Roger looked at the other two bodies. Both smears of blood behind them made it look as if they had been crawling towards the door. That made sense as the easiest way to escape the house, and maybe save their lives. That it didn’t work was gruesomely obvious. He swatted flies away frim his face and returned to concentrating on the body. The magic should have dissipated more swiftly than what he was sensing. Something didn’t add up. Either they were killed much more recently than the partly decomposed bodies would suggest, or, the necromantic magic had been more powerful, and left behind a corresponding more powerful residue. Or, there was something else. He decided to wait and see what else O’Malley and he could discover before trying to make sense of everything.
Roger and Jack continued their inspection of the bodies. The flies had been at them for a while, maggots crawled all along the underside of the bodies, and the rancid smell never really left them. After looking at the three bodies, two in the front, one just inside the hallway, they moved back a little further into the house. The hallway had three doors on the left side. The first was partly open, showing decorations and photographs of family. The single bed was rumpled, as if someone had hastily awakened. The small closet door was open, and a box of twelve gauge shells were scattered on the floor.
“I didn’t see any shotgun out front. And something like this makes me think the perp didn’t want, need, or have use for a shotgun.”
Roger nodded absently. He glanced about the room, trying to take in any sense of why this house was hit, and why a necromancer would kill people here, rather than ritually in a place of power. It didn’t make sense on the surface. That meant he was missing something important. The other rooms might well hold the key to why.
The second bedroom was like stepping back in time. An army cot made of wood and olive drab canvas was in a corner. On it was a mannequin wearing an Nazi SS officer’s uniform. Kneeling was a SS medic. Off to the side was a US Army mannequin. A small desk sat beyond the ‘American’. An SS dagger tuck upright in a laptop computer. On the floor, was a fourth body, with a blood smeared trail leading back to the overturned chair at the desk. Flies buzzed above the corpse, and Roger had no doubt that the body was infested with maggots like the others.
O’Malley took a long step in and to the right, standing beside the cot. “Looks like he was big into war memorabilia.” He looked down at the officer’s uniform, and took a step to the front of the cot. There was a hollow creak from the floor as he did. O’Malley stopped for a moment, then rocked his foot back and forth. The creaking sound was heard as he shifted his weight. Roger watched as the stocky red-headed officer moved to various spots in the room and repeated his rocking. There were soft creaks, but none of the louder, hollow squeaks like from the first location.
O’Malley returned to the spot by the cot, then looked the floor over carefully. He pulled out a small knife and opened the blade. He put the blade into a seam in the floor and twisted the knife gently. A five inch by one inch wide piece popped out of the floor. Underneath was a small cavity. A metallic box lay on its narrow side within.
“Well well well,” O’Malley repeated quietly. His scrabbling fingers got a purchase, delicately pulling the box free of its hiding place. As he turned it over, a symbol on the top of the box came into view. O’Malley heard Roger’s quick intake of breath. He felt a chill as he recognized the dreaded symbol. The grinning SS skull and the Nordic rune for power etched into the skulls forehead was the mark of the Thule society.