Detroit’s perpetual patter of rainfall had Hank dashing from the car to the porch awning, the collar of his coat upturned to cover his neck because the distance was short enough that it didn’t warrant the effort of opening an umbrella. Connor trailed after him, completely unfazed.
“Jesus, kid. You could at least pretend to be mildly inconvenienced,” Hank snipped prissily while folding his collar back down.
Connor did have the good grace to halt his observation of the white paint turned black with mold peeling from the rotten wooden façade and smiled sheepishly at Hank.
Hank scoffed dismissively before turning to the beat cop who had been first responder on-scene.
“What do we have?” Hank asked her.
She took a moment to rub her hands together and blew on them before sticking them under her armpits.
“Couple of local kids were casing the joint. They’d heard it’d been uninhabited for a while, thought they’d check it out for their clubhouse, or whatever. One of ‘em found the body when they went to go piss.”
“The kids still around?” Hank asked her.
The cop unsnaked an arm to point behind her with her thumb over her shoulder.
“One of ‘em. Most of them ran off before we arrived, but my partner’s trying to calm down the one who found the body. It was… uh. It was a bit of a mess.”
Hank winced, and Connor pressed his lips together in a flat line in a way that he hoped approximate a grimace, and nodded his head sadly.
“Thank you, Officer,” Connor said. “We’ll take it from here.”
“Good luck,” she snorted.
Even though Hank was closer to the door, he still gestured for Connor to go first. Connor inclined his head in thanks at the polite angle of 38 degrees and proceeded to enter.
The teenager sitting at the bottom of the staircase had a mylar blanket across his shoulders, and he was exhibiting paleness, increased heart rate and respiration, and dilated pupils; all common signs of shock.
From the information given by the officer, and these signs, Connor surmised that this was the teenager to have found the deceased.
Hank had begun walking towards the teenager, but Connor caught Hank by the elbow and interrupted his stride. When Hank looked curiously at Connor, Connor shook his head minutely.
“He is in shock, and likely will not be of any use to us at present. The responding officer will have already taken his statement and details, and should we have any further questions, we can ask the teenager later.”
Hank looked across to the bottom of the staircase, where the officer who hadn’t greeted them was awkwardly laying an arm across teenager’s shoulders. His face softened minutely before he turned back to Connor.
“It’s okay, I got this.”
Hank hunched his shoulders in to make himself less threatening, no small feat when he’s 6’6”, and ambled towards the teenager, with Connor awkwardly following him.
“Hey,” he said gently, crouching in front of the teenager. “My name’s Hank. Is it okay if I ask you a few questions?”
The teenager didn’t look up from his feet, didn’t make any acknowledgement of Hank’s presence.
“What’s your name, kid?” Hank asked.
“‘M not a kid ,” the teenager replied, sullenly, tightening the blanket around himself and causing the beat cop to drop his arm. Hank smiled at him, even though the teenager wasn’t looking.
“Well alright, but if you want me to stop calling you that, I need to know your name.”
The teenager scoffed, and after a few moments of silence, the beat cop answered Hank’s question.
“Says his name’s Jamie.”
This got Jamie to look up and he glared at the beat cop. Hank chuckled softly, and Jamie turned his glare on him.
“I get it. Real tough kid, huh?” Hank said, raising his hands in supplication.
Jamie rolled his eyes at Hank, and Connor gently placed his hand on Hank’s shoulder.
“Hank, I don’t think--”
But Hank dropped his hands and looked at Connor.
“I said I got this ,” Hank snapped.
Connor recoiled, stepping back and removing his hand from Hank’s shoulder, though he kept it hovering just above.
“Listen, Jamie. I’m not gonna get you in trouble, I just need to ask you a few questions, okay?” Hank asked. He waited patiently for a response, but none seemed to be forthcoming.
“Why were you here tonight? Do your parents know where you are?”
Stony silence, except for the rain outside.
“Do you come here often? Or was this the first time you’ve been here?”
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip-po.
Nodding to himself in recognition that this was going nowhere, Hank stood up, wincing as his knees cracked, and reached into his back pocket for his wallet. He dug out a note and placed it in between his index and middle finger of his right hand as he put his wallet back with his left.
“Look, kid. Here’s twenty bucks--”
“Hank, are you bribing --”
“I’m encouraging a witness to talk. Now how about it?”
Jamie squinted at Hank, who wiggled the note a bit.
Jamie slowly extended an arm and made a grabby hand motion.
“Nuh uh. You’ll get paid when you answer.”
“You just said that you weren’t bribing him!” Connor objected.
Jamie slowly retracted his arm, staring at Hank suspiciously.
Sensing their impasse, Hank sighed as he put the note back into his wallet before rubbing a hand down his face.
“See? No bribes. Now let’s go see why they called us here.”
“A bit of a mess” was an understatement. The deceased--a Thomas Jacobsen, D.O.B 07/07/99--was placed sitting on the toilet, his left arm cut off just below the shoulder--and judging by the bleeding pattern, pre-mortem--and placed in the toilet bowl so that the curled fist stuck out between his legs, middle finger raised where his erect penis would be. Only, his penis was instead placed in his throat--slashed post-mortem.
There was broken glass scattered around the sink from where the mirror had been broken, the cracks forming a fractal pattern consistent with blunt-force trauma to the mid-parietal bone, reaffirmed by the blood on the tiles behind the deceased’s head.
A piece of the mirror had then been used to dismember the arm, judging by the jagged cutting pattern on the victim’s triceps, biceps, and brachialis. It would have taken a large amount of force to cut through the humerus with the ad-hoc weapon, one that humans are incapable of. The shard was then used to castrate the deceased and slash his throat from ear to ear before being discarded beside the toilet.
There was a pool of blood below the opening of the brachial artery, and Connor estimated the volume to be approximately 3.71 pints. It was most likely then that the cause of death was not subdural hematoma, but death by exsanguination.
Reconstruction of the scene revealed that while the trauma to the deceased’s brain was not fatal, it was adequate enough to knock the deceased out: hence the lack of struggle visible in the crime scene.
Judging by the degree of putrefaction--fresh, with rigor mortis still present--and the stage of larval development--first instar--, T.O.D was approximately twenty-two hours previously, making it around 5pm the day before.
Connor had completed all of this analysis in the time that it took Hank to enter the bathroom and let out a wolf-whistle.
“Sure is one helluva mess,” Hank said, scratching his beard. “But I don’t see why they had to call us in.”
Connor side-eyed his partner.
“There appears to be a similar Modus operandi present to a previous case that we have investigated. It is likely that there is a connection.”
Hank's brow furrowed.
"17 days ago, at The Garden of Gethsemane," Connor replied promptly.
“Yeah, well, that one was at an android sex club so calling us in on that one made sense. While the vic’s profile is the same--middle-aged white male--that’s not a lot to connect the two. Besides, it’s not like a… Colombian Dick-Tie is that unique.”
Connor’s LED changed to yellow as he searched for the term, however the only results were for a Colombian necktie , and Connor reached the conclusion that it was another example of Hank making a pun.
“While there have been seven instances of castration in this manner within the last twelve months and thirty-eight instances of homicidal cut-throat-injuries, the only case that corresponds with both of these criteria is the one that we investigated at The Garden. It is possible that upon review of Mr. Jacobsen’s finances, a more concrete connection between these two cases will be revealed.”
“Great, more paperwork,” Hank groaned at the notion of having to file for a warrant for Jacobsen’s finances.