The county morgue sat on the outskirts of town. Rumor had it that the founders of the town, way back in 1890, decided to store the undead outside of the town limits…just in case they decided to wake up and walk around.
So far, none felt the need to stretch their legs.
I pulled the vehicle into the second parking spot. A red Nissan Sentra was in the first, I assumed it belonged to Tammy. The security desk was unmanned when we walked in. Lilly signed us in. We walked to the back where Tammy conducted her grisly business. She stood over the corpse, masked and gloved up, saw in hand. From the corner of her eye, she noticed us and put the saw down.
“Hey guys. Y’all have perfect timing, the labs just came in.”
“Awesome, maybe a lead will develop. Konan is out of control today.”
I glanced at Lilly and frowned. Sure, we are friends, but there’s no reason for this crap, I thought. All this because she had a king-sized crush on Maxwell.
“Why are you out of control today, Konan?”
“Beats me. Just trying to do my job and be professional.”
Lilly rolled her eyes and walked away. Tammy nodded in Lilly’s direction, I shrugged.
“Well, the murder weapon is a common sledgehammer. If I had to guess, and luckily, I don’t, it’s a ten-pound sledge. Blood splatter is consistent with multiple blows.”
“Any idea how many?”
“Why would that be important, Konan.” Lilly’s voice was sharp. I turned and met her eyes. Neither of us seemed willing to be the first to look away.
“Some cultures, the occult, and more have a thing for numbers. A certain number of reps could indicate certain mental disorders…” I didn’t finish my thought; the fight would never end if I did.
“I don’t have that number, Konan. However, I can tell you that when the killer was done, they were soaked in the blood of the victim.”
So, cause of death is bludgeoning.”
“Yep. He was killed at 6 p.m. exactly.”
“Okay. Did the first blow kill him?”
“No. He survived the first blow.”
“Yep. He saw the second one for sure. After that, it’s anyone’s guess how much more he endured.”
“The blows, were they powerful? As in, was there any evidence to suggest that the killer was weak? Or were there any indication that the killer was strong?” Lilly looked over at me and Tammy. She walked over and stood with us but remained silent.
“The bruising is consistent with strong blows, but adrenaline could provide a surge in strength. Figueroa’s chest was crushed, but I didn’t think anything of it. Call me tomorrow. Let me check something out tonight.”
“Okay. Thanks for the info, Tammy.” I turned to walk to the door. Lilly trailed behind me. Tammy watched us leave and grinned. I don’t know what she found humorous about the situation, but she grinned, nonetheless.
In the car Lilly turned to face me. Her eyes were narrowed as she stared at me. I glanced over and lifted my chin.
“You’re not even going to apologize for your behavior at the compound, are you?”
“No. Why would I?”
“We have no reason to suspect either of those men, but you went in there and hammered them.”
“You were not professional; your behavior was as far from a professional law enforcement office as you could be.”
“Let me stop you before you embarrass yourself, like you did at the compound. As your friend, YOU were unprofessional. Maxwell had you wrapped around his little finger. I’m surprised you didn’t lay out the welcome mat and invite him over to your house for drinks.”
Lilly paled. If I had thought for one second that she would understand what I tried to explain, I was sorely mistaken. Her breathing became shallow, her jugular vein pulsed, and she clenched her fists tightly.
“You can let me out right here,” she snarled. “So help me God, if you don’t let me out, I’m not going to be responsible for what I do to you.”
“Why are you so angry? Jesus, Lilly.”
“LET ME OUT.”
I slowed the car and brought it to the curb of a strip mall not far from the department. She got out and slammed the car door. I raised my eyebrows and put the car into drive. I looked in the rearview mirror, Lilly stormed down the street like a hell-bent Viking princess out to conquer the known world.
Maybe the walk will do her good. Her departure sure made my ride a lot better.