Reskin

Unsurprisingly Captain Robert Hu ordered Detective Bhura to hand the case off, stating that he was too close, too invested. Sovel’s response to such claims being made? Well, he screamed, shouted and cursed his refusal. Then Sovel stormed off ignoring his superiors’ orders to get back here because Robert wasn’t done tearing him a new one. But it was too little too late. The homicide detective with hazel eyes was already gone. Having slipped back into his car he sped off.

Sovel expects he’ll get suspended for his actions but right now, he couldn’t care less. He’s returned to the coroner’s office. Having made a couple stops first. One was to get food and a much needed drink. He still hasn’t’ eaten the food, a chicken and vegetable wrap, but the drink has very much been drained to dregs during his meandering journey that also saw him stop for fuel and ignore a series of now missed calls from his Captain. They’re from Robert’s personal number which means he’s worried about Sovel and fears he might need a friend to talk too and not a Captain. The detective appreciates the intent but right now talking isn’t what he needs t all. No, what he needs is to return to the coroner’s office, which he overheard during his questioning, standard procedure, has been cordoned off as a crime scene. No surprise there. What is a little surprising is that apparently, no one will be touching it until tomorrow at first light. Sovel can imagine that has been done to give the techs a much needed period to come to terms with what has happened before having to investigate their newest superiors’ death.

Some of them would have been in the front office spaces at the time and completely oblivious of what had happened. It’s not surprising as they are undoubtedly still used to Michael who insisted he was not bothered while he worked. If not for that useless sack of lards mean personality Kelly might not be dead, Sovel thinks.

He knows it isn’t fair to blame the now forcibly retired former coroner and that he’s only doing it out of guilt, but still if makes him feel… No it doesn’t, he admits. He feels just as shattered emotionally. Just gives me a few moments of respite from blaming myself, he thinks as he enters the coroner’s office. The area where the techs work isn’t cordoned off, which isn’t surprising as they’ll need to work when the next shift hits and that’s the only space the techs have. During the nightshift it’s a skeleton crew comprising of no more than a handful unless it’s a busy night. Instead, it is just the corridor leading to… Sovel’s brow furrows. He’s stopped dead, his body frozen and unresponsive. He slowly blinks over and over convinced he must be imagining not just the lights in what had been Kelly’s lab but what appears to be movement. He can’t make out much due to the blinds but… The detective watches and the longer he does so the more evident it becomes that he isn’t dreaming any of this. There is definitely someone in Kelly’s lab, the crime scene. It could be a tech, one of the other coroner’s, maybe even an officer to… Of course it’s not, his own voice declares in his head. Right after Sovel grabs his radio and puts in a call once his identity has been substantiated. “It’s Detective Bhura here. Is there anyone on site at the coroner’s office?”

“Negative detective but Captain Hu is ordering you back to…” The responder on the other end of the line begins but is cut off by Sovel when he declares, “There is someone on site. Repeat, there is somebody at the coroner’s office. They are beyond the cordon. Backup requested immediately.”

There is a period of silence during which Sovel gets the feeling some frantic passing of information is being delivered. When the responder comes back on the line it’s evidently a different person. Female this time, with a commanding voice meant to suggest she is not one to tolerate bullshit. “Backup is on its way Detective. Hold for backup. Repeat, hold…”

Sovel cuts the link and stows his radio. He has no intention of waiting for backup. Whoever is in there clearly shouldn’t be and it seems, to him at least, to be highly likely whoever it is has some connection to what has happened tonight. He can’t risk them slipping away. They’ve already made enough of a mockery of him and the police tonight with them having been able to stay at large and get away with what they have so far. Curiously though Detective Bhura can’t say the killer, if that is who it is which he is sure that it is, has a consistent M.O. After all, the first thing that was found was an apartment with a pile of skin but no body, then Kelly’s body but no skin and thirdly a pile of skin but Cornelius Long still very much intact, scruffy brown hair right where it should be as his dead brown eyes stared at the floor boards above body.

Sovel creeps down the corridor having ducked under the bright yellow police tape. He makes sure to keep low with one hand on his pistol while it sits in its holster. Moving like this the corridor feels like an endless line. As if Sovel is making no progress and his goal is as far away as it was when he started. It’s a test to the officers’ patience and more than a few times he feels inclined to forego this stealthy approach for a quick sprint. Each time he reminds himself that the element of surprise might afford him an advantage. Especially, as there is only one way in and out of what had been Kelly’s lab and Sovel is occupying that one way.

Finally, he gets to the end of the corridor. The detectives legs are tired, his knees more than anything, which is why he wastes no time in unfolding himself so that he is back to his full height. To his relief his bones do not crack loudly to potentially give away his presence.

