An Eye for Detail
She arranged the crime scene photos across her desk, hoping to unpick their story as if reading a page from a macabre comic. She already knew the ending-it was the other spoilers that she was looking for. Sitting back in her chair she closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose, exhaling deeply. It had already been a very long day but she was not ready to call it a night just yet. She did her best thinking when alone in the office, the others had left hours ago. Knowing her as long as they had, they didn’t bother saying goodnight anymore-fearing her wrath if their interruption derailed her train of thought.
Standing to stretch she caught sight of the kettle and silently made a pact-one more coffee and then home. The introduction of a kettle and French Press had resulted in a week of merciless ribbing. The last laugh had been hers though-the coffee from the canteen was piss awful. Now when she brewed coffee she made sure to open her office door so as to rub their noses in it. Removing a cigarette from the packet she had kept for five years, she sniffed it redundantly; now so dry it no longer smelt of anything much. This habit harking back to another, as was the action of using the desk to slide the stick between thumb and fore finger. The repetitive motion had replaced the nicotine hit, soothing her thoughts and affording her more space to walk the crime scene remotely.
Not all the information surrendered at a crime scene made itself known to her straight away. Sometimes, like a good coffee, the clues had to percolate until they produced a niggling thought that would refuse to be ignored. That thought might just be a diversion or it could be the first stone on the path to success. She thought of herself as a filter; when at the crime scene she gathered and retained pieces of information that would not necessarily come to the fore until she had given them time to shake loose. Very few people are ever prepared for death especially when they are prematurely forced out of life by the actions of another. To her walking a murder scene was extremely intimate; she was calling upon someone when they least wished to have visitors. She was visiting with them in their absence, in a moment when their vulnerability had been captured forever.
She hated having her photograph taken and very few pictures existed that she actually approved of. Unlike some she welcomed the digital age; delete, delete, delete. She could not comfortably pose and this was borne out in the number of photos where the effort of arranging her face in a natural smile was clearly evident. All of her thoughts about photographs were beginning to shake something loose. Something in one of the crime scene photos was tapping to be let in. Picking up one of the photos taken of the victim, she let her eyes scan the scene once more. The victim lay on the floor, her head twisted to the side. Surrounding her were daily objects of her life, disturbed by the struggle. The objects had fallen off a chest of drawers, probably when she fell against it. Not everything had fallen on impact and the two things that remained seemed pertinent somehow; a lamp and a framed photograph- one illuminating the scene and the other witnessing it.
The victim’s face was turned towards the framed picture and it appeared as though the two women were making eye contact. It could just be a coincidence or it could open up a line of enquiry that could lead to the next stone on the path. Who was the woman in the framed picture? Draining her coffee mug she reached into the lower drawer and pulled out the bottle of 12 year old Tomatin. She had forgotten to replace her toothbrush but the whisky and a breath mint could double as mouthwash. She would be the first in the office; a change of clothes at the ready, she could always keep them guessing.