Author of Dark Fiction
Day 2 of the 10 for 10 Flash Fiction Challenge
Here’s my entry for today:
I slip the cover off the body, make my initial cut beneath the right ear and wait for the first student to faint. Not to disappoint me, a strapping, six-foot-tall guy staggers then face-plants onto the cement floor. I’ve been teaching this “Forensics for Writers” class at NYU for five years now, and I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of wusses.
“I showed you this cut during the last class, but we’re going to go over it again, because mostly everyone keeled over the last time.”
The women usually fare better than the men. That’s why I’m not surprised when a thirty-something soccer mom comes right up to the front of the table and looks on, spellbound. “I had an experience with a cut up body.” The way she examines my face gives me the creeps.
“We only have time for questions, not personal stories.”
“See, there’s this lady who lives…lived…next door to me and I heard a funny noise coming from the cellar. Like somebody screaming, but muffled. After I heard the noise, I went over to the half-window of their basement and looked in.
I put down the scalpel and hold onto the table to steady myself. “You saw…”
“You know what I saw? Her throat was slit ear-to-ear with the exact same cut you’re making right now–the Superficial Fascia from one side of the Platysma to the other.”
The sweat pours down my neck now into the collar of my shirt. I’m remotely aware that the rest of the class is watching, frozen, bug-eyed with mouths gaping.
“The killer made the cut exactly the same way you do.”
All of my blood drains down into my shoes. This is the exact description of the case of the Aquarius Killer. It’s a detail that hasn’t been let out to the general public, which worries me. “You saw this?”
Her eyes widen. “I saw you, holding that same scalpel right over the victim’s body just like you’re doing now. Left-handed.”
I am left-handed. “No. You didn’t see me.”
“I can describe the shirt you were wearing—a black button-down with long sleeves.” Her eyes narrow into a squint. “With a green surgical mask and latex gloves. And those same cufflinks you’re wearing now—silver dragons.” I notice that she’s talking into her blouse.
“No, it wasn’t me. I…”
The door to the lab explodes open and a team of guys in suits pour in. One of them flips open his wallet and I see the shiny indistinct blur of a badge. “NYPD. You have the right to remain silent…”
“What’s this all about? I’m on the forensic team for the Aquarius Murders. I have no reason to want to kill anyone.”
The woman leans in to whisper to me so no one else can hear. “But I do, and I learned how to make that cut from you.”
“Wait!” I yell as they cart me away.
Many of the participants of this challenge are affiliated with the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.