His weapon is quickly pulled from its holster, the safety slowly clicked off and then following a series of deep silent breaths that allow Sovel to be sure there is definitely someone inside, he bursts through the door. It takes him a few seconds to get clear across the threshold of the door and locate the position of the figure. They have their back to the detective but he doesn’t care and demands they, “Freeze! Don’t make any sudden moves.” A few short breathes are drawn in and then expelled by Sovel prior to him then ordering, “Turn around, slowly, hands up.”

The figure complies without a word, raises their hands to maybe shoulder height for a few moments and then ultimately turns. Sovel’s eyes go wide when he realises that he is stood face-to-face with Kelly Holliday. His jaw drops and to be truthful he doesn’t understand how this is possible. Still, he doesn’t falter further than that or allow his weapon to drop even a millimetre. Rather, he queries in disbelief, “Kelly, how are you…? This isn’t possible.” The homicide detective stumbles over his words but gets enough of them out for his query to make sufficient sense.

In response Kelly offers a smile. Something about it seems off to Sovel but his attention is quickly drawn when Kelly begins to speak. “It’s OK detective. I can explain.” Kelly takes a step forward. Then she takes a second. Sovel doesn’t like this. Something feels very off. He wants to listen to her but his gut is telling him this is all wrong. It can’t be a dream it’s too real. Sovel would like it to be because this night has been too weird but… “You know me. Just lower your weapon. We can chat. I’ll explain everything Sovel.”

At the mere mention of his name the detective locks his eyes on Kelly. She has never called him by his first name. She refused too. Said it was how she kept her professional and personal lives separated. That was only a few weeks ago so there is no way she’d go back on something like that as quickly as this.

“Who are you?” Sovel blurts angrily. He gets no answer. Rather, Kelly throws herself at him. She is far quicker than he would have anticipated. He doesn’t know what to call her. This evidently isn’t Kelly. At least not the same Kelly he’d worked alongside until earlier in the night. If she were slower Sovel might have had chance to get a shot off but he doesn’t and so is forced into a blocking retreat. ‘Kelly’ flails her arms wildly but many of her strikes land, stinging painfully.

“Why are you doing this?” Sovel hears himself demand. He doesn’t know why. He hadn’t intended to learn the reasoning behind why whoever this really is has decided to attack him. It matter little at this moment. Still, he gets an answer. Not one he ever would have anticipated in his wildest dreams however.

“I need to feed.” The voice isn’t Kelly’s. It’s deeper, rumbling and sounds as if a whole host of people are talking at once. Sovel, shocked, jumps back. He’d like to pretend it was calculated but truth is it was his response to the voice and the words they delivered. His skin is crawling unlike anything he has ever felt before in all his life, including when he’d seen the flesh in the tub. He wonders if it is the result of whoever is attacking him. It doesn’t matter, he screams in his own head to pry him out of what is currently pointless and potentially fatal thinking.

Now back in the moment and with limited space between himself and ‘Kelly’ he levels and fires his pistol loaded with nine millimetre rounds. Five shots ring out. In the confines of the lab the booms are deafening. ‘Kelly’ staggers backward in response to only the first three rounds and then holds her ground. To Sovel’s utter astonishment there are no wounds. The detective doesn’t understand. It makes no sense. There would have to be wounds. There is no way he could have missed from a hair less than two metres away. Especially, if he were to factor in that ‘she’ staggered back in response to his early shots.

‘Kelly’ lunges forward so fast that Sovel does not have the time to react. An instant later her hand is around his throat. She hauls him off his feet with incredible ease and as she does so begins to squeeze his throat hard. He chokes, gurgles, gasps and struggles desperately in hope of bringing an end to the pain. That is without the consideration of wanting to have the chance to suck precious air down into his lungs once more.

‘Kelly’ smiles a sick grin. She is clearly pleased by the detectives suffering even as his thrashes grow ever more violent. His vain hopes of breaking free last until there is a sickening snap, at which point ‘Kelly’ releases her grip. The lifeless body of Detective Sovel Bhura flops to the floor dead. His head sat at an unnatural angle.

‘Kelly’s’ sick smile vanishes when she hears the sound of the now deceased homicide detectives radio blaring. It must have been reactivated as a result of his crash to the floor.

“Detective Bhura come in. Do you read? Please answer. Backup is minutes away. Please, detective, answer.” ‘Kelly’ snarls, grabs a hold of one of Sovel’s shining shoes, foot and all, and hauls him off into an area of dark at one end of the lab which she did not flip the switch to illuminate.

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