Posted by Barbanne on March 27, 2000 at 23:33:44:
MURDER MOST FOUL!
The girl lay face down at the bottom of the grassed drainage ditch.
Her head was turned so that her face appeared in profile. Her right leg was stretched straight out and her left leg was drawn up and bent at the knee. Her arms were by her sides, slightly away from her body and her palms were upward, fingers curled over and clawed.
She wore only white nylon panties. They were scrunched down so that the crack between her buttocks was half revealed. The material rippled in waves where it had been pulled down and the front was stained yellow where her bladder had relaxed at the moment of death. Her skin was daubed with mud and detritus, small leaves, particles of muck, dirt like stuff. Her hair was tangled and filthy and on the side that was visible it was matted with dried blood. Blood that had gushed from the horrible black hole in her left temple. Her eye, the one that could be seen, was closed and ants and beetles crawled over her face, busily feeding at the crust around the still oozing wound. Bloody snot dangled stringily from her nostril and the insects were busy there too. Her makeup, it had been far too heavy, was smeared across her face so that she looked slightly clownish, mouth a red slash and eyes dribbling black mascara. Her naked skin was deathly white and looked waxy and surreal. Her finger and toenails were painted "koral" pink and were chipped and shabby. The scrabbling creatures nibbled at the ruined polish and collected on her panties, eagerly devouring the stained reminder of her loss of control as they crawled inside the sodden material, finding rich pickings in the warm wet cavity and its surrounding matted hair which lay inside, concealed from view. Her mouth was just open, lips curled back from bloodstained teeth and an iridescent, purple beetle scrabbled over the enamel anxious to feast on the rich red fluid inside. A worm like millipede vanished under the ruched waistband of the disarrayed panties and into the dark cleft between the buttocks. Others wormed into her hair and another beetle chewed at the lashes that rested lightly on her cheek.
The DI looked down at the girl's body, bathed now in hard, harsh light from the portable scene illuminators. She felt dismayed at the way the body had been treated, at the total dehumanising lack of dignity of this other woman. Even in death it shouldn't be like this.
She knelt down and the insects scrabbled away into every dark corner.
With her thumb encased in the plastic glove she pulled up the dead girl's eyelid. Her eyeball gazed into the grass centimetres away. Her pupils were fixed and dilated. She looked at the bullet wound, small bore, probably no exit wound, it would just have torn in there and pulped her brains.
The DI was joined by the medical examiner. Together they spoke quietly as the ME pulled the dead girl's panties down some more and inserted a thermometer in her ass. The millipede scuttled away. She lifted the girl's head and rotated it slowly on her neck.
"No exit wound. The bullet's still in there. Small calibre, probably a point two two."
"That's what I figured."
The doc removed the thermometer and looked at it. "Been dead for about ten hours," she wiped the thermometer and put it away. "Who found her?"
"Kids going home from netball practice."
"Body hadn't been moved."
"Not that we know of."
"I'd say the bullet did all the damage, that's what finished it for her. I'll know more after the PM."
The DI looked over to where a black dress, string straps, flared knee length hem line, lay neatly folded with a lace bra and a pair of strappy, chunky heeled shoes.
"Whoever did her was neat. I'm thinking we might find she had sex after death. It's one of the advantages of being female, having female genitals. Guys can maybe write their name in the snow with their equipment, but only girl's can enjoy sex after they are dead." She smiled.
They climbed from the ditch. Soco investigators climbed in. A camera flashlight intermittently overlaid the scene lights as photo after photo was taken. Tapes and slides and tubes were produced and the dead girl was measured, swabbed and recorded. The DI looked at the ghostly white corpse lying there surrounded by busy people.
"When you're finished try and make her decent."
A Soco guy looked up at her. "Chief, I know this dame. She was never decent let me assure you. This here's Barbanne!"
The dead girl lay on her back on the steel autopsy table. She was clean now, washed and tidied and her bullet wound had been cleaned up so that it was now a blackish red hole with jagged edges. Her arms were by her sides, legs straight out feet upturned and splayed. Her eyes were closed and her breasts sagged away from each other, nipples looking in opposite directions. She had been probed, photographed, measured and tested. Her stomach had been drained and bits of her were in bottles and jars. She had been opened up, peered into and sewed up shut again. Her labia glistened in the overhead lights where it had been swabbed and swabbed over and over, again and again.
The DI and the doc stood at her side. Three women in a sterile overlit room. One, a tired cynical copper, one an overworked and underpaid city medico and one, naked, dead and interesting.
The DI flipped her note pad.
"We know she wrote stories on the internet using the nickname Barbanne. We think it was as a result of this that she met her death. The list of suspects is as long as your arm and everyone of them had reason to finish her."
She looked at the doc.
"Well, it was a point two two fired into her brain that ended it all for her but there's evidence that she was partially choked before she died, probably while having intercourse."
"Not for her from what I have been told by those who knew her."
The doc looked at her notes. "I won't know for sure until I get the lab results but she may have had, or been had, sex with, multiple times after she was dead."
The doc looked up.
