This story started from a prompt that said, “The kitchen had to be red.”
Penny Sandick liked everything to match. And her favorite color for the kitchen was red. It was very obvious, her love for this color. How she did it no one knew, and she wasn’t talking any more about it, but even her frig and stove were red. Every appliance’s predominant color was red. Even her dishtowels were red, and the dishrag and scrubbers. Thank God she had stopped before she got to the cupboards, sink, and counter tops. As it was, walking into her kitchen was sensory overload, and most left disliking that color.
Kasey Bensic, the head of the Forensic Team One, looked around and all she could see was the additional red. It now adorned the walls and floors of Penny’s favorite kitchen color, red. Only this red didn’t match the others. It is a deep red, so deep it after appears black. Until you look at the Penny’s body lying in the middle of the kitchen floor next to the pool of blood that came from the clean slice through her jugular vein.
When Kasey had walked in all she could see was this poor woman, Penny, laying there, eyes wide open, her facial expression told its own story… terror. Kasey, over the years, had seen many dead bodies, some with serene facial expression, some were sad—as if they were apologizing to someone as they left their body. A few had the same expression as Penny’s. Stark terror.
Glancing around the room, after making the mental observation of the victim’s body and facial expression, while she drew the surrounding line was for everyone who came after the Coroner removes Penny’s body, so her team will know where and how she was when they found her. It also kept everyone from stepping on ‘her’ as they tramped through the room, taking things out to for the lab to check over.
“You’re gonna have a hard time with this one, Judy,” Kasey said. Speaking over her shoulder to the Captain Judy Morse in charge of the City of Goings Homicide Division. The city had nicked named the Murder Squad. “We haven’t located an entry point anywhere on the inside or outside of the house. Nor have we found the murder weapon.”
“Thank, Kasey. Appreciate your insight,” Judy said as she stared at Penny’s prone body being covered by Max Stone, the city of Goings’ Senior Coroner.
“Hey, Max, I know you want to wait till you and the lab can determine what the murder weapon was. However, at a glance—and I won’t use it in court—what do you think they used?” Judy said.
“I can tell you what I do know, Judy, and I will stand by it in court… it was something sharp and thin. Now this part I won’t swear to yet. It could a fish filleting knife, scalpel, or something similar. It is such a precision slice,” Max replied.
“Kasey, Max… is it all right to let my detectives loose in here yet? And Max, how long till you can get me your findings, same question to you Kasey, your report, too? This is the third one found like this. The other two murders were in Oregon, and Washington state. We will have to work with the FBI and possibly other agencies on it because the perp crossed state lines, and you know I don’t like to share,” Judy said.
Both Kasey and Max started speaking at once, then stopped. Kasey waved her hand at Max, inviting him to speak first. With a sheepish grin at Kasey, Max said, “I don’t have any back log, so should be able to get right on it when we get back… so I estimate a preliminary report in 4 hours. Labs will take longer. And you, or another detective are more than welcome to come watch. I’ll start as soon as I can get her on my table.”
Judy’s gaze traveled to Kasey, who said, “Ditto. Preliminary—after we leave here—about 4 hours, labs as soon as we get them, we’ll pass them on to you and Max.”
Judy nodded her thanks and the other two returned to finishing up their jobs on site.
“Sorry, didn’t answer your question, when you can bring your team in, Judy. They can come in now so long as they touch nothing without their protective gear,” Kasey called out to her.
Judy barely hearing her, raised her hand giving an ‘OK’ sign, and stopped just inside the dining room, which was through the large archway leading from the kitchen. Facing up and toward the front of the house, it was a clear view all the way to the front door, thinking, “Hmm partial open floor plan, so she wouldn’t have seen her assailant coming if they came from this direction and she was in the kitchen.”
The double clicks from the radio on her hip sounded loud, along with the voice of Detective Aaron Blaze, “Captain, they are still not letting us in.”
