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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chapter One

        Darcy Tucker was spread on the floor of the Tucker family’s living room, blood encircling her icy-blonde hair and seeping into an imitation Persian rug. She was on her back, her eyes wide open and clogged from the contents of the hole that gaped from her forehead. She was undoubtedly killed from the bullet that had carved that particular chasm; nevertheless, it was Detective David Armstrong’s job to examine every aspect of the case.

            David raised his hand to rub his head, a habit from childhood when he was perplexed, but stopped suddenly, realizing that the red on his gloves would be transferred to his thinning gray hair. David was normally calm even when he was observing the worst. This case had his mind racing because the evidence didn’t make sense.
Both he and chief investigator, Tim Finch were waiting awkwardly kneeling next to the body as they waited for their team to arrive with the rape kit. Their eyes nervously met, neither of them wanting to be the one to explain to the family huddled upstairs that their daughter, decaying in the rank heat of the summer, was violated before she was killed. 
            “This is…troubling?” Tim muttered as he lifted a tube of Vapor-rub and smeared some under his nose.
            “’Troubling’ was the euphemism that Tim used when he was deeply disturbed by what he was seeing. After investigating incredible violence and depravity for the last twenty years as David Armstrong’s Assistant, Tim used the word sparingly.”
“What do you think?” David asked.
“She knew him. It makes this more than ugly.”
Billy Margate, Detective Armstrong’s official camera-man, was leaning against the doorway eating a bagel he’d found in the Tuckers’ kitchen. Normally, he’d have some smart remark about the case hoping to ease the tension. Billy started to open his mouth when he was stopped in his tracks.
            “Could you please shut the hell up?” David snarled. He stood up as a man in a coroner’s coat handed him the long-anticipated SOEC kit, and David cleared his throat awkwardly, “Well, here goes nothing.”
            He set the plastic box down, put on fresh gloves, and pulled out a series of swabs and plastic bags. and, as he adjusted his plastic gloves queasily,  He asked Tim, “Which do you want? Swab or bag?”
            “Do you really need to ask that?” Tim sniffed, “I’ll take the bag.”
            “Fine.” Armstrong passed the evidence bags over to him and bit his lip as he firmly grasped Darcy’s ankles and forced her legs apart. For a moment, the sensation of pulling rigor-mortis stiffened legs open made David shudder. The moment passed, and he steeled himself by looking up at the mantle as he inserted the swab and gathered evidence from Darcy’s most intimate regions. He handed off the first sample to Tim, who bagged it faster than Armstrong had ever seen him move before. They repeated the process three more times before David slid the corpse’s legs back together and stood up shakily.
            “Got enough?”            
            “I think so.” David turned to Billy and grunted, “You weren’t filming that part, were you?”
            Margate loudly bit into the bagel, “What do you think I am? An animal?”
            “I’m really not sure sometimes.” David knew that Billy had recorded every second of the procedure. It Billy’s job and there was nothing he could do to stop him. David stood up and the vertebrae in his back popped loudly. He had been kneeling over Darcy’s body for the past four hours, being as thorough as he could partially for the sake of the family, and partially for the sake of his job. It pained him to say it, but the considerations he had to make for the latter were beginning to take a toll.
            Tim looked over at the front door of the house, where a man in an impeccable suit and sunglasses was motioning urgently to them over the police tape, “Looks like we’re up, Dave.”
            Billy immediately swung his camera onto his shoulder, the bagel stuffed into his mouth to free his hands. David looked into the unyielding red eye of the recording light and let out a long sigh, “Now?”
            “Yeah, it’s time.” Tim patted his shoulder, “Good luck with the sharks.”
            Armstrong walked stiffly to the man in the suit, who gave him a knowing grin, “It’s sweeps week, David. Remember that,” he stepped out of the way, and David walked out onto the front porch of the house, and found himself staring point-blank into a sea of reporters, television executives, hired extras and excited fans, some of whom wore gaudy t-shirts with the “One Week Window” logo on it, while others hoisted large signs with love letters to David Armstrong written in glitter across them.
            David sadly grimaced. This young woman’s death was being completely ignored. The fans were giving more attention to David and their affection for “One Week Window” the Real-Time-Crime show, than they were for this family’s grief.
            David flushed slightly as he faced the lead camera for the show, and cleared his throat awkwardly. He had worked as a detective for twenty years before the advent of the Real-Time-Crime sensations, and as far as he was concerned, the show on which he’d been chosen to be the star reeked of corruption and fame-whoring. He lifted the lapel mike closer before he caught a glare from the production director and let his hands fall to his sides, “Well, here’s what we’ve got…”
Next Chapter

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