Charlie shivered in his unmarked police car and checked his watch. The crime scene guys were running late. He chalked it up to the poor winter weather. Winter had set in faster that most wanted to believe. Everyone knew that it was coming but no one really wanted it to come. Winter is like that really annoying guy you just have to invite to parties just because he was your mother’s best friend’s kid that you’ve just known all your life but honestly can’t stand. He double dips in the salsa and tells stories about his dry scalp medicine. He has moments of brilliance and is good for an occasional laugh but is usually about as charming as a mallet to the head.
A light frost was covering the ground and Charlie dreaded getting out of the car to stalk around the body of the poor guy that seemed to have met his untimely end in this dead end alley. It was cold and blustery, a hard silvery gray sky blocking out any sunshine. Charlie had eight other cases on his desk at the moment that also needed his attention and sitting in his car wasn’t exactly the best use of his time. He checked his watch again and sighed. A light snow started to float down.
The crime scene van finally pulled up into the alley behind Charlie and the techs got out. Charlie put his hat on and stepped out of his car.
“Took you guys long enough”, said Charlie.
“Sorry, we couldn’t find this alley and traffic was just terrible”, said one of the Techs.
“What have we got here”, asked the other.
Charlie looked over at the body on the hard alley ground. He didn’t want to imagine the gruesomeness of this guy’s death. It was something he was very good at however. He was amazingly cursed at imagining the particular details of a person’s demise. It came to him like a series of still photos. He could see the deceased, once alive, standing hearty and hale involved in what looked to be a physical dispute. One that turned incredibly violent.
“Let me show you”, said Charlie.
The techs moved over toward the body, careful to watch their steps so as to not disturb any part of the scene. Charlie moved slightly behind them describing what details they had so far, but they hadn’t moved the body yet because of the weather. They didn’t want any evidence that might have landed under the body to get lost to the cold winter wind or this freshly falling snow.
They began their examination of the scene, taking photos and documenting every inch around the body. Then they got to the body itself. By then, Charlie’s partner Nathan had returned with hot coffee from the donut shop and his usual morbid sense of humor.
“How long is it going to take to defrost this stiff”, asked Nathan.
Charlie just gave him a short but intense stare and that quieted Nathan. Nathan looked away toward the street and Charlie returned his attention to the techs as they started to turn the body over.
“I can’t believe it; this guy is frozen to the alley. He’s stuck”, said one tech.
The two techs pulled and shoved the body until he finally came loose with a crunch and fell over onto its back. The techs recoiled and slipped slightly on the frosty ground. Charlie stepped forward to get a better look. The body’s chest was frozen solid with hardened blood. The clothes were shredded and his chest cavity was wide open, but frozen solid. The rib cage looked like it had been torn open. The lungs were gone and it looked like the heart was missing.
“Did it just tear out when you flipped it”, asked Nathan to the cowering techs.
“No, it’s just not there”, said Charlie.
Snow started to fall thicker and faster.