“Jesus Christ! What a mess!”
The expletive was barely heard over the sound of retching.
The detectives glanced at each other, not sure if the comment was directed at the crime scene itself or the cops vomiting off site.
Mess was an understatement. The horrific smell hit them first before they entered the room.
Rotting carcass left in the sun for days. Only it wasn’t just one body. But multiple.
It was a hell scape. Blood. Bone. Was that flesh gnawed on?
“Sir, you want to see this” it wasn’t a question it was a statement.
The three detectives started. Turning they found the incident officer standing in the doorway.
“What a mess”
Travers scowled at his supervisor and followed the officer “what is it”
“It’s a witness”
A witness? From that? Travers was stunned.
“You’re saying someone witnessed all that and is now coming forward?” His partner Jonesy voiced her surprise.
The officer led them into the dining room. He gestured them inside.
A sense of unease slithered down Travers’ spine as he entered the room.
Much like the crime scene, the room reeked of feces and blood. Cartons of rotten half eaten food scattered upon the table. Bugs buzzed.
“This reminds me of your kitchen” Jonesy mumbled. Travers didn’t laugh. “Your ex-wife had better taste”
“How droll. You need to work on your punch line” the barely audible rasp startled them both. “If you crack a joke like that how can you crack this case?” Laughter broke into wheezing fit of cough.
There was barely enough of light in the room to see past the shadows. Movement in the corner, made Jonesy tense. Travers fingers touched her arm to warn her off.
“Judge my home judge me”the voice clucked in disapproval “how rude”
Travers couldn’t determine if the speaker was male or female. He had to strain to hear. The wheezy catch in between each word made him wonder if it was due to an ailment or a pack a day habit.
“Let’s start with your name. I like to know who I am talking to” Travers demanded.
“My name?” There was a little giggle “everything comes with a price, Dearie!”
Travers brow furrowed. He had heard that before. But where? “Rumplestilskin” he realized out loud “Your name is Rumplestilskin”
Jonesy shot him a look. “Once Upon a Time was my wife’s favourite show” Travers sighed.
“Ok Rumplestilskin, can you tell us how you came to be here?” Jonesy asked.
“The Dark One” giggling “The Dark One tried to steal my name!”
Travers frowned “but you were a Dark One.” He glanced at Jonesy “in the show, Rumple was a Dark One. He carried a dagger with his name on it. To defeat The Dark One all one needs is to possess the dagger”
Jonesy scowled “are you telling me a fictional character massacred all those people!”
“The Dark One is me! And I am him. I’m Rumplestilskin!” The maniacal laughing faded. “Do you wish to make a deal, Dearie?”
Travers could feel his frustration mounting. The longer he stayed with this witness the more time he took away from walking the scene. However the witness was also a crucial part of the investigation. Maybe the rank smell was messing with him. He couldn’t think clearly.
Travers inhaled slowly. The putrid smell permeated his senses. “Rumple, will you come into the light so we could talk”
“Do you want to make a deal”
“Only if you come here so I can see you”
There was shuffling of feet.
Out of the shadows, a hunched over figure emerged. Clumps of blood and feces matted into long unwashed hair.
The witness was a female, Travers realized. Clothes stained with sweat, food and barely covered her thin body.
“Rumplestilskin?” Travers began gently “can you tell me what happened?”
Rumplestilskin’s head lifted. Her hair fell from her face revealing pale gaunt features. Her eyes were sunken in, bright in the madness. Her lips were chapped and peeling.
Slowly her lips began to pull back into a grin, revealing teeth stained with blood. “Tick Tok dearie,” she giggled “deal?”
“The Dark One tried to steal my name” she cackle “so I hid. Pretending to be dead I did”
Travers frowned “how long were you here?”
“I’m not knowing. Was I in Neverland?” She scowled.
Again Jonesy looked to Travers for explanation “the longer you stayed in Neverland the longer you forget about your life.” He murmured “Rumplestilskin? What could you tell us about the victims.”
Rumplestilskin giggled then she cocked her head to the side “victims?” She shuffled closer “He likes to copy! No originality!” She shrilled. “Copy!!!”
Her eyes blazing with hatred, Rumplestilskin lunged forward and seized Travers by his shirt “he tried to copy Miniature Doll killer did you know?” The lucidity fled her eyes and the madness was back.
Rumplestilskin flung her head back and laughed “The Dark One tried to steal my name!”
Travers almost vomited from the rank smell emanating from her. Miniature Doll Killer? From CSI?! “Are you telling us that somebody copied fictional serial killers and murdered all those people!”
-that is when I woke up!