Anderson Heights Baptist Church
"Why don't murderers work normal hours like the rest of us?" Louie Vega climbed the steps of the old church. The cold and damp did not agree with him. At fifty-two, he was still tall, muscled and strong but the chill made his bones ache. He pushed the graying black hair out of his eyes. Louie hated being woke up out of a sound sleep for a stiff.
"If they did," Scott chuckled. "Our jobs wouldn't be so glamorous." Scott Nolan wasn't too peeved about being out this time of night. The flavor of the evening had just gone home and he was rested and happy, at least for the moment.
"Holy shit..." Louie saw the body first.
"What the hell makes a hole like that?" Scott had seen a lot in fifteen years but he had never seen anything quite like this before. The body was a white male, five foot ten, approximately one hundred ninety pounds and naked. Two things struck him right away. The guy's heart and right hand were missing. "When did he die?" He turned his attention to the Medical Examiner, who looked just as pleased to be there as Louie did.
James Mains fumbled with evidence bags and winter lined gloves. "Rigor can set in within two to six hours and the stiff is stiff." The M.E. smiled at his own pun. "But it's twenty five degrees out here."
"And?" It was cold. Scott was growing impatient for a hot cup of coffee.
"The cold will hasten the onset of rigor.” Mains answered.
Scott looked at him numbly. "Midnight?"
"Possibly," He turned the body over and inserted a thermometer into the dead man’s back, just outside of where his liver should have been. Louie cringed. He had seen it a thousand times and it still made his ass draw up into a knot. "But I won't know for sure until I get him back to the lab."
"Well guys?" Nick jogged up in sweats and a heavy parka.
"You should dress like that for work more often," Scott teased her. Nick ignored him, though she could've countered that the hundred-year-old jeans and equally ancient T-shirt under a beat up leather bomber jacket were just the height of fashion. But why bother? The victim was a fashion disaster she was interested in. Lieutenant Nicolette Johnson leaned over the body, now partially enclosed in a body bag. "Did anyone get pictures of this?" She pointed to the circular picture painted in red on the victim's lower abdomen.
"What the hell is it?" Scott asked.
"Some sort of Satanic bullshit, probably." Louie was flippant. He'd seen everything at least twice.
"The light out here is bad.” Mains answered. "I'll take pictures at the lab."
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