Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. This week’s word prompt is BATTERY. I continue with The White Dahlia. Enjoy! WARNING! IMAGES MAY BE UNSETTLING!
The woman peeled away from the wall, her spine straightening as she pulled the vestiges of her professionalism around herself like a cloak. She was young for a detective sergeant—or maybe she was just one of those women who hid their age well. Reaching for his outstretched hand, she shook it and released it.
Unexpected energy raced along Al’s nerves at the slight touch. When had shaking a woman’s hand produced a sensation like that?
“I did.” She aimed a battery-powered mini-light at the corpse. “Sorry to drag you out near the end of your shift like this, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. I figured that, despite the shape of the body, you could still ID her for me.”
He nodded. An average of fifteen thousand people went missing each year in the city. While the majority were found within days, others never were. Some wanted it that way, others? Was Sylvia still alive? He didn’t want to give up hope, but the odds weren’t good.
Beth Reynolds indicated the body and the woman beside it. “This is Dr. Michele Smith, one of the city’s new coroners who’s been getting more business from this side of town than anyone likes. Show him what we have, Mitch.”
The coroner stood and moved out of the way, giving him his first clear look at the body.
“Mother of God, what the hell happened to her?”
No wonder Reynolds and the rookie had lost it. He was just about ready to join them. He’d seen floaters pulled out of the Hudson in better shape and less pungent than this one.
Naked, the white girl, an anomaly in this primarily black neighborhood, lay on her back, her eye sockets empty. Beneath the blistering corpse was a pale blue sheet like those he’d seen used in hospitals. No doubt she’d been wrapped in it. Her long blond hair was matted with blood, but given the gaping hole where her internal organs should’ve been and the relatively small amount of blood present, he doubted she’d been killed here.
“She’s been gutted like a fish and then frozen. I can’t tell you for how long yet,” Mitch began. “Whoever did this meant to toss the poor thing into the dumpster now that he no longer needed her, but something stopped him from doing so. The accelerated decomposition is thanks to Mother Nature’s quick thaw method.”
That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales.