okay,” said Cooper. “Second murder weapon. Maybe a second body. Molly, look around. See if you can find anything.”

Finally, a bit of searching to do. Searching was her favourite part. First, she inspected the floor around the besuited corpse, moving in ever-widening circles. Nothing found – no trails leading outward. Next, the perimeter. She walked over to the nearest warehouse wall, and started to walk around the edge, clockwise. Towards the back of the warehouse, large piles of empty crates loomed high. Hundreds of metal pipes, just like the first murder weapon, stacked on top of each other, left to rust. She walked between the crate towers, examining surfaces. Cobwebs aplenty, dust everywhere. Dust – disturbed or undisturbed?

Disturbed! Dust smudged and a hand print, marked out in red, on a crate that lay in a smaller pile against the back wall. And the smell – away from the body near the door, it had lessened in intensity, but here it began to build again, cloying around the edges of her nostrils.

She sniffed, turning her head this way and that, trying to find a direction to… a tarpaulin that lay against a large crate, covering something…

She backed away. The smell was beginning to get overwhelming. She turned and went back to the entrance, where Detective Cooper stood, silhouetted in the sunlight streaming in from outside. As she approached, he looked over at her expectantly.

“What is it Molly?” he asked. “You got something?”

She led him into the back of the warehouse, found the tarpaulin again, grabbed a corner and pulled it away. Underneath, the body of another man was curled against the side of the crate. Also in a suit, but shabbier, old shoes, unkempt hair. He had died clutching his hands to his stomach, flesh torn apart by a knife wound.

“Okay, I get it,” Detective Cooper said. “So they arrange to meet here, and shut the door once they’re both inside, so they can argue without disturbance. Argument gets out of control. Pinstripe guy stabs shabby guy, shabby guy bludgeons pinstripe guy. Shabby guy searches the case, but he’s wounded, then realises he can’t get out. He comes back here, hides under the tarpaulin, hoping someone will open the door, and he can escape. But he dies from his wounds. And you found him! Well done! Well done, Detective Molly!”

Ah, Cooper was pleased. Doing a good job and being praised for it – the best feeling in the world. Detective Molly swelled with pride, and wagged her tail.


Life Along The Kārvān, Part XI

Continued from Part X. Start at Part I.

Jakob backed away from the cart quickly before Krin saw him and became suspicious. The donkey was calmer now, and this gave Jakob a chance to look at the man’s face. A beard, a scar, flecks of grey and a few wrinkles. Eyes that were perhaps a little dull, but then what did a thief look like anyway?

“Thank you for the help, boy,” said Krin. “I bought this mule from a seller just an hour ago to replace one stolen far down-route. The seller promised a docile and pliant creature, I should not have believed her.”

Such two-facedness, thought Jakob. “A miserable though unsurprising tale,” he replied. “What miscreant would steal a mule from a hard-working tradesman? Is this what our people have come to? With our city destroyed we now simply loot from each other?”

The jibe had no apparent on Krin, who merely nodded in agreement.

I will kill him. The thought came to Jakob suddenly, riding on the back of his rising anger. The treasure had been his. He would have been a rich man, now this immoral opportunist had come and taken that dream for his own. Why should he be allowed to benefit? Who had found the lemfasite in the first place? Nobody knew what Krin looked like. Jakob could simply do away with him and take his place, notoriety doing the rest.

Jakob stared at Hexa, who stood some distance away, wagging her tail. Can’t do it here, too busy, he thought. Out on the road. When he sets off, when there is nobody to see, I will leap out and cut him down, and claim his cargo as rightfully mine. With the plan loudest and foremost in his mind, clouding out all other judgment, Jakob headed away from the camp, Hexa following, seeking hiding places along the route.

To be continued…

Mrs. Gooseberry

The front door to the cottage was opened by the elderly Mrs. Gooseberry, whose right hand was covered by a large oven glove.

“Inspector Corncrake!” she beamed. “How delightful to see you again!” She offered the glove for a warm handshake, which the Inspector dutifully accepted. “Please do come in, I’m just taking a pie out of the oven.”

Corncrake stepped over the threshold as Mrs. Gooseberry sprang back into the kitchen. He removed his hat and coat, and entered the kitchen to be greeted by the smell of freshly baked meat pie.

“Please sit!” said Mrs. Gooseberry. “How goes the murder investigation?”

“Well it’s rather run dry,” he sighed. “That’s why I’ve come. You know everyone in the village, the gossip. I want to know if there’s something I’ve missed.”

“Sounds frustrating, although fun for me,” she said, placing the pie on the table and turning back for cutlery.

He suddenly spied a red splotch on the otherwise pristine white tablecloth. How embarrassing, had he knocked something when he sat down? But there was no red wine around, no cranberry sauce, no beetroot…

“So you’re out of leads, Inspector?” she said, rummaging in a drawer. “No evidence at all?”

On impulse he glanced up at the ceiling. A dark red stain was slowly spreading near the light fixture.

“Oh I wouldn’t say that, Mrs. Gooseberry,” Corncrake replied. “In fact I might have all the evidence I need.”

“Do tell,” she said, returning with a large knife. “But do try some of the pie first!”

Fire Spirit

Alex stumbled, still in a daze, into the pub the morning after the fire. Everything seemed untouched, as it had the night before. Yet the body was there, lying face-down on the floor in the centre of the room. It was badly burnt, scorched by some mysterious fire, though the carpet underneath was untouched.

The Investigator, Mr. Corten, was standing over the body, taking notes. He looked up and saw Alex staring at him, and motioned for him to sit on one of the nearby stools.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Alex. “The fire was upstairs, not down here. And as I said, I saw the body in here before the fire started.”

“The books upstairs were completely destroyed,” said Mr. Corten. “And most of them seem to have been through from the windows during the blaze. Someone was up there during the fire, throwing burning objects out of the windows.”

“It sounds crazy,” said Alex, “but it reminds me of old tales of fire spirits that dance around, causing havoc and murder.”

“That is exactly how it’s meant to look,” said Mr. Corten. “The murderer has been very clever. It’s a very elaborate hoax. They would have needed a fire-proof suit and some sort of incendiary device. Plus maybe an accomplice to bring the body downstairs.”

Alex shook his head. “The only people here last night were my friends.”

The Investigator fixed him with a strong glare. “One of your friends is a murderer.”