The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Spence juggled the brown bag containing a pint of ice cream into his left hand as he fished for his car keys with his right. Turning his attention to the door, he slipped the key in the lock as his cell phone buzzed.
He set the bag down on the driver’s seat and thumbed to the text message.
Shaking his head, Spence texted back, Instead of fudge brownie? His breath hung in the air, suspended in the cold as he waited for a response. Ice crystals threatened to form on his goatee. The ever-present wind moved the tops of the evergreens surrounding the mini mart but did little to move his buzz cut dark hair.
In addition to
Spence closed his door and locked it, jogging back across the parking lot to the convenience store. It was the only store within twenty minutes of his home and lately he’d found himself shopping there more frequently than before. He navigated back to the cooler and grabbed a 1/2 gallon of butter pecan. As he placed it on the checkout counter, the clerk gave him a long look.
“You keep eating like this and you won’t look like that anymore.”
“It’s for my wife.”
Spence laughed, uncomfortable. “No really. She’s pregnant.”
The clerk took Spence’s ten dollar bill and made change. “Uh huh.”
Spence grabbed ice cream and his change, then dropped two pennies into the take a penny/leave a penny basket.
“You have a good night now.”
Spence guffawed. “Right.” His eyes caught the 6’2” mark on the door measurement sticker as he pushed through.
His cell phone alerted as he unlocked the car door.
Are you on your way? Tess’s text read.
Just leaving the store. Spence thumbed back. Three more months of this — fall was going to be mighty long this year.
He transferred both containers to the passenger seat, slid in, and started the car. His phone chirped again. This time, it wasn’t Tess.
Caught a body, likely our guy. Whispering Evergreen Academy. 1749 Lillihop Way.
Ah oh. Tess was not going to like this.
Caught a case honey. Spence texted his wife.
No ice cream? Came her reply.
Sorry love. Spence pulled out of the parking lot and headed for coffee. No way was he drinking mini mart swill.
The serial killer?
You know I can’t give you details.
Fine then I won’t give you the details of Butch sleeping on the bed.
Spence’s laugh echoed in the car as he texted with one hand while driving. LOL. Keep him off my pillow. There was nothing worse than German Shepherd hair everywhere.
A quick detour through an all night coffee stand, then GPS took him straight to Whispering Evergreen Academy. He followed the circular drive and added his vehicle to the variety of official ones already on the scene. The clipboard officer was standing on a pathway to the side of the multi-story, monstrously large building, one might be tempted to call White House Pacific Northwest.
He pulled his flip ID and presented it to the officer. “Hey Bronson, how’s it?”
“Cold as hell. Scene’s out back by the pool.”
“Lovely. Maybe the temp will keep this ice cream from melting.” Spence slid the ID back into his pocket, handed Bronson the bag, and headed around the house by the path. Voices guided him for the first fifty feet. Lights provided a beacon for the rest. Spence stopped as he got to the patio, evaluating the scene before he spoke with anyone.
The acrid scent of burning meat hit his nose. He noted the open BBQ. Some sort of lump on the grill. He opened his mouth a fraction and closed his nose, a trick he learned allowing him breath without inhaling the stench.
The medical examiner crouched by the side of the pool, his assistant in attendance. The pool cover itself was bunched up on the side.
Checking the ground in front of him as he walked, he chose the medical examiner as his first stop. “What have we got Doc?”
Spence snorted. “Astute observation. Anything else?”
“Waiting on overall shots to be done. Then I’ll pull him from the pool.”
“Ah – you think male then?” Spence needled.
Doctor Choi laughed. “Yeah, alright. I’m guessing male and mid 40’s by the bald spot but still mostly brown hair. There’s blood in the water, too.”
“Are you thinking enough for stabbing or gun shot to be cause of the death?” Spence eyed the pool, it didn’t look like much blood to him.
“I couldn’t possible say until I get him on my table.”
“And was that so hard?”
“Next time bring me a cup of that go juice and I’ll be a little more forthcoming.” Doctor Choi nodded to the coffee in Spence’s hand.
“I’ll see what I can do. How long have you been waiting on photography?”
“They’re getting marching orders from your better half.” Doctor Choi gave a pointed look to the tables behind Spence.
“My better half? Did he bring you coffee?”
“Donuts. Two dozen.”
“Well, fuck.” Spence laughed. He crossed to his partner, Tom Harding. For a moment he listened as Tom gave detailed instructions to crime scene techs who knew their jobs better than he did. Tom was a micro-manager, that’s why he needed to bring 2 dozen donuts to the scene, to every scene. “Tom.”
Tom stopped mid-sentence. He caught the eye Spence was giving him and laughed. “Sorry, I’m doing it again.”
“If by doing it again, you mean keeping the medical examiner waiting while you direct traffic, then yeah, you’re doing it again.”
“No donuts for you.”
The techs laughed and moved off to start their work.
“Took you long enough to get here.” Tom helped himself to a raspberry filled.
“I needed coffee for this all nighter.”
“And no cup for me.”
Spence gave Tom a long look. “Donuts.”
“Okay. Moving on. Whispering Evergreen Academy. Exclusive boarding school for the rich and naughty.”
“Naughty?” The word caught Spence’s attention.
“From what I gather half their students have been thrown out of one or more other schools before landing here.”
“Super. If this isn’t our serial, there’ll be no shortage of suspects then.”
“Body was discovered by two kids who, and I quote, snuck out to look at the stars, end quote.”
Spence and Tom shared a short laugh. “Ok, they were on their way out—”
“On their way back in apparently. All this is second hand though.”
Spence raised an eyebrow.
“The headmaster met me at the door. Directed me to his office and gave me the briefest information possible and a long lecture about discretion. I let it slide. Lower his guard a bit.”
“You’d think I’d done this before.”
Spence snorted. “Did you look at the security feed yet?”
“Down for servicing,” the corner of Tom’s mouth twitched.
“You’re shitting me.”
“Nope. Apparently they take it down the first Thursday of every month for a two-hour window between 9PM and 11PM.”
“Everyone know this?”
“Ain’t that grand.”
Doctor Choi called out to them, “We’re ready to pull the body.”
The detectives hurried to join him. The assistant slipped into the pool and strapped the victim to a rescue board. With the assistant lifting and the Doctor pulling it was a quick job to get the body board up and on deck. They unstrapped the victim and rolled him over. The click of a camera taking shots filled the air as all four men stared at the body.
“Is his—” Tom stopped.
“It looks like his penis is amputated, yes.” Doctor Choi filled in.
“We’ve got another one.” Spence swallowed hard.