(Written as part of The Daily Prompt: Daily Post – An Odd Trio: Today, you can write about whatever you want — but your post must include, in whatever role you see fit, a cat, a bowl of soup, and a beach towel.) Sorry, it’s another rushed post!
“What do you make of it, Detective?”
The lifeless body, permanently contorted into its freakish form through the typical characteristics of rigor mortis, lay splayed across the alleyway floor; a single beach towel was used to conceal the identity of the newly deceased man.
The stale air that filled the narrow alley was further contaminated by hoards of onlookers, all wide mouthed and shocked from the presumed criminal incident that would probably be making the front page of tomorrow’s newspapers.
The barrier of police officers was the only line of defence for our investigation against the bright flashes of reporter cameras and forced microphone clad hands; just another day in the big city, it seemed.
With a handkerchief pressed firmly to my lips, I lifted the towel to examine the body, and the familiar smell of slowly decaying flesh still managed to lick at my senses.
There were no clear signs of a struggle or physical abuse to the body, and yet, the eternally carved expression of sheer horror on the man’s face told a different story.
His mouth was open, a once slack tongue peeking out from its depth, and the darkness of the protruding vessels on his eyeballs made it clear that this man still had something left to say before he died.
We would find out more after a thorough autopsy.
“I’ve questioned the cafe maid, chef and staff, Detective. We’ve started testing the food inside for any signs of poisoning.”
I examined the tattoo on the upper right arm of the corpse which consisted of a few symbols of hieroglyphics. Anubis, the ancient Egyptian deity of the afterlife.
“What have you got on the man so far?” I could feel a slight dizziness take over my mind, which was strange as I was more than accustomed to these kinds of murder visuals.
“Nothing special. Abel. C. Alexander. Born 18th May 1974 – well, not a very happy fortieth birthday for him today then, huh. He was a historian at the large Town Hall Library, but left work three years ago to travel.
Seems he’d been stopped at customs a few times because of a few artefacts he’d decided to bring back with him. A few cracked vases, some antiques and an ottoman filled with old trinkets.
No sign of a wife or kids… Closest relative passed away three years ago.
No criminal record, no medical faults, no outstanding awards or merits. Just another face in the crowd, don’t know of anyone who’d have had a grudge.”
His clothes were simple; a dull green sweater with a few small tears at the top of one sleeve, black creased trousers, and a pair of brown shoes that I can only assume were once white.
There were some food stains down the front of his sweater and trousers.
I guess our friend had ordered the chef’s special soup of the day, the last bowl of soup that he’d ever have.
As I continued with my own analysis, I could over-hear the conversation between the investigators and the people they were interrogating at the crime scene, but nothing worth value would creep up in their conversation.
No one held a grudge against you, and yet everything about you, Mr Alexander, tells me that you managed to upset someone, somehow.
I looked once again at his tattoo, and on closer inspection I noticed three faint and fading scratch marks surrounding it. They coincided with the position of the small tears on his sleeve.
No physical damage, bar these scratches. Possibility of food poisoning is low since the other customers were not affected by the same dish. Looked like he lived a healthy enough life, so the chances of sudden cardiac arrest don’t really make sense.
Everything looks normal…
Foul play is a definite afoot though.
I held my head as the dizziness became more prominent, and decided that I should probably call it a day; I could examine the evidence in more detail later.
Just then, a spotted Mau cat strolled out from behind a garbage bin and slowly came to a stop a few meters away from me and the deceased Mr Alexander.
Our eyes met… my dizziness stopped.
The air had suddenly changed, it felt as though a damp and humid cloud had descended upon us and I could taste a murky, and almost sand like texture in my mouth.
For someone who never worked by their own bias, I could suddenly feel the heaviness of the guilt that Abel Alexander had probably felt prior to his death. How could I feel this when I don’t know what happened?
The atmosphere became so heavy that I could feel my lungs tingle with every breath – I was caught in a gaze that transcended our worldly plane.
Images flashed across my eyes of times long gone, and sped through a time-span of millennia in the space of a few seconds. Was I hallucinating? Could the long day be taking its toll on me? Why could I not look away from those glassy feline eyes?
“Erm… You ok”
I turned my head to see my colleague looking at me with a confused expression.
“We’ve finished wrapping everything up here, Detective. Just gonna take the body over for examination. You coming?”
I nodded slowly and watched as he walked away. I turned around, my eyes scanning the scene for the feline fortune teller, it was nowhere to be seen and I took a deep breath to gather myself again.
From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a cat’s tail as it turned around the corner; however, the once soft brown fur was covered in a thick, crusty layer of food.
At least someone enjoyed the lentil soup.
As a detective, I base my work and analysis around logic and reasoning, and I develop my hypotheses and theories on evidence and hard proof.
However, in my line of work, I’ve come to learn that there are, indeed, some forces on this Earth which cannot be explained through physical or tangible evidence. As such, we sometimes need to go on a little faith and hope that we are guided to the right conclusions through the power of the unknown.
I got up, dusted off my trench coat, and slowly turned the corner in search of my feline compass who may be able to help me solve this mystery.
Here kitty, kitty, kitty….