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The Bodysnatcher

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Her trip to the gym is forgotten. There is a challenge to meet. A task. She isn't sure whether Holmes has asked her to do it out of his own boredom, or as an attempt to give her something to do. If it is the latter, she is annoyed by it, but she isn't sure why.

She pockets her phone and leans against a wall, lighting a cigarette. Thinking. She used to be the one making the corpses, not transporting them. Certainly not stealing them. She doesn't have access to a chainsaw and she knows from experience cutting through bone with the switchblade in her handbag is virtually impossible.

She needs another strategy. How to steal and transport a body in broad daylight. She could always phone Molly and ask for one, but that seldom works, and usually only does if Holmes is the one asking. She'll have to find an unclaimed body, which is even harder and not at all guaranteed. But that is beyond her control. For now, she needs transportation.

Across the road she spots a stall selling suitcases and handbags. Designer imitations, knock-off prices. She has an idea. She walks over to the stall and buys a big suitcase on wheels. It almost seems too easy.

Breaking into the morgue is a breeze. She's done it three times before with Holmes. It takes her all of 45 seconds to crack the keycode and enter it into the panel. No fingerprint verification. No retina scans. Just a series of four numbers. It's almost laughable. She steals down the corridor like a cat, past the security guard's office. Technically, he should be seeing her on the CCTV, but with Vin there is an app for that. The perks of being a hacker. From a remote activation chip in her phone she sets the camera clock back 30 minutes and the feed it displays is recalled from half an hour ago. Easy.

She has 30 minutes to steal a corpse.

She starts opening drawers. The bodies have been drained of blood and autopsied and pumped with embalming fluid. She browses the toe tags. Mary Croft, 41, asphyxiation. John Doe, 70, physiological shock. Kurt Larisson, 80, myocardial infarction. Jamal Webber, 33, Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Patsy Briss, 39, multiple stab wounds. Vivian Homer, 23, myocarditis. Jane Doe, 12, multiple organ failure.

She stops.

Jane Doe. 12. Multiple organ failure.

She pulls out the drawer and looks at the little girl on the slab. Her face is grotesque and swollen. Her body is tiny and fragile and there are bruises, old bruises on her arms and ribs. She is flaccid. Rigor mortis has resolved, meaning it's been over 30 hours since she was killed. She learnt that from Holmes.

17 minutes.

Vin roots through the filing cabinet. Jane Doe. c. 12. Multiple organ failure. Found by the Embankment Tuesday 06/08/13. Estimated time of death: Noon 06/08/13. Nobody had come forward to claim her. Not a match for any missing persons. Shoulder length blonde hair. Green eyes. 128cm. 22kg. Severely underweight. Clean x-rays. No sign of sexual violence. Old bruises on torso and arms. 3cm scar on right thigh. 6cm scar on back of neck. 4 stitches on forehead. Toxicology clean. Organs clean. Cause of death likely starvation.

This little girl with no name and too many bruises. Vin touches her cold hand and strokes her matted blonde hair. She doesn't look asleep. She looks dead. She'll be buried in an unmarked grave and forgotten. She feels overwhelmed with sadness. It is perhaps insanity that makes her take the girl into her arms and fit her into the suitcase. She is so thin, she fits with no problem. Vin isn't sure she likes the idea of Holmes cutting into her. She wants to bury her.

6 minutes.

She zips the suitcase and wheels it out onto the street. Everything is as she found it except the little girl no longer lies on the slab. The phosphorus is forgotten. She gets into a taxi. The driver never suspects anything, although he does look at her through his rearview mirror. She is crying. He asks if she is alright and she makes up a lie, which he accepts. My boyfriend left me. I got made redundant. My cousin died. Does it matter?

She pays and unlocks the door to home, wheeling the suitcase with the little girl inside. She'll have to show him, and he might not understand. She doesn't know why she did it. John Doe would have been easier. He'd have folded into the suitcase and she would have had no problem with Holmes cutting him up.

She leaves the suitcase in the lab and goes upstairs. She sits in the bath, clothed, and smokes a cigarette.