Cruel and Unusual by Jack Winn

Her face is nothing but bone. I mean, literally. All bleached white, where a mouth and eyes should be. The rest of her seems well preserved, even the skin. Reeks like a mother, though.

That isn’t even the strangest thing about it, uh, her. That’s saying something, coming from someone who investigates homicides for a living.

Her raven hair is almost perfect. Not a follicle out of place. If not for the other thing, she’d look like a real woman. She had to be an angel, whoever she was. Here’s hoping her last minutes weren’t painful.

I spy a maggot crawling through one of the sockets and pat the packet of cinnamon sticks in my front pocket. God, I want a light so bad.

Damn you, Smokers Anonymous.

The person who did this, they took their time, and they were skilled. They’ve probably made off with the evidence, so to speak. No telling the amount of sick fantasies they’re acting out now.

I catch something out of the corner of my eye, something nice and shiny. I can just make out the sunlight bouncing off the top of it, giving it a good sheen. I spin around to get a better view.

For a murder weapon specked with blood, the cutter’s knife is in remarkably good condition A little dull owing to its recent…use, but otherwise perfect. Forensics will have a field day processing this when they get here.

It won’t be long, either.

Stomach acid splashes the insides of my throat. I nervously brush the individual sticks, feel their rough, woody texture on the fingertips. I wish I was back home, feet reclined on the expensive ottoman I shelled out three month’s worth of my pay for, watching stupid TV.

As I step outside, a balmy breeze hits my face. I take a deep breath and place one of the sticks in my mouth. I want so badly for this moment to stretch out, forever and ever, into eternity.

Yet I know that will never happen.

I spy the forensics guys as they pull up and wave to them. I gnaw off a piece of cinnamon and place the other half in my pocket for later. Yeah, it’s gross, but what else would one do in this situation?

A sigh escapes my mouth as I rub my eyes.

Guess I should get back to work.

BIO: Born in the seedy hills outside Greensboro, North Carolina, the future
delinquent known as John Winn has been knocking out stories since he learned to
operate his first still. When he isn’t busy writing tales of violence, crime,
and gore, the red-blooded Real American likes to wind down the old fashioned
way—with a glass of scotch and stupid TV.


Bruce Harris said...

Someone or something needs to pay for that brutality. Well done!

Bill Baber said...

very creepy... nice descriptions.

Anonymous said...

Good cop character for a book. Keep writin'