Redcross Part 3

Redcross

The back room was cold thanks to the giant block of ice in the corner. Sarah chose to focus on that block of ice as she entered the room. She gathered her skirts, so sure that she didn’t want any part of the fabric to touch the floor. She didn’t want to take this room with her when she left but knew that any moment she would be looking at a body and she would carry that with her forever. This is what it meant to be a sheriff. You dealt with the nastiness in the shadows so that nobody else had to see. A sheriff carried the burden and did the tough things so that other people could be happy. With that thought, she turned to look over at Warren.

“So, show me what you have to show me.” She said with a sigh. She felt her fingers graze the handle of her gun as if that would help.

“Brave woman.” Warren said softly as he pulled the sheet from the body.

The first thing that Sarah noticed was that there was no blood. Not a drop of the blood she had seen at the scene could be seen. Warren must have spent quite a bit time wiping down the body. All the wounds were clearly visible and she found her eyes drifting over each one, catalogueing them. It helped to focus closely on the details instead of the whole.

“He died quickly. There wasn’t much suffering, I would think.” Warren said softly, nearly a whisper. This was like his holy place, where the important work was done.

“Is that your professional opinion, Warren?”

“Yes, in fact. Have you spotted why I think so?”

“This isn’t a children’s game, Warren. I don’t want to be here longer than I need to. I don’t like dead things.” Sarah said with more than a little anger in her voice.

“I apologize. Your father and I had a different dynamic. He was used to seeing dead things by the time he got here. He sheltered you from that. It shows he really cared.”

“Yes. Among other things. If I’m going to honor his memory and protect this town, I need to be half the man he was.”

“I’m sure you’re doing just fine. Let me point out the solution so you spot it easier next time. I mean, Heaven forbid there is a next time, of course.” Warren said as he slowly flipped the body onto its stomach. The pressure caused one or two of the victims to ooze a little more blood and Sarah nearly wretched as she backed away.

“No fair! The solution wasn’t visible!” She said in a hiss. If she focused on anger maybe she would not succumb to disgust. She groaned and gained her bearings. “No, wait, just show me what you have to show me.”

Warren didn’t respond. He waited for her to get close again and pointed to one wound in the very center of the man’s back. The rest of the wounds were deep furrows made in the flesh which were definitely in line with wild predators slashing and biting at the body. The wound that Warren was pointing at was a perfect straight line maybe two inches long. It was so out of place you would have to be blind to miss it. Of course, it was only visible because all the blood had been wiped away.

“That’s a stab wound. Why is there a stab wound in my animal attack victim?”

“What do you think?”

“I would guess that somebody stabbed him before or during the animal attack. Since there’s no reason to do it after. During sounds problematic so I would guess before.”

“That’s my theory. The other wounds covered up the exit wound so it was something long and sharp.”

“Like a sword? Who has a sword out here?” Sarah asked. This was getting weirder and weirder. She didn’t remember her dad ever having this much trouble. Of course, Warren had said he had regularly tested her father with this sort of thing. Maybe that was a conversation for another time.

“Honestly, beyond a calvalry sabre I wouldn’t know. Even those would be rare.”

“Warren, I have a suggestion for you that you’re not going to like. In fact, you can consider it an order from the Sheriff.”

“Oh?”

“Please consult with Doc Schaefer on this. We lucked out with the sword wound, I’d rather not miss anything else.”

“Are you sure?” Warren said with a grimace. The feud between Doctor Marion Schaefer and Warren Chilton was legendary and neither of them were ever seen in the same place for long. Warren was not the most liked person in town due to his career choice so most people sided with the Doc. It was probably more than a sore point.

“I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t sure. I promise I won’t make it a habit. I trust you and your skills.”

“Alright, Sarah… I will do it for you. Where will you be going in the meantime?”

“Back to the scene. Now that I know more, I might be able to find something else.”

“A fair assumption. We will speak when you get back.”

“I’m sure we will, Warren. Good luck.”

“To you as well.”

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