‘Shark! Come on boy, get in the car. Get in the car. The car. No, that’s a wall. That’s someone else’s car. That’s a shopping trolley. SHARK!’ Neil Winters yelled, standing impatiently by the battered Ford Focus. It might have been red, once, but now it was a patchwork of dust, rust and the occasional bit of bare metal. The boot was open and amongst the detritus inside lay Shark’s blanket. The cocker spaniel, curls bouncing as he gleefully trotted around the car park, only barked sharply in reply. A proud creature, haughtily strutting from distraction to distraction. ‘Fine, you daft creature. No treats for you!’ He waved Shark off, a haughty reply to his haughty pet, and moved around to the driver’s door.
Suddenly, the dog stopped short. His nose pointed into the air as he posed elegantly with a foreleg drawn up above the ground. He’d caught a scent. With a sudden yelp, he darted off into the corner of the car park, yapping all the way to a pile of old cardboard in the corner. He stopped again, digging around in the cardboard like a boar rooting for truffles. He growled, before coming back to the Focus with his prize.
‘Come on, you stupid animal. Get in the boot. Spit that out. Put it down. Put-‘ Neil trailed off as Shark spat out his prize. ‘That’s… That’s a femur.’ Neil swallowed the bile rising in his throat. ‘Sharky… Where did you get that?’ Shark just yelped and started chasing his tail.
Neil, very warily, wandered over towards the pile of cardboard, holding a stick that Shark had brought back into the car on the last walk in front of him. He reached the pile of rubbish, a decrepit cardboard fortress, and gingerly reached towards it with the stick.
That was the moment he made awkward eye-socket contact with the skull. It was also the moment he was violently sick.
56 Hours, 13 minutes
‘Yep, it’s human. It’s real. And,’ Rolly, s nickname coined as much for his gentle nature as his girth, told the group, ‘It’s almost as fresh as my sandwich.’
‘It’s a skull. How can it be fresh?’ Charlie Jones asked, raising a thick, aggressive eyebrow. ‘And can you stop dropping crumbs on my crime scene? It’s bad enough that Spewy McUpchuck over there contaminated most of it.’ He gestured towards the police car that Neil was sat in the back of, wrapped in a blanket and shaking. ‘Well, that and the mutt pissing on everything. Hey! Can someone control that fucking dog?’ A sudden swarm of movement and a uniform moved in to look after the ball of fluff.
‘Well, to me it looks like it was boiled clean. And the way I know it’s still fresh?’ Rolly choked down the last of his sandwich. ‘It’s still warm.’
‘What?’ Smith yelled. ‘And you’re only just telling us this now? Fuck! I need uniforms on every street and…’ He stormed off into the distance.
‘Jesus Christ Rolly, one of these days you have to stop baiting him. I’m assuming you already asked for a perimeter to be set up?’
‘Of course. Now, do you want to know the really fun part? We know who our dead guy is. Wallet was found in his mouth. Driving license inside it was for Mr Victor Klitschko. No relation to the heavyweight boxer, I would assume. He also had a credit card in the name of Harold Weiss, and a Costa Coffee points card. Mr Klitschko even, kindly, has a record. He’s a fence.’
‘Reckon that’s what got him boiled?’
‘No, I reckon somebody really wanted to make Russian Man soup. Can I get the bones back to the morgue now? I might find something more there.’ Rolly smiled. ‘I’ve also run out of snacks so… I need to eat.’
‘Go on then. I’ll see if the plods have found anything yet.’
55 hours, 32 minutes
He is watching through the window. He sees the policeman clustered around where he dropped the body. His eyes go wide at the rush of euphoria, the feeling of pure power. They can’t catch him. They can’t see him. He is a shadow, passing unnoticed and unknown through the world. Soon, he will transcend, ascend, arise as a new, improved being, next in line to the throne of God. Victor had begged for his life, pleading, whinging and whining until it was clear that Victor couldn’t join him in his journey. So he had become a sacrifice, sent on to serve him in the next world.
He turned to the altar behind him and observed the countdown. A wolfish smile spread across his acne-scarred face, and he fell to his knees.
He was going to the gates of Heaven and he planned on taking an army with him.
52 Hours, 12 minutes
The Idiot in Tin Foil