“Whaddya got for me?” Inspector Purdue ducked under the crime scene tape, lighting a cigarette. “I was just about to eat dinner, this shit had better be good.”
“Right up your alley Inspector.” The uniform holding the tape said, “Your wife will forgive you.”
She took a deep drag on her smoke and looked at the figure sprawled in the snow. “The fuck she will. Terese hates it when I don’t eat her home cooking. I hate it too.”
The boy was laying with his hands covering his face, the school uniform marking him as a middle school student from Carson, a prestigious local academy. Purdue flicked the cherry off her cigarette and tossed the butt into a trash can. She sighed and pulled her phone from her breast pocket.
“You did right to call me in, Jackson. This is obviously related.” She began taking pictures of the corpse, and more importantly the outline of wings that projected from the body. They were drawn in blood, presumably the victim’s blood, although the boy didn’t appear to have any visible wounds.
“Ya think?” Jackson said, quirking an eyebrow. “The chief said to bring you in on any of these fucking wing things. Any chance you’re gonna tell me what the fuck is going on?”
“Whenever I figure it out, you’ll be on my goddamn list.” She said, bending to look closely at the body. “Has anyone touched the corpse?”
“No. I mean orders have been clear from the top down. When we see the wing murders we block it off, take photos, and keep our hands to ourselves.” He said, shoving his hands into his pockets.
“As long as you’re sure.” She said, taking a pair of gloves from her kit and pulling them on. “I don’t want to report something falsely. We don’t want someone to go down for this who doesn’t deserve it.”
Reaching into the boy’s mouth with a pair of tweezers, she pulled an ancient-looking piece of parchment from under his tongue. She unfolded it and scrutinized it for a moment before placing it in an evidence bag and sealing it.
“Jackson, get this to the lab.” She said and waited until he had gone before taking an amulet from around her neck and placing it on the boy’s forehead. For a few moments, the tiny golden rosebud sat perfectly still, and Purdue was just about to let out a breath of relief when the petals began to quiver and open.
“Shit.” Purdue rocked back on her heels and took another cigarette from the pack with shaking fingers and watched the flower bloom. A flutter of motion caught her eye, but when she glanced at it she didn’t see anything moving. “Is this the one?”
She crushed the cigarette out and flicked it at a trash can. The shaking of her hands made her miss. Cursing, Purdue walked over and plucked the butt from the sidewalk. A gasp made her spin around. The boy was sitting up with wide staring eyes.
“He. Is. Coming. For. You.” The blood leaking from the twin holes just beneath each of his shoulder blades connected him to the shimmering outline of the bloody wings gently fanning around his body. He collapsed sideways, the blood splattering down behind him.
“That’s not very helpful.” She said, plucking the charm from his forehead, “You’ve fucked over my crime scene too.”
“I sent that paper off for analysis.” Jackson paused, “What the hell happened?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Purdue lit another cigarette, “It doesn’t matter anyway. Goddamnit, I’m dead anyhow.”
“What?” He had his gun in his hand in a heartbeat, “Did you find something on the body? Are you getting threats again?”
“Easy killer.” She exhaled twin streams of smoke from her nostrils, “Some things you can’t stop with a bullet. Nobody is gonna kill me today, I’m just embracing the inevitable.”
“So what happened here?” He demanded, holstering his pistol.
“The demon possessing half my soul awakened this boy’s last breath. It was supposed to allow him to tell me who killed him or at very least give me valuable information about how to put a stop to it.” Purdue lit another cigarette from the butt of her current one, “All he told me was that his murderer is coming for me. Hardly the most helpful statement since we don’t know who the FUCK has been doing this.”
“Jesus.” Jackson shook his head, “If you didn’t want to tell me you could have at least made something halfway believable up.”
“Yeah.” She shrugged, “Let’s go get some coffee and a doughnut.”
‘Chocolate with bacon sprinkles.’ Nebecenezer demanded.