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More Than Appears on the Surface

By , Des Moines, IA

I am afraid there is more to this than appears on the surface. At first sight, you would think it was the husband. I mean, it’s always the husband, right? Young couple, married less than a year, shotgun wedding; it’s a classical Criminal Minds episode. However, as a homicide cop, you are trained to look past whatever appears on the surface. You must read into every detail that appears on the white board, from whom the victim’s friends were to who the victim had as a kindergarten teacher. On criminal shows, they always make it seem as though the crime is solved in a matter of days. In reality, we have unsolved crimes that carry on for years and years and years.
When we received last nights call about this particular case, we all hoped that it would be a quick check of fingerprints that all lead back to the husband or the secret lover on the side. When we arrived, the murder weapon was still in the living room, covered in blood, lying right by the decapitated...yes decapitated victim. Whenever a murder weapon is left on the scene, you know right away that this was not a professional killing. It was more of a jealousy or rage fit gone terribly wrong.
However, when we showed up at the crime scene we quickly discovered that this crime would be far from the easy walk in the park that we had originally anticipated. Although there was evidence that the victim fought her attacker, the only blood spatter in the room was that of the victim. And though the gun that was supposedly used was in the room, there were no fingerprints. On top of that, the husband was...of course...missing. And apparently the couple had just moved to down the previous month, so there were not very many friends or family members in the area to contact. ON TOP of all of that, the victim was unemployed. There was virtually no one in town out to get this woman. According to every record, she was always a model citizen. Not involved in any sort of risky back alley activities, not in any sort of extramarital affair; in fact, her record was chocked full of nothing but good, humanitarian activities. This woman wouldn’t hurt a fly.
I had spent the better part of the morning staring at the white board, cup of black coffee in hand, trying to reason through this case. Our whiteboard for this case was especially sparse. I was about ready to take off for lunch when I got an especially strange phone call. A woman came on the line, speaking with a raspy smoker's voice. “You are not looking in the correct places. The answers lay buried deep down under,” she said eerily. And with that, the phone line disconnected. I tried the redial button, but all I got was a dial tone.
Most clues like this lead no where. They’re young kids, trying to prank call the precinct. But something about this call led me to check it out. I grabbed my keys, phone, and wallet and headed out. When I arrived at the house, I opened the front door, carefully avoiding getting any of my own prints on the knob. I scanned the house for any sort of doors that might lead to a basement, but this house was a small starter house that only had one floor. I pulled up every rug and chair, searching my hardest. Finally I had enough. I knew not to take a clue like that. How stupid. I leaned up against the wall, rubbing my head and thinking about where to go next.
As I began making my way towards the door, something disturbing caught my eye. On the floor by the wall, there was a bloody, bare foot print. The house had been canvassed the previous day, and no sort of finger or footprints had been discovered. The bizarre thing was, this foot print was walking right towards the wall, and then it stopped. Just randomly disappeared. I got down on my hands and knees, feeling around the bottom of the wall. I pushed, pulled, tugged, did everything I could to find more clues.
Finally, just as my hope was fading once again, I gave a great tug at the bottom of the wall and it lifted. Right away, the smell of rotting, disease, and death filled my nose, making me gag a few times. I covered my nose and made my way down the long wet flight of stairs. As I entered the basement, I was shocked, sickened, and amazed by what I saw. Bodies. Hundreds of them. And they were all children. Most dead and bloodied, horrible transfigured, missing limbs and eyes. A few alive, cowering in a cage towards the back of the room. Many of the dead faces I recognized from Missing posters on the walls of the precinct.
Hands shaking, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket. Shakily, I dialed the precinct and spoke. “This is Edward, I’m gonna need some back up at the Whither house.”
Apparently, our victim was not the person everyone thought her to be. I guess there really is more to this than appears on the surface.   






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