The Burning Man (Excerpt)
Excerpt from Chapter 1
“Jesus, what the hell is it?” Pete Langley recoiled.
“It’s the god damned tooth fairy,” Stone Kilroy said sarcastically, snapping his bubble gum between his back molars.
Pete stumbled forward, then back, his hand glued to his nose, trying to prevent the stench from consuming what little good air there was left in his lungs. One step forward.
“Don’t go any further,” Stone grunted, slapping Pete broadside on the back of his head.
“Sorry,” Pete shrugged, “I didn’t mean to screw things up.”
Stone rolled his eyes, wondered if he’d ever teach this rookie how to deal with a crime scene. This was a crime scene. That much was unmistakable. Stone sighed, leaned heavy against the door jam. Dreading what was inside.
Putrid stench permeated Lanley’s nostrils as soon as he thrust his body weight against the door. As real and ominous blackness inside. It seemed to take on a life of it own, swirling around him, engulfing him. Pete had only smelled stink like this once before, but he remembered it.
And froze in fear.
Stone Kilroy recognized the stench too, although to him it was more familiar. The smell of death. This case would haunt him, like the others had.
“Get out’ta the way, ” Stone shoved Pete.
“If we only had more time,” he grumbled under his breath. This was the third one of these he had seen in a month — slender, slashed, mid-twenties. When he’d seen the first one, her eyes were dry, wide open to the heavens.
She’d too been shredded. Shredded–it was the only way he knew how to describe what he saw, he decided, after he’d seen the second body.
On step further. The smell intensified, making Stone’s eyes water. That same terrible foreboding. He knew what the smell meant, just didn’t want to deal with it. Didn’t want to find her like this.
Burned flesh illuminated under his flashlight.
© 2014 Solange Ritchie
THE BURNING MAN – SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE IN EARLY 2015