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| | mercredi, novembre 24, 2004

"Erika." She said it out loud. Could that be the name of her daughter or of a lover maybe?
The blue-ish green tattoo looked like the work of an amateur. As if it were carved into the flesh width fuzzy blurry letters where the ink had found its way under the skin.
"Could be a jail souvenir," she thought. The scar on her belly looked bad as well. It wasn’t surgical, the report said. All organs intact. It must have been from an injury.
"Well, Sarah..." a friendly voice said behind her back."That’s some case we’ve got on our hands here." Claire, the pathologist had re-entered the room.
"I can’t read a lot out of that poor ladies’ body. Seems like a bad luck girl to me."
"A bad luck girl?” Sarah asked.
"Well yes, she was killed because she was at the wrong place, wrong time. Accidental victim. It looks like whoever killed her was after her wallet."
"And so they left the pearl?" robbery with murder was a possibility Sarah didn’t even want to consider, because a motive like that wouldn’t leave any chance of finding the killer. There had to be something more.
"Well, even if they thought it was genuine, Sarah, it’s too risky to sell. It’s too recognisable in the neighbourhood. And you wouldn’t just kill someone this way unless you absolutely needed money: quick and fast. I think it’s a crazed junk’s doing."
"The papers are talking about a possible serial killer," Sarah started.
"Yes, I know," Claire said quickly,"but absolutely not likely. No sexual assault, no obvious traces left, no trademark. This is definitely not the killing style of a serial killer."
"What about the scar and the tattoo?"
"Well, yes, that’s something else." Claire was speaking slowly, while looking at the corpse again. And sarah knew she was imagining every possibility, every surgical intervention and every possible injury that could have caused the scar with scientific precision.
"The scar was most likely caused by an injury, unless they cut her open somewhere in a field hospital in a third world country or something. But nothing points to that. The slash on her belly nearly spliced her guts. It’s an old wound, dating from years back."
"Here," Claire switched on a extra light and focuses it on the body of the dead woman.
"You can see," she pointed to a spot on the belly, "that the scar has been stretched, probably when she put on weight." Sarah watched Claire’s long elegant fingers move, stretching the latex gloves and touching the dead girl’s stomach gently. She noticed Claire was wearing nail polish. Dark red. "That means she’s not seeing someone," Sarah pondered. "At least not on a regular basis."
"What would cause a wound like that?" Claire was thinking out loud. "Not a knife. The edges of the gap were ragged, that’s why it left such an ugly scar. Look at that." Claire pointed to the small suture points along the scar. "Whoever did this did a really bad job. You don’t stitch up a big gaping wound like this with 15 stitches. No wonder it made such a messy scar."
"And the tattoo?" Sarah asked. "Was it done before or after the injury?"
"There’s no way of finding that out, but I would say before. It’s so close to the scar, in such an odd place..."
Sarah’s cell phone went of. A private number. "Hi, Sarah, this is Marie-Rose. You haven’t forgotten our appointment, have you? I expected you at 10:30."
"Oh, god, I’m sorry, Rose." Sarah started. Dr. Marie-Rose Solal was her shrink. Tuesday. She was supposed to be at her weekly session of soul searching, conscience digging whining. She hated it, but it had been Claire’s idea and she couldn’t refuse to try at least for a few months. "Don’t worry. Come over now and we’ll start. I don’t have anything booked until this afternoon," Rose said.

Sarah was disinfecting her hands and almost ready to go when Claire asked. "And what about you? How are you doing, Sarah? Are you still seeing that girl?"
She was referring to the bitch.
"No," Sarah said, "that’s finished."
"Oh, good," Claire looked worried. She was leaning against a cabinet cleaning her glasses. She looked soft and lovely, thick brown curls bouncing around her face and shoulders as if her body supplied them with a constant electrical current.
"How could I ever have let her go." Sarah thought.

| | jeudi, novembre 04, 2004

It felt awkward to stand there next to the naked girl's body. She had been neatly stitched up and labelled Jane Doe 0165. The bruises on her neck, face and arms were the colour of rhododendrons.
The pathology report said she hadn't been sexually assaulted. No traces of violation, apart from the blows to the head. One blow had broken her nose and there were bruises on her forehead and imprints were a hand had gripped her left arm.

She wasn't really beautiful. She was short and a bit overweight, heavy around the hips. A pink blue lined horizontal scar from an operation divided her lower abdomen into 2 equal soft fat parts.

Her nails were dirty and black rimmed. Traces of tobacco, food and plain dust, corresponding to what they had found in her pant pockets. Nothing could be traced back to the place her corpse was left behind. The morgue smelled heavily of disinfectant. Sarah couldn't discover a smell belonging to the girl.

According to the report her stomach contained rests of a ham and cheese sandwich, eaten hours before time of death and several shots of vodka.

"Oh God," she thought. "She might have been killed in a domestic argument by a violent boyfriend. But how am I ever going to find out? I don't even know if she was married." She checked the report again. No wedding ring. But she did wear a small necklace with a pearl around her neck. Fake. And the report mentioned a small tattoo. She hadn't noticed it yet. It was hidden, only millimeters above the big scar that made a deep gash into the fat of her belly. It said "Erika".

| | mercredi, novembre 03, 2004

She ran up the stairs to the office and heard a voice calling. "Hey Sarah, I’ve got something for you! Fingerprints of the victim and the full pathology report. Come and get it!" Chris disappeared into his office. He was more or less the only friend she had in the police force here.
He was sitting behind his desk eating a boule de Berlin. His hands and mouth shiny with oil and covered in powder sugar.
"Well darling, you look tired. You haven’t been out again in some sleazy lesbian bar all night trying to find true love now, have you?" There was a twinkle in his eyes. Obviously he was in for some verbal play. But she wasn’t.
"It’s my cold, Chris, I didn’t sleep well."
"Oh," he looked disappointed. "I could use a juicy dyke story today, Sarah. It beats filing these.” He pointed to an immense pile of files on the table behind him. "The boss is chaining me to the desk again."
"Well today the juicy dyke took a day off and sent the tired police woman to the office. And besides, true love is a lie. You know that as well as I do." she answered him.
"Oh dear, you are in a foul mood today. Let’s get you off to work. You have a meeting with a dead girl, in the freezer." He paused. "It’s an odd case though, isn’t it?"
"I’ve been thinking Chris. It’s possible that the killer wasn’t from around here and just dropped off the body and left. Maybe even left the country. That’s the worst case scenario. But even then, how’s it possible that no one noticed anything. There are about 200 people living in the apartment blocks.
All kitchen windows of the front apartments look onto the trees, where she was lying. There’s something not right about those blocks."

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