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The rain was coming down hard over the Miner’s Quarter, washing away what little evidence the crime scene may still have had. Bill Davies knew it wouldn’t have been much to begin with, but he still would have preferred to have his crime scene complete. On the other hand, at least the cold rain was a welcome respite from the summer heat, and it was helping to cut down on the smell. There was nothing like the stench of a body rotting in the sun to put a guy off of his lunch, and this guy looked like he had been up here for a few days at the least. “What do you think, Gary? Three days?”

His partner glanced over at him with a scowl, and then bent down over the body. It had been laid out on the rooftop patio of one of the local inns, arms stretched wide, blood seeping through his shirt. “Nah, at least a week, just looking at the color”, he said.

“There’s no way,” Davies shot back, “you’d have more putrefaction if it had been a week.”

“I just call it as I see it.”

“Hey Andy!” Davies shouted, waving at a man just exiting the stairwell. “Get some of that coroner magic working to settle a bet, will you? What do you say, has this guy been up here a few days or closer to a week?”

“Officers Davies, Doyle.” Andy nodded to the both of them and knelt down to begin his examination, but he didn’t hesitate to speak. “Actually you’re both wrong, I’m afraid,” he said, in a matter of fact tone. “I spoke with Officer Lang on the way up, he wanted me to tell you that he’s identified the victim as one Harry Kilt. He was also able to determine that Mr. Kilt was a guest at a party on this rooftop just yesterday. So we was alive at least as late as early evening. Not that you’d be able to tell from looking at him.” Andy scowled and began to cut through Kilt’s shirt with a pair of sheers, pulling the fabric away from the wounds to examine them.

“This is interesting,” he said, motioning to the detectives. “What do you see?”

Davies shot a quick glance over at his partner and then began to scan the body. “These cuts in the skin seem to be almost ritualistic, carving out some sort of symbol,” he said. “That could give us a lead on the killer.”

“True,” Andy replied, but that’s not what’s really interesting.

“So what is?” Doyle asked, impatient.

“These cuts would not have been deep enough to kill the victim, and there isn’t enough blood flow around them either. It looks like they were carved after he was killed.”

“So what killed him, then?” Doyle asked, “There’s no other signs of injury. You saying he was poisoned?”

“I’ll have to get him back to my lab to be sure, but I don’t think so.”

“The burn mark, in the middle of his chest,” Davies piped up, “what’s that about?”

“Exactly,” Andy said, looking up at the two of them, “I think the cuts were meant to try to mask or distract from that. When you take the burn in conjunction with the state of the body and the supposed time of death, I’d say there is a really good chance that Mr. Kilt here was the victim of a leech.”


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