today I have the pleasure to have the second Novella in a series that I’m really enjoying. You can find the first one, and meet Amanda, on this blog, and here’s the second installment.
Raven crossed the cave in two swift steps and gaped down at the body. Her breath stopped, her heart skipped a beat.
The woman’s bloodshot eyes grotesquely protruded from her skull, staring blankly at the dark cave ceiling. A thin trickle of dried blood ran from the corner of her blue lips, down her neck. And as Raven’s gaze moved down the body, her stomach sank to her feet. The woman’s fingers had been cut off—every single one of them.
“Oh, my God.”
Bile rose in her throat as she looked at the bloody nubs at the end of the woman’s hands.
Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God.
Her stomach churned, and for a moment, she thought she was going to vomit.
No, don’t throw up on a crime scene, you’ll destroy potential evidence, you idiot!
She inhaled, swallowed the saliva that had gathered in her mouth, and forced herself to get a grip—get in control of the situation. Her shock slowly began to fade, and the cool-headed, calm, laser-focused demeanor that she was known for began to settle in.
She squatted down for a closer look.
The woman’s skin was pale, almost ghostly white. Her muscles were frozen in full rigor mortis. She assumed she’d been deceased for twenty-four hours, tops. Purple bruising speckled her jawline, and ran across her skinny neck.
Raven shook her head, stood, and grabbed her cell phone from the ground.
She clicked it on—no reception in the cave, of course.
She spun on her heel, jogged outside and dialed 911.
As she gave the dispatcher the details and her location, her eyes scanned the ground for any obvious evidence but saw none. The dispatcher promised someone was on their way, and she clicked off the phone.
She glanced up at the sky, completely blanketed now by storm clouds. Nightfall was coming. The woods would be completely dark in less than thirty minutes.
A cool breeze rustled the leaves above. A buzzard called out. She looked around—acutely aware of the fact that she was completely alone. Just her and a dead body. Alone, in the middle of woods that stretched as far as she could see—so many places to run, to hide.
Who had done this?