hi


back to other writing

The Floor Where She Lay

Forensic had already been in and for the first time since the investigation had begun the Inspector was given some time at the scene alone. He stood in the doorway and took in the simple, stylish furnishings with a quick glance, noticing the windows and their position behind the long low-backed sofa and large central floor space, in the middle of which lay a body covered with a white sheet. Birds were singing outside in the garden, the curtains billowed a little. In the corner by the door a small three-legged table was surrounded by broken glass and the stains of a dark drink were drying into the pale carpet. The Inspector leant forwards slightly onto his toes then back, feeling the floor before taking two steps into the room and without turning he reached for the handle and closed the door. Taking out a small notepad and a plain black ball-point pen he began to write down everything he could see from where he stood, two steps away from the door. The pictures that hung on the wall to his left were in simple wood frames, the old fireplace opposite was refurbished and housed a modest electric burner, the furniture was expensive but functional. Everything was greys and browns. A door on the right led to the toilet, the door was white, like the walls. Another two steps brought the Inspector closer to the body on the floor. Experience had hardened him to the idea of death so he barely looked at where it lay, only noting down in short-hand its approximate distance from the sofa, the direction in which it might have fallen. Two more steps and he was in the centre of the room, turning slowly, eyes dancing, muttering softly. He took quick careful notes, the wall above the radiator stained, the edge of the rug under the window pulled back, the clock six minutes fast, the dust on the edge of the counter by the fireplace disturbed. After three of four full rotations he stood looking back at what he'd written, comparing it with the room, adding a note here and there before putting away the pad and taking out a small digital camera. Three pictures from where he stood. Two steps back, another picture. Two steps, another. He moved to the other side of the room and looked out of the open window where the report said someone had jumped before limping down street after street, climbing into a waiting car and driving out of the city. A man and a woman were walking without speaking on the pavement below. As they passed the window where he stood they turned away from the house and crossed the road, heading down the street which the runner had supposedly gone. 'Maybe it was them,' thought the Inspector, 'Returning to the scene of the crime...' He watched them until he couldn't hear their footsteps, then they turned a corner and were gone. The bathroom was larger than he'd expected, its black cabinets stark against the pure white tiles. He noted without surprise the sink, the mirror above, the dresser in the opposite corner, the toilet under a small, frosted window. Standing in the middle of the room was a bath, huge and curved, on legs of elegant silver with the old-fashioned tap at the midpoint. It stood out from the rest of the room, from the rest of the house. The Inspector walked around the other side of the bath and tried the tap. Hot water gushed out into the bowl and splashed across the surface, steam rising immediately as the cold stone began to warm. He shut of the tap and watched the flow quickly and smoothly, spiralling into the drain until the bath was empty. He looked up and through the open door into the living room where he could see the woman lying and behind her the open window. Back in the living room he lifted the sheet and looked down into the eyes of the dead woman. A single tear peaked and rolled down behind his thin-framed glasses and dripped from his large cheek onto the sheet below him. The Inspector looked dumbly at the damp spot and then back into the eyes of the woman. He reached across and pulled the sheet back from the body revealing a bare chest marked all over with dark red cuts. Twenty three, he remembered from the report. The wounds were clean and didn't bleed anymore. He pulled the sheet further to reveal a pair of cotton pyjamas and then bare feet. Kneeling beside the body he reached for his notepad but stopped. He looked into the eyes of the dead woman. From across the room a light caught the Inspector's eye and he turned to see a large flat-screen television which stood in the corner next the fireplace. How hadn't he noticed it before? Maybe it was the angle. He walked to where he had entered the room and stood starring at the TV, light from the windows bouncing across the room. He crossed the room again picked up the remote for TV, instinctively pressing the power button. The red light turned green, then the screen blinked on. 'No Signal' danced around and for a while the Inspector stood watching it bounce around. He pressed some more buttons and the screen jumped into life, a Sit-Com. He changed the channel, Ads. He changed again, the News. He pressed the power button and mid-sentence the reporter faded suddenly to black. He looked back to the bathroom, then the TV, then the open window. Steam from the slowly filling bath curled into the living room where the Inspector had taken off his jacket and hung it on a hook behind the door. The cabinet left a dent in the carpet where the small metal wheels had rested and then dragged across the room to where the Inspector had pushed it having carefully lifted off the big wide television before unplugging it and finding a socket beneath the window. He stood behind the unit, in front of the window, lining up the view into the bathroom. Not quite right. The soft leather squeaked slightly as he pushed with his back and the sofa slid across the room, thudding against the far wall. He walked round and into the bathroom where he tested the water, dipping two fingers quickly. The hot tap shuddered as he shut it off, letting the cold run a moment longer before it too was stopped and the room was suddenly quiet except for the light bubbling of the bath and the sound of the Inspector slowly taking off his shoes, socks, belt, shirt, trousers, until he was standing near-naked in the hot room. He crouched down behind the bath and closed one eye, looking across into the living room where the TV was framed by the window. He smiled and lightly stepped out to find the remote. The News flickered back on.

back to other writing


©2007-2021 Benedict Esdale