“Roger, over here. Wojo says to watch your step. A couple a the guys lost it on the porch.”
Roger carefully stepped over the crime scene tape, and strode purposefully to the porch. O’Malley started up the steps, taking the last two at once to avoid the mess left by one of the officers. He wrinkled his nose at the smell. Roger followed him with an elegant stride that avoided the pool of vomit. He walked to the open door, closing his eyes. Roger looked over at his friend and erstwhile employer.
O’Malley never seemed still to him. The man’s eyes were in constant motion, taking in the scene, noting things to study in detail. In contrast, Roger held himself in rigid control at all times. He knew that his ability with magic would cause ‘side effects’ if he did not keep himself in self-control. He looked again at the stocky red-headed detective. “May I go in?”
O’Malley and Wizard Reilly stopped just inside the doorway. The miasma of rotted flesh hit them like a physical blow. The heat inside the house had let the bodies putrefy. Flies, hardy survivors of the weather, had found the corpses and were eagerly buzzing on and above the bodies. Roger looked at the first one. It had been torn badly, then apparently dragged six or so feet from where it fell. The smeared blood behind it was like a finger pointing at what had been a man.
Further into the bungalow style house, a second body could be seen just before the hallway to the back. The second body also had a smeared trail of blood, as if someone pulled it a short ways out of the hall and left it. A third body, barely visible, was in the darkened hall just short of an open door.
“The bodies were moved. The question is why?” O’Malley straightened his tie, then reached inside his jacket. He pulled out his cellphone, and frowned when the screen never lit. “Damn things is defective. This is the fourth one I gotta replace.”
Roger ignored O’Malley’s complaint. He slowly moved to the first body, carefully avoiding any bits of material or blood on the floor. The corpse was face down. The clothing had been shredded and burned by something. Roger closed his eyes, then concentrated his senses. Necromantic magic clung like a miasma to the body. Whoever this had been, their lives had been ended by death magic.
“The body wasn’t dragged,” O’Malley said. “See these spots? That’s where a hand or knee pushed the body along. They were alive when they left the blood behind.” Roger nodded. It was likely they’d tried to crawl away as the magic killed them. Escaping pain and fear was a human primal instinct. It was everything’s primal instinct when it came down to it.