Heh, heh, heh. I get to kill someone today. I LOVE when that happens.
O.K. – so before you think I’ve gone all ‘nutso-crazies’, I’m referring to the Murder Scene Blogfest hosted by Anne Riley. You can find the details at her blog. Check it out, then please come back and read my entry. Let me know what you think!
This is an excerpt from Chapter Three of Seeing Red: Set ‘Em Up, Joe. In this scene, medical examiner and vampire Joe Cooper has just received a call about a fire in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Remains of something that might be human were found after the fire was put out, so he’s off to investigate. You can read the first chapter of Seeing Red here: Chapter One
Broadway Pier—one of over a dozen in the area—juts far out into the water, making it a popular parking spot for the schooners and water taxis that traverse Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. None were docked tonight, which had probably helped contain the fire. As I walked to the end of the pier, the smells of the Harbor intensified. Thanks to the infestation of algae that hit every summer, the water reeked of decaying fish. I took a deep breath and got an idea of what triggered Mells’ warning bells. There was a faint whiff of something—musky, like going deep-woods, that lingered in the cool night air. Catalogued and mentally filed—with all the other vamp scents I knew—for further consideration.
While all vampire senses are finely honed, and more intense than any human could possibly handle, the one we rely on the most is the sense of smell. The way I see it, the faster you can detect someone’s scent, the better chance you have of staying one step ahead of ‘em.
The end of the pier was cordoned off with a stretch of grey, fraying rope. As M.E. on the scene, anything on the other side of that rope was my domain. I lifted it up, stepped under it, and got to work.
Every person deserves to have the full attention of another at least once in life. I looked at the mess in front of me. This was its time. And it had my attention. At first look it seemed the tangled mass of grey and black was anything but human. But it was, or had been. Telltale signs of Homo sapiens—charred organs, broken bones and several teeth—lay in the debris. I dismissed the sounds and smells of the others—the cops and firefighters and onlookers whose hearts still beat in time and whose blood still flowed in their veins—and focused on the victim’s scent.
I inhaled deeply. The scent of charred flesh hit me first—but then, not much can cut through that kind of stench. Somewhere in that smell was a hint of copper, but it should’ve been stronger since that’s the first thing you usually detect if blood is present. Even with a body burned almost beyond recognition, there should be enough residual blood in the corpse. Something must’ve significantly drained the body of blood prior to chopping it to pieces, and that had me concerned because there’s only one kind of something that can do that—my kind.
Goddamn. One of my own had gone rogue, and in a bad way. Targeting other vampires, leaving their remains out in public view. And bringing unwanted attention to us all.
I called over one of the forensic techs and told him to get to work.
“How should I bag the—remains?”