The DI stared at her in surprised disbelief.
The body did nothing. Just lay still and naked and silent.
"OK," said the DI. "The list of suspects."
She put reading glasses on and flipped through her book.
"Carrie. Barbanne wrote stories for necrobabes and she could never get the formatting right. Carrie had published a set of rules to follow for the duh minded but this babe always did it her way. I'd say that could have caused a lot of resentment."
She looked at the corpse.
"Mind you I don't think Carrie would explain the a.d. sex."
The corpse said nothing.
"Sam. Sam did heaps for her. Published stuff on his fabulously clever web site for her, gave her her own page basically, archived stuff for her at the public board, even included some laudatory poems and yet she did nothing but whine at him, when will it be up, when will it be ready, stuff like that. Sheer frustrated annoyance would make anyone treated that way snuff the little creep. Also, Sam would be a better candidate for the a.d. sex."
She looked down, pushed her glasses up.
"Juli. Juli has a great message board called FDF. Evidently Barbanne was a regular there and then she spat her dummy and wandered off without a by your leave."
The doc said, "Reason enough to kill her?"
"Maybe not. Juli's newly married too, so not a big candidate for the a.d. sex."
Knobkerrie," said the DI. "Loves a good amazon fight with plenty of body handling action after the climax has left the ground littered with naked dead girls. He has been asking our friend here," she indicated the dead babe with a wave of her hand, "to write a really good amazon tale but she insisted on doing stuff that interested her and didn't involve hardly an amazon at all. So he might have felt po-ed that she had ignored his requests and maybe that was excuse enough to pop her off."
"Doesn't sound like a very strong motive to actually kill the chick," the doc opined.
"That's true. Maybe it was AlOmega. He and our late lady friend here have been exchanging emails for yonks and she was often very lax about answering his on any sort of regular basis. And she wrote a story casting him as an old bull recently. That would get up the nose of plenty of men and maybe once was once too often."
"Sure but what about the a.d. sex?"
The DI leant backward and put out her hand to steady herself and it landed plumb on the corpse's tummy. A growling rumble groaned across the room as her recently replaced organs squelched around and very, very slowly, her head rolled to one side.
The DI turned Barbanne's face back into a nose upright position. She stared at the slack, dead features for a time.
"Of course our little dead lady here had been mixing with the wild side folks recently. Posting bad jokes and stuff on the blackplague."
"Ah then," mused the doctor, "with friends like those who needs enemies."
"It might explain the after death sexual activity."
"There could be one or two there that might do that, that is true."
The DI ran her finger over the crudely stitched autopsy incision. "I have heard that she was moonlighting at other sites, away from here. Sites where she was virtually unknown and where people had come to like her racy stuff."
"Jealousy. Is that what you think?" asked doc.
"Maybe and then again maybe being away from those who knew her, she ran into someone with a liking for horizontal heroines."
"As if this lot don't," said the doc.
"True. If a liking for a limp dead girl is the only motive we may have trouble sorting through them.
"Have you considered Petra?" the doc said as if the thought had suddenly come to her.
They were great friends and then they drifted apart. Now Petra has her own page and Miss Stiff here hasn't congratulated her."
"True. Talking of a woman as the killer, Sonya probably had good cause."
"You mean when Barbanne spat her dummy and pulled all her stories from Femmes Obscure?"
"Yeah. That must have caused Sonya heaps of work and unnecessary shit. It would piss me off, I know that."
"Maybe Miss Vicki herself just got totally fed up with her. You know how she killed Miss V off in a lot of her early stories, maybe Miss Vicki waited and bided her time."
"Maybe B was the hacker and Miss V and Peter found out?"
"Barbanne was brick thick on computer stuff. She couldn't have hacked her way out of a paper bag."
"Who else could it have been?"
"Mookie. She had that story where she blew up all the Mooks."
"Mookie would have left her floating ass up in a pond, not half buried in mud."
"Thats very true. Mookie loves a floater."
"I suppose there are others."
"Shit yeah. Luke, JB, Ripper, the other Vicky, Morby, Kimmy, rathead, even the old dinosaur. You name them."
We'll get them all in to the station. Someone'll crack."
The body lay quiet and brainless. Still dead.
They all stood in a row in the big interview room. The DI stood gazing through narrowed eyes at them.
"OK, let's not stuff around. Who killed Barbanne?"
"What????????????" The DI turned to Sam.
"True. I went to tell her her mystic tale was up and there she was. Lying on the floor with a garrotte around her neck and a vibrator in her right hand and a small bore pistol in her left hand and she was dead with a sublimely happy look on her face and a note on the sideboard that said, 'Goodbye guys, use me and then lose me.'"
"Is this true?" She scanned the others.
"Yep," opined Ripper, "so we did."
"Use her and then lo...................."
"Don't tell me," said the DI.
"Suicide eh? Suicide by orgasm."
"But not wasted afterwards."
"Don't tell me."
Turning she selected a big stamp and stamped CASE CLOSED on the file.
"You can go," she told them.
"Can we take Barbanne?" asked someone.