She pulled the radio out of the strap on the belt riding her hip. She said, “Max and Kasey just cleared you everyone from Homicide to come in. So long as all of you are wearing protective gear. Tell Jake Henderson to get videos of the body as quickly as he can. I want them done while the Max is till her. He’s already covered the body and doing his paperwork before taking her with him. As soon as he’s finished, he’s heading right to autopsy. I’d like Detectives Spencer and Gelman to follow in their vehicle and observe.”
“Yes, ma’am. Moving in now. Detective Spencer heard your order and is grabbing Gelman, they are on their way to their car, and positioning it to leave as soon as Max does.”
Judy, still standing at the entry to the dining room when Blaze said, “What a mess.”
At his comment, she turned to her long-time friend and said, “Yeah, it is. Penny didn’t deserve this. I just pray that the bastard who did this finally left something we can use to catch him.”
“How are you holding up, Judy? I know I’m still reeling from it. And seeing her like that…. Brings back the old memories of us all in Junior High together. We’ve got to catch this guy… did you notice the look of terror on her face?” Blaze said.
“It’s hard, but I’m dealing with it. And it gets to me. That look of terror. Penny had her quirks… the red kitchen thing, but the entire city knew of her kindness and gentleness. Good Lord, she couldn’t even swat a fly. She would try to catch it, take it back outside,” She said. Then turning to look back into the kitchen, she added, “She didn’t deserve this. We’ll get this sucker. He won’t hurt anyone else if we have anything to say about it.”
“Look at them scurry around like rats in a maze that has no outlet,” He thought as he watched through his binoculars from the window in the house directly across the street. He had chosen this house because of location and he could clean up. Play time was over. This was the time to observe and learn.
And he was learning. This one had been so much fun. She honestly thought he was in witness protection, and had fallen for him so hard, she would make sure no one knew about him ever. And then to see her terror when he told her she would die… and his friend, knife, would take her life. She had begged him to let her die in her favorite room, her red kitchen. So, he had frog-marched her in there. He hadn’t even had to hold the knife to her. He had asked her why she wanted to be in the kitchen, though. She had said, “My blood will go with the décor,” And that’s when he had sliced her throat, cutting all the way to the spine. He watched her body fall and gazed at her blood splatter on the counter and walls, then the blood pooling on the floor and said, “You know, love. You are right. It goes with the décor beautifully.”
He walked back into the bathroom, made sure there was nothing left of him—no hairs, fingerprints, he even pocketed the toothbrush he had used. “Oh, no you don’t. You don’t get to stay here; you’re coming with me,” He said to the dental floss he had tossed into the trash basket next to the sink. He softly laughed as he held it up, wrapped it around the index finger of his left hand, then stashed it in his pocket with the toothbrush.
The next room to get a double check was the bedroom, after that it would be the kitchen and the last was the living room. In each room he used new gloves, placing the used one in a trash bag he tucked under his belt, so his hands were free. He was finding he was getting lazy after his fun. He had much more to remove that ever before. “It’s an excellent thing you are always perfect at whatever you do,” Told himself as he looked in the mirror the owner had placed on a cupboard by the back door to do their own last-minute check before going out. Taking one last look around the kitchen, he pulled his bag of trash free and tied it in a knot so nothing could slip out of it and carried his suitcase out the back door. Into the attached garage and into his car.
He laughs out loud, while he remembers how easy it was to get in. A little surveillance to know who was going on vacation and then drive by with his frequency finder and voila! He had the code needed to find the right generic garage opening, so he didn’t have to ‘break in’ when he can just walk in. And leaving would be as simple as coming in. He pushes the garage door opener, watches as the door opens, pulls out, pushing it to close it at the same time. Then he turned onto the street. Heading to his next town.
Looking at himself in the review mirror he says, “Ya know. I like this town. Why should we leave? The people are nice and friendly, and the police are so easy to mess with… What do you think? Should we stay and have more fun? You’re right. We should. Let’s go find us a fresh place to stay.” then he laughs so hard his eyes tear up just thinking of the circles the cops will run to figure out what he is up to.