Denise Callaway’s Picture Choice: Full Moon Rising
Title: Full Moon Rising
Detective Marrow studied the frayed rope intently. The brown stain had the appearance of blood but the scene was so old, she couldn’t be sure. “Livie, what are you getting from this?”
The criminologist gathered evidence, and sprayed her chemicals like a magic wand. “Kate, I’m in agreement. It is blood. Someone or something died a violent death here.”
“But where is the body?” she mused aloud.
“I can’t say but my team and I’ll finish processing this scene and get that report back to you as soon as possible. Kate nodded and walked away. The old warehouse was on a property that was about to be redeveloped. The crew had pushed the boxes back to reveal a locked door. When they cut it open, they were disturbed by what they found. The look of blood spray, the chair knocked over, the frayed rope hung from a heavy beam. Before they continued with the job, they called her in to investigate the scene.
She signaled the foreman as she exited the warehouse. “We have blood evidence. So the warehouse is sealed off for the time being. If you run across anything else, call me.” She handed him her card and walked over to her car. Sinking into the luxury of the leather seats, she breathed out. These scenes never came easily. Where was the body? she continued to muse.
Livie had given her an approximate age of this scene, based on the lock and a few other details. So all she could do was look through some cold cases. Back at the station, she headed down to the records vault to start pulling boxes. The estimated time frame put her back in the 80s and those files were never logged into the computer. Time to get her hands dirty.
Hours later, dusty files scattered about on the floor, she looked up as Livie entered the room. “Any luck?”
“It would take luck to find a needle in a haystack. There have been a large number of missing persons during that time period.”
“Well...that may still be connected. We’ve found at least four different blood profiles. This could be a serial killing.”
Kate sat back on her ankles and looked up at Livie, hardening her jaw. With a deep sigh, she reached for a stack. “I have six that seemed to disappear in a pattern. These women have the same description and disappeared on the night of the full moon, 28 days apart.”
“I’ll confirm the pattern but he may have moved to a different location. Do we have any information about previous owners?”
Kate shook her head. “It was abandoned back in the 70s and the owner moved out of the state at that time...retirement. He’s passed away. The estate lawyer negotiated the sale to the current developers. He has a daughter but she’s in a long term care facility...mentally disabled.”
“No other kids? Well, anyone could have found it abandoned and took up residence. I have Marty and Case going through the building for other signs of human life. Maybe they’ll turn up something.”
Two days later, Marrow’s cell phone rang, breaking her concentration on the cold case files. “Marrow here.”
“Detective? This is the foreman, Roberts. I’ve found something...you’re gonna want to get out here. Might want to bring a coroner.”
“You’ve found a body?”
“Make that bodies, detective. We broke through some pavement on the far side of the parking lot and there was a chamber of sorts. We’ve got bodies...definitely bodies. Don’t worry, I’ve got the workers away from it as soon as we realized what we had here. Anyway, can you get here?”
“On my way.” After making a couple of calls, she led the way to the scene. The coroner and Livie followed behind.
The chamber appeared to be an old cellar turned into a makeshift crypt. The bodies had been laid out with their hands crossed over their chest. Dried flowers were placed underneath the hands. However, not much was left in the decomposition. Bones, bits of fabric, and a few mummified remains. “One, two, three...seven skulls,” Livie observed.
“I think we are on track.”
“Are those rosary beads?” Marrow leaned closer to see what Livie was talking about. Sure enough, the beads were wound about the fingers of one of the corpses. As they looked closer, she found another with a gold necklace and a Star of David.
“There has to be seven necklaces. Make sure those are cataloged. I’m going to step out and let you process the scene and send Marcus in to help out.” Livie nodded, grateful for the help of the coroner. They worked well together and he had a sharp eye.
Marrow exited the chamber and began taking statements from the crew. “I’m sorry we keep meeting like this, ma’am,” the foreman began. He then recounted that they were breaking through the asphalt so that they could work on the foundation and as they broke through, they had a cave in. This was unexpected and they backed off, not wanting to lose the equipment into a sinkhole. When they looked inside, though, they realized they found a tunnel system. When they found the chamber nearby with the bones, they called her.
She gathered names and the rest of their statements. As the sun began to set, two other mobile crime labs drove up to the scene. Livie must’ve called in reinforcements, she thought. As the sun sank in the west, she watched as a full moon began rising in the east.
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Denise finds herself lost in a field of dandelions. With one blow, her dandelion dreams transform into the words on a page. Some of those dreams have found their way to her website: https://lostinafieldofdandelions.wordpress.com/