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Sunday, May 11

Darkest Calling: Part 1 – The Abandoned Vehicle

There before them was the corpse of a woman. She was naked, face up, spread like a star and bound by ropes to stakes pounded into the earth. Her body was decorated with fresh cuts, creating a pattern of spirals, stars, crescents, and swirls. Everything between her abdomen and her knees had been eaten away.

Guppy stumbled away, gagging.

Hammer leaned down over the body. “This is Kate.” He snapped on a pair of plastic gloves and began talking into his cistron. “No clothes, jewelry, money, identification, or camping equipment. Bleeding indicates the pattern was carved into her skin while still alive, administered shortly before her death.”

Blade peered over Hammer’s shoulder. “The patterns on her body are a mixture of Tohono O’odham and Kokoham styles symbolizing creatures from the underworld.”

“Some of them are reminiscent of constellations,” said Archive on the other side. He got down on his knees. “See this? There are two gray dots painted on her left foot, one above the other.”

“The fatal wound in her midsection suggests an attack by a large animal,” said Hammer. “There’s a thick, orange substance on the wound…” He swabbed it with an evidence kit. “It smells vaguely of bile.” Hammer moved on. “The body is greenish around the abdomen. Her fingers, toes, eyes, and face have withered, and bloating suggests she’s been dead for at least two days.”

Guppy, who had been heaving off in the scrub but not actually vomiting, finally returned. “There is a circular depression of sand where nothing grows over there. It looks like it collapsed, like a sinkhole.”

Before anyone could respond, the thud-thud-thuding of a chopper overhead interrupted their conversation.

Hammer reached for his Glocks. “Looks like we’ve got company.” [MORE]


posted by Michael Tresca at 7:53 AM

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