Flashing lights in the growing darkness let Detective Inspector Robinson know where he needed to go. No less than five police cars surrounded the path head that lead down the hillside into the valley. Showing his identification to the officer on duty, he moved quickly past the trail head and began his descent.
At the bottom, where a small clearing began to widen out from the path, a team was investigating the scene. Tall trees lined the trail on either side as he made his way to the clearing. Yellow caution tape surrounded a tent off to the side of the clearing, almost inside the tree line. Robinson headed in that direction, nodding to a few officers he recognized as he passed. Removing his hat and putting it under his arm, he pushed the heavy tent flaps aside and entered. Right away, he saw Detective Inspector Warren speaking to the Coroner. Robinson moved further inside the tent, catching Warren’s eye who motioned her head toward the body on the ground.
The victim was a young man, perhaps in his mid twenties. His dark hair was matted with blood. His eyes were open and staring but his face was at peace.
“What a terrible accident.” Robinson crouched near the victim, lifting the young man’s lapel with the tip of his pen to inspect the wounds. Blood was thick on his flannel shirt, clotting already, though he had overheard the Coroner’s initial estimate putting the time of death at just under 5 hours ago.
Detective Inspector Warren crouched down next to him, gloves covering her pale hands as she held the jacket open. Her eyes were shining with excitement. Despite her morbid fascination with death, and perhaps because of it, she was the best homicide detective there was. She viewed the body silently, her mouth moving slightly as she worked herself through the scene and the final moments on this man’s life.
Finally, looking up at Robinson, she smiled a grim smile. Her pink lips lay on top of each other in thin, straight lines. Her pale skin shone in the waning light and tendrils of her strawberry blond hair framed her face lightly freckled face. Blue eyes examined his face as they always did as if filing away his expression for future reference.
“It was no accident, it was deliberate. The strong slashes. Downward, as if the victim was already on the ground when the attacker struck. Vicious, downward strokes, over and over again. 17 times he was stabbed.”
As she spoke, she moved blood soaked cloth aside so Robinson could see the slashes, deep wounds that began with a large slit at the top and became thinner as they moved downward, indicating the killer was already removing the blade for another stroke as the blade sank into the man’s flesh.
The inspectors were silent as they imagined the man’s last moments.
“Surprisingly,” Warren spoke again, startling Robinson from his reverie, “there are no self defense wounds on his hands or arms. Perhaps he was already out cold when the killer began her attack.”
Warren blinked up at him. “Yes, the killer was a women.”
“How do you know that?”
She grinned and turned her attention back to the body.