's 2016 Horror Write-off:

Crime scene (a beginning)

Submitted by Lady de Selby

September 28, 1998

Empty coffee shop next to the apartment building "Key Towers"

Roger Damian: The Chief

Michael Sinclair: The Private

"I don't know if you can handle this, Sinclair."

"I think I'll be fine."

"You've never been in there. You don't know what kind of crime this is."

"With all due respect, sir, I've experienced dismemberments, beheadings, implosions, cannibalisms, immolations and transfigurations, among many other grizzly sights. I hardly think that whatever awaits us in Room 808 possesses the ability to shake me anymore than I have previously been shook."

"It's not that I have any doubt in your storied past, boy," the chief said, gripping hard on his now empty mug (previously filled with Pepsi), "but what's in that room is something more. I've seen it. I've seen it before." He lifted the stone cup to his lips, trying to drink what was already gone.

"Chief. Let's just go check it out. Somebody needs to be there to size up the situation, and there isn't anybody around but us." The private stood up from his seat. They were the only two people at the dark counter. The chief did not respond at first, but soon rose. He never stopped looking down until they crossed the short distance and entered

                            the tower.

Inside the elevator, the chief pressed the button. Ascension to floor 8. Both men were silent. They no longer needed to speak to understand eachother. In this case, they were both aware of the slowly mounting anxiety they carried, an unspoken motion of paranoia.

The movement stopped and the doors opened.                   Ding.   

This floor was devoid of others. All tenants were moved to the rooms above and below. The chief and the private began to steadily move towards the end of the hallway.

801       802       803       804       805       806       807

The final door was clasped up tight. All manner of locks held chains across the

closed opening, chains that disappeared into breaks in the walls and weaving throughout the building's insulation. Producing a keyring from his jacket pocket, the chief destroyed barrier after barrier, sullen iron falling to the sides and soon producing a gap big enough to view through, the private now witnessing the plaque adorned with 808. The chief stuck his hand onto the knob and slowly turned, watching now as it silently opened, pushed by no wind.

Roger and Michael stood in the center of the room. It was a small, cozy living room with yellow-beige carpet and all manner of chairs, lights and a dining table. Doors opened into a bathroom and bedroom. Both surveyed the scene. After a few minutes, the private nervously turned to his superior and simultaneously asked and admitted. "Where's the body?"

"You're looking at it."                               Click.


"The body is all around you."

"Are you saying the furniture is... made of the victim?"

The chief shook his head.

"This is not a human murder. The victim in this case is the room itself."

The idea went over the private's head. "What are you talking about?"

"I'll show you the fatal injury." The chief headed into the bedroom. As the private followed, he noticed the faint smell of rot and the subtle dampness of the floor's texture.

In the bedroom, the problem was much more obvious.

A square television set affixed with antenna and adorned with knobs had blown out.

Something was wrong with this explosion.

Extending from the glass mouth of the TV's injury was several feet of blood. It reached across into the middle of the room, and had splattered onto the bed as well. A tongue of meat hung out of the source, flesh dripping with its own blood. Inside the set was more squishy stuff. Organs, mostly, but not connected, just packed together and in proximity due to their stick.

"What the hell?"

"It's not just the television, either, Sinclair. Look." The chief produced a knife and violently inserted it into the side of the bed. When he pulled it out, it was wet with a thin liquid. Almost sputtering but with almost no noise, more liquid streamed out of the newly-made slit, before eventually turning into the crimson red of, yes, more blood.

"How did all this get in here?"

"We don't know. There's never any signs of a previous opening. The wound is always the only one. One day, it seems just like any other room, yet on the next, when the wound opens, when the crime occurs, the room has died and its insides are all present."

As they walked back into the living room, the private cautiously rubbed his hand on a chair, picturing what was surely contained within, trying not to think about how the floor had become subtly squishy from their wear, what was surely contained below.

He wanted to ask how this could be, but nausea took him and he submitted, looking to his partner and waiting for additional explanation. It did not come. Instead, the chief moved on to the investigation proper.

"The prime suspect in this killing is the owner of the room. She hasn't been seen since before the corpse was discovered, and nobody else is to believed to have entered in the past week. The problem is, she could be anywhere in the world now. She must be highly aware of what she has done. It's our job to find her, wherever she may be, and bring her to justice."

The only thing the private managed to get out was, "what about the room?"

"It's dead. It'll have to be detached from the building. And cremated."

The following investigation was a long and grueling process. Both inspectors were forced to comb endlessly throughout the flesh-filled fabric, leather, stone, plastic and metal. The chief jotted down many notes onto a pad of paper. The private did not. By the time they were finished, it had become dawn. On the way back to the station by car, the private voiced his inquiry. "How do you know all this?"

"As I said, I've seen it before," the chief sadly reaffirmed, "and although I hope not to, I will probably see it again. You may be surprised to learn that an average of 1.3 rooms are murdered per year. In my many, I've only ran into a few instances of this phenomenon, but they were enough to accustom me to their investigations, although I cannot imagine ever becoming desensitized to the experience.

Sometimes they are apartment or hotel rooms, like we just saw, but sometimes it has been entire houses. Beyond the obvious evils of committing a murder, at times these crime scenes, when unreported, have become the cause of psychological trauma inflicted upon subsequent owners. In one instance, a homeowner did not realize that their house was dead until the handle of one of their doors knocked a hole into the wall, which immediately began spurting out blood.

We know that these crimes occur in America, Europe too. There's no real reason to think they don't occur elsewhere. And hell if I know how they manage. The criminals, I mean." Here he awkwardly cut off. The private tried to process the speech and failed. Although he would lie in bed at his own home in a few hours' time, (for the last time), he never fell asleep and at multiple points mistook an instance of his own (fear-driven) spit on his laptop's screen for blood that had began to seep out from a scratch, crack or dent.

The chief picked him up the day after. An anonymous call had provided the murderer's location.